If you’re a business professional looking to move into a leadership role, earning your MBA is an excellent way to build a competitive advantage and develop your management skills. However, with so many programs available, it can sometimes be difficult to choose the one that suits your needs. For those who are just beginning their research, it can be overwhelming just to understand what to look for, and what differentiates one MBA from another.
Whether you’re just beginning your career or looking to build on a wealth of experience, the right MBA program can help you pursue your goals without interfering with your current work schedule. The single biggest consideration is finding a program that works for you, helping you develop the skills you want in a format that integrates seamlessly into your life.
Choosing MBA Programs
When comparing MBA programs, here are some of the basic points you may want to consider before making your decision.
Time to Complete
The amount of time needed to complete an MBA varies from program to program, depending on the way that the curriculum’s structured and how many courses the student takes each term. If you’re looking to complete your MBA quickly, then an accelerated program of study might be a perfect fit. If time isn’t a factor, then a program with a more exhaustive course offering could be better for you.
Part-time vs. Full-time
MBA programs sometimes offer students a choice between attending the program full-time or part-time, which simply refers to the number of credit hours and classes they complete during each term. Flexibility is often a priority for working professionals, so be sure to consider whether you have availability in your schedule (and your personal life) to devote to the demands of the program. Part-time MBAs may take longer to complete, but they offer the student more free time – and there’s no significant difference in salary upon graduation.
Be sure to carefully consider your financial needs and the resources available to you. Does the program offer financial aid? Think of this as an investment in yourself, and compare the potential return on that investment between programs by analyzing the opportunities each might create for you.
Does the coursework help you develop skills in the areas that you’d like? Can you specialize in certain areas? Are the faculty and board of advisors well-respected? If there’s an area of business that you’d specifically like to explore or move into, then it’s important to find a program that can help you do that. While fundamental business curriculum in finance, accounting, and management skills can be similar, nuances in the program’s subject matter – not to mention the expertise of the faculty that deliver it – can make a great deal of difference.
Online vs. On-Campus
Online MBA programs are quickly becoming a prominent fixture in the academic space, with employers and other professionals treating graduates with the same level of respect as their on-campus counterparts. If a regular commute to campus would be difficult for you, or you’d like to study at a particular institution and can’t relocate, or you’d simply like to pursue your MBA in a convenient, flexible format, consider online options.
MBA programs represent an incredible opportunity to connect with like-minded peers and network with other professionals. In some cases, the connections made during MBA programs build into the real world, opening the doors to new opportunities that otherwise would not have existed. Beyond that, MBA programs offer a chance to interact with leading, well-connected faculty. Look for programs that actively encourage peer discussion and foster student communities.
Possibility for Return on Investment
Ultimately, the goal of earning your MBA is to expand your professional reach, build leadership skills, and potentially set the stage for higher earning potential. Consider each program holistically. Is it well-ranked? Does it benefit from expert faculty? These are all important factors when determining how to choose an MBA program.
At Lawrence Technological University, we offer an online MBA program that might be the perfect fit for you. Click here to learn more.