Best school for MBA: Step-by-step to find the best school for MBA

The best school for MBA for you isn't the same as for the next person. So forget relying solely on MBA rankings. They'll only tell part of the story. The top MBA business schools all have different overall fortes, focuses in terms of MBA subject, and means of delivering MBA courses. Finding the right one for you entails understanding your own learning needs and drivers for seeking an MBA degree, and matching a business school. Here is a step-by-step guide to finding the best school for MBA.

Step 1: Examine why you want an MBA degree
Just why do you want to study MBA? Many future MBAs are looking for a career boost – but just how can an MBA degree do that for you? If you're a serious candidate, it's about integrating the right business management skills and leadership skills to help you deliver business results throughout your career. Your focus will be specific to you. You may, for example, need to strengthen your knowledge of general management fundamentals, hone your people management and leadership style, or gain international experience with a view to breaking into global leadership. Knowing your drivers will help you match your needs for the best school for MBA.

Step 2: Consider the practical
You'll also want to consider practical factors when looking for the best school for MBA. If you're based in North America and can't relocate, top European business schools won't be for you no matter how excellent their MBA degree programs. On the other hand, if you're looking for an international experience, they'll be ideal. Another practical consideration: how much “time out” can you spare? This will partly direct your choice between a 2-year or 12 month MBA program.

Step 3: Create a short list through reputable MBA rankings and asking people in your network
Yes, we did say the MBA rankings won't lead you directly to the best school for MBA. But reputable MBA rankings, such as those by the Financial Times, Forbes and The Economist, will help you narrow the field. Out of the myriad of MBA business schools out there, these publishers rate the cream of the crop. People in your personal and professional life will be able to give you a more qualitative sense of the best schools for MBA they know. This should also show you which MBA business schools are best known and perceived as high value in your area or industry.

Step 4: Take a very close look at their MBA subjects
This step may take some time, but it is indispensable. The best school for MBA for you must have an MBA course offering aligned the objectives you established in step 1. Beyond fitting with your personal needs, the best school for MBA must also be current and in touch with the marketplace. Look for a cohesive set of MBA subjects that take you from theory to practical application. Fundamental subjects (finance courses, marketing courses, operations management, etc.) are your building blocks while hands-on practice should help equip you for today's complex global economy. Expect to hone your general management and leadership skills through leadership exercises and leadership coaching on-campus and through in-the-field assignments.

Step 5: Confirm your best school for MBA
Got an MBA business school front runner after following these steps? Find out what people in your network think. Thoroughly read the business school's website and brochures. Visit them at MBA fairs. Call or even better, visit the campus. You're on your way to your best school for MBA.


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