Picking the right college or business school is an important decision. The average salary of graduates and placement records are the most commonly shared information by most B-schools. While these are good indicators, they don’t tell you how well an institute will serve you.  

Common mistakes students make while choosing a B-school 

 Here are two common mistakes students make while choosing a B-school: 

  • Going only by the ranking of the B-schools: Rankings are based on fact-based (Admission rate, Employment outcomes) and opinion-based (Employer/recruiter assessments, Alumni surveys, Professor quality) metrics and can change across numerous publications. So, you should not rely solely on the B-schools ranking to determine the right school for you. 

If you need a quick guide to using MBA rankings, here’s an article that can help – How To Use MBA Rankings?

  • Getting swayed by ‘average salary’ in placement report: Many students fall for this trap. They believe that the more money one makes after landing a job, the better their education has been. While it is true that a B-school’s placement statistics can be helpful in determining its quality, this is not the sole way to evaluate whether or not a school may be right for you. There are many other factors to consider as well, such as alumni networks, entrepreneurship rates, and industry connectedness.

How to do self-assessment to pick the right business school.

Introspection on your post-MBA-life 

Before you pick the right business school, you have to know WHY you are taking up this course. The most important thing for a post-MBA professional is how you can use your new credentials to advance your career. Start with answering these questions: 

What are your goals in attending business school?  

Do you want to be an entrepreneur?  

Do you want to stay in your current niche and accelerate your career?  

Do you want to start a new career in a different field?  

Pro tip – If your goal is to change careers completely, then you should look for schools with strong alumni networks in the industry that interests you. If you’re aiming for a promotion within your current company or looking to move into an entirely different industry, then consider what kind of connections and education will help you achieve your goals. 

Map out the important factors to get your business school research started

i) Course structure

The course structure is a very important aspect while researching any b-school. You need to look at what kind of courses they offer and how they teach. Not just that, you should also look at the electives available for your niche. Are there any specific electives for your niche? If not, that may be a negative point for your target b-school. 

ii) Cost/Return on investment(ROI)

ROI Post-MBA is another very crucial area that you should look into while researching about a b-school. A part of your decision-making process should be about how much it costs to get into that school and how much you can earn after getting out of it. 

iii) Placement report 

a) Check the employment report of the business school you’re considering. It will show you the percentage of students who get placed in the industry they’ve been studying, and at what salary.  

b) Class size matters. Smaller classes allow for more faculty-student interaction. This can improve the learning experience and your chances of getting a high grade.

c) Pay attention to the average salary for people after graduation in your chosen industry. This can give you an idea of how much money you’ll be earning with an MBA in your field.  

d) Pay attention to the trend of job offers from the second year onwards, and the number and quality of your classmates’ job offer. 

e)  Keep in mind that it’s important to take note of how many students are placed at a particular b-school within three months after graduation. Therefore, you will be able to know how much of a rush you’ll be in once you graduate.

f) Go through the list of companies recruiting students in your domain and find out which college they are recruiting from. Research their credibility within that particular market and geography. You should also find out if there are strategic linkages between companies and the institute you wish to join.


iv) Scholarship opportunities

Scholarships are a great way to help offset the cost of your MBA degree.

The most common type of business school scholarship is merit-based. To find out if you qualify, visit your target school’s website to view their merit scholarship requirements and deadlines.

In general, MBA scholarships can be divided into two types: need-based or merit-based.  

Need-based scholarships are awarded to students whose financial situations make it difficult for them to attend B-school. 

Merit-based scholarships are given to students based on their achievements, such as exceptional GMAT scores, strong undergraduate performance, or leadership experience. It’s important for achieving diversity in the MBA student body that both types of scholarships are available.

Also read: Importance of GMAT scores in getting scholarships?

Now that you’ve thought about the factors that matter to you, your target schools should be coming into view. In the next section, we’ll discuss ways of turning your research into a final list of top school options. 

Also read: Top 10 Scholarship Friendly MBA Schools

It’s time to fine-tune your research now

i) Do thorough alumni research. 

a) Options/career prospects for you (in case you are an international student) in the niche in that particular domain and geography. Make sure you do enough research about the alumni of your target B-school. They have been on the job market for at least 2 to 3 years, so they have a good idea of where the market is headed. Do they have any connections within the industry that you are looking to get into? What kind of roles have they taken up in companies? How are their salaries? How satisfied are they with their career choice?  

b) Which elective/course served as a great source for that particular niche? Evaluate the electives that your target B-school offers. The courses offered by your target institute will give you a fair idea of what is going to be in demand upon graduation. Do not go by just what is listed on the catalog; most of it might be theoretical and not really reflect reality. Get in touch with seniors who have completed those courses and ask them how they helped them in their respective careers. Since these are some of the most popular ones, chances are these will be high-paying jobs when you graduate as well. 

c) Check out the alumni database for your target school.

d) What companies recruit from that school?  

e) Do these companies offer sponsorships? 

f) Is there an alumni group in your city?  

g) Do they have an online forum where you can ask questions? 


ii) Speak to current students with questions that focus on 

a) Who are the major speakers related to your field.

b) Fairs and events related to your niche.

c) Companies recruiting for roles you are looking for.

d) Other school-specific opportunities related to your niche.


Funnel your research into three categories 

Now that you have a list of b-schools, sort them into three categories: ambitious schools, target schools, and safety schools.  


Ambitious schools are the ones you would be happy to attend if you got in. This is your dream list. They should be selective, have a good name and a strong alumni network.  


Target schools are the ones where you have a chance of getting in. These are schools where you will apply and interview with confidence.  


Safety schools are schools that you feel confident you will be admitted to, so you can concentrate your efforts on schools that you would like to attend.


We are here to help you select the right business school for you.


Follow the above tips and we can guarantee that you will achieve your dream of securing your future with a top business school. Ultimately, picking an MBA is a really, really important decision and you should focus all your efforts on achieving your goal.

You have started your search and followed all the steps listed above. Yet, if you are unsure that you are headed in the right direction, it’s time to get in touch with us. Our MBA Admissions Consulting Services can help you find the business program that’s a perfect fit for you.

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