Choosing an MBA program is always a tough decision. Here are some things to bear in mind and choices to make before opting for your MBA.
1 year versus 2 years?
In recent times, many well recognized European Management Schools have introduced one year programs which have offered MBA students an alternative to the two year full time courses offered by the American universities. Here are a couple of factors that can help you make your decision on which program to go for.
One year programs offer the obvious cost and time savings by cramming a more intensive curriculum into the schedule. While this is a massive advantage for time pressed and cash strapped students, there a few downsides to it.
Firstly, you might miss out on the time to absorb and learn from classmates outside the classroom as the pressure to meet deadlines will be much more intense. Another key point to factor in is for students considering a career transition. For those planning on changing industries and /or moving to a completely different role, a two year program will offer more opportunity to test the water in the new field through more internship opportunities. Lastly, a frequent complaint from students of the one year program is that there is just too much pressure and too little time to really absorb and internalize some of the lessons.
To recap, if you’re looking to transition into a new line and need a bit more time to understand internalize management and build your network, the two year program might be a better option for you.
Full time versus part time?
Not sure whether to take the leap and opt for a full time MBA or combine work and study and choose a part time program? Here are some points to consider that will help you make the choice.
The biggest advantage of the part time MBA is that you can stay at work and hence continue to earn an income. That said, a part time MBA is not for the faint hearted. You’ll need to be focused and determined and have the support of both, your family and colleagues. Never underestimate the toll the part time program will take on your personal and professional life. Weekends will need to be dedicated to study and homework and many people find it a struggle to balance work, study and family. Also, part time courses will tend to drag on for a longer time. Lastly, if you’re enrolling in a part time course, make sure you opt for a recognized and reputed institution. After long years of toil, you don’t want your degree to be undervalued simply because it was completed on a part time basis.
On the other hand, the biggest advantage of the full time MBA is that you can offer your study your full focus and concentration. The biggest disadvantage however is that it requires nerves of steel to give up a good job and take the plunge. One option to ease yourself into this decision is to get your employer involved. Some students are sponsored by their company which gives them the security of an income plus the time to focus on their MBA. At the end of the day, if you can afford to take a break from work for a year or two, the full time is definitely a better option.
GMAT versus GRE
Most business schools use GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) scores as one of the tools to access eligibility for admission. In recent times, GRE (Graduate Record Exam) is also accepted by some schools. In general, GMAT is seen as the harder test to crack but if the school you intend to apply to accepts GRE scores, good GRE grades can make you look better than other students on paper.
Pursuing an MBA can be a challenging affair but well worth it if you do it well and at a recognized institution. Good luck with your MBA.
Freelance writer based out of Munich
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