How to Tell a Good MBA Program from the Rest

With 40 schools offering Master of Business Administration programs in Canada, and hundreds more in the United States, it can be hard to tell which programs really stand out from the crowd. Not all programs can deliver a placement after graduation in a high salary position, although many schools advertise this. Students have a responsibility to themselves to do everything they can to make their mark. One thing many employers look for today is a specialization beyond the general MBA, which gives students an intimate and in-depth knowledge of a particular industry. However, here are some indications that a business school is a worthwhile investment.


Employer Recognition

Find out if major employers hire candidates from a school’s MBA program. One way to do this is to get in touch with graduates, attend networking events, and do a little research into management and executives at top firms. Where did directors of finance, managers, demand planners, and even executives like CEOs and CFOs at competitive firms in your specialization earn their degrees? Some schools also develop partnerships with the private sector to encourage specializations or cultivate industry experience, such as a co-op MBA program. Although MBA candidates more commonly have several years of experience in the corporate world before pursuing their degrees, coop programs can be a way for students to move directly from their undergraduate degrees to a Masters.


AACSB Accreditation

AACSB International is an organization made up of educational institutions and businesses that accredits top business schools if they meet its rigorous criteria. The AACSB has a list of quality standards that includes how faculty and students interact, faculty qualifications, and the continuous improvement of the degree program. The AACSB requires accredited schools to undergo a review every five years in order to maintain their status. If you want to attend one of the top MBA programs in Canada, make sure the school is accredited with the AACSB.


Performance at Case Competitions

MBA case competitions are not just intense learning experiences. They are also valuable networking opportunities that bring together hundreds of bright minds from great business schools across North America. The companies that sponsor these competitions often use them to recruit, and as The Globe and Mail suggested, the real top prize at these competitions is a job. However, there can also be generous cash prizes for winning teams. For example, the Aspen Institute of Business and Society’s International MBA Case Competition offers a $35,000 prize. Performing well at case competitions is a sign that the school values practical, comprehensive knowledge and competitive student bodies. Employers value candidates who can perform at competitions because they are quick thinkers with versatile skill sets.

Deciding where you earn your Master of Business Administration is a major decision that will affect your career, your salary, and the network of peers you make. Do your research and find the program that will help you achieve your ambitions.

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