An MBA should improve your career path and earnings potential. Choosing the right schools and courses can make all the difference. What do you need to know?

Most people will take on MBA studies to advance their careers and boost their earnings potential. But, not all of these degrees are equal. The experts from state that the course you choose and the school you attend can have a significant impact on how well the qualification works. What do you need to think about before you apply for a program?

Why Do You Want to Take an MBA?

Before you start looking at programs and business schools, it is important to think about why you want to take a degree and what the pros and cons of MBA study will be. Courses and the colleges that provide them may all give you similar letters after your name, but the experience you gain can be very different.

You may simply see this as an essential part of building an executive career. More specifically, you may want to fill in gaps in sector or management experience or use your degree as a springboard for a complete change of career. To maximize benefits, you should apply for MBAs that meet your aspirations.

Where Are You in Your Career?

Your career stage and industry sector could influence the type of program you choose. Some students will opt for a dual-MBA course to combine a bachelor’s or master’s degree with mba business administration study. Those fresh out of college or with a few years of work experience may opt for a regular MBA.

If you have more experience in senior management, then an Executive MBA may suit you better. In some cases, you may want to tailor your study to the sector in which you work, in which case a specialty program may be worth considering. International degrees may also suit those who need to extend their domestic experience into the global market.

How do You Want to Study at Business School?

In the past, you would traditionally study full-time for one or two years here. Now, you have more flexibility and can study part-time, by distance learning, or can even take an online MBA. Some of these newer options may also allow you to study at a school that is not close to home, or at an international institution without having to relocate.

This may be a factor in your choice of program, depending on your life stage. You may not, for example, feel able to move across the country or abroad if you have a young family or a partner with local commitments.

How Much Will Your Business Degree Cost?

Few companies will fully sponsor an employee to take on further business degrees nowadays and, in most cases, the responsibility for funding the course falls to the student. Most people will take on some form of education or career loan to cover fees; others may be lucky enough to win MBA scholarships or bursaries.

The costs of an MBA can vary widely. The assumption is that the top schools will have the highest fees, but this isn’t always the case, so it is worth investigating all options to compare costs. If money is an issue, then taking a part-time course can spread fees over more time and distance and online options may be a way of saving money in some cases.

How Much Does MBA Ranking and Accreditation Matter?

Some various publications and sites rank business schools and their programs and various industry bodies that accredit courses. In basic terms, a highly ranked school may have a better reputation than one lower down/not on the list. However, according to, an accredited course may be more acceptable to employers. This could, on paper, make some MBAs worth more than others.

Generally, your choice of the program should include an awareness of rank, but this should be combined as a part of a greater whole to include other influencing factors. It’s also worth remembering that it can be harder and much more competitive to get into the best business schools.

What Are the ‘Success Stats’ of Your Chosen Business School?

When you look at business school rankings, you should also use additional statistics to assess how well programs work in practice. Information here can include the percentage of students who find employment, average salaries, increases in earnings compared to pre-MBA status, types of employer sector, and career progress. You can find this kind of data and individual ranking tables on The Financial Times, Business Week, and Economist websites.

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