Secondary Factors that Might Influence Your MBA Choice

When it comes to choosing the right MBA program, there are three things you’ll likely care about most. The first is prestige, because getting into the right program and making the right contacts can be the key to a successful future. The second is cost, since your undergraduate years may have already left you in a fair amount of debt already, and a scholarships could sway your decision between two competitive programs. The third factor, of course, is whether you even get in or not! After all, applying doesn’t automatically make you a shoe-in candidate.

But alongside these three major factors are a number of smaller, secondary ones. One or two may be more important than another, but that doesn’t mean that together some of these minor influences won’t impact your choices, which makes them important to consider as you move forward. Think on these examples.

Probably the most obvious of secondary factors, the location of the school you choose is going to play a large role in whether or not you choose to go there. This is far more than just a city mouse or country mouse choice, too. For instance, heading to an MBA program at a Southern university like Duke is going to offer a much different cultural experience than seeking out a degree at a West Coast college.
And beyond the culture, there’s the cost of moving yourself across the country. This is one of the reasons that online MBA programs draw more and more students every year. While they lack the dynamics of a physical classroom environment, the commute is hard to beat.
Green-minded individuals are well aware that colleges can be major offenders when it comes to carbon footprints. As a result, an MBA program’s sustainability can be an influential part of the decision making process. You can find the eco-friendly ratings of whatever colleges or universities you’re considering at sites like The College Sustainability Report Card or The Princeton Review. But what if you’re a business major hoping to make an even bigger environmental change?
Luckily, as Businessweek notes, more and more business schools are including sustainability programs as part of their MBA offerings, especially since there’s a broad future for graduates in that particular field. The website has a handy list of top programs.
This is both a matter of resource and personal preference. Harvard, for instance, enrolls nearly 2,000 students in its program, according to Find MBA Blog. This means that the school is going to have a lot more resources, but also significantly larger class sizes. Folks who had more intimate undergraduate experiences may want to seek out a smaller program, in which they’ll get to know classmates and professors better and build a personal rapport.
However, while you’ll be considering your program’s population with regard to size, you’ll also want to look at its diversity. While diversity has its benefits at just about any school – since nothing thrives in a homogeneous vacuum – it’s especially important for some MBA program applicants. After all, if you’re considering international business, those contacts could be vital.
Businessweek lists a few of the top schools for international business programs, and not surprisingly a number of them are outside the U.S., including the London Business School. However, Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business and Cornell’s Johnson School of Business still rank high for those hoping to stay in-country.