I’ve always taken the approach that MBA programs are comprised of three primary considerations, which have varying weight depending on the individual:
1. Job prospects after graduation
There are many things which are included under these categories (for example, the caliber of your fellow student, which affects both 1 and 2).
You might be thinking: ”well isn’t this exactly the same as the decision calculus for any other school.” Not exactly. The MBA, unlike many other graduate degrees, tends to be more future-centric, meaning that employment post-graduation carries more weight than it does in other contexts.
When you say ”financial view and accommodation” I get what you’re saying – but you might want to also include in your decision-making the accessibility of loans, the availability of private scholarships, as well as the wage discrepancies as compared to cost (i.e., if you are getting paid $200,000 USD per year after graduation, and school costs $100,000 per year, you might be better off than if you went somewhere that cost $10,000 per year but which results in jobs paying $18,000 per year).
That said, there are some simple data points which, although not always useful, can certainly help to assess which schools are ideal:
1. The growth rate of the country’s economy. This can be misleading if used wrong, but generally speaking, people with MBAs from schools in close proximity to the target employers are given some preferential treatment (which is why MBA rankings have shifted in the past 10-15 years to favor schools in major cities, rather than schools in the middle of nowhere, e.g., Tuck Business School, which was ranked in the top three for decades). This might favor countries like China, etc.
2. The employment rate (and average earnings of graduates) of the SPECIFIC MBA programs you apply to. In this regard, country is not necessarily the most important, just the school itself.
3. Whether your intended industry has a greater/smaller presence in the country of choice (e.g., it may be the case that private equity is relegated to relatively few countries).
4. Where you want to work after graduation. This is important for a simple reason: name brand matters A LOT if you are doing an MBA in a foreign country. For example, in China it is likely the case that most domestic employers would rather higher (and most applicants would rather attend) the Yale MBA program than Dartmouth’s, UC-Berkeley’s, or NYU’s. In the U.S., most employers probably would find the latter three more impressive, but in China, Yale is such a household name that a degree from there carries substantially greater weight.
In all, I would conclude with this:
A. It’s more about the individual program, than the country.
B. There is probably a reason why such a huge proportion of applicants (even those outside the US) choose U.S. MBA programs. Even if there isn’t, the added brand-value and recognition (as a result of this deluge of applicants) probably makes for a self-fulfilling prophecy.
You might also consider the joint international MBA Programs (for example, Fudan in Shanghai has a joint program with Sloan).
If you wan’t to talk to someone who can give you more specific guidance on choosing MBA programs choosing MBA Programs, just shoot us an email at [email protected].