The MBA is a post graduate degree that will provide you with relevant knowledge in finance, strategy, leadership and other management disciplines. It is (or was??) one of the most prestigeous degrees and has a highly practical character and much of the study will be based on case studies. Is the MBA a good choice for you or what are the alternatives? Ask yourself the questions:
- Why do I consider a MBA in the first place? Changing job or industry, upgrade my profile?
- What is my your former educational background?
- What seniority do I have?
If you already have a master degree, a good alternative can be to take further education from Harvard, ESSEC, Oxford etc. They offer 1 week residential programs in marketing, strategy, finance or leadership that are good for you if you have first work experience but also 4-6 week modules in senior leadership. These programs are sometimes called a “mini MBA” and tailored for you if you are on C-level and have 20 years work experience.
If you decide for a MBA, there are three must criteria you should base your selection on:
- Is the program validated and accredited by either AASCB, FIBAA or an international accredited university (Bologna treaty)? Do not trust most of the local “accreditation bodies” as these are often operated by title mills. If you take your MBA here, the quality of your studies is doubtful and you will not be allowed to put the title on your resume or business card
- Where do the professors come from? Give a preference to the big names
- Which material will the studies be based on? In Marketing, Kotler is a good reference. In Strategy, you should read Porter and Drucker. Some schools only work based on their own books and the quality may be good – or not. The same goes for case studies. These should come from Harvard or Wharton. I worked on good and bad case studies and the bad ones really hurt…
Bear in mind that a MBA will bind you for 1-3 years and will cost a lot of money. However, the MBA is and remains a very competitive and prestigious education. Ideally, you have held a first management and/ or leadership role when starting the studies and minimum 5 years work experience. Further education can be a very good alternative and within few weeks and for the price of a third class MBA but in much less time, you can get first class education at one of the world’s top universities