Getting into more than one business school is never a bad thing, but it does leave you
with a tough decision. Unless you’ve had your sights set on a particular MBA program, you’re likely to find yourself torn when choosing between your business school offers, wondering how this monumental choice will affect your future. Here are a few tips to help you evaluate which of your offers to accept.
Consider the Little Things
You’ve probably already done the obvious and weighed the schools’ rankings against one another, but just because a particular MBA program is considered the “best” by some, does not mean it is best for you. There is more to your MBA experience than numbers alone.
For instance, the geographical location of the program can play an important role in your business school career. If you favor a small-town environment, a school in a big city might prove overwhelming or anxiety inducing. If you’re more of an urban person, on the other hand, you might find yourself growing restless in a slower-paced atmosphere. On a similar note, you’ll want to take into account the size of the student body and ask yourself whether you’re more likely to thrive in a large or small student population.
Equally important is to weigh where the employers are and the potential benefits of attending a school in their own backyard.
Your decision will be all the more difficult if you’re comparing schools that you’ve only met on paper. You can research rankings and alumni salaries to your heart’s content, but sometimes, the decision boils down to a gut feeling. If you haven’t already, take a trip to each school that you’re considering to give yourself a closer look. Where did you feel most comfortable? Which atmosphere struck you as more conducive to your success? Whose students did you feel more drawn to?
In addition to seeing the school in person, you should also try to contact alumni – especially those with positions in your target industry – to learn about their experiences during and after the program and assess how open they are to forming connections with you. Business school offers you only half of what you need to succeed; the other half comes from the networks you build while you’re there.
Do the Math
And then, of course, there are those good, old quantifiable data points, though there are several factors to consider beyond the schools’ rankings. Is there a significant difference in tuition costs? Are one program’s students more likely to find successful careers in your desired industry? What percentage of your dream company’s employees studied at each school?
Remember, if you’re stuck in this particular predicament, it means you’ve impressed quite a few people who are notoriously difficult to impress. You applied to each of these programs because you considered them suited to your goals. Pat yourself on the back, take a deep breath and know that you have the potential to succeed in whichever school you select. It’s all in the details now.