Monday, June 13, 2011

Part I: What I'm looking for in a School

 Sometimes I think looking for the 'right' school, similar to posting a personal ad:
Top MBA program with robust academics, pretty campus and cool people.  Low tuition/High # of scholarships distributed desired.
If only it was that easy.  Basically I’m looking for a few things that will make a school from good to great (in my head)

  • Ranking/Recognition – This does NOT mean I need to go to a #1 school; I’m more concerned with what a school is known for.  Are they known for developing quant jocks? Do most people end up in supply chain?  I want to know where most graduates end up and how well they are known in the few fields I’m interested in (as a reminder…I’m looking at social enterprise, consulting and marketing)
  • Location – I’ve had a slightly nomadic lifestyle in the past 3-4 years so I’m starting to get a little particular about where I reside.  I prefer an urban environment that isn’t too far from home (Michigan),  so I can:  #1 travel home cheaply and #2 volunteer in a urban environment.  On that note, I’m not 100% opposed to schools in more remote environments, but its not necess what I prefer.
  • Culture – This is a hard one to put in words.  But I rely on student conversations/school visits to bring this one home.  As I speak with students/alums I think: #1 Could I be friends with this person? #2 Is this person similar to the last person I spoke to? #3 Can I fit in?  Also, I look at a few statistics of the makeup of the student body and see how I could mesh/not mesh into that.
  • Academics – Most schools are on par with each other it seems.  I desire a wide curriculum and also I prefer schools with a Social Enterprise course track or something similar to it.
  • GMAT/GPA – Although I’ve already preached about “How im not a number”….If I’m well below…or well above the ranges…I’ll just say, it plays a factor :-)

What else do you look for in a school?  Any tips?


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