Executive M.B.A-How to Evaluate Business Schools

The popularity of the management education has led to multiple course offerings from established Business Schools as well as start ups.
It is of utmost importance to carefully gather all the facts and make an assessment before enrolling for the course.

Reputation of great universities and institutions of learning is built over a long period of time, based on multiple factors. Moreover different colleges or universities are known more for some particular course or discipline.

As a general rule a good business school known for its regular M.B.A program can be trusted to run a good executive M.B.A also.

Here are a few guidelines for evaluating the Executive M.B.A programs offered by B-Schools:-

1. Management education being an ‘applied science’ aims at equipping the students with academic knowledge and practical tools for successfully operating in the real business world.
The success of any B-School ultimately depends upon the kind of job placements its students are able to get after completing the course.
You should look at the past few years’ record of the school in this respect and if possible interact with past alumni to get a first hand feedback.

2. Jobs offered to the students through the campus placements route is the correct barometer for evaluation.
B-Schools develop strong relations with corporations over a period of time through project work, consultancy assignments, seminars and management development programs etc.
They also have a regular placement cell managed by experienced academicians or ex-industry professionals who regularly interact with the industry and facilitate the placement process.

3. Job Offers should be evaluated with respect to the brand name of the employer (organization), job-profile, the salary offered and the career growth prospects.

4. The academic course content is of vital importance and should be understood, with the help of an experienced person to check if the school is offering a ‘general management’ program or specialization in some functions like ‘finance’ or ‘Human Relations’.

5. Quality of the teaching faculty members is an important parameter. Good schools get visiting faculty members from the industry and foreign schools, which adds a lot to the academic experience. Moreover references from well known professors can help the students seeking jobs and even going for research.

6. Do not be misled by the glossy full page advertisements in the newspapers, magazines and on the internet.
As a rule good institutes do not believe in brazen self promotion and will give you basic facts on their sites.

7. Find facts about the campus, i.e. does the school have good lecture theaters, library, hostel, mess, recreational facilities or is simply housed in a flat or multi-story building in a congested colony.
You must go for a school with proper facilities.

8. You should check the type of the program, i.e. residential, full-time, part-time non-residential, evening classes etc. to assess its suitability.

9. Now comes the fee charged for the course, reading material, hostel, traveling etc. You need to total everything and make sure that every element of fee is accounted for and the school accepts payments by cheque.

10. Location of the school and its suitability will have a bearing on your decision.

11. The kind of admission tests administered. Good schools rely upon CAT or GMAT scores. While this does give you an indication about the quality of the school, you also have to assess you capabilities to clear the above exam(s).
Many good schools also conduct their own written tests, Group Discussions and interviews.

12. You must interact with some industry professionals who may be known to you to take their views about the short listed schools on your list.

Since you plan to go for a ‘business course’, you are advised to compile a comprehensive list/chart and list all the B-Schools on one axis, with the parameters for evaluation on the other axis and make a plot.
While this may not be perfect, yet this will give you a clear and fair evaluation.

Arun Vedhera

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