With such an array of MBA colleges available to choose from, it must be overwhelming for anybody to choose an MBA college. What are the things that one should look for while choosing an MBA college? Let us look at the factors that must be considered:

1. Why do you want to do an MBA: MBA has by now become the default option for most people. Boys and girls choose to do their graduation in science or commerce stream and then keep wondering what to do. So then it is an MBA. I know girls who enrolled for their MBA to avoid getting married – rather a tool to postpone marriage by two years. These are really negative factors.

You should think positively -even assuming that you are in a job do you want the MBA degree to help you change your career? I know a friend who did his MBA(finance) to break out of a Chemical Engineer’s job. He made a great success of his degree. So first of all be clear why you want to do your MBA.

2. MBA lets you decide where you want to work: The world is your stage! If you want to be in high finance, the world beckons – New York, London, Hongkong, Singapore, Dubai – if you want an international career it makes sense to get a MBA with international recognition. If you want to work in an Indian bank, the MBA degree may not be so useful, you would do well doing the banking exams. So use the MBA degree to choose where you want to work.

3. Be clear in what you want: the MBA degree surely makes you far more focused. Do you want to do MBA(finance) to be in corporate finance, brokerage, investment banking, – only when you get that focus can you choose your college. Some colleges are good at certain subjects – so you choose whether you want to go to Wharton, Stanford or Harvard. For the less endowed students, focus helps in choosing the college inside India based on the field that they want to specialize. All MBA schools anyway improve your networks so interacting with the seniors and the professors also helps in making the choice – EVEN after you have joined.

4. Do you want to do it full-time or part time? Depending on your time availability and money availability you need to make this choice of whether you want to do your MBA as a full time 2 year course, a full time 1 year course, or as a part time weekend course. At least in the Indian context it is the full time 2 year course that gets full respect. However recently ISB Hyderabad is perhaps the first institute that has ONLY a full time one year course. Taking a cue the IIMs have also started a 1 year executive MBA which is pretty popular. Some of the IIMs have a part time distance education also – where the weekends are spent in a local classroom equipped with audio visual equipment to do a virtual classroom. Make your choice accordingly.

5. Local or International: If you belong to a big Indian business family that wants to take its business global, you should aim for a Harvard or a Stanford. A class in Harvard has about 90 students (batch) and they could be from about 70 countries!! How better to improve your contact list? Attend networking dinners and lunches, stay in their discounted hotels – and suddenly you could be doing business all over the world. The alumni association could be a boon!

However if you have more local ambitions do it from India – from a cost point of view ISB Hyderabad is as expensive as doing it from say a small university in the USA, but then stay costs, etc. are lesser than the US.

6. What is the Return on Investment: ROI on education is almost infinite. On a good training day I get a 500% RoI on one day – recovering the money spent by my dad on my education in about 2 hours of training!! This is of course because of inflation, but ROI is very important especially while considering a Stanford or a Wharton for your education. More importantly will you be able to afford the fees? What about US $ 500,000? Does your father have a net worth of say 5 Million US $ for him to be able to afford this? Or will you fund it with a bank loan? Is this money well spent? What if you were to invest a part of it in a nice blue chip fund and find that it has doubled in 2 years time? You need to consider all this before you take the plunge on costs. Costs include tuition for the preparatory classes, admission forms, application fees, travel, – do not underestimate the cost of living in the US.

7. If you have a GMAT score in excess of 790 and have a fantastic academic record, nice hobbies with notable achievements, singing and dancing talent, sports skills, and an ability to fund yourself, you are in heaven!! You can now choose which college to go to..so now have a look at the rankings. Have a look at the international and the local domestic rankings and take a decision based on the rankings and suitability. One of the kids recently choose Harvard over Yale – because Yale’s scholarship included a compulsory one year teaching stint – and she did not want to teach. So make your choice accordingly.


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  1. lakshminarasimman

    good time you posted this

    my brother-in-law wants to go to 1 yr mba in iim . he was university rank holder in college and got good gmat score and has good chance getting selected.

    our problem is he is 36 has 2 children and he has to resign present job study for 1 yr and then get selected in campus again. total costs 30 lakhs and his liquid net worth is 15 lakhs only. gold is there but huge family riot will come if we sell it.

    main confusion is to whether put all savings (then there is no cushion when he starts working again) and spend it for the course or take full loan (sbi bank emi comes to 36k pm). he has no other loans he says he wants mba from good institute or he wont do.

    he has to repay the 30 lakhs within 12 yrs after starting working. mainly i am not sure whether after mba he can keep on paying this loan start saving for his retirement children buy house etc.

    family we can take care but strictly money point of view we are not able to come to decision

    what do you suggest sir.

  2. Ah! Nice timing of your article. I am myself considering an MBA degree. Having spent a good chunk on my undergrad and postgrad days pulling the legs of many management students for what I thought was their attention restricted mostly to cosmetics and lacking depth…more tuned to “beautiful presentations” and language than content! The tables might be turning!

    I was a little surprised to learn the average age of some of the MBA classes are in high 30’s!

  3. Online or distance may be a good option for getting an MBA – once you know what you want to after getting the degree – for folks who don’t want to give up a full time job. It has to be supported by your family though, since there will be no time left for them or for weekends with friends, movies etc.

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