In my last post I dicussed my take on 1 year program v/s 2 years program. Today, I want to discuss on the criterion I feel must be considered while shortlisting schools.
Shortlisting schools is the toughest and most crucial step of MBA application process. The other day I had a long discussion with one of my friend about the criterion which hold priority for us (Indian IT guys - an overrepresented group). We decided on something and your comments to clarify our thoughts are most welcome.
1. Intake % of Indian engineers: I believe this is very important as a few schools such as MIT, Tepper give a little more preference to engineers than others schools do. If a school's intake of an IT is low as compared to other functions, then even if qualified, it might become very competitive for an Indian IT guy. And, qualified and competitive are two different things, as you know. If you don't please let me know.
2. Teaching methodology: This is one of the important criterion for me. I might not apply to a school which follows a strict case study method (I'm not used to it) such as Harvard or Darden, or I might not apply to a school where I have to sit 50% of time inside a class listening to a lecture (I'm overused of it). I seek a balance of all with an emphasis on projects and hands on learning as at Ross.
3. Recruitment: Howsoever good is the college, International applicants always face stiff competition is getting great jobs, and more if there is a career transition. So, it becomes necessary to know how many international students got placed relatively.
4. Culture (competitive or collaborative): After researching through many schools, even they are framed as competitive, at the end I found them collaborative. For example Harvard which is known for its competitive environment, but ask a Harvard alumni to know Harvard also is collaborative. So what I feel is, and please shed more light on this, the schools which has more of case study, where each student is individual in a class of 90 and is arguing for his/her points with other 89, will automatically become competitive. But outside the class, they might be collaborative. One other hand, team based projects and assignments will make students more collaborative all the time.
5. Clubs/extra-curricular: How active are the your career clubs and your interests clubs?
6. Curriculum and Specialization: Some has rigid curriculum and some has flexible. Some are type casted for a particular specialization such as Chicago for Finance and some are famous for general management such as Ross. But somehow I feel, this criteria has lower priority for me than the above five. Every top school could give what I want in terms of subjects/courses I want to study.
There are many other criterion such as location, climate et all. No doubt these are important criterion as well, but I want to keep them tertiary.
Disclaimer: These are my personal views gained after my research and discussions with alums, students, and friends. Please feel free to correct me anywhere. It would help us both :-)