Before anything i write today... One note of sarcastic condolence to the Australian Cricket team, which shamefully made an exit from the T20 world cup... now that that's done...
Yesterday after i spoke to Deepak, one of my bestest friends on my quest for MBA blog entries, he suggested that i should also give a prelude to how the whole quest started. I agree, this is the main part in how to determine which schools i concluded in applying to and what my research was.
When i started thinking about my MBA, i had to categorise my search in the following manner:
1. My Aims v/s Schools strengths.
2. Job prospects.
3. Cost of MBA.
4. Return on Investment.
5. Legacy for future. (personal whim)
The first and the most important point was to understand what was it exactly that i was looking for in my MBA program. What are the areas that i needed to focus on? What were my weaknesses i needed to improve on? What were my strengths i need to build upon? So i categorised the schools i needed...the list i came down with finally looked something like this...
1. London Business School
2. Judge Business School
4. HEC- Paris
5. Cranfield SOM
7. IE business school
8. RSM Erasmus
9. Imperial College
10. Said Business School.
Now the choice was made on my requirement of not wanting a 2 year MBA, with focus on international business, entrepreneurship, strategic management and marketing. Note that there are some colleges in the list which are exceptional in the terms i set, but were more focus on finance than others, Like INSEAD and HEC, i still gave it a try and got a reject.
LBS was a very strong entrepreneurship course, but i felt i was falling short on the international exposure part, hence i eliminated from my list. IE, IESE and RSM were sort of my second attempt schools, if i had to re asses my application, if i failed in my first 5 attempts. Thankfully, i didn't have to.
Now the thing to be noticed is, that with my kind of background - Project Management, Oil & Gas - i would have been better suited for the North American Programs, but i did not want to go for a 2 year course and bet myself to get thru the recession even in a short span from the top schools in Europe.
Next i needed to know how much am i going to invest in this program. Amongst the colleges i selected, JBS, SBS INSEAD, Cranfield, Imperial and HEC looked in a reasonable range for me to burn holes in my pocket. And fortunately with JBS they had a tie-up with a local bank. Mind you this was a later thought, and the loan was not a criteria, as i was ready to take up my imperial admit without any such loan tie-ups. Indian banks will provide loans and the rest you gotta manage. But you have to pre-decide what your limits are.
Scholarships - This was another important criteria that i missed out scouting for. I understood the importance of scholarships once i got the admits. My sincere advise to all applying to these top tier schools is research more on the scholarships than anything else, because many do not ask for a confirm admit while applying for a scholarship and the deadlines are very early, normally December end.
Now the Job prospects and return on investment are the next most important criteria... My suggestion is do not rely on the MBA brochures 100%... they are sugar coated and are marketing brochures than information brochures... Suggest you research the web, go thru all MBA forums available online, look at facebook and orkut communities for discussion threads on alumni communities... Find people who are willing to talk to you on the tele and call them up with your list of queries... list your queries and then call... don't waste their time... its very important... alumni names you cantacted may be asked during interviews... its always better to have some names to back up... shows you are serious in the school... and if they contact the alumni... ensure your impressions on them is good...
OKAY... i digress... point i want to make is.. do your research on ROI and value for money... you don't want to end up impressing ad comms on your finance capability whereas you are very nascent and your go for the school extremely strong in finance and then when recruiters look at your last profile they decide you are inexperienced in finance and then you have to settle for something you didn't want... get to know the strengths of the school to then understand what your ROI will be considering what kind of jobs are normally offered in your preferred schools...
Last but not the least - Legacy of the school - the name matters in an MBA. It is a very clear thing that in the future when you talk to a person from high brass management, when you tell you are an MBA, you will be asked from where? and that's what matters... trust me...
I hope this info has helped you guys in some way... following were the reference material i used...
1. http://www.ft.com/ - rankings
2. http://www.pagalguy.com/ - MBA forums
http://www.pagalguy.com/forum/international-indian-mba-schools-accepting/34602-oxford-said-cambridge-judge-mba-54.html (you can follow this thread where i update regularly... lots of info on JBS and SBS admissions on this thread)
4. http://www.usnews.com/ - rankings
5. http://www.google.com/ - heheheh this helps everywhere...
Keep dreaming... with your eyes wide open...