Deciding Which Schools Get Your Application Fees

School selection is a complicated thing.

Personally, I’m not a big fan of long efforts, and I would never have been able to apply for more than one round. People who apply to more than 6 schools over three rounds impress me because of their resilience.

Since I had very little time, I had to make my shortlist as short as possible. Overall, I applied to no more than 3 b-schools.

My business school selection method

For my research I gathered various criteria into 4 groups that could be laid on a quadrant: During Studies vs. Post-Studies and Generic vs. Specific.

Generic:

·         Return on investment and financing considerations
During studies: tuition fees, financing options, cost of living
 Post-studies: post-MBA salary and salary down the line.
Info to be found on
Business Week and the Financial Times.

·         Student life considerations
During studies: on or off campus, sport/entertainment facilities, clubs, teaching methods.
Info on b-school’s MBA websites or through campus visits.

Specific:

·         Education prestige
During studies: professors, relationships with companies, MBA rankings Post-studies: B-school rankings.
Info on b-school’s MBA websites, various places on internet, and also on Business Week including:
the best of U.S. b-schools, the best international b-schools, national graduate speciality program rankings  and  international graduate speciality program rankings; on the Financial Times and the FT’s top ten schools in selected categories; and on the Wall Street Journal.
Info on b-school rankings on
US News and the Financial Times.

·         Network
During studies: admitted student profiles
Post-studies: b-school alumni network
Info on the net and through discussions with alumni

Criteria can be evaluated according to one’s professional objectives or personal constraints to create “fit”:

·         Geographical fit

·         Industry fit

·         Function fit

In my case, I had the following:

  • Geographic fit: Post-MBA work in Asia (China).
  • Industry fit: Post-MBA work at a French luxury company.
  • Function fit: Post-MBA work in Internet Marketing.

And I had the following constraints:

  • Study in Europe - for family reasons.
  • Internship - to validate a potential career switch.

In the end, the business school that seemed to best fit into my objectives was HEC Paris, especially with its double degree programme with Tsinghua in Beijing or CUHK in Hong Kong.

Paméla Chin Foo is in the first year of the MBA at HEC
Paris. Her blog was originally published on May 24th 2009.

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