You have decided to conquer the global job market. You understand that it is vast and diverse and that the best way to prepare yourself for the challenge is to complete a Master in International Management.
Now you simply have to choose a school to study at. With all the choice out there, this might actually be easier said than done. And making the right decision has never been more important.
Having picked business management as your major you will automatically find yourself in an incredibly strong position with a world of possibilities opening up to you once you have completed your university degree. Because the subject is so popular you will however be faced with the task of having to distinguish yourself from the crowd. And there is no better place to begin accomplishing that than with your choice of university or business school.
How do the different schools stack up and how do you decide which school is the perfect fit?
- Begin with the End in Mind
There is no universal ‘Business’ test that students have to pass at the end of a business school qualification. This means that the buck stops with you and you have to pick the school that teaches the most appropriate degree for what you hope to achieve.
Some schools differentiate themselves by specializing in a particular sector. Columbia and Wharton specialise in finance and Kellogg and Booth focus more on marketing, for instance.
This will impact not only what you learn but also indicate the interests of the other students and the jobs that might be available to you after graduation. A school’s strongest network is its local one. If you want to work in San Francisco, then Berkeley’s Haas is a great choice as it places almost two-thirds of its graduating class in the Bay area. Haas would be a bad choice if you plan to work and live in New York because then you will have spent two years meeting people and building relationships at the wrong end of the country.
How do you get a feel for a business school’s real focus? Spend some time on their website to gauge the industries the students come from and the jobs they tend to move on to when they leave.
Talk to recent graduates about their experience and get specific with your questions about how your focus area is treated in the school.
(If you have no specific focus a strong general management programme will give you a firm grounding.)
You also want to think about your learning style, your approach to learning and how hands on you need a programme to be. Harvard prefers super-traditional case methods and MIT Sloan allow students to take a ton of electives.
Sit in on classes and experience the teaching methods first-hand.
- Get the Edge
The days of traditional, theory-based curriculums are over. Finding programmes with practical elements such as live business challenges, simulations and projects with employers will give you the edge in today’s market. You want to be, not only book ready, but career ready when you walk through the door.
- Go Global
There is no more room for thinking that is strictly limited to a local or national scale in business. Programmes that offer the option to rotate to different parts of the world will not only widen your horizons and prepare you to face the global market but will also make you eminently more employable. The relevancy of your business degree will instantly increase if you have taken up the option of studying in Shanghai or Dubai for instance.
- Those who Can, Do
It is difficult to overstate the pros of learning from an expert in the field. Not only will you be exposed to much more than academic expertise, but you will also gain instant access to an entire community and network that would conceivably be entirely inaccessible under other circumstances.
- A Diverse Campus
An international university experience is dependent on a diverse campus. The greater the number of nationalities in your student body and the international diversity of the teaching faculty, the better you chance at learning about different cultures and widening your ideas and insights. A diverse campus will also assist in growing your international connections. This will all ultimately enhance your employability.
A school with multiple campuses and opportunities to study and internships overseas will give you international exposure. Schools that are part of an association or partnership have different partner schools and accreditations, together with a more international experience and offer Mim’s at any of their partner schools as well as a degree at their home university.
- One year or Two
How much time can you realistically devote to your studies? In Europe it is typical to offer a two-year programme, but some colleges prefer the compact one-year approach. The fast and intense learning experience is a close approximation of the real business environment which is designed to assist students in the transition between school and work.
- A Flexible Degree
Find out when and where you have to make decisions about where your focus will stay. How many general classes can you take before you have to commit to a specific area. Then there are the electives; can you take additional certificates and diplomas alongside the main curriculum; preferably in cutting edge technologies?
- Will they Know Your Name?
A guarantee of faculty and staff support can be gauged by the number of students per lecture, overall student body size and if you will be known by your name. What will your recourse be if anything goes wrong?
- Can you start before you finish?
If you have a fabulous start-up idea, would you be able to get your plan off the ground with the support of your school? Will they be there with tools and mentorship and other platforms to help you along the way?
- The Proof is in the Other Student’s Puddings
Great indicators include testimonials, job placement statistics, and taking note of some of the top hiring companies. Something else to look at is the resources that the school makes available to alumni. Maintaining your network and the offer of alumni-exclusive classes will also increase the value of your degree. When you know which markets you would like to work in once you graduate you will do well to choose a school in a city that can add to your networking opportunities. Business is often about who you know as much as it is about what you know. How much access will your school have to the dream companies, businesses, alumni and personalities you can learn from?
- Last but not least
Educational quality and rigor can be important. Ensure that the type of accreditation that your degree receives is accepted in your home country. For example, whilst the AACSB
(Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) accreditation for business is considered one of the highest business degree accreditations in the US and Equis (European Quality Improvement System) the international accreditation arm of the European Foundation for Management Development is the similar ranking across the Atlantic, the accreditations are not automatic, and they do not come with every programme.
High rankings might also matter more for recent graduates, as anyone with lots of work experience will be able to balance out their resume ranking shortcoming with their practical knowledge. Click through US News & World Report , The Financial Times , and Bloomberg BusinessWeek for the main rankings.
PS: About that PhD
If you are considering a PhD you should also investigate teaching methods, the professors’ publication records as well as how good your opportunities will be for engaging in joint research with the school’s professors.
Here you have the 11 points you should analyse before starting a master to conquer the global market.
We do think IPBS MIM meets all these criteria, and you?