How To Choose The Right MBA For You
So you’ve decided you want to study an MBA. Congratulations! It’s going to be a truly transformative learning experience for you. Before you can get started, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is who to study with. There are many factors to consider when choosing a provider, but it ultimately depends on your lifestyle, financial circumstances and career goals. Before you create your shortlist of schools, consider the following major factors to determine what’s important to you, and keep them in mind as you research MBAs.
On-campus vs online
On-campus MBAs can come in several study modes including full-time, part-time, executive and more. Students are required to participate in internal and external activities in addition to a robust academic study load. They interact with peers face to face, collaborating and making connections that can prove beneficial throughout their careers.
On-campus students also have access to lecturers and tutors to learn from and get support from when required. They can benefit from the regiment of an on-campus mode and the discipline it enacts. Part and parcel of this, however, is that attendance and participation are required at predetermined timeslots, often with little flexibility. Students may need to adapt their work schedule to suit their study requirements, often requiring them to reduce to part-time work or take a break from their profession altogether.
On the flip side, the online study mode gives students the flexibility to fit their study in around their work and personal commitments. They can continue to work full-time, building their career while studying. In comparison to its face to face counterpart, the online MBA is still relatively new and continues to evolve as technology advances. Providers who only deliver their programmes online are able to offer the MBA at a more affordable price point, as they don’t have the expenses associated with maintaining campuses.
The onus to collaborate, connect and seek support when needed is on the student, as the study mode does not facilitate in-person networking on a regular basis. Collaboration is encouraged, however, with online study groups, student communities and interactive online classroom environments helping to bridge this gap.
If you elect to study your MBA online, choose a provider that is a specialist in online education delivery. This will ensure that your study experience will be interactive, innovative and in-depth.
Course structure and specialisations
MBAs really do come in all shapes and sizes. Some are one year, others are two or three. Some consist of 12 subjects; others are 16. Timetable structures can vary with semesters, trimesters, single subject blocks and concurrent subjects. Assessments can include assignments, exams, quizzes, online or in-class participation, group work, presentations and more, with the mixture of assessments differing greatly among providers.
So, how can you determine which course structure factors will play an important role in your decision-making process? Consider the time you have available to invest in the course weekly and overall. If flexibility in timetabling is going to make the MBA more achievable for you, ensure the provider you choose allows this.
Further to these factors, many students will embark on the MBA journey with a specific career outcome in mind. If this is to break into a new industry or profession, or to further their career in a particular field, a specialised MBA could be the right choice for them. Specialisations can help to shape the trajectory of a career, so the decision to specialise or not, and what to specialise in, is something that should be considered pre-enrolment.
Read more: Should I Specialise My MBA?
At AIB, specialisation options include Entrepreneurial Management, Finance, Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Human Resource Management and Marketing Management. The specialist subjects account for three of the 12 subjects studied, undertaken following the completion of eight core subjects, and before the concluding final project.
Watch: AIB CEO Paul Wappett on finding your MBA fit
Outcomes and ROI
When embarking on an MBA, the majority of students will do so with a particular goal or set of goals they wish to achieve. Regardless of what they are, the shared expectation is that they’ll gain a return on their investment, making the MBA experience worthwhile for them. While it can be difficult to predict the exact benefits they’ll experience as a result, students should keep their goals in mind when choosing a school to study with. To diligently research a potential provider, look into published reports of a school’s alumni outcomes, search for statistics on student satisfaction, and connect with past and current students to discuss their experiences and outcomes.
AIB’s Alumni Insights Report details the results of the school’s 2018 alumni survey, painting a picture of its past students’ profiles and outcomes. Among AIB graduates in Australia, Canada and New Zealand, 34% reported receiving an income increase of at least 10% or more before they’d even finished the degree, reflecting the strong value the MBA holds to employers.
To predict the financial returns The AIB MBA from AIB could bring you, test out the AIB MBA ROI Calculator.
Although monetary gains are the most measurable of outcomes, there are a number of ways MBA graduates will benefit from the experience throughout their careers. The most common outcomes achieved include a job promotion, career change to a different profession, industry or both, business launch and growth, enhanced job security and future employability, and many more. In addition, they’ll develop a myriad of professional skills and be able to utilise the knowledge gained to advance their careers. From increased self-confidence to the development of a strategic outlook and an up to date leadership skill set, the intangible outcomes of the MBA are just as valuable and can lead to greater career advancement down the track.
The investment required
Finally, you’re going to want to choose an MBA that is within your means. There is little point in choosing the most expensive programme out there if you’ll be paying it off until the day you retire. The best way to approach the cost debate is to find the sweet spot where affordability meets proven career outcomes.
MBAs at public universities are generally more expensive than their private counterparts in Australia, despite all accredited MBAs being acknowledged by the governing body to be of the same high standard. Furthermore, as previously mentioned, on-campus MBA fees will be on the higher side and will often require an absence from the workplace, the financial implications of which should also be considered when choosing a study mode and school. Online MBA students, however, can continue to work full-time and apply their new knowledge instantly, accelerating their learning and career growth, and lessening the financial burden.
Read more: Is An MBA Still Worth The Investment?
Keen to learn more about the AIB MBA?
Click here to get the AIB MBA information pack and chat about your career goals with an AIB Course Advisor.