Its been a long time since i started looking out for my target b-schools. It started with Melbourne Business School and moved to I.E Spain then to IMD and halted for sometime at Wharton. The search is not complete yet but i have figured out how to find the school of my choice. When i started, all that i did was to go through some b-school rankings and then select the school whose name sounded cool (Like Yale Management School, don't know what was so cool about it. I think it was the effect of reading John Grisham Novels) ! (I know i was one jock when i started my MBA prep, on second thoughts i still might be one).
Initially, i wanted to attend a b-school which would not cost me a fortune (e.g: NUS singapore) then i wanted to attend a school in South Africa (South Africa has a good climate). I just wanted to do an MBA (for the heck of it, almost all my classmates are MBAs now, how can i stay behind). But, soon i got out of that rat race, i asked myself whether i really wanted to do an MBA? And once i got the answer in affirmative with some solid reasons (will share my reasons in another post) i was determined to find some good schools where i would fit in.
I approached my b-school search process with following factors in mind:
1. Fit ---> Now thats most important for me. I have to spend 2 years of my life in the school and I would not like to go to a school which promotes cut throat competition among students. I won't prefer a school where all students want to do is care for grades. I would like to go to a school which promotes team work and a culture where one learns a lot from his/her peers. In short i would prefer colleges which have a grade non disclosure policy ( I hope this policy helps in fostering a culture where people actually learn and don' run after grades.).
2. Reach ---> I dont want to waste my time, money and effort on schools which are outside my reach. When i think of it Harvard, Stanford and LBS come to my mind. (i think i need to learn to think big)
3. Typical career Paths followed by the grads ---> Need to get in touch with some of the alums
4. Learning Model --> for me this is the 2nd important thing after Fit. What good an MBA degree will be if i dont learn anything. The school that i would opt for should have a right mix of case, experiential and theoretical learning. (Cornell's model comes pretty close to my ideal learning model)
5. Brand value ---> Brand matters! atleast for me it does. It will be the last degree that i would pursue and the brand of my alma mater would be stamped on me for the rest of my life. Gucci commands respect and premium price in all the corners of the world.
6. Faculty in courses of my choice ---> whether school can give me world class faculty in the courses that i think will be instrumental in shaping my post MBA career. Columbia is famous for its Finance Faculty and other courses take a back seat. I have a preference for strategy so i would put a cross in front of Columbia.
Right now i have following schools in my mind and i need to research these schools at a deeper level before i further trim the list to final 4:
2. Wharton ---> dream school
6. EMORY ---> safe school
7. Kelley --> safe school
8. Chicago Booth
9. Darden (though its heavily tilted towards case method)
I will reasearch each of the above mentioned school in great detail and will post the information as and when i get it.