The USA – motherland of the MBA programme – dictates what top MBAs look like.
Discover which crucial aspects determine what a top MBA really is. You will have certainly come across a myriad of online sources that discuss which are the best MBAs in the world, but let’s focus on the most relevant.
US MBAs offer more
According to Find MBA, there are nearly 500 MBA programmes available in Europe for candidates to choose from. The number in the United States is over 700. The business schools in the US are nearly twice as large as those in Europe, with an average intake of 287 full-time MBA students, as compared to 124 students in Europe. Top American schools often have more world-renowned professors but it is true that the larger number of students may inevitably mean less one-on-one time spent with the instructors.
US Business Schools MBAs bring higher value
Students who choose a US top MBA take advantage of some features that can significantly shape both their MBA experience and subsequent career. The two-year US MBAs give students the opportunity to use the summer between the two years to get involved in a real-life, hands-on internship with a global corporation. This is an opportunity to apply all the skills and knowledge they obtained during their MBA studies. These internships often lead to full-time post-graduation employment. Thus, students enrolled in US MBAs could land their dream job while they are still in business school. Furthermore, many American schools have built their curriculum so that students can benefit from a study period abroad. This ensures that students soak up local cultures and get connected to potential employers.
The weight of MBA rankings
A crucial factor that you should take into consideration is how a programme is rated in some of the most prominent global top MBA rankings. According to AIGAC’s MBA Applicant Survey, rankings are the second most popular and trustworthy source used by candidates when researching prospective MBA programmes.
According to the last three rankings released by the Financial Times and those published by the Economist, at least 12 out of the top 20 global MBA programmes are located in the US. These rankings provide extensive data about a wide variety of factors that influence the quality of a particular programme, including but not limited to value for money, career opportunities, international mobility, salary progression, and employment within three months of graduation.
Prestige always counts
If you believe that the quality of a top MBA programme is proportionate to the programme’s prestige, you can’t go wrong with a US B-school. The MBA originates from the USA is and it wasn’t until 50 years later that the first European MBA came to be.
Furthermore, due to the high popularity of the degree, an MBA from an American school is virtually a must today if you want to develop your business career in the US. Additionally, many US schools are world-known brands, which is not the case with equally good European schools, unfortunately.
The role of accreditations
We can’t talk about quality MBA education without discussing accreditations. Accreditations provide an objective and independent evaluation of the quality of a particular MBA programme. The three most popular and influential accreditation bodies in business education globally are AACSB (The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business), AMBA (The Association of MBAs) and EQUIS (European Quality Improvement System).
However, never take accreditations lightly and without putting things into perspective. Don’t be surprised that some international top MBA programmes lack all three major accreditations. This in no way means that such programmes are not top-notch and of high quality. Examples include A-list business institutions such as Harvard Business School, Wharton, Stanford, Columbia Business School, Chicago Booth and many others. So despite the fact that rankings do reflect the overall quality of a programme, don’t exclude a certain school because it lacks all three top accreditations. Instead, familiarise yourself as to why this is the case.
Who belongs in a US MBA?
Traditionally, the US MBAs attract a pool of applicants who are all characterised by high levels of motivation and strive to excel in their MBA class, have a full-blown desire to land C-level management positions or have developed a clear plan about what entrepreneurial venture to establish post-graduation.
The competition for getting into the A-list American business schools is extremely fierce – the average GMAT score of the admitted students in some of the best US MBAs is above 710 and goes all the way up to 729 as of 2014.
But once again, the quality of an MBA programme does not have an absolute value. Candidates should evaluate how good a programme is against their own expectations and the reality is that if you thrive in a highly-competitive environment, an American MBA will be your best choice.
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