There are now dozens of business schools offering an eMBA degree, which one should you choose? Just like with your undergraduate degree, you’re looking for a good match between the program goals and your own. There are some great schools out there, all competing for your degree dollars, and the top schools all offer valuable experience, education, insight, networks, and career enhancement. Here’s how to narrow down the schools to find the best fit for you and your career:
- Pinpoint your WHY. Why are you interested in an eMBA in the first place? Is it about enhancing your brand and your resume? Is it about learning the advanced skills your undergraduate degree didn’t cover? Is it about plugging into a network of driven, successful executives just like you? These are the three major goals I hear about from my clients again and again. Once you have identified your own biggest WHY, you have identified your primary goal for your future eMBa program.
- Use the WHY to narrow down possibilities.
Branding and Resume. Enhancing your reputation means you value the name-brand universities, seeking an in-depth education on management skills means you’ll want to investigate the curriculums, and seeking networking opportunities suggests that you need to look at the movers and shakers in your industry whom you admire to see where they attended. There are a number of ranking organizations, and it’s worth looking at several of them to see what criteria they use for ranking. Find one that identifies the same key areas that interest you, then consider the top schools on that list. A little homework can assure that you get both the brand name you desire and the education that will support your newly elevated resume.
Honing skills. If your primary goal is to enhance your education and advance your skills, you’ll want to look at the curriculum and areas of concentration, not just at the business school ranking. You can ask for a list of the most recent class from the eMBA program, and while you won’t get names, you should be able to get a list of the industries or employers the students are coming from. That can give you a good idea of whether your industry is well-represented.
Networks. Consider the network offered by each business school. Do they serve many students from your industry or sector? Is there buzz about an eMBA program where you already network? Do you know some graduates? These are all signs that a particular school would expand your network in the area you’re already connected. Be thoughtful, and consider your future plans. If you are in IT, but plan to shift your career toward digital entertainment, aim for a business school that serves your future industry of choice. Take the long view when looking to expand your network.
- Practical matters. Once you’ve narrowed down your list of possible programs, you can compare apples to apples. What is the format? How long is the program? Is it all classrooms, all online, or a mix of the two? How much travel is involved? And of course, don’t forget the cost.
These three keys should help you begin to find schools and eMBA programs which are the best fit for your goals, your lifestyle, and your wallet.