Deciding where to apply for business school should be a decision not taken too lightly. These are the factors you should consider before throwing all your time and money at an application.
Look at the location: Where do you want to study – in your home country or abroad? Do you want to learn another language, get cultural and business knowledge in a different region or do you need/want to stay near your home/with your family and near your company (if you choose to continue working). If you want international experience, but need to stay close to home, consider a programme that offers an international stint with a partnering school for example.
Decide on the type of programme: Apart from two-year, one-year models and Executive MBA programmes, you can study an MBA also part-time and online, particularly if you need to limit the cost and continue your job. Also take into consideration that your preferred industry might be interested in someone with a specialised programme more than someone with a standard MBA degree.
Cost of an MBA: Harvard and Stanford might seem all desirable to you, but these high-profile schools also come with a certain price tag. Apart from the school fees you need to consider living costs and potentially the loss of an income during the studies and this alone might limit your choice in business schools.
Rankings and accreditation: Do look at rankings from the Financial Times, The Economist and the Businessweek, but make sure they are not your only deciding factor. In regards to accreditation: a good school should have at least one of the accreditations from EQUIS, AACSB or AMBA.
Preferences of your preferred employers: Where do your preferred employers usually hire from? Do they want you to have foreign experience or a specialised programme?
Alumni networks: Check out how big the alumni network of your school is and where they have ended up. If possible try to get in contact with alumni of your preferred business school. LinkedIn is great for that for example.
Last but not least: if you have narrowed it down to hopefully a handful of options, consider visiting not only the website of the business school, but also the real campus. Talk to current students and someone from the faculty to get the feeling if the school is the right one for you to put all the effort in that goes into an application.