Choosing an MBA
The best place to start in choosing an MBA is the Association of MBAs (AMBA). AMBA accredit over 150 UK and global MBA programmes and set high standards related to student mix (i.e. a good balance of UK, European and International students) good staff student ratios, high entry requirements (students need to have a good first degree but significant experience too), flexibility and access to top academic staff. Other global Business School accreditation bodies are AACSB (based in the USA) and EQUIS (based in Europe).
Fees for many MBAs are expensive (£18,000 plus is common for AMBA accredited schools) and you tend to get what you pay for in terms of career progression and salary, student support, knowledge and networks.
- An MBA is far more than just an expensive MSc/MA but is designed to allow existing managers, civil servants, engineers, scientists and education professionals put their experience back into a management theory and context. This means that fellow students can share their experiences while getting to grips with the latest management theory with highly regarded academic staff. MBA courses also involve at least one major project with a real 'client' (25,000 words is common), company visits, exchange programmes and other real life simulations. Most AMBA accredited and respected programmes have an entry requirement of 3–5 years management related experience prior to enrolment.
- Many UK Business Schools have dedicated MBA suites with base rooms, seminar rooms, cafés and breakout areas – to encourage a collegiate atmosphere. Specific MBA facilities and careers advice may also be important to prospective students.
- MBAs are often available (including AMBA accredited ones) as distance learning, part-time as well as traditional full-time 12-month programmes, or as double qualifications allowing students to spend time in more than one place.
In short, prospective MBA students should do their research on course content, flexibility, accreditation and quality control, academic expertise and career support, fees and scholarships (some UK MBAs offer fee discounts for their own graduates or for UK students to help ensure the right global student mix), facilities, career progression and facilities.
Next page: How will studying for an MBA benefit you?