There is little to differentiate between the curriculums of different business schools. Differences can exist in the overall MBA experience, reputation of schools and specializations, and in the methods of instruction. Before choosing schools to apply you would do well to understand these differences.
REPUTATION OF SCHOOLS AND SPECIALIZATIONS
We live in a world of reputations. The reputation of the top schools attracts the talent from which reputed companies recruit their future leaders. If you have it in you to be the best, wish to do path breaking work, and lead organizations and divisions to be industry leaders, an MBA from the top 5 to 10 schools is the place to begin the journey to your highly ambitious goals.
There are many companies who prefer to recruit from the lower ranked schools as well. These companies look for individuals willing to build careers in their companies. Companies are finding it increasingly difficult to retain overly ambitious employees recruited from the top 5 to 10 business schools. Retaining and nurturing talent seem easier to many companies when they recruit from the lower ranked schools.
Don't just go by the rankings, the lower ranked schools could be more suitable for your specific career needs. Look beyond the rankings and study which companies recruit at different business schools and the kind of career tracks past students have taken.
In addition to the overall reputation of the school, their reputation in specific areas of specialization also matters. Kellogg is known for its marketing specialization, Wharton and Columbia for Finance, Harvard and Tuck for general management. The faculty of the school builds this reputation and the number of students choosing a specialization aids it. This brings companies to campus to recruit students with desired specializations. Before applying, identify schools that are famous for the specialization you wish to pursue in your MBA.
OVERALL MBA EXPERIENCE
The MBA curriculum builds knowledge in different areas of business. In addition to the formal curriculum, the collaborative culture of a school will allow you to learn from the diverse backgrounds of other students. Being part of a study group you will learn the values of teamwork. The overall culture of the school and various on campus activities would help build your interpersonal skills.
Student clubs and associations in areas of your interest will offer you networking opportunities, allow you to interact with students having similar interests as yours and keep you in touch with the real business world during two years of study.
Each school is unique in the experience that it offers. Visiting a school can acquaint you with its culture and let you assess if it meets your needs. An ability to fit in the culture of school is also judged by the admissions committee while reading your application. Get an idea of the skills and attributes that are looked at favorably by the school. Kellogg for instance recruits applicants with proven team skills and those who wish to be involved. If this is the kind of environment you excel in, Kellogg should be a school to apply. Chicago takes pride on the intellectual capacities of its students. If you wish to be in the company of intellects while completing your MBA, Chicago should be in your list of schools to apply.
Schools can also differ in several other ways. Harvard follows the case method of instruction, whereas Kellogg offers a mix of case studies and lectures. International students can avail study loans without the US based cosigner requirement at the top 10 business schools whereas this facility may not be available at the lower ranked schools. One-year MBA programs are offered by schools like Kellogg and Goizueta.
MATCHING YOUR PROFILE TO SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS
In addition to selecting schools that meet your requirements you must finally choose those where you stand a good chance of admission, given your unique profile. The EssayCom Business School Selection Tool will shortlist a set of schools based on the important admission criteria like your academic performance, GMAT scores, and quality of work experience.