This time of year, many of my clients are in the fortunate position of deciding between MBA programs. When you have been admitted to several good fit programs, it can be difficult to weigh the pros and cons. Pre-covid, I wrote about factors to consider. In addition to this advice, here are some factors that my clients are considering now.

  • Job Placement

Business school is (obviously) a huge investment. Push beyond the placement rates, and ask questions about HOW students find jobs, and about exactly where they are going. Does the career office work individually with you? Are alums interested in hiring students? If you have unusual career goals, or are switching industries, how will the career office support you?

  • Housing

Where do students live, and will the school help you find housing? Are there university owned student housing options? In addition to the cost, consider what type of community exists. It’s much easier to get to know your classmates if you are all living in the same area.

  • Finances

This is an obvious factor to consider. In addition to tuition and cost of living, there is an opportunity cost to stepping out of the workforce for two years. Which school is most likely, from what you can tell, to transform your career trajectory?

  • Scholarships

Were you offered substantial scholarship aid at your second or third choice school, but not at your first choice? It’s worth a try to negotiate. I have had great luck helping my clients successfully obtain matching (or near-matching) offers. It’s important to approach these conversations thoughtfully, so be sure that you have an appropriate strategy.

  • Network

Much of the value in business school comes from the relationships that you form. Can you see yourself connecting well with your fellow students? Will you get to know the faculty and staff? Also, very importantly, do alums stay engaged with the school?

  • Gut Feeling

When you envision saying yes (or no!) to each school, how do you feel? Can you see yourself matriculating in the fall? Which school are you most excited, on a personal level, to attend? Did you feel comfortable at the admitted student event? (Which you should definitely attend, by the way.)

Although it’s stressful in the moment, deciding between MBA programs is a good problem to have. Leverage all of the research that led you to apply to these business schools, and rest assured that you will make a great choice.


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Karen Marks

Karen has more than 12 years of experience evaluating candidates for admission to Dartmouth College and to the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Since founding North Star Admissions Consulting in 2012, she has helped applicants gain admission to the nation’s top schools, including Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Wharton, MIT, Tuck, Columbia, Kellogg, Booth, Haas, Duke, Johnson, Ross, NYU, UNC, UCLA, Georgetown and more. Clients have been awarded more than $70 million dollars in scholarships, and more than 98% have gotten into one of their top choice schools.
North Star Admissions Consulting