This is the fifth of the six-part "MBA Insider" series. This series gives inside advice on what you need to know about getting an MBA. "MBA Insider" is sponsored by Chicago Booth.
There are a lot of criteria to consider when choosing an MBA program.
Aside from doing thorough research on specialized programs and financial assistance, you should also carefully consider the networking opportunities that a program can offer you, said Roderick Lewis, international relations director, ISCTE Business School, University Institute of Lisbon.
Lewis, author of the book "The Corporate Recruitment Game," told us that "the strength of the alumni network and how far-reaching it is" can be extremely important today because business schools have become more of "a global brand."
This means that the hub of the business world isn't just centered on certain areas. It's more diverse, and applicants can find a niche for themselves all over the world. Hence, it is even more important now than ever before to network.
To have the best chance at success in an MBA program and beyond, you need to consider the scope of the alumni network of any school you're considering. Where do the graduates work? Are they in industries around the world? What sectors do their graduates go into?
"It's all a big game and the people who understand this are the ones who do well," said Lewis.
You need to figure out what it is that you're trying to accomplish by getting your MBA. If you really want to work in China, find a school with a network that has ties to the China market.
"While you're getting your MBA, you have access to the alumni network, and you're able to be a part of it and stay true to your long- and short-term vision," Lewis told us.
He said one of the biggest mistakes that students make is expecting the schools to find jobs for them after graduation. Instead, they need to take it into their own hands to prepare themselves and become more "integrated into the program."
The schools you're considering will have their alumni networks listed, so do some research on these people and think about whether they'd be beneficial for you to know.
You should also take in account the people who will be in the classroom with you.
If you want to learn more about entrepreneurship or management, don't choose a program where the majority of the students have just graduated with their bachelor's degree. Instead, find a program where you can hear the first-hand stories and lessons from your peers.
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