Choose a business school? Consider the “Four Cs”

With third-round decisions fast approaching, many contestants may be anxious to decide which B school they ultimately want to attend.

Fortune recently spoke to experts who offered some important considerations that all MBA candidates should think about when making a big decision.


When choosing an MBA program, it can be helpful to consider what experts call the four Cs: career, program, culture and community, and cost.

“Like the admissions process, choosing which business school to attend is uniquely aligned with your career goals,” said Nellie Gaynor, former associate director of admissions at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Fortune.

Likewise, aspects such as culture and community can also help you decide whether a B school is suitable or not.

“Size and location often play a big role in this,” writes Stacy Blackman, founder of Stacy Blackman Consulting. “Larger programs in urban centers, such as Harvard, Wharton and Chicago Booth, generally feel much more competitive and intense. Smaller business schools and those located in rural areas generally foster a close-knit community feeling. Many students here live on campus and regularly socialize with other students and faculty. MBA programs with smaller cohorts pride themselves on their down-to-earth collaborative cultures. »


An MBA is certainly not cheap. In fact, the cost of a two-year full-time MBA is over $200,000 at all of the top 25 B-schools in the United States. And because the cost of an MBA probably won’t be cheaper anytime soon, it’s important to consider finances when making your decision.

If you receive financial aid offers from schools, especially those not in the top 20, experts suggest taking advantage of your aid package and asking another B school to match it.

“If an applicant has an offer in hand from a business school for, say, a $40,000 scholarship, that applicant might turn to another program asking for the same amount, or a ‘match,'” Sydney Lake, of Fortune, writing. “Although the program may not be able to offer the same amount, you could end up receiving at least better financial aid.”


Ultimately, the MBA decision is a personal choice, one that will affect you the most in the end. And while factors like prestige do matter, experts say it’s important to look at the big picture.

“Prestige is just one piece of the bigger puzzle when choosing between business school offerings,” Gaynor said. Fortune. “Students who are motivated, goal-oriented, ambitious and know what they want to accomplish in their business career are more likely to look at the overall package presented to them, including academics, student life, location , ‘fit, ‘ and other important factors.

Most importantly, whatever School B you choose, make sure it’s the right one for you.

“Take a test and make sure the business school you choose is the one your instincts are leading you to as well,” Gaynor said. Fortune. “It’s a personal and introspective process as much as it is logical.”

Sources: Fortune, Stacy Blackman Consulting, P&Q

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