The obvious first step is to look at your experience, GPA, GMAT and misc factors to understand what is a
(a) stretch school – dream school but chances are low
(b) reach school – chances are high but not in top 10/20
(c) safe school – it is the school where you will get a sure shot admit but is not high on the rankings etc (I am against this concept personally as I feel you rather not do an MBA than do it at a place you will never be proud of).
Over and above these “hygiene” factors you should consider the following 4:
Some areas are better than other PURELY based on personal preference. India (obviously), Australia, Singapore, UK and US are the top 5 destinations. Then you have Countries in continental Europe, Philippines (Manila) also can be considered. Various factors here – post-MBA job prospects, ability to get VISA, English-speaking etc etc
Various factors (a) current experience (b) social responsibilities (read marital status/kids) (c) post-MBA career options are the top 3 to make/break the decision.
Though I have said this before let me reiterate that Brand Name >> Specialization. So you will have more Management Consultants coming out of Harvard than say Darden. Or more finance guys from Wharton than say Stern. Or more entrepreneurs from Stanford than from Thunderbird. Thats’ the way it works. However if you are looking at marketing then you have Kellogs, for finance there is Colombia etc. So keep this in mind (what the school “’specializes” in) before going ahead.
4. Minor points:
Case-study might be more appealing to some, background of students admitted and their career progression as shown by say linkedin, a friend who is an alum might influence your decision, location – small city v/s big city, size – small class size and close-knit v/s large (Harvard has 800+) etc. can be reasons.
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