Wednesday, June 18, 2014

"Business" School - What Kind is Right for You?

Don’t Treat Business as a Monolithic Category
Co-authored by Janet, a former Assistant Dean of Admissions at Haas

One of the most important considerations for your B-school choice is your more specific interests in business, your specialization, or your concentration. For some reason, people seem to pay attention only to the “ranking” of a school; while there is some basis for doing so, it should never be the end of your inquiry into a particular school and how it might suit your interests and aspirations.

Just as certain colleges are much stronger and/or weaker in certain departments, so too are business schools stronger and/or weaker within particular focus areas. To add depth to your B-school selection process, it is important to consider the schools that are well known for their specialties. The following is a partial list created by U.S. News and World Report Rankings for the schools in 2013. (Note: these are not ranked in any particular order; they are merely categorized.)

Accounting
University of Texas-Austin
University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign
Brigham Young University-Provo
Entrepreneurship
Babson College
University of Southern California
M.I.T. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Finance
University of Pennsylvania
New York University
M.I.T.
International Business
University of South Carolina
New York University
University of Pennsylvania
University of Southern California
Supply Chain Management/Logistics
Michigan State University
M.I.T.
Arizona State University
Marketing
University of Pennsylvania
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
University of Texas-Austin

This is just a small sampling of schools, but it does give you some starting points as you begin the research process. When you graduate and take a position in the business world, you will be taking a position in--or in some case, studying for an advanced degree in-some specific type of business. Unless you’re involved in a very small business in which you are tasked with several areas of responsibilities, or unless you are an entrepreneur, you will likely specialize in something. In any case, it will be important to get a taste of each of these areas, and good business programs will certainly do that for you. However, if you know that you are dead set on entrepreneurship, or are particularly fascinated by complicated financing vehicles and products, you will want to make sure you are at a school that allows you to explore that to the fullest. This is important not only for your education while in school, but it is also incredibly important because of the alumni base of likeminded individuals who have walked this path before you and will be ready and willing to support you at the beginning of your career.