Which Program is Right for Me?
Whether you have begun to look at programs (e.g. MBA, MS etc.) or are in the process of program or school / university is best for you, there would be few doubts and questions that you should discuss as you evaluate your options and zero in on the one program that suits you most.
1)Alumni and business network
Every high quality postgraduate degree program will enhance your ability to solve complex business problems, to think strategically, lead by example and manage efficiently and confidently. It is important to know what kind of support is available from your university in terms of linkages to alumni as well as business community. Do they have alumni events? Do they conduct conferences where they invite leading industry speakers for talks and networking? To have a holistic learning experience the university should allow students to not only look inwards into the curriculum but also look outwards towards alumni and industry.
The location where the university is located plays a vital part in the future of the student. Being in a metropolitan area such as Sydney or Melbourne creates a major difference than studying from a regional university. Not that the regional university has a disadvantage, after all reputation also plays a part in choice of varsity. But a metropolitan university is much more accessible to future employers, who can visit for placement easily and quickly. A placement event at a regional university requires more planning and takes longer. Also, a metropolitan university will have more opportunities for internships and work part-time. On the flip side, a regional university will have a lower cost of living.
3) Exchange programs, extra-curricular activities and internships
The impact created by classroom sessions and case studies is everlasting on the student. However, the impact created by the activities outside the classroom are of equal importance for the development and overall learning. The exchange programs give a sense of how business is conducted and learning is delivered in a different part of the world. The extra-curricular activities give a different perspective to life in general and builds your personality. Internships are a window to the corporate world and gives an initial taste of how work life balance will look like after graduation. It is important to research which companies are offering internships in the universities as this will set the path of your corporate career.
4) Specialization and rankings
Each b-school or university would be famous for a particular course or a program. If your focus is Finance, then the choice of the program should be driven by the university’s focus on Finance. Rankings should not dictate your choice. If a university is top ranked, but has a lower focus on the faculty of your choice you can capitalize on the brand value of the university but not on the pedagoy and learning.
5) Return on Investment
Doing a postgraduate course is a big investment only from your perspective but also from your family. If you have work experience and want to take a break from work to study, the equation is different – you will more family responsibilities. You need to take into account course fees plus opportunity costs involved (e.g. no income for one year) plus study expenses, international excursion etc. Then, the question is will the salary you will command after completion of the course cover for all these expenses? The answer to this is, a postgraduate course should be looked at from a long term perspective. The salary you will be offered will not cover all your costs in one year, but it will give you a platform for a lifetime to play in a different field of a higher order where the opportunities are limitless.