School selection is a complicated thing.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of long efforts, and I would never have been able to apply for more than one round. People who apply to 6+ schools over three rounds impress me for their resilience.
Also, because I had very little time, I had to make my shortlist as short as possible. No more than three b-schools.
My business school selection method:
For my research, I gathered the various criteria into 4 groups that could be laid on a quadrant: During studies vs. Post studies and Generic vs. Specific.
- ROI and financing considerations (during studies: tuition fees, financing options, cost of living; post studies: post-MBA salary et salary down the line).
Info to be found on the Business Week here and Financial Times website there.
- Student life considerations (during studies: on or off campus, sport/enterainment facilities, clubs, teaching methods).
Info on b-schools MBA websites or through campus visit.
- Education prestige (during studies : professors, relationships with companies, MBA rankings; post studies : B-school rankings).
Info on b-schools MBA websites, various places on internet, and also on Business Week here, here, there and there ; on Financial Times here and there ; and on Wall Street Journal here.
Info on b-schools ranking on US News here and Financial Times there.
- Network (during studies : admited student profiles; after studies : b-school alumni network).
Info on the net and through discussions with alumni.
Criteria can be evaluated according to one’s professional objectives or personal constrains to create “fit”:
- Geographical fit
- Industry fit
- Function fit
In my case, I had the following:
- Geographic fit: Post-MBA work in Asia (China).
- Industry fit: Post-MBA work at a French Luxury company.
- Function fit: Post-MBA work in Internet Marketing.
And I had the following constrains:
- Study in Europe – for family reasons.
- Internship – to validate a potential career switch.
In the end, the business school that seemed to best fit into my objectives as HEC-Paris, especially with its double degree programme with Tsinghua in Beijing or CUHK in Hong Kong.
Additionally, I decided to give the London Business School a go to check how far I’d get.