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B-School Culture And You

How do you put together a list of business schools to apply to? Do you rely on popular online rankings? Or do you prioritize the reputation of the schools? Or how about taking advice from online forums? While all these methods have their merits, you need to consider personal factors as well that can have a significant impact on the quality of your MBA experience. What are we talking about? A business school’s culture, of course!

So why should a business school’s culture matter to you? It should if you care about your journey during the MBA program. While one of the key aspects of business school selection has to do with future prospects, most applicants tend to gloss over the time they have to actually spend at the school. However, once the program starts, many realize that they just aren’t happy. Why? Because they don’t fit into the school’s culture.

However, thinking about a business school’s culture doesn’t make sense without having a good understanding about yourself. If you don’t know what your preferences are, how will you determine whether the culture will appeal to you or not? So the first thing to do is introspection. This exercise will give you insights into yourself and prepare you for the next step – answering questions related to the kind of experience you’re seeking.

Let’s take a look at some of these questions next. Are you an intensely competitive person or do you believe in collaboration? Do you enjoy the glitz and glamour of large cities or do you prefer to live in a quiet campus town? Are you excited at the thought of being surrounded by a lot of people or would you rather be a part of a small cohort? The answers to these questions along with other criteria will help you come up with your school selection list.

Now that you know what you want, it’s time to research the schools. However, unlike objective data, a school’s culture has many more dimensions. Hence, the best way to go about doing this is to learn as much about the school as possible through browsing the school’s website, reading alumni blogs, having conversations with current and past students, and visiting the campus to get a firsthand experience about the school’s setting and values.

In summary, a business school’s culture is one of the key factors that aspiring MBA applicants should consider during the business school selection stage. While it’s important to assess other parameters, factoring a school’s culture during the selection process sets the proper expectations and helps make informed decisions that can go a long way in contributing to a pleasant, meaningful and productive experience in the MBA program.


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