Applying to study for a Masters in Management degree (Mim) is one of the biggest investments of your life in terms of time and money. So it pays to do your research to ensure the course you choose meets your needs. The usual advice is to talk to alumni, students and faculty about the choice of general and specialist courses on offer.
But what other key factors should be considered when choosing a degree and business school?
If you want international exposure, then consider a school with multiple campuses and opportunities to study and undertake internships overseas. Julia Oehmchen, from Germany, is an Mim student at ESCP Europe, which has five campuses in Paris, London, Berlin, Madrid and Turin.
Ms Oehmchen is making the most of the international opportunities on offer as she studied at the London campus and is doing an internship with a learning consultancy in Turin. Next year she will start a job as an analyst with this company and she has yet to complete the next part of her course at the Paris and Berlin campuses.
Another option is to consider schools that are part of the Cems network – a global alliance of multinational companies and 27 schools. Students earn an Mim at one of the partner schools, as well as a degree from their home university.
Remember to research the international diversity of the class and teaching faculty. Studying with individuals from different nationalities can enhance your international awareness – a quality that can add to your employability.
Weiwen Li, an assistant professor of business administration at Sun Yat-sen Business School in China, points out that students should pay attention to the reputation of the business school as future employers may be more likely to hire graduates from renowned schools.
A good starting point is to check if a school is accredited by internationally recognised bodies. The main accreditation bodies include AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) in the US and Equis (European Quality Improvement System), the international accreditation arm of the European Foundation for Management Development.
One or two-year programme
Mim programmes can vary in length, so it is worth asking yourself how much time you can devote to your studies.
Florence Mele, UK director of studies at ESCP Europe, explains that the school’s two-year programme is typical of European ones following the Bologna Accord, which aims to ensure comparability in standards of higher education across Europe. As the UK has not implemented the agreement, the higher education structure in the UK remains slightly different from that of continental Europe, says Ms Mele.
“There is no difference in quality with one-year or two-year programmes. They are just different learning experiences . . . The choice depends on the student’s background and aspirations . . . ,” adds Ms Mele.
However, Marco Mongiello, director of the MSc Management programme at Imperial College Business School in London, prefers the compact approach. He explains that the school’s one-year programme is a fast and intense learning experience similar to a real business environment. The aim is to help students make the transition from school to work swiftly and efficiently.
Costs and location
It is important to investigate the costs of the programme and living expenses of where you want to study. For instance, Copenhagen Business School offers an MSc in general management free of charge for students from the EU, explains Janie Huus Tange, senior consultant at the school. This may sound like a bargain, but be warned that the cost of living is very high in the capital city.
Career and further study
If you have your heart set on a particular career, look for schools that specialise in your desired field, with a good employment record, or have connections with companies you would like to work for.
For those wishing to pursue further study, such as a PhD, Mr Li says candidates should look at the teaching methods, professors’ publication records and opportunities to do joint research with professors.