Of course, there’s far more to consider than the sights you want to see. With a recent Carrington Crisp survey showing that the cost-of-living crisis is negatively impacting 47% of students’ ability to afford studying a master’s, it can be harder than ever to know what program is right for you.
Luckily, there’s no need to get overwhelmed. Here’s a checklist of the top seven things you should consider before applying to your dream MiM:
1. Value for money
It's no secret that business school can put a strain on your bank account but, when choosing a degree, it's important to assess multiple factors that contribute to a strong return on investment (ROI).
Think about what makes a Master in Management degree worth the cost for you. Is it the prestige of the school? The opportunity to connect with employers? The career achievements of past alumni? Think about the bigger picture.
It's also a good idea to look further into graduate salaries as these will indicate when you can expect to start paying off your investment. In 2023, the average salary three years after graduation for MiM alumni is a generous $85,758.
Plus, to help cut the costs of your degree, you can also apply for scholarships. There are numerous scholarships on offer for students from different backgrounds such as international scholarships, scholarships for minorities, and scholarships for women.
"While MiM programs in the US are typically more expensive, US business schools often offer more generous scholarships for international students which significantly enhance the accessibility," says Elias Madzivire, international student on the Master of Global Management (MGM) at Thunderbird School of Global Management at ASU.
96% of students on the ASU Thunderbird MGM program receive scholarships averaging around $21k.
2. Academic ranking
It’s certainly not the only thing you should go off, but rankings can give a solid indication of how a particular program might help you to achieve your career goals—not to mention an idea of how highly potential employers may regard your degree.
Rankings are also a valuable resource to deep-dive into a specific program. The Financial Times Master in Management ranking assesses and ranks programs on a number of factors such as career progress, salary percentage increase, alumni network, and international course experience. If some factors of a Master in Management program are more important to you than others, deep-diving into the rankings can help you to make a more informed decision.
For example, the top-ranked MiM degree for international experience is offered at IESEG School of Management which ranks 32nd overall. The top-ranked program for ESG and net zero teaching is at Lund University School of Economics and Management which ranks 44th overall.
3. Lifestyle and culture
Factoring in the kind of lifestyle your business school location offers can have a major impact on the enjoyment of your degree when you arrive on campus.
If you’re someone who loves to get outdoors, you might want to make sure you’re studying somewhere close to plenty of wildlife, or at a school that offers an abundance of adventure-related extracurriculars.
Likewise, it’s a good idea to consider how much cultural preparation you might need if you’re thinking of studying somewhere totally different. This could be learning some of the language, reading up on local traditions, or reaching out to other international students to get an insider’s perspective.
“Embracing an entirely new environment has been an invigorating challenge, compelling me to adapt to varied ways of life, academic systems, and societal norms,” says Elias.
4. International trips
Having the opportunity to study abroad can be a great way to add to an already eclectic degree, but it’s not something that every Master in Management degree offers.
If getting to take a trip away is a priority for you, make sure to thoroughly check the school’s website to see if it has international campuses, or runs exchanges with other universities that you would be interested in studying in.
Take ESCP Business School for example which has six campuses across Europe in Berlin, London, Madrid, Paris, Turin, and Warsaw. Over the course of their degree students will study in up to five different countries.
Many Master in Management programs also include international trips to give students the chance to learn how to do business in a new region and give them a stronger cultural awareness. During the Global Challenge Lab as part of the Master of Global Management at ASU Thunderbird, Frank Martinez travelled to Amsterdam to work on a project at the headquarters of ING Bank. This experience set him up to land a role as an analyst at the Bank of America.
"The Global Lab Challenge was of extraordinary value for my professional development," he says.
5. Program length
Sometimes the most important considerations are also the most simple: how much time do you have to spend?
Most MiM degrees vary between one or two years in duration—or even three in some cases—which can have a large impact on when you enter the world of work. However, longer courses tend to include the opportunity for work experience and internships which is a great way to make yourself more attractive to employers. For example, the MiM at HEC Paris is two years with an optional gap year where students are expected to find an internship.
On the other hand, if you want to fast-track your career, a shorter program may be best for you. Bare in mind though that these are typically more intensive.
6. Teaching and student support
No matter how experienced you are, MiM programs are designed to challenge everybody.
That’s why it’s important to choose a school that will cater for your needs. Whether you have a disability, have moved from another country, or are simply feeling overwhelmed, make sure to get in contact with your prospective schools to find out what support systems are in place.
Your mental health at business school is just as important as your education. At NEOMA Business School in France, students can attend the Wellness Center for counselling, advice on financial management and support for whatever a students' concern.
Careers services are also a godsend when it comes to jobhunting. They can give you expert advice about the right career path for you, help you craft your resume, and also organize networking events and careers fairs.
7. Career opportunities
Finally, the big question and crux of your whole degree: what are your career prospects when you graduate?
Studying a Master in Management degree opens doors into a wealth of opportunities across industries from project management to human resource management to management consulting. Many business schools publish alumni employment reports so you can find out which are the most popular industries and the potential salaries.
It's also important to think about how the location of your degree will impact the companies and industries you have access to. While cities like London and Paris are renowned for opportunities in the realm of finance, schools in other locations such as Copenhagen or Amsterdam may offer something better if you’re looking to go into a more niche area such as sustainability or energy.
Finding the perfect Master in Management program is no easy feat, but with these factors in mind, the choice should become a little easier.