Top Financial and Educational Factors when Choosing a Business School
Students taking business classes at a business school may have good prospects for strong careers. In the past two years, candidates with a business degree have seen the highest number of job postings in the field, according to a study conducted by Rasmussen College through Burning Glass, an online job-analysis tool. The top occupation groups collected by number of job postings were: computer and mathematical; sales and related; management; office and administrative support; health care practitioners and technical; and business and financial operations.
If you're thinking about earning a business degree or returning to school to pursue a master's degree in business administration, the first big decision you must make is to choose the perfect business school for you. Your first inclination might be to apply to the top business schools in the country – or internationally – but this avenue might not be the best financial, or career-oriented, decision. Consider these factors for choosing a business school.
Location: The location of the business school is a huge factor, and for good reason. First, if you have to move yourself or your family to a new city, or state, so you can attend class, you're already facing a large expense before registering. For students already in a career, quitting the job to move to a new city adds stress and financial strain. In addition, it's a good idea to keep in mind where you want to work once you earn your degree. Companies will often hire qualified candidates who are from the area where the company is located. So, if you want to work in New York City, but live in Nebraska, earning a business degree on the East Coast and building up your resume with job experience in New York might help give your career a boost.
There is a way around the location issue, however, and that is with online business schools like the Forbes™ School of Business at Ashford University. Earning an online degree from an accredited school can provide job seekers with the same qualifications as someone who attended a traditional university. In addition, the student can stay at home, continue working full-time, and be well qualified upon graduation to apply for new positions within the current company, or at other companies in the area – or anywhere in the country for that matter.
Cost: One of the biggest factors in choosing a business school is the cost of tuition. The top business schools in the country might produce qualified candidates, but they also cost more. A quality education doesn't have to be overpriced to produce the same, well-qualified business graduate. Students looking to earn a business degree with less financial stress will want to consider accredited universities that offer the same degree options, but without a high price tag. For example, an MBA from the University of California--Berkley will cost $53,959 for just one year of school. University of Virginia's MBA will cost a student $55,900 per year, and the University of Texas is just a few thousand less than that, according to U.S. News & World Report.
When setting a budget for earning a business degree, students should also look into additional costs like driving to campus, supplies, and room and board expenses. These extras are where an online business school might be preferred to a traditional school setting. With online classes, students can take the class in any location, meaning they don't have to spend time or money driving to a campus. Ashford University has invested in mobile and online technology, providing students access to class discussions, lectures, the library, the student's financial aid file, and much more at any time of the day and any place with Internet availability.
Finding the right degree program: There are many ways a student can focus a business or MBA degree, but not every business school will offer the specific degree you want. Once you've determined the job field in which you want to work, find out what specialization might help you qualify for those positions. Then, start looking for universities that cater to that field. You don't want to look for a job in the health management field if the university you're attending only offers degrees in the business technology field.
As you look for business schools that offer a specialized degree in the field you're interested in studying, also review the professors who teach the courses. You'll want to look for details in their biographies that show they have an expertise in that field, as well as connections to businesses in the industry.
Staffing: In an online business school, students have direct access to professors actively involved in the industry, all around the country. Not only does this expose students to information gleaned from personal experiences, but those experiences might happen in different regions of the country. This access to national, or even international knowledge, gives students interested in global businesses a better exposure to the world-wide trends.
Students: A greater variety of backgrounds in a classroom setting frequently allows for new ideas to be shared and discussed. Business schools and online schools that draw students from around the country and around the world are going to have more diversified classrooms. If you're interested in networking while in school, a national or even global network will expand your resources much more, especially if you have a business-related question once you've entered the workforce.
As you review the business school options available, keep in mind that the school that fits your educational needs and financial situation the best will probably be the best choice for earning your degree and pursuing a career in business.
Lizzie Wann is the Content Director for Bridgepoint Education. She oversees all website content and works closely with New Media, Career Services, and Student Services for Ashford University.