Those acceptance letters are rolling in and now the time has come for you to make the critical choice of where you’ll be spending the next two years of your life and what those two years can mean for your career going forward. There are three main questions that will help you with the decision:
Where do you want to be for the next two years?
Maybe you’re a city girl looking to experience a quieter life for two years or you’re a small town gal trying to check out the big city. Either way, it’s important to think about the next two years will be like in a different setting and whether you’d be willing to live outside of your comfort zone at a very stressful point in your life. In addition to the location, it’s important to think about the size of your entering class and whether you’d be happier with a more intimate group of classmates or if you don’t mind being another face in the crowd. All these are very important considerations when thinking about not only the classes you’ll be taking, but also what you’ll be doing for fun.
Where do you want to be in the next five years?
You’re also going to business school to advance your career, so the place you choose to attend has to yield dividends for your future career. If you want a career in finance, the place you choose should have finance companies recruiting on campus or at least a strong alumni base to help you find that career. Geographically, where you attend school may have a strong influence on the geographic location of your next job. If you’re in school in the West Coast, many of those companies will be recruiting for the jobs on the West Coast and similar for the Northeast, the South, etc. This is not absolute, but it’s where the tendency lies. Lastly, a program with a strong alumni base is a great thing for your career. If you’re looking for a position that’s a bit out of the box, having a strong alumni base is a good way to build relationships and get to those jobs.
What do you want to do when you’re not hitting the books?
You’ll spend much of your time in class or studying and hopefully some of your time sleeping, but what about the rest of the time. This is why you’ll need to consider what the program can offer you in terms of organizations and activities outside of the classroom. If you’re interested in sustainability, does the program have a action-learning programs or clubs dedicated to sustainability? Are those activities something that can help you develop personally or professionally? It’s good to look at these factors when considering which offer to finally accept.
The business school application is a long and arduous process from the moment you start going to those informational sessions to the moment you send in that deposit. Choose the school that feels perfect for you and enjoy the next two years.
Forté Fellow and MBA Candidate 2015
University of North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler Business School)