So you’ve taken the big decision – you want to get an MBA. There is no doubt that as a qualification it is well-respected by employers around the world. MBA courses can vastly improve the prospects and quality of your career, enabling you to reach the highest echelons of the business world – particularly those from a UK business school. You’ve made a good choice.
It seems increasingly normal for the MBA to be part of a process of lifelong learning, representing the need to constantly keep your knowledge, skills and competence up-to-date. Modern employers have exceptionally high standards, and are likely to expect constant development from their staff – on both a personal and professional/managerial level.
The MBA is probably the most internationally recognized degree in existence, and with the amount of distance learning opportunities and universities across the world that are now offering courses, the world is your oyster when considering your study options.
Why the UK?
The UK is at the top of many people’s lists. Statistics reveal that business and management is the most popular area of study by far for international students coming to the UK. For many, the prospect of an MBA course set in the UK, noted as much for its friendly cosmopolitan welcome as its rich traditions and heritage, is an appealing prospect.
Don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials from universities on your shortlist, or from former students who have successfully completed their MBA programmes. The alumni network should be an important factor in your eventual selection.
If for whatever reason you can’t or don’t wish to study in the UK itself, you can consider the possibility of Distance Learning MBA courses. There are several very well-established UK business schools that have proved that they can bring their MBA programmes to students in many countries and regions of the world. Such programmes are global in scope, yet locally delivered. Ask about the nature of the learning support that will be provided, and also the completion rate of the course. The support and interaction offered can have a huge impact on your eventual success and satisfaction.
How to choose a UK MBA institution?
First, you can contact the Association of Business Schools (ABS) in the UK (www.associationofbusinessschools.org). ABS produces a comprehensive Directory of all major MBA courses in the UK and includes details about the programmes, including costs, entry requirements and independent quality ratings for both teaching and research. The ABS Directory should also be available at your local British Council office.
Read through ranking tables to see which UK universities offer the best course and apply early – UK MBAs, particularly those in London, are highly competitive and places fill up early.
When you have considered all the factors involved in selecting your MBA course and have produced a shortlist, you might still find it difficult to make the final decision. After all, an MBA is a major investment with or without employer support – so don’t be afraid to ask for advice from every source.
Funding an MBA
We all know that MBAs aren’t cheap, with most courses charging tuition fees that cost thousands of pounds. However, a relevant MBA can double your existing salary. So how can you secure the money needed to pay for your studies?
Employer funding This is the big one. Many companies will be prepared to fund or part-fund your studies if you can prove it will help the business. Talk to your line manager or human resources department about how to go about it. Beware though, if you leave the company you may be expected to pay back the costs of your studies.
Borrow intelligently Start your search by looking for free money. There are plenty of scholarships, bursaries and grants available from universities, institutions and funding bodies. Look for things that make you stand out – do you have a particular research interest? Are there funding bodies in your home country that allocate money for international study?
Student-specific loans If you don’t have your own or family funds to invest in you and your employer isn’t able to help, it might be time to start looking at student loans. Start by having a look on www.canlearn.ca.