What type of MBA program is right for you?

  • July 24, 2023
  • By WashU Olin Business School
  • 4 minute read

Are you hitting a stumbling block when figuring out how to choose the right MBA program? You might have researched an MBA program and what topics it covers, the reputation of the university, the caliber of its faculty and how high-end its facilities are in an attempt to make your choice. But you might have forgotten the most important aspect of your decision: You.

The best way to make such an important decision is not to start with the program but with your own goals and how an MBA can help you meet them. Start by asking yourself a few questions. What are the different types of MBA programs, and does the university you want to attend offer those different types? Which type of program best suits your life, family and future career plans? By evaluating the type of MBA program you want to pursue and why, you can find the program that will best suit your needs and goals.

How to choose the right MBA program for you

There are many different types of MBAs and only one you, so it’s important to spend some time exploring your options. Does a part-time vs. full-time MBA work better for your schedule and goals? What about a professional MBA vs. executive MBA? Do you want a remote, in-person or hybrid approach? These are just some of the questions you should ask to find out what kind of MBA will suit you the best. So, let’s start with the basics to help you answer those questions. 

Do you want to be a full-time student?

This is one of the first questions to ask yourself. Being a full-time MBA student, you’d have the option to live near or on campus. Do you want a campus community to surround you, or do you only want to experience the campus community for class time? There are many housing options available for whichever you decide.

But what if a full-time or traditional model isn’t for you? Do you want a classroom experience, or does a hybrid model with class time and remote time work better for your lifestyle? If you travel a lot for work and want to live a global life, an online MBA might be a great opportunity for you. There are also hybrid options within an online MBA that allow you to select on-campus classes if you’re looking to experience an in-person classroom from time to time.

And if you do decide that you want an in-person MBA experience, there are different options to consider. For example, at Olin, we have a Professional MBA and an Executive MBA. Both are in-person programs but cater to different career stages.

What does the place feel like?

The first step for students is to visit or get in touch with an admissions team. These are the people who can answer your questions and help you make decisions for your academic and professional life. They host informational sessions, drop-in meetings and tours. Each of these visits should help you piece together a picture of what the university offers you.

Take advantage of any opportunity to visit a campus or classroom. Get a taste of the atmosphere, the teaching environment, the cohort and the culture. Can you see yourself there?

How will this program support your career?

Explore the kinds of opportunities that exist on and off campus. How will this program support the career you’re picturing for yourself?

Ask questions about job placement rates, internships and connections to local businesses. Are there immersive experiences available? How often and in what ways can you connect with career resources? Who’s going to help you choose your classes?

What will your financial experience be like?

Students need to be honest about their financial statuses and ask themselves: “Do I have the support I need?” and “Am I at a place in my career where I feel like I can take part in a full-time program?”

Affordability will vary depending on your program and your choice of study mode. In St. Louis, the cost of living is comparatively low for a city in the U.S., and the Olin MBA offers many scholarships. It’s a good option for those who want to experience a city and MBA in a manageable way.

How does the Olin MBA fit in?

The MBA programs at Olin are all designed with students’ potential needs in mind. We know that many factors are at play when students decide where and how to study. So, we have created a portfolio of programs that allow us to meet students where they are.

To start, we have baked a level of flexibility into our programs. Different versions of the MBA offer different time and location commitments. We have a highly ranked full-time program for students who are ready to take an intensive, full-time leap. We also have equally amazing but more flexible programs designed for professionals who want to broaden their education while continuing to work.

We have added further layers of flexibility by blending some of the online and part-time MBA electives. This way, those studying remotely can still choose in-person sessions to suit them and gain the benefits of experiential learning without sacrificing their chosen learning style.

What’s more, the atmosphere of St. Louis—with its 2.7 million residents and low cost of living—offers a phenomenal starting place for students as they grow their businesses and careers. The city is home to nine Fortune 500 companies, and Olin has developed relationships with many organizations in the area, giving students further opportunities to network and find their own paths to success.

Opportunities to visit a class and get a feel for the community are available. Please contact admissions staff through email at OlinGradAdmissions@wustl.edu or call us at 314-935-7301. You can also check out our events page for time and details of scheduled MBA events.

About the Author

Washington University in Saint Louis

WashU Olin Business School

Firmly established at the Gateway to the West, Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis stands as the gateway to something far grander in scale. The education we deliver prepares our students to thoughtfully make difficult decisions—the kind that can change the world.

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