10 Questions to Ask Before Applying to an MBA Program

Do you imagine yourself around the boardroom table, contributing to the strategic decisions that will shape the future of your company? Or perhaps you envision yourself leading an acquisition that will round out your own organization’s portfolio? Or working as a communications pro who thrives in high-pressure, crisis situations?

In each of these scenarios, a master of business administration (MBA) degree could be your ticket to entry.

Here are 10 questions to ask as you join informational meetings and engage with admissions counselors in pursuit of the program that’s right for you:

  1. What’s the average class size for your program?

    Look for programs that limit enrollment to a manageable cohort size (20-30) so you can be assured you’re learning with other top students and have the opportunity to engage directly with your professors.

  2. How do you equip students without a bachelor's degree in the business field to be successful in your MBA program?

    The majority of MBA students (54%) come from non-business degrees, so if you’re in this situation, you certainly won’t be alone. That said, choose a program that will equip you to be successful via reading lists or business-focused modules prior to classes beginning so you can engage knowledgeably with the content from the start of your program.

    Related Article: Can You Get an MBA Without a Business Degree?

  3. How often can I expect to interact one-on-one with my professors?

    Choose a program where you’ll have faculty who have succeeded in the business world at the highest levels and are passionate about mentoring students in their own professional journey. One without the other will leave you missing a critical piece of your program experience.

  4. How much control do I have over what I study and the customization of my degree?

    If your heart is set on pursuing nonprofit leadership or business analytics, choose your program accordingly. Ask if you can add certifications to your MBA to give you broad expertise within the field combined with a specialization in a specific area. George Fox University is a good example of a program that offers this.

  5. Are there opportunities for me to travel internationally in order to broaden my global perspective?

    Businesses don’t live in silos, and your ability to thrive in your career will be dependent on your ability to navigate an interconnected global and digital world. Choose a program that offers you the ability to engage globally throughout your studies.
  6. How diverse is your MBA program? How do you help students broaden their cultural awareness?

    Becoming an ethical and thoughtful business leader goes beyond knowledge of finance, economics, and marketing. Prioritize programs that value the development of soft skills like critical thinking, communication, and emotional and cultural intelligence.
  7. How do you embed students into the professional world to equip them for employment following their graduation?

    Prioritize programs that take you into businesses, helping you develop relationships with hiring managers and broadening your exposure to industries beyond your familiarity. The business world is vast; don’t settle for an MBA program that limits your network’s reach.
  8. Can you tell me about the alumni network I’ll have access to?

    An engaged alumni base is the ideal place to network for your post-graduation job. These individuals can vouch for your education, are eager to work with talented new hires, and share the common experience of being in your MBA program.
  9. Is your MBA program accredited?

    Unfortunately, some MBA programs exist simply as a revenue-generating machine for the university. Programs that offer accreditation are verified by third parties to guarantee they provide high-quality education and value to the student. George Fox University is ACBSP-accredited, which ensures it meets a variety of benchmark requirements and offers a rigorous educational experience and commitment to continuous quality improvement.
  10. How strong is the sense of community in your program?

    Your education shouldn’t start and end with your lectures. Your classmates, faculty and alumni network should offer the opportunity to ask questions, broaden your perspective of the business world, and serve as a sounding board for your ideas. Don’t go through an MBA alone when you could be part of an amazing cohort!

As you’re researching MBA programs, know there are numerous program options – each with its own advantages and drawbacks. Your task is to determine which will equip you for the professional future you’ve always imagined for yourself.

Good luck!

Questions?