Location, location, location! We’re not talking about beachfront property here. We are talking about the location of your target business school and why it should matter to you. What may seem as an innocuous aspect of a school to some, location can play a pretty big part in a candidate’s overall experience in business school and the perception of value of their MBA afterwards.
One of the main considerations applicants overlook when it comes to selecting schools is how the school’s location influences where they will end up post-MBA. The majority of schools have the highest career placement within their home state. So applicants should really identify schools in areas where they would prefer to live. This will make life much easier when it comes to making decisions for internships and full-time job offers.
Location also factors in strongly when it comes to campus recruiting. Many school reputations are based as much on school specific competencies as recruiting proximities. Regional specialties exist in every part of the country for MBA programs. Now we don’t have to break down here which came first, the chicken or the egg, when it comes to these regional specialties, but the connection exists. For example Stanford’s connection to the Bay Area tech scene or Kellogg’s connection to the consumer packaged goods industry of the Midwest should be factors that help determine your school selection.
Another important factor is how the location fits with your personal desires and needs. There is such diversity in business school locations that can range from small college towns like Darden’s Charlottesville location to Booth’s location in the metropolis of Chicago. For some, the small town vs. big city debate is not a big factor but instead cold vs. warm weather locales present a much bigger decision. Not only is it important to figure out where you stand on these factors but also how they all rank out relatively. You may really want the sunny weather of a school like UCLA Anderson but can’t pass up the prestige and access of Wharton’s finance program. All of these decisions should be thought of holistically and with a long-term outlook on what truly makes the most sense for you and your career.
However location factors into your school selection and eventual decision process, make sure it gets the attention it deserves and you will set yourself up to be at the school that makes the most sense for you.
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Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants.