Although an MBA is far more relevant to business management than most first degrees, it is important to understand that an MBA graduate is now far from rare. With over 2,300 MBA programmes now available, grads are much more common than their predecessors of a decade ago. With this in mind, it is essential to have one eye on your post-programme career from day one.
As with all other aspects of choosing an MBA course, research into prospective schools is fundamental to making the right decision. In terms of future career planning you will need to know which business schools are better than others at providing you with the best chance of landing the right job. There are two questions you need to ask to help you establish this:
1. Does the programme attract recruiters?
2. Does the business school help secure placements?
It is fairly easy to come by employment figures for most schools; ask the admissions offices for some of the ranking tables. Many of the publications that produce rankings use employment rate as one of their main criteria such as The Financial Times and U.S. News. Bear in mind that employment is likely to include self-employment as an increasingly large number of MBA graduates are choosing to start their own businesses.
Most business schools will have systems set up to help students find jobs after the completion of their studies. Make sure your school has a careers office (specific to the school rather than part of the university service as a whole), and see if there is an Alumni organisation that can help students with employment or at least provide a network of useful contacts. Business schools strong on employment support for their students will also have a 'students seeking employment' section on their website and run several employment fairs on campus throughout the year.
Also take steps to help yourself when on a programme. Know which employers regularly recruit MBAs so that you can contact them, and make sure your details are available and accessible for those looking to recruit MBAs so they can contact you. You will be investing a considerable amount of time and money in an MBA programme so make sure the one you choose is going to be of practical assistance in helping you take the next step in your career.