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Best Business Schools & Top Online MBA Programs
When you're searching for a business school that will help you with networking, academic training, and preparing you to fulfill your potential as a leader in your particular field, you have a lot to consider. Depending on your needs, one of the top qualifiers could be course schedule and flexibility. If you plan to continue working full- or part-time while you earn your business degree, an online MBA program could be a great fit. Other business schools offer evening and weekend schedules to accommodate busy professionals. When looking into distance learning options, top online MBA programs should feature cutting edge academic and study resources, as well as readily available technical support, advice on managing online course material and assistance with participating in class discussions via chats, forums and Blackboard. Because online MBA programs require a lot of self-motivation, look for a program that also encourages student-faculty and student to student interaction and projects, which will enrich your understanding of the course material and offer valuable networking opportunities.
Once you have decided what kind of business program you'd like to pursue, you'll need to start researching. The most important qualifier in this step is accreditation. Your school and business program will need to be accredited by one or more of the following: a regional accrediting agency if it is a traditional college or university, the Distance Education and Training Council if is a fully online institution, the Council of Graduate Studies, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, and/or the the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs. Accreditation means that your school and program have met certain academic and administrative standards and that you are receiving a legitimate, quality-driven education.
Today's business world is heavily influenced by international factors, including foreign markets, multicultural consumers and outsourced employees. Even if you do not plan to specialize in global management or international affairs, the best business schools emphasize this global influence in all classes and as part of their overarching program goals. To verify that your business school or online MBA program values international business, take a look at their website and read the program's mission, as well as the core curriculum and course descriptions. Look for language that references international trade, a global economy and global management. Some schools even offer study abroad options and foreign language requirements for students who are specializing in that area.
Because business schools — even graduate and online ones — are an excellent way to meet other professionals and make new contacts, research your school's commitment to connecting alumni, emphasizing networking and hosting special social events and business conferences. A low student-faculty ratio is also important, as more face time with your experienced professors and guest lecturers is always helpful. Low student-faculty ratios also typically signify smaller class sizes, which means that you will enjoy more interaction with your classmates, who can become future business partners and contacts after graduation.
When selecting a business school, you'll want to make sure you're researching more than just quality academics. Look for bright, experienced professors who are leaders in their field, an accredited program that is a member of one or more professional business associations, an active and accessible alumni network, and a program that values flexibility and active contributions to the global economy through cutting edge business practices.