MBA Seekers: What to Look for in a Graduate School

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Whether sought out right after college or after years of experience in the business world, graduate-level programs conferring master’s degrees can be stepping stones to still greater opportunities and experiences. The experience and prestige that come with a Master of Business Administration degree point graduates into the corporate world.

MBA programs vary widely from one school to the next, with each school offering a unique experience that will appeal to certain students, from online vs. on-campus attendance to course contents and topical focus. The following are a few questions that applicants will want to ask themselves as they narrow down their lists of potential schools:

Student holding puzzle pieces

In-person, online or blended?

When deciding which MBA program is right for them, prospective students will need to consider which course modality is the best fit: online vs. on-campus or blended? For instance, an applicant just completing undergraduate studies may feel free to relocate or take a full-time courseload, while someone already in a corporate role may want to add part-time classes while not moving.

Seeking an all-online MBA degree program takes the geographic focus off of picking the ideal program, and lets applicants select a school that suits their interests and scheduling needs, even if it is physically distant. In other cases, they may select a blended model in which some courses are held in person and others are online. Fully on-campus studies, whether part-time on evenings or full-time, will likely feel closest to the traditional undergraduate experience.

How long will it wake to receive a degree?

Just as potential applicants will consider which learning model is right for their needs, they can also compare different MBA graduate programs’ time requirements. Flexible scheduling options at some schools allow students to build up their credits over time and graduate with a degree at a pace that suits their preferences. In the cases of students who are ready to take on a full-time class schedule, it’s possible to receive an MBA in as little as a year.

Not every academic calendar is the same. Depending on the university and program, new classes can begin at intervals throughout the year, with more frequent start times potentially giving students a great degree of flexibility regarding what they study and when.

What are the admission requirements?

Admission into a graduate program can require a bit of planning and preparation. The nature of this process may come down to the standardized tests and assessments required to enter a program. There are two main tests administered to assess the knowledge and skills of grad school applicants, the Graduate Record Examination, which is more general in scope, and the Graduate Management Admission Test, which is focused on business school. Some applicants and programs can waive these exams, so students should review requirements for their desired schools.

For instance, MBA seekers already in the corporate world may be inclined to seek out programs that don’t require these exams or offer the waivers, as they represent a period of test-specific study and preparation that may take away from applicants’ rigorous focus on their professional lives.

There are other potential requirements beyond the main standardized tests. For example, international students may have to prove they have proficiency in the language the classes are taught in. Furthermore, students will have to produce official transcripts from their undergrad years.

Does the college’s philosophy meet my needs?

In addition to the practicalities of attending a program, the subject matter and teaching style embraced by a particular school will determine whether that institution is right for each potential applicant.

The courses available as part of an MBA program will answer a lot about that school’s focus and potential advantages for its students. When the classes offered cover a wide range of practical competencies, including emerging and trending ideas, the benefits to students go beyond the diploma itself. Such a program will feature practical lessons that deliver real value as primers on authentic decision-making scenarios. When students receive comprehensive instruction, they won’t just be ready to accept new roles, but to thrive in them.

Business-focused programs can also be judged on a university’s connections to major companies. When schools create these partnerships, they may place students in real-world business situations in the course of their education. This provides the kind of insight and experience in executive decision-making that would be hard to come by in purely in-person and online classroom-based settings.

Maryville University MBA: A Great Fit

Flexible and well-designed MBA programs are able to appeal to a wide variety of applicants regardless of those students’ preferences, educational backgrounds and previous experiences. Maryville University’s MBA program is intended to deliver a focused and highly relevant business education intended for working professionals. Here’s how this program stacks up when students ask the questions above:

  • The Maryville MBA program is offered on-campus, online, or in a blended format. With courses scheduled for weekends and evenings, it is meant to fit into the busy lives of people with full-time jobs.
  • The speed of the program is up to pupils. The minimum time to receive an online degree is one year. With the flexibility of an online or blended program, students can change the pace of their education on the fly, adding up credits at a rate that is comfortable to them until graduation.
  • With its focus on current working professionals, Maryville University’s John E. Simon School of Business waives the GMAT or GRE for any of its graduate degrees. Requirements include official undergraduate transcripts, typically showing a grade point average over 3.0, and an admission essay.
  • With a well-informed faculty active in professional roles and a curriculum that represents the high-speed, connected business world as it exists today, Maryville University can suit applicants from a number of backgrounds and experience levels as they seek to advance in their careers.

Going back to school is a big decision and not one to be taken lightly. Students who do their research carefully before making the choice can be more certain they’re on the right track. It’s worth studying a school’s details, from admissions policies to the potential time to receive a degree, to make sure the match between student and university will sustain the journey from applicant to degree-holder. While every pupil will have questions, great schools have the right answers.


Maryville University, “Business Administration Program Features”

Maryville University, “Graduate Admission Requirements”

Maryville University, “Master of Business Administration”