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A How to Guide: Journey to Business School Part I - Choosing where to go

Book open Reading time: 4 mins

Perhaps you’re coming to the end of your degree and are trying to decide whether you should go to business school or accept that lucrative grad job offer. Or indeed you may be an ambitious 2nd year student with your eyes firmly set on pursuing a postgraduate degree at a business school; eager to learn as much about the application process as soon as possible to build a stellar application profile. Either way, this guide will hopefully help you decide whether business school is right for you. 

Making the choice

You may find yourself trying to make a choice between either applying to graduate jobs or pursuing a postgraduate degree at business school. Both options are attractive ones, with their respective benefits and disadvantages. It’s important to assess what your long and short-term goals are and how either option might help you get there.

After figuring out what your goals are, the next step is to find out the benefits and drawbacks of doing a postgraduate degree before starting your career, as opposed to later in your career journey. Some things to consider are:

  • Is doing a Master’s degree necessary to start my career? Or is it a better idea to do it once I’ve settled into a role if it will help me progress further?
  • Will doing this Master’s course help me stand out in the application process compared to other graduates?
  • Will this course help prepare me for the type of work my ideal career will involve?
  • What kind of career/social/personal benefits will I gain from studying this course at this specific institution?

The first point is especially important to consider given some companies may cover the tuition fees to pay for your further study should you wish to pursue it, given the area of study is relevant to your career. 

Another point to keep in mind is that postgraduate degrees are no doubt challenging and a are big step-up from undergraduate study. So, it’s important to make sure you have a genuine passion for the course you would like to study. To find out whether you do or not, be sure to read the programme outline and the details of the specific modules you’d be studying. 

Choosing the right business school for you

Now that you’ve made the first big step and committed yourself to applying to business school, the next step is making sure you pick the right school and course. As you explore the number of great business schools within the UK, you may find it useful to keep in mind the 4 C’s: Courses, Career, Clubs and Community.

            Courses: Each institution will have a range of different courses under their Business School; from MBA’s and Management focused degrees, to those that are more Economics and Finance oriented. As mentioned before, make sure to read each programme outline and the module details to find out which degree better aligns with your goals and what you want out of postgraduate education.

            Career: Business Schools tend to have very resourceful careers services which are important to make the most of. It’s a good idea to do some research and look around the website to find out:

  1. What kind of resources and help they offer, especially for your desired industry; do they hold specific networking events with the firms you’d like to work for? Do they hold mock interviews and assessment centres?
  2. How strong their connections are to the location you want to work in and the firms you want to work for: if you’d like to work in London perhaps it is in your best interest to choose a business school in London? If you’d like to work in finance, look to see which schools have the strongest connections to the industry by how many networking events they hold with them.

            Clubs: The type of clubs and societies you may find at business school will not be dissimilar to those you may have been a part of at undergraduate level. However, you may find a broader range of career-focused clubs across a range of industries.  Either way, they should come to be a significant component of your journey through postgraduate study, so take time to explore the different clubs the school has to offer, from their networking events to their social outings, to find which best aligns with what you’d most enjoy doing.  

            Community: This is one of the most important components that is likely to shape how you find your journey through business school, so to get a feel for the community at your school be sure to attend as many on-campus events as you can. This will give you the chance to talk with your faculty and students and get a feel for whether you’re the right fit for this school, and whether this school is the right fit for you. 

Want to find out more? Head over to Part II: The Application Process.