The diversity of international MBA and Master’s programs has never been greater. According to AACSB estimates, there are more than 13,500 schools offering business degree programs worldwide. How should you choose the most suitable school and program for you?

This variety creates many opportunities and the chance to satisfy all your preferences regarding programme content, learning style, teaching method, class diversity, international exposure, budget, scholarships, and location.

Check out: New Opportunity to Meet Top MBA Programme Representatives Online

However, this great diversity is a challenge to most prospective students. How should you identify the programs that best match your requirements? On the one hand, they should provide what you need, while on the other hand, you need to be a strong applicant for the programs you choose. How do you strike this balance?

Step 1: Clarify your goals

Why do you want to continue your studies with a Master’s or MBA programme? Which type of programme is better for you? How will these studies help you boost your career after graduation? Think of all your preferences and create your full list of selection criteria, but do not limit yourself to rankings, budget, scholarships, and location. Consider the programme content, learning style, teaching methods, class diversity, international exposure, and any other personal preferences you may have.

Check out: MBA vs Masters

Step 2: Plan your budget

Be realistic about finances. It is hardly desirable to gain admission to a programme of study that you cannot finance, as you will simply not be able to begin your studies. Select programs you can afford. Even if you intend to compete for scholarships, you need a backup plan.

Check out: Budget Your MBA Preparation

Step 3: Research programs, the application process, and admission requirements

School finder search tools are very efficient in identifying an initial list of schools; check school profiles (standardised for easy comparison); request programme brochures for more details; join online school presentations; contact the admission officers with your specific questions; talk to current and former students in forums and social networks; read specialised blogs.

Check out: School Finder

Step 4: Meet schools

Take every opportunity to meet school representatives in person. You will get a feel of the school, answers to specific questions, and personal advice from an insider. The school representative will give you valuable feedback on your profile, your match to the school, and whether the school provides what you expect. Prepare yourself and ask all your questions.

Check out: How do you contact B-schools representatives?

Step 5: Prepare for and take standard admission tests (GMAT/GRE; TOEFL / TOEIC / IELTS / CAE / CPA)

Your test scores are important for the final selection of the best-matching schools. Get to know the tests in advance through samples and simulations and attend presentations and webinars.

Step 6: Shortlist the schools to which you will actually apply

Get expert advice on the final school selection to make sure that the schools offer what you expect and that you are a strong candidate for them.

Start early! This process takes about one year before you actually begin your studies in an international Master’s or MBA programme.

Check out our School Finder Tool