For prospective business students, there are many ways to find the right MBA program. Many applicants start with MBA rankings published annually by The Princeton Review and other organizations, but it's also important to choose an MBA program that aligns with your career interests and goals. It's also a good idea to research notable alumni from your top MBA programs and compare their achievements with your aspirations. 

How the Success of Past Students Can Predict Your Future

Best MBA for you

Why does alumni achievement matter so much? Alumni networks influence which companies recruit on campus, and they may also help determine the priorities of an MBA program (through donations). If many of the most prominent alumni from an MBA program specialized in a particular concentration, there's a good chance that the business school is strong in that area. 

How can applicants learn about the alumni networks of MBA programs? Here are a few ideas:

1. Check the names on buildings.

Often, the most prominent alumni donate the most money and are honored with a building, wing, or lecture hall. On campus visits, check plaques and online maps, then research who donated the funds.

2. Keep track of who wins awards.

Check press releases issued by MBA programs to determine which alumni have won awards in their industry, as well as which individuals have been awarded honorary degrees.

3. Look at lists of upcoming events and speakers.

Alumni are often invited back to campus to give talks or lead panel discussions. It's likely that during your time as a business student, you will meet alumni at these events. 

4. Read the alumni news.

Most MBA programs publish updates submitted by alumni. While some of these announcements may be personal news intended for former classmates, they also concern new jobs, promotions, and other accomplishments, potentially revealing much about alumni achievement at that school. 

Research into alumni achievement is important for long-term career success, but it can have short-term advantages, too: mentioning some of the alumni who have inspired you in your MBA essay or on your MBA application might just earn you a coveted spot in your preferred MBA program. 

You can also compare programs by checking out graduate career outcomes, such as average starting salaries, for the schools you're interested in. Use our business school search to find the online profiles of the MBA programs you want to research and click over to the "Career" tab.

Practice for the GMAT

Take a GMAT practice test with us under the same conditions as the real thing. You'll get a personalized score report highlighting your strengths and areas of improvement.


Read More