While searching for the right MBA program, it's tempting to assume that the highest-ranked schools must be the only ones worth applying to. But with MBA costs rising and admissions becoming more and more competitive, it's more important to find a program that fits your needs and goals—an MBA program that maximizes your return on investment. 

MBA professors

MBA rankings are comprehensive assessments, but they won't tell you everything about a business school. Here are a few myths—and the truths behind them—regarding teaching in MBA programs. 

Myth 1: Teaching is the same in all MBA programs.

The reality is that some schools excel in specific teaching areas (like finance, entrepreneurship, or marketing). Take a look at course offerings and high-profile professors to determine areas of strength for each school. Teaching styles may also differ: some schools emphasize small seminars, while others offer intensive group projects. Top-ranked MBA programs undoubtedly teach their students well, but they may not be the most logical choice for some specializations or learning styles. Identify how you learn best and what you're interested in, then determine which business schools are a good fit for you based on these criteria. 

Myth 2: What happens in the classroom doesn’t really matter! The only thing that matters is the job you get when you graduate.

Top-ranked MBA programs offer fantastic professional opportunities and robust alumni networks — but none of them guarantee the job of your dreams upon graduation, and if you're too focused on immediate employment, you won't master the skills you'll need to succeed in twenty years. Networking opportunities are important, but not at the expense of the other factors you use to decide where to apply. 

Myth 3: The best teaching comes from professors with national reputations.

Professors who consult with high-profile corporations or do media interviews can be great resources, but consider that they'll also have limited time to work with you one-on-one. What's more important than reputation is how committed they are to their teaching—and there are great teachers at MBA programs of all ranks. Research is important here as well: check out what professors at an institution are studying themselves to determine if your interests will be well-represented at that school. 

Just because an MBA program is highly ranked doesn't mean students automatically have a better teaching experience there. Knowing a program's focus and teaching style are important, so don't rely on reputation: do your research before applying. 


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