Case Method or Lecture: the Best MBA Pedagogy For You

What is the best MBA curriculum for you? What MBA learning opportunities does it provide? How are the classes taught? What MBA electives are there to choose from? What are the best co-curricular opportunities for you? Does the business school prepare you for your post-MBA career?

Researching the best MBA for you can be a lot to handle! In this week’s video, Angela Guido outlines 5 key ways to research your MBA learning experience so you can effectively choose the best business school for you without wasting time. Like people, not all MBAs are the same, and you want to be sure that your business school choices are a good fit. #MBAMondays #LearningExperience

YouTube video

Prefer to read? Here’s the transcript.

Welcome back to MBA Monday. I'm Angela Guido, the founder of Career Protocol, and I am smack in the middle of my deep dive into MBA program research.

We already talked about why research is so important when it comes to business school choices etc., and then we talked about how to understand which career opportunities your school facilitates.

What Are Your Post-MBA Career Goals?

Now, I want to talk about the substance of the program that you're investing in, and that is the learning experience. So, of course, the MBA is a master's degree. You're going to school to learn and hopefully, hopefully you're going to learn the things that are going to be the most valuable to you as you seek to build your post-MBA career in the direction of your choice. So to even get started researching the education itself, you need to have a career game plan post-MBA. You need to know exactly where you think you want to go post-MBA. You don't have to know specifically which company or even which industry, but you need to have a general sense. I want to go in the direction of marketing. I want to go in the direction of consulting. I want to go in the direction of entrepreneurship. You need to have a direction in mind.

Then you want to look at the program and look at all of its offerings and how it approaches the learning experience so that you can understand which schools are going to provide you with the best MBA learning opportunities for you en route to your goals. There are five different things that you want to look at to understand the best learning opportunities in business schools that are available to you.

5 Things To Look Out For Before Choosing Your MBA

So really simply, here’s what they are.

  1. Number one, how is the MBA curriculum structured? Do you have free choice in the programs, in the classes that you choose, or does the school assign you your courses from day one? So, two schools on opposite ends of this spectrum that makes it really easy to understand are Harvard Business School and Booth School of Business. For Harvard Business School, in year one, every class is chosen for you. You have no choice. You don't even get to choose where you sit. You sit in the same room with the same group of people. The only thing that changes is the professors. They come in and they teach you the lesson and then they leave. So all of that is set, there's no choice whatsoever. Booth School of Business, on the other hand, having been born at the University of Chicago, where the most research on the free market has been pioneered, basically you get to choose everything from day one. There is only one required course in the Booth MBA curriculum and everything else you get to choose yourself. So you want to think about if you need to tailor your curriculum to your specific needs or if you just kind of want to do what the school tells you to do and then make your choice accordingly. This is an easy thing to differentiate among the different programs.
  2. The second thing we want to understand is the pedagogy. How are you learning in the classroom? Again, Booth School of Business and Harvard Business School are on two opposite ends of the spectrum here. At Harvard Business School, the vast majority of courses leverage the case method where it's all about class participation and preparing for a dynamic discussion about a business problem. At Booth the professors get to choose. So, some professors will engage lecture style, others are going to assign problem sets and still others will use the case method. So there's a lot more learning diversity at a school like Booth School of Business than there is at a school like Harvard Business School and you need to figure out which one is going to be best for you and your needs.
  3. The third thing to look into is MBA electives, especially if you have a specific area of focus. You want to go into health care, you want to go into real estate, you want to go into media or technology. Look and see what MBA electives the school offers that are going to give you access to cutting edge information in the field that you're passionate about. That's an easy thing to look up. Most schools make their course catalogs available and you can find all kinds of fascinating courses at various programs
  4. Number four, you want to look into the business school co-curricular and experiential learning opportunities. Which school has the best co-curricular activities for you and your needs? So things like study abroad, global consulting programs, startup labs, any kind of experiential learning course where you're doing more than just reading books and answering questions, you're actually applying some of what you're learning on the court. Look for the experiential opportunities that are the closest aligned with your goals, the ones that are going to go beyond giving you knowledge and actually start to give you the best MBA learning experience for fulfilling your goals.
  5. And then finally think very seriously about the MBA school clubs. Remember the question I told you to keep in mind in episode one was all about what are you going to contribute? The MBA clubs are a great place to get to know where you're going to make your contribution, but not just what are you going to contribute? What are the clubs going to provide you en route to your goals? So look into all the different student clubs that exist. Figure out what kinds of conferences, lunch and learns and learning opportunities they provide, and how the clubs can support you in your journey towards recruitment into the field that you want to enter. One of the most important ways you're going to learn at school is outside the classroom in the clubs.

 So that's it. Five key ways to research the school's learning experience. It's probably the easiest to understand and one of the most important things to know about the MBA program that you're going to choose.

That's it for #MBAMonday. Join us next time and I'll talk about how to choose the right MBA community for you.

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Angela Guido

Student of Human Nature| Founder and
Chief Education Officer of Career Protocol

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