With numerous accredited MBA programs in the Boston area alone, selecting which business school program is right for you is no easy task. When it comes to business school, you want to make the right choice. After all, this is a decision that will impact your entire career. Aside from the hard skills that will enable you to lead organizations and tackle all types of business challenges, the right MBA program also opens doors that could decide your professional path. A classmate could be a future business partner, faculty connections could lead to exciting new opportunities, or a corporate immersion experience could help pinpoint your professional passion.  

An MBA is a serious investment of time, money, and energy. You want to make sure you select a program providing a valuable return on your investment for the skills and career you’re pursuing. When navigating the hallmarks of a high quality program, which elements matter most?

While many MBA programs boast to be “the best,’ the truth is, not all MBA programs are created equal. For an MBA program to be worth the investment, it should integrate certain key elements that enrich students’ experience inside and outside of the classroom.

As you sift through the intricacies of endless MBA programs, simplify your search and zero in on these six crucial components. These game changing factors are what truly define a rewarding MBA program, one that will prepare you to seize your chosen professional path and lead in the new economy.

1. Technology

It shouldn’t surprise that technology made the list of the essential elements of an MBA program. Every professional must be digitally literate to meet demands of modern workplace; and those who hope to lead enterprises should not only be digitally fluent across multiple mediums, but know how to leverage these technologies to achieve specific business goals.

A quality MBA curriculum should integrate cutting-edge technology to ensure students are well-versed in the latest tools needed to power any successful enterprise.

2. Global Perspective

Today’s globalized economy calls for a global perspective. Web and cloud technologies empower instant communication and collaboration. Companies can acquire global reach much more easily than they could a decade ago. Professionals need to think in terms of the larger, global landscape to be successful. The highest quality MBA programs will not only instill the importance of a global perspective in their students, but hopefully have a diverse student body to bring diverse perspectives into the classroom on a daily basis.

3. Hands-On Learning

Traditional learning in the classroom serves as the foundation for professional success, but it can only take you so far. Hands-on learning in the form of corporate immersion (business coming to the classroom to utilize student help in solving problems) is an example of an authentic professional experience that will elevate an MBA experience to the next level. Being able to apply educational insights in a real world setting takes case studies to the next level. There is no better preparation for the next step in your career. Bentley University’s Graduate School of Business, for example, offers field-based collaborations, corporate immersion, corporate partnerships to guarantee their graduates are ready to take on the real challenges of the contemporary workplace.

4. Job Placement

Arguably, the greatest indication of an MBA’s return on investment is where students head after graduation. Are they executives in reputable corporate empires? The buzz of the startup scene after founding an innovative venture? Take stock of graduates’ accomplishments to decipher what your potential future could be if you enroll in certain MBA programs.

5. Campus Culture

You might roll your eyes at the inclusion of “campus culture” on the criteria for selecting an MBA program. After all, this is business school not college. But culture might play a greater role in your professional future than you think. Certain business school campuses are alive with entrepreneurial energy and activity. Whether it’s on-campus accelerators, startup clubs, or simply a student body bursting with enthusiasm for the next great business idea; the campus ecosystem could potentially advance your career as much as anything you could learn in a classroom.

6. Faculty

Instructors in an MBA program impact students experience in the classroom and beyond. Quite often connections with faculty can be equally or even more important than rich network formed with fellow students. Be sure your business school of choice boasts world-class faculty not only with impressive academic credentials but a remarkable resume of real-world experiences they can bring into the classroom to enhance the learning experience.