Eight things to look for when searching for an MBA program

By Eric Askins

Everyone has a different motivation for getting an MBA. Perhaps you want to take on a more challenging role or increase your current salary. Maybe you want to start a business or refine your communication, public speaking, and negotiation skills. Whatever your reasons for getting an MBA, there are many factors that will help you choose the best business school.

Here are some of the main factors prospective students should consider:

1. Flexibility in programs

Many MBA candidates are already established professionals, and many have families. Berkeley Haas has three flexible MBA programs to give more people the opportunity to experience a world-class education and training:

  • Full-time MBA – A 21-month program designed for students to benefit from in-depth exposure to the latest business trends and ideas.
  • Evening & Weekend MBA – A three-year part-time program tailored to the needs of working professionals.
  • MBA for Executives (EMBA) – A 22-month program designed for working professionals at the executive level.

No matter which Berkeley Haas program you choose, you’ll be earning your degree from one of the nation’s top MBA programs.

2. Costs

Costs are a major factor in choosing an MBA program. Getting your master’s is a big investment, but with the right program, the time and money you spend will pay off tenfold.

Berkeley Haas MBA programs by the numbers:

  • Berkeley Haas Full-time MBA – Estimated tuition and fees for the 2020-2021 program are $64,246 for California residents, and $68,444 for non-residents, plus the cost of living, books and supplies, and other personal expenses.
  • Evening & Weekend MBA – Program fees for the 2020-2021 academic year are $3,464 per unit, with a minimum of 42 units required for graduation.
  • Executive MBA –The cost for the class entering in August 2020 was $194,000 for the 22-month program. Cost includes tuition, books, hotel accommodations, administrative fees, and most meals during residence periods. Airfare not included.

This initial investment in developing your skills can pay off in the long run when you start a successful company or negotiate a higher salary for your next job.

3. Job placement stats

Pursuing an MBA to advance your career and enhance job prospects? You’re not alone. Choosing the best MBA program can help gain the attention of renowned financial institutions, consulting firms, and technology companies in need of top talent.

The Berkeley Haas Class of 2020 reported:

  • 89.5% of graduates received offers within three months of graduation
  • Mean base annual salary of $139,423
  • 73.4% received a sign-on bonus
  • 42.7% received stock options

4. Scholarships and financial aid

When it comes to financing your MBA, it’s nice to know you’re not in this alone. Berkeley Haas offers several forms of financial assistance for all MBA programs, including:

  • Merit and need-based scholarships
  • Federal and private loans
  • Grants
  • Instructorships

Berkeley Haas graduates working in the nonprofit or public service sectors can also take advantage of the Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP)

Other funding options include veterans’ benefits, a 529 savings plan, or a home equity line of credit. Speak with our financial aid office to discuss your options for financing your future.

5. Professors

No matter where you get your MBA, the professors will have a huge impact on shaping your experience. Top MBA programs have a distinguished faculty who can provide both a strong academic foundation and practical, real-world experiences, regardless of your field of study.

Professors at Berkeley Haas are thought leaders, business leaders, and internationally recognized researchers. They are Nobel Prize Laureates and industry experts, many of whom have received awards for their excellence in teaching. Get to know our professors.

6. Alumni network

At the best business schools, your MBA doesn’t stop working for you once you graduate. A strong alumni network offers benefits that stay with you for years to come.

Berkeley Haas has an extremely active worldwide network of more than 41,000 alumni and over 30 active alumni chapters. The robust alumni program makes it easy to stay connected through events, our LinkedIn alumni directory, affinity groups, and other career resources. Berkeley Haas grads are doing great things, and you never what exciting opportunities could come from connecting with your peers.

7. Location

What they say in real estate applies to your MBA, too – it’s all about location, location, location. Berkeley is blessed with a thriving music and art scene, not to mention fantastic weather practically year-round, and easy access to the mountains, ocean, and wine country. More importantly for those in search of the best business schools, it’s a hub for cutting-edge industries and business leaders.

Our campus of three connected buildings is designed to feel both intimate and ultramodern. You’ll have everything within reach, including a state-of-the-art computer lab, a comprehensive career center, a café, a flexible innovation lab, and a large business and economics library.

8. The campus culture

Top business schools are distinguished by culture, and in the right MBA program, you can learn as much from your fellow students as from professors. Berkeley Haas is built upon a culture of leadership and innovation, with programs that aim to provide a challenging and rewarding student experience.

Some perspectives that are core to the Berkeley Haas experience and culture include:

  • Defining Leadership Principles – At Berkeley Haas, we believe that a fundamental step in redefining the business leader is to get our culture right, because this culture encourages students to develop the mindset and behaviors of innovative leaders. Berkeley Haas students, faculty, staff, and alumni live our distinctive culture out loud by embracing our four Defining Leadership Principles:
    • Question the Status Quo
    • Confidence Without Attitude
    • Students Always
    • Beyond Yourself
  • Diversity and inclusion – The Haas school recruits the most diverse students from every race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, language, abilities/disabilities, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, and geographic region.
  • Hands-on learning – Our commitment to learning by doing takes place through extracurricular clubs and organizations, internships, and in the classroom.
  • Global focus – Students are encouraged to adopt a global business perspective through international opportunities like a semester abroad, study trips to other countries, or serving as a consultant overseas.

Whether you’re looking to advance your career or start a new one, the Berkeley Haas MBA program will provide you with the skills you need to get you there.

Compare Berkeley MBA programs

Editor's note: This post was originally published in September 2019 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Posted on April 27, 2021
Themes: Applying  |  MBA Benefits
Eric Askins
Eric is the Executive Director of Full-time MBA Admissions. He partners with students, faculty and staff to recruit a diverse student body that enhances our community through innovative leadership and academic excellence.