1. What is the business schools quality and reputation?
This goes far beyond a school’s pedigree. Taking a look at school rankings is one place to start, but it’s just as important to gather your own information, which includes asking for personal input from your boss and colleagues on schools they’re familiar with. Which institutions do they think offer the best resources to support your learning objectives and the goals of the company? What are their impressions of the schools on your shortlist? Have colleagues participated in any programmes there themselves? Plus, showing you value your boss’s advice could also improve your chances for getting support – in the form of funding, time off or simply moral support.
2. Location: to stay local or go international?
If there’s a strong business school located close to home, geographic convenience may make your b-school selection super simple. Yet, there are several good reasons to look further afield. Training in a special skill or specific industry might not be available nearby. A school based abroad could offer insights into a foreign business culture you need to learn about – or add an international perspective to your domestic business issues. Take advantage of the fact that executive education is as globalised as business itself! Many of the world’s top schools have campuses in multiple countries. And many others cooperate with international partners to offer longer programmes taught across multiple countries and institutions.
3. What will the teaching faculty add to your career?
You’ll be spending a lot of classroom time with your executive-education faculty, so respect, rapport and relevance are vital. Check out instructors’ biographies, look around online for related interviews and articles – or even better, videos in which you can get a sense of their physical presence. Are these people you can relate to? Do they communicate an air of approachability? Will they be able to apply their expertise to your situation?
4. Is this a community of students and alumni you aspire to join?
Network-building is one of the reasons most often cited for pursuing executive education. Look at online profiles and testimonials of current students – do you feel you are (or want to become) one of them? Do they work in your industry – and is that a positive or negative? How active and closely knit is the alumni network? This last question can be hard to answer as an outsider.
You have a lot of factors and options to consider as you choose your executive-education provider. Rest assured, though, that the plethora of courses on offer means there is bound to be a perfect programme for everyone.
This article originally appeared on The Economist Executive Education Navigator blog.