Best MBA Schools Offer Strategic Network of Support

There are many aspects of an MBA program that you must consider. But the best MBA schools have a key ingredient that sets them apart from other MBA programs: a strategic network of support.

MBA schools tout the number of alumni they have when talking about the network they can provide you but a true network of support encompasses much more. Don’t get me wrong—alumni support is vital to MBA students’ success.

But when you are looking for the best MBA program for you to succeed in, you should research all aspects of the network of support you will receive in your program, including cohorts, faculty, staff, career services, alumni, student groups and activities, and campus community.

7 Components of a Strong Network of Support

  1. Cohorts

Not every MBA program offers you a cohort structure—a group of students that complete the core curriculum together. In George Mason’s MBA program, your cohort becomes a support group. It is a reliable group of classmates that you collaborate with on group work and study with to strengthen weaknesses. These peers will become invaluable components of your business network as you continue on in your career as well as trusted friends, long after graduation.

“I was surrounded by outstanding faculty and an amazing group of students who were constantly debating ideas, business concepts, and strategies.” – Jonathan R. Snowling ’11, Senior Partner, SR Strategic Communications

  1. Faculty

Support from faculty is also vital for success. Faculty must possess a balance of academic and business experience to provide students with the opportunity to gain the greatest amount of knowledge in the program. Faculty must also make themselves available outside the classroom to answer questions, provide advice, and share industry connections. At George Mason, MBA faculty that provides real world insights, a strong theoretical base, and applied learning opportunities will create a solid foundation for your business future. Learning is much more than what is in a textbook.

“I have been able to build strong relationships with a diverse set of classmates and professors while juggling a full-time career. Overall, I believe that the way the faculty and administration treats the students is what sets Mason apart from other business schools.” –Brock Walker ’14, Financial Specialist, US Department of Treasury

  1. Staff

The staff of any MBA program can have a great impact on the ease at which you go through the program, reducing stress and allowing you more time to spend on learning. The best MBA schools will guide you throughout the program, from applications to enrollment to graduation and beyond. Taking the time to establish good relationships with MBA program staff will greatly benefit you as you navigate the program.

“There is a great deal of support from the MBA faculty and staff.” –Ruxandra Arustei ’11, Financial Analyst, Crescent Hotels & Resorts

  1. Career Services

The best MBA programs have dedicated career services personnel that will assist you in pursuing your career goals whether that means finding a new job or earning a raise or promotion within your existing company. George Mason’s MBA program career services team educates students about employment and networking opportunities, online resources, recruitment fairs, and professional development seminars. You retain lifetime access to our career services even after graduation.

In a survey of 2015 graduates, 97% of Mason MBA students were employed at graduation, while 49% received a promotion and 79% received a raise. Learn more about Mason’s MBA careers.

  1. Alumni

Alumni create a foundation for the program and can add value to your MBA degree. Taking the opportunities to shadow or be mentored by alumni can not only enhance your learning but open up new career opportunities. George Mason’s regularly tap our alumni network of more than 27,000 business alumni to serve as classroom speakers, mentors, career panelists, and recruiters.

  1. Student Groups and Activities

It is sometimes said that you get as much out of your degree as you put into it. Take advantage of the student groups and activities offered in an MBA program. These are another way to connect to other MBA students and business community members to continue to grow your professional network. Learn more about Mason’s MBA Student Association and Women in Business Initiative.

  1. Business Community

It’s important to look at the business community and industry connections of business schools. Is the MBA program deeply integrated in the regional, national, and international business communities? Does it have strong connections to the industry you work in or want to pursue a career in?

George Mason’s business school has deep roots and in the Washington, D.C., region and by extension the national and international economic markets. With strong connections in the financial, government contracting, national defense, IT, and nonprofit sectors, the Mason MBA is an ideal program for students who work in these fields.

George Mason’s MBA Program, prepares the next generation of business leaders through a rigorous, stimulating business and management curriculum based on a global perspective, industry demand, and leadership. Mason’s MBA program is ranked #69 on the “Best Part-time MBA” list by U. S. News & World Report.

Download the complete e-book titled “5 Things You Need in an MBA Program” for a more in-depth look at this topic.

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Kevin Rockmann

I am the associate dean of students at George Mason University's School of Business. My primary teaching assignments are organizational behavior and negotiation in the MBA program. Using theory on identity, decision-making, and social exchange, my research investigates the development and the influence of various types of attachments in organizations, whether they be at the individual, team, professional, or organizational level. My research has appeared in Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Small Group Research, and the Research in Managing Groups and Teams book series.

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