The matter of selecting schools is always a complex one, you have rankings, potential network and employment, total costs and debts, geography and many other variables. The main variables I took into account were: program length, tuition and living cost, recognition, alumni network and family fit. Based on these variables US options were eliminated, recognized programs are 2 year-long and had total costs beyond my options, thus focused mainly on Europe.
- Nowadays program length is an important one; too long (over 1.5 years) and you are out of the loop and too short (< 1 year) and you don’t get the experience than an MBA can offer, especially when considering a career transition.
- My financial situation was OK, nonetheless for an MBA you need money you don’t have. In this regard total cost (tuition and living expenses) are critical for the decision. Take into consideration that I am a Venezuelan citizen, meaning that due to the currency restrictions I couldn’t get a loan in USD, moreover an MBA is not part of the country’s priority academic list meaning, so chances were null for loan options. At the same time although living in Chile for over 5 years, I couldn’t opt for a student loan. This resulted that the MBA option had to meet potential family cash loans and personal savings.
- For any applicant the first source of information are rankings, whether ideal or not, they are the foundation for the final decision. I looked into Financial Times, The Economist, QS and others looking for programs in the top 25 worldwide. Then visited their websites and search for blogs that made comments on their strengths and weaknesses. I looked at LinkedIn profiles to see where the latest intakes were working, and emailed a few to get their opinions.
- In this regard the number of alumni and their geographic distribution was important to me as I am open for various geographic opportunities.
After analyzing the various schools I ranked the HEC MBA program as the best for my career transition. The program would complement my technical background in energy and sustainability by developing other areas as marketing, finance, innovation and strategy. The program, near a capital like Paris and the synergies offered (alumni and companies) reassured me of the possibilities of my post-MBA objectives.
The decision was not only mine to take, it involved my wife. As the experience had to add to both of our goals. In this case, being married to a fashion designer, Lizeth Villalobos (store and facebook), studying near Paris adds to our family objectives of growing her side of the business: jewelry design, networking in the fashion capital and take advantage of the MBAs electives and clubs. Also the opportunity to live in Paris with our son, Maximo, can bring new experiences and friendships for the rest of our lives.