A business school’s network is usually one of the top reasons someone chooses an MBA program.
Leveraging both the b-school and also other alumni from a particular school can pay dividends when advancing your post-MBA career, so wisely considering which school will meet your needs in that area is a critical component of the b-school selection process.
One thing often overlooked when choosing a school for its network is failing to consider where its alumni end up.
MBA degrees are fairly sticky for most schools, meaning graduates usually end up living within an 8-hour drive of the school itself. This rule of thumb does not apply to the M7 schools or even to many in the top 20, since graduates from those schools are highly sought the world over by top, globally-flung corporations. What this means is, you need to have a pretty clear geographic objective in mind for yourself before you even apply to a school, lest you end up in an area where your network is limited or non-existent.
If you do have the luxury of going to a school which ranks tops for networking, you should know that networking at that level actually gets even better.
Schools in the top tier often hold joint networking events in major cities, where graduates from several top schools attend. Hailing from a top tier MBA institution is sort of it’s own “club” in itself, which gives you access to a much broader network. Definitely something to consider.
So which schools score tops for their MBA alumni network? A couple of years ago, graduateprograms.com did the homework for you.
Their approach was to survey 13,000 alumni of top programs, asking them how highly they view the connectivity of the alumni, faculty and staff from their school. Student self-ranked on a scale of 1-10 and the results are below. Keep in mind this approach is rather subjective, since it could be the case that students have incentive to rank their own school highly, but typically, MBAs are pragmatic and can often be found with a more objective methodology in general. Anyway, you can take the findings with a grain of salt and simply use the list as a starting point to do your own research. In the end, you should be reaching out to alumni from your target institutions to get some real feedback. Don’t know any alumni? Reach out to the admissions office or the alumni association for your target schools and ask them to connect you to someone.
Here is the link to the Graduate Program rankings on the Business Insider site: http://www.businessinsider.com/best-business-schools-for-networking-2015-10