While it sounds like the easiest decision in the entire process of MBA application, choosing a business school to apply to is often the most difficult! And if this makes you feel any better, chances are that you will be asked about this during the essays and the interview. Believe it or not, I have come across scores of people who apply to schools because they have heard of it, are aware of the brand and “think” that it would be a great choice. Like your decision to pursue a MBA, the reasoning behind your choice of a business school is extremely important.
If you do some deep thinking and go back to why you decided to apply to business school, some answers would automatically pop out at you. There are some typical filters that would help one to make a list – namely location preference, school brand, school ranking, specialization, cost of program, duration of program ( some people prefer a 2 year program to a 1 year program), scholarships offered, etc. Attending different MBA roadshows, participating in business school visits will give you a feel of the school, its people and might actually help you to make your choice(s). Once you get a basic list of desired schools ( including schools that you dream about ) try and rate them against the basic filters and any other factors that might help you ( alumni, typical hiring companies, etc.). The ratings would help to figure out which schools should finally be Priority 1, 2, 3for you . If you want to get some inspiration on how you can come up with an effective chart, you should check out this post.
After you finally come up with a prioritized list of business schools to apply to, do remember to run the final list against practical issues like cost of program, return on investment (ROI), scholarships (if available), financial aid.