When choosing an MBA program, there are many basic requirements you will want to consider. The reputation of the professors. The program’s design. Class schedules. Maybe some success stories of recent graduates. But a major component of an MBA that often goes overlooked is the opportunity to get real-world experience. That is why choosing a program that has a consulting project can make all the difference in the world.
What Is a Consulting Program?
While each school is different, basically a consulting program is a partnership between the school and businesses that provide hands-on educational opportunities for MBA students. Towards the end of your program, you will be given the chance to work with fellow students in a consulting role for a local, regional, national or international business/organization. The business will come in as a client with a challenge, and you get to put all of your learning to work to help them solve it.
How Is It Different From Case Studies?
While case studies are a huge part of the academic experience, they are always looking back. A consulting project gives you the opportunity to see a business challenge unfold right before your eyes in real-time. Not as required reading, but as a living, breathing organism with profitability concerns, efficiency needs, production issues and human capital challenges. And best of all, you have the opportunity to impact the outcome.
What Will I Get Out Of It?
Consulting programs offer tremendous value for MBA students. First, it helps you gain the most balanced and well-rounded education possible, providing critical real world experiences to compliment your academic learnings. Second, it gives you the chance to interact with business owners. The wealth of insight and wisdom you can gain by working with business leaders and entrepreneurs is second to none. And finally, it can help narrow your focus on the type of job or industry you want to work in after graduation. Consulting can help you gain a true understanding of the nature of an industry from the inside, not just reading about it or spending a few hours during a visit.
While various MBA programs have their strengths and areas of focus, and there are many factors to consider, finding one with a consulting component will help ensure you are ready to meet any challenge your career will entail.