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7 Critical Factors to Consider When Choosing Your MBA Program



When considering the right MBA program, it is important to align learning ambitions with lifestyle needs and professional aspirations. By systematically working through each of the following critical factors, MBA candidates can define a set of criteria that guides their choice.

1. Reputation

Undertaking a Master of Business Administration requires a combination of personal, professional, and financial commitments. Because of this, a chosen MBA program should ideally have a reputation that supports future professional recognition. MBA programs with strong reputations are geared to offer graduates both the career value and return on investment they expect.

When choosing an MBA program and exploring available options, early-stage professionals and emerging leaders can consider programs that are delivered by reputable and recognized international business schools. These schools offer a wealth of global experience and faculty expertise, and they also bring a valuable global perspective to the MBA learning experience.

2. Location and Campus Experience

It is important that MBA candidates explore programs in locations that provide them with the professional opportunities they look to achieve post-graduation.

MBA study locations should offer access to a local business ecosystem, ideally where multinational corporations and industries relevant to the candidate’s career goals are located. Networking opportunities in chosen locations can also lead to a range of hands-on professional experiences in the future.

By choosing to study in the United Arab Emirates, students can enjoy unique learning experiences in vibrant, economically developed, and regionally progressive cities.

However, choosing an MBA program in Abu Dhabi goes further. Positioning students at the very heart of the Emirate’s economic powerhouse, they can join a diverse community and cultivate valuable adaptability and cross-cultural communication skills, essential qualities as a professional.

Stern at NYU Abu Dhabi’s One-year Full-time MBA program offers a high-quality education in the economic and federal capital of the United Arab Emirates.

3. Program Duration and Flexibility

MBA programs vary greatly in terms of duration and flexibility. Some are full-time over a two-year period, while others are online to cater to the needs of working professionals who cannot commit to a full-time, in-person program. A critical factor in deciding MBA suitability is the candidate’s availability to study, over what period, when, and where.

In consideration of early career professionals’ time limitations and career demands, the Stern at NYUAD’s One-year Full-time MBA program is unique in that it delivers a comprehensive business education while minimizing time away from the workforce. This intensive one-year curriculum covers all essential MBA subjects.

4. Specializations

Students can tailor their MBA educational journey to align with their career aspirations. Finding a specialization that adds value can help MBA graduates meet a specific demand within their desired business sector. The appropriate specialization can provide a competitive edge by equipping graduates with the relevant expertise needed to progress within their chosen industry.

The Stern at NYU Abu Dhabi One-year Full-time MBA offers specializations in Business Analytics; Finance; Leadership, Management, and Strategy; Marketing; and Technology, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship, each delivered by expert faculty with both regional and global insight.

5. Alumni and Career Services

Competitive MBA programs boast extensive and influential international alumni networks, and offer dedicated career services that work together to accelerate professional progress through these networks.

Prospective students should investigate how an MBA program’s dedicated teams can introduce students and graduates to relevant alumni, encourage industry connections, help to secure professional internships, and support students as they explore career opportunities.

The NYU Stern alumni network is 110,000 strong with representation in over 130 countries, and students of the upcoming Stern at NYU Abu Dhabi One-year Full-time MBA will be offered a chance to connect with this international network. Based on the long-standing career success of NYU Stern’s MBA program, and built upon the relationships that exist between the NYU Abu Dhabi Career Development Center, Stern at NYUAD career support services also offer close connections with corporates in the UAE and broader MENA region. To learn more about the program and associated career services click here.

6. Global Exposure

Prospective students should compare MBA programs and identify those that offer opportunities to cultivate global competencies.

MBA programs that offer international experiences provide students with the ability to cultivate cultural fluency and cross-border collaboration skills – vital professional attributes in today’s hyper-connected business world. Even professionals with an exclusively local or regional focus can benefit greatly from exposure to, and a deeper understanding of, the global commercial marketplace.

The Stern at NYU Abu Dhabi One-year Full-time MBA offers an experiential internship courses in Abu Dhabi and a summer session in New York, so students not only graduate with a world-class MBA — they also gain insight into organizational operations and real-world corporate challenges in two of the most dynamic economic capital cities in the world.

7. Financial Considerations

Financial considerations in relation to tuition fees and living expenses must be carefully assessed before an MBA search can begin. Fees, scholarships, and financial aid options vary significantly across institutions and programs, so candidates must familiarize themselves with the financial requirements of each target program. Ancillary costs also need to be considered. These include travel, accommodation, and general living costs, with loss of regular income another major factor for consideration.

Almost every MBA program offers scholarship opportunities. Prospective students can also explore employer sponsorship for their MBA.

The Stern at NYUAD One-year Full-time MBA program offers candidates the option to be considered for merit-based scholarships. These include the prestigious Dean’s Scholarship, Director’s Scholarship, Community Scholarship, and Alumni Scholarship.


Choosing the right MBA program requires extensive research and strategic planning. The more a candidate knows, the more informed their decision will be. By taking into account all of these critical factors, the chosen program can deliver the transformational experience desired.

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