Wednesday, May 12, 2004

What I'm looking for 

Before talking about each school, I thought it would be useful to post the lists I made of why I want to do and MBA and what I want from a programme.

What do I want to achieve?

Equip myself to lead an nfp organisation in the future, by:

* developing skills in strategy and leadership
* gaining a deeper understanding of the issues affecting nfp orgs
* building more generalist skills and knowledge onto my specialist skills, knowldege and experience.
* acquiring enough knowledge of other specialisms to understand the issues and ask intelligent questions
* gaining knowledge and skills in the 'hard' areas
* building on my knowldege and skills in the 'soft' areas

What am I looking for when chosing an MBA

* Core courses with a good mix of 'hard' and 'soft'
* Opportunity to lok in-depth at leadership, strategy and nfp issues
* Ability to have both breadth and depth in course taken
* To learn from experts working at the 'cutting edge'
* To learn from my fellow students
* To be able to put theory into action
* To be in a co-operative culture
* Opportunity to work and study with people from a wide-range of backgrounds
* To be somewhere I'll enjoy living and studting
* Good links to nfp orgs and consultacies
* Interesting extra-currics
* Interesting people
* A firm foundation for future professional practice and development
* A well-regarded course
* A mix of teaching methods, used effectively
* Opportunitied to sing (a long-term hobby that I want to continue)
* Finance available for international students
* A loan forgiveness programme
* Decent transport links with the UK
* Not too big, but not too claustrophobic
* Excitement!

The above aren't in any particular order. I'm going to go through them at some point and divide the criteria into 'essential', 'desirable', and 'bonus', and probably add in some more that I think of along the way.

Edited to add: In response to requests, anyone wanting to use this list elsewhere is very welcome to do so, but I'd appreciate it if you could credit where it originated. Thanks.

Now, as promised, my thought on each school:

What makes it stand out

*Very good reputation for its nfp offerings.
*Interesting nfp focussed resources and courses (e.g. Programme on Social Enterprise, Partnership on Nonprofit Ventures, Nonprofit Organiosations Clinic.
*Social Entrepreneurship course
*Strong offerings in the strategy area.
*Strong offerings in the leadership area (including Chief Executives Leadership Institute, Creativity and Innovation course)
*Intersting joint offerings with other schools, particulalrly liked the look of 'Business Ethics and Sleeping Well' with the School of Divinity.
*Small school.


*New Haven
*No university housing, how difficult will it be to find accommodation when I'm coming from across the Atlantic and have no local credit history?

What makes it stand out

* Overall profile and reputation of the programme
* Location / weather
* Centre for Social Innovation and the nfp course oferrings
* Centre for Leadership Development and Research and the leadership and strategy courses
* Leadership DEvelopment Platform
* Process of Change Lab
* Management communication Programme


* Location - west coast makes time difference with and travel time to the UK that little bit more

Before I visited, I'd listed 'reported arrogance of students'. I've now deleted that, but replaced it with 'very high competition from extremely able applicants'! But if you don't ask, you don't get, and the worst they can do is say 'no'.

What makes it stand out

* Centre for Nonprofit Management
* Offering of noprofit leadership non-credit course, early on in the year
* Social Impact Club and Conference
* Well regarded programme, both generally and for nfp's
* Very team focussed
* Good leadership and strategy offerings
* Board Fellowship course


Slightly larger programme than the other two

Again, before visiting I'd listed 'Will I like Chicago / Evanston?' I can now say a very definite 'yes'.

Having typed up these notes, largely made before my visits, I can see that there's stuff missing and more detail in some areas than others. Watch this space and I'll come back and fill them out, as well as looking at Wharton and Columbia.


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