PLS HELP: choose a MSc program

School selection
  • Posted by se7en on 05/27/13 4:13am


    I took a bachelor in Economics in Portugal and now I want to do a Master in Management abroad.

    I have been accepted in:

    • Antwerp management school
    • Bradford
    • Strathclyde

    Still waiting for:

    • Aston
    • Lancaster
    • Henley
    • UCDublin Michael Smurfit
    • VU (Amsterdam, not in the FT rankings)


    • Durham
    • Bath

    I've made a research about this uni's, tried to talk with alumni without any luck...

    My question is, is the Financial Times' ranking that important? Well id appreciate very much if someone could help me out!!

    • Posted by Thomas Graf on 05/27/13 12:23pm

      Hi there,

      thank you for your question. In my opinion, the FT Ranking is just one criterion out of many. It is not "that important" that you should take it as the only criterion. But I would not ignore it as well a sit indicates that schools run programs over many years successfully.

      You mentioned something that irritated me: "tried to talk with alumni without any luck..." What exactly happened here?

      I am asking because part of a GOOD school's job - in my opinion - is to serve their potential candidates well. So, if you ask them to bring you in contact with ex students and they do not answer you (1) in time, (2) politely, and (3) such that you actually get this contact, this may be a "dis-qualifier". At least I would seriously doubt to study at such a place as this may mean that any future request that you may have will also not be taken answered appropriately.

      Best wishes

      By Thomas Graf

    • Posted by se7en on 05/27/13 2:51pm

      Thank you for your answer.

      I tried to contact alumni through the social networks because one of the universities told me they could not give me the contact of any student due to some sort of protection clause, and maybe it was my mistake to conclude that every uni would tell me this, so i just jumped off to facebook and tried to get answers from people who had studied at these universities. And I got zero answers.

      Given your knowledge about the universities I mentioned before, could you tell me how would you rank them? or at least which ones have you heard really good things?

      Kind regards,


      • Posted by Thomas Graf on 05/27/13 4:44pm

        Hi there,

        all of your selected universities are "solid" institutions. But ranking them means that you need to reflect your preferences first.

        For example, if you want to work in a specific industry it would be helpful if companies from this industry recruit graduates of your program. Hence, you should clarify this in advance - by screening the schools' websites for statistics and by contacting their career service teams asking them about:

        • Who comes to campus to recruit?
        • Which industries?
        • Which companies?
        • Which jobs?
        • How fast do the graduates find a job? How many percent find a job 3 months after graduation?

        If a school is not able or willing to provide you with this information, I - my personal and private opinion - would not study there.

        Also, if a school is not able or willing to bring me in contact with current or ex-students, I - personally - would not study there (unless there is another serious reason, such as a 100% scholarship...).

        Other approaches are:

        • Where do you want to work later on? Often times it is helpful to study in the country where you want to work directly after graduation.
        • How important is internationality for you? Check the schools' websites for statistics on the students' portfolio (e.g., where do they come from?) or ask the school about it. Again, if the school is not able or willing to provide me with this information I - personally - would not study there.
        • How important is the curriculum for you? Check the courses offered; check if there are specializations that you are interested in. For instance, if you are interested in entrepreneurship you may try to find a school that specializes a bit in that and offers, e.g., venture labs or business plan competitions with the chance to become supported by actual business angels.

        These are just inspirations. My impression is that you need such inspirations so that you can move on and scratch more information out of the programs - you need more information to be able to choose a program and prefer it over others.

        Again: Take the schools' reactions on your requests into account. How serious do they take you? How fast and polite do they answer? Do their answers satisfy you?

        In the case of the school that you mentioned: You could, for example, contact them again and say that you followed their advice and that you used their social media to contact ex students - but that no one answered. Furthermore, you could say that talking to current and ex students first is an important pre-condition for you to choose a program - particularly now that you received offers from several schools. Then you could kindly ask again if they could bring you in contact with an ex student and see how they react.

        Best wishes

        By Thomas Graf

    • Posted by se7en on 05/27/13 4:59pm

      Thank you so much!!!

      I will definitely take into account your opinion and suggestions. You are completely right, I still need to acquire more information about these universities, in order to understand my preferences.

      For now, that is all.

      Again, thank you very much :)

      Kind regards,


    • Posted by se7en on 05/30/13 1:21am

      Hello Thomas,

      I was wondering if you knew people who took the MIM programme at Strathclyde and Bath? If you do, would you put me in contact with him/her, please?

      Kind regards,


      • Posted by Thomas Graf on 05/30/13 3:40pm

        Hi Eduardo,

        I know someone from Strathclyde and I will ask him to contact you through the private message box.

        Best wishes

    • Posted by pramodbhattaram on 05/30/13 2:50pm


        i am from india and have 11 months of work experience. I want to do M.Sc in INNOVATION, STRATEGY AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP. I have been accepted into GRENOBLE GGSB  for the same program. Do you think it is a good university for this course and will I get a good job after this program. Is it worth it?

      Pls help me

      • Posted by Thomas Graf on 05/30/13 3:56pm

        Hi pramodbhattaram,

        thank you for your question. Grenoble Business School is an established school. Its Master in International Business, for example, made it to position 13 in the FT MIM Ranking and it is ranked in all kinds of management rankings, for example on position 21 in the FT European Business School Ranking. It belongs to the Grenoble Ecole de Management, which is a "Grand Ecole" in France, that means a top institution. It has the triple accreditation: AMBA, AACSB and Equis.

        Now, does guarantee you that you find "a" job? Think about it for a second....

        First of all, you never have a guarantee. Next, you should try to become more specific regarding your career goals. For example, if you want to become an investment banker you should screen the companies that recruit at Grenoble Business School. If no investment banks recruit there, it may be the wrong choice for you although the school may have a great reputation. If you want to work in India after graduation you should make sure that your future employer knows the school.

        Overall, I want to motivate you become more specific in your goals and then check if the school helps you achieve your goals. Then I would (1) screen the school's website for statistics on careers, employers, and graduates, and (2) contact the career office and ask about employers on campus and the percentage of students that found a job 3 months after graduation, in which countries, and at which employers.

        Finally, you can ask the schools admissions team to bring you in contact with a current and an ex student. You can contact them via skype and receive first hand information by this.

        Best wishes

        By Thomas Graf

    • Posted by se7en on 05/30/13 3:49pm

      Hi Thomas,

      Thank you. I will be waiting for the pm then.

      Kind regards,


    • Posted by pramodbhattaram on 06/04/13 7:49am


       Thank You very much for your informative response. I just received an admission letter from Cardiff Business School into the program of M.Sc. Strategic Marketing. I applied to this program too as I was very interested in Marketing plan designing. But I do not have a degree in management. I have only 11 months of experience as a strategic analyst in an advisory firm. 

      My goal Is to work in a Multi National company in mid management level cadre in marketing. I just wanted to know if I will be able to secure such a job on successful completion of this M.Sc program, even without a management degree in marketing? Please give your views regarding this issue.

      • Posted by Thomas Graf on 06/04/13 9:06pm

        Hi there,

        thank you for your question. I understand your concerns and, in general, I think that doing a business master is a good decision on your way to a marketing position. No one will give you a job guarantee, however, as this depends on more than just the degree question. For instance, where will you apply later on? How will you presnet yourself in the interviews? etc.

        So, let me turn the question around: What better option do you have? Let me mention that you don't need an education in marketing to work in marketing. You don't even need to study business to become head of marketing as I am the best example for that (studied humanities, developed motivatoin and fun in product development and sales, and fortunately had a boss that encouraged me to move on with that...). Still I think that doing a master in marketing is a good idea and will help you gain both competence and - ideally - a network to employers.

        Having said that, the question is not longer whether doing a Master in Marketing is good or bad but rather which school can help you reach your goal. That's a different question as you don't question your basic decision anymore - rather you finegrain it and start to think abotu what a school or program needs to have so that you maximize your career chance.

        In the case of the Cardiff Business School, you can do the following, for instance:

        • Ask the school's career office how many percent of the graduates find a job within 3 months after graduation.
        • Where do they find a job (firms, industries, countries)
        • Also ask whether this people had a first degree in business or not. By the way, you should ask the school's admissions office in general about the academic background of the students in that master.

        By this you get a clearer picture about the potential sucess that you get by doing this program.

        Furthermore, I recommend you to consider other schools as well, particularly if the answers from Cardiff are not satisfying for you (if they are satisfying, perfect! But it's always good to have a plan B ).

        Best wishes

        By Thomas Graf

    • Posted by pramodbhattaram on 06/05/13 4:11pm

      Thank You for your reply, and I will get on the job of contacting the university alumni and career office as you suggested.