MBA Admissions: Brand vs. Fit

By - Jul 8, 19:26 PM Comments [0]

My Liz Claiborne shorts! How I loved them! I felt worth a million bucks when I bought them – on sale! – at Macy’s when I was in college. Liz Claiborne was usually out of my price range but the sale and a bit of a splurge made it possible, and I felt great!

The Importance of Fit in MBA AdmissionsBut something shocking happened when I wore them. Someone whom I didn’t know and had never even seen before – okay, I admit I was in Israel for the summer, so it was an Israeli (a population not known for its subtlety) – who literally stopped me on the street and told me I looked fat. Actually, two separate strangers told me that on two separate occasions.

After the second time, I threw out those Liz Claiborne shorts.

Why do I bring this up? Because last week one of my successful clients who earned a spot in two of the top 5 MBA programs in the world told me that she was not going to accept either offer. After visiting the programs, she just didn’t feel they matched her personality or career goals. She had gotten the “Liz Claiborne shorts” but also realized too late that they just didn’t fit right!

Now – months before the first application deadline – is the time to research programs and get a good sense what the students are like, what the recruiting picture is, and how these fit your own needs and personality. Talk to students and alumni, visit the campus once classes are in session, and scrutinize each program’s employment statistics. Only then will you ensure that you’ve gotten a good fit – and not just a good brand!

By Jennifer Bloom, who has been helping applicants to the top MBA programs draft their resumes, application forms, letters of recommendation, and essays for 12 years. She is happy to serve as your personal coach and hand-holder throughout the entire process. There’s no time like the present to begin!


My Liz Claiborne shorts! How I loved them! I felt worth a million bucks when I bought them – on sale! – at Macy’s when I was in college. Liz Claiborne was usually out of my price range but the sale and a bit of a splurge made it possible, and I felt great!

But something shocking happened when I wore them. Someone whom I didn’t know and had never even seen before – okay, I admit I was in Israel for the summer, so it was an Israeli (a population not known for its subtlety) – literally stopped me on the street and told me I looked fat. Actually, two separate strangers told me that on two separate occasions.

After the second time, I threw out those Liz Claiborne shorts.

Why do I bring this up? Because last week one of my successful clients who earned a spot in two of the top 5 MBA programs in the world told me that she was not going to accept either offer. After visiting the programs, she just didn’t feel they matched her personality or career goals. She had gotten the “Liz Claiborne shorts” but also realized too late that they just didn’t fit right!

Now – months before the first application deadline – is the time to research programs and get a good sense what the students are like, what the recruiting picture is, and how these fit your own needs and personality. Talk to students and alumni, visit the campus once classes are in session, and scrutinize each program’s employment statistics. Only then will you ensure that you’ve gotten a good fit – and not just a good brand!

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