SBC Scoop: Looking Beyond the Top 5 MBA Programs

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*Please note that no client details are ever shared in SBC Scoop or otherwise without complete sign off from client.

A few years ago, our client Priya was starting to wonder if she should apply to business school at all. Her stated goal was to attend one of the top three ranked schools in the U.S. and was planning to apply only to those programs. However, as her consultant worked with her on her applications, it became apparent that her chances of admission were less than ideal. Priya had taken a few swings at the GMAT and while she had improved, test-taking was a significant weakness for her and her scores topped out at a 640. She had a few years of work experience but promotion freezes had left her stuck at her initial position without advancement. Rather than throw in the towel, Priya and her consultant went back to the start and asked why she wanted to apply to those top three schools.

Priya wanted to work in corporate finance at a specific Fortune 500 firm after graduating, and chose the top schools where that company heavily recruited. Priya and her consultant decided that she had put the cart before the horse, and decided to turn things around. Since an MBA was very important for her to achieve her career goals, she decided to look at schools ranked in the top 50 that would be a better fit. Working with her consultant, Priya emphasized the strengths of her application, like her specific, concrete career plan, in order to de-emphasize her weaknesses.

Priya found a great fit in UNC’s Kenan-Flagler school. Though it was not as competitive for admission as the very top schools, it still frequently ranks in the top twenty lists, and offered a concentration in Corporate Finance that Priya found appealing. She made the most of the academic and networking opportunities and found a job with her chosen finance firm after graduating using the skills and contacts she gained, rather than relying completely on recruiting. Priya is happily moving up the ranks and is encouraged by the fact that her firm’s CEO obtained his MBA from a school that rarely even appears on an MBA ranking list!

If you need an MBA and would like guidance on the right schools for your profile, contact us for a profile evaluation.

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Stacy Sukov Blackman launched her MBA admissions consulting company in 2001 and has since helped thousands of clients gain admission to the most selective business schools in the world, many with merit scholarships. Blackman has degrees from both the Wharton School and the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, and is the author of The MBA Application Roadmap: The Essential Guide to Getting Into a Business School. She has also published a series of online guides which contain in depth guidance on how to develop essays for top business schools. Read reviews of Stacy Blackman Consulting services.

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