In your opinion, what are the chances of an undergraduate with an interesting story to tell and a broad range of experience making it directly into a top business school. This seems to be quite a controversial question with different answers depending on who you talk to.
Kellogg has a minimum experience requirement.
Harvard says:"Traditionally, we have admitted a small number of applicants directly from university each year. We strive to find outstanding leaders at different points in their professional lives. Some applicants may meet this criteria while still in or immediately following undergraduate school, while others may need several years of full-time work experience before they apply. We want outstanding applicants to consider Harvard Business School as an option when they feel that the time is right for them and they can demonstrate the criteria we are looking for. " Also, "# Fee Waiver: The $225 application fee will be waived for college seniors (i.e., applicants currently enrolled in a four-year university or the equivalent with no full-time work experience)."
Chicago says: "Early Career Applicants - Many prospective students struggle with the decision as to what point in their career they should pursue an MBA. At Chicago GSB, we do not have any minimum work experience requirements, and encourage candidates to apply when they have determined the time is right. Successful early career applicants have demonstrated a high potential for leadership, academic preparedness, community involvement, self awareness and are able to explain why now is the right time to pursue an MBA. " Chicago also waves fees for undergraduates.
It seems if these schools didn't want undergraduates to apply, they would not go through the trouble of waving the fees.
What is your opinion?
You are quite right that these schools (and an increasing number of others) are not discouraging younger applicants (those with fewer than 2 years of work experience but even college students) and in fact are encouraging them -- but with a major-league "if". You referred to your "interesting story to tell and a broad range of experience" but maturity (as MBA Wolf indicated) and evidence of precocious success and leadership are much more important for younger applicants. You have to show schools that you are on a par with older applicants to some extent. This "if" narrows the pool of qualified younger applicants significantly.
So if you think you have the right stuff, go for it.
Co-Author of: MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools
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