Dear MBA Aspirants!
Shortlisting of B-School is a series of introspective and analytical steps to help you identify potential B-Schools that are best fits to your overall profile including your history, career goals, financial situation etc. It is highly advisable to go through this important procedure to filter in avenues that guarantee your career success in short and long term. Following are some of the starter’s tips to get you moving in the right direction.
1.Identify realistic career goals – Avoid setting high level and broad goals such as working for consulting, finance or technology sector. Dig deeper and come up with as concrete, as precise and as specific as possible long term career objectives (~ 20 years from now). For instance, it will make more sense to state your goal as “CEO of a technology company operating in supply chain management domain” Or “Private Equity specialist focussed on clean energy sector” than to say . These goals will effectively help you select B-schools that have curriculum, electives and other necessary factors matching your aspirations (for instance location in geographic region of high sectorial activity. You may want to attend B-school located close to Silicon Valley in case your objective is to seek opportunities in information technology sector). Hence clear definition of your objective will set you on right path to choose and support your application to specific B-Schools.
2.Evaluate your GMAT score – Your GMAT score is a good starting indicator of the schools where you may apply. All schools invariably state that GMAT score is only one part of your application and that there is no minimum requirement. GMAT score is indeed a part of whole application but is nevertheless an important objective measurement of success of your application. As a rule of thumb, bracket in schools that have average score ±20 points of your GMAT score. If you aspire to attend higher ranked schools that have average score outside your ±20 range, it is advisable to retake GMAT and get that corner of your application fortified. As a welcome side relief, a good GMAT score also puts you in race for scholarships or financial assistance.
3.Financial and time commitment – Carefully evaluate the time and money you have at hand that you can commit to B-School education. For majority of applicants, time is not a limiting factor but total MBA expenses (over a given period of MBA coursework) could be a constraint to filter in select schools of the ensemble. Seeking to be efficient, we aspire to extract as much merit as possible in minimum amount of time. However, your time commitment should also be driven by your current position in career path. Applicants will relatively less industry experience and seeking diverse opportunities are recommended to look at longer duration programs as that provides enough time to manoeuvre to targeted post-MBA path.
4.Extract information from real world sources – Feel free to reach out to alumni or current students of the first shortlisted schools. Plethora of online professional/social networks (such as Linkedin etc) provide opportunities to contact and seek help in terms of sharing their experiences in areas that concern you such as scholarships, job prospects, entrepreneurship opportunities to name a few. I have noticed that quite a few alumni/students are very responsive, open and proactively address your concerns. This invaluable pool of knowledge helps you assess school on metrics that are relevant to you. Visit to campus (though may not be possible for all out-of-country applicants) gives a fair idea of whether you want to apply to the school or not. Make every effort to visit campus if you get a chance. Visiting school provides an emotional perception of whether you want to spend two/one important year/s of your prime in the school and surrounding area. Quite subjective but could be important for many. I spoke to few applicants who shortlisted NYU or Columbia as their top choices for the big urban surroundings of the school.
5.Shortlisting B-schools – Now that you have all pertinent parameters (bear in mind that these parameters are uniquely your parameter set) to help you choose your shortlist of 6 schools. I personally recommend the following set Total Six schools = Four stretch schools + Two reachable schools.
You may build your own list to arrange your priorities based on your parameters.
We believe that guidelines above will help you kick start your school selection in structured manner.
You can also shortlist your B-Schools by trying this B-School Selector tool http://bit.ly/VmcsvK