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Will competition at top schools heat up this year?

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With markets in turmoil, will the number of applicants to b-schools grow this year?

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Will competition at top schools heat up this year? [#permalink] New post 08 Aug 2011, 10:13
People tend to escape bad economic conditions by going to school. This was certainly the case two years ago, when a lot of people decided to wait the storm out in b-school. Will the current mess create a similar increase in applications this year?

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Re: Will competition at top schools heat up this year? [#permalink] New post 08 Aug 2011, 10:24
Just thinking about it off the top of my head...

I believe the total number of applications will probably rise due to economic turmoil and the number of younger applicants will definitely rise. The job market has been extremely challenging to break into for recent graduates in the last 3-4 years so we can probably expect many young professionals that didn't necessarily land the job they originally planned to go for it again via grad school.

From an admissions competition perspective my thoughts:
-Higher average GMATs/GPAs in applicant pool because of younger applicant pool, increased pressure to get into top programs, academics more fresh in mind...
-Decreased overall quality of work experience in applicant pool, however, I believe having standout work experience is an extra plus these days due to the increased competitiveness of the job market
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Re: Will competition at top schools heat up this year? [#permalink] New post 08 Aug 2011, 11:39
I can't venture too many guesses as to how the admissions committees will take a view, but I don't think that application volumes will be as intense as they were in 2008 and 2009. Look at the employment reports of 2007 and 2006, and compare them to the 2009 and 2010 reports: business schools and their prestige, perceived and real ROI, and other points of appeal have taken a hit, and if you've just been laid off, adding another $150k of debt to your personal sheet at a time when gov't-guaranteed loans are being pulled back just doesn't seem so attractive anymore. Will volumes go up? Good chance that they will, but while the economic headwinds feel ominously and unpleasantly like 2008, I'm not so sure that this will be 2008-2009 all over again on Planet MBA....
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Re: Will competition at top schools heat up this year? [#permalink] New post 08 Aug 2011, 12:22
It's also possible that strong candidates will be less inclined to leave their present employers and risk a fresh job search post-MBA in a weak job market.
Unlike the 2008 period, there aren't (many) mass lay-offs occurring right now.
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Re: Will competition at top schools heat up this year? [#permalink] New post 08 Aug 2011, 13:34
LionsSBC12 wrote:
Unlike the 2008 period, there aren't (many) mass lay-offs occurring right now.


Knock on wood. :-D
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Re: Will competition at top schools heat up this year? [#permalink] New post 08 Aug 2011, 22:38
mbain2012a wrote:
From an admissions competition perspective my thoughts:
-Higher average GMATs/GPAs in applicant pool because of younger applicant pool, increased pressure to get into top programs, academics more fresh in mind...
-Decreased overall quality of work experience in applicant pool, however, I believe having standout work experience is an extra plus these days due to the increased competitiveness of the job market


I agree about the ever increasing exam scores in the competitive pool at top schools, although there is little incremental value in going above 700 on GMAT, i.e. it does not really matter if you have 710 or 750.

Second point: what would contribute to a decrease in quality of work experience?

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Re: Will competition at top schools heat up this year? [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2011, 10:01
The number of applicants probably won't increase this year. You really can't "escape" a recession. Even if you get admitted to an MBA program, the lack of internship prospects would hurt your chances of getting the FT job that you want. You're also under the pressure to find a job, any job, to cover the tuition fees, living expenses and opportunity costs when you're pursuing the MBA.
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Re: Will competition at top schools heat up this year? [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2011, 10:13
Also, there is a time lag. If you weren't planning to apply, and then decided today that B-school is looking like a good idea, you'd be hard-pressed to start now, take the GMAT, get your recs and transcripts together, write your essays etc in time for 2012 matriculation. MBA apps are a trailing indicator in that sense; all the buzz right now about a double-dip recession should be associated with higher competition next year, if anything.
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Re: Will competition at top schools heat up this year? [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2011, 12:36
JoelCairo wrote:
Also, there is a time lag. If you weren't planning to apply, and then decided today that B-school is looking like a good idea, you'd be hard-pressed to start now, take the GMAT, get your recs and transcripts together, write your essays etc in time for 2012 matriculation. MBA apps are a trailing indicator in that sense; all the buzz right now about a double-dip recession should be associated with higher competition next year, if anything.



The double dip recession really makes me worry about internship opportunities if admitted this year for next fall. It could land right when students are applying for summer associate positions..
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Re: Will competition at top schools heat up this year? [#permalink] New post 10 Aug 2011, 06:17
Second point: what would contribute to a decrease in quality of work experience?[/quote]


I'm assuming this because in large part during the last few years top employers have limited their hiring and university recruiting. This has especially hit undergraduates hard that have graduated 3 years ago or so, who will make up a very large chunk of the applicant pool.

I guess I didn't necessarily mean a decrease in quality of work experience, rather, a wider variety of work experience. Many graduates that normally would have taken a high profile, well known banking job in normal conditions might have been forced to take another lesser known route. I believe it should carry a little more weight these days to come from a top notch employer due to the increased selectivity of these positions at this time...but decreased quality was probably not the best choice of words.
Re: Will competition at top schools heat up this year?   [#permalink] 10 Aug 2011, 06:17
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