Welcome to our Choosing the Best MBA Program for You series, where you’ll learn the specific steps you need to take to create a list of business schools that are the best fit for your educational, social, and professional preferences and how creating this list will boost your chances of getting accepted.
In 18+ years of MBA admissions consulting I have found that otherwise highly capable and focused people often basically wing it when it comes to creating their school list. I’ve heard things like: “I’m just applying to all the top ten.” Top ten according to what source? And this: “I realize now [after R2 deadlines have passed] I was overreaching. Are there any good schools I can still apply to?” Probably. And even this: “I’m applying to H/S/W, with Duke as my safety.” Duke as your safety?
By starting to develop your list of prospective schools now, you can avoid these and similar problems.
By approaching school selection thoughtfully and systematically, you will save time, money, and effort in the long run (even if you expend more of all three initially). You will conserve precious energy for the nitty-gritty work of the applications. You will also be able to devote time to planning school visits and recommendations, two things that often get neglected in the heat of the application season.
In this blog series you will learn how to develop a solid list of MBA programs to apply to. Each person’s needs are unique, and there is no one formula that works for everyone, so I will guide you in asking the right questions, answering (or finding answers to) those questions, and making your decisions accordingly. This series of posts will cover, among other topics:
• Assessing your profile
• The role of rankings
• How many schools you should apply to
• Identifying and prioritizing your b-school needs and wants
Here are a couple of things you can and should do right now to get started on the school selection process for next season:
1. Write down those random thoughts that have been floating around in your head, for example, “top 10,” “friendly to older applicants,” “strong quant focus,” “need to be within an hour by plane from my ailing mother,” etc.
2. Read blogs of MBA students not just at schools you’re already interested in but from a wider array of schools – both the substance and the tone of those blog posts will give you a subjective feel for different programs and your own responses to them.
3. If possible, talk to MBA students and ask them about their school selection process, about what went well and what proved difficult or problematic. Also ask what they would do differently.
4. Visit schools! Visit schools you know you are interested in (you can always revisit later), schools you might be interested in, and even schools on the margins. The best time to visit is when schools are still in session and when you’re not pressed by the application process yet, but when it’s still close enough to application time for your insights from the visits to be relevant if you discuss them in essays. Take advantage of travel you may do for business or pleasure to schedule a visit, rather than trying to cram everything in the fall – when you’ll be even busier than usual with applications plus work. Moreover, visiting early on (like in the spring) gives you time to digest and reflect on your campus experiences.
We'll delve deeper into each of these topics in each of the subsequent posts in this series. Please enjoy and be in touch if you have any questions!
You can significantly increase your chances of getting accepted by applying to the programs that are the best fit for your unique qualifications, goals, and preferences. Our MBA admissions consulting services will provide you with the one-on-one guidance you need to submit the best MBA applications to the best MBA programs for YOU!
Cindy Tokumitsu has advised hundreds of successful applicants, helping them gain acceptance to top MBA and EMBA programs in her 15+ years with Accepted. She would love to help you too. Want Cindy to help you get Accepted? Click here to get in touch!
• 9 Secrets to Standing Out, an MBA Admissions Guide
• Interviews With Current MBA Students
• Harvard, Stanford, Wharton: What’s the Difference?, a short video
This article originally appeared on blog.accepted.com.
Applying to a top b-school? The talented folks at Accepted have helped hundreds of applicants get accepted to their dream programs. Whether you are figuring out where to apply, writing your application essays, or prepping for your interviews, we are just a call (or click) away.
Contact us, and get matched up with the consultant who will help you get accepted!