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# how can I define if my profile fits chosen school

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how can I define if my profile fits chosen school [#permalink]

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14 Jan 2011, 04:26
Hello mates!
I wonder how one knows to which school he can possibly be admitted and to which not? Isn't it "shoot for the sky, don't settle for the second best" for everyone who's aspiring to get an MBA?

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Re: how can I define if my profile fits chosen school [#permalink]

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14 Jan 2011, 05:44
WantGMAT800 wrote:
Hello mates!
I wonder how one knows to which school he can possibly be admitted and to which not? Isn't it "shoot for the sky, don't settle for the second best" for everyone who's aspiring to get an MBA?

The "best" can be different things to different people. if you're talking about GMAT scores, start out with a list of rankings, look at both the score averages and 20-80% range as a first guideline. But that should be the start, not the end of your search. Ultimately, fit is about more than the GMAT scores, so look at the profiles of current students and see if there are "people like you" in the program (I know, it's a vague definition, one of those "I know it when I see it" things). Visiting the school and attending class helps a lot, and so does talking to admissions officers. If you really listen, both to what they are saying and what they are *not* saying, you start to build a sense of whether that school matches your interests.

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Re: how can I define if my profile fits chosen school [#permalink]

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14 Jan 2011, 07:02
cmv wrote:
WantGMAT800 wrote:
Hello mates!
I wonder how one knows to which school he can possibly be admitted and to which not? Isn't it "shoot for the sky, don't settle for the second best" for everyone who's aspiring to get an MBA?

The "best" can be different things to different people. if you're talking about GMAT scores, start out with a list of rankings, look at both the score averages and 20-80% range as a first guideline. But that should be the start, not the end of your search. Ultimately, fit is about more than the GMAT scores, so look at the profiles of current students and see if there are "people like you" in the program (I know, it's a vague definition, one of those "I know it when I see it" things). Visiting the school and attending class helps a lot, and so does talking to admissions officers. If you really listen, both to what they are saying and what they are *not* saying, you start to build a sense of whether that school matches your interests.

Come up with an idea of schools within your range based on your profile, then apply to 5 or 6 schools unless you've got the time to do more applications and still have them be good. Based on your profile (not just grades/GMAT, but work experience and ECAs also) you can pick 1 or 2 dream schools, 1 or 2 realistic schools, and 1 or 2 safety schools. Dream schools are schools that have a stronger profile than yours, and the realistic schools are ones that have profiles similar to yours. The safety schools are schools you're pretty certain you can get into, but you may not necessarily attend if accepted. You may decide you've got about a 20% chance of getting into your dream schools, 60% for your realistic schools, and 90% for your safety schools...that's kinda how I looked at things, and if R1 hadn't turned out ok for me I would have lined up some more safety schools for R3.

It depends on your timeline too--if you're 24 you can afford to be a little more aggressive because you can always reapply next year or the year after, but if you're dead-set on going to school next fall you may have to settle for less than your ideal school.
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Re: how can I define if my profile fits chosen school [#permalink]

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14 Jan 2011, 07:07
One thing I would recommend for people just beginning the school selection process is to spend some time writing a few drafts of the "Why an MBA?" essay. I think it's important to have a clear sense of what you want from the degree, and going through that exercise will help you figure out which schools fit your needs.
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Re: how can I define if my profile fits chosen school [#permalink]

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19 Jan 2011, 23:28
cmv, emont, runnergirl683
Thanks for stopping by and letting me know what you think!
After reading many posts I noticed many pointing out that one may not have the time to prepare application set of documents to send to numerous b-schools... in the light of this my question is 'Can't I send the same essays, for instance, to every school I apply to?', given that essay's topic coincide. Or other things than essay consume a great chunk of time too?
Thanks in advance for clarifying this!

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Re: how can I define if my profile fits chosen school [#permalink]

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20 Jan 2011, 06:10
WantGMAT800 wrote:
cmv, emont, runnergirl683
Thanks for stopping by and letting me know what you think!
After reading many posts I noticed many pointing out that one may not have the time to prepare application set of documents to send to numerous b-schools... in the light of this my question is 'Can't I send the same essays, for instance, to every school I apply to?', given that essay's topic coincide. Or other things than essay consume a great chunk of time too?
Thanks in advance for clarifying this!

This was a misconception of mine just a year and a half ago as well when I was starting my MBA research. The essays are arguably one of the most important parts of your profile and can help set you apart from similarly talent applicants both positively and negatively. The essays tend to factor into decisions much more prominantly as the relative prestige of the program increases so more at schools like Harvard and Stanford than at schools like UC - Irvine and Case Western (just examples).

I highly recommend that you put significant time into your essays and write them all from scratch. Even though many schools may have similar topics, they often differ just enough to make a one-size-fits-all essay a poor consideration. Even fairly universal information like career goals, work experience etc. should be rewritten to cater to each school.

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Re: how can I define if my profile fits chosen school [#permalink]

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20 Jan 2011, 08:38
You can adapt one school's essays to another school, but trying to force it in there is a bad idea and the adcom will likely notice that it's a recycled essay. While the essay prompts may be similar, you'll see slight nuances that distinguish exactly what they're asking for--for example, one school might ask why you want an MBA, while another will explicitly ask why you want an MBA from this program and how this school will help you reach your goals.

Plus varying word lengths are almost a given--there's a big difference between a 500 word career goals essay and a 1,000 word career goals essay. You need to make sure each essay fits for that particular school--that you've done your homework, read up on programs, studied employment reports, talked to current students, etc. to show why you think that school is a good fit for what you want to do.

If you don't have time to spend on putting together good essays, then you really shouldn't be submitting an application in the first place...there's no way around that. Aside from your essays and chasing down recommenders, there aren't many time-consuming things on the applications.
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Re: how can I define if my profile fits chosen school [#permalink]

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20 Jan 2011, 08:50
Veritas Prep has a "selector" on their website that lets you enter your stats and get a range of schools. Very rough, but helps narrow down the list on pure numbers

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Re: how can I define if my profile fits chosen school [#permalink]

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20 Jan 2011, 09:14
!

Last edited by Codename47 on 20 Jan 2011, 12:34, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: how can I define if my profile fits chosen school [#permalink]

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20 Jan 2011, 12:08
emont wrote:
cmv wrote:
WantGMAT800 wrote:
Hello mates!
I wonder how one knows to which school he can possibly be admitted and to which not? Isn't it "shoot for the sky, don't settle for the second best" for everyone who's aspiring to get an MBA?

The "best" can be different things to different people. if you're talking about GMAT scores, start out with a list of rankings, look at both the score averages and 20-80% range as a first guideline. But that should be the start, not the end of your search. Ultimately, fit is about more than the GMAT scores, so look at the profiles of current students and see if there are "people like you" in the program (I know, it's a vague definition, one of those "I know it when I see it" things). Visiting the school and attending class helps a lot, and so does talking to admissions officers. If you really listen, both to what they are saying and what they are *not* saying, you start to build a sense of whether that school matches your interests.

Come up with an idea of schools within your range based on your profile, then apply to 5 or 6 schools unless you've got the time to do more applications and still have them be good. Based on your profile (not just grades/GMAT, but work experience and ECAs also) you can pick 1 or 2 dream schools, 1 or 2 realistic schools, and 1 or 2 safety schools. Dream schools are schools that have a stronger profile than yours, and the realistic schools are ones that have profiles similar to yours. The safety schools are schools you're pretty certain you can get into, but you may not necessarily attend if accepted. You may decide you've got about a 20% chance of getting into your dream schools, 60% for your realistic schools, and 90% for your safety schools...that's kinda how I looked at things, and if R1 hadn't turned out ok for me I would have lined up some more safety schools for R3.

It depends on your timeline too--if you're 24 you can afford to be a little more aggressive because you can always reapply next year or the year after, but if you're dead-set on going to school next fall you may have to settle for less than your ideal school.

I'll disagree with you on one point. I'd never apply anywhere I wouldn't attend. Why bother spending the time or effort? Applying to a lower tier school takes a significant amount of effort and is in some ways harder than applying to a dream school. It's pretty easy to talk about Harvard or Stanford, but really hard to talk about the benefits of, say, University of Phoenix online.

If you can't get into a program that will provide the utility you're looking for then strengthen your profile and apply later or forgo the MBA entirely and pursue another goal.

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Re: how can I define if my profile fits chosen school [#permalink]

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20 Jan 2011, 12:31
I applied to one school that I would consider a "safety" school similar to the type one of the above posters commented on simply because we really don't know how strong our profile is and where that places us in the big picture. Sure we can look to GPA and GMAT score ranges as a base measure but that's only one portion of a profile. How can one measure how strong one's WE, essays, EC, or references are?

I tend to agree that you shouldn't apply to a school you definately wouldn't consider going to because that is simply a waste of money and looks strange to schools that you provide that information to. But I think there is some merit to applying to one school that is just above the minimal acceptance line that may have a decent program for your focus. It can help you determine where you stand. What happens if you have strong scores and apply to HSW, Kellog and Johnson thinking that Cornell is a safety school for you and you get denied by them all? Where do you stand then?

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Re: how can I define if my profile fits chosen school [#permalink]

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20 Jan 2011, 12:58
piggles wrote:
I'll disagree with you on one point. I'd never apply anywhere I wouldn't attend. Why bother spending the time or effort? Applying to a lower tier school takes a significant amount of effort and is in some ways harder than applying to a dream school. It's pretty easy to talk about Harvard or Stanford, but really hard to talk about the benefits of, say, University of Phoenix online.

If you can't get into a program that will provide the utility you're looking for then strengthen your profile and apply later or forgo the MBA entirely and pursue another goal.

Yeah, good point--my wording was poor on that topic. There's no point wasting the time on an application if you've got no desire to go to that school.

A safety school should be one that you "should" be able to get in to and that you would still attend even if it's not your dream school. All of that will depend on your profile and if you're willing to wait and reapply next year with a stronger overall package, or if you think you have to take what you can get this year.
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Re: how can I define if my profile fits chosen school [#permalink]

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22 Jan 2011, 00:48
FergTron, emont
Thanks for dropping in! I got your point

Estreet
Thanks for the hint!

Piggles
I think you’re right. That’s exactly what my initial question was about. Choose the best school, although it may be Harvard or Stanford, for the different “best” to different people, and put as much effort as you can to get admission. And if your profile doesn’t fit that school at the moment, bolster it and try later. I for some reason thought that’s the approach everyone sticks to.

Please, tell me, what is EC? Extracurricular?
There is one more question I'd like to review here. I once happened to attend an open day at a b-school of Ukraine where I was told that when applying to a foreign b-school I have to compete with Indians and Americans, English for whom is a native language. I've always thought and I do now that when b-schools seniors plan class attendees nationalities they tend to diversify it. I mean they think like "we want 35% of Americans, 30% from Europe and ..." so in this way I'm forced to compete only with 30% of Europeans. Am I wrong?

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Re: how can I define if my profile fits chosen school [#permalink]

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22 Jan 2011, 11:17
No one will ever put quotas in stone, but adcoms do have rough ideas in mind for how they want they class to look in terms of nationality, gender, and work experience. PE/IB guys from Wall Street are generally competing against each other, Indian IT guys are generally competing against each other, former military/non-profits are generally competing against each other, etc.

Yes, EC=extracurriculars.
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Re: how can I define if my profile fits chosen school [#permalink]

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23 Jan 2011, 10:33
emont, that's pretty what I presumed. Thanks for confirming it.

2 all
Guys, as everyone residing on this forum knows, application process takes an awful amount of time, so one has to sacrifice a part of his life (genarally, it's social and private life). On top of that, scarcely our friends and even our kin believe that getting admission to a b-school of top 5 is feasable at all. And under the constant pressure one begins to question that possibility oneself... I wish I could here you guys share how they confront it. It would help. Thanks!

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Re: how can I define if my profile fits chosen school   [#permalink] 23 Jan 2011, 10:33
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