Chicago Booth‘s blog, Blog Insider, recently published a post on the application process from the admissions committee perspective. The article (“Round Two Application Update“) highlights the point that acceptances are not rewards for good performance; rather, they frequently reflect the applicants’ ability to showcase their qualifications as well as their “fit” with Chicago Booth. You should read the post, but in the meantime, here’s an excerpt on the importance of “fit”:
“There is no formula that we use to determine who is admitted. We strive to select the people we feel most thoroughly embody the values that we live every day which is why each admitted student is reviewed by at minimum 5 members of our committee (student fellow, first admissions director, interviewer, second admissions director, me). As we have tried hard to express to thousands of prospective students who read our materials, attend our events, or visit our campus, our applicant pool is full of interesting and successful people, but not all of them leverage the application in a way that truly conveys strong fit with those values. At the end of the day, it is fit that proves to be our final litmus test.”
While Kurt Ahlm was intending to describe only Chicago’s process I think a few aspects described are really true of most top MBA programs and are also sometimes very difficult for applicants to accept:
- This is a highly subjective process — the opposite of a computer program or mathematical problem.
- Acceptance is not a reward for meeting a set of criteria. It is not a check list where you check off certain boxes and you can expect a particular result, or a recipe where particular ingredients processed in a specific way guarantee a certain outcome.
- Fit can be determinative when it comes down to the wire among highly qualified applicants. Takeaway: Know your school and why you are dying to attending. Why do you belong at this program?
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