A new client asked me to help him with his MBA application essays to Stanford, Carnegie-Mellon, and MIT Sloan. Although he has several years’ work experience, including in the financial services industry, his GMAT scores (he took it three times) and lack of demonstrated leadership simply will not make him competitive for these schools.
Like most of our clients, this gentleman is smart and ambitious. But like too many of our clients, he did not at first consider many other outstanding MBA programs where he has a far better chance of gaining acceptance. While have helped countless applicants gain acceptance to the most fabled names in the MBA pantheon ( editorsHarvard, Stanford, Wharton, etc.) even with less than average stats, we encourage our clients to look for the programs that are the best match for them. This isn’t just about scores and grades – it’s about matching an applicant with a school’s personality, academic strengths and flexibility, career placement opportunities, and other factors.
For example, the client I’m talking about wanted strong a general management program with entrepreneurship, but until I mentioned them he hadn’t considered , Michigan, Duke, University of Texas, and University of North Carolina – each of them excellent general management programs. Additionally, he didn’t want to move to a cold climate, making most of these schools well suited to his personal preferences as well.
If an MBA is your goal, look beyond the "Hollywood" names and give careful consideration to the other top-25 schools that really might be a good fit for your strengths and career aspirations, and where you’ll have a better chance of getting in. Fortunately, it’s never been easier to do your homework. Here are a few of the many wonderful information tools to help you learn about various schools and what each one has to offer.
- Don’t focus on a school’s overall ranking as much as on its category ranking. Your dream school may be in the top 25 overall, but in the top 5 in entrepreneurship, so if entrepreneurship is your goal, that school is worth investigating.
- Look at where the graduating end up in the workplace. Are many of them flowing to the field of your choice?
- If your formal business educational background is skimpy, choose a school with a more structured core curriculum. Already a CPA? Look for a more flexible curriculum.
- Check out what student – MBA Student Blog site. This site will give you information that’s about as current as you can get for your target schools. are saying about the schools and their programs at the
- Check the web sites of the MBA programs you are interested in to see if they have their own newspaper or blog. For a list of MBA program forums/blogs, go to this ever-growing resource page on the MBA blogs are about halfway down the page). (
You are investing considerable time, effort, and money into your MBA education, so take the time to learn as much as you can about each school’s strengths, curriculum, personality, environment, and even location. You may be surprised to discover there are more “dream schools” out there than you thought.
By Judy who would be delighted to ,help you find and get accepted to your dream school.