I have repeatedly emphasized the importance of post-MBA goals in choosing schools and ultimately in demonstrating fit with your target programs. However, goals are not the only element in determining fit.
Rose Martinelli, Associate Dean for Student Recruitment and Admissions at Chicago Booth School of Business and the author of The Rose Report, discusses several of those other elements in her recent post “What is “fit”? or, selecting schools.”
“From curriculum structures to size and location, each program is unique in its blend of resources across a continuum of options.” Martinelli observes. In this post, she compares Harvard Business School and Chicago specifically on the dimension of flexibility.
For some of you, flexibility will be very important. Perhaps you have an undergrad degree and very specific post-MBA goals. You don’t want to have to take a lot of basic, core courses. You’ve already had them. You also have a very specific path you want to take during your two-year program. For you, the flexibility to plan your own program will be extremely important, and you may prefer the flexibility offered by Chicago Booth.
On the other hand, someone with a liberal arts background and more general MBA goals, like management consulting or investment banking, may be attracted to the highly structured program and the general management approach at HBS.
And this is just one dimension that may or may not be important to you. Determine what is important to you and then research those elements to determine the schools that fit you best.