Welcome to our most recent blog series, Narrowing Down Your B-School Options. In this five-post series, we’ll explore the different criteria that factor into your decision of WHERE to apply to b-school. Then, once we’ve asked some key questions and offered guidance on how to answer them, we’ll present subsequent posts that present you with applicant profiles and walk you through the basic process of choosing ideal MBA programs for that individual. We look forward to exploring this important topic with you!
Where Should You Apply?
You’ve decided that you are going to apply to b-school. Now you need to ask yourself the next critical question: WHERE? Where should you spend your next few years? Which city? Which country? And last but not least, WHICH PROGRAM?
Accepted.com has designed a handy infographic, the Accepted Positioning System, that will help you answer the important questions in a way that will lead you to your ideal MBA program. Here I’ll highlight some of the questions that you’ll encounter during your journey. The answers you provide will guide you on the most effective route to your goal:
1. What is your post-MBA goal?
a. What job function do you see yourself doing?
b. Which industry do you want to work in?
c. Where (which country/city/environment) do you want to live?
2. Which schools support your goals?
a. Are the companies you would like to work for recruiting for the functions/industries you would like to pursue at your target school?
b. Do your target schools offer clubs and extra-curricular activities in your desired field (and if not, is it possible for you to start your own club)?
c. Does the school’s curriculum offer a major, concentration, or adequate coverage for your particular interests and goals?
d. Are there professors who have done or are currently doing research in your area of interest or in a field where you want to acquire expertise?
3. What are your qualifications?
a. Are you academically competitive? (Take a look at your GMAT/GRE score, transcript, additional courses, etc.)
b. Do you have impressive work experience, qualitatively and quantitatively?
c. Do your community service activities show additional skills and character traits (like initiative, leadership, responsibility, and teamwork)?
4. Choose your 4-8 schools to apply to. The schools that support your goals and at which you are competitive are the ones you should apply to. If there are lots of schools in that category, you’re in luck! Apply to the ones that simply appeal to you most for whatever reasons. If no school meets those two criteria, then you either need to improve your qualifications or adjust your goal.
These questions are clear, but how do the answers guide you? Over the next few days we’re going to introduce you to a few prototypical applicants so you can see at least on a superficial level how I would use this information.
Follow these steps to map out the route to the best MBA program for you. For more details, grab your copy of Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One.