Do’s & Don’ts For Parents Of MBAs


If you’re applying to a business school, you might want to give some advice to your Mom and Dad, especially if they have shown a tendency to coddle you.

And if you’re the parent of a son or daughter whose aspiration is to attend a top-flight MBA program, you might want to heed some valuable counsel on what you should or shouldn’t do to help your adult child get an acceptance.

We asked Dan Bauer, founder and CEO of The MBA Exchange, a leading MBA admissions consulting firm, what do’s and don’ts for parents of MBAs he would give potentially hovering helicopter parents. He swears that his own parents had nothing to do with his acceptance to the Harvard Business School years ago. Here’s what Bauer suggests:



Remind yourself, early and often, that this is not YOUR candidacy or


Remember that the MBA admissions process is very different than

undergraduate admissions in which parents are expected and encouraged to


Express sincere encouragement to the applicant during the stressful

application process.

Help the applicant recall meaningful experiences, role models,

accomplishments and lessons learned earlier in life.

Offer introductions to your friends and colleagues who attended the

targeted b-schools as information resources.

Volunteer to proofread the final application for spelling or grammar

errors only, not for content.

Watch for subtle signs that your involvement is adding stress and, if so,

back off immediately.

Encourage the applicant to reapply if rejected.  Unlike undergraduate

applications, there are “do-overs.”



Push your son or daughter to apply before he or she is ready, committed

and eager to do so.

Put pressure on the applicant to pursue only elite schools that are out of


Suggest recommenders — however prestigious — whose only connection to

the applicant is “family friend.”

Accompany the applicant to information sessions, campus visits, alumni

events, or class observations.

Ghost write essays or recommendations.

Contact the admissions office — for any reason, at any time.

Pretend to be your son or daughter in email or telephone communications.

(Yes, it happens).

Insert yourself between the applicant and his or her admissions

consultant. Trust the expert.


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