Stanford GSB | Mr. Sustainable Business
GRE 331, GPA 3.86
UCLA Anderson | Mr. Analytics Man
GMAT 740, GPA 3.1
Stanford GSB | Ms. Future Tech Exec
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
Cornell Johnson | Mr. FinTech Startup
GMAT 570, GPA 3.4
Stanford GSB | Mr. FinTech
GMAT Not Taken Yet, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. Hopeful Philanthropist
GMAT 710, GPA 3.74
Harvard | Mr. MacGruber
GRE 313, GPA 3.7
Darden | Ms. Teaching-To-Tech
GRE 326, GPA 3.47
Rice Jones | Mr. Back To School
GRE 315, GPA 3.0
Wharton | Mr. Microsoft Consultant
GMAT N/A, GPA 2.31
Yale | Mr. Ukrainian Biz Man
GRE 310, GPA 4.75 out of 5
Chicago Booth | Mr. Future Angel Investor
GMAT 620, GPA 3.1
Wharton | Ms. Software Engineer
GMAT 760, GPA 3.84
Harvard | Mr. PE Strategist
GRE 326, GPA 3.6
Harvard | Mr. FBI To MBB
GMAT 710, GPA 3.85
Harvard | Mr. MBB Consultant
GMAT 730, GPA 3.9
Yale | Ms. Impact Investing
GRE 323, GPA 3.8
Chicago Booth | Mr. Cal Poly
GRE 317, GPA 3.2
Darden | Ms. Business Reporter
GMAT 2150, GPA 3.6
Darden | Mr. Former Scientist
GMAT 680, GPA 3.65
Harvard | Ms. IB Deferred
GMAT 730, GPA 3.73
Harvard | Mr. Amazon Manager
GMAT 740, GPA 3.2
Kellogg | Mr. Military In Silicon Valley
GMAT 720, GPA 3.0
Harvard | Mr. E-Sports Coach
GRE 323, GPA 5.72/10
Wharton | Ms. PMP To MBA
GMAT 710, GPA 3.72
Columbia | Mr. CPA
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. Health Clinic Founder
GRE 330, GPA 3

Third Biggest MBA Application Mistake

Jyll Saskin graduated from the Harvard Business School

Jyll Saskin graduated from the Harvard Business School

So far, I’ve shared two of the five most common mistakes I’ve seen people make when applying to business school: Being L.M.O. and missing out on Round One. Now, let’s explore Mistake #3: Too many applications.

Applying to business school is a major life decision. You’re choosing to invest a significant amount of time and money in an education that, let’s be honest, isn’t a prerequisite for any career; at least, not in the same way that you must attend medical school to become a doctor, or law school to practice law.

It surprises me, then, to see so many applicants who decide to apply to business school and don’t do the prerequisite research. They want to apply to eight, ten, even twelve schools! It’s true that there are many fine institutions out there, and that at the end of the day each one will grant you an MBA degree, but you’ll get a very different experience at each one. Do you want a school like Tuck that is in a small town and has a very vibrant, rich campus life, or would you prefer somewhere like NYU that’s in the middle of a big city? Do you want close access to hordes of skilled engineers for your tech start-up, like MIT can provide, or are you really interested in getting a diverse, international experience somewhere like INSEAD?

When an applicant is applying to too many schools, it usually is an early warning sign to me that she doesn’t truly know why she wants to go to business school. Otherwise, she’d be able to cross some schools off her list, because they wouldn’t provide her with the most optimal experience that she’s looking for.

If you’re thinking, “I don’t care where I go, I just want an MBA wherever they’ll accept me!” then I encourage you to do a bit more digging before making this investment. Some questions you might ask yourself (and this is by no means an exhaustive list) include:

–          How important is the teaching style?

–          How important is location?

–          How important is the strength of the alumni network?

–          How important is class size?

–          How important is the degree of freedom in course selection?

–          How important is the breadth of courses offered?

–          How important is prestige?

–          How important is price?

–          How important are international study opportunities?

–          How important are research opportunities?

–          Am I interested in a specialized type of MBA or a joint-degree program?

Websites like this one are a treasure trove of information to help you figure out which schools meet which criteria best. Based on the answers to these questions, you should be able to narrow down your list to only a handful of schools that you would be truly excited to attend, should you be accepted. Good luck!

Jyll Saskin is a graduate of the MBA Class of 2013 at Harvard Business School. She works as a Manager at Scratch, a division of Viacom, in New York. She also helps clients apply to top business school programs via

Also in the series on the Five Most Common Mistakes:

Mistake No. 1: Being Like So Many Others

Second Biggest MBA Application Mistake

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.