4 MBA Admissions Myths Dispelled By Data

4 Myths About MBA Admissions Dispelled By Data

MBA application season is a stressful time. It can be helpful to seek advice, but it’s important to filter out what is fact and what is myth.

Lawrence Linker, founder of MBA Link and contributor at Forbes, recently dispelled four common MBA admissions myths. Linker referenced data from MBA Data Guru to back his findings.

Myth 1: “You should only apply to one or two schools you are absolutely sure about. Or you should apply to as many schools as you possibly can.”

Linker says none of the two strategies above is the right way to go about applying to MBA programs. So how many schools should you apply to? MBA Data Guru says five.

“There is a clear dropoff in application performance after 7 schools,” Linker says.

On average, the likelihood of acceptance to at least one school peaks at 65% when applying to seven schools. According to MBA Data Guru, the ranking of admitted schools goes down for applicants applying to six or more schools.

Source: MBA Data Guru

It may seem like a safe strategy to apply to as many schools as possible, but data shows that it can be detrimental to your chances of acceptance if you apply to too many.

Myth 2:
“Indian applicants need a much higher GMAT to be on par with applicants from other countries.”

MBA programs are increasingly getting more MBA applicants from India. In turn, this means competition from this region is going up. The solution for many Indian applicants is to overperform on the GMAT to differentiate themselves from other applicants. Linker says this isn’t the smartest strategy.

Linker analyzed data for one of the most popular destinatins for ambitious Indian applicants: Wharton. Data from MBA Data Guru actually shows that acceptance rates for Indian applicants do not rise sharply given an increase in GMAT score.


Source: MBA Data Guru

While GMAT scores hold certain significance, it appears they aren’t the tiebreaker for acceptance. Linker suggests applicants to look “outside of the technical aspects of your application.”

Myth 3:
“You gain a significant admissions advantage by applying in the first round.”

The myth surrounding higher acceptance for earlier rounds is part true and part false. While applying early does give applicants a higher chance of acceptance, it’s important to look at which round you’re applying in and what school you’re applying to.

According to data by MBA Data Guru, nearly all top 15 schools have a “moderate to significant disadvantage when applying during the 3rd and 4th round.” On the other hand, applying to schools ranked 16 to 25 offers “little to no disadvantage when applying in the 3rd and 4th round.”
In the end, Linker says, the takeaway is that “a strong application will outperform a weak one, no matter the round.”

Myth 4: “Young applicants have a disadvantage in MBA applications.”

Most schools do accept fewer applicants who are under the age of 25. Yet, Linker says, young applicants get the benefit of being able to apply more than once, with the average age of MBA applicants being between 26 and 29.

“Some schools will accept a slightly higher percentage of older applicants, but your applicability is mostly peaking around the 26-29 age range,” Linker says.

The MBA application, in many ways, may seem like a numbers game. Perhaps you should apply to as many schools as you can, ace your GMAT, or look to apply at a certain round or age. The data shows that all these strategies aren’t much help. The best way to increase your chances, Linker says, is to put together the best application you can.

Sources: Forbes, MBA Data Guru