How do you decide which of the many MBA programs out there is the right one for you? We will help you discover which schools have the mysterious “fit” that will make them your perfect match.
What is Fit?
Fit is determined by the relationship between your needs and wants and what a program offers. What are the particulars that you’re seeking in an MBA program? Are these available at your target schools? But remember: Fit goes both ways. You also need to be sure that you have qualities that your target schools are looking for.
Preparing and submitting B-school applications uses a lot of your limited resources — time, energy, and money. Sending applications to programs where your fit is not good can be a drain on these resources, and will probably not lead to acceptance at that school. Many students make use of an admissions consultant even before submitting their applications. These consultants will steer you toward schools that are a good fit for you, increasing your chances of admission.
Here are three tools to find an MBA program that’s the right fit for you:
Assess your career goals and your academic needs.
Look at the scholastic and research opportunities at your target schools and see if they’re in line with how you envision your future. Contact currently matriculating students and graduates of the programs and talk to them about their experiences at the school, their goals, and work possibilities/careers. Make sure that there are classes or tracks that address areas important to your career goals. If you plan to change careers after you receive your MBA, taking classes in your new area of interest — and letting the B-school know that you got straight A’s in the classes — can make you a better fit.
Assess what makes you an outstanding MBA candidate.
Take the time to look at the websites of your target schools, especially at the class profiles. Be sure your stats and years of work experience compare favorably to the school’s parameters. If you have a GMAT score of 620, GPA of 3.0, and two years of work under your belt, you will probably be a poor fit with a school seeking applicants with a 700 GMAT, a 3.5 GPA, and five years of work experience.
Examine the intangibles.
Think about your conversations with current students and graduates. Can you envision yourself working, flourishing, and being part of a team with them? If your answer is yes, then you could have an excellent fit with this program. Not all schools have the same attitude and style of teaching. Look at how you learn and see if the way they view education fits with your learning style. If possible, visit the program and sit in on several classes. If you feel comfortable with the school’s teaching methods and philosophy, that’s two more checks in the positive fit column. Other things to consider include the size of the classes, how approachable the professors are, and the environment of the school (the size of the school, location in a big city or more rural area, etc.), all of which will help determine fit.`
Deciding which factors are important to you, and weighing each of them, will enable you to determine each school’s fit for you. Remember that fit is qualitative. Each trait that you’re looking for at a given school has a different weight. There are some that you won’t compromise on, while others may be on a more fluid scale. Determine which schools are most in line with your personality and where you see yourself after graduation.
Using these three tools and determining the schools with the right fit before completing your applications can save you time, energy, and money during the application process and will assure that you don’t spend two years in a program that’s wrong for you. The goal is to find the program that is an excellent fit for you, and where you are an excellent fit.
Do you want the help of an expert admissions consultant to guide you through the crucial steps of evaluating your profile, researching schools, and determining fit with your target programs? Check out Accepted’s MBA Admissions Services to see how you can get ACCEPTED to the B-school of your dreams..
Linda Abraham is the founder of Accepted, the premier admissions consultancy. She has coached MBA applicants to acceptance for over 20 years. The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News, and Poets&Quants are among the media outlets that seek her admissions expertise.