With over 14 years of experience in the admissions consulting industry, Personal MBA Coach has seen it all when it comes to MBA applications. Through the years, we have found that many candidates share similar misconceptions about the application process.
Given the amount of information out there about business school admissions and application strategies, it comes as no surprise that some of these myths continue to circulate.
Wondering how to separate these myths from the truth? Leave it to an industry expert who has helped past clients gain admission to every top business school in the world!
Below, Personal MBA Coach shares the top 5 application misconceptions that we commonly see and hear when working with MBA hopefuls.
Business school hopefuls should target only a few schools.
Years ago, business school applicants may have targeted only a few programs. Today, however, Personal MBA Coach’s average client applies to 5 to 8 schools. In fact, at this year’s AIGAC Conference, we discussed how many candidates are now in the 6+ range.
This is in part tied to the fact that the number of strong MBA programs is on the rise. As more universities invest in their business schools, applicants have many options to consider.
Additionally, as competition increases every year and acceptance rates fall, even very qualified candidates face rejection. Successful applicants invest the time and money to apply to additional programs, recognizing that one cannot always predict which school is looking for someone who fits their profile.
There is a “correct” career goal.
While you might feel inclined to discuss a career goal that you think the admissions committee wants to hear, we do not advise this. Just because a lot of applicants are interested in pursuing finance or consulting does not automatically mean this is the path you should take. A strong career goals essay should demonstrate a passion for your future field, and business schools will see right through your effort to mold to what you think is expected.
Instead, write about what you truly want to do, as long as it is logical and attainable. Need help articulating your MBA goals? Check out Personal MBA Coach’s six key pieces of advice here.
MBA programs want to hear how wonderful they are.
Too often, Personal MBA Coach reads about how a candidate aims to leverage Harvard Business School’s “powerful” alumni network or grow through Kellogg’s “renowned” curriculum. Of course, business schools want you to express genuine interest in their programs, but using this type of praise is not an effective way to do so.
A far more successful approach is to share specific elements of a school’s program that you hope to avail yourself of. When doing your research, be sure that these offerings are specific to you and align with your goals and background.
Business schools seek candidates only from certain career backgrounds.
Although some industries including consulting and investment banking attract a high number of MBA hopefuls, there is no ideal pre-MBA career path. As a matter of fact, a less traditional career background may work in your favor.
MBA programs want well-rounded classes and value the different perspectives that those from unique career backgrounds bring to the classroom. No matter what pre-MBA career you are coming from, you should demonstrate how you can leverage your past experiences through your future career path.
Applicants must mention everything they have accomplished to date.
Many candidates fear that they will hurt their chances of acceptance if their MBA essays do not outline everything that they have done. However, this is not the case.
Rather, applicants should highlight their passions and leadership experience by sharing how they have done a few things exceptionally well. A select number of well-articulated stories that clearly show who you are and what makes you unique will be much more compelling.
Scott Edinburgh is a Wharton MBA and MIT Sloan BS graduate and founded Personal MBA Coach 15 years ago with the goal of providing customized one-on-one support. Scott also serves on the Board of Directors for AIGAC, the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants, and is invited to speak at MBA Admissions events globally. Our clients have been accepted to all top schools globally with a 96% success rate. They received $6.5M+ in scholarships last cycle.
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