Choosing A Business School? Consider The ‘Four C’s’

What Accepted MBA Candidates Have In Common

The average acceptance rate at Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) typically falls between 6 and 7%.

At top business schools, including the likes of Stanford GSB, Wharton, and Yale SOM, stellar test scores and grades are only one factor of what admissions officers are looking for in applicants. US News recently spoke to experts who gave insight into what key elements top B-schools look for when making a decision.

DEMONSTRATE STRONG SOFT SKILLS

Soft skills, such as communication, leadership, and collaboration, are important traits that top business schools seek out. More often than not, admissions officers will consider a candidate with below average numbers, but stellar leadership potential.

“This is not a purely academic program; it’s not a Ph.D. program,” Bruce DelMonico, assistant dean for admissions at the Yale School of Management, tells US News. “We are trying to bring in people who are going to have impact after they graduate.”

How does one highlight strong soft skills? To start, experts say, it comes down to telling your story—and showing your drive to succeed.

“Beyond good test scores, top MBA programs are looking for students who demonstrate initiative,” Vijay Koduri, an MBA alumnus of the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and co-founder of Sizzle, tells US News. “This can be entrepreneurial – have you started a company and scaled it up? It can be intrapreneurship – did you raise your hand and lead the way for a new product idea or new market in your company? It can also be social impact – are you passionate about a cause, and have you led significant change in your region or around the world to make a difference?”

Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have marketable hard skills as well.

“Showing that you have the ability to work with large data sets and make inferences based on your analysis can go a long way in differentiating yourself from other candidates,” Arush Chandna, co-founder of the Inspira Futures admissions consultancy, tells US News.

HIGHLIGHT YOUR UNIQUE BACKGROUND

Traditionally, industries such as consulting and finance, have been strongholds for prospective MBAs. And while those are still top B-school industries, experts say having a non-traditional background can help you stand out from the crowd.

“For example, a student with a background in opera and performance, who has worked for four years in the opera entertainment industry and now wants this MBA to prepare herself to be the manager of an opera house, would be far more unique or interesting as an MBA applicant than someone coming from a consulting or financial institution,” Rachel Coleman, an independent education consultant with College Essay Editor, tells US News.

Sources: US News, P&Q

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