The MBA Exchange Blog
Blog Posts: Services
Every MBA candidacy has strengths and weaknesses. These could be academic, professional and/or personal. Admissions committees know and expect this when considering an applicant. When applying to business school, you must do everything you can to sell yourself. This means making sure that your strengths are prominent and clear, but also not just ignoring your weaknesses.
Many applicants have common professional profiles: financial analysts, consultants, IT professionals, engineers, etc. They might also share similar academic profiles like a 700 GMAT and 3.5 GPA from a good-but-not-great college with a degree in economics or business administration. And they might even come from the same kind of personal background and geographic location.
There is a wide range of criteria that top-tier business schools use in evaluating applicants. The importance of building a candidacy and preparing an application that is likely to produce an offer of admission has led to the emergence of two popular myths.
Next Week The MBA Exchange will release the first of our “Myths of MBA Admissions” series. Throughout the next several weeks we will routinely post new entries with common misinformation and disinformation that blocks your path to admittance. Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@mba_exchange) where you can find early postings of the myths and links to the full descriptions.
“What applicants post on websites can get them in trouble. Be careful!”
–Admissions Director of a top-15 ranked MBA program
How will MBA admissions officers, recommenders, interviewers, b-school alumni, students and other “influencers” perceive you based on your presence on websites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter? It’s not just what you post, but also what has been posted about you — or about others with the same name — that could hurt your chances for MBA admission.
An amazing man passed away recently at the age of 99, but his legacy lives on. John Wooden was the iconic basketball coach of the UCLA Bruins for 27 seasons, earning him the nickname, “Wizard of Westwood.” His record of 10 national championships in 12 years raised the bar for coaches of any sport, worldwide.
A Google search on “MBA admissions consulting” produces nearly 14,000 results. A staggering number of options far beyond the ability of even the most diligent applicant to research and compare.
Some applicants are instantly attracted to the most visible firms, assuming that the ability to produce daily blogs, hourly Tweets and $10 “inside secrets” books correlates to achieving admissions success. Other applicants are drawn to smaller boutique admissions firms that promise one-on-one care, but lack the depth of resources and breadth of experience to add real value and provide 24/7 access.
What’s the need?
The stakes are high. Getting into a top-tier business school can make all the difference in achieving your long-term career potential. And the return on your investment is predictably higher over the course of a lifetime for those who don’t have to settle for a lesser school. Delaying enrollment by even one year can have a five-figure cost in terms of post-MBA compensation.
When seeking an admissions consultant, serious MBA applicants want an expert who can give them the time, attention, access and dedication they deserve. However, applicants, as early-career professionals, are typically on a tight budget. So the appeal of buying “a la carte” consulting services from an hourly consultant can be very strong.
But, as with most professional services, you get what you pay for. Emphasizing price over value doesn’t feel like such a wise decision if you get rejected by your targeted schools or have to settle for a lesser program.
Working with an hourly consultant, you might be skipping over key aspects of the admissions campaign that could spell the difference between success and failure. Using a comprehensive service to map your candidacy is like using an architect to design a home. You wouldn’t begin construction on a house by hiring a carpenter to start putting up the walls, would you? As with a dwelling, it is essential that each aspect of your admissions campaign complements the others. The plan is essential.
For many applicants, the Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT) is the first and biggest hurdle on the road to a top MBA education.
Although business schools’ admission committees consider all aspects of a candidacy — professional, personal and academic — there’s only one common denominator: the GMAT score. Especially during a time of high application volume, a modest to poor GMAT score can discourage a committee from digging deeper into an application. A sub-par GMAT gives them an excuse to put the application aside or to disregard it completely.