Blog, Free Evaluation, Why Choose Us, Our Team, Accreditation

Level the “playing field” for your MBA candidacy

December 14 2012 By The MBA Exchange
Select viewing preference

Fact: the most prestigious business schools favor applicants from the most prestigious companies. For example, according to, more than 1/3 of the MBA Class of 2013 at Stanford GSB came from the same six employers: McKinsey, Bain, BCG, Goldman, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan.

Large companies like these feature professional development programs to support their junior employees in understanding and pursuing graduate school.Such programs are found most commonly in companies that hire a large entering “class” directly from college with the understanding that most will depart after 2-3 years. So, these firms thoroughly guide their young professionals on MBA-application strategies and tactics. Some even host closed-door briefings by the admissions directors from leading business schools.

What if I don’t work for a “McKinsey” or “Goldman”?

So, how can you compete for admission if you do notwork at a blue-chip company with a built-in mentorship program and support network for MBA applicants?

Since the top business schools admit such an inordinate number of applicants from the top consulting and investment firms, those applicants who lack that pedigree need information, advice and resources. These individuals are on their own to figure out which schools to apply to, what aspects of their background are or aren’t relevant, what are their most salient strengths from an admissions standpoint, how to mitigate vulnerabilities, and what to expect from the often unpredictable application process.

If that sounds like your current situation, consider how a professional consultant could help you level the playing field in this zero-sum game of MBA admissions.

Is engaging an admissions consultant the right alternative?

Do admissions consultants really lend an edge? Do they help applicants think through their application platform and career goals? Is it ethical to work with a consultant? If you do thorough due diligence and pick a truly professional resource, the answer to all three of those questions is a resounding yes. When choosing a consulting firm, look for independent verification of their performance and integrity. Then, carefully consider the skills and experience in the profile of the specific consultant advising you.

While professional admissions consultants can add value for applicants from any background, their guidance and support are even more valuable for applicants who lack corporate backing. For instance, an Internet entrepreneur, software programmer or marketing manager for a small company may face an uphill path to b-school if he or she has had little or no prior exposure to MBA applications. However, the right admissions consultant can serve not only as a strategist but also as a mentor, a professional development resource, and a repository of useful information.

At The MBA Exchange, our clients come from more than 40 industries and hundreds of different companies, large and small. Blue chippers and otherwise. Regardless of your background, we’ve helped others like you to optimize their candidacies and achieve their MBA admissions goals.

Next step?

To learn more about how The MBA Exchange can help you “level the playing field,” visit us at