If you think that a successful admissions campaign begins with the application, think again. Yes, succinct answers, stellar essays and glowing recommendations are very important. However, building an authentic, robust candidacy must come first.
Admissions committees have the expertise and experience to see past a story that presents only strengths and ignores gaps, holes and vulnerabilities. The more selective the school, the higher their expectations. This doesn’t mean that only "perfect" applicants are admitted. Far from it.
From our experience here at The MBA Exchange working with over 3,500 MBA applicants, we’ve seen candidates with a wide array of profiles. The range of GPAs and GMATs among the middle 80% of admits at even the most prestigious b-schools offers encouragement to those who have yet to reach their true potential. And the span of full-time work experience — ranging from 0 to 20 years — confirms that adcoms are flexible in their criteria.
Business schools want "real" people who can show a history of achievement, evidence of growth, solid values, and untapped potential. So, investing time in objectively assessing your past, present and future is the right way to launch an MBA admissions campaign. Based on your findings, you can then map out specific ways to capitalize on your strengths and confront your weaknesses.
Many applicants find this process difficult, if not impossible, to complete on their own. In fact, applying to business school is probably the first — and often the only — time that these individuals have a reason for such introspection. Trusted friends, relatives and mentors can help. But this process is more beneficial to an MBA candidacy if you engage an expert. By starting with an analysis of your current qualifications and credentials, you’ll be able to decide which schools are most likely to value your background and your vision.