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MBA Application vs. MBA Candidacy

August 27 2014 By The MBA Exchange
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Many business school applicants believe that gaining admission to a top-10 requires a great application. Well, they are right. Producing a stellar app that conveys authenticity, vision and value is essential to success.

But those individuals are also wrong. The process of earning a seat at Harvard, Stanford or INSEAD doesn’t begin with the application. Rather, developing a robust, underlying candidacy must come first. Without the “steak,” there can’t be much “sizzle.”

So, what does it require to build such a candidacy? How long will it take? And how do you know when you’ve achieved it?

The process begins with gaining awareness of your relevant strengths and weaknesses. Then framing a vision of what you want to do and become. And finally getting a handle on what a top MBA can do for you. Such objective introspection doesn’t come naturally to most people. Having the guidance and feedback of an experienced advisor — such as those on the consulting team at The MBA Exchange — can really help.

Developing a candidacy can take weeks, months or years — depending on where you stand today vs. what it takes to be competitive. Knowing that only 7-25% of applicants are admitted at most top-tier business schools, the bar is a high one. However, MBA applicants with the highest desire and potential for admission are very busy people. They have demanding jobs, important relationships, varied affiliations and activities, and little time for anything else. So, the efficiency of having an advisor who can provide a framework for developing the candidacy can be very appealing.

Constructing a rock-solid MBA candidacy is as much of an art as it is a science. And, like creating a painting or writing a novel, deciding when it’s “done” can be extremely frustrating when you’re doing it solo. An experienced and trusted admissions consultant can tell you exactly when a particular aspect of your candidacy is ready or needs further effort and refinement.

All that said, the first step in candidacy building is understanding where it stands today. This is also the fastest and easiest step because we’ll do that for you with a free, expert evaluation. This objective analysis will give you an actionable sense of how a business school would view your profile today and what it will take to become the candidate they will welcome to their incoming class.

This blog post is provided by The MBA Exchange, providing business school admission and career consulting worldwide since 1996.