The following post was prepared by Kim Carter, a senior admissions consultant with The MBA Exchange. Kim earned her MBA at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan on a full-tuition merit-based fellowship.
You have decided to attend business school. Maybe you need the degree to progress in your current career, or maybe you’re looking for a career change. Perhaps you’re looking to increase your network and gain new experiences. In any case, you know this education is what you want, but now you realize there are so many programs out there! Each application is different and time-consuming, so it’s important to be strategic and apply to only the schools you’d proudly attend and where you’d have a realistic chance of being admitted. It can feel overwhelming to narrow down your list, so we have put together the following tips to help make your targeting easier and more productive:
1) Review the school’s website, blogs, and articles to better understand their vision, curriculum, specializations (or lack thereof), and how these all align with your priorities.
2) Talk to current students and alums to get a real feel for what attending the school is like.
3) Consider the school’s location. For career or personal reasons, do you want to be in a big city near many corporations? Or in a smaller town immersed in academic life? And if you want to an international career, that opens up another dimension.
4) How large is the class? Is a larger alumni base or a tighter community more important to you? Speaking of alumni, how are they dispersed functionally/geographically and how active are the local clubs in places where you’d like to live?
5) What are the school’s recruitment statistics? Who are the top recruiters and what are the top industries, and how well do they align with what you envision doing?
6) It shouldn’t be the primary factor, but do the school’s ranking and reputation align with your standards?
If this sounds like a lot of work, it’s because it is—determining your target list of schools sets the foundation for your admissions campaign and success. It is important to choose the right schools for you. The good news is that you don’t have to do this alone. For the past 18 years, The MBA Exchange has been helping candidates to evaluate their candidacy, develop a strategy and finalize a list of target schools, and then produce applications that help makes dreams into reality.