We are very pleased to share this guest post byPauline Jennett, Master Admissions Consultant at The MBA Exchangeand former associate director of admissions at HBS.
I was recently talking with a colleague in my education doctoral program about her process when choosing between the undergraduate programs at a small liberal arts college vs. Yale University. After visiting various colleges before making her final choice, she had felt a particular connection to the Yale community, which was confirmed over her four-year undergrad experience. She described this process as “finding your kind.”
In reflecting upon my MBA admissions consulting clients of the past several years, I realize the same adage applies. Many of them faced the wonderful "dilemma" of choosing among several top business schools. Their final decision was compounded by several offers of merit-based aid totaling more than a half-million dollars! By taking a step back to consider and compare the mutual fit, the final choice of schools became very clear.
Based on my experience in the admissions world — both as a Harvard admissions officer and a master admissions consultant at The MBA Exchange — it’s clear that business schools each have distinctive "personalities": extroverted or introverted; strategic or analytical; intimate or intense; competitive or collegial. Even within the first few weeks of working with an applicant, I can often predict which school(s) will invite them to interview, accept them and embrace them! I even had one client who, after receiving a $60k scholarship to an elite school, thanked me for encouraging her to consider this program during the initial application process. By fully understanding her background, values and aspirations, I had a good idea which school would embrace her as “their kind.” Her choice turned out to be the right one.
I recently participated in a webinar on the topic "Do You Really Need an Admissions Consultant?" Among the excellent questions posed to our panel by applicants was, "Do you encourage students to consider certain schools over other schools?" Our answer was a resounding yes! I’ve had many clients who I encouraged to consider alternative MBA programs beyond just the "usual suspects." Once accepted, the new admits were thrilled about their selection and went on to have outstanding educations.
Part of an admissions consultant’s responsibility is to evaluate applicants and identify schools that are most likely to admit them and optimize their future success. Satisfaction rises exponentially when the applicant keeps an open mind about what schools are the best match for their authentic candidacy. The ultimate "proof in the pudding" happens when a school accepts you AND rewards you with a handsome scholarship!
One particular aspect of MBA admissions consulting that I love most is discovering that the uniqueness of certain applicants is matched by the uniqueness of certain schools. When both parties find "their kind", great things happen!
So, which schools do you think would be most likely to welcome you to their community? Feel free to request a free, individualized evaluation as the first step towards finding YOUR “kind”!