The first place most potential MBA students turn to for advice tends to be the Internet. It’s easy, fast and free. A quick Google search leads to literally millions of different websites with infinite tricks and tips on how to get into a business school.
Many candidates go on to purchase a cheap book for guidance. The authors promise “inside info” and claim to teach you “everything you need to know.” It’s easy to find a used copy of these “best sellers” on Amazon.com for under $10.
The information on the Internet and in such books is tempting, but in reality, it’s useless and here’s why:
1. Anyone — a true expert or another applicant — can post information to the Internet. When sifting through different blogs, websites, forums and books it’s nearly impossible to know who to trust. Some claim to have certain credentials while others don’t even put in the effort. But either way, they’re not verified. The fact is, that without clearly verifiable credentials no source should be trusted given the high stakes involved.
2. The authors don’t know you. Free advice is general advice. It’s information that anyone can use, so it does not fit your individual needs. Every candidate has a different personal, academic and professional background so, without an in-depth analysis of the applicant, those pointers don’t help. Advisors also need to have a total understanding of each candidate’s post-MBA goals before they can give him or her proper guidance. While free information is presented in generic terms as the right answer, it could potentially be damaging to an applicant.
3. Your competitors see and use the same advice. Even if you find that some free information is credible, so can everyone else who is competing against you. The value of this advice to your candidacy is immediately diluted. The help you receive should be specifically for you, not just for anyone who can read.
4. The lack of timeliness. Admissions advice gets stale extremely quickly. Blog posts, forums and books provide information that can be outdated by several years. They do not address the most current issues and may also lead to candidates submitting applications with strategies that admissions boards have seen before.
So, what is the Internet good for?
Candidates can find quality background information on the web, but they have to look in the right places. Skip the public forums and message boards, and go directly to schools’ websites. These contain pertinent information as to what the admission committees are looking for and can give candidates a feel as to whether or not they will fit in.
How much background research do I need to do prior to hiring a consultant?
It’s fine to do some on the schools, but not necessary as a truly professional consultant will help you prioritize what you need to know and tell you where to get the information. It’s not that you’ll never be doing research, but rather than wasting your time, collecting misinformation and missing critical information, part of what a good consultant does is tell you what you need and what you don’t.
For every problem that “free advice” tries to address, a trustworthy consultant has your solution:
-You get a verifiably credible source that has a stake in you admissions success and satisfaction.
-Advice is given in real time, with the chance to get clarification if needed.
-All of the advice is personalized and provided one-on-one.
What to do next?
The first step in a successful MBA admissions campaign is to get an objective, professional free evaluation of your candidacy for the schools that you really want to attend. With 14 years of experience helping nearly 2,500 business school applicants to succeed, The MBA Exchange is ready and eager to provide you with a free evaluation.