“Attending your business school has always been my lifelong dream!”
“Your curriculum will provide the knowledge I need to achieve my goals!”
“Your student body and alumni network offer the valuable contacts I seek!”
Those are just some of the passionate pleas that admissions committees read and hear from eager applicants every year. There’s no doubt that such desires and requirements are sincere and accurate as thousands of working professionals could benefit dramatically from an MBA education. But applicants who base their admissions campaign solely on their own “wants and needs” are likely to be disappointed on decision day.
Admissions committees assume that serious applicants are highly motivated and would gain substantially from earning a top MBA. So, the pivotal question is really, “What’s in it for the school to admit you instead of hundreds of other applicants with equal or stronger credentials?”
This is the concept of a value exchange. It’s common knowledge what value a b-school delivers to its students. But, adcoms are expecting applicants to present and convince them about the value that the individual offers to the school in return. And not just during two years as a student – also during one’s lifetime as an alum.
Whether it’s excellence in quantitative analysis, leadership impact, exceptional cultural awareness, etc., an applicant must discover and convey his or her strongest value proposition in order to have a shot at admission to a highly selective MBA program. This requires great self-awareness, confidence, communication skill, and an accurate understanding of the school’s proven preferences and priorities for admits. That can be a tall order for most applicants, even those who are reapplicants or have unlimited time to devote to their admissions campaigns.
What to do? Some individuals find that candid discussions with friends of colleagues who have attended business school can be beneficial. Others have elected to develop their admissions campaigns as a team with other applicants, benefitting from multiple perspectives and exchanging advice along the way.
Another option that has proved to be a wise choice for many applicants is to engage a professional admissions consultant like The MBA Exchange. The experience, abilities and objectivity of an admissions expert can help you get past the generalities and platitudes to focus on exactly why a top b-school should consider admitting you. In our case, this process begins with free evaluation of the candidacy to determine apparent strengths to be leveraged and weaknesses to be mitigated.
Whichever path you choose, keep in mind that just because you want and need a top MBA so much you can taste it isn’t going to produce the desired outcome. As thousands of other applicants are just as motivated as you, it’s also essential to identify and capitalize on your unique attributes, attitudes and accomplishments that will resonate with the school and give them a reason to say yes to you.