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Case Study #5: There’s No Such Thing as a “Perfect” MBA Applicant

November 16 2020 By The MBA Exchange
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This is the fifth in a series of 7 case studies summarizing the challenges, experiences, and success of business school applicants who in recent years have engaged the admissions consulting services of The MBA Exchange. There’s no such thing as a “perfect” MBA candidate, but there are strategic ways to perfect your candidacy.

The featured profiles are:

#1. Low GPA

#2. Low GMAT Score, Qualitative background

#3. Undifferentiated/Technical work history

#4. No international experience

#5. Short work history

#6. Re-applicant

#7. Older applicant

These descriptions confirm that, while most applicants are not “perfect,” through well-planned strategies and diligently executed tactics, admission is achievable at schools that they believe are beyond their reach.

If your candidacy relates to any of these case studies, then The MBA Exchange would love to hear from you regarding your business-school aspirations and challenges. Contact us today so we can start getting to know you AND your business school candidacy!

Case Study #5: Short work history

Applicant Profile for “Vicki” (not her real name)

Applicant Profile Table for “Vicki” (not her real name)
AcademicBusiness major at a top university in China. Graduated with a 3.8 overall GPA
Professional1 year of experience as a management consultant in Shanghai
Non-work activitiesManages a website community for young professionals in China that she launched while still in college. Serves as consultant to family business. Served as head of student government in college
Post-MBA goalWork in private equity or venture capital, then become an entrepreneur
Target schoolsHarvard, Stanford, Wharton

The MBA Exchange’s Solution

Vicki’s full-time work experience is significantly below the average of 3+ years for admitted applicants at her targeted schools. We reviewed our experience with past clients who had similar profiles and goals, and devised the following 3-part strategy to help Vicki position her short work history as sufficient preparation for business school:

  • Devote a large percentage of essay content to leadership and entrepreneurship experiences in college.
  • Emphasize the impact of her strategic contribution to family business despite relative lack of formal business experience.
  • Communicate the added value her diverse experiences will bring to the MBA community.

Applicant’s Outcome/Results

We worked diligently with Vicki to help her develop powerful essay content that communicated that the depth of business and leadership exposure during college and in her first year of work are equivalent to several years of post-college professional experience. We helped her align her strengths with the selection criteria at her targeted schools. Vicki was ultimately offered admission to Harvard, Stanford, Columbia and NYU.

In order to capitalize on our experience and advice as Vicki did, The MBA Exchange invites prospective clients to request our free, expert evaluation up to a year before they apply to business school. Engaging us for a Comprehensive Consultation will allow you time and proven strategies to strengthen your candidacy and then to prepare more compelling applications that maximize your chances for admission.

Client Comments

Despite having only one year of work experience, working with The MBA Exchange enabled me to get into four business schools! My consultant spent a lot of time with me up front, getting to know my personal and academic background, so that we could integrate those experiences with my professional accomplishments as a consultant into powerful, beautifully written essays. Thank you!!