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6 Worst Reasons for NOT Applying to a Top Business School

April 17 2018 By The MBA Exchange
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1. “I don’t work for a blue-chip investment or consulting firm”
It’s a fact that MBA candidates employed by such companies are over-represented in the applicant universe and admitted-class roster. However, admissions committees value professional diversity and seek individuals whose skills, perspectives and networks will complement those of consultants and bankers. Serious applicants from other industries who present a powerful value proposition will always get full and fair consideration for admission.

2. “My undergraduate academic profile is not impressive”
Maybe you had a non-quant major. Or a modest GPA. Perhaps you attended a college that’s less selective that the Ivy League. If you can clearly explain to the adcom the reasons and rationale for your undergrad profile, none of those factors is a showstopper. Being passionate about a qualitative discipline, immersing yourself in time-consuming extracurriculars, or choosing a college that was more affordable or closer to family are all reasonable and should not keep you from pursuing MBA admission. If in doubt, consider taking a rigorous extension course from an accredited university as a way to demonstrate your current, academic prowess.

3. “My test score is below the median for my target schools”
There’s no way for applicants to avoid taking the GMAT or GRE. However, recent changes to these standardized tests make them less onerous than ever. Best of all, you have the option of cancelling any score that you feel is not reflective of your true abilities. If the concern is about test content or test-taking strategy, then hiring an expert tutor can help you overcome such hurdles. If the challenge relates to a documented learning disability, then requesting an official “accommodation” can level the playing field. Or if the issue is about test anxiety, then engaging a licensed counselor can help you overcome that burden.

4. “I don’t have a unique or compelling personal background”
This excuse is easy to debunk. Everyone has a distinctive story that reflects his or her past, present and future. The difficulty for many individuals comes when examining, structuring and presenting that story in an MBA application or interview. MBA applicants can get discouraged and feel overwhelmed if they try to anticipate and communicate only what they think the adcom wants to see and hear. From having advised over 5,000 candidates over the past three decades, The MBA Exchange knows that the best way to find and present a story is by using a proven framework to probe, organize and present authentic content. That’s exactly what we do during our Comprehensive Consultation to produce an inventory of evidence that helps adcoms understand, respect and embrace the candidacy.

5. “I don’t know exactly what I want to do with my career”
You are not alone. Very few people have a precise idea of exactly what they want to do 5, 10 or 20 years from today. However, this isn’t a sufficient reason to forego an MBA education. In fact, attending business school provides an ideal platform for exploring options and deciding on a near-term and long-term career path. Even if your plans are uncertain, it’s essential for a b-school applicant to communicate a hypothesis that leverages the past and conveys a vision for the future. If you find this difficult, then engaging the services of a professional admissions consultant who shares aspects of your background could be a very wise move.

6. “I’m not sure which business schools are best for me”
There are so many accredited, full-time MBA programs competing for applicants – each claiming to be the best choice for individuals like you – that it can feel overwhelming to build an initial target list. The good news is that there are several b-schools where your background, goals, values, personality, and budget are a great fit. The mistake many people make is choosing which schools to target before knowing the competitiveness and potential of their candidacy. The best way to avoid that error is to get a free, preliminary evaluation from a reputable admissions consulting firm. This feedback will help your narrow the target list and discover excellent MBA programs that you otherwise might have ignored.

So, now where do you stand? If you’re convinced that none of these 6 reasons should keep you from pursuing MBA admission – or if you’d like to learn more about overcoming them so you can maximize your chances for admission – The MBA Exchange is here for you!