by Talon Rindels, Senior Consultant at The MBA Exchange. An MBA graduate of Northwestern Kellogg, Talon also studied at the Copenhagen Business School in Denmark. Prior to joining The MBA Exchange, she interviewed and assessed candidates on behalf of the Kellogg admissions committee. She has guided applicants targeting top U.S. and European programs including London Business School, INSEAD, IE Business School, HEC Paris, Stanford, Harvard, and Kellogg. Her professional experience spans merchandising, brand management, global M&A, sales, and finance for iconic companies such as General Mills, Mars, Inc. and Target. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in finance and business management from the University of Wisconsin Madison.
In Part One of this two-part series, we discussed five common motivations for applying to business school and reasons why a school located outside the US might be a better choice for some US residents. Here, in Part Two, let’s focus on how the application process at top non-US programs can be more appealing than that of US programs:
- Rolling admission
While most US business schools follow strict application deadlines, many schools in other countries offer longer, more fluid application windows that can reduce stress and improve application quality. With rolling admission, candidates can apply any time during the window. Adcoms then review applications as they are received and promptly communicate decisions.
- Greater opportunity for self-expression
Most US MBA programs require applicants to answer specific essay questions that may constrain the chance to fully communicate the unique attributes they bring to the table. By comparison, many non-US schools let candidates select from a set of questions the one or two about which they feel most passionate, and offer longer word-count limits to tell their story.
- Lower average GMAT at comparable programs
According to the Financial Times 2019 Global MBA Ranking, the top six spots are split evenly among US and non-US schools. That said, leading European and Asian programs tend to admit classes with lower average GMAT scores. #3 INSEAD (709), #5 CEIBS (685) and #6 London Business School (708) all have lower average GMATs vs. US peers ranked immediately below them: #4 Wharton (732), #7 Chicago Booth (731), and #7 MIT Sloan (728).
While many non-US programs may accept lower standardized test scores, they’re more discerning in gauging the “international” perspective and potential of applicants. So, an admissions campaign with compelling essays, recommendations, social profile, and interview performance can be even more essential at such programs. Here’s the perspective of Travis Banken, a Minnesota native now attending IE Business School in Madrid, Spain. Well into his application process, Banken learned that, at age 26, he was among an applicant pool with several more years of experience. “I had to go the extra mile to emphasize my unique skillsets and experiences,” says Banken, “because the average acceptance age is around 30 years old at many schools outside the US.”
Applying to a non-US MBA program certainly has many advantages, but also comes with unique challenges and concerns. Engaging an admissions consultant who has had success advising US applicants to non-US schools, and who may even have attended one, could be extremely valuable to your admissions campaign. If you’d like to learn more, I invite you to review the consultant profiles proudly featured on our team roster. If you’re still unsure about whether to include non-US business schools on your target list, let us know. Our free evaluation of your candidacy is a great way to consider and then launch your global journey!