Part 2 of a 5-part series featuring reflections and insights for future applicants by MBA graduates
Every business school wants to be the choice of the most qualified MBA applicants. Having a high average undergrad GPA, a high average GMAT or GRE score, and a high yield on admits are essential for a school to earn the highest overall ranking and attract the more desirable candidates.
This fierce competition for students is beneficial for MBA applicants since it motivates schools to constantly improve their content, culture and resources. Better faculty, better courses, better facilities, etc. However, this rivalry among schools also means that even top-tier MBA programs start to look and sound alike, which ironically makes it more difficult for applicants to identify their “dream” school.
To help future b-school applicants better understand the differences among schools and the decision criteria used by past candidates, we sought feedback from admissions consultants at The MBA Exchange. These outstanding professionals were admitted to their dream schools and have helped thousands of others do the same. So, we asked them to share insights on school selection by answering this question…
Why did you choose to attend your business school vs. other schools?
“I chose Wharton largely due to its stellar global reputation; I spent a semester abroad at IESE in Barcelona, and the summer after graduation traveled with the African Business Club on a tour that included stops in Senegal, Ghana, and Zimbabwe.”
“There were three primary reasons I choose to attend Tuck: 1) Its reputation that it would provide a stellar graduate education which would prepare me to excel in any field; 2) The amazing network – this includes alumni, students, professors, and administrators; 3) My gut. I attended the admitted students weekend and had recently attended another. I just felt most at home at Tuck. When I left, I knew it was an experience I couldn’t walk away from – and so I didn’t.”
“Columbia had the perfect combination of academic notability and cultural fit.”
“Kellogg‘s collaborative culture had great appeal, as did the fact that Kellogg interviewed every applicant in an attempt to gauge personability.”
“Stanford is one of the world’s leading institutions for innovation and entrepreneurship. The campus culture is unparalleled in terms of providing a nurturing, yet rigorous, environment for growth. Given my personal learning style and passion for startups, it was a natural fit for pursuing my MBA.”
“I visited several schools and Columbia just felt like home. I really connected with all the students and professors that I interacted with on campus.”
“I chose Kellogg for three essential reasons: 1) The strength and flexibility of the healthcare program allowed me to customize my life sciences and biotechnology educational experience, 2) I wanted to pursue my MBA in a major city that was new and different, and 3) Achieving both an MBA and an engineering masters degree (MEM) via the MMM program was extraordinarily compelling and differentiating.”
“INSEAD is the most international program and was known to produce entrepreneurs. Both these factors were very attractive for me.”
“As a non-traditional candidate, I sought a top-tier school (Yale) that not only viewed my background and unique perspective as an asset to the program but one where I could develop a broad skill-set within a collaborative, inquisitive, and vibrant community of like-minded individuals.”
“I wanted to be in an environment where people have the courage and conviction to change the status quo, so I chose Stanford to make my bold career transition to entrepreneurship in the social impact sector.”
“The collaborative, friendly culture and idyllic outdoor setting of Tuck made it a perfect fit for my personality and lifestyle.”
“I knew at MIT I would have the best opportunity to grow my budding tech career. I also just felt at home when I visited campus and really wanted to be part of the community.”
“I was a New Yorker through and through, and a (Columbia) undergrad alum — so the admissions process felt easy and natural (and was successful!)”
“Chicago became a no-brainer for me: My family lived 45 minutes away in the Chicago suburbs, and I would be able to visit regularly; Booth offered me a 40% scholarship; and Booth’s brand was as strong as any other school to which I had applied.”
“The alumni I met from my chosen b-school Wharton were smart, engaging and down-to-earth.”
“INSEAD offered the perfect mix of top brand (consistently ranked within the top 5), quick ROI (10-month program), global experience (dual-campus France/Singapore + Exchange with Wharton/Kellogg), and diversity (+70 nationalities and no predominant national group).”
These candid reflections from such astute and accomplished MBA graduates confirm the amazing value of a top business-school education. Of course, there’s no decision or commitment for a candidate to make until he or she finalizes his or her target list and actually gains admission.
So, if you’re a potential applicant, now is the time to discover how you can maximize your chances for acceptance and which programs are ideal for you. The MBA Exchange is here to help you. Start with a free, expert evaluation of your current candidacy. Only then, can you begin to set realistic expectations and chart the best path toward admission to your dream business school.