We could be totally off on this but… based on our reading of the tea leaves and examining the overall state of affairs in MBA admissions and the world so far with Round 1, we’re starting to wonder about things. We had been pretty confident when the season opened up that things would be stable this year, in terms of competitiveness. But now, the Snarky Sense is starting to indicate that this is going to be a more competitive application season. We’re gonna go out on a limb and post this today, before the first wave of data comes in a la HBS and interview invites coming tomorrow; what happens tomorrow will either partially validate, or fully demolish, our hypotheses for the season.
But right now… we’re thinking it’s gonna be kinda more competitive than we had originally imagined. (Which is likely not making you Harvard Hopefuls feel very good. 🙁 However, if we told you in the past month that we do in fact think you have a shot at HBS, then that still stands, as these ideas were percolating around Snarkville since late August.)
We base this current thinking off a number of things, including:
- The fact that the media has overhyped the so-called “downturn” in interest in the MBA, and that the top schools really haven’t seen a radically collapse in MBA admissions compared to their recent peaks
- The difficulty that many very accomplished candidates had in getting offers at certain schools last year (specifically in-demand schools like MIT, Wharton, and Kellogg — those three schools have gotten very difficult to break into
- Directly related to that: The strength of the Class of 2021 profiles at many schools
- The record-breaking average starting salaries that schools like Darden have reported for the Class of 2019
- Other factors like economic data, the political environment, our current sense of what’s going to happen in the world in the coming months, and other secret things that we aren’t going to talk about
What does this mean for you?
Well, we have some messages:
- If you’ve already submitted some apps in Round 1, then that was very smart
- If you’re dithering about retaking the GMAT or GRE, then we strongly suggest you get on it – and put in the work to make sure you actually bump up your score
- If you’re thinking about non-full-time programs, you’re likely less impacted; this includes EMBA, MFin, MSM, etc.
If Round 2 will be your first applications, you need to get started NOW
Having a sound full-season strategy that accounts for the risk relative to your specific profile and the schools that you’re targeting is paramount
Want help with that last part? Our Comprehensive Profile Review is the best way we know of to get unbiased input into the realities of your profile and what opportunities and challenges you may be facing in the context of your target schools. Plus, we always suggest other schools to consider, to make sure you’ve got that well-reasons list.
If you’ve got some apps in the hopper for Round 1, we hope that you’ll be soon celebrating news of passing the first hurdle – the interview invite! And, given how we’re reading this application season, we expect many schools to be issuing high numbers of interview invites again, which means that getting to that stage isn’t necessarily a promise of an admit like it kinda sorta usedta be. Please don’t skrimp on your time and effort in interview prep. We have a select few services to support you on this but we’re no longer offering the actual interview prep practice session. Please seek out actual practice time, doing mock interviews with all of your friends, or even possibly a reputable admissions consultant who offers it (and if you find a good one, please let us know! we may consider listing them if they come highly reviewed by BSers we trust).
And for anyone who we’ve freaked out a little bit with this post, just keep in mind that our takeaway message from our earlier-in-the-season prognostications on this year’s competitiveness factor still applies: If you’re prepared, and you do a bang-up job on your essays, and your profile is in line with what the school generally accepts, you’re going to end up just fine.
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