Choosing the schools to target your MBA apps to is a daunting task. There are many, many good schools out there. How do you know which ones to pick?
Each individual application is a TREMENDOUS amount of work. And, expensive!! App fees are in the $200 to $250 range at many schools right now. It adds up very quickly. If you’re going to be plunking down over $1,000 later this summer just to apply to four or five schools, you’re going to want to make sure that investment is made into schools that might actually accept you!
The rankings are a place to begin, because presumably the rankers (the publications that publish the rankings) have done some hard thinking into how to sort and categorize these behemoth institutions. However, they only go so far — and anyway, you may have discovered that the schools end up in a totally different order from list to list. US News says School X is #1, then Bloomberg BusinessWeek says School Y is #1, but Forbes has a completely opposite view of things and says no no no, School A is #1. And, if you have been in this game for more than a few months, you may have recognized that the order of schools within any single list just shuffles around year to year. It’s pretty ridiculous, actually, to say that a certain school was “the best” last year but then oh darn, nope, they are only #5 now. Or whatever. Because for real, what’s the difference between Top 20 and Top 5?
The schools that hit the Top 20 of any publication’s ranking are good schools, offering comparable educations in the disciplines of business that include finance, marketing, and how organizations work. You can’t go wrong if you end up at any of them.
So then how do you narrow your choices? How do you go down from a list of 20 schools, to a manageable list of school targets that you can actually have a true shot of getting in?
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You can do just fine with your MBA education at any top school (or even not-top schools!! you will get out of it what you put in). However, to make this process about following your path and being a conscious creator of your own future life then putting this type of attention to each of these tasks offers tremendous benefit and payoff. This is one aspect of the whole “authenticity” thing that we speak of. This is figuring out who you are and matching it to the schools that you resonate with.
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