Selecting MBA programs to apply to is obviously an important part of getting in (well, duh, EssaySnark). You can’t completely figure out which business schools to try for until you’ve got your test results in hand, thus we have some resources for the GMAT as a first step. Once you have your GMAT score, you can look at the class profiles of the bschools you’re interested in, to see if your stats will put you in the qualification range for admission. GMAT and GPA are far from the only factors to use in deciding on which business schools to target, but they’re important measuring sticks that offer a starting point for selecting your programs. If both GMAT and GPA are too far from the average of your selected MBA program, then the rest of your application needs to be incredibly distinctive for you to have a chance.
How many bschools to apply to?
Applying to business school is a time- and resource-intensive process. You shouldn’t attempt to apply to more than, say, three schools per round, as an ideal. Maybe up to five. You cannot realistically apply to more than that and count on producing quality applications for all of them. If you’re not going to do a thorough job, then you may as well not bother – the schools can see when you’re cutting corners.
- We wrote about this on the blahg in Spring 2014: “How many MBA apps should I plan for?”
Which MBA programs are right?
EssaySnark gets a little miffed when we see that someone has gone down the list of rankings to pick their schools. Believe it or not, all schools are different. A successful MBA application will express school fit — meaning, you show how you’re a good candidate for their program. The best way that you can begin to know if you are or not is to do some serious work — in advance of applying.
How to choose an MBA program
Thus, the process of identifying your school targets comes down to these steps:
- Preliminary research. Reading a lot on the Internet — school websites, sites like this one, perhaps the forums (though proceed with caution; there’s a lot of misinformation out there)
- More research, this time in person. Attending info sessions, and most importantly, visiting campus if you can.
- Reflection. Figuring out what you want to do with yourself. (This is the step many people skip over).
- Talking to people. Connecting with alumni and/or current students. Seeing what the culture is like.
- Self-assessment. Looking at your profile to make sure you actually have a shot at this school, based on the specifics of your GMAT score etc.
We summarized that whole process on a post on QS Top MBA in September 2015.
To help you out, here’s a list of the most recent posts on the EssaySnark blahg about selecting schools:
- ($) The main way rankings are useful.
- ($) Another reason Round 1 can be particularly advantageous: Scholarships
- ($) Thinking about trying in Round 3… Which schools?
- ($) When your safety school is actually a stretch school.
- ($) Talking to current students about their bschool experience
- ($) You can have 2 of these 3.
- ($) Round 2 Crunch Mode: Which schools have the easiest apps?
- ($) One easy way to tell how bad you want this
- ($) Choosing your schools Round 2 Edition
- Most applicants can’t let go of the rankings. But the rankings really are not designed to help you.
- ($) Should you do a “safety” school in Round 1?
- ($) What does “quality” mean when it comes to top MBA programs?
- ($) Targeting MBA programs based on your personal values.
- ($) Going beyond the MBA rankings: How do you choose which bschools to apply to?
- ($) False negatives, false positives, and you.
- Bschool is what you make of it.
- ($) How to do bschool with a partner
- More on schools doing things well
- ($) Going beyond the numbers: Why is it so much harder to get into Kellogg than it is Haas, given their admit rates?
- Do you want bschool to be easy or hard?
And of course, EssaySnark can help.
- ($) Deciding on a school: Two good schools, both offering $$
- ($) The BSer’s Dilemma: Deciding between two highly-ranked MBA programs
- Choosing between bschools
- ($) How to ask an MBA admissions officer for a deferral
- ($) “I’ve been admitted to bschool! Now can I get a deferral?”
- ($) School X or School Y?!?? More advice for navigating decisions between competing MBA offers
- ($) “What if School D gave me money but I really want to go to School A?”
- ($) “Will I be canceled if I change my mind after accepting a school’s offer?”
- ($) School X or School Y: What if they truly are comparable???
- ($) What about asking for a deferral?
- ($) The admissions landscape in 2021: Asking a school to match another school’s offer (2021 edition – Part 2)
- ($) The BSer’s Dilemma: School X? Or School Y with $$? 2021 edition (Part 1)
- ($) Deciding on schools: “I don’t have all my decisions yet. Do I pay this deposit now just to be sure I secure a spot?”
- ($) Deciding on schools: Round 2 midcycle edition! Featuring the Ross waitlist situation and other decision-making help
- ($) How to do bschool with a partner
- Success Story: A former BSer shares the experience of applying — and getting in!
- ($) Ahead of the curve: What might set specific business schools apart as near-term leaders in delivering the online learning experience?
- ($) How the schools are adapting to coronavirus and what it means for you: MBA Round 2 decisions
- ($) Deciding on a school: Qualitative factors
- ($) School X? Or School Y with $$?
(EssaySnark always loves to get questions in the “what should I do?!?” category — if you’re in this situation, feel free to send us a summary of your choices and how/why you’re conflicted — you can send this to us privately, we won’t be posting it on the blahg — email it to gethelpnow at essaysnark dot com — we’d be happy to offer our two cents on your situation!)