What Admissions Officers at Top MBA Schools Won’t Tell You
If you’ve gone to an admissions events in your town (such as the MBA Tour, QS World MBA Tour, etc.) you have probably met a few admissions officers from top business schools. They are usually friendly and encourage you to apply. There are few instances in which schools discourage students from applying; for example, INSEAD and LBS prefer candidates with significant work experience, and most top MBA programs will not accept students without some full-time work experience.
Otherwise, schools want you to apply. Their motivation is clear: the bigger the applicant pool, the better the school’s chance of finding the best candidates. Also, since MBA ranking is impacted by the selection rate, they would like to have more applicants, even if those applicants have little chance of getting in.
So, how do you determine whether to apply to a school or not? That’s a tricky question. If you had unlimited time and energy, you could apply to all your dream schools, and just go to the best one (according to your own rankings). In reality, you can only write the “Why MBA, Why Now, Why NYU/ Columbia/Wharton” essays so many times. Also, you don’t want to abuse your recommenders by asking them to submit 10 different applications.
Honestly, the school list is more of an art than a science. Finding the right number of applications for your profile and ambitions is usually about aiming high while building a safety net, sooner rather than later.
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