Deciding Where to Apply
Choosing MBA Programs
Once you have decided whether you want to attend a full-time, part-time, or executive MBA program and have selected a pool of programs to consider, you should begin to research the schools and narrow down your choices. Go4BSchool specializes in helping full-time business school applicants make informed decisions. We can provide you with your percentage chances of admission to help you decide where to apply.
Assess Your Preferences
Some business school applicants simply consider the top ranked programs regardless of how well the program fits their needs. Other applicants look for programs that are strong in the functional area in which they are interested such as finance or marketing. The important thing to remember is that not all business schools are alike, so do not fall into the misconception of thinking that the top programs are all similar. Take Harvard GSB and the Tuck School at Dartmouth for example. Harvard is known for its case study method, notorious for its cut-throat competitive environment, located in an urban setting, and has a class size of approximately 700 students. On the other hand, Tuck is known for its collaborative environment, is located in a remote, small town, and has a class size of approximately 200 students. Other schools such as Northwestern's Kellogg School are known for their marketing focus, just as University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School is known for its strong finance focus. Do not let the rankings blind you from choosing a school that meets your needs. We urge you to find out what makes each school unique and choose the programs that best fit your preferences, needs, and future plans. Matching your preferences and background to complementary programs should also give you the best chance of getting in.
When choosing MBA programs to apply to be sure to consider factors such as:
- Teaching Methods
- Career Services
- Alumni Network
We recommend making an initial list of 10 to 15 colleges for further consideration. Then, based on your research, eliminate those that do not meet your preferences and apply to the ones that do. Note that some business schools allow you to interview prior to submitting your application. Interviewing and visiting the campus are excellent ways to determine whether or not you want to apply to a particular business school.
How Many MBA Programs Should You Apply to?
To start off, keep in mind that business school applications are expensive and extremely time-consuming - not to mention that most business schools strongly encourage or require campus visits and/or interviews! Based on our experience, applying to ten schools is possible (though difficult and masochistic) and applying to one or two MBA programs can be risky, particularly if the programs are extremely competitive, which most are. The ideal number seems to fall somewhere in between 4-7 schools. However, the ideal number of schools you should apply to also depends on your personal business school goals. You answers to the following questions will help determine how many schools you should apply to:
- Are you dead set on attending one particular MBA program and will not go anywhere else?
- Are you determined to attend business school this year no matter where you can get in?
- What would you do if a business school waitlisted you and asked you to improve upon an aspect of your application and reapply the following year?
- Are you considering applying to a part-time program if you do not get into your top choices?
If you are set on attending a particular business school, then all you can do is put everything you have into studying for the GMAT, submit a stellar application, interview well, and hope for the best. If you do not get in the first time you apply, you may be able to receive feedback from the admissions office to help strengthen your application for next year. Re-applicants often have to submit an essay explaining why their application is stronger than when they applied the previous year.
If you are interested in attending the best program that you can get into this year, then you should consider applying to a range of MBA programs including one or two "safety schools" where your chances of admission are 80% or greater. Click here to get your chances of admission at top MBA programs.