How to Gain Admission to Top Schools
Choose the Right Program
Once you have chosen your MBA school you might be asking yourself what makes a good MBA candidate. In turn, admissions officers will be searching for proof that your candidacy is good for their MBA program.
A Master in Business Administration (MBA) is unlike many other academic programs. While most Master programs provide further specialization within a particular school or discipline (such as law), an MBA is typically interdisciplinary, drawing from the fields of management, psychology, sociology, economics, accounting and finance. MBA programs enable you to earn a high-level qualification and to acquire a skill set and expertise required inany business environment. With this qualification you can look forward to a rewarding career, a good salary, and a challenging managerial position with promotional prospects. The question is how to choose the right program and how to apply to this program in order to be admitted. First of all, you should takeinto account the type of the program you are applying for. You can study for a wide range of MBA programs these days, from the general MBA to programs with a specialist focus, such as marketing, finance, accounting, technology, leadership, etc.
Programs base admission on the GMAT test, significant work experience, academic transcripts, essays, references, and personal interviews. Schools are also interested in extracurricular activities and community service. All of these qualifications are important for admission. Some top-tier schools do not weighGMAT scores as heavily as other criteria.The application is a crucial aspect determining whether you will be accepted. You might think the interview is the most difficult part, but you may never even get selected for an interview if your application does not stand out.First, you should apply early. When you apply can affect your chances of being accepted. Earlier is generally better, although admissions directors warn that you should only apply when you are absolutely ready and when you feel you can submit a strong application. Applying early will not benefit you if you submit a premature application. Moreover, your application is likely to receive more time and consideration if it arrives before the majority of other applications.
Applying early will demonstrate a serious interest in a program and highlightstrong planning skills. Don't forget that problems may arise during the application process, such as transcripts or recommendations not arriving when expected. By submitting your application early, you allow time to addressthose issues before you miss a deadline. In addition, you may be able to increase your likelihood of receiving scholarship or financial aid money by applying early. You will also have more time to recover and plan if your request for scholarship funds is rejected or if you get less aid than you had hoped for.Next, make sure you have completed the entire application and make sure you followed the instructions. If not, the school may not consider the applicationto be complete. Be sincere in your essay. In most cases, admissions officers are searching for those applicants who are clear about what they want fromthe program. You have a better chance to be admitted if you have prior knowledge about the program to which you are applying.Your essay should be so compelling that an admissions officer finds it difficult to put down. Also make sure your application looks professional.All schools expect a serious applicant to submit materials that are typed, organized, and complete.
You need to take into account that each application is unique and what makes it unique is your personality. It won't benefit you if you search for a 'ready-made' essay on the internet. Reveal what's exceptional about you. Forexample, perhaps you are a great musician with considerable achievements in this area. Thus, you have very diverse experience, and you have managed to gain great results in several domains and not only in business. All thismeans you need lots of time to prepare a good application. Organize your time well.Hubert de Prémont, a current student at HEC says:"It takes time. I would say one year between the moment you made a decision to apply and an intake! To be a good applicant for an MBA, you have to be frustrated, hungry and in a professional dead-end.
It is not that you are supposed to be a loser, it isthat you have the real motivation to change your life! Entering a MBA is a contest; recruiters take the most willing people, those who are able to turn weaknesses into strengths. Get information from alumni to make sure you fitthe MBA culture of the program you are targeting.”Look at the typical applicant pool at each school that interests you. Pay attention to grade point average, Graduate Management Admission Test® (GMAT®) scores, education, work experience, and accomplishments. You may need to address one or more of these areas in your application. When comparingyourself to the "average" MBA applicant, keep in mind that the term does not describe a specific person. Rather, it illustrates a collection of traits from a broad spectrum of people. You may find that there is a part of your background that is weaker than average. But you may be able to compensate if you are better than average in one or more other areas. If so, emphasize those areas in your applications.
Prepare for your GMAT test in advance in order to list a high score on your application form. Most schools are first concerned with whether or not the applicant can handle the quantity of course work. The GMAT (the quantitativescore) and academic transcripts help determine this. Applicants with lower test scores or lighter academic experience may still gain admission based on other qualifications such as professional work experience or a foreign perspective. The common belief is that a class consisting solely of candidates with a 750GMAT score and a perfect undergraduate record would not offer an educational experience as valuable and meaningful as would be offered by a more diverse class that includes students with a wide variety of backgrounds.
Obtain letters of recommendation that stand out from the others. In other words, make sure that you do the best possible job while preparing your application form so as to be sure it will end up in the 'In' pile.The interview is another critical aspect of the MBA admissions process. Present yourself as a quality student and a valuable team member. The school evaluates the applicant's experience and demographic background to assess the contribution of the applicant with regard to classroom diversity and leadership abilities. It is important for the evaluators to admit a well-rounded class so that each student will experience a diverse range of views and ideas in the classroom.Be honest about your expectations for the MBA course and about why you havedecided to pursue a particular program or school.
You might be asking yourself what is the difference between top and non-topMBA schools. By 'top schools' we mean the top 100 ranked MBA institutions. Don't make a mistake by looking only at the top 15 programs. They might be too expensive for you, which will make your return on investment slow. The higher a school is ranked, the higher the competition among applicants is. Carefullyevaluate your chances by taking into account your GMAT score (generally, for the first top 10 ranked schools your GMAT score shouldn't be lower than 700), the quality and the quantity of your experience, your international exposure,etc. Find information concerning scholarships and loans and be reasonable whilemaking your choice. If you have chosen a school that is on the list of the top 10, be sure you prepare an outstanding application as the competition is tough and only the best application forms will be considered by highly-ranked schools.
Full-time MBA programs are the most common, usually lasting two years in the U.S. and one year in Europe. Students enter with a reasonable amount of prior real-world work experience and take classes during weekdays as do other university students. Accelerated MBA programs are a variation of full-time programs, lasting 18 months or less, and involve a heavier course load.
Part-time MBA programs usually hold classes on weekday evenings, after regular working hours. Part-time programs normally last 3 years or more.The students in these programs typically consist of working professionals, who take a light course load for a longer period of time until the graduation requirements are met. You can apply for both full-time and part-time programs with 3 years of work experience. The difference between programs is mostly in their structure.
Executive MBA (EMBA) programs are developed to meet the educational needs of managers and executives, allowing students to earn an MBA or another business-related graduate degree in two years or less while working full-time. EMBA students typically have a higher level of work experience, often 8 to 10 years or more, compared to other MBA students.
Distance-learning MBA programs hold classes off-campus. These programs can be offered in various formats: correspondence courses by postal mail or email, non-interactive broadcast video, pre-recorded video, live teleconference or videoconference, offline or online computer courses. Many reputable schools offer these programs. Potential students should check the school's accreditation before undertaking distance-learning coursework.