MBA Applicants: Expectations Vs Reality

23/03/2021 Other Services

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MBA Applicants: Expectations Vs Reality

“Knowing Yourself is the Beginning of All Wisdom” – Aristotle

When it comes to making mistakes on a business school application, there are many places where candidates can run afoul and ruin their chances at admission. The road to an MBA contains countless potential pitfalls. You might input the wrong school’s name or otherwise failing to proofread. You could have generic essays designed to impress rather than reveal. Applicants often err by choosing recommenders based on their titles, not their relationship with them. (BBGV2332021


There’s a lot of hype around the top b-school brands. Of course, most applicants dream of earning their MBA at Harvard Business School or Stanford Graduate School of Business. But the cold, hard truth is that these schools admit a small fraction of applicants each cycle.

This doesn’t mean you should abandon all hope of attending one of the world’s best business schools. If you have strong stats and varied leadership examples and extracurriculars, go for it. But, should you fall in the camp of the other 85% of applicants, then having appropriate back-up schools is a must. Not all programs are the same. Applicants should do a lot of research and soul-searching before the school selection process. Be realistic about your profile. Aligning yourself with programs that mesh with your academic and professional background is the surest recipe for success.


As we’ve talked about in this space before, preparing early for the entrance exam is critical. Then, you can focus on compelling application essays or cultivating extra leadership opportunities.

Use your GMAT or GRE score as a barometer to determine a comfortable range of schools to target. You can go for the “reach school” as well despite a middling test score. But make sure you incorporate the fact that you have a low score into your overall strategy.


A huge mistake is applying to business school before you are really ready. It is true MBA admissions skew younger these days. Now it’s common to accept applicants with five or fewer years of work experience. But that means candidates need to be even more amazing in less time. Have you had enough life experiences to provide an interesting perspective to a class? Will your recommenders act as champions for your cause?

Making 100% sure that an MBA is the right step now is a crucial part of soul-searching. Once you can answer in the affirmative, you can embark on the challenging but rewarding journey toward an MBA.

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