Savvy MBA Application Strategy How Many Which Schools and When to Apply

first_img regions: Atlanta / Baltimore / Boston / Chicago / Dallas / Denver / Houston / London / Los Angeles / Miami / New York City / Online / Philadelphia / Research Triangle / San Diego / San Francisco / Seattle / Toronto / Washington, DC Savvy MBA Application Strategy: How Many, Which Schools, and When to Apply Last Updated Aug 15, 2017 by Metro MBAFacebookTwitterLinkedinemail About the AuthorMetro MBAView more posts by Metro MBA center_img You’ve decided the MBA is the next stop on your career path. What now? The smartest applicants are those who take the time to create an informed MBA application strategy—a well thought-out game plan that can help you obtain your goals as efficiently and effectively as possible.One of the first challenges you’ll face is school selection—strategically choosing which schools to target, bearing in mind the competitive mix of those schools.In recent years, MBA applicants appear to be trending downward in terms of the total number of schools to which they apply. Research we have undertaken on data from MBA DecisionWire suggests that candidates now typically apply to about five programs. You can also explore MBA ApplyWire to learn more about other candidates application strategies. “A combination of factors could be at play here,” suggests Alex Brown, a consultant to Clear Admit who spent years working in MBA admissions at Wharton. “More information is now available about schools, so it is easier for candidates to determine which are truly target schools, rather than the more shotgun approach of yesteryear,” he says. “The complicated nature of the application, engaging recommenders and so forth, may also be encouraging applicants to really refine their school list before applying.”Making Your ListSo what types of schools should make up the list a candidate ultimately applies to? While the answer will obviously depend on the individual candidate, one piece of advice applies to all. “Remember: Only apply to schools you would be absolutely happy to attend,” says Brown. “There is no value in applying to a school just to get an acceptance letter if it’s not a school that will help you reach your goals.”With that main tenet as a guide, many candidates find it valuable to classify schools into three buckets: reach schools, realistic schools and safety schools. Applying to at least one school in each of these buckets helps position a candidate to get into and ultimately attend the best possible school her candidacy will allow.Say you apply to all safety and/or realistic schools and gain admission to every school. While on the surface this appears like a successful MBA application strategy, that is only true if your mix of schools included the best possible school to reach your goals. “If you only apply to ‘realistic’ schools, you will never know if you could have achieved something that you presumed was beyond your reach,” Brown points out. Therefore, a truly successful application strategy often includes one or two rejections along with acceptances at schools where you will thrive.The final consideration of a comprehensive MBA application strategy is when to apply to your selected schools. That is, what admissions round should you target for which schools and why. More on that in an upcoming post, so stay tuned.This article has been edited and republished with permissions from Clear Admit. RelatedTop Deferred Enrollment MBA Programs Geared Toward Younger CandidatesMost of the time, full-time MBA programs require work experience and, overall, class averages of professional experience are close to five years. Rarely are programs open to younger candidates who are still pursuing their undergraduate degrees. However, that all changes when it comes to deferred enrollment programs. These programs guarantee…March 7, 2019In “Advice”Becoming a Clear Admit: New Book Demystifies MBA Admissions for Applicants Targeting Top Schools Don’t miss this week’s launch of a new book for applicants targeting top business schools. Becoming a Clear Admit: The Definitive Guide to MBA Admissions, written by our own Alex Brown, is a must-read for both traditional and “non-traditional” applicants to leading MBA programs. Brown brings nearly 24 years of…August 6, 2016In “Featured Home”Round 1 or Round 2: When Should I Submit My MBA Application?The early bird gets the worm, but the late mouse gets the cheese. Which one are you, and which one should you be? Okay, you might not care about worms or cheese, but you probably care about getting into your top MBA school pick, and the same question applies. Should…August 31, 2016In “Admissions Tips”last_img