What It Takes to Get into Top MBA Programmes (Q&A)

What It Takes to Get into Top MBA Programmes (Q&A)

Most of the top-ranked programmes are associated with globally reputable academic brands. Top MBA programmes are additionally promoted by the media rankings.

Top MBA programmes are effective spring-boards to boosting your career, and they ensure a worthwhile return on investment (ROI). In addition, the network of peers and the alumni associations open many doors to dream companies and positions.

Top MBA programmes are highly competitive. They attract thousands of ambitious applicants every year. Admission rates are as tiny as 7%-15%. Wonder what it takes to gain admission to a top-ranked MBA programme?

Find expert advice in the summary of the Q&A live session conducted by PrepAdviser in February 2015. Iliana Bobova, Head of Admissions Consulting at PrepAdviser, answers questions from potential applicants from different parts of the world. Candidates are at different stages of their preparation for MBA or Master’s admission.

Q: What are the three keys to top MBA admission?

A:  1. Apply to schools which really fit best your goals, but also your potential. 2. Have a competitive profile for the particular schools, including high test scores. 3. Make a great presentation of your application in the application package and at the interview. There is a lot to discuss in each of these three points.

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Q: What are the schools looking for - leadership, language knowledge, international experience, versatility, management experience?

A:  Each business school is looking for candidates who will be happy at their institutions and will gain exactly what they need in order to have a great career after graduation. This means that there should be a match between what you need and what the school provides. Each school is actually very different and you need to look thoroughly into the programme, curriculum, student body, etc.

Schools are looking for candidates who will contribute something unique to the MBA class and the learning environment. That is why it is important to understand - and show in the application - how you differ from the rest of the applicants and what it is that you will contribute.

Schools are looking for diversity in order to ensure a rich learning environment. Much of the learning in an MBA classroom is gained from time spent with peers, not only from professors.

All formal requirements are always listed on each school’s promotional materials - website, brochures, and admission requirements. Just read them really carefully. Make an honest self-evaluation about whether you have these skills and qualities. Make a list of examples that illustrate your skills. Also, stick to the specific requirements of each school when preparing your application package.

Q: Are there any models or tips that could be followed when preparing the essays?

A:  Do not use sample models for the essays. Instead, follow these guidelines:

Before you start writing the essays, make a plan about all messages you want to convey in the different elements of the application package including your CV, recommendation, application form, etc. All the information in the application package has to be coherent and interconnected.

Brainstorm the essays before you start drafting. Deciding what to include in each essay is the most important stage.

Allow enough time to work on several drafts of the essays. Writing the essays always takes much longer than initially anticipated.

There is a word limit provided for each essay. That is why, you must get straight to the point, be as specific as possible, and avoid generalisations. Focus on what differentiates you from the rest of the applicants. Check the summary of our live chat on How to Prepare Outstanding MBA Essays (Q&A)

Q: I notice that a lot of colleges offer MSc in a particular field. Is that like a more theoretical approach to management?

A:  Check these blog article on selecting schools How to Choose Schools for MBA or Master’s Programmes? and How to Select the Best Business Schools (Q&A) Read also 5 Ways Master Programmes Differ: MA vs. MSc.

There is also a lot of useful information on our Blog. Just use the search box to find articles on the topic of interest to you. You can post questions below each article and also in the Forum where experts and peers will get back to you.

Q: So should I apply if I have still not taken the gmat? School representatives called me four times and the school is interesting to me?

A: The most important thing is not whether the school likes you, but whether you are confident that this is the best school for your goals, time and money. There are thousands of MBA programmes. I do not recommend that you jump at the first school, unless you have done really good research in advance and selected the best schools for you.

In addition, if you have not taken the GMAT there is a risk that you may not manage to achieve the required score on time. This will most likely result in a rejection of admission or in missing opportunities for scholarships.

Q: I just want some tips about the GMAT test and whether the best resources to use are  books, online, etc.

A:  The best way to prepare for the GMAT is guided preparation plus self-study, and practice tests. Guided preparation may be a GMAT group course face-to-face or online or individual tutoring (face-to-face or online). The choice depends on the availability of options, on your learning style and budget.

Plan for about 4 months of GMAT preparation before you take the GMAT for the first time. If you are not happy with your score, you should plan for about a further 2-3 months for additional preparation and retaking.

Q: Considering that I would like to start the course in September and a lot of my deadlines are in March/April, would you say that this isn't a reasonable enough time to prepare? I think a couple of schools say you can apply before taking the test as long as you have a date scheduled for the test.

A:  It will be tight. It all depends on how well you progress with the GMAT preparation. Contact the GMAT prep centres. They will do a diagnostic test for you and discuss your preparation strategy. But, unfortunately, you do not have much time.

You should also contact your selected business school to check the deadline for receiving the official GMAT score. Although you will know the score immediately at the end of the test, it will take about three weeks after the test for the official score to reach the schools.

Also, check out the blog post on the New GMAT Score Reporting Policy.



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