According to the 2017 AIGAC MBA Applicants Survey, 39 percent of MBA Applicants reported that their admissions consultant advised them to apply to a school they would have otherwise never considered.
At Apply Point, we work closely with our clients to create a school list that is both compatible with their interests and goals and also sound in terms of acceptance likelihood. We know we’ve succeeded when an applicant has the luxury of choice between multiple programs at the end of the admissions cycle. While there are numerous factors to consider when finalizing school selection, we believe the following three criteria are the most important.
While we discourage clients from judging schools on rankings alone, US News & World Report’s list of Best Business Schools, for example, is still important to consider when gaining an in-depth understanding of how potential employers will view your investment. Many rankings are also based on algorithms that incorporate various factors of interest to students such as quality assessments, placement success, and student selectivity.
The second, and perhaps somewhat surprising aspect to consider when putting together a school list is geography. Place will play a crucial role in your ability to network. Thus, we often encourage students who know they want to end up in a certain location to consider the top MBA programs in that city, or within the geographic region. Similarly, if your goals are related to a certain industry, it can be invaluable to attend a school near one of the industry’s hubs.
The last, but perhaps most critical component, is to develop a thorough understanding of which companies are recruiting and hiring employees from the MBA programs you are interested in. We suggest prospective students gain a thorough knowledge of the information contained in each school’s career placement report and also engage with the school’s counselors in the career center to learn more. It can also be helpful to look for student clubs or associations within a business school relevant to your goals (e.g., Finance Club, Luxury Goods Club, Marketing Club), as they will often host events connecting potential employers with interested students, as well as providing other resources.
During the school selection period of the application process, we encourage prospective students to keep an open mind and fully explore the many options that exist. Speaking with professors, career placement professionals, current students, alumni, and admissions directors at different programs is a wonderful way to start. Your personal MBA rankings may not look exactly like those in US News and World Report or Financial Times. And that is just fine.