Thursday, September 8, 2011

4 Steps to a Smart MBA Admission Strategy

By Linda Abraham, founder and president of and co-author of the soon-to-be released book. MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business School.

After fifteen years of working in MBA admissions, I have been hard at work on a book about… you guessed it: MBA admissions. The first part of the book lays out the four key steps necessary to choose the programs that will maximize your chances of acceptance.

Here’s the very abridged version of those four steps, the “Accepted Positioning System" – to help you navigate the MBA admissions maze:

1. Determine your post-MBA goal. You won't be able to find an MBA program that supports your goals until you determine what your goals are. Think deeply about what you want to do, which industries interest you, and where you'd like to live. Once you have the answer to those three questions, let that answer guide you as you proceed through the application process. Yes, your goal can evolve later, but for now it will be a trusty guide. And having a clear goal will actually enhance your a attractiveness to most top MBA programs.

2. Research schools. Which schools will help you achieve your goals? Look at your target schools' recruiting trends, curriculum, and extracurricular activities. Those schools with recruiting strengths and a strong curriculum in the area you want to go into are the ones you should focus on. Then layer in personal preferences and you will know which schools you want to attend. However the decision is not entirely yours. You should also…

3. Evaluate your qualifications. Weigh your academic competitiveness, work experience, and community service against those of the students accepted at the schools you are interested in. Look at your academic stats, the quantity and quality of your work experience, your community service, and any diversity elements, which admittedly can be difficult to identify. Then assess your competitiveness as objectively as you can.

4. Target programs. After completing steps 1-3 above, you should have enough material to begin compiling a list of target MBA programs. You should apply to 4-8 programs that support your goals and that are likely to admit you. It’s that golden overlap between what you want and what you believe the schools want that you’re aiming for. The intersection of interests represents the solid foundation for a success MBA admissions process.

Follow these steps and you should arrive at your destination – the perfect MBA choices for YOU. Please Check out our cool infographic for the map to your perfect MBA choices. And good luck!

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