How to Get into a Top Business School: Admitted Students Share 10 Top Tips
Limit Blogs and Feedback
While we’re obviously partial to online resources and forums here at Clear Admit, we note that several students shared that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.
“Don’t talk to too many MBA students or read too many blogs,” advised current Sloan student Emily McLaughlin. “Some information is definitely helpful, but keep in mind that every application is unique and you shouldn’t make broad assumptions about schools from different admission decisions.”
Fellow Sloanie Sahil Joshi also wishes he had remembered that the application is very individual. “Everyone—from friends and mentors to published admissions experts—has a perspective on how much time to spend studying for the GMAT, how to approach essays, and what programs to select,” he said. “If I were to go through the process again, I would filter through these opinions to determine what resonated with me and my strengths.”
And a third current Sloan student offered similar advice. “If I had to redo the application process, I would spend less time obsessing over blogs,” said Daniel Shaffer. “I believe that each prospective student has a unique background and he or she needs to identify that background and highlight it to their target schools. Blogs do not tell the whole story. While they provide some very useful advice and data points, I spent hours, if not days, comparing myself to others, which is an ineffective judge of anyone’s candidacy.”
Looking back, Tuck student Sam Bristol would limit the number of people he asked for input on his essays and applications. “I’m a big consensus builder, and I asked a lot of people for their thoughts on content, style, etc.,” he said. “At a certain point their well-intentioned advice becomes noise, and your essay gets watered down. Ultimately, you need to make the gut call and write something that’s truly an expression of yourself.”
Take Courses Ahead of Time to Come to School Prepared
Describing himself as a “nontraditional” student, Chima Mbadugha, a current Ross student who worked as a sixth-grade math teacher and then a recruiter for Teach for America, would have taken more courses online or at a community college to build foundational business knowledge before starting school. “I put ‘nontraditional’ in quotation marks, because at a school like Ross with so much diversity in industry backgrounds, I don’t believe there is a ‘traditional’ student,” he added.
Perhaps Not Use an MBA Consultant
As former MBA admissions consultants, those of us here at Clear Admit also believe strongly in the value they can bring to some candidates. That said, they’re not for everyone.
“I personally would probably have not used an MBA consultant,” said Johnson student Lauren Basist. “I used one for a few of my schools, then managed the others’ schools entirely myself, and I had the exact same success rate without them. I ended up spending a fortune just to get in, when it seems it wasn’t necessary.”
Think Beyond Business School
Darden student King Adjei-Frimpong would have put more research into his post-MBA plans in advance of getting to school. “I would have done a better job understanding the companies that interest me and the companies that are on campus, so my recruiting strategy would be more cohesive,” he said.
And last but not least, Yale SOM student Fan Wen recommends a pre-MBA internship to explore more potential post-MBA avenues. “Practically speaking, as a career-switcher, I wish I had done one more internship before coming to Yale to explore different opportunities,” he said.
Stay tuned for the next in our series of advice from admitted students—things they’d absolutely do again if just getting started. And in case you missed any of the Real Humans of the MBA Class of 2019 published so far, check them out here: