Updated: Nov 21
MBA admissions is a complex and often mysterious process. There are countless myths and rumors about what matters most to schools, what will get you accepted, and what's really necessary for success in this program.
Chances are you've already heard a few mottos in regards to getting into b-school, such as: "You need to have a 4.0 GPA,"; "The GMAT is the most vital aspect of the application process,"; or even "You're required five years of experience." So which one actually holds weight?
In this post, we're here to debunk myths and help you understand what you need to do. Armed with this information, you’ll be prepared to put together an application that stands out from the crowd.
Are you ready to learn the truth? Read on!
Myth#1 "I won't be able to succeed because I don't have any business experience."
To clear up any misunderstandings, we want to put an end to this MBA admissions myth once and for all. Candidates or applicants with atypical or less traditional work or academic experience before business school are often anxious about how admissions committees will evaluate their records. However, it’s entirely acceptable to diverge from the norm.
Most of these programs don't want an entire class of students from investment banking or consulting backgrounds. In fact, applicants with non-traditional experience often make a better impression during the admissions process.
They are interested in people who have been successful in other areas of their lives. Admissions committees want to see you are capable of succeeding in a rigorous academic environment. They also want to see you take on responsibility and lead others. If you have a history of academic achievement or leadership experience, highlight that in your application.
So, even if you don't have direct business experience, there are still plenty of ways to demonstrate your potential for success.
Myth#2 "Business school restricts students to only a few potential careers."
It's no secret that business school can be a significant investment in time and money. In the past, a Master’s in Business Administration was most helpful for those in banking and consulting. So, it's no wonder there are many myths out there about what this degree can (and can't) do for your career.
One of the most common misconceptions is that it limits your career options. The thinking goes something like this: if you spend two years (and a lot of money) getting an MBA, you might as well pick a specific field or industry and focus on becoming an expert in that area. However, this couldn't be further from the truth. In reality, an MBA gives you the flexibility to pursue a wide range of different career paths.
Sure, if you want to become an investment banker or management consultant, there are specific programs that will prepare you for those roles. But it also gives you the skills and knowledge to pursue careers in fields as diverse as marketing, finance, operations, entrepreneurship, and even non-profit work.
So, if you're looking for a degree that will give you the flexibility to pursue multiple career options, an MBA is definitely worth considering.
Myth#3 "I can submit the same essay to different schools."
One of the biggest myths about MBA admissions essays is that you can submit the same essay to multiple schools. This is not true. Admissions committees are looking for applicants who are a good fit for their programs, and an essay that fails to address the uniqueness of a school is unlikely to make a positive impression.
In addition, many schools now use sophisticated software that can detect plagiarism. Hence, applicants who submit identical essays to multiple schools risk flagging their applications for plagiarism.
Ultimately, it’s important to remember that each business school is looking for something slightly different in its applicants. So if you're hoping to submit a generic essay and have it work for all of your b-school applications, think again.
Taking the time to tailor your essays to each school will demonstrate your interest in and commitment to the program and is more likely to result in an offer of admission.
Myth#4 "I don't have a perfect GPA or GMAT score. So, I won't be accepted to any of the good colleges."
As someone who works in the MBA admissions department of a top-10 business school, I've heard every myth imaginable about what it takes to get into a good business program.
Take, for example, the myth that you need a perfect GPA or GMAT score to be accepted into a good b-school. Every year, MBA applicants around the world agonize over their scores, convinced that a few points below the "ideal" range will automatically exclude them from the top programs.
While it's true that these scores are important factors in the admissions process, they are by no means the only things that we look at. We also take into account your work experience, your extracurricular activities, and your recommendations. In other words, we are looking for well-rounded individuals who will contribute to the diversity of our student body.
So, if you are concerned that your test scores are not up to par, don't panic. Instead, focus on developing a solid application that highlights your unique strengths and accomplishments. Chances are good that you will find yourself with plenty of options and have a shot at getting into your dream school.
Myth#5 "Business school is too expensive, and I don't have the money."
One of the biggest barriers to MBA admissions is the belief that business school is too expensive. But this is just a myth! This may have been true in the past, but today there are several ways to finance your education.
One way to finance your MBA is to apply for scholarships. Many schools offer merit-based scholarships and organizations that provide funding for business students. Take out student loans. Loans can seem daunting, but you will have plenty of time to repay them after graduation. And lastly, don't forget about employer tuition assistance programs! Many employers are willing to help their employees finance their education.
And remember: an MBA is a wise investment. The average salary for b-school graduates is more than double the median salary for all workers--think about the return on investment you'll earn after graduation.
So, if you're worried about the cost of business school, do some research and explore all your financing options. There's sure to be a solution that works for you.
There are a lot of myths out there about getting an MBA. Some people think it's only for people who want to work in finance, it's too expensive, or it takes too much time. But the truth is, a Master’s in Business Administration can be a great investment in your future, no matter your career goals.
So, if you're thinking about pursuing an MBA, don't let this myth hold you back. There's a world of opportunity waiting for you. Remember: research is key; learn everything you can about the schools you're interested in to put together the most robust possible application package—and increase your chances of getting into the program of your dreams!
Do you have any questions about the admissions process? Contact us today to help you with every step, from finding the right program for you to polishing your essays until they shine!