MBA Applicants: Are You Aiming At The Right Target?

Throughout my career as both the Director of MBA Admissions and now, as an expert MBA admissions consultant, I’ve met countless individuals who are eagerly trying to mold themselves into the “perfect” candidate for a top MBA program. 

I admire their drive and ambition, but I have to ask – Rather than change yourself to become the perfect applicant, why not find the MBA program that prepares you the best for your professional ambitions? 

I recently spoke with an applicant who told me that he planned to apply to Harvard, Wharton, Stanford, MIT and Darden. When I asked him why he chose these particular schools, his response was hazy. 

Following, I said to him, “Joe – I’m going to be direct. It seems to me that you picked a random group of schools just because they were ranked in the top 10. Is that right?” He sheepishly admitted this was true. From there, I changed the subject to explore his career goals with the intent of revising his list of target schools to the MBA programs that were most closely aligned to his professional objectives. 

My recommendation to all MBA applicants: First, spend time articulating your post-MBA career ambitions. Then, target the MBA programs that will help you achieve your post-MBA professional goals. The best MBA program for you – and for your career – may not be in the top 10 after all.

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