What Does the MBA Admissions Committee Really Want:

by on January 15th, 2019

When you’re hard at work on your MBA applications, it’s easy to get caught up in what sounds great to you, or what seems impressive to your friends, co-workers or parents—especially when you’re targeting top business school programs like Harvard Business School and Wharton. But what you really need to be doing is considering your business school materials from the admissions committee’s point of view.

Granted, it can be tough to form a truly objective opinion of your own candidacy. For example, some candidates think that if they have a high undergraduate GPA, aced the GMAT and have been successful in their career so far, their admission is all but guaranteed to the top programs. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

How to Differentiate Yourself in MBA Admissions

The majority of candidates who apply to the leading business schools are bright, personable overachievers who would be an asset to any program. Adcoms see literally thousands of deserving profiles come across their desks each year.

That’s why you need to think beyond your obvious achievements and differentiate yourself through your essays and interviews by picking stories and experiences that are memorable and unique. This becomes even more critical if you’re in an industry that typically makes up a bigger portion of the applicant pool, such as investment banking or consulting.

Having said all of that, if you’re so down about your shot at getting into a certain school that you’re considering not even applying there in the first place, take heart. While the process is extremely competitive, you shouldn’t count yourself out before the game even begins. Chances are your humility is a trait the adcom would appreciate.

Focus on highlighting what you can share with your classmates that would be valuable to them — experience or knowledge that others can learn and benefit from. Look at your application from the viewpoint of the people who are charged with putting together a diverse group of outgoing students. How will you enlighten your classmates over the next two years?

Until next time,

The team at Stacy Blackman Consulting



Freaked out about your essays? Make sure you’ve read Stacy’s tips for ALL top programs here!

Planning to start your own company after graduation? Make sure you’ve read the Financial Times’ 2018 list of top entrepreneurship programs.

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1 comment

  • Great info Stacy. While highlighting unique and memorable experienced, would it be fine to write down something on the light and humorous side? Would that be acceptable?

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