5 Common MBA Application Misconceptions

by Personal MBA Coach, Aug 7, 2020


Over the past 13 years, Personal MBA Coach has heard countless “myths” from MBA hopefuls. While there are many misconceptions about the MBA application process (do not miss our upcoming webinar “Behind the MBA Admissions Curtain”), certain ones frequently rise to the top of the list. Personal MBA Coach would like to bust these myths and help candidates focus on what really matters in the MBA application process.


1. You should apply to only a few schools

Years ago, applicants may have targeted only a few business schools. However, today my average applicant applies to 5+ schools. The number of strong MBA programs is increasing. As more and more universities are investing in their business schools, candidates have numerous good options to consider. Simultaneously (and not surprisingly), the applicant pool is becoming even more competitive, meaning that countless extremely qualified candidates are rejected each year. While it is true that MBA applications are time-consuming and each application is unique, successful applicants make the investment by applying to additional schools. This strategy ensures they are ultimately successful getting into the best possible school and when working with us, the highest amount of scholarship dollars.


2. Schools want you to tell them how wonderful they are

Far too often, I read about how an applicant will leverage Wharton’s “unmatched” alumni network or grow through Booth’s “renowned” curriculum. While all business schools want to know that you are truly interested in their programs, using over-the-top praise is not an effective way to articulate this message. Instead, do your research and thoughtfully share elements of their programs that you are looking to take advantage of. Ensure that these elements are specific to you and make sense relative to your background and goals.


3. Business schools want candidates only with a certain career background

While it is true that there are certain career paths for which an MBA is common (e.g. Consulting and Investment Banking), there is no one ideal pre-MBA career. In fact, a unique career background can actually work in your favor. Business schools desire well-rounded classmates and appreciate the unique perspective that candidates with nontraditional backgrounds can bring to class conversations. What’s key is to show how your past experience and perspective can be leveraged during your future career path.


4. There is a “correct” career goal

You may be tempted to mention a career goal you think admissions committee members want to hear. Just because it is common for applicants to pursue consulting or investment banking does not mean this is the career path you should aspire to. Admissions committee members want passionate students and well-rounded classes. So write about what you really want to do, provided it is logical and attainable, and articulate it well. (Check out our blog on articulating your career goals here.)


5. You need to fit in everything you have accomplished

Many candidates are tempted to throw everything but the kitchen sink into their essays. They are concerned that they will hurt their chances of success if they do not tell admissions committee members everything they have done. However, this is not the case. A few well-told stories that clearly demonstrate what makes you unique will be far more compelling. Show your passions and leadership by sharing how you did a few things exceptionally well.

Need help? Personal MBA Coach is willing to be your guide. Founded by a Wharton and MIT graduate, we regularly help applicants navigate their applications each year. We also conduct mock interviews with former M7 interviewers on our team.

Personal MBA Coach has been guiding candidates through all aspects of the MBA application process for 13 years with a 96% success rate. Call us today at +1 617-645-2424 or email scott@personalmbacoach.com for a free consultation on your profile along with how we can help make your MBA dreams a reality!