Advice on Finding the Right MBA Program

The Chicago Booth School of Business has some advice on what to look for and how to plan for anyone gearing up to apply for an MBA program this fall. Below you’ll find excerpts from Booth on this topic; follow this link for the in-depth article.

What’s Important to You?

Think beyond school location/reputation and focus on your preferences relating to cost, lifestyle, teaching philosophy, curriculum flexibility, and whether you prefer a general management approach or one that offers majors or concentrations. Programs vary widely–the MBA is not a one-size-fits-all degree.

Research, Learn, Observe
Develop a core list of schools that meet your requirements and focus your research on how these programs can deliver on each of those attributes. Go beyond the web to get to know alumni and current students. Talk to your mentors and colleagues about their experiences or knowledge about B-schools within their industry and through their personal experiences.

Narrow Your List
Once you clearly see what makes each school different, you’ll understand better which schools may best fit your needs. This will help you write your essays in a way that clearly shows fit by linking your needs to the schools’ value system. But fit goes both ways. Schools are also seeking candidates that fit their unique culture.

Preparing To Apply
Booth suggests creating a timeline that incorporates the schools to which you will apply and in what particular round. Working backward from this timeline should help you set goals in terms of GMAT preparation, essay writing, planning to attend events, etc.

Part of preparing a strong application includes knowing yourself well by doing a self-assessment. Know what you want to get out of your MBA experience and why a particular program fits your educational and personal needs. You must be sure to demonstrate your fit between a school’s particular approach and your developmental needs.

In order to put understand the school’s culture better, plan to attend events this summer and fall. taking part in the school’s formal fall recruiting events is a great way to meet alumni and current students in those programs, Additionally, don’t forget to keep up with online chats or forums to learn more.

It’s a lot to absorb, but the sooner you hash out these details, the better prepared you’ll be to fine-tune your application and polish those essays. If you need more guidance, check out Stacy Blackman’s book, “The MBA Application Roadmap,” or any of our new essay guides to help you learn the secret for creating standout application essays!

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SBC_Harvard_Essay_Guide-150x150If you are feeling stumped by your application essays and need some additional guidance, check out our NEW series of essay guides for MBA applications. Columbia, Harvard, Kellogg, Stanford and Wharton available now. They are seriously terrific and we are proud to say that almost every person who has ordered one has come back for more!

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