The article 3 Ways to Determine Which B-Schools Are a Good Fit for You was originally posted on the Accepted Admissions Blog.
There are loads of MBA programs out there. How do you decide which ones are best for you? It’s time to unlock the secrets to the elusive “fit” factor.
“Fit” is established by the relationship between your needs and desires and what a given program presents. What elements do you seek in an MBA program? Are these elements offered by your target school? You also need to look at what applicant characteristics your target school is seeking, and if you have these traits.
Submitting applications to programs without the proper fit will be a poor use of your precious resources, including your time, energy, and cash, since, if you are not a good fit, you probably will not be accepted. And if you do get in and decide to attend, you likely won’t benefit from the program as much as you might.
The following 3 tips will show you how to find a b-school that’s a great fit for you:
- Evaluate your career goals and what you require educationally.
Examine the educational and research possibilities at your programs of interest and decide if they line up with your vision of the future. Speak with students currently in the programs, as well as graduates about what they experienced in the program, their ambitions, and work prospects/careers. If you are interested in nonprofit management, be sure that there are classes or tracks relevant to that career goal. If you are planning to make a career change, taking extra classes in your new area of interest (and then sharing those straight A’s with the school) may make you a better fit.
- Evaluate what makes you an excellent MBA candidate.
Check out the websites of the programs that seem interesting to you and explore the class profiles. Make sure that your stats, and amount of time on the job fit the school’s parameters. If a school is looking for candidates with a GMAT score of 700 and a 3.5 GPA, your 620 and 3.0 will make you less competitive at that program, and probably a weak fit.
- Study the intangibles.
Are you able to envision yourself functioning, thriving, and teaming up with them? If yes, you and this school could be a great fit. Not all schools have the same philosophy and approach to the b-school syllabus. Determine how you learn and see if their teaching methods fit with your learning style. If you can, visit the programs and attend some classes. Feeling comfortable with how the classes are taught and the school’s philosophy, are more things that show a favorable fit with the school. Additional features – including class size, approachability of professors, and the school’s environment (how large or small it is, whether it’s in the middle of a large city, in a less urban area, etc.) will also play into your unique fit metric.
Once you have decided what elements are important to you and weighed them all, you can determine a school’s fit for you. Keep in mind that fit is qualitative. Not every feature that you are looking for in a school carries the same weight, and some are more open to compromise than others. Find the schools that are most in line with your temperament and vision for the future.
Doing your due diligence prior to applying to MBA programs can help you dodge a costly bullet – attending a school that does not align with what you need. The objective is to determine which program is an excellent fit for you, and where you’re an excellent fit.
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