How Many MBA Programs Should I Apply To?

Applying to MBA programs can be a hectic time. Many factors are involved in the application process, but doing a little research in advance can maximize the chance of getting accepted.

The best tool an applicant can utilize is an updated book or web site on MBA programs. These tools profile various programs and contain information about the number of applications received during the previous year, the number of applicants accepted, typical GMAT scores, and GPAs. This information is usually published annually, and applicants may want to follow trends over a couple of years before applying.

Once the applicant has decided on a number of programs, the list should categorized based on how similar the applicant is to others that have been accepted. Sending applications blindly to many schools is equally as detrimental as focusing on one program. Most people suggest applying to at least five programs and applying to as many as possible. This can be difficult for applicants with limited funds. Application fees can be expensive, especially combined with the price of score reports, transcripts, and mailing. Applying to schools that require interviews during the selection process should also be thoroughly considered. If money is an obstacle, it may be wise to reconsider applying to a school where attending the interview would be impossible and a telephone interview is not an option.

Most of the applications should target programs where the applicant is similar in scores and GPA to previously accepted students. Applicants may also consider applying to a couple of schools they are overqualified for, and a school where they fall below the typical accepted applicant. Investing too many resources on programs that are beyond the reach of the applicant is inevitably a waste of time and money.

GMAT scores can have a strong influence on admission decisions and applicants will want to maximize their score. The most popular and convenient option is an online prep course. They are beneficial in their ability to cover information as well as giving sample tests and test-taking tactics. If the applicant is not satisfied with their score, they will want to give themselves ample opportunity to study and retake the test.

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