Do I Need An Mba To Start A Business – If you want to know how to get an MBA, the immediate first step is to figure out how MBA admissions actually works. How do admissions officers select classes and form class profiles? How do they make decisions about your MBA candidacy? How can you make sure your dream business school chooses you?
If you’re applying for a Master of Business Administration, today we’ll help you answer five questions that will put your mind at ease and help you succeed in your business school application.
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Each business school has its own unique process for comprehensive and iterative candidate evaluation, but this is an easy way to think about the process by which top business schools select their students.
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Yes, even if you have a crappy GMAT, they will read everything. They give everyone an equal opportunity to show who they really are. At this stage, there may be only one person reading the application, or there may be more than one independent member of the admissions committee.
Step 2: After the first reading, the business school application receives one of two piles of yes or no. At this point, a no dummy is also a ding dummy, so getting a no here will probably end your candidacy for this MBA program. If it is yes, it goes to the next step.
Step 4: The admissions committee makes the final decision on who goes to the last yes pile, who stays in limbo (waiting list pile) and who goes to the ding pile. This committee decision can be digital with some sort of calculation and weighting algorithm, or an actual committee discussion around the table.
This last step is difficult to understand, but you can think of it like packing for a long trip with only one carry-on bag.
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We want to fit as many interesting, dynamic and diverse professional backgrounds as possible into a fixed class size (500 total at Stanford Business School, 1000 at Chicago Booth and Harvard Business School, etc.).
They start with the people they love. Yes, it’s a dummy after the interview. Keep in mind that at this stage they are integrating all aspects of your profile and interviews are just one piece of the puzzle, not deal breakers or makers in most cases. Then, we take into account various aspects of diversity such as educational background, professional experience, professional goals, gender, nationality, ethnic background and other demographics to filter the right numbers.
For all schools at this stage, especially small schools, this means we have to eliminate a lot of examples because there is no room for them all.
For example, they cannot have classes made up of 100% management consultants or 100% men, even if there are enough strong consultants and men to fill an entire business school class. They want a class that is well-rounded and diverse across multiple dimensions, including educational background, industry experience, gender, nationality and goals. Apples are apples at this point. You are directly competing with other students like you.
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The final decision depends on you, the candidate’s ability and how well you performed in the interview. It still depends on who is in the Yes sign. If there are many more like you in that pile, that means most of you should be thrown into the Ding pile to save class diversity. At this final stage of the process, you compete directly only with others who share your various background classifications.
Here’s a career protocol framework for the various dimensions of an MBA candidate important to your favorite university’s MBA program.
Yes. Without supplemental capacities, schools worry about their ability to maintain programs if their academic figures are too weak.
Yes. If you don’t have enough relevant work experience, you won’t add value to your classmates. (And no, it doesn’t have to be business experience or management skills!)
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Yes. This is an easily determined factor. Investing in an MBA is pointless if the graduate business degree doesn’t have a favorable career goal and doesn’t fit with the school’s culture and alumni community!
Odds depend on statistics: GMAT or GRE scores, undergraduate course grades and career progress. Basically the first two profiles above. Whether a major weakness or several minor ones will throw you into the ding pile at level 1 or 3 depends on how it looks on paper.
Prospective students should start by looking at basic statistics and evaluating the odds on various programs. Then do your best to improve as much as possible. Last but not least, maximize the value of the other three profiles by shifting your focus to the abstract and building inspiring applications that showcase your leadership abilities and your best qualities.
If you want to read all about MBA odds and the positive intangibles that an MBA application has to offer, MBAmo, the MBA admission calculator robot brought to you by my team at Career Protocol, is what you need.
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Just take 60 seconds to fill in some information about your background and experience, and MBAmo will send you 20 pages of information about your MBA potential for your preferred US program, creating customized reports on the competitiveness of your profile and many dimensions you can do to strengthen your candidacy before applying to business schools. He’s so cool and we love him enough to make him the most valuable free resource possible!
The acceptance rate of the best business schools in the US is usually less than 50% and sometimes as low as 6%!!! In other words, whoever you are, the odds are against you.
If you forgot this, go back to your basic statistics class! We wouldn’t survive if we couldn’t predict or determine the outcome of the odds, but if we did, we would live a more fearless life.
When we gauge students’ chances at target schools and help build their school portfolios, we tie our assessments to solid facts about their candidacy. Because it is an objective measure
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Everything else about you is completely subjective, including your passion, personality, professional goals, and fit with your school and alumni network. That is, it cannot be measured in any kind of systematic, objectively comparable way.
For example, two people do 5 hours of community service per month. One uses the time to coach local youth to apply to college. Others use that time to plan benefits for large nonprofit organizations, but do not help specific individuals in any way. How do we rate those people against each other?
The answer is: not possible. More important than the objective time, task, or title is the driving force behind the work, the impact it has (small or large, short-term or permanent), and the meaning and value behind the choices.
In MBA applications, it is the rule of small numbers, not the rule of large numbers, that determines acceptance or rejection. Like, it’s number one. There is only one of you in the whole world. Your test scores and GPA will remain the same. Your career progression remains the same. But if they want you to be the only admissions officer, they have to accept you for who you are.
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In the end, the hard stuff matters, but in our experience, the qualitative element in your candidacy ultimately makes the difference between a YASSSS and a DING.
Many statistically strong candidates get dinged every year. Favorites sometimes lose matches. The reason this happens with full-time MBA program admissions is because the quality aspect of the application doesn’t shine through. Or they inadvertently write essays that make themselves seem like narcissistic jerks.
On the other hand, many students go for admissions and moonshot schools to shine their best selves and submit full MBA applications. They are so likable and their unique personalities are so evident that the admissions committee is willing to accept them, GMAT warts and all.
You are a whole person, bigger than a pile of statistics, bigger than any measurable aspect of your life. Admissions officers want to know everything about you. That’s why admission to a business master’s degree is more complex than other types of graduate school admissions (including an essay, several letters of professional recommendation, a resume, a short answer, an interview, and sometimes a video!).
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And completely, completely unique, the very real you
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