The application process is already competitive as it is; however, it can be even more competitive for those applying from an oversubscribed industry (such as finance and consulting).
If you fall in this category, here are three tips to keep in mind to help you navigate your MBA application journey.
Look beyond the core statistics
The statistics (GPA, GMAT/GRE) play an important role in the MBA application process, of course. However, the threshold is already set high for those in overrepresented industries; the reality is that finance and consulting professionals tend to do really well when it comes to the statistics. Therefore, it’s important to not let having high statistics give you a false sense of security if you are in an oversubscribed bucket, since there is much more to an applicant than just the numbers. After all, if schools wanted to fill their entire class with high scorers, they could, but they don’t…why? Because they are seeking people who collectively have diverse experiences and perspectives and who can learn from one another. This brings us to the next section.
Take time to determine your unique attributes
While understanding what makes you unique and crafting your own authentic story is critical for each and every candidate applying to MBA programs, it is even more important for those in overrepresented industries. As a result, as you introspect to get a sense of what makes you different, think about interesting experiences that you have had across the various facets of your life; this will help to provide a solid foundation as you start to determine the distinctive attributes that set you apart from others. Also, what are your hobbies and passions outside of work? This can potentially help to distinguish you from others in your bucket as well.
Keep in mind that there are no “right” or “wrong” answers as you determine what makes you unique – often, there is an inclination to mold your story in a way that has worked for others, but that would be a huge mistake. Focus on YOU and YOUR story.
Consider applying to a range of schools
If you are in an oversubscribed industry, consider applying to a range of schools to give yourself optionality. You are just as important to the fabric of an MBA program’s class as those who are not oversubscribed (after all, every class is comprised of finance and consulting students), but it’s always a good idea to broaden your school list given the even more competitive nature of the process for those in your shoes.
If you are in an overrepresented industry, know that you do indeed have a unique story and can absolutely stand out by keeping these tips in mind.
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Ivy Groupe is a boutique MBA admissions consulting company founded by Shaifali Aggarwal, who received her MBA from Harvard Business School and undergraduate degree from Princeton University. She has been recognized as a top MBA admissions consultant by Business Insider and Poets & Quants. Ivy Groupe's philosophy focuses on authenticity and storytelling to help clients craft compelling and differentiated applications that stand out. With this approach, Ivy Groupe’s clients have gained admission to top-tier MBA programs such as Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, MIT, Columbia, Booth, Tuck, and Yale, among others.