Debunking 3 Myths About The MBA Application Process


Did you know that there are some myths about the MBA application process that are likely impacting the way you are approaching your applications?


That’s right.


These myths are important to be aware of since they may be embedded in your subconscious and precluding you from putting your best foot forward (and that is definitely something that is not desirable).


So what are these myths? Read on.

Myth #1: You can’t get into a top MBA program with a low GMAT or GRE score

For illustrative purposes, let’s focus on GMAT scores. If you go to the websites of the top business schools, you’ll see that the average/median GMAT score is 720+. For instance, the average GMAT score is 738 at Stanford Graduate School of Business, 732 at Chicago Booth, and 727 at Northwestern Kellogg. It is not surprising then that many candidates believe that a low GMAT score precludes them from having any chance at the top schools. While having a lower GMAT score will make it more difficult, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t apply; note that schools also release a range of GMAT scores of those who have been admitted to their class. Going back to our examples, for Stanford Graduate School of Business that GMAT range is 610-790, for Chicago Booth it is 590-790, and for Northwestern Kellogg it is 630-780.


To be admitted as a low GMAT or GRE scorer, however, you need to deeply assess your accomplishments and how you think they stack up to your competition. What attributes and qualities do you have that would be a significant asset to your class and really make you stand out?


We recently worked with a client working in the media space. Her GMAT score was below the average of the top business school programs; however, she had demonstrated strong impact in her professional endeavors. An M7 program, where she was accepted, saw the significant potential that she had as she progressed throughout her career and recognized that she was much more than a number.


Myth #2: With a high GMAT or GRE score, you’re a shoo-in for the top business schools

On the flip side, those with high GMAT or GRE scores often think that they will absolutely be accepted to a top program because their stats line up with or exceed the school’s averages. But then when they don’t receive an invitation to interview and/or are rejected, they are disappointed. In theory, if schools wanted to fill up their entire class with students who had perfect GPAs and perfect test scores, they could, but the reality is that they don’t. Why? Because they are looking for a well-rounded and diverse class.

So, if the academic aspect of your profile is in excellent shape, that’s fantastic! But keep in mind that is only one piece of the pie for the top schools. You have to be able to offer much more than high stats to top business schools in order to make them excited about your candidacy.


For example, when we speak with reapplicants who are not accepted into top business schools despite having high stats, one of the first things that often pops out at us when reviewing their prior applications is that there is an overemphasis on their stats and achievements and not enough focus on their unique attributes and how they see themselves contributing.


Myth #3: Business schools will be forgiving of a weak extracurricular profile if you’re working long hours

Are you working long hours in your job? Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook when it comes to your extracurricular activities and getting involved in the community. MBA programs gauge how involved you will be as a student on campus based on what you have done in the past.


After all, business school is not only about immersing yourself in the classroom, but also about engaging yourself in your passions outside of the classroom. So, you need to find the time to get involved in meaningful activities to you even if you are in a demanding job; unfortunately, excuses just won’t cut it.


We recently worked with a client who was working long hours in her finance role. Luckily, she came to us a year before she was planning to apply to see how she could bolster her profile. This gave us the opportunity to brainstorm ways in which she could give back to the community despite her intense professional workload. Ultimately, she was accepted to one of her dream schools!


In conclusion, the MBA application process is more of an art than it is a science. If we can help you craft your MBA applications, feel free to peruse our website and fill out this form to request a free consultation!


About Ivy Groupe:

Ivy Groupe is a boutique MBA admissions consulting company founded by Shaifali Aggarwal, who has been recognized as a top MBA admissions consultant by Business Insider and Poets & Quants. She received her MBA from Harvard Business School and undergraduate degree from Princeton University. Shaifali’s philosophy focuses on authenticity and storytelling to help clients craft compelling and differentiated applications that stand out. With this approach, Shaifali’s clients have gained admission to top-tier MBA programs such as Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, MIT, Columbia, Booth, Tuck, and Yale, among others.

Click on the links to learn more about our company and how you can work with us to maximize your chances of gaining admission to the MBA programs of your choice.


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