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The process of finding the best MBA school may seem complicated because there are so many aspects to consider. In practice, what specific aspects need to be taken into consideration?

Your goal is to find a school that gives you the best return on your investment, not only in terms of personal growth but also in terms of demonstrating value to your current employer or future employers.

Here are three important factors you should keep in mind whenever you are deciding whether or not to join an MBA program.

1. Consider Your Competition

Work Experience

If you work at BCG, your competition is other applicants from similar consulting firms. You’re not directly competing with someone who works in a tech company or a financial institution.

Having things in your application that help you stand out from other people in your field will be helpful.

Citizenship

If you are an international applicant applying to the US, the competition is generally more difficult than if you are an American applying to the US.

So, you would want your GMAT score to be higher than the average GMAT score at your target schools.

If you come from a country with many applicants (India, China, etc), it’s even more difficult, and you would still want the GMAT score to be higher (tip: attend our next MBA Application Workshop For Asian Candidates to get some ideas on how to stand out)

In contrast, coming from a not-so-well-represented country in US b-schools (for example, Lithuania, Greece, Paraguay, Laos, Morocco, etc.), you don’t necessarily need to have as high a GMAT score because schools want a diverse cohort.

Standing out from your citizenship category is also helpful. If you’re Indian but worked in Latin America and speak Korean, Spanish, and Portuguese, you’ll stand out against the pool of Indian applicants.

2. Consider Your Professional Background

Age VS Experience

MBA programs will take your working experience into account for your application.

With 6+ years of work experience, your GMAT may not need to be as high as someone with just a few years, since they are more recent graduates with less work experience to evaluate.

Undergraduate GPA

To demonstrate your academic potential to business schools, your GMAT score should be exceptionally high if you did not do well in your undergraduate program.

A higher GPA from another course, such as a master’s, will help significantly.

Work Trajectory

B-schools like to see a dynamic career trajectory.

Did you get promoted every year or two? If not, think about how you can show you are adding to the responsibilities at work.

3. Consider Your Other Traits

International Outlook

There is a tendency for competitive MBA programs in the US to require applicants to have some kind of global perspective-whether they studied abroad, worked abroad, learned another language, or worked with teams or clients abroad.

Even though it’s not a formal requirement, it can help you stay competitive.

Management Experience

Do you have any management experience under your belt?

Did you address people indirectly, even if you didn’t manage them directly? Perhaps you manage projects, products, accounts, clients, or relationships.

It is possible to demonstrate management skills in a variety of ways – so get creative!

Leadership Experience

Taking charge of a team, training or mentoring others, spearheading projects or initiatives, or starting and running your own company are all examples of leadership.

Business schools are interested in applicants who have leadership experience and have learned about themselves as leaders. If you think your profile in this area is weak, try building on it and/or applying to programs with lower competition.

Teamwork Experience

Your MBA application could be difficult if you didn’t work with others during your work life.

Highlight teamwork outside of work in that case – volunteering, university activities, etc. What have you done to demonstrate your ability to work well with others?

For business schools, this is crucial, so make sure your profile demonstrate this aspect.

What's Next?

Aside from the aforementioned factors, there are also other factors that might affect your application, depending on which MBA program you are applying to.

MBA applications can have very different paths to success, even among applicants with the same profile.

To give your MBA application a competitive edge, consider getting a CV review and MBA consultation from our MBA admissions experts.

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