More MBA Applications, More Competition

HEADS UP – the number of MBA Applications to U.S. programs is on the rise. Some say it has to do with an increase in entrepreneurship; others credit the improving economy. But according to an article in the Wall Street Journal,

“… the widespread gain—particularly among international candidates—is largely the result of stepped-up recruiting in the U.S. and abroad, along with less onerous admission processes.”


The good news: Prospective MBA candidates are demanding high standards, specific program offerings, campus life, and extracurriculars, and MBA programs are stepping up to meet the challenge. Top MBA programs are constantly refining and improving their programs to attract the best of the best, which means you’ll be able to get the most out of your time and money. Plus, they’re making the application process easier! (Wharton, Stanford, and Columbia have all cut down their essay questions from last year).

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The bad news: “Applications from U.S. students rose 27%, with more than a quarter of U.S. applications coming from underrepresented minorities, and international applications grew 20%.” The better MBA programs get, the more people are applying for them, which means if you want an MBA, you’re facing some stiff competition.


More than ever, if you want to get into a top MBA program, you better bring your A-Game. And we’re not just talking about that GMAT score (contrary to popular belief, that is NOT the most important piece of the puzzle).

The essentials include:

  • Knowing your application timeline… and giving yourself as much time as possible to strategize, revise and execute. This process always takes longer than you think, and the earlier you start, the more time you have to identify (and fix!) mistakes, gaps, etc.
  • Making smart school selection. There are more applicants than ever before, and they’re competing for the same amount of spots as last year. Supply and demand, folks – Business 101. You want to increase your odds? Apply to more schools, and make sure there’s a smart mix of reach programs and some safer options on that list.
  • Writing killer essays that not only answer the prompts, but do so in a compelling and memorable way. Remember, you’re competing against the best of the best from around the world, so having a strong profile isn’t enough to get ahead of those other (very qualified) applicants. It’s all about how you present it.
  • Choosing the best possible recommenders… and coaching them well. It’s not the title that matters when it comes to recommenders, it’s their relationship to you. Choose the right people and those LORs can be just the tipping point to put you over the edge.

And remember, getting your MBA may not be easy. But the timing is right and the vast majority of alumni agree – an MBA is worth it. So if you need an MBA to reach your career dreams, then you need to make sure every last piece of your app is good enough to beat the odds. It’s not easy, but it’s definitely not impossible.

This article has been re-published as per the terms of LEAP Partners Program with Admissionado.

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