For GMAT test takers, honing in on the right b-schools can be a difficult task. After all, there are dozens of MBA programs and b-schools offered around the US. While schools such as Stanford and Wharton are on the list of many test takers, only a few will actually make the cut.
Selecting the right b-school depends on a number of factors:
1. Your application strength – Know about your own application strengths and weaknesses. Have you scored well in the GMAT? How good is your application mix? Do you have a high GPA? Assessing yourself honestly in these areas would give you a good idea of the b-schools you should apply in. For instance, there is no point applying to Stanford if you have scored 500 in the GMAT and do not boast of any outstanding achievements in other areas of your application. You can compare the different elements of the application with your target schools. However, most experts recommend targeting at least one b-school where your credentials may fall short. With a little stroke of luck, you may find yourself walking through the corridors of this school.
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2.Program – Obviously, the program is a key factor in your target b-schools. Do you want a generalized program or a more niche area? Do you want a one-year or a two-year course? Dou want a large program with many students or a smaller one? Ask yourself what you want to achieve out of your program.
3. Costs – Most MBA programs are not pocket friendly. So, you need to take a call on the amount you wish to pay for a b-school program. There are some great programs available at low costs. You also need to take into account the funding aspect. How are you planning to support yourself? What are the scholarships available? Keep these factors in mind before zeroing in on your b-schools.
4. Ranking and Placements – Before coming up with a list, take a look at the rankings of your target b-schools. Look at the placement numbers of your target b-schools. A higher ranked b-school increases your chances of finding meaningful employment after the program.
5. Location – While it may not seem like a big factor, remember that you are going to spend 1-2 years of your life in the same location. This becomes even more important if you are an international student. The living expenditure in a city-based b-school will be more than a b-school in a faraway town. You may also want to take into account the availability of family and friends, internship opportunities, climate and other such factors which may impact your stay in the b-school.
It would be a wise idea to not apply to a huge number of b-schools. Apply to 7-10 different b-schools keeping in mind the factors listed above.
All the best!