Out-of-the-box Strategies to land a top 20 MBA

An MBA is a great way to boost your career. However, getting into a top 20 program is not easy. One has to face a number of obstacles from acing the GMAT to developing the right amount of work experience. For candidates who may be lacking in some components of the application, here are some tips that will help differentiate and strengthen your candidacy for an MBA.

  1. Reach out to Alumni and Students: This is probably the best way to improve your candidacy in any stage of the application process. Before you apply, you can speak to alumni so that you can write tailored essays to the school and understand the schools’ values. When you get an interview, speaking to alumni and students is good practice, and will really help you find hidden gems and experiences that will show the interviewer the school you are applying for is not just another school in a grocery list of schools — but the one that YOU ultimately want to enroll in
  2. Reach out to Professors: Yes! Many people do not take this added step of emailing or even setting up a call with professors they hope to be mentored by. For those who do, it shows that you are serious about getting into your dream school and have invested a lot more into understanding the community of the program you are applying for
  3. Talk about how you can contribute, not why an MBA will be useful for you: Schools are ultimately looking for people who can give back to the classroom, network, and alumni engagements. While someone might be focused on how the MBA can spearhead his or her career, he or she should really think about what experiences he or she can contribute. Perhaps an international perspective, a rare background in an NGO, or a niche perspective in an underrepresented minority

Of course, networking and fit is just one component of your applications. Networking and demonstrating a good fit with the school is an aspect that is not covered as extensively in college applications. However, when done right, networking can significantly improve your chances of admission.