If you are applying for B-school admissions, I am sure you have heard a lot of myths about how admissions committees evaluate applications. In my time helping hundreds of candidates like you get into top B-schools three myths have been the most prevalent.
1. Same GMAT score standards are applied to everyone: NO
Admission committees rely heavily on the use of GMAT scores to evaluate candidates. They do this for two primary reasons:
GMAT scores are the only standardized way to evaluate the academic caliber of candidates, irrespective of where you live, what your background is, etc.
GMAT scores enable admission committees to preemptively assess how well you will perform in class.
What matters to admission committees, when looking at your GMAT score, is whether you have experience in quantitative coursework, or if your work entails/entailed a lot of number crunching. If the answer to EITHER of these questions is a YES, you will need scores above the 95th Percentile (overall and quantitative) to be competitive. If however, the answer to BOTH these question is NO, getting above the 90th Percentile should be sufficient.
2. Applicants with non-traditional backgrounds are at a disadvantage: NO
The truth is the exact opposite of what most people believe. You are a non-traditional applicant if you do not have experience in quantitative areas of academia or industry, e.g., banking, finance, engineering etc. Hence , if you are a doctor, social science major, an artist, in the nonprofit industry, consider yourself as a non-traditional candidate.
MBA Admission committees value diverse experiences and backgrounds a lot. There are three reasons for this, candidates with a non-traditional background:
Enhance the classroom experience: Discussions and teamwork
Improve recruiting numbers: e.g. Consulting firms, niche industries, etc.
Enhance social impact: Social initiatives and world problems
This is good news for non-traditional candidates. Although, your application will be evaluated like all other applications, I would argue that you are at an advantage as the size of the non-traditional pool of candidates is always smaller. This will make it easier for strong candidates to stand out.
3. Most applicants prepare applications without external help: NO
Research after research has conclusively proved that a vast majority of B-School applicants use admissions consultants during the application process. Let’s face it, every candidate wants to play on a level playing field. Since this is a major investment for most candidates choosing the right consultant is critical. It is extremely important that you use all resources at hand to select one. The best thing is for you to use third party sites (GMATClub, Poets and Quants etc.) to do the research.
Stay tuned for our next blog post, where we will talk about the most common mistakes candidates make during the MBA applications process and how to avoid them.