Navigating the MBA Market

Posted on January 25, 2008 | Filed in Admissions, Career, MBA

How do you fit into the tough MBA market?

As an aspiring MBA student, you are inevitably faced with an outstanding array of variables in choosing where to apply. With more applicants sending stronger applications than ever before to the top business schools in the U.S, getting accepted at the school of your choice is becoming an increasingly daunting task. (We, of course, believe a business school education can immensely empower your hiring potential and enrich your personal and educational goals. Therefore, making all obstacles worth it!)

The Perks of Being in the Top 10

The pulling power of attending a top 10 B-School is almost alone worth the high price tag of $100,000 USD. For a student to spend that much money, the perks must be many and come often. Here are some of the reasons you may want to attend a top 10 B-School:

  • These schools attract world renowned professors
  • Attraction of recruiters from high powered organizations
  • High percentage of employment at graduation
  • High Ranking equals more global exposure for the student
  • The opportunity to explore many career tracks in very little time
  • These schools create a strong career platform

In summary, attendance at a high-ranking school means learning from well known, well-educated and well-connected professors. It means more exposure to real business and recognition within the global business market. Furthermore, it means valuable networking opportunities.

Is a top-tier B-School for you?

Even though ranking is important, it should not solely dictate your decisions. Think about what you personally want out of your education. Even if your list of 8 schools are all in the top 10, which one you choose should be based on some of the following criteria:

  • Location and Environment: Would you perform better in the fast paced New York City or the small-town feel of Durham?
  • Student Atmosphere: Do you like to work with other students, or fight your way to the top?
  • Recruiters who visit: Do you want to work for a consulting firm or work in finance?
  • How much is tuition? What kind of scholarships or work study opportunities are available?

Of course there are many, many more considerations to make.

Tough(er) Competition

After you have found the right schools for you, you need to remember that there are a lot of other students who have come to the same conclusion. Future MBAs like you are coming from all over the world to study at the institutions that you also wish to attend. The sheer volume of applicants and the quality of those applicants have risen: They are better qualified than last year, better prepared, and are submitting better applications. And to make this situation appear even more challenging, more applicants equal more registration for the GMAT. If you have been following closely, you know that more numbers equals higher scores. Therefore, focus on setting yourself apart from the pack. Where will your individual strengths be valued the most?

Effects and Consequences of the MBA Boom

The lure of an MBA has created a wealth of specialized MBA programs at top business schools. There are also various flexible part-time programs for the working student. Interestingly, there are fewer applicants for management education PhDs, which implies that more students are interested in management careers and not in academic ones. A future consequence is too many management students and fewer (or less qualified) professors. How are these effects relevant to the aspiring MBA?

  • If you are interested, consider a PhD!
  • It may be more challenging to gain acceptance to a top tier school, but these schools will have more programs to suit your needs and interests.
  • You can get your MBA without sacrificing your current career, if that is a concern for you.

Remember that while acceptance to the business school of your choice is challenging and ultra-competitive, it has many rewards. Your career and future is dependent on your hard work and perseverance. To look at the rise in competition positively, it means more options for you.

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3 Responses to Navigating the MBA Market

  1. ThinkLovelyThoughts

    Comment posted on January 28, 2008. Bookmark the permalink.

    This just what my grandfather told me when I decided to go to a liberal college “You are slowing yourself down. There will be more and more and more competition with every passing year.” It scared be, but I thought “Oh well, I’ll just have to deal with it when it comes.” Most important, as you say, is to stay positive, because it does mean good things too.

  2. LiveHappy

    Comment posted on February 4, 2008. Bookmark the permalink.

    Agreed. For me its most important to find a school that fits. I’m not young and don’t want to spend my life in places I not happy and I think for most applicants:

    1)Even though its an investment and so we are most likely to see the highest return on it if we enroll at the best school we can, that it has to be right for you or you’re losing precious years of happiness.

    2)I think you’ll make a better, more lasting future network if you are somewhere you’re comfortable.

  3. MoneyMatters

    Comment posted on February 14, 2008. Bookmark the permalink.

    Other considerations may weigh in as well. Financial ones like tuition costs make me inclined toward the part time or executive option, but I do think rank is always a necessary consideration financially as well.