• Scott Edinburgh

5 Tips for Selecting Your Target Business Schools

This time of the year, I am repeatedly asked, “Which schools should I apply to?” Picking the right business school is a complicated and personal process and a key component of our comprehensive packages. However, here are my top 5 tips:

1. Begin with the statistics: Statistics such as average GPA, average GMAT, years of experience, acceptance rate and starting salary will give you some good benchmarking data and a better idea of which schools could be potential options for you. Of course, these statistics aren’t the whole picture. Plenty of applicants with a higher than average GPA or GMAT won’t get in each year and vice versa. The whole package matters, so use these numbers as an initial guide only. However, if the average GMAT for a school is 730 and you have scored a 650, your odds of being successful are somewhat limited.

2. Go broad: My average candidate applies to at least 5 schools. Make sure that you have some “reach” schools, some “more likely” schools and some “safer” schools, especially if you want to ensure an acceptance this year. There is always going to be some element of a numbers game in the application process because schools all look to fill their classes with diverse candidates. You cannot always predict which school might need someone who fits your profile; therefore, I suggest adding a broad range of schools.

3. Look carefully at the curriculum and offerings: Think about your post-MBA goals carefully and pay attention to whose offerings are the best fit. It is no longer as simple as, “Wharton is great for Finance and Kellogg is great for Marketing.” Business schools all work hard to differentiate themselves from their peers by adding unique programs, opportunities and curriculum elements. So do your research, talk to alums and visit campuses. Not only will this help you determine which programs will be the best fit, but this research will be critical as you work on your application essays.

4. Pay attention to culture: Culture really is more than a buzzword and it will be key to having a fulfilling MBA experience and developing lasting long-term relationships. Do you want a small close-knit campus where everyone lives and studies nearby? Do you consider the entire city as your campus? These are just some of the many questions you should ask yourself as you select your school list.

5. Consider location: Sure, you can live anywhere after you graduate from business school and companies from all over the world will travel to recruit. But for obvious reasons, it is much easier to recruit at schools closer to your office. This does not mean you should only consider city schools! Look at which schools your target companies visit for recruitment, what local opportunities are available to candidates and which speakers come to campus.

Need help? We know it’s a daunting process and Personal MBA Coach is here to help! Personal MBA Coach has been guiding candidates through all aspects of the MBA application process for 10 years with a 96% success rate. Call us today at 617-645-2424 or email at for a free consultation on your profile along with how we can help make your career dreams a reality!


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