mbaMission hosts a weekly blog series, “Admissions Myths Destroyed,” for our friends at Beat the GMAT. Check out the BTG site for fresh material and ours for “reprints.” The following piece was penned by mbaMission Founder, Jeremy Shinewald:
It might seem ironic to some that formal management experience is not a prerequisite for getting into a top MBA program. It is important to keep in mind that an MBA education is for those who aspire to become managers and is not necessarily exclusive to those who already are managers. So, if you are fretting about the fact that you have not had any subordinates to date and feel that overseeing a staff is a prerequisite to getting in to a top program, you are adhering to a myth and should worry no more. Instead, think about how you have simply excelled in your position and made the most of the leadership opportunities before you.
So, for example, consider the many investment banking analysts who apply to MBA programs each year. While analysts are at the bottom of the banks’ organizational charts and therefore do not have staffs to manage, they still have demanding jobs and have to perform at high-levels each day to succeed. So, most analysts can tell the story of thriving in an ultra-competitive environment and thus reveal their professional excellence via their resumes, essays and recommendations. And, even if most analysts do not have staffs of their own, there are still ample opportunities for second year analysts to train and mentor first year analysts and for third year analysts to mentor and train first and second year analysts. So, without a title and a staff, investment banking analysts can still show leadership and de facto management.
Of course, conventional professional management provides only one opportunity to show leadership traits. If you have not had opportunities to show that you have the interpersonal skills necessary to lead others, you can still rely on your community activities and even personal leadership to positively reveal your potential. The bottom line is that the schools are not exclusively looking for managers but for those with true promise going forward.