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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: Admissions is a Science!

What does a 3.8 GPA + 670 GMAT + 4 years of work experience + 3 years of community service equal?  The answer is that it could equal nothing and it could equal a letter of admission. It is impossible to respond with confidence because admissions is not a science. After all, if it were a science the admissions office would just do away with the entire time/resource consuming admissions process and publish a simple formula. Why not make life that much simpler for everyone?

In some countries, there are simple tests which establish benchmarks — one gets into a top-MBA program with a score of X and does not with Y. In the US, some graduate programs have cutoffs for GRE scores or situations where LSAT and grades are definitive. Plainly put, with top-global MBA programs, there is no simple criteria. Instead, the admissions committee reads a file holistically and seeks evidence of your ability to contribute in the class and perform at the highest levels post-graduation.

While it can be comforting to try to reduce the MBA admissions process to a science, as an opaque process suddenly becomes clear and comprehensible, it is unwise to do so. By listening to chatter on message boards or blogs about the “right GMAT score” or the “right amount of work experience,” instead of listening to the word of the admissions officers, who are at pains to explain that the process is holistic in nature (meaning that they evaluate all criteria with no particular scorecard), you expose yourself to at best a risk of wasting your time and at worst a risk of wasting your energy on fruitless endeavors. It is crucial that you be your best candidate and thus you need to present your full story, not just some simple stats.




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