B-School Chart of the Week: How Confident Are MBA Applicants?

Although quantifying a school’s profile certainly does not tell you everything, it can sometimes be helpful in simplifying the many differences between the various MBA programs. Each week, we bring you a chart to help you decide which of the schools’ strengths speak to you.

We recently asked aspiring MBAs to answer a variety of survey questions about their business school prospects and perspectives. Now the results are in, and for those who are curious about their fellow applicants’ views on business school, we will be sharing some of the collected data in our B-School Chart of the Week blog series.

Nothing is ever guaranteed when it comes to applying to business school. Yet each year, thousands of applicants try their luck anyway. In a recent survey of aspiring MBAs, we received a total of 127 responses (42 international and 85 from the United States) to our question “On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the most), how confident are you that you will be admitted to at least one business school this application season?” The most common response overall was “7” (22.8%); however, the second most common was “10” (20.5%). With 74.8% of all respondents indicating a “7” or higher, our data indicate a high level of confidence among candidates—perhaps suggesting that most people are only willing to devote the time and financial resources the application process demands if they are reasonably certain they will ultimately be accepted somewhere.

International applicants were slightly more optimistic (or perhaps risk averse) than their domestic counterparts, with “8” and “10” tying as the most common response (23.8% each) within that group. Among U.S. applicants, “7” and “10” (24.7% and 18.8%, respectively) were the most frequent responses. In addition, only one international applicant responded with a “1,” whereas seven U.S. respondents indicated this lowest level of confidence.


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