Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips; a new one is posted each Tuesday.
We find that because the overall pool of MBA candidates is so anonymous, many applicants believe that any negative difference, however minimal, that exists between them and other candidates could represent a huge disadvantage. For example, an applicant who has no alumni connection to his/her target school may become anxious that he/she is already “behind” at the starting line. We can assure you that if you are a strong candidate, you will not be “dinged” by a program just because you do not have a relationship with any of the school’s graduates. In fact, the vast majority of applicants do not have direct connections with alumni from their target business schools.
The bottom line is that in some cases, if you know a powerful alumnus or alumna, he/she may be able to help you in your candidacy. However, a standout candidate who does not have such a connection will generally still succeed, and a weak candidate with an alumni connection will likely still fail. So focus on crafting your best application possible, and do not worry about minor perceived weaknesses. You can succeed on your own, regardless of who you know—or do not know.