It might seem ironic to some that formal managerial experience is not a prerequisite for admission to 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 exclusive to those who already are managers. 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 gaining admission 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 numerous 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 must perform exceptionally well each day to succeed. 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 senior analysts to train and mentor newer analysts. So, without a title and a staff, investment banking analysts can still demonstrate their leadership and de facto management skills.