Each year, we hear from a few people who think their professional position is a liability when applying to business school: “I am a school teacher. Maybe if I transitioned to consulting, I would get into the school of my dreams.” Although bankers and consultants are certainly much more represented at top business schools than teachers, this is not evidence of a bias among admissions officers but of the nature of those workplaces. Most bankers and consultants need an MBA to progress past a certain point on the corporate ladder, whereas no teacher truly needs an MBA to progress.
What is more important than focusing on an industry or on a particular community endeavor is your performance in your endeavors. Classes at top-ranked MBA programs have space for high-performing consultants, bankers, and teachers—but not for low-performing individuals in any field. Top programs want a diversity of experience in their classrooms and the promise of achievement going forward, not a specific job title.