How to Get into a Top 10 MBA (Video)

There are several questions candidates ask themselves before applying to a top 10 MBA program. Here are some insightful answers from Shimri Winters, co-owner of MBA admissions consulting firm ARINGO.

This is a recording of the free online webinar with ARINGO MBA Admissions Consulting on November 1, 2018. It focused on tips and tricks candidates can use when applying to top 10 MBA’s.

Who is a top 10 MBA for?

There are four types of candidates that a top 10 MBA is geared towards. First, there are career switchers: accountants, lawyers or programmers moving to business development roles. The second types of candidates are accelerators: individuals who would like to progress in their career and have an advantage over their peers. Shimri elaborates:

“I was giving a lecture last week at Ernst & Young. I actually brought someone with whom we had worked years ago, and he gave the example that at EY every year you get promoted, and they have several levels there. This guy was at EY for 3 years, then went to Emory for a 1-year MBA, then returned to EY and landed a position that would’ve taken him 7 years to reach; he reached it in 4. That’s an example of an accelerator.”

The third types of candidates are future entrepreneurs: If you lack the knowledge and experience, an MBA will give you the confidence and credibility for your business ideas.

Finally, there are candidates who are interested in academia. Usually MBA’s don’t require a thesis and afterwards, it’s hard to do a PHD. However, students who want to have a great brand on their CV and are planning to teach afterwards do take this route.

Why should I do a top 10 MBA?

First, you have the ability to earn a 6 digit starting salary. Secondly, it’s a great way to switch to a new career. Third, it opens up great international opportunities, and will enable you to test out what it’s like working abroad. Finally, it offers a fun and intellectually stimulating environment in which you can make new friends and broaden your horizons.

Which top 10 MBA should I apply to?

There are actually more than 10 top MBA’s because there are several rankings. If you compare all the American rankings, there are about 15 top MBA’s, while in Europe there are 8 or 9. Many candidates deliberate about whether to study in Europe or USA. To start, US schools offer 2-year MBA’s while European schools offer 1-1.5 year MBA’s. A shorter MBA will give you a greater return on investment. Another difference is that US schools tend to hold the “famous in everything” title—although, for example INSEAD is ranked well above US schools. American schools have strong branding and are recognized worldwide, so ask yourself whether that is a top priority for you. Smaller schools like LBS offer a stronger community and greater interaction between students and professors. You end up getting to know everyone at the end of your MBA. Another difference is that European schools have 90% foreign students compared to 60-70% in American. According to Shimri, European schools are slightly easier to get accepted into. Finally, the ultimate decision rests on where you see yourself living and working after graduation. The knowledge you gain and contacts you make throughout your MBA experience will greatly help you establish yourself in that location.

How do I choose a school?

First, you should focus on location, as you will most likely find an employer to work for from the same country. Next, you should consider if you’d like a specialized MBA and seek schools that are focused on that industry. You should definitely review the courses of study the school offers. Another factor you should consider are rankings. Finally, some recruiters visit certain schools more than others, so do some research to find out where companies of interest go to. For example, last year Apple recruited many students from Duke University, while Microsoft from Chicago Booth. You should also reflect on the school’s teaching method, class size, values and culture and whether they match your own professional outlook and goals.

What are the top schools looking for?

According to Shimri, the ideal candidate is smart and dependable, demonstrates academic or professional excellence as well as leadership qualities, has a clear vision for their future, and shows school interest and motivation. Also, top schools prefer selecting candidates with international exposure and those who have broad horizons.

How do I write an impressive MBA CV?

First, it’s important to note that an MBA CV is different from a job CV. In an MBA CV you should state your achievements, and not what you did at your job. This helps the admission committee make decisions more easily because they compare candidates from a broad range of backgrounds from bankers to lawyers, teachers to accountants. If the companies you worked for are not well known or internationally recognized, make sure that you briefly state the mission of the company and what they do.

How do I find my goals?

Every MBA application will require you to share your long-term goals. This can be a difficult task, but you can break it up into two parts. First, imagine your dream career, then consider other possible directions as well. Second, connect your dream to what an MBA experience will bring you. Make the case why an MBA degree from that school will lead you to the success of your dreams.

To hear more valuable information about applying to a top 10 MBA, watch the entire webinar recording. If you’re curious about hiring an admissions consultant, read How to Select an Admissions Consultant.

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