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5 myths and misconceptions about MBA school admissions

February 12, 2019

Don't be misled!

A man holding a cut out paper in front of an MBA school
Be aware of the many common but inaccurate assumptions about the admission process.

Earning your MBA can be a great way to take your career to the next level, developing valuable business skills and building your professional network. If you’re currently considering applying for MBA school, there are many resources to help guide you through the process, but when going through them, it’s important to be aware of the many common but inaccurate assumptions about the process.

Here are five myths and misconceptions about MBA school admissions for you to keep in mind when putting together your own application.

Myth #1: You have to work in finance or consulting to be considered for an MBA

Some people believe that in order to be accepted into an MBA program, you need to be from a finance or consulting background. This is not the case, though. While it’s true that an MBA can prepare students with the expertise and skills necessary to work in finance and consulting, students do not require a background in those specific areas to get into their MBA program of choice, nor do they need to have any intentions of working in them. MBA programs look to assemble diverse cohorts, including those with a variety of professional backgrounds and goals.

A group of people applying for an MBA
Successful MBA applicants come from a wide variety of personal and professional backgrounds.

Myth #2: You shouldn’t take the GMAT more than once

One common myth when it comes to MBA school admissions is that anyone hoping to apply should avoid taking the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) more than once. This is because many graduate programs impose limits on how many times a prospective student can retake standardized tests required for entry, while others average the scores of multiple attempts. This isn’t the case with MBA programs, however, which allow you to submit the highest score you’ve achieved on the GMAT, regardless of how many times you’ve taken it.

Myth #3: There is a formula to decide which applications are successful

Another common MBA myth is that admissions committees have some sort of special formula they apply to decide whether or not an applicant will be accepted, simply adding up their GMAT score, GPA, and years of experience. In reality, the decision process is much more complicated than that, and committees tend to take a holistic view of an applicant’s profile. Even an application that falls short in one area might make up for it in another.

Myth #4: Recommendation letters must come from senior executives

Some MBA school applicants believe that in order to be persuasive, their recommendation letters must come from senior executives at the company by which they’re employed. In reality, a letter from a senior executive may not be the best option if you haven’t worked closely with them and they can’t articulate the specific points that set you apart from other applicants. The ideal letter of recommendation comes from someone who is senior to you, but also knows you well enough to offer an authentic and personalized recommendation.

A woman is asking for a recommendation letter for MBA school
Ask for recommendation letters from someone who is closely familiar with you and your work.

Myth #5: MBA school admissions are looking for a specific type of applicant

Another MBA myth suggests that each MBA school is looking for a very particular type of applicant – one from a specific professional background with a specific range of interests. This isn’t necessarily true, though. MBA programs gain much of their strength from the diversity of their cohorts, bringing together individuals with a broad range of personal and professional backgrounds, interests, and nationalities, so that the program as a whole can benefit from a wide range of different perspectives and experiences. Instead of trying to adjust your application to what you think a school is looking for, you should highlight what makes you unique, and the special value that only you can bring to the program.

Are you ready to begin your MBA?

Contact WU Executive Academy to learn which MBA program is right for you!

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