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How do admissions committees evaluate MBA applications

In 2015 GMAC asked admissions officers at MBA programs to assign weights to each component of the MBA application when evaluating a candidate as part of their annual Application Trends Survey. Here is how admissions committee members allocated the 100 points they were given across the various components

Some particularly startling insights can be gleaned from it. Let’s break it into two parts - factors that aren’t in your control anymore and those that you can work upon and improve.

Only 22% of the factors are not in your control anymore.

You cannot go back and change how you performed in undergraduate years, nor can you alter biographic information - the set of conditions you were granted at birth, which includes your gender, race, nationality, family circumstances, etc.

But all is not lost. Your standardised test score matters more and rightly so because it showcases your current ability to thrive in an academically rigorous environment. A high standardised test score might mitigate a subdued performance, but a higher academic performance years ago may not adequately mitigate a lower test score, especially for candidates from clustered and competitive pools - investors, consultants, bankers, tech professionals. That said, overall academic ability ( test score + transcript) is still a whopping 38% of the overall.

"Numbers matter! But they are not the only things that matter"

The qualitative elements of your application hold equal weight

Your resume, recommendations, and answers to the short questions in the application form, which make up 37%, are as important as your academic potential (your test score and undergraduate academic record). So when our tribe of admissions counsellors say that a robust application package can overcome lower test scores and GPAs, it's true!

Of that, your resume and your test score matter the most in landing you an interview invitation. Yes! How you summarise and present all your work and life in 1-page is the single most important deciding factor other than your test score.

Your recommendations are as important as your essays!

So get your writers to be your mentors in your application journey. Share your vision and plan with them and enable them to share with admissions committee members the most critical anecdotes, achievements and your continuing areas of improvement.

The most decisive factor in the process is when the rubber meets the road - the interview!

Admissions counsellors can help you develop an impeccable narrative and help you put your best foot forward, but the walk is yours! Sharing your stories and your motivations genuinely and honestly matters the most.

What could have changed since then?

Little we say! Much of what MBA admissions committees look for as they evaluate applicants is their ability to excel in an academically rigorous setting where everyone else is equally accomplished, strong endorsements from those with authority which imbue more faith in an applicant over others with similar skills and experiences, applicant’s awareness about their identity and how their identities reflected in their conversations with others.

About Admit Beacon

We help aspirants with all aspects of the MBA application process in engagement formats that suit them - hourly services, interview prep services only, application storyboarding and comprehensive counselling throughout the year.

Last cycle, our clients received 11 admit offers to HBS, Wharton and Stanford, 20 admissions offers to Kellogg, Chicago Booth, Columbia Business School and MIT Sloan and 11 offers at other Top MBA programs globally including LBS, INSEAD, Duke Fuqua, Tuck, Yale, Michigan Roos and more. Check our track record here and reviews here

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