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We are a group of successful MBA graduates and former admissions officers from top-tier business schools. We have years of hands-on admissions and business experience to share with you. As your partner, we provide strategic insights, tactical know-how, and actionable advice to help you gain admission to your targeted schools.
Admission to a top MBA program is incredibly competitive. The key to acceptance is to convince the admissions committee that you are better qualified, more motivated and more valuable than the individuals competing against you for a seat. So, how do you create an application that accomplishes this? That’s where we come in.
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Why a top MBA?
Whether you’re an undergrad contemplating a corporate future, a young exec with just a few years of work experience, or a mid-career manager reaching for the elusive “brass ring”, career assessment is essential. Regardless of your current status, there are gaps between you and ultimate success.
Everyone has their own reasons for pursuing an MBA, but traditionally such objectives are categorized into two types:
Companies traditionally select as chief executive officers those who have transformed themselves successfully from middle managers to general managers. En route to the big corner office, they enhanced their knowledge, raised their visibility and built strong personal networks.
A former top executive with a global advertising agency explains that an MBA degree helped him get noticed early on, and tagged by his CEO for key trouble-shooting assignments. “No matter what I happened to be doing at the time, if the company was facing a challenge, the CEO would call me to say, ‘Go find out what’s wrong.’ He’d tell the client that he was sending his MBA to fix things. As an MBA student, I had learned to penetrate the real issues and address the central problem.”
Another top executive says, “Throughout my career, I’ve always been an aggressive problem-solver with a global perspective, skills that my MBA curriculum brought into focus. Combined with leadership skills, innovative thinking and common sense, an MBA degree can be a powerful catalyst. To achieve high-level success in business today, an MBA is almost a necessity.”
Not everyone at the top chose an MBA along the way. The founder and CEO of a leading technology company, who opted for an engineering degree rather than an MBA, now reflects, “My company might have been bigger if I had an MBA degree, because then I would have been able to make business decisions with more sophistication.”
There is broad agreement on the networking benefits of a top-notch MBA degree. By “joining the club”, a euphemism for graduating from a leading business school, one gains entry to an invaluable web of classmates, alumni, future grads and educators who represent a world of expertise and influence. A former advertising agency leader says, “Students at the top business schools get to know people they’re going to network with for the rest of their lives. I would run into people from my MBA class years later, and it took just five minutes for us to reconnect. There was no question about whether we trusted each other. All they asked was ‘What do you need?’.”
One of the common reason for pursuing an MBA is changing careers. From engineers and lawyers looking to move into management, to teachers and marketers wanting to become management consultants, an MBA can be the perfect tool for affecting a career change.
As a partner at a top-tier management consulting firm confesses, “As a US coast guard veteran, an MBA was my ticket into consulting. Not only did I gain business skills and an extensive network of businessfolk, but the MBA also directly opened doors that I couldn’t have imagined. I was offered a position at 3 of the top management companies via on-campus recruiting programs!”
He’s not alone – a former London-based corporate lawyer who now works as venture capitalist in Silicon Valley says, “If you looking to change careers, an MBA can be the perfect catalyst. It was for me! If it wasn’t for the MBA, there is absolutely no way I could have ended up in such a highly regarded venture capital fund, let alone in Silicon Valley.”
Irrespective of what your motivation for doing an MBA is, there is a massive difference between getting your MBA from a top school and getting it from a mediocre school.
Apart from the obvious differences in academic quality, such as higher quality faculty, and a richer classroom experience with more accomplished colleagues at the top business schools, there are other, more stark, considerations.
For instance, at the time of graduation, about 90% of MBAs from top schools such as Harvard, Wharton, Stanford, Chicago, etc have jobs, compared to only about 50% or less for lesser schools. The difference in salaries is no less stark: A Wharton MBA takes home $140,000 in the first year on average compared to $54,000 for a U. Buffalo MBA.
These differences persist and become starker over a long period of time. As discussed above, “being part of the club” i.e. the network value is an extremely important aspect of an MBA. Being part of the old-boys network of a top MBA program is invaluable.