Pay paticular attention to the question that every b-school application asks:
- What Other Programs Are You Applying To?
The reason is this:
- B-schools are keen to know who they are competing against. They want to know how applicants view the correlation between programs but also if you are using the school as a backup or safe school.
- For instance, on the UCLA Anderson application, if you list that you are applying to Stanford and Haas, in addition to Anderson, the admissions committee will pretty much know you are using them as a backup.
Why is this an issue?
- If you do not make compelling reasons for “Why Anderson?”, then the effect is magnified. It becomes even more apparent that you are using UCLA Anderson as a backup.
- A good test is this; if you can unplug the UCLA Anderson name from the essays and plug back in any other business school, the adcom knows and can see right through it.
- Programs with “pull through” issues or low acceptance rates of extended offers know that they are going to get dinged in the rankings. They are keen to see that you are serious.
What should you do?
- You have to have clear reasons why you need an MBA, your short and longer term goals and why you need to get that MBA now as opposed to a year from now.
- If you do not have clear reasons, the adcom will see through it. They review thousands of applications, they have a BS detector. You will sound as if you have not clearly thought through your future career. It’s certain death to your application.