One of the most challenging aspects of choosing which MBA programs to apply to is balancing your fit to a program with how highly ranked that program is. Most students initially gravitate towards rankings as their primary method of creating their target school list – with historically elite business schools such as Harvard, Stanford, and Kellogg consistently making appearances on the lists of unqualified applicants. These MBA programs top the rankings year after year for a reason: they are extremely difficult to gain entry to, with some acceptance rates in the single-digits.

Applicants who create their list based off of program fit tend to have more success in the application process. Now, fit isn’t always as straightforward a concept as one might imagine when framed in the context of business school admissions. “Fit” should account for geographic, academic, professional, social, and school specific admissions criteria.

By utilizing fit, applicants can ensure that the program they are eventually admitted to properly addresses their development goals. However, choosing a school based truly off of personal fit can be more difficult than it seems – candidates are not always completely honest with themselves when they assess where their profile stands in comparison to the competition, so be sure you are as honest as possible with your own personal assessment during this process.

The best approach is to take both the rankings and personal fit into consideration in creating your target school list. Identify the MBA programs that meet your criteria as an initial step, and then utilize various external rankings to tier your potential schools. Creating your list of target programs is an inexact “science” that requires more of a personal touch than just following random lists created by various media sources.

Use the tips above to effectively craft your target business school list and ensure you optimize your chances of admissions success.

This article has been provided by Dozie A., a Head Consultant at Veritas Prep  -  an elite test preparation company specializing in GMAT and GRE prep, as well as MBA admissions consulting. At Veritas Prep, we offer an extensive array of in-person, live online, self-study, and private tutoring options for students from instructors who have all scored in the top 1% of test takers. For over a decade, we have worked with students helping them to excel on standardized exams, allowing them greater opportunities to be accepted into their top-tier dream schools, pursue higher education opportunities, and expand their academic knowledge.

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