Let us look in more detail at who can provide you with a candid evaluation of your potential, what is taken into consideration and how to make the most of the evaluation process.
What is a profile evaluation?
Profile evaluation is an expert's feedback on your potential for MBA studies. This evaluation is very helpful when you start planning your MBA preparation. It can give you an idea as to whether you qualify for admission to an MBA programme, when is the right time in your career to devote to management training, how relevant your work experience is, whether you have the skill set and potential for business leadership, etc.
The feedback that you receive will help you select the right calibre of business school, type of MBA programme and - last but not least – highlight your competitive advantages which should be the milestones of your application.
Check out: Your Profile in the Mirror
Types of profile evaluation
- Online automatic tools
Free profile evaluation online tools are available for you to work with on your own. They are based on questionnaires focused on the most relevant information on whether you qualify for admission. Based on your replies the system provides feedback on your strengths, areas of improvement, types of MBA programme, calibre of business schools that you can target, and recommendations on test scores.
Such free online tools are an excellent starting point. They give you information about the major aspects that are taken into consideration in an MBA profile evaluation. The feedback and suggestions that you receive, will help you understand better how each element of your profile affects your chances of admission. This helps you prepare better for the next step – evaluation by an expert.
- Individual feedback by an expert
Expert feedback on your profile can be written or oral. To receive written feedback you will be requested to complete a questionnaire or submit details on certain topics in writing. Then, usually within a couple of days, you will receive the expert's reply.
The more interactive option, although rarer, is to be able to discuss your profile and MBA plans directly with the evaluator. In this way you can ask many additional questions and get more focused advice.
- Online tools focused on school matching
You can also find profile evaluation tools and services which are focused on matching your profile to schools that could be a good option for you. In this case, however, you will receive a suggested list of schools that you can contact rather than feedback on your profile.
It is important to know in advance what calibre of schools you will be matched to – whether they have been preselected by country, region, accreditation or any other criteria. This will help you continue your school selection with other sources if needed.
This type of school selection gives you an excellent opportunity to get in touch with the business schools directly and discuss in more detail how your profile fits each school's requirements and what aspects can make you stand out among other applicants. Such direct communication with business schools also enables you to learn more about how the programme can fit your career aspirations.
What can be evaluated
- Level of education and GPA
MBA programmes require at least a first university degree. Although your university grades are not a primary factor in MBA admissions, the evaluation can identify some strengths or shortcomings that should be reflected in your application strategy.
- Relevance and quality of work experience
The teaching methodology in business schools puts a lot of emphasis on the hands-on experience of MBA students. That is why schools not only have a requirement for the number of years of full-time professional experience, but also look into its quality. Expert profile evaluation will give you feedback on how relevant your experience is for admission to an MBA.
- Leadership potential
This skill-set is difficult to measure in quantitative terms. Evaluation takes an experienced overview of your professional and personal experiences, background, achievements and commitments. Expert feedback can help you find the best way to communicate your potential in the business school application package.
- Outstanding achievements
An expert evaluator can help you see your most relevant personal and professional achievements from the perspective of business school admissions committees. This will help you build a personal branding strategy for your application. It is important to identify achievements that really help you stand out among other MBA applicants.
- Relevance of MBA studies to career goals
Evaluating whether the MBA is the best way to achieve your career goals is of primary importance to your MBA project. In addition, clarity on this aspect will be an essential focus of you application. Admissions committees are very interested in your career aspirations and your arguments about how an MBA will bring value.
- International exposure
MBA programmes prepare business leaders to act in a global environment, so international exposure and cultural awareness are taken into consideration. An expert evaluator can help you uncover all aspects of your personal and professional experience that are relevant to international exposure. This will help you fine-tune your school selection, because some programmes are really focused on this aspect.
- Competitive advantages of your profile
An experienced eye and an outside perspective by a professional who meets many prospective MBA applicants will help you identify what really sets you apart. This will help you focus your application on your competitive advantages.
- English proficiency
Evaluating your English language skills is not a primary focus on an MBA profile evaluation. However, if the evaluation is conducted in English you can get feedback on whether your skills are good enough for graduate studies in a programme taught in English. Of course, you will need to sit an English proficiency test to apply for admission.
- GMAT/GRE scores
If you have taken the GMAT or GRE, during the evaluation you can be advised on whether you should try to achieve a better score or for which calibre of business schools you can apply with your current score. There are different application strategies depending on the test scores.
If you have not taken any tests yet, you can get advice about what is a good score for the business schools that you aspire to. GMAT scores can also be relevant to your career goals, as some employers look at them as well.
Finally, you can discuss with the evaluator which test to take – GMAT, GRE, the new Executive Assessment exam or a school specific test.
- Types of MBA programme to target
Based on your career goals, you can get advice on the most appropriate type of MBA programme. Full-time one-year, full-time two-year, part-time, executive, modular, distance, global, specialised, etc. The variety of MBA programmes is amazing.
- Calibre of B-schools to target
Business schools vary in many ways as well. Some are highly selective; others have a triple accreditation; some have been top-ranked for ages; some are highly reputable in certain industries, etc. An evaluator will help you understand which features are most relevant to your career goals, so that you know what type of business schools to target.
Check out: Why is Profile evaluation Important?
Who are the profilers?
Profile evaluation opportunities are provided by different categories of professionals.
- MBA admissions consultants/coaches
These are professionals who work with prospective MBA applicants on building an effective application strategy and preparing an outstanding application package. If they have worked with a good number of applicants they can easily spot what sets you apart and can make you shine.
- Current business school admissions directors/officers
Some business schools provide profile evaluations. Usually they require you to complete a questionnaire and then you receive feedback on whether your profile fits the requirements of the specific business school. Even if schools do not formally provide such a service, you can approach the admissions team members for feedback on whether you are eligible to apply and how you fit the student profile that the school aims to attract.
- Former MBA admissions directors/officers
Some former MBA admissions staff work as MBA consultants/coaches and provide profile evaluation. They know the admissions process really well and have evaluated many applications. This enables them to see clearly what makes you stand out and what your chances of admission might be.
- MBA graduates
MBA graduates can help you look at your potential from a different perspective. However, you should always try to understand their perspective. Many of them will talk from personal experience and they only have the perspective of successful MBA applicants and former MBA students. This differs from the perspective of former MBA admissions staff.
- Career counsellors with MBA experience
Career counsellors who know the value of business education can really help you understand what aspects of an MBA can best help you achieve your career goals, and how to structure your short-term career goals and long-term post-MBA ones. You can also discuss which stage of your career will be the best time to invest in an MBA.
Mind the bias and perspective
Although the profile evaluation should be objective and help your general MBA application and school selection strategy, always take into consideration the perspective and bias of your evaluator.
Profile evaluation is a great learning opportunity. Take every chance to receive feedback on your potential. Reflect on the suggestions before you proceed with the next step of preparing your MBA application.