MBA Process2021-04-05T15:50:32+02:00

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Let’s Start with the Basics

Let’s Start with the Basics

What Is a Top MBA Program?
What Does It Take to Get into a Top MBA Program?
What Is a Top MBA Program?

Let’s Start with the Basics

Let’s Start with the Basics

What Is a Top MBA Program?
What Does It Take to Get into a Top MBA Program?
What Is a Top MBA Program?

What Is a Top MBA Program?

Maybe you’ve heard about MBAs during your studies, are thinking about applying for a deferred enrollment, have friends or colleagues who have touted the transformative benefits of the courses, or are looking to transform or expand your career. Whatever’s the case, usually you’ll begin by looking at a ranking. If you’re in the US, you’ll probably first turn to U.S. News, while in Europe and Asia, you might be brought to The Financial Times. However, a ranking alone is a poor source for identifying ideal programs. Let’s look at the latest rankings from the top 4 global agencies, ordered based on the average standing of the school:

School U.S. News1 The Financial Times2 Bloomberg Businessweek3 The Economist4 Average Ranking
University of Pennsylvania Wharton School 1 2 2 5 2.5
Harvard Business School 6 1 3 2 3
Stanford University Graduate School of Business 1 3 1 8 3.25
University of Chicago Booth School of Business 3 10 5 1 4.75
Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management 3 11 8 4 6.5
University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business 7 12 6 7 8
MIT Sloan School of Management 5 6 4 19 8.5
Columbia Business School 8 8 7 15 9.5
University of Virginia Darden 11 18 9 16 13.5
Duke University Fuqua School of Business 12 16 16 11 13.75
Yale School of Management 9 14 12 21 14
UCLA Anderson School of Management 16 25 18 6 16.25
INSEAD N/A 4 25 22 17
University of Navarra IESE Business School N/A 13 28 10 17
University of Michigan Ross School of Business 12 30 19 9 18
London Business School N/A 7 23 25 18
HEC N/A 9 52 3 21
IMD N/A 25 10 35 23
CEIBS N/A 5 81 N/A 43

1. U.S. News 2021 Ranking; https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools/mba-rankings
2. The Financial Times 2020 Ranking; http://rankings.ft.com/businessschoolrankings/global-mba-ranking-2020
3. Bloomberg Businessweek 2018 Ranking; https://www.bloomberg.com/business-schools/2018/
4. The Economist 2019 Ranking; https://www.economist.com/whichmba/full-time-mba-ranking

School U.S. News1 The Financial Times2 Bloomberg Businessweek3 The Economist4 Average Ranking
University of Pennsylvania Wharton School 1 2 2 5 2.5
Harvard Business School 6 1 3 2 3
Stanford University Graduate School of Business 1 3 1 8 3.25
University of Chicago Booth School of Business 3 10 5 1 4.75
Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management 3 11 8 4 6.5
University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business 7 12 6 7 8
MIT Sloan School of Management 5 6 4 19 8.5
Columbia Business School 8 8 7 15 9.5
University of Virginia Darden 11 18 9 16 13.5
Duke University Fuqua School of Business 12 16 16 11 13.75
Yale School of Management 9 14 12 21 14
UCLA Anderson School of Management 16 25 18 6 16.25
INSEAD N/A 4 25 22 17
University of Navarra IESE Business School N/A 13 28 10 17
University of Michigan Ross School of Business 12 30 19 9 18
London Business School N/A 7 23 25 18
HEC N/A 9 52 3 21
IMD N/A 25 10 35 23
CEIBS N/A 5 81 N/A 43

1. U.S. News 2021 Ranking; https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools/mba-rankings
2. The Financial Times 2020 Ranking; http://rankings.ft.com/businessschoolrankings/global-mba-ranking-2020
3. Bloomberg Businessweek 2018 Ranking; https://www.bloomberg.com/business-schools/2018/
4. The Economist 2019 Ranking; https://www.economist.com/whichmba/full-time-mba-ranking

While a small number of schools consistently rank in the top 10, many experience large disparities among the various ranking services. For instance, INSEAD is 4th according to FT but 25th according to Bloomberg. Why are the differences so great? Rankings are far more art than science. The measures, methods and weights of all ranking components, even when changed marginally, lead to significant disparities in outcome. Not only that, but the rankings experience large volatility year-to-year, with schools dropping or rising dozens of positions, which isn’t true-to-life as quality among MBAs does not change meaningfully on an annual basis.

What rankings are good for is to understand your universe of options and to glean the background data they provide on schools, such as salary information, alumni location, common job categories, etc. To accurately select an MBA, you need to look deeper into your possibilities. What’s the culture of this school: is it more team based, as at Berkeley, or more competitive, as at Yale? Does the program orient itself towards consulting (ex: 48% of the INSEAD class) or Finance (ex: 32% of the Stanford class)? Does it have a large cohort (ex: 856 at Wharton) or a small one (ex: 90 at IMD)? There are many questions about the program, its students, its partners and post-MBA job opportunities that you’ll need to answer before you can arrive at a ‘ranking’ that works for your future.

What Is a Top MBA Program?

Maybe you’ve heard about MBAs during your studies, are thinking about applying for a deferred enrollment, have friends or colleagues who have touted the transformative benefits of the courses, or are looking to transform or expand your career. Whatever’s the case, usually you’ll begin by looking at a ranking. If you’re in the US, you’ll probably first turn to U.S. News, while in Europe and Asia, you might be brought to The Financial Times. However, a ranking alone is a poor source for identifying ideal programs. Let’s look at the latest rankings from the top 4 global agencies, ordered based on the average standing of the school:

MBA Rankings Comparison

While a small number of schools consistently rank in the top 10, many experience large disparities among the various ranking services. For instance, INSEAD is 4th according to FT but 25th according to Bloomberg. Why are the differences so great? Rankings are far more art than science. The measures, methods and weights of all ranking components, even when changed marginally, lead to significant disparities in outcome. Not only that, but the rankings experience large volatility year-to-year, with schools dropping or rising dozens of positions, which isn’t true-to-life as quality among MBAs does not change meaningfully on an annual basis.

What rankings are good for is to understand your universe of options and to glean the background data they provide on schools, such as salary information, alumni location, common job categories, etc. To accurately select an MBA, you need to look deeper into your possibilities. What’s the culture of this school: is it more team based, as at Berkeley, or more competitive, as at Yale? Does the program orient itself towards consulting (ex: 48% of the INSEAD class) or Finance (ex: 32% of the Stanford class)? Does it have a large cohort (ex: 856 at Wharton) or a small one (ex: 90 at IMD)? There are many questions about the program, its students, its partners and post-MBA job opportunities that you’ll need to answer before you can arrive at a ‘ranking’ that works for your future.

What Does It Take to Get into a Top MBA Program?

If you’re targeting the most exclusive MBAs (HBS, Stanford GSB, INSEAD, LBS, etc.), you have to first understand who your competition will be. For the most part, they’ll be made up of an elite group of individuals from around the world, with outstanding academic performance and employment history. At times, 20 of these select applicants will be vying for just one seat at a prestigious university. Your goal is to make yourself stand out as much as possible from this crowd.

One part of the equation seems straightforward enough, and you’ll see it mentioned time and time again: the application components (GMAT/GRE, CV, essays, recommendation letters, and the interview). Of course, nothing is that simple, because it’s the information behind all of these parts that admissions teams are analyzing:

To make yourself stand out, you’ll need to discover how to best present and in what amounts every aspect of your history: personal, professional and academic. And, if you have any weaknesses, you’ll need to attack them head on to succeed.

What Does It Take to Get into a Top MBA Program?

If you’re targeting the most exclusive MBAs (HBS, Stanford GSB, INSEAD, LBS, etc.), you have to first understand who your competition will be. For the most part, they’ll be made up of an elite group of individuals from around the world, with outstanding academic performance and employment history. At times, 20 of these select applicants will be vying for just one seat at a prestigious university. Your goal is to make yourself stand out as much as possible from this crowd.

One part of the equation seems straightforward enough, and you’ll see it mentioned time and time again: the application components (GMAT/GRE, CV, essays, recommendation letters, and the interview). Of course, nothing is that simple, because it’s the information behind all of these parts that admissions teams are analyzing:

To make yourself stand out, you’ll need to discover how to best present and in what amounts every aspect of your history: personal, professional and academic. And, if you have any weaknesses, you’ll need to attack them head on to succeed.

How Does Admissions Consulting Fit In?

Admissions Circle Experts can work to help you select the right MBA programs, prepare powerful applications, and deliver effective interviews, while supporting every other requirement of your particular MBA admissions process. The advantages are three-fold:

  • We significantly increase your chances of entry to top MBA programs, which in turn magnifies your odds of receiving merit-based scholarships and fellowships

  • We dramatically reduce the time you spend on the application process, thereby allowing you to more efficiently carry out all of the necessary steps (test prep, essay writing, etc.)

  • We help you realize your potential—especially when beginning your MBA journey at an earlier period—; identify schools that better match your needs; and even develop pre-application strategies to modify your profile, making you more attractive to target MBAs

Naturally, every case is unique, so to better identify how admissions consulting can help you reach your goals, it’s best to start at the beginning: help us understand who you are and what you want to become.

How Does Admissions Consulting Fit In?

Admissions Circle Experts can work to help you select the right MBA programs, prepare powerful applications, and deliver effective interviews, while supporting every other requirement of your particular MBA admissions process. The advantages are three-fold:

  • We significantly increase your chances of entry to top MBA programs, which in turn magnifies your odds of receiving merit-based scholarships and fellowships

  • We dramatically reduce the time you spend on the application process, thereby allowing you to more efficiently carry out all of the necessary steps (test prep, essay writing, etc.)

  • We help you realize your potential—especially when beginning your MBA journey at an earlier period—; identify schools that better match your needs; and even develop pre-application strategies to modify your profile, making you more attractive to target MBAs

Naturally, every case is unique, so to better identify how admissions consulting can help you reach your goals, it’s best to start at the beginning: help us understand who you are and what you want to become.

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“I had a great time working with Greg and his team. Their support was critical for preparation, MBA choice based on my profile and my post-grad objectives. Overall I am very happy with the outcomes. I have now an MBA from Chicago Booth, moved to Canada and I am on route for a leadership position in one of the Big 4!”

ANTOINE M. | CHICAGO BOOTH

“The Circle was a big part in getting me accepted to HEC’s and INSEAD’s MBA programs. For the entire process, I was able to get the kind of advice and feedback that gave me a competitive advantage in the application game. If you’re looking for admissions help, I would absolutely advise you to use their services.”

EDOUARD R. | INSEAD & HEC

“My admissions consultant was able to take me through the whole process, from start to finish, with absolute expertise. He was able to help me set my profile apart, while making sure to explain away any weaknesses. What was also incredibly valuable was the amount of intelligence he had when it came to storytelling. Thank you so much for all your help. I could not recommend these services more.”

IBRAHIM M. | HBS

“I just got the news: I also made it into MIT!! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Now I just have to choose between INSEAD, Columbia and MIT :). ”

JAN B. | INSEAD, COLUMBA & MIT SLOAN

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