When MBA candidates come to us with their test scores and numbers asking for a assessment of their MBA applicant profile, we say that numbers are only half the story. Top MBA programs are looking for people, not profiles. And our MBA admissions consulting approach is to dig deep into who you are (beyond your GPA and GMAT scores) and help you build the best version of yourself.
Future MBA applicants tend to be obsessed with MBA applicant profiles… and we get it. You want to know where you stand, and the easiest comparisons are numbers. You look at average GMAT scores of last year’s incoming class and GPAs. But with increased competition for spots at top schools, numbers aren’t enough. A recent article from Poets & Quants looked at MBA applicant profiles who were rejected from HBS in the 2014-15 application cycle. All had near perfect 4.0 GPAs and scores in the 95th percentile of the GMAT. Not only that, but you’ve got Teach for America alums, former Goldman Sachs financial whizzes, successful start-up entrepreneurs… All very impressive MBA applicant profiles and all rejected from HBS this year.
It’s hard for us to say where these guys went wrong. It’s very possible that they did nothing wrong; it’s just that the odds were not in their favor. But the point is that HBS (and other top programs) are looking for more than just GMAT scores, GPAs, and big names on your resume. They’re looking at you as a WHOLE and how you will add to the community, just ask the HBS admissions director.
That’s why if you’re planning on applying to a top school, you need to start building your MBA applicant profile… now. In our MBA admissions consulting approach, we say the earlier the better. The sooner you start, the more time you’ll have to fill in any gaps or round out any weaknesses that you may have. Remember, you’re more than just a number. The challenge is making sure the adcom knows it.