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What Business Schools Should I Apply To?

February 08, 2016 :: Admissionado

Jon Frank, CEO | Admissionado

This is the second post in a four-part series I wrote to describe my experience applying to MBA programs. Here’s a link back to the first post about why I decided to apply in the first place, just in case you want to start at the beginning.

A touch of background about my family’s academic background might be helpful in painting a partial picture of how I went about selecting schools initially.

  • My father did his PhD at Columbia.
  • My mother did her Masters at NYU.
  • My older sister did her Masters at Columbia.
  • I went to Brown Undergrad.

Point being… I had decided to apply to business school and I was ready to shoot for the moon, as the rest of my family had. Attending a lower ranking program didn’t really seem like an option though, again I had no idea at this point (other than what a friend had told me) whether or not I even had a shot at getting into a good school.

So how did I decide what MBA programs to apply to?

Well I suck at math, and always have. And I had read that Wharton guys (and MIT guys for that matter) were very technical. I was the polar opposite of one of those technical guys, so I would essentially come up with a list of schools based solely on two things:

  1. school ranking
  2. the fact that I sucked at math

Teachable Moment: School Selection 101

In some ways I got lucky here. While it was surely unfair to dismiss MIT and Wharton simply because I do not enjoy doing math, I DID choose to apply to schools mostly based on their reputations. This strategy, especially for MBA programs, is exactly the right approach. The key to MBA school selection could not be more simple:

Go to the best school you can get into.

Reputation matters in the business world, perhaps more than anything else. Ignore things like how you think you’ll “fit” somewhere and just go to the school with the best reputation. Trust me. Your business career will thank you for it.

That approach left me with the following options:

  1. HBS
  2. Stanford
  3. Kellogg
  4. Booth
  5. Columbia
  6. Tuck
  7. Ross

There seemed to be a reasonable range within that list, and all were respectable from what I could tell. Again, I was sort of shooting blind, but I had already chosen to “go to the best school could get into,” because I had the sense that going to a business school that was ranked lower simply might not be worth the time and investment.

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Read the next post in this series about Admissionado Co-Founder, Jon Frank’s MBA application experience on February 15, 2016!