Sunday, April 29, 2007

The right profile

Many people wonder about what is the right profile to be admitted by a good business school. Evidently, it depends on the school. For instance, I was told the IMD looks, on average, for more experienced people than other schools do.

So, what is a good profile? I can only give me view from my own experience and from what I saw regarding other fellow future students.
First of all, it is very important to know the average profile of previous classes. That should give you a good indicator of where you stand. Many candidates think only about GMAT scores and, of course, after seeing an average GMAT of more than 680, some candidates with lower scores tend to be discouraged.

From what I’ve seen, GMAT is important, but it is not all. That is to say, if you have a GMAT of over 700, you have great possibilities of being admitted. You will only need your profile to be an average one to get in. But if you have a low GMAT score, there are other issues that can work in your favour and get you in. I think having at least 5 year work experience would be nice, and it should be relevant and demonstrate fast career progression. It is also good to speak more than 2 languages. On average, at this level, students are usually comfortable speaking three languages.

But there are other factors that can work in your favour. JBS wants its MBA to be very international, so being from a country with few candidates can give you an edge. I saw that happening with candidates with low GMAT score but with relevant work experience and who were from countries that usually don’t have many candidates. Of course, if you are from India or China, which are the countries with the highest number of candidates, you’ll really need a good GMAT to stand out.
Some schools, such as JBS, value different experiences. That is to say, every year there are some students whose career was developed in the non-profit sector.
They also prefer diversity of academic backgrounds, so I believe they are more likely to admit people from other areas than economics or management.

Bear in mind their goal is to set a very diverse class so that everybody can learn from their fellow students. If we all had the same profile, it would certainly be less interesting. So, in applying you should think about what makes you different from the vast majority of the candidates. What would your contribution be to the forming class? I would say these other factors may be more important than a high GMAT, at least for JBS. So, having a good GMAT score helps, but there is more to being admitted than just having a good score.

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