Applying to business schools can be a daunting process. The journey of researching which schools suit you best and building the perfect application can be time-consuming and very involved. One of the most commonly asked questions is “how many business schools you should apply to.” In this EDUopinions article, we will address this question and others to help give you a better idea of what admissions officers look for in an application.
How many business schools should you apply to?
To address this question, there are several factors to consider. First, how many business schools you should apply to depends on how competitive the admissions processes to those schools are and how qualified you are. Of course, being “qualified” is not a clear-cut criterion—rather, this is to say you should consider whether you meet or exceed the entry requirements of a specific course when determining how many schools to apply to.
Applying to four to six business schools is a good place to start. Within this number, you should have at least one or two ‘safeties,’ which are programmes you can reliably expect to get into based on the entry requirements listed on their websites and their acceptance rates. Now, it is important to find ‘safety’ programmes which you are genuinely interested in. If you apply to a school purely because you think you can get in, it is likely the admissions officer will realise this and they may reject your application. Equally true for any application you submit, you should provide excellent, concrete reasons why a course is the right one for you and how you will benefit from it.
As for the remaining two to four business schools, spend some time researching and identifying a long list of potential options. Once you have this list, start narrowing it down by cutting schools that do not offer your specialisation, are out of your budget or whose entry requirements you do not meet.
Of course, it is certainly possible to apply to more than six business schools. In doing so, however, you run the risk of submitting undetailed or unspecific applications. Applying to business school requires a fair amount of research and motivation—two factors that may be spread thin if you are in over your head in applications.
Is it bad to reapply to the same business school?
Reapplying to the same business school is typically not a problem; though, this does not guarantee you will be automatically accepted the second time around. Admissions officers assess your preparedness for a course regardless of the number of times you have applied. A great way to build an application the second time through is by highlighting how you have grown since the last time you applied. Of course, you should again include essential qualifications like your previous degree work experience. When reapplying, for example, you could mention in your personal statement how your GMAT/GRE score increased, or what sort of professional experience you have gained in the meantime.
How can you improve your chances of getting into a business school?
Another very common question, how to improve your chances of acceptance is in fact related to how many business schools you should apply to. As mentioned above, a successful business school application should articulate how you are a good fit for the programme and how undertaking the degree will help further you professionally. Realistically, very few people have the time to thoroughly research and write applications for many more than six business schools. The first way you can increase the chances of being accepted to business school is by doing quality research to find programmes that genuinely interest you and not applying to too many schools.
Another great way to help your application to business school is by gaining relevant professional experience, either through an internship, volunteer position or a paid job. An experience like this will demonstrate to the admissions office that you know what you are signing up for and that you have an existing knowledge base in business.
Finally, if your application requires letters of recommendation, be sure to ask the right supervisors/professors. Whoever provides a reference should be familiar with you in a professional and/or academic capacity and should be ready to highlight the skills and qualifications not included elsewhere in your application.
What do business schools look for in applicants?
Every business school is a bit different, and it is difficult to point to specific qualifications, experiences or characteristics that all institutions seek out in applicants. Instead, there are broader themes that represent what business schools look for in applicants. One of these themes is determination—because admissions to business school can be highly competitive, students must be able to demonstrate why they want to attend and how it will help them progress in their careers.
Another thing business schools look for in applicants is their level of preparedness. Being prepared does not necessarily mean having studied business in your bachelor’s degree or having multiple years of relevant work experience. Rather, the admissions office wants to ensure you will be able to handle the workload of business school and that you have an idea of what to expect. Of course, previous business-related qualifications are a plus, but they are not an absolute necessity.
Finally, business schools want to get an idea of your professional skill set in order to know how they could help you grow. Skills like communication, leadership and management are not exclusive to the business world, and chances are you may have demonstrated these skills in other areas of life. If so, be sure to include such skills in your personal statement or interview.
How can I find the right business school for me?
Choosing the right business school can be a difficult decision. Luckily, EDUopinions is here to help! Our team of experienced advisors can help guide you through the process of finding schools to apply to. As well, EDUopinions’ database of verified student reviews allows you to know what real students thought of their experiences at thousands of different universities and business schools.
In general, the ideal business school for you depends on your career and personal goals. Considering your area of interest, budget, location preference and previous qualifications can help you narrow down the options. For more specific details on finding the right business school, check out this article on the EDUopinions blog!
In this article, we have seen many sides of applying to business school. In addition to answering the question of how many business schools you should apply to, this article hopefully gave you an idea of what it takes to get into business school. Again, if you need any support along your journey through higher education, please feel free to reach out to EDUopinions for free, personalised advice!
For more, check out these articles on whether the GMAT or GRE is better for you and how to write a killer MBA application essay