What is MBA Positioning, and why does it matter?

Adcoms seek individuals who stand out as exceptional, surpassing their peers in advancement and progress. MBA candidates, inherently driven by a mission, aspire to instigate positive change in the world, demonstrating a keen interest in serving a larger purpose.

But it’s not just restricted to wanting to be successful in the business world; b-schools wish to see a variety of characteristics in any applicant’s profile, whether manifested through personal interests, professional experience, academic excellence, or extracurricular activities!

However, the problem with MBA Candidates is that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to this!  

When it comes to MBA students, it’s really hard to generalize as MBA students come in all different “colors, sizes and flavors.” Hence, there is no absolute benchmark to definitively determine whether a candidate is the ideal fit or not! (unless you are a top performer in every aspect, a Mr/Mrs/Miss Perfect!)

So what to do? 

Well, the good news is that Top MBA Programs aren’t just composed of brainiacs and geniuses; we have dealt with a fair share of candidates who had average scores, no big four listed, low IR, and even candidates with low academic scores. Nonetheless, the positive outcome is that their applications ultimately proved to be impressive!

How, you ask?

Well, I assure you, we don’t practice witchcraft! (Although we got a great team of magicians of their Spells! 🧙)

The crucial aspect is to excel in specific activities and infuse small touches of distinction and excellence into everything you undertake. As the saying goes, excellence resides in the details (well, maybe it doesn’t, but it should). The devil lies in the details. The strategy involves intentionally identifying commendable examples within a heap that can support other elements, creating a network of interconnected models to engage the adcom. The goal is to guide the adcom into your prepared script once they enter “YOUR ZONE,” making the subsequent steps a cakewalk!

POSITIONING FOR MBA APPLICANTS

With the commencement of the Round 1 season, every MBA aspirant has dedicated their utmost effort to constructing a nearly flawless application, showcasing stellar scores, achievements, and numerous accolades! Undoubtedly, all of this demands a significant amount of hard work, late nights, and considerable time from an already packed schedule. Nevertheless, despite these efforts, MBA candidates frequently encounter rejection or find themselves on the waitlist.

Nothing is more disheartening than witnessing an honest, hardworking candidate experience failure! Therefore, to provide more profound assistance to aspiring MBA candidates, we discovered that a significant challenge many MBAs confront is “how to strategically position the crucial elements of their profile.” Identifying where to make a significant impact is the key that propels your name into the pile labeled Admitted!

SO WHICH ELEMENTS OF THE APPLICATION MATTER MOST?

If you are not a fresh MBA applicant, you likely know about the different pieces of a candidate’s profile that hold the most importance, like GMAT, GPA, Essays, Resume, etc. However, this article is not about the elements of a stellar profile; you can check out our article at the link — How to build your MBA Application 101.

However, we must keep in mind that whether you are a beginner or not, you need to understand the chronology of elements of your profile, and YES, GMAT is NOT the No. 1 MOST important thing (There, Said it)! 😌

With assistance from the AdComs of various top B-schools, our team has compiled a list of all the elements in priority, further categorizing them into either relatively static factors or components that are more within the immediate control of an MBA candidate.

“FIXED / STATIC THINGS”

GMAT / GRE score – This element becomes quite set for someone who has already completed any standardized test. While we acknowledge that some individuals may retake the test and even achieve significant score improvements, setting aside all exceptions, it’s generally observed that after three attempts, most people shift their focus. Therefore, it falls into the fixed category!

 If you haven’t taken your test yet, here’s a blog post with the — Average GMAT scores for top MBA programs – US, Europe, Canada

 GPA – This is the MOST “fixed” aspect of your overall profile. Once again, barring any exceptions like undertaking an entirely new graduate curriculum or inventing a time machine to enhance your past (in which case, Congratulations, you are already an elite entrepreneur!), this element remains highly stable.

Jokes aside, we got you covered! 👍Here’s an article to help you out in case of a low GPA! — How to justify a low GPA in your MBA application?

Overall Background/ Student biography includes a candidate’s background elements: hometown, family, hobbies, early life, etc. This plays a pretty small role (hence the last spot) in the admissions process, but any unusual facts (struggle, determination, vision) might catch their attention.

DYNAMIC THINGS / THINGS UNDER IMMEDIATE CONTROL.” 

Interview – Undoubtedly, the most crucial factor. Whether you boast stellar scores or fall into the average performer category, possess numerous leadership examples, hold a brand name, or own a startup, this is the key! Strive to create a lasting first impression that ignites the fire within you, compelling the adcoms to desire a part of that flame!

Suggested Reading: How To Prepare For Some Most Frequently Asked MBA interview questions?

 Resume – Well, you may think that all the hard work done in crafting a creative essay that could win a Booker prize (well, on a serious note, some essays are just Marvelous) could amount to less than a one-page Resume. Strange? Here’s why — How to create a Strong Resume for Your MBA Application?

Essays – are one of the most difficult parts of your Application. You need to be creative, look ambitious and highlight that you are positioned for success, and I could add more adjectives!So allow me to be brief, YES, it’s very easy to screw them up, but it’s not necessary to lose so much sleep over them, as other elements of your Application DO balance it out. 

But regardless of the circumstances, intentionally messing them up serves no purpose! Therefore, it’s always beneficial to seek expert advice; you can refer to a series of articles starting with

The Approach — STAR Approach Strategies to ace your MBA essays

For Post-MBA Goals — How to frame practical post-MBA goals essays? 

Creativity & Uniqueness — How to Distinguish Yourself in Your MBA Application Essays

Recommendations – Believe it or not, Recommendations hold nearly the same significance as B-school essays themselves. They offer someone the chance to furnish the adcoms with information about you from a different perspective.

Let’s consider it from another angle: All the outstanding leadership examples, instances where you single-handedly turned situations around, earned professional accolades/promotions, and every aspect of being a STAR employee whom employers consider fortunate to have… This is where a LOR becomes valuable; it serves as your proof/alibi to testify for you!

Any optional/ Short answer questions – The little text boxes in the application form prompt you to describe things like “extracurricular activity” or “your job function.” All of these provide an opportunity to offer a bit more in-depth detail about significant moments in your life.

Important Note: For certain schools, the video questions and short answer questions can be incredibly important. 

HOW CAN WE HELP WITH BETTER POSITIONING IN YOUR APPLICATION? 

Hiring an admissions consultant is an independent choice. If you believe you can create a strong application independently, you may not feel the need for a consultant. However, in this self-reflective journey, having not just a consultant but also a mentor and a friend can assist you in presenting your authentic self.

This is precisely where MBA and Beyond come into play. We adhere to a unique framework that enables applicants to delve deeply into their profile, background, stories, and aspirations. This process assists them in crafting a distinctive and authentic MBA pitch.

Read How our unique process helps applicants in their MBA journey and beyond?

Feel free to hop on a 1:1 FREE profile evaluation call with our experts if you’d like. We’ll dive deep into your profile and help you understand your chances to top B-schools with honest feedback.

Always remember, we are here for you, and together with your Hardwork & Determination, and Expertise, no problem is big enough to stop you from achieving your Dream!🎉

Until Next Time, 

Adios! 😊   

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