One of the most critical questions that any MBA aspirant will have is – What do top B-Schools look for in their candidates? Before we dive deeper into the subject, let us consider how similar a B-school MBA admissions committee is to any Venture capitalist (VC). Both VC and a B-school look at investing in your future based on your past experiences.
Now, what does a Venture capitalist do?
They essentially look for the potential in a start-up. The chances that a particular start-up will succeed beyond its wildest imagination or if it’s going to be a dismal failure are uncertain. Similarly, for any B-school’s MBA admissions committee, your career success might seem uncertain, and yet they have to take a chance on you.
That is why these reputed B-schools will only enroll students who have the best chance at success, similar to a VC who will only fund start-ups with the maximum success rate.
Now that we have understood how similar an MBA admissions committee is to any VC firm let us look at what makes you ‘bankable’ to the reputed B-schools worldwide.
Here are five aspects that Venture Capitalists and B-schools look for before they take that final decision:
- Your “branding”
- Your work experience
- Your clarity of goals
- Your “X” factor
- Your compatibility
Let us look at each of them in more detail. Ensure that you identify these points in your profile and see if you have what it takes to get into a top B-school.
You can probably bookmark this article and come back to it to cross-check and improve your profile while preparing for your B-school admit. 🙂
Any Venture Capitalist will look for the branding in every start-up’s founder/s. What do we mean when we say, “branding”?
We mean to say that the Venture Capitalists will try to learn the founders’ background, work experience and even look at the B-schools they graduated from!
Branding becomes vital as it helps explain the kind of experience and the background people have.
Simply put, they get a clear idea of where you come from.
For example, if an IIT graduate with substantial work experience was to approach a VC, there is little chance that this person will fail.
It is a fairly similar case when it comes to MBA aspirants as well. An MBA aspirant’s branding is crucial for his or her admissions in top B-schools.
Consider this, B-schools receive thousands of applications annually. It then becomes critical for them to differentiate the best from the rest. The “branding” aspect helps B-schools eliminate a lot of profiles initially.
Let us say that you got your undergraduate degree from an IIT or an NIT. Just by seeing the institutions’ names, the B-schools get to know the kind of effort you can put into your education and career.
For this reason, your “branding” is a validation for them. It is more or less like a proof that you will continue to put in the hard work and be successful.
2. Your work experience
If you are looking to get funding for your start-up, the VCs have to have confidence in you and your ideas. They need to be sure that their investment does not go in vain and you are determined to run the company strong and grow it.
For this, your conversations with them, of course, matter a lot. But, your previous work experience and your growth are essential too.
Similarly, when it comes to B-school admission committees, they need proof of your skill sets. And what better proof than a recognition of your skill sets by your past organization! Any B-school will then see value in giving you an MBA admit.
They just need to be sure that you have transferable skills to utilize when you graduate and get into a better job role.
3. Your clarity of goals
The Venture Capitalists have assessed your background, your work experience, and now they will check if you have a clear and precise plan of action.
Any Venture Capitalist will review how you wish to establish and further your business in the next five years. Your clarity on your short term goals will help them understand whether you will be able to garner profits for them or not. As per the long term goals, they will want you to have a general direction in which you wish to go ahead with.
Similarly, you need to have a clear post-MBA career plan. The plan should make the particular B-school give you an MBA admit. And for this, you need both short-term and long-term goals, realistic goals.
If you look at the MBA application essay questions of certain B-schools like Kelley and Chicago Booth, you will realize that their first question is about your post-MBA goals. That is how important it is for them.
You need to make sure that you are clear about what you want to do and how you intend to go about and achieve these goals.
4. Your “X” factor
Several start-ups apply to VCs for funding. It is just like how B-schools get thousands of applications annually.
Now, how does a VC choose the right start-up that will fetch them good returns? They will select a unique start-up or try to find a founder who stands out in the crowd.
Let’s now consider the B-school scenario.
Those applying to top B-schools will have high GMAT scores, good education, and work background. But what makes them choose a few and reject the rest is the “X” factor.
If you are applying to B-schools, you need to look at what you have done and achieved so far in life. And then, identify what you have done differently that can make you stand out from the crowd.
This “X” factor plays a major role in your B-school admission process. So, you need to know what makes you different and make sure that the admissions committee knows it. The best way to convey this is through crafting the best MBA Application Essay.
5. Your Compatibility
Are you someone who knows when to talk and when to let others have their word? Or are you an alpha who dominates every space you are in?
You have to understand about a VC or B-school admission committee because they are looking for someone they can gel with in both cases.
The VCs are looking for entrepreneurs who have similar mindsets as theirs. And they also need to be sure that the entrepreneurs they are investing in are ready to take in criticism or feedback and work on them.
In the case of B-school admission committees, they are looking for candidates who will blend with the other batch admits. They also need to be sure that the candidate’s values are aligned with the institution’s.
They need to like you. It is that simple.
And that is why you must have your people skills ready. This is because an MBA and entrepreneurship require you to deal with people.
So, if you do not know the difference between getting your point across and being a pushover, you might be in trouble.
We hope these five pointers have given you better clarity on what business schools would look for in you.
You can even watch the video linked below to understand the context better.
Additionally, if you specifically need help with your MBA application Interview prep, reach out to us and we will be happy to help. Click on the image below for further information on the MBA Interview Prep process.