Anyone who wants to apply to business school likely knows how difficult the admissions process can be.
Between the different essays to write and tests to take, you need to maintain a good level of performance at work and engage with your community. It’s no secret that admissions officers tend to love prospective MBA candidates with a passion for community service and a drive for success.
If all of these requirements overwhelm you, there’s no need to panic. Thanks to decades’ worth of data on business school admissions, you can now calculate your odds of getting into business school. An MBA chances calculator can help you assess the strength of your MBA application and determine which business schools to apply to.
In this article, we show you how you can calculate your MBA admissions chances in 2021.
Why should I calculate my MBA admissions chances?
You probably have a list of MBA programs you want to apply to. By calculating your MBA admissions chances, you can get a better idea of which schools you’re most likely to get in to, and which areas of your application might benefit from some improvement.
Gain an accurate picture of your application strength
Most MBA chances calculators assess the strength of your application by comparing your academic history, work experience, and general profile to the profiles of previous and current MBA candidates.
By calculating your MBA admissions chances, you’ll know whether your GMAT scores and GPA range above or below average. You can also gain a general idea of whether your undergraduate degree and pre-MBA employer are highly represented in MBA classrooms.
The results you get reflect the strength of your current application, and you can use these insights to estimate your chances of getting to the interview stage of the business school admissions process.
Tailor application and school choices to maximize success
Knowing how strong your MBA application is can also help you tailor your application to a range of schools that are likely to accept you. Some MBA admissions calculators help you determine your odds of getting into certain business schools.
They match your profile to MBA students at specific schools like Wharton or HBS and tell you whether the school would be considered:
- a reach or dream school for you, where you’re likely to get in with an outstanding application and a bit of luck
- a target school, where your profile is underrepresented, giving you an advantage over other students
- or a safety school, where you’re practically guaranteed to get in with your current application
Knowing your odds of getting into certain schools can help you select the ones that are most aligned with your career goals and the classroom experience you’re after.
Avoid wasting time and money applying to less suitable schools
Like most aspiring MBA candidates, you’re probably working a full-time job while juggling a handful of social responsibilities.
With very little time to spare, it can be wise to take a targeted approach to business school applications. Applying to schools that are aligned with your post-MBA career plans can be the most effective use of your time and money.
MBA admissions consultants often recommend that you apply to about 3 target schools, 2 dream schools, and about 2 safety schools to increase your odds of getting accepted. One of the best ways to narrow down your list of schools is to check if the industry or employer you want to work for after graduation recruits graduates from your selected business schools.
How to calculate your MBA admissions chances in 2021
The MBA admissions process is a complex, holistic procedure that looks at who you are and your chances of excelling in the world of business.
Admissions officers usually scrutinize every aspect of a student’s profile when deciding who to accept and reject. Therefore, you need to calculate the strength of each MBA admissions factor and strengthen them as best as you can.
Estimate your GMAT or GRE score
Business schools often use your GMAT or GRE scores to measure how prepared applicants are for graduate-level academic work. Both exams test your command of basic mathematics and data analysis as well as your ability to think critically, analyze problems, and write analytically.
If you haven’t taken either of these exams yet, you can take short practice quizzes online for both the GMAT and GRE that will give you your predicted score range. The results are usually fairly accurate and can help you assess whether you’re above or below the average score required by the business schools of your choice.
Calculate your undergraduate GPA or GPA-equivalent
Although most MBA programs don’t publish their GPA statistics, it’s estimated that you need to have an undergraduate GPA between 3.5 and 3.7 to get into the top 20 rated programs.
A solid undergraduate transcript signals to admissions committees that you’re able to handle university coursework while also being engaged in social activities.
If you graduated from a non-GPA grading system, you can convert your grades using web-based calculators or scales like this tool for converting Indian Percentage grades to GPA. The converted grades can give you a rough idea of your academic standing, however, most business schools just ask for your accumulative score from your undergraduate institution and assess the score themselves.
Professional work experience
Almost all MBA programs require you to have professional work experience before applying because they want to see evidence of growth, discipline, and leadership in a real-world setting. Most schools don’t look for a specific number of years of work experience but rather the contributions you made in your workplace.
To strengthen your work experience profile on your application, it can be a good idea to ask your manager if you can work on key accounts or customer acquisition projects that will help you gain negotiation and problem-solving skills. It’s also important to seek out opportunities where you can contribute as a good team player and understand the dynamics of teamwork.
Extracurricular activities and leadership experience
Business schools are often eager to identify individuals who want to contribute to their communities. As the business world shifts towards sustainability, schools increasingly seek out students who have honed their environmental, social, and governance leadership qualities through volunteering, sports, and professional networking activities.
As an aspiring MBA candidate, you can work on developing your leadership skills by volunteering with a local organization or mentoring colleagues in your professional network if you’re not doing so already. Extracurricular activities are a big part of the business school experience, and professors often encourage students to join university clubs or start new organizations.
Strength of writing-based application elements including the SOP
Each year nearly 55,000 prospective students apply to the top 10 business schools in America — and only 10% get accepted.
In a sea of applicants with similar grades, test scores, and work experience to you, the Statement of Purpose (SOP) and other admissions essays give you a chance to stand out and explain why you’re one of the best candidates for the MBA program.
These essays allow you to make your story unique, genuine, and memorable. You can look at examples of past student SOPs and essays online or in reference books to check if you’ve covered all of the important points in your essays.
TOEFL score or English language fluency
Many top MBA programs require international MBA applicants to submit their TOEFL scores. The scores indicate an applicant’s ability to write academic essays, complete reading assignments in English, and engage in classroom debates. Harvard expects a TOEFL score above 109 and INSEAD encourages students to have received a score above 104 before applying.
You can estimate your TOEFL test score by taking a practice test online or using a test guidebook. If you feel that your estimated score falls within the range required by your selected business schools, you should aim to take a graded TOEFL test in person at least 9 months before the MBA application deadline.
If you find that your English skills need improving, you can use the remaining time to work on the weaker areas of your speaking, listening, and writing abilities.
Tips for calculating your MBA admissions chances
As you calculate your MBA admissions chances, you may realize that most calculations only give you a snapshot of your odds based on your past achievements. What’s often lacking is the human insight into the qualitative “soft skills” that admissions officers look for. For that, you’ll need to do some research and talk to current or past MBA students.
Research school-specific requirements and admission rates
You can start to improve your business school applications by researching the specific requirements of your selected schools. Online webinars and in-person information sessions on campus can be great events you can take advantage of to glean more insight into the intricacies of the admissions process.
Each program is different, so doing your research well can help you understand how you fit into the program. You can also use these events to ask admissions officers what skills and qualities they’re looking for in the incoming MBA cohort.
Reach out to alumni or current students at your business school/s of choice
If you’re presented with an opportunity to speak to alumni or current students at your selected business schools, this can be a great chance to seize.
These people have experience with the entire admissions process and can give you detailed, meaningful feedback on your application. You can use their feedback to determine if your application highlights sufficient business skills and aligned career goals to get you through to the interview stage.
Plus, they also understand the academic environment, culture, and work opportunities associated with a particular MBA program. Their insights can help you evaluate how well the program aligns with your career goals.
Network with those from your undergraduate institution who gained an MBA
Undergraduate classmates who got into MBA programs are another group of people whose insights you can tap into. You already share similar academic backgrounds by having gone to the same university, and probably even similar workplace experiences.
Ask to go for coffee or schedule a phone call with them to learn how they presented themselves during the admissions process. Connecting with them can help you understand which areas of their academic and work experience they highlighted in their application to get admitted.
Be realistic with your calculations
And of course, be realistic with your calculations, because they only tell you how well you compare to current and past MBA students.
You cannot 100% predict what selection committees expect from the next MBA cohort. You can only craft the best application possible using the information and advice you received from peers, alumni, and admissions officers.
As long as you showcase your business acumen and drive to create change, you have a high chance of impressing the admissions officers.
Need a hand getting started?
Admissions Roadmap can provide you with high-level recommendations to address weaknesses in your MBA application strategy.
I’ve helped dozens of Indian students apply for business schools in the U.S. by teaching them how to craft the best and most authentic MBA admissions essays and resumes possible.
And that’s just a start — I also help you research the best business schools aligned with your career goals and pick the right recommenders to write compelling recommendations for you. I’ll also help you practice interviews so you stand out from the crowd. If this is the guidance you want for your MBA application, contact me and we’ll work together to help you get into your dream business school.