Earlier this month I reached out to a successful applicant who was accepted by three top 10 MBA programmes last year. He gave me some solid feedback on my applications from last season, what strengths they portrayed as well as potential pitfalls when reapplying.
I am sharing some of the specific feedback for two schools as well as more general advice which I found really helpful.
Wharton. Still driven by data, mathematics, finance, consulting and, to a lesser degree, technology and entrepreneurship. Applying with a career goal outside of these disciplines (as I did) may have been a concern. More than anything else, however, my profile (white male in finance) makes it VERY hard to get in.
MIT Sloan. Likes people who challenge convention and build/create things, so I need to be careful not to appear risk averse and conservative. My essays should portray me as a tenaciously curious person who is daring, questions authority and backs up his risk taking with measurable results that impress.
The general conclusion was that, if I had the goods to get interviews at multiple top 10 MBA programmes, I could conceivably get in just about anywhere with the right application strategy and presentation. Harvard and Stanford are a little harder to predict, but any other school should not be an unreasonable stretch for me.
I really have some work to do to figure out how my reapplications should be different (how my candidacy has improved since last time) as well as which schools to apply to in order to ensure success this time around.