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Handicapping Your MBA Odds and Choosing Your School Portfolio

This article is sponsored by Career Protocol.

This article will help you choose the right set of MBA programs to apply to.

So you can aim high while keeping your feet on the ground. Or in other words, aim for your favorite dream schools while ensuring you also apply to a few safer schools given your statistics.

Heyo! Angela Guido here, founder of Career Protocol!
First things first.

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t get into business school.

Absolutely everyone can get into business school. Not everyone can get into every school. And only some people can get into any given school. But if an MBA is an important step on your path to your career dreams, then you can find a school that will both give you what you need and be thrilled to admit you.

And if you’re like most people, there is a wide array of schools that will offer you exactly what you need. It’s a rare situation when a candidate can only achieve their goals through one specific program. An MBA education is a little bit like coffee: you might prefer Intelligentsia, but Starbucks will do, and in a pinch, for that matter, so will Dunkin Donuts.  If you need an MBA hit to get where you want to go in your career, it behooves you to cast a broad net in your search and application process.

Determining which MBA programs you should apply to.

I always recommend applying to a portfolio of schools.

For most people, the right number is between 4 and 6. But if you know my story, you know why I applied to 8! I had a lot to offer, but I was a “risky candidate” who didn’t really fit with the conventional expectations of MBA programs. I knew some school would take a chance on me, I just didn’t know which one! So I applied to a lot of schools to give more of them the chance to see how much I could add to their community. Luckily a great one saw my potential and admitted me!

If you have a major anomaly in your profile such as a below-average GPA, an unusual career trajectory, or any number of other elements that might make your application stand out – and not in a good way – then you might also want to try for more than 6.

Within that portfolio of 4+ schools, I recommend you choose some reaches, some matches, and some safer schools. That means that as you look at a given school, here is the line of inquiry you want to pursue:

If I am going to apply to this MBA program, how good are my odds?

Is applying to this school and only this school a risky proposition because my statistics aren’t well aligned with candidates who succeeded in the past?

If the answer is yes, that would make it a “reach school.”

Or is applying to this school and only this school a relatively safe bet because my stats are stronger than the average admit?

If you said yes to this one, that would make it a “safer school.”

Before I get to calculating your own odds, take a moment to reflect on the difference between odds and reality. Statistically, the house always wins in blackjack – the odds are stacked against you in any given hand, in any given streak of hands. And yet many people make millions of dollars at the blackjack table every year. What the odds say and what will actually happen are two different things that are not causally linked.

So don’t let the odds get you down. Use them instead to assemble a portfolio of schools that allows you to aim high while also keeping your feet on the ground. Think of it like an investment portfolio. If you want an average of a 10% return, you choose some higher-risk assets that return at 20% but could also go to zero, and then you throw in some bonds that return at 3% with 95% certainty. That way, you win, even if you don’t win them all.

Calculating your MBA admission chances.

Your odds depend on your statistics. But your success depends on much more than that. Things like your passions and character, your specific achievements, your unique fit with the school, and all the elements of MBA application execution that can make the difference between a big fat Yes and a ding.

If you want a read on BOTH your MBA odds and some of the intangible qualities your MBA application presents, then look no further than MBAmo, our MBA Admissions Calculator Robot.

Just take 60 seconds to enter a little information about your background and experience, and MBAmo will generate a 20+ page customized report on your MBA chances, the competitiveness of your profile across a variety of dimensions, and the things you can do to strengthen your candidacy before you apply. He’s pretty cool, and we built him with a ton of love!

Please check it out! Try MBamo as many times as you want for your favorite schools so you can select the right portfolio of schools for you, including reaches, matches, and safeties.

And if you ever want to talk directly with me or a member of my team about your entire MBA candidacy and bring in elements of your story, your career vision, and your character that will determine your ultimate success in MBA applications, then talk to us any time!

Happy Applying!!!

I’m Angela Guido, and I run Career Protocol, where my team and I have joyfully guided hundreds of women just like you to get into their dream business schools, with more $70,000 in scholarships each, on average. Though I got my MBA from Chicago Booth, studied philosophy at Yale, and did my business apprenticeship at BCG, more than anything else, I consider myself a student of human nature. I’m endlessly curious about what unites us, what differentiates us, and how each of us can fulfill our unique potential. In our work with clients, we help them discover the very best inside themselves and lead with that. Want to connect with us? Sign up for a free MBA Strategy Session, start with our MBA admissions calculator and 20-page tailored report on your candidacy, or come join us on the MBA Tribe club in Clubhouse! We can’t wait to hear from you!

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