Every fall, as we work on applications to the world's best business schools, we notice a few trends. Since we have an overview of what a large number of applicants are doing, we can share some of our findings:
Good storytelling: Top programs have become more competitive than ever. Applicants often need a compelling personal story. This compliments academic records, impressive work experience, strong test scores and compelling personal essays. These are practically assumed so tell a good story.
Test-Optional Policies: Many business schools began adopting test-optional policies during COVID. There are still ways to exempt from GMAT and GRE at some schools. For the top tier, don't expect a waiver.
Diversity and Inclusion: Business schools are placing a stronger emphasis on diversity and inclusion in their applicant pools. They seek students from various backgrounds, including different nationalities, industries, genders, and ethnicities, to enrich the learning experience. This can and must include diversity of thought.
Tech and Entrepreneurship Focus: With the growing influence of technology and entrepreneurship in the business world, there's an increasing interest in graduate programs with exposure to tech management, data analytics, entrepreneurship, and innovation.
More flexible deadlines: Some schools have introduced additional application rounds to accommodate more applicants and reduce the pressure on early applicants. However, applying in the earlier rounds is still worth it if possible.
Work Experience and Career Goals: Business schools are placing more emphasis on applicants' work experience, especially post-program career goals. Admissions committees want to see clear and realistic career plans that align with the program's offerings. Even consecutive master's programs are impressed with good internships done during a gap year.
Online Components: Some applications now include video interviews or timed written responses (often the KIRA interview) as part of the evaluation process. These components aim to assess applicants' communication skills and their ability to think on their feet.
Sustainability and Ethics: Don't think you can write a top application without mentioning these two things. There is a growing interest in sustainability and ethics in business education. Applicants who can demonstrate a commitment to responsible and ethical business practices are increasingly valued.
These are the main trends we have noted so far in this application cycle. We'd really recommend connecting your story to at least a few of them. Reach out and we can show you how!