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Shortlisting Business Schools that fit you the best!

Shortlisting Business Schools that fit you the best!
A 5 min read

How do you decide if a B-School is a good fit for you? Most candidates, while deciding on B-School fit, tend to focus mostly on the quantitative aspects, such as the B-School rankings, etc. This tends to lower their chances of admit and scholarships. The reason – their programs do not fit the aspirant’s requirements. The Ad Coms can see it clearly, even if the aspirant cannot.

So, how does one decide on the B-School fit? And are there any definite criteria for shortlisting B-Schools based on the fit? The short answer, again, is Yes!

Read this article to understand what should be the principal criteria for shortlisting B-Schools and determining their fit.

We interviewed one of our former students, Farman Singh Garcha, a current student at Dartmouth Tuck, to understand how to determine B-School fit and shortlist b-schools based on their fit? Farman received admits from Dartmouth Tuck and Michigan ROSS, with a scholarship amount of $20k and $40k, respectively. However, he chose Dartmouth Tuck over Michigan Ross because the former was the best fit for him. Read on for in-depth details on the criteria that led him to make that choice.

Was your b-school application rejected? Redefine Your MBA Application: Discover reapplicant strategies by reading our comprehensive article. – Reapplicant Strategies to Business Schools

Before we delve into the criteria, let us first understand why it is important to determine B-School fit.

Why is it important to determine B-School fit?

Determining the B-Schools fit is essential because it can improve your chances of getting an admit and even scholarships. The Admission Committee of almost all business schools is determined to maintain the record of accomplishment of their B-Schools in terms of their placements and how their alumni network contributes to the world post an MBA. And they ensure that by selecting the candidates that fit the motto of the B-Schools the best.

Moreover, determining the B-School fit also ensures that the MBA aids you in your post-MBA goals. For example, if your interest lies in the field of Finance, you would want to apply to schools like NYU Stern that have a better record of accomplishment in the field, over a school like Dartmouth Tuck. Therefore, the students must determine the B-School fit, even before shortlisting schools.

Moving on, let us understand the criteria that helped Farman zero out on Dartmouth Tuck as the best fit and how you can use the same to shortlist B-Schools.

Six most important criteria for B-School selection

1. Field of interest/ post-MBA goal aspirations

Farman had pre-MBA experience in Consulting and wanted to use the MBA to further his career in the field. So, one of the first and most important criteria for him was to shortlist the schools that had a track record in Consulting. With a little research, he found out that B-Schools like Michigan Ross, Dartmouth Tuck, Kellogg, and Chicago Booth did not just provide great post-MBA career opportunities in the field of Consulting, but their program also aided in building skills that are necessary for the field. So, the above four colleges were easily going to be on his shortlist.

Ayush, a former e-GMATer, also followed a similar strategy in finding the B-Schol fit based on his field of interest of Finance. He received an admit from Columbia Business School with an $80k scholarship. You can watch his interview, where he discusses his application journey in detail.

2. Interactions with Ad Coms and Alumni

There has been an emphasis on networking with the alumni and Ad Coms of your desired B-Schools to show intent and better your chances of admit. However, when acted upon a little early, this process can also help you decide if the B-School is a good fit for you. Interacting with alumni and Ad Coms can help you understand what qualities the schools seek in their ideal candidate pool. And, if there is a match between the qualities you possess and the ones that the school seeks in its candidates, then the school is definitely a good fit for you.

Moreover, these interactions can help you get insights on how to work on your application to improve your chances of admits and scholarships. Dipinty (Dartmouth Tuck MBA), after interacting with the alumni network of a few schools, figured out that applying early (early action or round 1) to a few schools like Darden School of Business, Duke Fuqua, and Dartmouth Tuck could give her an edge, which is why she ended up shortlisting them along with a couple of other schools. Watch her interview to get more insights from her application journey.

3. Class Size and Culture

Farman wanted to get a feel of a close-knit community during his MBA and wanted to get to know his cohort better. Based on this criterion, he shortlisted Michigan Ross and Dartmouth Tuck, which had a class size of 300-350. This meant he would get to spend time with most candidates in his cohort during his MBA and learn from them. The same may not be possible with a business school like Columbia, which has a bigger class size of 800.

Moreover, gauging the culture of the business schools is equally important. You must be able to visualize being a part of the cohort and whether the style of teaching fits your way of learning because not all schools have the same style.

4. Location of the business school

For Farman, the location of the B-School mattered. He had specifically put Dartmouth Tuck on his shortlist because, along with fulfilling the other criteria, the school was located in the small town of Hanover. While this meant that he would not have as much exposure to companies as he would have found in bigger cities like New York, this would give him an opportunity to get to know his cohort better by spending time on extracurriculars like hiking, skiing, etc.

Santiago, on the other hand, wanted exposure to bigger companies and internship opportunities during the summer. He ended up accepting the offer from Columbia Business School. Watch his interview to get insights from his application journey.

5. Quantitative factors like B-School Ranking, GMAT Score, GPA, etc

The quantitative factors like the B-School rankings, your GMAT score, etc. can help you with the initial shortlisting. You would want to apply to B-Schools, where the cohort has an average GMAT score and GPA the same as yours. This would ensure that you maximize your chances at securing admits.

Farman scored a GMAT 760, and shortlisted Kellogg, Dartmouth Tuck, Chicago Booth, and Michigan Ross since the average GMAT score of their cohorts was lower than his GMAT score, which put him in a better position at securing admits at these schools.

Similarly, Dipinty, after initially scoring a GMAT 730, had shortlisted Darden, Duke-Fuqua, Dartmouth Tuck, and Columbia, as their cohorts had a similar average GMAT score.

6. Course Duration

Course duration is another crucial factor that must be considered even before you form a shortlist of business schools. One-year MBA programs are increasingly becoming popular among candidates with higher work experience, while candidates with fewer years of work experience tend to go for two-year MBA programs. You must explore different programs in both categories to decide which is the best fit for you, and then look for programs in the category that fits you the best!


Using the above criteria for deciding fit and shortlisting B-Schools can save you time, effort, and money spent during the application process. This would also ensure that you do not spend the next couple of years in an MBA program that does not aid in your post-MBA goals. Like Farman, Dipinty, Ayush, and Santiago the business school that fits your requirements the best is out there. You just need to look a little harder.

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