Besides the GMAT I think the main theme in the MBA application process is that of “fit”.
I am noticing that there are some schools where I just wouldn’t be a fit. No offense to HBS, I know many people who would give up their first born child to be apart of their incoming class, but after visiting their Diversity Preview Day I realize that I just wouldn’t be a good “fit” for them. I would probably get along perfectly fine with everyone, make friends, attend class, but at the end of the day I wouldn’t be happy. Why? Mainly because I like knowing that if I need to go to the bathroom in the middle of an 80 minute lecture I can get up and go! That may not be my main reason, but it was one of the things I found slightly off-putting about the school, the view that the lecture room is sacred and only under life and death circumstance should one leave its confines. That does not really work for me. There are a couple of other things that really didn’t work for me either, and so despite the amazing hospitality of the current students I have decided to eliminate HBS from my list of potential schools.
In determining what schools to apply to I am basing my decision a lot on how I feel about the current students and alumni. If I don’t see myself in their shoes or see them as potential classmates that is a bad sign. For instance at one of the info sessions I attended I noticed that all of the student speakers seemed relatively ordinary. “Ordinary” is not an insult merely an adjective that applies to some people, however it is one that I do everything in my power to avoid. I travel to crazy places, eat beetles and snakes, and basically do things t far out of my comfort zone to avoid being labeled ordinary. Therefore in looking at students who may be potential classmates I try to look for people who also aim to be anything but ordinary, people who are a little bit different. I’m on the look out for crazy. The crazy ones are usually the ones that make the biggest difference in the world.
The other thing I am looking to avoid is snobby pretentious students. Those who feel that they know everything and are too intelligent to learn anything from anyone else. Mainly because we all are students and business school especially is a place designed for students to learn not just for their professors, but from one another. Don’t remind me of your GMAT score, or where you went to undergrad, or where you worked before you came here. Honestly, unless I ask I don’t really care.
My hope is that I can avoid business schools with an overflow of snobby pretentious ordinary student and find a school that is a fit for me. Where that is I still don’t know.