Choosing Between MBA Offers: 6 Top Tips

April 04, 2019 | by Judith Silverman Hodara

Over the last several weeks, my colleagues at Fortuna Admissions and I have been speaking with fortunate albeit anxious MBA applicants on the precipice of making life-altering decisions.

While many of the scenarios are predictable, the factors influencing them are uniquely individual:

  • A heartbroken candidate landed on the Harvard Business School waitlist after his interview, even though he secured offers from Northwestern Kellogg and Chicago Booth sans financial support. His partner persuaded him that enrolling in a program that isn’t HBS doesn’t merit the ROI, and he’s currently agonizing over if he can credibly improve his chances of acceptance by waiting patiently to reapply.
  • One applicant received an acceptance from his dream program, London Business School, as well as an offer from Columbia Business School accompanied more than $100,000 in financial aid. Given his background in energy and aspirations to work globally, he strongly preferred LBS. However, the precariousness of Brexit and unease around securing a European visa – plus the reality of an LBS offer without monetary support – tipped the balance for CBS.
  • Another young woman, in the highly coveted position of selecting between Stanford Graduate School of Business or Harvard Business School, was inclined towards GSB for its cultural fit and industry proximity to Silicon Valley. When her partner was able to secure a job opportunity in Boston, she ultimately chose HBS. For her, having her family in the same place was the deciding factor.

We should all be so fortunate to lose sleep over opportunities like this! However, the stress is legitimate – you can only select one MBA program and the path you choose will permanently impact your life path. And when the choices are between M7 and top 10 schools, the stakes feel even higher.

Whether or not these scenarios ring true for you, my advice is the same for candidates wrestling with apprehensions about multiple offers or future debt. Our team’s six top tips for resolute MBA decision-making include:

  1. Invest in the long view.
  2. Think of ROI Beyond the Dollars.
  3. Fit Matters Most.
  4. Advice Is Nice, But Not the Authority.
  5. Consider a School’s Strengths Against Your Career Vision.
  6. Have No Regrets.

Read the full article in Poets&Quants, 6 Tips to Choose Between MBA Offers, for detailed, expert advice from the Fortuna team on managing your decision-making process.

Fortuna Admissions Co-Director Judith Silverman Hodara is former head of Admissions at Wharton. 

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