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How to get accepted into Ivy League MBA schools

Grishma Nanavaty of ReachIvy, a boutique educational advisory, provides insight on getting accepted in to Top MBA schools. Grishma did her MBA from Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business and is currently a Senior Counselor at ReachIvy.

When should students applying for MBA to Ivy League schools start their application process?

At ReachIvy we start working with students up to 4 years before as it takes time to build all aspects of a compelling application.   We have students starting as early as the completion of their undergraduate degree.  We coach and mentor students, understand who they really are and create achievable benchmarks for them.  Students also need time to research the universities and programs, take the necessary standardized tests (e.g. GMAT, TOEFL), gather letters of recommendations, frame essays, organize funding and much more.

How important is the GMAT score in the admissions process?

GMAT is an important aspect of the admissions process as it provides the schools with your academic potential, however it is only one piece of the puzzle. Most universities have a holistic approach and they weigh all aspects of the application, including essays, letters of recommendation, work experience and extra-curricular activities.  Thus, a high GMAT score does not guarantee admission to a top school.

What are your top 5 must do tips in the application process?

  1. Start early – get a head start.  Begin your research and exploring potential options early.
  2. Stay organized – Make lists and keep track of deadlines.
  3. Involve your family – they are a great resource and may know you better than you think.
  4. Engage in extra-curricular activities – get involved in activities at your school/college/club/community.
  5. Be a leader – take initiatives in your areas of interest.

Are ECAs really all the crucial or is it more a checkbox for the application?

Extra-curricular activities are a decisive part of the application.  MBA Schools are looking for leaders and individuals who will give back to the school.  The extra-curricular activities that you undertake are a reflection of who you are and can provide invaluable insights to the admissions committee that your grades may not reflect.  Additionally, these activities outside of work and the classroom will provide you with diverse experiences to enhance your essays.

How many schools should students apply to and in which round?

We recommend applying to about 5 schools. Most Universities have 3 to 4 rounds; we advise applying to your top choices in the first and second round.  The early bird catches the worm!



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