Move to Quality Military Applicants in MBA Admissions

ChangeAheadOver the summer through this fall, there has been a noticeable movement to quality of military applicants in MBA admissions. Which means that your military status alone may no longer have as much benefit as it once did.

We are living in an era where military candidates can score slightly lower on a GMAT exam or have a minor hole in their application and still get in. For the past several years, military service has been a subtle X factor which has caused MBA admissions to overlook some attributes in their “ideal” candidate and justify admission. The common refrain heard for these gaps is, “but they’re military”.

Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying or think this hurts your situation. Overall, I feel the movement (i.e., if it gains momentum) will benefit most military applicants. Obviously, it is an important development to know about now so you can make some necessary adjustments. I will cover more on how you can adapt and benefit from this change in MBA admissions on future posts. Suffice it to say, military leadership, quantitative skill sets and diverse cultural immersion still command attention and have significant value to MBA admissions. Furthermore, these factors will continue to separate you from the majority of the MBA applicant pool.

Whether this movement to quality of military applicants is year-long fad or near-term trend remains to be seen. Initial feedback has been verbalized to me among the very top tier of MBA programs. However, as most things in the MBA universe do, it could trickle down. If it spreads and sticks, I believe the movement could signal the end of giving the benefit of doubt to military applicants, which has sometimes been the case Post-9/11.

Nothing fundamentally has changed. You will increasingly need to earn your way in on your own merits and your MBA acceptance will be worth it. Those military candidates who make adjustments and set up accordingly will realize more benefit. Any development that leads to fewer, but higher quality, MBA graduates is a good thing.

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