For EMBA, How Important Is My College’s National Ranking?
For EMBA admissions, does it matter where you attended college? Do admissions committees favor candidates from the top nationally ranked colleges? Will the ranking of your college make admissions much more difficult for you? These are questions we hear voiced by many EMBA candidates. They are concerned their undergraduate school may not be “good enough”. They are doubly concerned when their college was not ranked well, and in addition to this, they only had a marginal performance at that school.
Rest assured, top business schools accept candidates from a broad range of undergraduate colleges. This means that even if your school is not ranked well, you can still be competitive.
If you did excellently at your college, even though it was not a top-ranked school, this can be sufficient for the EMBA admissions committee to believe you have the analytical skills to excel in their program. You should tout your undergraduate performance somewhere in your application. Many times, business schools will favor candidates who attended a moderately-ranked school but who show excellent work ethic, high GPA, and outstanding extracurricular activities over candidates who attended a top university but lacked a competitive GPA or notable extracurricular achievements.
On the other hand, if you did not do well at your college and your college was also not ranked well, you should strive to demonstrate to the admissions committee that you have the skills to excel in their MBA program. You can do this in part by pointing to the evidence of your excellent skills and professional success. You can do this by delivering to the admissions committee a high GMAT score. You can also demonstrate your current strong skills by building an “alternative transcript,” whereby you take courses (often online courses) at a reputable academic institution like Haas or UCLA and show an “A” performance in those classes. Just remember that when applying to an EMBA program, most candidates have over 6 years of work experience, and therefore college was far in the past. From the perspective of the EMBA admissions committee, you are much more defined by your professional success at that point than by your college performance. If you have wonderful successes in your career, your goal in the EMBA admissions process is to keep those successes front-and-center while also steering attention to the evidence of the excellent skills you have that will help ensure you excel in their program.
Whether you did excellently in college or not, an important take-away is this: EMBA admission committees are open to great candidates from a wide variety of undergraduate institutions.
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