MBA Programs at Top Business Schools

A guide for College Students

This guide aims to help you, as a high-performing undergraduate student, answer a few key questions:


Should You Get an MBA?

If you are an undergraduate business student reading this guide, you probably do not need an MBA in order to gain fundamental business skills like finance, economics, accounting, and operations. That’s good! This is not what MBAs are about, anyway.

The Value of an MBA

The value of an MBA comes from other factors.

Access to the MBA program’s alumni network

For example, a private equity investor might see great value in the alumni network because that network would be a source of deal flow, talent to be hired into portfolio companies, and experts to ask questions during diligence processes (i.e. alumni who work in the same industry as the company you’re evaluating).

Or for a management consultant who is looking to make partner, the alumni network may be a source of contacts at F500 companies who are major buyers of consulting services. Selling projects to these fellow alumni may be a big part of making a successful push for partner.

And for everyone, the alumni network can be useful when making job moves, both to get direct introductions to hiring managers, and to do your informal due diligence on whether a particular company and role are a good fit for you.

Developing your soft skills, like negotiating and presenting to groups, in a safe environment

Whether you’re pitching opportunities to your investment committee, selling consulting projects, or just convincing cross-functional stakeholders to take actions based on your plan, persuasion is a key skill. Being great at this can accelerate your career.

However, it’s a difficult skill to practice on your own without a sparring partner, and is not the type of thing that most people want to “practice” in high-stakes live deal situations. This is why the MBA is a great environment to develop this skill.

The school’s brand

You may have already experienced the power of a strong undergraduate school’s brand to open doors for you with employers; the brand power of a top MBA program can do the same or more for you across many industries.

Want to read more on this?

Is an MBA Worth It? Yes! But Not For the Reasons you Think.

Why You Should Get an MBA, Even if You’re Unsure of Your Career Goals (HBS Alumni Interview)


Are “Deferred Admissions” Programs for College Seniors a Good Option for You?

The majority of top MBA programs offer “deferred admissions” programs in which college seniors can apply to MBA programs, and then enroll after several years of post-college work experience. As of mid-2020, the list of MBA programs offering this option includes Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Booth, Kellogg, MIT Sloan, Columbia, Yale SOM, and UVA Darden.

There are several reasons why this might be an appealing option:

On the other hand, although it’s possible for applicants from over-represented categories to win admission (e.g. American, Asian, or Asian American men working in finance), the schools would also expect to see these candidates apply on the traditional timeline later. They may consider you to be an attractive candidate, but just not feel that they have to admit you right now.

Want to read more?

Deferred Admission: For Pre-MBA College Students, It’s the Ultimate Opportunity

Top Deferred Admissions Programs in the US


How Can You Learn More About Top MBA Programs?

It can be tough learning about business schools from each school’s website, since the most important facts are all hidden behind a thick layer of marketing jargon. So we’ve catalogued the best resources published by each school (including video interviews with students, staff and alumni) in these pages to save you time.

Business School Profiles – Guides to the Top MBA Programs


What Do MBA Admissions Committees Look For?

MBA Admissions Overview

If you want to know more, we have written extensively about the topic in the articles listed below.

How to Get Into a Top MBA Program – A Comprehensive Guide

Use this guide to understand the MBA application process inside and out. We’ve compiled our knowledge about admissions and give insight on MBA submission rounds, different types of programs, early preparation, and even offer some tips and tricks about the MBA Application itself (e.g., GMAT, essays, and recommendation letters!)

Video Resources on MBA Admissions

This page showcases 20+ educational videos related to MBA admissions.


The GMAT

By thinking about the GMAT now, you are ahead of the pack. There are a few things to know:

If you’re looking for early preparation for the GMAT, check out our online GMAT Prep Course.

Want to read more?

Is Your GMAT Score Good Enough?

Building an Effective GMAT Study Plan (with Sample Schedule)


How We Can Help

Meet the Menlo Coaching Team! Founded in 2012, Menlo Coaching helps applicants win admission to top MBA programs. Our services are comprehensive, and cover every stage of the admissions journey: school selection, networking, resume, GMAT/GRE, essay writing, recommenders, interview preparation, and negotiation of scholarship offers. If you’re a college student looking for support on your deferred admission application–or you want some professional interview coaching for your first job out of undergrad–contact us today!