In this post, I will provide some suggestions for how to develop a portfolio approach to graduate school application. Below you can find sample portfolios for MBA applicants. Similar types of portfolios could be developed for other graduate degree programs. I have blogged about school selection in conditions of general selection strategy previously, ranking, location, financing your education, educational fit, prestige, and career prospects.
In addition, I’ve analyzed the issue of admission into top US LL.M. And most recently, I have examined MBA program position through a series of posts. All of these posts, like the main one below, have been written with the express purpose of helping applicants determine where to apply. Once you go through your own evaluation process, you shall eventually have to draw up a list of programs to apply to. To me there are two rules for determining that list ultimately.
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Rule One: Determine how much risk you want to consider. As though one was selecting an investment portfolio Just, determining the known level of risk is a central thought. While past performance is no guarantee of future performance, it is often the primary basis upon which you can judge the chance involved. Since you are trying to assemble a winning portfolio- admission to 1 or more of the programs you are applying to- you need to establish how much risk you are willing to take. Be sure to look closely at acceptance rates and produces to determine the relative level of risk in your portfolio.
Unless your probability for admission is 100%, have a “Plan B” ready. Typical Plan Bs include (1) software to additional programs in later rounds or for later start schedules, (2) reapplication, or (3) forgoing a graduate level. Applying to more programs can decrease your risk, but that is the situation if you are a good applicant for those programs.
Don’t treat your applications like lottery seat tickets. Instead, think about whether you meet up with the degree program’s minimum criteria and if you undertake, presume that your chance of admission is equal to that of the school’s established acceptance rate. Assume that most applicants who apply are qualified to do so. Applying to only one program can be quite rational for some applicants. If the acceptance rate for your top choice program is 50% or even more and you also meet or exceed the program’s minimum standards, applying only to that program makes sense.
Such applicants just need to ensure that they have a “Plan B” ready if they are dinged. Rule Two: Only apply to where you are willing to look. While this might not seem to have a direct parallel to investment decisions, actually it does. While there are a few who might spend money on something simply by taking a look at the numbers, some of the world’s most successful investors such as Warren Buffet, make decisions predicated on a holistic analysis of the investment.