Advice for non-traditional MBA applicants

Fortuna Admissions' co-founder and director Judith Silverman Hodara, Wharton's former head of MBA Admissions, has shared advice on how non-traditional MBA applicants can still land a spot in one of the sought-after MBA programmes.


According to Silverman Hodara a certain academic and career pedigree is not really necessary any more. Instead key MBA requirements include leadership experience and potential, she writes on the Fortuna Admissions’ blog and in a guest article for College Coach.

The admissions expert concedes that requirements have changed and that candidates don’t have to have studied economics or statistics as an undergrad or having taken a job with an investment bank or consulting firm after college anymore. Prospective students still need to show quantitative skills, she concedes, but these can be acquired in different university courses.

Instead it is much more powerful if prospective students can show how they pursue a path they are deeply passionate about according to Judith Silverman Hodara. This also means to translate this passion into an interview or essay and tell admissions consultants what you really think and believe in instead of what you think the school wants to hear. Other points that students need to transfer well are how they grow their personal and professional ability to imagine, act, and lead and to show sincere self-reflection that allows them to articulate how the MBA is the logical next step in their non-traditional path.

As business schools don’t necessarily seek the classic candidates anymore, it has become much harder for these to prove themselves these days according to the admissions consultants. However, it certainly opens doors for non-traditional candidates.

But they still need to show how they are suited to an MBA. An essential aspect that schools look for when creating their next cohort of students is diversity amongst the MBA candidates, with a particular interest in candidates’ leadership experience and potential. Admissions officers look for candidates who want to better the world, not just their bank accounts and people who have passion and a sincere conviction about what they are doing according to the expert.