Personal Branding – Learning from Current MBA Class

Personal Branding Identifying CompetitorsThe goal behind personal branding is to be a signal in a world of noise, and you cannot do that without identifying traits of the previous class. For MBA Applicants, this can be tricky. Beyond the demographic and academic data, the profile pages offer very little information on the personality, and the drive of the Alumni and current students.  Instead of second-guessing your competitor, find out more about current students and alumni. Ask why they were selected? If the only thing that you can see is academic qualifications, then it is time to research further. We would recommend applicants to visit the profile page of current MBA students. Here is a simple 3-Step process:

1) Summarize Academic Qualification

It can be a daunting task to create a database of over 600 to 800 students but in most cases, Business Schools are under pressure to maintain the diversity in nationality in an MBA program, and therefore, by shortlisting current students from your country, it would be a much more efficient exercise. For US applicants, this can be tricky as 65% of the class in US based MBA programs are natives, but after entering information about the 20th MBA student, a pattern will emerge on the entry criteria: GMAT, GPA and Years of Experience. The summary on the median GMAT and range of scores would be an indicator on what you are competing against.

2) Mine Social Media

You might argue that, identifying motivation of current students is the biggest challenge. But the amount of information publicly available is enough to create a profile of the candidate. A combination of Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Blog and Forum Profile is enough to gauge the lifestyle of the student. We are not recommending stalking the student but with simple Google Search, our personal information and activities are readily available for consumption. Lifestyle reveals a lot about the student’s beliefs and interests. Blogs and Forums are great sources to understand the candidate’s opinions and values. Twitter and Instagram meets with regular feedback, and forces most applicants not to reveal too much about themselves but forums and blogs hold mines of information.

3) Associate Attributes

This exercise involves associating attributes with activity. If an applicant is an avid traveler, it shows that she seeks autonomy, adventure, and new experiences. Within the traveling category, applicants can be sub-categorized. For a mountain climber the attributes are persistence, determination, & goal orientation. For an International traveler, they are heightened sense of purpose, and curiosity. By looking deep at the applicant’s activity, we can create several sub-categories.

This exercise will eventually list out the motivation of the candidates. Even though you are guessing, the exercise forces you to ask a simple question – “From 100s of other travel enthusiasts what made the AdCom select the candidate? It is not just the academics. What point did the applicant articulate convincingly to beat 99 other applicants for the same position?”. By asking relevant question, and following it up with appropriate search, you will learn a lot about the candidate, and find that “x-factor” that got the candidate through the program.

Remember - most top MBA programs have selection rate of less than 5%. Without understanding current student’s academic and personal profile, developing a strategy for your competitors is impossible.

Differentiating does not necessarily mean customizing your profile according to a successful profile or creating an outlandish profile. The balance comes when you have a sense of what made a current student stand out. You are unique, and by highlighting traits that are authentic and valuable for the Business School, you are two-steps ahead of your competitors.

2019 MBA Research Guide - Choose your MBA

"I attended three MBA Tours in US and Canada. I could just scratch the surface compared to what the guide has included. Thank you guys for the amazing book"

F1GMAT's Comprehensive MBA Research Guide will teach you how to select MBA programs through a bottom-up approach. 

Articulating your Post-MBA Goals and Career Path is the FIRST step. Which program will give you that hike in Salary, Switch in Career, Change in Location or Job Satisfaction?

We cover them all through our extensive analysis. 

Pages: 500

+ How to Choose the Best MBA Program: Factors to Consider
Define Post-MBA Goals
Pick your Path: Generalize or Specialize
Use Moral Algebra Method 
Use Multi-Attribute Utility Theory
Understand the Top 5 Risks
Measure MBA Career Service Team's Effectiveness
Use Bookending to Calculate MBA Admission Chance
Use Net Present Value to Calculate MBA Return on Investment
Don't Fall for the Mere Exposure Effect
Best Practices to find the truth in MBA Information Session or MBA Tour

Comprehensive MBA Research Guide:
Top MBA Programs by 19 Specializations:
+ General Management
+ Finance
+ Consulting
+ Marketing
+ Strategy
+ Operations Management
+ Supply Chain Management
+ Luxury Management
+ Information Systems
+ Hospitality Management
+ Accounting
+ Energy
+ Non-Profit
+ Wine
+ Sports
+ Sustainability
+ Leadership Development
+ Military &
+ International

+ Top MBA Program Ranking
Top 20 MBA Programs - Tuition Fee (2018)    
Top 31 MBA Programs in United States – Total Cost & Salary (2017)    

Top 60 MBA – GMAT and GPA (Average & Median)
Top 20 European MBA Programs - Tuition Fee, Total Cost & Salary    
Top 20 European MBA Programs (Based on Actual Salary Increase)    
Top 20 European MBA Programs (Short-term return on investment)    
Top 20 Affordable European MBA Programs    
Top 10 MBA in UK – Salary & Fee (2018)  
Top MBA Destinations Based on Happiness Index    
Top MBA Destinations based on Innovation Index    
Top 10 MBA Job Markets based on Cost of living and Purchasing Power    
Top MBA Destination: By Economy    

+Comparisons - Top MBA Programs
Wharton vs. Columbia MBA (2018)  
MIT vs. Stanford MBA   (2017)
Haas vs. Ross MBA    
Kellogg vs Ross MBA    
Booth vs Wharton MBA    
MIT Sloan vs Tuck MBA    
IIMA vs. ISB   

Harvard vs. Stanford MBA (2017)

+ MBA in France (2018)
Top Industries in France   
Top MBA Programs in France  

  Class Profile   
  Post-MBA Salary

Scholarships in France
External Funding 

+ MBA in the UK (2018)
Top Industries in the UK   
Top MBA Programs in the UK

  Class Profile   
  Post-MBA Salary

Scholarships in the UK
External Funding 

New Visa Rules: Post-Brexit

Download F1GMAT's MBA Research Guide (2019)

Navigate F1GMAT

F1GMAT Services (MBA Applicants) 

F1GMAT's Books

MBA Salary(Latest Salary Data)
MBA Admission Interview Tips



MBA Application Essays

MBA Recommendation Letter

GMAT Tutorials

GMAT Question Bank

Top MBA Programs

Get F1GMAT's Newsletters (Best in the Industry)
Included in the Newsletter:

  • Ranking Analysis
  • Post-MBA Salary Trends
  • Post-MBA Job Function & Industry Analysis
  • Post-MBA City Review
  • MBA Application Essay Tips
  • School Specific Essay Tips
  • GMAT Preparation Tips
  • MBA Admission Interview Tips
  • School Specific Interview Tips
  • Funding Guidance and
  • Special Consultation Service (only for Subscribers)

Subscribe to F1GMAT's Newsletter