Dear Mentor:

My GMAT score is 850. Can I get into Harvard?

I have completed my degree Final Year at Hyderabad, India. I wish to do my MBA from the Harvard Business School (HBS) or an equivalent university in the USA. Please suggest to me which university to choose. I am an average student with 60%+ in my Academics. My TOEFL score is 600 and GMAT score is 850. Can I get admitted into HBS?

MBA Hopeful, Hyderabad, India

Dear MBA Hopeful:

Let us first point out that your GMAT score is in error, since the GMAT scores range from 200 to 800. So our answer is based on the rest of the information you've sent us.

We suppose that HBS would say that they have no equivalents, but schools like Stanford, Wharton, Sloan, etc. among others are what we call the top-tier MBA schools. You may want to check rankings of various US Business Schools in iMahal Education Resources. You may want to note that these rankings are always in dispute and there is no final authority, other than the marketplace of prospective MBA students. In any case, these schools do accept international students from all over the world.

The requirements for admission into top-tier schools like HBS are quite stringent. Only a fraction of prospective MBA students apply to these school and only a small fraction of those who apply get accepted. The primary criteria used by most MBA schools are your academic performance, GMAT score (generally required, with some exceptions), essays on topics selected by the school, and letters of recommendations. If you are not in the top 5-10% of prospective MBA students in almost all required categories, your chances of getting into the MBA schools of the HBS caliber are rather slim.

Each application for admission accompanies a fee of about US$100, depending on the school. Consequently, You need to balance your ambition and desire with the realm of possibility, if not probability. You should target those schools where you have a greater likelihood of acceptance. Please note that, generally speaking, little to no financial aid is available to international students admitted to the MBA programs in the US. You may want to research admission requirements, financial aid programs, etc. for MBA schools in the US more thoroughly.

A comment on your letter: your letter was written in poor English, with numerous grammatical and spelling errors (the question above has been heavily edited by iMahal). Since you are applying for admission and possible financial assistance in a predominantly English speaking country, you should pay extra attention to details like spelling and grammar. Remember, the first impression is a lasting one. Your time in proof-reading the letter you send to admissions office or directly to professors will be well spent. Our friendly advise is that you take appropriate time and care to do much better job in completing your MBA applications.

We wish you the very best, Neeraj.

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