How MBA Admissions Is Like Fantasy Football (Part 2)

Two weeks ago we ran Part 1 of this feature, explaining how, like a team manager in fantasy sports, you need to be be able to react quickly to changes in your circumstances as you pull together your business school applications. That first article prompted a discussion here at Veritas Prep HQ that got us thinking about a whole different way in which admissions and fantasy sports are the same… Today we present Part 2!

If you play fantasy sports, you probably see this the play out every year, during your pre-season draft: Rookie managers take a non-Peyton-Manning quarterback in the early rounds, explaining, “I need a franchise QB to build around.” Or they wait too long before grabbing a second starting running back, expecting that the Bills’ second-best RB will serve them just fine. Or they draft a defense far too early, not realizing that those mid- to late-round picks are important for filling out their bench with depth that will be critical for them as the season goes on. They focus too much on big names — “Wow, Tony Romo is still available? That’s crazy!” — and not enough on the Kyle Ortons of the world who will mean the difference between close wins and gut-wrenching losses as the season wears on.

We see it every year in the world of business school admissions, too… Applicants put too much emphasis on the wrong things in their applications. They wonder whether their 700 GMAT score is good enough when they should really focus on taking a couple of college courses to try to offset a 3.0 undergraduate GPA. Or they focus on the “name brands” of the companies they come from far more than the actual roles they served in those companies, when the latter is really what MBA admissions officers care about. Or, they proudly tick off half a dozen extracurricular activities that they’re “involved in,” while one REALLY impressive one is much more effective in demonstrating one’s leadership abilities.

Your business school applications and your fantasy football teams need the same level-headed approach to management — focus on the seemingly small but important things that can each significantly move the needle for you, not the big, flashy “topline stats” that make for great bragging in the business school message boards, but ultimately prove to be all sizzle and no steak as the admissions season wears on.

(Oh, and if you’re fantasy football manager who has Calvin “Megatron” Johnson on your team this year, and anyone tries to offer you a trade for him, don’t do it. I almost pulled the trigger on such a trade last week, and three TDs later, I’m glad I didn’t!)

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