Entering the world of MBA applications and school selection can be exciting, confusing and overwhelming all at once. Herewith we've distilled, for your benefit, the most comprehensive, well-researched and well-written websites on the net for potential MBA applicants:
- Poets & Quants (www.poetsandquants.com): Its place as No.1 on our list is no mistake–P&Q is the definitive resource for anything and everything MBA on the net today. Founded and largely written by John Byrne, former editor at Business Week and longtime journalist non-pareil, the site is chock-full of useful information, incisive interviews with top B-School admissions officers, insider tips and up-to-the-minute updates on any changes to the Top 25 programs. What really separates this site from the rest, though, is Byrne's access. As a longtime fixture in the Business School journalism world–he was onetime editor of BusinessWeek's annual Top 25 Business School issue–his reach extends further than anyone writing about the Business School admissions process today. To wit: P&Q got Harvard Business School admissions director Dee Leophold's permission to post her webinar explaining what changes HBS is making in admitting its 2013 class; his interview and running series with Sandy Kreisberg–the nation's premiere HBS admissions consultant–handicapping applicant's chances for admission before they even apply. Engaging forums, informative blogs and the strongest online community of potential applicants makes P&Q tops on our list.
- Beat The GMAT (www.beatthegmat.com): The original go-to for everything GMAT, BTG is still one of the finest forums to find information about Business Schools. The name has become a bit of a misnomer, with its content ranging far beyond just the GMAT. Today it includes individual school information, discussion forums for applicants, essay advice, blogs, and the biggest compilation of practice GMAT problems (and their explanations) anywhere on the Net. BTG also boasts the world's largest online prospective MBA community in the world, so whether you're looking for moral support, inside information or just insightful posts by others going through the application process, you'll find it there.
- MBA.com: This is the official site of the GMAT. It's most valuable resource is the two FREE GMAT practice tests for you to download. The practice tests are the best you will find, as they contain actual GMAT questions that have appeared on past tests. To boot, the score you receive is generated using the same scoring algorithm used on the actual test. In short, there is no better litmus test for how one would perform on the actual test than taking one of these two practice exams. The site also contains an online store, where you can purchase additional practice questions and exams for a reasonable fee. The site also features excellent articles written by GMAT industry insiders as well as guest articles by admissions reps from top schools. In addition, the site boasts the most up-to-date schedule of information seminars, recruiting events and speaker series in your area. For anyone planning on applying to B-School, exploring this site is a must.
- MBA50.com: Billed as the insider guide to the top B-Schools, MBA50 is a relative newcomer to the MBA playing field. Still, it is one of the top. Founded by Matt Symonds, international organizer of B-School events, MBA50 includes the biggest collection of one-on-one interviews with Top 50 B-School officials anywhere on the Net. Symonds is a veritable encyclopedia of B-School knowledge, having been around the the MBA world for 20+ years. As a result, he secures interviews with some of the top players in the MBA game, including the admissions director for INSEAD and other of the world's top deans, admissions directors and faculty. The articles you'll find on MBA50 are unique and regularly updated. Chock-full of useful information, MBA50 is fourth on our list.
- TopMBA.com: Another site that claims to be the authority on all things MBA, TMBA does a decent job of backing up that claim, though it does not contain as much original content (video interviews, insider tips, articles) as our fourth-ranked site. Here, you'll mainly find information available all over the web about B-Schools and MBA-related issues, only centralized in one site. And that, in our opinion, is good enough for fifth place.