October 24, 2023Read More
The Financial Times (FT) recently summarized tips from MBA admissions directors on MBA application DO’s and DON’Ts. Below are the highlights.
Planning your application
- Prepare your application well ahead of the deadline as it shows you are a candidate who knows exactly what you want and are determined to study at the school of your choice. Applying early also strengthens your chances of scholarship funding.
- Send out requests for letters of recommendation as early as possible. This is one part of the application process where the applicant cannot control the timing.
- Applying for an MBA is about finding the best fit for both you and the school; it is a process in which you and the admissions committee get to know each other. Do your research and take the time to reflect deeply on your motivations and how the specific business school can help you achieve your goals.
- Use the same resume or CV you would use for a job application. Focus on highlighting impacts and achievements in each role held, rather than a job description, and also emphasize promotions and career progression.
Choosing an MBA and a school
- Evaluate the school on multiple facets including reputation, study program, facilities, class size, location and career prospects. If you are interested in entrepreneurship, make sure the school you apply to has an incubator program or professors active in the start-up world.
- Connect with current students, investigate MBA clubs and get a sense of the people who will be your classmates, friends and future network.
- Visit the campuses on your shortlist to get a sense of each school, its ethos and facilities.
- Rely on MBA student testimonials offered by the school. Find verified student reviews, read other people’s experiences, compare programs and find the right MBA for you. Do not be swayed by the allure of a brand name but find schools that fit your personal learning style and career motivations.
Passing the standardized test
- Choose the standardized test that is right for you. Some schools allow a range of acceptable tests including the GMAT, GRE, Executive Assessment, LSAT and MCAT.
- Have the application deadline in mind when booking a time slot to take the required tests and do not forget to factor in the time it will take to study for the tests.
- Practice with sample questions, to help you identify your weaknesses and work on improving them.
- Get stressed while doing the exam. Use the optional test breaks, clear your mind and continue with the next question. Remember that you can take the GMAT test up to five times per year so do not feel pressured to get your target score the first time.
Performing well at the interview
- Prepare, as interviewers at some schools have reviewed your application and want the conversation to go deeper than what is on your resume or CV. Many schools only give the interviewer your resume, so do your research for each specific school interview.
- Ask as many questions as you can, ensuring that you emphasize why you want this particular MBA program. Remember that the interview is a two-way process and you are also interviewing the school to decide whether it is a good fit.
- Say what you think the admissions committee wants to hear. Be yourself, be authentic.
- Ask questions that are answered on the school’s website. Find out who will interview you and have different questions ready for admissions directors, current students or alumni.