MBA Application and Admission Tips
Applying to business schools can be daunting. You need to present the perfect mix of professional, personal and academic accomplishments to stand out from the competition. Here are some tips to help you manage this process and capture the attention of MBA admissions committees:
- Start early. Every stage of the MBA application process requires considerable preparation and time. Plan ahead for the GMAT, and allot extra time to retake it should your first test scores need improvement. Thoroughly research the schools that interest you, so you’re familiar with their MBA admissions requirements and can target the business graduate programs that best match your qualifications and goals. Talk to your recommenders, and equip them with the details to advocate for you. Take the time to deeply reflect on your experiences, so you can write an MBA essay and develop an application package that clearly defines your career vision and what you hope to accomplish with an MBA.
- Be realistic: Compare your qualifications to the requirements of the programs you’re considering. Forbes suggests prioritizing the programs as long-shot, probable or safety based on how well your criteria match the program, and then maximize your efforts by mainly applying to schools where you have the best chance of being accepted. If you feel you would be a strong candidate in a program where your qualifications fall short, US News recommends using your MBA essay to address any perceived weaknesses. Do not, however, repeatedly apply to programs where you are not a good fit. Send fewer applications to long-shot and safety schools, and do not waste time applying to schools you’re not interested in attending.
- Follow directions. You will lose credibility if you submit an application with mistakes, according to US News. Make sure you answer the essay questions within the prescribed word count and stay on topic. Do not repeat content in your essay that has been covered elsewhere in the application. Pay special attention to deadlines. For example, MBA application deadlines for Sellinger admissions vary depending on the program. Have multiple people review your application, checking for style, grammar and spelling errors. Last, but not least, send your application to the correct address.
- Apply when you’re ready. There is a lot of pressure to apply early, when more spots are available. However, a rushed application is easy to spot, and the last thing you want to do is give the impression you’re not prepared. As you go through the application process, your essays, interviews and applications will improve and your message will become more refined. Forbes suggests you apply to your top choice schools after you have completed several applications and are completely confident with your application.
- Demonstrate your interest. Visit the campuses of the programs you’re considering, and initiate conversations with faculty, students and alumni. The Sellinger School of Business regularly hosts information sessions both online and in-person where you can meet with admissions advisors and learn more about the graduate programs and the admissions process. Sellinger also offers Test Drives, which provide the opportunity to sit in on a class and see students and professors in action. Mentioning these personal experiences in your MBA essay and interviews will demonstrate your interest and commitment to MBA admissions committees.
- Develop a cohesive package. Formulate a clear profile about who you are and the unique values you would bring to an MBA class. Forbes recommends you clearly define your personal brand, detailing your career goals and relating them to your current and prior experiences. Share this with your recommenders, so they can reinforce the strengths you want to highlight. Be consistent and communicate the same message in your essays and interviews. All the components of your MBA application should come together to support your personal brand and convey a compelling message that distinguishes you from the competition.
The Sellinger School of Business offers multiple MBA degree options to help you develop the expertise you need to get to the next level of your career. Learn more about our admissions requirements or register for an upcoming information session.