The admissions committee (AdCom) at any B-school serves one singular purpose, to choose the right candidates for the MBA program. And while each institution has unique requirements that they look for in their applicants, there are certain aspects that are quite that almost every B-school AdCom appreciates. Similarly, there are also qualities within every application that can be a red flag for the AdCom.
In this article we will be exploring the four central parts of your application – your resume, your application essay, GMAT score, and your knowledge of the MBA program. With each of these devices you can woo the AdCom and let them know exactly how dedicated you are towards their MBA program!
So, let’s get started!
This is one of the first things that any AdCom will look out for while reviewing an application. Ideally, your resume should be a page in length, and should be as precise and to-the-point as possible.
Make sure to not simply build a resume that speaks about technical experiences. Your resume is the best way to let the AdCom know the impact you have made in the professional world, and this needs to be done in a clear and crisp manner. They are not really looking for an overview, but rather what makes you unique and how you are able to apply your core skills.
Some red flags that you should definitely avoid while building a resume as part of your MBA application include using singular words to describe your skills. Don’t simply write ‘analyst’ or ‘engineer’, rather describe it as something like ‘core financial analyst’ or ‘senior floor engineer’. This gives the AdCom a better picture of your skills and not just an overview.
Also, under any circumstance don’t make your resume too long. Keep in mind that the AdCom has to literally go through thousands of resumes, so, you definitely don’t want them to get bored with yours just because you could not be precise!
The MBA Application Essay is a window into your personality, and if you think that it’s only your GMAT score and resume that hold more weight, you would be certainly wrong!
The application essay is something that requires introspection on your part. Don’t just write about who you are as a person, but rather describe certain key experiences, tie them to your goals, and always speak about leadership qualities you have gained.
Another aspect to keep in mind is that the professional life events you are describing in your essay should also be present in your resume. Your entire application should have a theme running throughout, and it is the essay that is the centerpiece of this theme. And while it is indeed an essay, you are still expected to keep things concise and explain to the AdCom the uniqueness of your candidature as quickly as possible.
If you are planning to apply to some of the top B-schools where the acceptance rate is quite low, you will have to ensure that your essay is razor sharp as it is the best way to ensure your application stands out!
Your GMAT score serves as the marker of your academic skills and also your aptitude levels. So, if you are applying to the top B-schools you need to have a GMAT score that will woo the AdCom. A good way to think about it is a +10 on the average GMAT score of the B-school you are applying to.
Not sure where that places you? Take a look at the average GMAT score of some of the top B-schools in the world –
|B-School||Average GMAT Score|
|University of Chicago – Booth School of Business||730|
|Kellogg School of Management||732|
|Harvard Business School||730|
|University of Pennsylvania – Wharton School||732|
|Stanford University – Graduate School of Business||737|
|UCLA – UCLA Anderson School of Management||715|
|University of Virginia – Darden School of Business||713|
|Columbia Business School||725|
You need to understand one thing, retaking the GMAT is not a bad thing, and you will never be penalized for multiple attempts. Rather, if you could raise your score by a good amount in your second or third attempt, it might count as a plus on your application. Because this shows that you are dedicated towards achieving your best, an important quality for managing businesses.
A lot of applicants score low on their GMAT due to test day anxiety. Watch this video to know how you can perform better in your GMAT –
Knowledge of the program
Apart from your basic online research you need to do a lot more. If the AdCom asks you why you have decided to apply for their specific BA program and you mention a few pointers from the school website, it will not be impressive to the AdCom.
Both prior to the application rounds and during it the AdComs host many conferences and webinars. By attending these events you can get to know a lot more about the programs and also the various factors they look out for in applicants. Not only will this increase your knowledge of the program, but it will also make you a better suited candidate as you will know exactly what you are choosing.
If you are attending such events you should also treat them as a networking opportunity. Start by asking meaningful questions to the AdCom. And after the event you can send them a concise mail thanking them for the event. If you ask politely, it is highly likely that at least one of the committee members will be open for an online dialogue. This form of pre-application networking can really place you ahead of other candidates who have a similar resume and GMAT score as you.
What are some of the Don’ts for impressing the AdCom?
As an MBA applicant, make sure to never commit these mistakes!
- Don’t ever create a boring resume. Take your time while doing it and make sure it really represents yourself.
- Don’t try to cook up a story in your application essay. The AdComs go through thousands of essays and they will see through your lie quite clearly.
- If you are at an event and talking to the AdCom, make sure to give the other attendees space. If you are seen as someone aggressive during such an event it will work against you.
- Don’t ever ask an AdCom if your profile is good enough. They are not supposed to give you the answer and it’s quite impolite.
- Make sure your essay is not something that only has a better version of your resume events. Choose one or two events and expand upon them and describe how they impacted you.
- Don’t apply with a below-average GMAT score unless all the other aspects of your application such as work experience, references, etc. are absolutely A+.
Once you are done with your interview send a small thank you note to the AdCom members via mail and keep it formal. Good behaviour goes a long way and you should definitely be in your best behavior.
Impressing the AdCom requires actual work and dedication towards the MBA cause. So, make sure you are truly up for while applying to a top B-school!