MBA programs are quickly regaining their pre-pandemic popularity. All the top B-schools in the US saw a remarkable increase in the number of applications, with Chicago Booth, Wharton, and MIT Sloan setting their own application records.
While all such news regarding MBA admissions is encouraging, this all means that aspiring applicants need to work on their MBA applications for a better shot at the institution of choice.
It all begins with your MBA application. Your qualities, skills and achievements shall reflect on your resume in such a way that the admission council should consider you as an automatic choice. Let’s know how to make a strong application that can differentiate you from other applicants.
- Aim for a High GMAT Score
Some of the brightest minds in the world apply for the ivy-league MBA programs, and you have to enhance your skill set to compete with them. A good GMAT score can immediately set your application apart.
Furthermore, a high GMAT score can allow you to compete with strong candidates like a Harvard University MBA graduate or an executive of a blue-chip company.
You can start your intensive preparation for GMAT by preparing from credible sources like good books and websites, regularly solving test papers, and communicating with students who successfully cleared the exam.
Seeking professional help from reputed MBA consultancy firms can also go a long way in preparing for GMAT as they have the knowledge and experience to guide students.
Lastly, avoid some common mistakes that applicants often make.
- Exhibit Your Professional Achievements
You may have a strong academic record along with associated credentials, which is a good point indeed. However, almost every candidate is expected to have those advantages. Therefore, it is important to highlight your achievements at your workplace.
For example, you can highlight how you have managed to achieve double-digit growth in your previous company by meticulously employing your subordinates or how you have completely overhauled the performance evaluation system in your company.
- Your primary focus should be on exhibiting your leadership skills to the admission committee.
- Try to provide facts and figures that can properly show the impact you have made in your company. For example, instead of stating “Achieved stellar sales growth figures for two years.”, try “ Achieved a 25 per cent year-on-year sales growth continuously for 2 years”.
Moreover, always mention extra-curricular activities that can positively reflect on your leadership skills. You can mention the instances where you have taken initiatives to conduct team-building exercises and motivated your subordinates when faced with adversities.
- Make it Crisp and Clear
Admission reviewers have to scan through several applications every year. Therefore, try to make your resume easy to read so that they can easily get hooked to your application.
- Use bullet points to highlight the important aspects properly.
- Use uniform margin and spacing rules to make the content readable.
- In case you have held different positions across organizations or departments, stack each position with the duration you spent on that role. You will aim to illustrate to the reviewer that you are dependable to whom the organization has entrusted many responsibilities during your tenure there.
- Avoid using industry-specific jargon that the reviewer might find hard to understand. For example, write down the term return on investment instead of just ROI.
- Know Your Limits
Do an honest SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, Threat) analysis to understand your possible weaknesses and how to overcome them. Knowing your limits can help you in focussing your attention and prepare accordingly.
For instance, if you are doubtful of your GMAT score, you can start researching about a few B-schools that do not require a GMAT score. For example, Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business has suspended the GMAT and GRE requirement for admission due to the pandemic situation.
- Do Proper Research
Most institutions want to know how serious you are in securing admission to their college. Try to gather as much knowledge as possible about the institution, the faculty members, the facilities and the courses it provides, the learning and placement opportunities and so on.
This can be proved very helpful while navigating the interview providing the necessary edge to your application over other candidates.
Apart from going through the information brochure and the institution’s website, try to find out more in various online discussion forums. Try connecting with existing students and alumni of the institution as they can provide you with a gem of information.
- Secure Recommendation Letters
Most US B-schools require you to submit recommendation letters. Never underestimate the power of such recommendations, as a quality letter from a relevant professional can swing the decision of the admission council in your favor.
Furthermore, give the concerned person enough time to write a precise recommendation letter in your favor.
- Keep Yourself Informed
Nobody can become a good manager by remaining oblivious to global happenings. You will not like to come across as such a person. Keep abreast of the latest news and global events, especially the news and government policies that can affect businesses.
Besides cracking the admission process, staying informed goes a long way in sharpening your business acumen as well.
What Not To Do – A Word of Caution
In the effort of trying to make your MBA application stand out, you may be tempted to go overboard, which might lower your overall application score. There are certain mistakes that you should certainly avoid. Some of the important ones are-
- Making False Claims: We all want to be unique, but there is a fine line between glorifying the truth and making false claims. Admission officers are smart enough to realize when you’re bluffing.
- Being Vague: Whether you’re listing down your achievements or your capabilities, be very specific. For instance, don’t end your sentences with the word “etc.”
- Ignoring Instructions from the School: Make sure you are very well aware of the school’s instructions and requirements and follow them to the T. For instance, keep in mind the instructions regarding word limits or formatting.
- Mentioning Wrong Details: Double-check all your documents and applications before sending them out.
Apart from these, make sure you avoid the common mistakes in MBA application.
Let’s Crack It
While each school may have a different set of requirements, the basic parameters are usually the same, and you can crack them by following the tips discussed herein. However, roping in an MBA consultant that can evaluate your MBA application and help you improve it will ensure you put the best foot forward.
Remember, your journey doesn’t stop at securing admission to the institution of your choice, it just begins.