Once you have sent over your applications to your target B-schools it may seem like your job is done. Now all you have to do is sit back and wait for their shortlisting email. But, this is far from the truth!
You need to understand exactly how competitive the B-school environment is, and therefore, act like it. Every moment that you sit back and wait somebody is taking over you by building a better application. So, what can you do?
There are actually a number of steps that you can take to make your application look stronger in front of the AdCom. And none of these require you to go distant miles. So, let’s take a look at what you should be doing after submitting your MBA application!
1.Retake the GMAT
The GMAT score is one of the primary markers for how well prepared you are to take on the MBA curriculum. One of the best ways to boost your application is by increasing your GMAT score, and you can do this even after you have submitted the application. Let’s say your GMAT score is close to average and you can only retake the GMAT after you have submitted your score. You should definitely retake the test and send the B-school your updated (and increased) score.
Keep in mind that even a 10 point increase in your GMAT score can push you above the average limit. Take a look at the average GMAT scores of the top B-schools in the table below:
|B-School||Average GMAT Score 2018||Average GMAT Score 2017|
|University of Chicago – Booth School of Business||730||726|
|Kellogg School of Management||732||728|
|Harvard Business School||730||729|
|University of Pennsylvania – Wharton School||732||730|
|Stanford University – Graduate School of Business||737||737|
|UCLA – UCLA Anderson School of Management||715||715|
|University of Virginia – Darden School of Business||713||712|
|Columbia Business School||725||718|
2.Always ask for an interview
In many B-schools all shortlisted candidates will be interviewed, and in others all promising applicants will be interviewed. Even if you have not received a shortlisted email from the school, you can still send them an email and request they give you an interview. In many cases this has actually worked. Just make sure that you are fully prepped for the interview before requesting one.
Keep in mind that B-schools don’t just want candidates with good scores, but also those who are truly interested in attending their specific MBA program. So, if you believe that your candidacy will be better proven through an interview, try and get one. Always remember that any such mail you send to the AdCom has to be strictly formal.
3. Let them know about new professional accomplishments
Let’s say you were working on a big project during the application process and now it is finally complete. Or, you just got a good promotion in your office. These are aspects that will definitely help strengthen your application and you should send in any relevant information even after submitting the resume.
But, when it comes to updating an already submitted resume you need to find out the specific process. Don’t simply forward an email to each B-school saying these are my updated accomplishments. Ask them how you can update the resume you have submitted and strictly follow the process that they suggest.
4.Learn more about the schools you have applied to
While shortlisting your target B-schools you must have done a lot of research about them. But, now is the time to take it to the next level. Try to get in touch with people from the AdCom and establish communication. Ask them about specific opportunities and aspects of the curriculum that will aid your career plans. Asking relevant questions will always make you stand out from other applicants.
Once again, keep it all formal, and always thank people for their time. If you can actually impress someone in the AdCom with genuine interest, you will have high chances of cracking the admission process even with an average application.
5.Try to fill the gaps in your application
No application is perfect. Everyone has something missing in theirs be it volunteer work or quant skills. Don’t worry, even after submitting an application where such a gap is clearly visible you can make sure you fill it up. You need to have a solid plan in place and identify exactly what is required of you to fill in these gaps. You can also let the AdCom know that you are working on certain aspects of yourself that will make you a better MBA candidate and you will be updating them in the near future.
Once again, find out the process through which you can update the AdCom regarding any new accomplishments. Whether you have completed an online course or provided volunteer effort, always follow the specified channels and update your information.
6.Boost your leadership skills
It takes time to show your leadership skills in physical form. If you have been a manager for 6 months to 1 year you are not going to have huge results to show for it. But, now that you are applying to a B-school, you can think about the path you will take in your leadership positions for tangible outcomes.
Don’t keep your leadership skills limited to your professional life. Try to be creative and genuine, you will definitely be rewarded for it. Even if you are unable to show these achievements on paper, you will be better prepared for the MBA curriculum ahead.
7.Start talking to students and alumni
This is more about being prepared than boosting your application. If you talk to students and alumni you will know the process from the inside and this will definitely come in handy.
If you get called for the interview, then you should definitely mention that you have been talking to students and gathering information about electives, projects, etc. This will surely work in your favor. Furthermore, you might get helpful tips about how to deal with certain interview questions if you speak to students and alumni. Don’t be afraid to ask relevant questions.
8.Check back with recommenders
While you have obviously sent thank you notes to your boss, manager, or whoever recommended you; it is also wise to let them know that you have submitted their recommendations. Some B-schools may get in touch with recommenders. Find out if this is the case with the schools you have applied to and let your recommenders know if they should expect a call.
9.Follow all updates about the MBA program
There are many things you will need to know about the MBA program you apply to. But, such information is also prone to change. So, you should follow the B-school on all possible platforms, attend any webinars they have scheduled, and follow their online notice board closely. Staying updated is a huge prerequisite for making it to top B-schools, and that does not end with submission of your application.
Also, one of the most common questions at B-schools is ‘why this program’ or ‘why this school’. Staying updated about their curriculum will help you answer the question in a relevant manner.
10.Practice for the interview
A B-school interview is not an easy process. If you don’t stay focused there are chances a great application will not be enough. Firstly, find out all the interview details. Many schools make the questions public, and there are also rules to follow. Make sure that you also ask about the interview process to current students or alumni.
Lastly, practice your answers in front of the mirror. You should never try to memorize entire answers, rather, build cues for each answer. Make sure you are being genuine and not building a persona simply for the interview.
If you have truly completed all these steps, then you can rest! But, it’s not really possible. So, make sure you perform all these aspects of becoming a better MBA candidate, but also get your needed rest at the same time. Getting worked up before an interview will not help you in any way.
Hope you make it! Best of luck!