5 Key Areas of Your MBA Application Package

If you are applying to MBA school, whether it is an online or on campus program, admissions can be daunting. Generally, MBA applicants have to navigate several obstacles to be admitted into their desired MBA program. These are application essays, GPA, letters of recommendation, work experience and in some cases, an in person interview. To have the greatest chance of being admitted into your desired online or in person MBA program, you should follow some of these vital admissions tips:

Application Essay

According to a Harvard Business School admissions director, you should use your MBA application essay to paint a detailed mosaic of what makes you who you are. You should remember that this essay is one major way to really distinguish yourself from other MBA school applicants. It is a way to show who you are beyond numbers on a piece of paper, so that you can show what your goals and motivations are.

Keep in mind that while you want your essay to stand out from the others, you want it to stand out for the right reasons. Your essay should focus on how your managerial work experience makes you a strong candidate for success in business school. And you also should connect your future business goals to the MBA program that you want to enter. Pick out some specific aspects of the MBA program and tie them to what you are going to do in the future.

Letters of Recommendation

Your application essay is a story about you by you, and your reference letters for MBA school are stories about you that are written by other people. It is of vital importance that you find people who know you very well. These people should be able to give very specific examples of your business accomplishments and why you were able to excel. Generally, you should try to use recent direct supervisors for these letters, but the content and quality of the letters are of more importance than the job title of the person. Do not choose the CEO of your company as a recommendation if he or she does not have anything of importance to say about you.

Academic Record

Admissions panels at MBA schools view your academic record as a way to get a sense if you are well prepared for a tough business school program. Most admissions advisors say not to stress too much about your actual GPA. What many applicants do not realize is that your college transcript is important not just to see your GPA. Many admissions people are looking at what classes you took, how much you challenged yourself, and if you have intellectual curiosity.

As far as the GMAT goes, you may be applying for a campus or online program that does not require them. Many strong MBA schools no longer require you to take the GMAT. But if you do need to take it, many admissions directors say your GMAT score is just one criterion that they consider of many.

Work Experience

Many MBA schools now require more work experience for you to be admitted. Many schools now average about five years of related work experience in their MBA students. This means that for many aspiring MBA students, you should probably gain more than two years of work experience before applying for your MBA school. If you try to get into a top program with only two or three years of experience, you may find that you do not get in, or you have to settle for your back up school.

Admissions Interview

The interview at many MBA schools is their opportunity to meet potential business school students up close and to assess them beyond mere pieces of paper. Typically, admissions staff are looking for strong communications skills, charisma, poise, and ‘the right fit’ for a particular MBA school.

For you, the interview is your chance to really strut your best stuff, and to confirm the strong impression that you (hopefully) gave in your admissions materials.

Of course, there are many things that can and do go wrong in MBA admissions interviews. Make sure that you do not get overly emotional in your interview, and do not seem overly confident. Another mistake is to be too much of a drama queen – at one MBA school, an applicant brought a flip chart, easel and markers to explain his resume to the admissions panel. This is going too far.

As you go through your MBA admissions process, try to keep these important ideas in mind to maximize the chances of entering the MBA school of your dreams.

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