In the era of social media saturation, business school hopefuls have to think about more than just drafting memorable essays, nailing interviews and marketing themselves effectively during the MBA application process. Today’s applicants must scrutinize their public persona on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and elsewhere to make sure it matches the version they wish to present to the b-school admissions committee.
In an online survey we conducted in April, I discovered to my surprise that 20% of applicants plan to create a new online presence to enhance their application and their online brand. It makes perfect sense though. At a time when essay word counts are shrinking, you can see how it might be more compelling if you can back up your noted interest in photography by pointing to your Instagram account.
As I mention in Poets & Quants’s recent story on social media in the b-school application, many applicants are just beginning to realize that everyone has an online brand now and so the focus at first is on clean up. Review your online persona to ensure that there aren’t any inappropriate pictures or posts. Basically, put it to the grandma test: if you wouldn’t want granny to see it, just get rid of it.
To meet the growing need for guidance in this area, Stacy Blackman Consulting has launched a new service this season called the social media strategy review to help applicants professionalize their existing profile and set them up for a lifetime of online social success.
With competition as stiff as it is at the ultra-elite schools, I would err on being a little more conservative and think about removing overly political or religious posts, and of course anything remotely sexy or related to partying. You don’t need to scrub your profile of all personality, however. Leave the travel pics and anything that supports the outside interests you’ve highlighted in your application. It’s good for the AdCom to see your informal side.
I shared a few more tips on social media and admissions strategies with editor John Byrne, so click on over to Poets & Quants to read the entire article.