Tag Archives: MBA admissions advice
January 26, 2016
A recent post on the Texas MBA Insider blog at the UT McCombs School of Business drives home a message that we stress with clients on a daily basis: the admissions committee wants to get to know the person behind the data points.
Now, this isn’t to say that a strong GMAT score or undergrad academic performance isn’t important…it’s very important to get those components right. In The Non-Numeric You: You Are Not Your GPA, the Texas MBA admissions team simply wants applicants to realize that their numbers do not define them when it comes to applying for a seat in their program.
Convince us that you are not only capable, but that you are special and that we will be lacking something without your presence.–The Texas MBA Program
“Even if you do have a 780 GMAT, this does not, in itself, indicate to us that you will succeed, make good grades, find an internship, thrive in your study groups, or find a good job after graduation,” the post notes.
The truth is, a lot of people have a 700 GMAT and 3.8 GPA. What is critical for applicants is conveying their own unique story in a compelling way. “This story can go a long way in convincing us that a so-so GMAT or GPA is nothing to worry about in the long run, because you have a clear sense of who you are and what you are capable of,” the admissions team adds.
In our work here at Stacy Blackman Consulting, we find that countless applicants undervalue their uniqueness. Prospective students often shy away from sharing small but important details about themselves that can help them stand out from the crowd. They think, “Admissions committees don’t want to hear about that side of me,” or “Business schools don’t want people who are interested in that.” Or, “If I talk about this, it will sound like I’m boasting.”
It’s time to get over all of that. If you want to do well in the admissions process, you have to communicate who you are, not just what you do. Click on over to the original post for tips on how you can stand out and land a spot at McCombs over an applicant with the exact same numbers.
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June 9, 2015
This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com Every MBA candidate brings something unique to the table, but business schools are always on the lookout for specific qualities as they review …
This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com
Every MBA candidate brings something unique to the table, but business schools are always on the lookout for specific qualities as they review the thousands of applications that cross their desks each season. If you can convince the admissions committee that you possess the following five qualities, you’ll put yourself leagues ahead of everyone else within your applicant pool.
1. A leadership track record: Business schools want to develop leaders who will contribute positively to society, and applicants should show how they have begun to lead others even before setting foot on campus. But this does not have to mean coming up with grand and sweeping examples that forever changed the course of history at your company.
Think about a time when you motivated others to do something, when you marshaled resources to solve a problem, when you brought a fresh idea or new way of thinking to your organization and most importantly, how you worked to inspire others and bring out the best in them. The aim is to show where you made an impact, no matter the size.
One former client, George, had participated in an annual charity bike ride for the past five years. He felt his application lacked compelling examples of leadership, so we suggested that he volunteer to lead the coordination of the next ride. His responsibilities included recruiting volunteers, coordinating vendors and collecting funds.
George’s leadership of the team ultimately helped to increase the amount raised in the ride by 14 percent. George used this experience to write a strong leadership essay for each of his target schools, and it ultimately helped him gain admission to MIT Sloan School of Management.
2. Display quantitative competency: While you don’t need an undergraduate degree in economics to go to business school – MBA programs warmly welcome diversity in the form of applicants from the humanities, arts and social sciences – you do need to show that you won’t be in over your head with the information business school is designed to teach.
To get your foot in the door, strive for a GMAT or GRE score that aligns with the average at your target schools. It will set the admissions committee’s minds at ease knowing that, assuming you have relatively minimal academic experience in quantitative subjects, it won’t be a hindrance once you hit those core courses.
If this is a problem area for you, tackle it head-on. Allow ample time for test prep, retake the test a few times, complement your score by acing a college-level quantitative course or point out any quantitative skills used on the job to support your ability to handle the material of the program.
3. Exhibit excellent communication skills: The general principles of finance and accounting are easily learned at business school, but recruiters frequently gripe ?that even MBA graduates from the most elite institutions need to work harder at cultivating soft skills.
You’ll impress the admissions committee right out of the gate if you can demonstrate that you already possess strong communication skills. Highlight experiences that show you work well with others and that prove you can make a presentation in a persuasive, professional manner. Or, show how your effective communication skills have helped you land a client or seal a deal.
If this is an area you need to work on, reach out to mentors or supervisors whose communication skills you admire and ask for advice on how they read their audience, navigate meetings, and how they have cultivated their own interpersonal abilities for business success.
4. Set realistic post-MBA career plans: It’s not uncommon for MBA applicants to be uncertain about their career goals. Nevertheless, you need to be very concrete about short and long term goals in your application. Explaining why you chose your career path is crucial.
As you describe your career trajectory, make sure you explain what has led you to pursue it and why it resonates with you. The answer doesn’t need to be elaborate or dramatic, but it should be convincing and real.
Whether they discuss it openly, business schools are very concerned with job placement statistics. If they can’t help their MBA graduates find jobs, the ripple effect leads to fewer applicants in the future and lower yield.
Are you sure that the industry you want to work in is one that typically hires MBAs? The admissions committee needs to know your career plans are achievable with an MBA degree.
5. Get enthusiastic recommenders: Letters of recommendation are one of the most compelling components of the application, and also the most unsettling for applicants since it’s the one aspect you cannot entirely control. Make sure your recommenders are close enough to provide specific and relevant examples of your work and, above all, make sure they share in your excitement about going to business school.
Whether the mistake is choosing someone who doesn’t know you well enough to provide a convincing recommendation, not adequately preparing your recommender, or unwittingly selecting a supervisor who is not 100 percent supportive of your MBA plans, there’s nothing worse than discovering your chances at admission were torpedoed by a lukewarm endorsement.
So there you have it – five essential details that can make or break your MBA application. Study them well and with any luck, you’ll sail through the admissions process and sidestep many of the common red flags plaguing lesser-prepared applicants.
December 21, 2012
On Thursday, we learned of the online launch of Voices of Columbia Business School, a blog which aims to provide an insider view into the Columbia experience through the eyes of current students. Written by …
On Thursday, we learned of the online launch of Voices of Columbia Business School, a blog which aims to provide an insider view into the Columbia experience through the eyes of current students.
Written by a mix of MBA and EMBA students and admissions officers, Amanda Carlson, assistant dean of admissions, writes that the goal of this blog is to provide admissions insights, offer any updates about how the process is flowing, and offer reflections on the Columbia Business School student experience.
The blog will also help b-school aspirants learn more about events for prospective students.
In its very first post, Hannah Stern, Class of 2013 and president of the Hermes Society, shares how her reliance on spreadsheets to analyze which MBA program she should choose faltered when she attempted to quantify “community.”
Flash-forward to her second year at Columbia, and Stern, who calls her classmates brilliant and amazing, says the dynamic at Columbia is unmatched. “You can’t weight the value of community: it is something you feel,” she explains.
If you’re able to visit the campus in person and get a feel for the community yourself, that’s ideal. But for those who cannot, perhaps this blog will be the next best thing. Stern adds, “We hope to give you some insight into the community feeling here at Columbia Business School, because ”” as I realized when I was in your shoes ”” this is one decision you should not make with a spreadsheet!”
Voices is definitely a resource you should bookmark if Columbia Business School is on your radar.