Tag Archives: MBA application

Tips to Maximize Your MBA Application Feedback Session

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com All MBA hopefuls fear getting denied, but if there’s any silver lining to rejection, it’s that many business schools now offer feedback sessions …

feedback

These brief sessions with schools can provide valuable insight into why you were rejected.

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com

All MBA hopefuls fear getting denied, but if there’s any silver lining to rejection, it’s that many business schools now offer feedback sessions to help unsuccessful candidates figure out where they might have gone wrong.

This availability of application feedback confirms that the schools really do welcome and encourage re-applicants, who often find success the second time around. In fact, in the past, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School has shared with us anecdotally that applicants who reapplied often have a slight edge in the applicant pool.

Find out the policy of your school of choice and get in touch with the admissions office right away, making it clear that you will use the feedback to reapply next year, if that’s the case. These meetings usually take place on a first-come, first-served basis in the spring, at the end of the admissions season.

Due to the brevity of these sessions, it’s important to prepare in advance. Write down a few pointed questions that will help you make the most of your meeting. If you questioned anything during the application process, you now have the opportunity to clear things up. In order to gather actionable information, your questions should sound something like this:

• Was there any concern about my quantitative abilities? If so, what can I do to demonstrate my capabilities?
• Were my career goals clear?
• Are my reasons for wanting an MBA sound?
• What were some of the biggest weaknesses in my application? Do you have any suggestions for how I can ease your concerns in those areas?

Have a plan to make sure the session stays on pace, because you’ll usually have a maximum of 15 minutes. Keep track of the time and strive to end the conversation gracefully.

It’s unlikely that members of the admissions committee will tell you flat out that you don’t have the stats, background or qualifications to attend their MBA program, even if that is the case. Nor will they tell you to change your life plans just for the sake of the application. There’s an art to extracting information, but don’t expect to receive the secret key to success during this brief conversation. Take what you can get.

Ultimately, the feedback session may or may not provide helpful insight. You might receive a very actionable comment, such as “you need more work experience” or “you should raise your GMAT score at least 30 points.” But with more qualified applicants than available seats in the program, the advice is often quite general and you’ll have to work hard to pin down specific takeaways.

Think of this as one additional opportunity to build upon your relationship with the school, so maintain a pleasant, engaging and polite tone. The admissions committee also takes notes during the exchange that will go into your file and form a part of the evaluation you when you reapply next year, so make sure you don’t get defensive about their feedback.

Treat this as an extension of your interview: Jot down the name and email address of the person you speak with, and remember to follow up with a thank-you note.

Finally, don’t spend a lot of time or energy fretting about elements of your application that you cannot change in less than 12 months. Instead, use the feedback from the admissions committee and your own honest self-analysis to determine where you can improve in order to better position your application for the next admissions cycle.

Image by Flickr user Giulia Forsythe (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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Develop a Smart Social Media Strategy for MBA Applications

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com When applying to business school, your MBA essays and interviews are the primary way to market yourself and generate positive attention from the …

working woman with phone and laptop

Being active on LinkedIn is especially critical to anyone embarking on an MBA career.

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com

When applying to business school, your MBA essays and interviews are the primary way to market yourself and generate positive attention from the admissions committee. But the way you present your personal brand on social media should also be a part of the equation. Your social profile needs to match the persona you will present to the admissions team, so start thinking of it as an opportunity to better tell the story of you.

Every applicant should have a baseline social presence to reinforce and enhance their candidacy. Some admissions committee members proactively search for information about applicants online, so you’ll want to link to your social profiles within the application to make it easy for them to have another touch point by which to assess you.

Define Your Shareable Story

This application strategy involves fine-tuning a story that you can leverage through social media. This is a clear and purposeful narrative of how you want people to talk about you. The articles and thoughts you share, the comments you make and the professional affiliations you display will provide schools with a multidimensional view of who you are, as well as support your expertise and passion for a particular industry or activity.

Some examples of shareable stories might be:

• “I am a driven finance professional with a passion for improving education systems. Through lobbying, recruiting and fundraising, I have affected thousands of children by improving their educational experience.”

• “My passion for people extends beyond U.S. borders. My love of travel has connected me with individuals around the world. I nurture and maintain these relationships and learn and grow through these connections.”

• “In my free time I eat. And cook. And entertain. I love bringing people together over a great meal. Exploring unusual recipes, experimenting in the kitchen and sharing my culinary successes is an important hobby of mine.”

Weave Your Story Into Social Media Platforms 

I recommend students initially focus on three key platforms. Most of us are on Facebook, so this is one area to clean up, make sure your privacy settings are in order  and develop a content strategy that positively reflects your personal interests. LinkedIn is also a must-have, as it is the professional social network. Twitter is a great option to start if you haven’t already since you can use it to expand and build your brand.

For Facebook, choose a cover photo that represents your shareable story. For example, the avid traveler would highlight a photo from a recent trip. A candidate who is passionate about mentoring disadvantaged children should select a photo that highlights those efforts. Then, make sure the things you like reflect the personal and professional interests you have shared in your essays.

LinkedIn is critical as you embark on your MBA career and is an excellent place to network, gather information and build your brand by communicating details that support your shareable story. Follow influencers who interest you and share their content, too. What you update on LinkedIn helps to reinforce your brand, and actively developing a strategy now can help tell your story now and later.

Twitter is a great platform to stay up to date and engage with people who share similar interests. Make sure your bio is filled in with information that reflects your shareable story. A profile photo is a must, and the background photo should also support some element of your story.

Follow relevant users, publications or brands on Twitter based on how you want to present yourself. Look at their followers to discover more people with similar interests. You can express your story through original and curated content by sharing articles, adding commentary and tweeting your thoughts on the topics that appeal to you. Make sure to follow the business schools you are interested in as well.

Social media is a time investment. You can blog, tweet and post all day long, but you will get lost in the jungle of the Internet if you do not reach out and link and connect with others. Make sure that you work to forge connections, on and offline.

Build your content and your audience based on your passions and you will attract an audience of like-minded people. They will inspire you with questions and theories and unique points of view that will spawn completely new thoughts of your own. This in turn becomes the idea factory that will help you consistently generate lots of great, share-worthy content.

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Tuesday Tips: London Business School Fall 2016 MBA Essay Tips

London Business School is a close-knit program with an international focus, set in one of the most exciting centers of culture in Europe. Among one of the top-ranked programs in the world, LBS is equally …

London Business School essay questionsLondon Business School is a close-knit program with an international focus, set in one of the most exciting centers of culture in Europe. Among one of the top-ranked programs in the world, LBS is equally valued by employers in both the US and Europe. LBS is an excellent choice for MBA hopefuls who have international experience, a goal to work in London or other parts of Europe, or just an interest in attending school outside the US.

LBS has a slim set of required questions. It will be a challenge for you to present everything you may want about your career, extracurriculars and personal attributes. Make sure you formulate a clear game plan for this set of essays so you can maximize the questions and the space permitted to make your case for admission.

Essay 1
What are your post-MBA plans and how will your past experience and the London Business School programme contribute? (500 words)

Most MBA applicants are pursuing the degree for a specific career goal post-MBA, but if you need a bit more reflection to answer this question it is worth doing the work. Self-awareness about your strengths and interests will help you refine what you want. To take your research deeper it could be helpful to talk to colleagues and alumni who have MBAs in your field to identify your career path options. Make sure that your career goals are both realistic and aspirational. An MBA will certainly open doors for you, and also may define a specific career path.

Your past experiences have certainly informed your post-MBA plans, and touching on those most relevant will be helpful to setting the background for your current pursuit of an MBA. To make this essay more than a rehash of your resume, think about explaining the rationale for your decisions throughout the essay. Why did you pursue your past experience and what has been the impetus behind subsequent career choices? At this point, why are you choosing LBS? If space permits, you will want to discuss the question of timing – why you have made the choice to pursue an MBA at this time, and why you want to attend LBS now.

Essay 2
What specific areas of London Business School life are you most excited about getting involved in and where will you add value? (300 words)

This essay is an opportunity to demonstrate passion for the school, London, activities and the community. Thorough research will be crucial here, whether online or in person. Consider both the academic community and the extracurricular communities. Reaching out to the clubs and organizations you are most interested in may allow you to interact with current students who can provide context for you. Visiting LBS would be an invaluable experience to feel the excitement in person.

To be most effective in answering this question you will want to be specific and logical in your choices of activities you will impact. What activities make the most sense in the context of your career and industry interests? What about your hobbies? Any community involvement you are currently pursuing and plan to continue could start to demonstrate your value to the groups you plan to join or lead at LBS.

International experience may be another area that is important to the LBS community and where you can add value. LBS is seeking applicants who are well traveled and thoughtful about cultural differences beyond their home countries. If you focus on your international background make sure you are able to explain what you have learned from interacting with cultures that are not your own, and relate your experiences back to what you will bring to LBS.

Optional Essay
Is there any other information you believe the Admissions Committee should know about you and your application to London Business School? (300 words)

This essay can be used to explain possible weaknesses in your application like a low GPA or GMAT score, or could be another opportunity to reveal an aspect of your candidacy that has not been covered in the previous questions.

If you use this space to explain a less than stellar aspect of your candidacy make sure you are offering explanations and not excuses. Keep all background information succinct and factual (no whining!) and explain the concrete steps you have taken to improve your candidacy and to be ready for an MBA programme like LBS.
If you are in the enviable position of having nothing to explain, this open-ended question would be a great opportunity to touch on a personal story or add color to your career goals. This could be the ideal place to describe a unique background, experience or attribute that did not fit elsewhere in the application.

Challenged by the LBS essay questions? Contact us to learn how Stacy Blackman Consulting can help.

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London Business School Fall 2016 MBA Essay Questions

The application for the August 2016 intake at London Business School is now open, and the MBA essay questions are as follows: Essay One: What are your post-MBA plans and how will your past experience …

London Business School essay questionsThe application for the August 2016 intake at London Business School is now open, and the MBA essay questions are as follows:

Essay One: What are your post-MBA plans and how will your past experience and the London Business School programme contribute? (500 words)

Essay Two: What specific areas of London Business School life are you most excited about getting involved in and where will you add value? (300 words)

Optional Essay: Is there any other information you believe the Admissions Committee should know about you and your application to London Business School? (300 words)

For additional information, please visit the LBS admissions website.

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