Last week, Yale School of Management posted timely MBA admissions advice straight from current first-year students, AKA Admissions Ambassadors. Whether you have your sights on Yale SOM for Round 2, or find yourself in the intel gathering stage, their admissions advice can guide your journey to b-school. Take at look at these three focus areas and learn why each is so important.
Understand School Culture, Fit
A visit to campus will provide the most complete understanding of a particular b-school’s culture, and your fit with said culture. If such a trip proves too difficult prior to applying, find an off-campus event near you. Talking to a variety of current students and alumni will offer a clearer idea of whether or not you click.
“This will allow you to evaluate if a school is truly the right fit for you and, more important, it will help you in the application process to show your enthusiasm for the school and speak about how you plan to make the most of your time at the school in the interview,” says Jvaneel Parekh.
Additionally, do your research of the strength of the alumni network. Consider class size and teaching methodologies. Also, find out how diverse is the school.
“I think it is really important to be honest with yourself and know what you want to achieve out of business school, says Paraj Tyle. “That not only helps find a good match in terms of opportunities, but also the right culture. The right culture fit is so important in having a phenomenal experience.”
Why Business School?
Are you seeking an MBA for career advancement, personal development, or a career switch? Indeed, your MBA could transform everything about your life. However, it’s more typically a tool to polish existing skills, build your network or expose you to new industries.
“Take the time to really think through your story: Why do you want to go to business school? Why is a particular school the right fit? Why is all of this essential to your career goals?,” advises Lauren Motzkin. “This reflection will help in making a really big decision and will also help you to craft an authentic and consistent narrative for your application.”
Our best admissions advice? Clearly detail what you still need to learn, and what experience you must gain, in order to reach your career goals. Don’t be afraid to point out what gaps you have and exactly how an MBA can help.
Express Your True Self
It may sound obvious, but one of the real keys to a successful MBA application is simply being authentic. Don’t shy away from your true interests; illustrate how they have helped shape the incredibly dynamic and fascinating person that you are.
The trick to fleshing out your human side in the application is to take just a couple of experiences, activities, or themes and expand upon them in a much more detailed and nuanced way.
Most MBA applicants aren’t professional writers, and sometimes make the mistake of writing essays that are informative, logical, well-organized and, inadvertently, a snooze fest. This is not the time to repeat your resume in prose form.
You must connect with the person evaluating your application on an emotional level if you hope to stand out.
“Be vulnerable. Sometimes it will seem awkward or uncomfortable, but tell your true story, show who you are, and be open about it. Be bold enough to let your inner self shine in your application, but be even bolder by letting the school know that you’re not perfect, that you have space for growth, and that you have dreams and ambitions to reach—and it’s because of those ambitions that you want an MBA at that particular school,” counsels Lucas Silva.
The admissions committee wants to get to know you as a person beyond the resume. Never write anything just because it seems like something an admissions committee would want to hear. That move is almost guaranteed to backfire on you.
Looking for more MBA admissions advice? Meet the Yale School of Management Admissions Ambassadors who shared their thoughts with prospective students here.