Differentiate Yourself for MBA Admissions Success

When you’re hard at work on your MBA applications, it’s easy to get caught up in what sounds great to you. Or, what seems impressive to your friends, co-workers or parents. But you really need to consider your materials from the admissions committee’s point of view.

Granted, it can be tough to form a truly objective opinion of your own candidacy. For example, some candidates think that if they have a high undergraduate GPA, aced the GMAT, and have been successful in their career so far, their admission to the top programs is all but guaranteed. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Your task: differentiate, differentiate, differentiate

The majority of candidates who apply to the leading business schools are bright, personable overachievers. Honestly, they would be an asset to any program. AdComs see literally thousands of deserving profiles come across their desks each year. That’s why you need to think beyond your obvious achievements.

Do you come from an over-represented industry, such as banking or consulting? Then this becomes even more critical. The best way to differentiate yourself is through your essays and interviews by highlighting unique, memorable experiences.

Focus on what you can share with your classmates that would be valuable to them—experience or knowledge that others can learn and benefit from. Consider your application from the viewpoint of the people charged with putting together a diverse group of students. How will you enlighten your classmates over the next two years? What do you, and only you, bring to the table?

The admissions process at elite b-schools is extremely competitive. But don’t count yourself out before the game even begins. Chances are, your humility is a trait the AdCom would appreciate.  So start thinking about how to stand out and share your passions throughout your MBA application.

Keep this in mind as you brainstorm:

differentiate yourself

Do you want to stay on top of the application process with timely tips like these? Please subscribe to our weekly newsletter and you’ll receive our expert advice straight in your mailbox before it appears on the blog, plus special offers, promotions, discounts, invitations to events, and more.

With deadlines around the corner, you may be interested in the world-famous SBC Flight Test. Once a full set of application materials for your initial school have been drafted, but not finalized, the application will be sent to a former admissions committee member for a one-time review, adcomm style. You’ll have the benefit of a true admissions committee review while still having the ability to tinker and change.  You will receive written feedback within two business days after submitting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


(718) 306-6858

Latest Blog Post

Haas MBA Students Tackle Difficult Workplace Conversations

Cool course alert at the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business! Even brilliant, über-accomplished people can have a common Achilles heel: avoiding conflict whenever possible. This fall, UC Berkeley Haas MBA students enrolled in ...