August 2006

Even Less-Than-Perfect Applicants Can Dramatically Increase Their Chances, According to MBA Admissions Consultant Stacy Blackman

LOS ANGELES, CA — (MARKET WIRE) — August 08, 2006 — MBA application season has begun, with applicants scurrying to finalize their “wish” list of schools and begin drafting essays to meet round one deadlines in October. With the top business schools rejecting between 85 and 90 percent of their applicants, the vast majority of whom are more than qualified, how can applicants manage the admissions process? Avoiding these common mistakes can improve applicants’ chances of getting into a top B-school, even if their record is not perfect, according to MBA admissions consultant Stacy Blackman (www.stacyblackman.com).

The top 10 mistakes are:

1)  Not doing first-hand research and relying only on rumors and second-hand information — Applicants should visit campuses and speak with faculty and current and former students to determine if a particular school is the right place for them.

2)  Trying to fit into a particular “B-school mold” — Not everyone is right for a certain school and admissions officers look for fit as much as for qualifications.

3)  Focusing only on career and professional achievements — An applicant can reveal passions and unique qualities through activities outside of work and personal interests.

4)  Failing to address obvious weaknesses, such as low test scores or a blemish on your academic record — No one is perfect, and admissions officers often are interested in what an applicant learned from a mistake.  If an applicant does not proactively explain, admissions officers will cometo their own conclusions.

5)  Having too many people review and comment on your application essay — Every person who reviews an essay will have suggestions.  Applicants should pick a few trusted advisors and work with them, or the essay could become a watered-down “essay by committee” and show less about the applicant as an individual.

6)  Failing to manage the recommendation process — Many applicants treat recommendations as a “drop-off-and-forget” part of an application or ask the wrong person to participate.  An applicant should select a person who knows them personally and then share his or her essays and other information to best support the applicant in a recommendation.

7)  Sacrificing quality in order to submit applications in the earliest round possible — Admissions officers prefer quality; don’t rush because it will show.

8)  Not preparing adequately for the admissions interview — An admissions interview is an opportunity for applicants to show why they are suited for a particular program; anticipate questions and practice.

9)  Not being realistic about themselves — Admissions officers sometimes
wonder how applicants have time to develop a PowerPoint presentation in between the oil painting, tutoring, skiing, sky diving, Farsi speaking, flower arranging, foreign film watching, blogging, environment saving, meal delivering, judo-ing and overseas traveling some claim they engage in every week.

10) Not taking the time to demonstrate what makes them unique — Good admissions officers can spot a fake a mile off; “canned responses” reveal that an applicant is not showing his or her true self.

According to Blackman, “Every business school is different and admissions officers are looking for applicants who will succeed in their particular program as well as in the world after graduation. Showing who you are, your potential and even how you overcame blemishes to your otherwise perfect record give admissions officers insight into your potential as a student and as a business leader.”

About Stacy Blackman Consulting

Stacy Blackman (www.stacyblackman.com), founder and president of Stacy Blackman Consulting, has helped clients gain admission to every top business school in the world. Her approach, based on developing and implementing a winning marketing strategy, makes the application process less stressful and more successful.