Applying to business school? It demands proper planning and personal determination.
As a professional, you should be interested in acquiring up-to-date knowledge in your chosen career. The program of study may not necessarily be the challenge, but how to get admission into the chosen institution is. Business owners who intend to expand their scope can also consider studying in a dedicated business school.
There are many reasons for professionals to pursue an MBA, some of which are as follows:
- Developing top-notch managerial skills
- Attain access to a huge business network
- Increase your chances of earning a higher salary
- Become a successful entrepreneur
- Capitalize on thriving career opportunities
- Experience a unique living environment and culture (during your period of study)
Getting into a recognized business school is also important. One good way to check the quality of a business school is to check its accreditation. Accreditation organizations evaluate the quality standards of a business school’s teaching, faculty, services, and students, among other things. The three most-coveted, international accreditations for MBA programs are those awarded by AACSB, AMBA, and EQUIS.
Getting into business school can be challenging – regardless of whether you’re applying to a top-tier MBA program or not. Competition is getting increasingly tougher and more people are considering graduate school – in order to secure an edge in the competitive job market.
You probably know that researching schools thoroughly is important, as well as getting a perfect GMAT score – but what about other, lesser-known but equally important factors? Here are some well-researched tips we’ve put together for your info:
MBA Admissions Tips for Professionals:
1. Start the Process Early
MBA application is time consuming, hence the need to start your preparation early in order to meet up with the requirements. Take your time to carry out necessary considerations and consultations concerning the school you are enrolling in.
From a 2018 MBA Candidate at Chicago Booth:
“Start the whole process early. Give yourself time for setbacks, delays, and more diligence on the schools. You’ll be spending the next two years of your life at one of the schools you’re applying to, so you might as well make an informed decision.”
2. Get the GMAT Done First
The GMAT assesses the higher-order reasoning skills of a candidate, including verbal, quantitative, analytical writing and integrated reasoning. The final score is derived as a function of each of these.
Most business schools would turn down the application of a candidate that didn’t perform well in their initial screening criteria. Hence there’s a need to prepare adequately in order to take the exams.
From a 2018 MBA Candidate at a leading business school:
“Get the GMAT out of the way as soon as you can. I studied every single day for three months to prepare for this test and did quite well on the first run. Overall, I think that’s what it takes to do well on this exam. Given its importance on your admission result and even scholarship package, it’s worth putting in the time and effort.”
3. Visit the Campus
The best way to find out about your preferred MBA School is to schedule a visit to the school. A visit to the school will enable you to gather information that research or talking to people won’t fetch you. Having gathered enough information, you will attain the necessary guidance to go about your application process, and thus attain an edge over other applicants.
Visit the campus early. This will help you gain an extra perspective, which you can use to talk about in your application. The key is to find out everything you can about the school, so that you can make yourself a stronger applicant in the process.
What’s more, if you do get multiple offers, it helps you decide which school to attend.
4. Meet Current and Former MBA Students
Ensure you meet both current students and alumni of the school. Engaging them in useful conversation will give you an insight into the culture of the school. Firsthand accounts from current and former MBA students would go beyond brand messages from admission adverts and school websites.
Ask them salient questions such as what led to their decision of doing an MBA program, what were their experiences or surprises, and what their regrets are.
5. Network with Professionals
The best time to network with professionals is before the application process. Experts suggest that the network you build while in the business school would propel you to succeed in the future. When networking with professionals, keep a mix of mentors and people that can link you up to professional opportunities. These professionals can also provide advice based on their own work experience and offer useful advice on how the MBA degree has advanced their professional careers. You can ask an alumni of your intended school to write a recommendation letter for you.
6. Make Specific Goals
Endeavor to point out specific skill sets that the MBA program would augment. The admission officers in most MBA schools want to know your aspirations for applying to earn an MBA degree. Leverage on your essays and interview to convince them that you would make a difference when you get into the school.
Your end goal is to be able to convince the admissions officers that you will put your MBA education to good use by making a positive impact on the world. This is something that will help you stand out and boost your chances of being accepted by one of the top business schools.
7. Show your Motivation and Passion for the Program
Experts say although it is common for people who are unsure about their career goals to apply to business school, prospective students should only apply to MBA programs if they have a clear answer to the question of why they want an MBA and how an MBA will help them in the future.
“The answer should show focus, direction and sufficient self-reflection,” Blackman wrote in a different post. “If you aren’t 100 percent sure that an MBA is what you need to succeed, the admissions committee isn’t going to take a chance on you either.” In addition, after earning your MBA, you will stand tall among your contemporaries when you get back to work.
The case to pursue an MBA is strong for workers who hope to become leaders in industries where executives usually have MBAs, Blackman wrote in a blog post. “If your sights are set on working for companies such as Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase & Co., McKinsey & Co. or Boston Consulting Group, know that having the MBA credential is typically an unspoken requirement.”
8. Showcase your Personality in your Application and Interviews
Trying to be the perfect candidate or writing an essay portraying who you think the admissions office wants to read about is the quickest way to getting your application tossed. Like your personal life, people can tell when you’re not being genuine, and telling a mundane story about being an impeccable employee doesn’t showcase any personality or character.
Remember, you’re competing with founders of start-ups, investment bankers, and valedictorians – find a way to differentiate yourself and tell a story about why you’d make a unique contribution to the class.
9. Ensure your Resume/CV reflects your Business Acumen
Business school admissions consultants say an MBA resume should highlight soft skills that are essential for business executives, such as leadership, communication and teamwork skills. It’s also important to show evidence of meaningful personal growth.
From a 2018 MBA Candidate at a business school:
“Don’t take this time to be humble. Make it your time to shine! If you work in a technical field but are applying for an MBA, make sure your resume/CV reflects your business acumen. It’s common for your resume to highlight your technical skills, but not reflect the business skills you’ve acquired.”
10. Research how each School Fits in with your Personal and Professional Goals
Experts say it is important for prospective students to find out the academic credentials of admitted students at various business schools in order to gauge their competitiveness in the business school applicant pool. For instance, Harvard Business School has produced 64 billionaire alumni, the most by far of any graduate business school in the world, according to a new report from Wealth-X.
“Not all programs are the same, so I suggest applicants do a lot of research as well as soul-searching prior to the school selection process,” Blackman wrote in a blog post. “Being realistic about your profile and aligning yourself with programs that mesh with your particular academic and professional background is the surest recipe for success.”
11. Self-Awareness and Humility
As you approach your MBA applications, keep in mind that your ability to gracefully and constructively admit that you have failed before may make you more, not less attractive to elite institutions. In soul-bearing essays in MBA applications such as Stanford‘s What Matters Most to You – consider disclosing personal failures or successes in a discreet and strategic manner so that schools that are looking out for candidates who can identify their strengths and weaknesses will possibly consider your application with the purpose to maximize your potential
12. Don’t Apply to Too Many Schools
Experts recommend that prospective business students apply to a mix of business schools, including at least one reach school, at least one safety school and a school where their test scores, grades and work experience match with that of the typical student, except in rare cases where only one school matches a prospective student’s requirements. Applying to a variety of business schools increases the odds of acceptance to an MBA program assuming that each application is carefully constructed but applying to an excessive number of schools often results in sloppy applications.
“Don’t apply to more than six schools,” Blackman wrote in a blog post. “This is an intense and time-consuming process. Applying to too many schools leads to burnout and diminishing returns.”
13. Show your Leadership Potential
Business schools are known to value the leadership potential of their candidates very highly. Consequently, applicants often worry that their work experiences are not strong enough to impress the Admissions Committee – especially when they do not hold a high-ranking title or do not have direct reports under their supervision. Aside from formal leadership responsibilities within your organization, use the tips below to showcase your future leadership potential in your MBA applications:
- Use examples of your success in selling ideas to showcase your leadership potential
- Play up personal passions
- Include informal mentoring and influencing
14. Forge a Good Rapport with your Referee
Whether you are planning to enter the job market or enroll in an MBA program, references are part of the application process. Plan ahead and identify those who can speak convincingly to your performance. A tip to the wise: always ask before listing someone as a reference or sharing their contact information.
15. Engage an Admissions Consultant
You can also choose to consider free consultation sessions provided by admissions consultants in Singapore, which can help in evaluating one’s candidacy and learning more about the best-value services for one’s particular needs. During such sessions, you can also ask your consultant other questions about business education and clarify any doubts you have about admission preparation (regarding the GMAT test, school selection, essays, resume, admissions interview, etc.).
Once you’ve identified all the areas you need to work on, getting into the right MBA School will be achievable. You need to be creative in the way you outline your accomplishments, study your GMAT and develop a good attitude to reaching your goals. Endeavor to seek help in areas you find yourself lacking and prepare for a rigorous academic program.
Finally, don’t continuously pester admissions officers, but do try to connect with them and follow up appropriately. Send a thank you note and get in touch by e-mail or with a phone call to ask a smart question so they know you’re interested. Or attend an event the school is having in your area.
If you would like to seek help in reaching the next step in your development as a business professional – you can get in touch with our educational consultants now!