Along with your official GMAT results, letters of recommendation, application essay, and transcripts, most MBA schools require applicants to complete an application form. Although this may seem like the easiest part of the process, great care should be taken when completing the form. It provides the school with a quick overview of your qualifications. Here are some things to keep in mind during this important part of the application process.
In general, provide as much detail as possible. When asked about your education and work experience, there may be a space for you to list accomplishments, awards, responsibilities, etc. If you were first in your undergraduate class, be sure to include that information. If you increased productivity by 15 percent at your previous job, make certain you mention that, even if it is also included on your resume.
Most schools will pose a question or series of questions that the MBA applicant must address in their essay. A large number of potential questions can be asked, but most usually focus on just a few themes. They can include personal accomplishments, career goals, ethics, personal interests, personal failures, and personal values, as in what qualities you admire most in others.
Before you even begin to jot down initial ideas, it is important that you thoroughly understand exactly what the question is asking. An outstanding essay that does not specifically address the original question will be looked upon unfavorably by universities. For example, you may be asked to discuss a personal failure and how you dealt with that failure. Even if you feel your essay would be more effective if you described an academic failure, resist the urge to stray from the assigned topic.
The next step is to brainstorm possible ideas for your essay. Some authorities on MBA essays recommend that the applicant allow several weeks for this step. It is possible that you might think of the perfect idea right away, but giving yourself some time to think about it may lead to thoughts that you would not have considered initially.
Next, a rough draft should be constructed. Again, it is a good idea to put it away for a period of time before you look at it again. Take a second look, and begin the revisions. Most resources say that any unnecessary words or information should be removed from the essay. In addition, admissions committees should really get an idea of who you are as a person, so avoid using cliché words, phrases, and ideas.
When you are satisfied with what your essay contains, go over it again for any issues with spelling, punctuation, grammar, and word usage. In addition, double check that the essay adheres to the word count requirements set forth by the school. Significantly exceeding the word count limit can lower your essay score.
By paying attention to exactly what kind of information a school wants to know, preparing a succinct and personal essay that demonstrates your individuality, and giving yourself plenty of time to devote to the writing process, you can increase the chances of being accepted into an MBA program.
On the day of the interview, dress professionally and conservatively, just like you would in an actual business environment. Bring multiple copies of your resume so everyone who will be participating in the interview can have their own copy. Try to relax so you will not appear nervous.
Similarly, focus on the area of business that you would like to specialize in during your MBA. If you want to focus on project management, for example, highlight the courses and positions that involved working on tasks related to this specific area.
Generally, it is recommended that jobs be listed by reverse chronological order. Ideally, more recent positions will show that you have assumed more complex roles and responsibilities compared to older ones. Highlight the key responsibilities for each position. In this way, admissions committees will be able to see how you have progressed in the business world since graduation.
Research your options: The more scholarships you apply for, the more likely you will be successful in being awarded one. Devote some time to researching your options. Chances are your school will have a scholarship and awards department that can help you with this step. They will be able to give you information about scholarships that are offered by your school and other organizations.
Determine your eligibility: While it is a good idea to apply for as many scholarships as you can, make sure you actually meet the eligibility criteria. Some scholarships are offered based on gender, nationality, or even the type of major you wish to pursue. Apply only to the ones you stand a chance of winning. Otherwise, the time spent filling out the application forms will have been wasted.
Pay attention to detail: In some cases, you will be automatically considered for scholarships based on your academic performance during your undergraduate degree, or your GMAT score. Other scholarships will require you to submit an application. If this is the case, be sure to thoroughly review the instructions and submit everything that is asked for. Most importantly, make sure you give yourself enough time to devote to the scholarship application process. Some applications may require you to write an essay or complete a questionnaire. Do not leave this step until the night before. Research what the scholarship is all about and develop an application that will make those in charge of granting the prize take notice.
Research your potential schools: Some MBA schools have more generous scholarship programs than others. While you should avoid settling for a lower quality school just because you are more likely to receive a scholarship, you must also consider your own personal financial situation during the decision making process.
Last Updated: 05/13/2013