Too many MBA applicants take the MBA application process lying down. They send for the application package, fill out the forms, gather the necessary information, and send in the package. They do this via snail mail or through online forms. Regardless, they are quite passive throughout the whole process. This is where many MBA applicants go wrong. If you are proactive at each stage of the process, you might just end up boosting your chances of admissions. I am not talking about just barely getting by into your ‘safe’ school, I am talking about getting into a fairly challenging MBA program. What do you need? Time and planning. You have to map out each stage of the application process and work them to your favor. Here is the strategy in chronological order.
Get to know the business school
By ‘get to know the school,’ I don’t mean check out their brochure, read US News & World Reports rankings, or even check out their website. No. I mean something deeper. Much deeper. Study all the materials you get from a particular school and figure out what kind of ‘ideal’ student they are looking for. What values does this mythical person have? What outlook? Dig deep within yourself and your past activities and achievements and see if you have these values and traits. If you do, keep that school on your list. If not, find others. At the end of the process, you should a short list of schools for which you are the ‘ideal’ candidate.
Submit application and requirements
Request all their admissions materials and gather your GMAT score and your grades. In your admissions essay, massage your packs into the ideal profile for each of these schools. Don’t go overboard or be blatant about it. Still, you have to let the reader know that you are aware of their ideal candidate and that your background fits this ideal to a ‘T’. Send in your materials.
When checking for the status of your application, don’t be passive. Call them up. Ask to talk to the admissions head to see if there is any other information you can provide. Make sure they know your name. Ask for informal interviews. Tour the campus and ask the professors.
If you are proactive enough, you might get interviews when you would normally not get one. Work this to your favor by asking lots of nicely tailored and fine-tuned questions. Let the interviewer know that you know what you are talking about.
Waiting for decision
Instead of twiddling your thumbs during this time, get an award or two at work. Get active in your community. In other words, do things that can be documented. Do things that show a maturity and depth of character. Do things that show leadership.
This guest post was written by MBA admissions coaching specialist, Chris Walker.