There’s some luck involved in MBA admissions, but that doesn’t mean you have to just throw the dice and wait to see how things turn out. There are a lot of things in your control you can do to make sure the odds are more in your favor.
Here are 6 ways you can improve your MBA admissions chances starting right now.
1. Do something you’re passionate about
The truth is that many applicants turn in MBA applications devoid of any genuine passion or enthusiasm. So adcoms read these applications and immediately forget them – you can’t bore your way into B-school.
You can set yourself apart from these applicants by having something you’re really enthusiastic about to talk about as part of your application – it could be at work, it could be volunteering, whatever. The important thing is to pick something and go start doing it now. It’s never too late to get started.
When you have something you’re passionate about, chances are you’ll be able to find an interesting story to tell about it without even trying. Your excitement for what you’re doing will jump off the page of your application, and it’ll grab adcoms’ attention.
2. Approach the GMAT strategically
Don’t underestimate the importance of the GMAT. While a phenomenal score isn’t an automatic acceptance, a below-average GMAT can severely hurt your chances. Therefore, you want to approach the GMAT with a solid game plan.
Your first reference point when studying for the GMAT should always be The Official Guide For GMAT. Make it your bible.
Once you’ve gone through and know the content of the GMAT forward and backward, try branching out to other resources – Princeton Review, Kaplan, Manhattan GMAT and Magoosh are some good ones.
You can also use GMAC’s newly released exam pack to make sure you’re practicing on up-to-date tests.
3. Build a dream team
No one gets into B-school alone. You need people to nurture you, mentor you and ultimately write you good recommendations.
Recognize that having people to vouch for you is an important part of your application, and start building these relationships now. Reconnect with people you might ask for letters.
Even if a recommender is your immediate supervisor at your current workplace, make sure you are developing a reputation as someone who goes above and beyond in your work. Go the extra mile for your recommenders so they’ll go the extra mile for you when you apply to B-school.
4. Be bold
If you’re applying to selective business schools, you need to take some risks instead of doing what everyone does. Step up your game.
Maybe you have a chance to take on a new role at work, move to a new country, or exercise leadership in a cross-functional project. Whatever it is, look for bold opportunities and request to get involved. It’ll take your leadership cred to the next level and challenge you to grow.
5. Have clear goals
Strong goals that you’re committed to aren’t just going to fall out of the sky. It’s up to you to find them. This involves lots of self-reflection and lots of research.
These are some of the questions you need to have answers to that you believe in:
– Why do you want an MBA? You need to have clear personal and professional reasons for why you need an MBA and why you need it now, not two years ago or two years from now.
– Why are you interested in these schools? Before you have an answer that the schools you’re applying to will believe, you need to have one that you believe.
– What will you bring? A vital question to nail down in your introspection is what unique perspective you’ll bring and how you’ll enrich the program you attend. Knowing this will be a central reference point you use to make a compelling case to adcoms.
6. Research your schools
You’ll never wish you knew less about the schools you’re applying to. Researching schools is an essential step to going beyond the rankings and figuring out what defines each program so you can find the right fit.
The best kind of research is in-person research done as part of a visit. Visiting a school is one of the biggest favors you can do for yourself as an MBA applicant.
If visiting the schools you’re applying to absolutely isn’t an option, take full advantage of all other resources the school provides. Go to online webinars, attend an info session in your city, meet with alums – go for all of it!
Getting started on these six things right now will make the rest of the application process that much easier, and it’ll make you a stronger applicant. If you want to know how you stack up against other applicants, you can get started finding that out right now too – just sign up for our free assessment!