Top Questions From MBA Applicants

Q: How do I add personality to the career goals essay?

A: I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to add personality to the career goals essay.   There are numerous ways to “pull out” the applicant’s personality in this essay.  Of course, exactly how to do this greatly varies by applicant and is very specific to that particular applicant’s history.  I can honestly say, that this is the “crux” of what we do at Inside MBA Admissions.   We work hard with our clients to help them understand their career goals, add personal drivers, and coach them through the essay development phase.  Among 9000 applicants you want to be memorable, and adding personality to career goals is an effective way of accomplishing this.

Q: I was heavily involved in leadership and extra-curricular activities in college, however not so much in the past 3 years since I started working. Will AdCom question this and should I justify it in one of the essays?

A: A consistent and demonstrated track record of leadership in the community or extracurricular involvement is an important component to the MBA application.  Whether or not to address your lack of recent involvement in one of the essays is very case/applicant specific.  We would need to see your whole profile, understand your justification, and look at everything in context.  This is something we advise our clients on all the time and help them come up with a strategy for addressing or compensating for it.

With that being said, it should be noted that the admissions committee will look at the reasons why you were not involved post-college to see if there is a solid reason.  Good reasons for lack of community involvement may include launching a start-up business in parallel to working full-time, dealing with a family crisis, or even simply adjusting to the demands of a full-time job.   In addition, for those that work long hours (e.g. investment bankers, consultants) admissions committees will still expect some level of Firm building activities.   They understand that your travels or your hours may prevent you from actively engaging in the community, but they will look for involvement at your Firm – training, recruiting, mentoring, intellectual capital development, publications, etc.

Q: What can we mention in your 30-minute consultations?

A: At Inside MBA Admissions, we let you, the applicant, guide the conversation.  Therefore, you can feel free to mention or discuss anything. This is your time and it is free.  Most applicants seek out our consultation for school advice (which schools to target), specific evaluation of candidacy, or more specific questions relating to weaknesses/concerns in their profile.  However the real value we try to provide is in helping you understand if you would benefit from professional assistance. Our consultations are not “salesy” and they are geared toward helping you understand your overall candidacy and identifying strengths or weaknesses that you may not have considered. You can sign up for a free consultation by clicking on the following link.


About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.