Must-Read Tips For Your MBA Application Essay
The deadlines are fast approaching. There’s no time to procrastinate – and no where left to hide. So what can you do now to increase your likelihood of getting into the school of your choice? Our friends at F1GMAT.com shared some keys to making your essay stand out:
1) Don’t Fake It: Admissions has seen it all before. Sure, you want to stretch your volunteer work (and travel). But getting involved in these areas a year before you enroll raises questions. If you haven’t volunteered much, you’re better off emphasizing your leadership experience.
2) No Excuses: Business schools care little about why you had a low GMAT score or got fired from your first job. They want to know what you learned – and what steps you’ve taken to turn setbacks and weaknesses into turning points and strengths. Focus on how you reacted and changed (for the better).
3) Focus on Relevance: When editing your essays, ask yourself: “Does this reinforce my message and bolster my candidacy?” Also, be cautious about how much personal information you share. Ask youself: Does this reflect good judgment and maturity? Similarly, look at your extra-curriculars and resume to determine if they’re relevant and reflect leadership and communication skills.
4) Clean Up Your Social Profile: See point 3.
5) Don’t Exaggerate: Titles…responsibilities…achievements. You raise a red flag by exaggerating any of these. It demonstrates questionable confidence and integrity. Admissions has seen and read it all before. Honesty is the best policy.
6) Avoid Inconsistencies: Look at your resume and essays. Do they cover similar ground? Do they give the same areas the same weight? Note that some decision-makers may only read one document and not the other. And those who review both are always looking for holes.
7) Strike A Balance: You have to walk a thin line. If you constantly use “I” in your essays, you’ll come off as hogging the spotlight. If you constantly use “we,” your reader will assume you didn’t lead anything. While editing, track how often you use “I” and “we” and which makes most sense given the context.
How Old Is Too Old For An MBA?
“You’re never too old to learn something new.”
Well, that’s what the optimists would like to believe. But a 40 year-old full-time b-school student? You’d probably earn more respect being the proverbial 40 year-old virgin.
Ageism is alive and well, even if it isn’t overt and codified. You’ve probably heard the cracks about students older than 28. They’re too slow and set in their ways, some say. They’re wannabes whose time has long passed. And they probably took a spot from someone who possessed more “upside.” So where can older students go to gain the tools to make a career transition?
Christie St-John, director of admissions at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management, would suggest an Executive MBA program to older students. These programs are structured for working professionals, with tuition often paid by their employers. The downside, of course, is that weekend classes can siphon off family time. Such programs also don’t includde internship opportunities for students looking for experience needed to change career paths.
St.-John also points out one student group who thrive in traditional MBA programs: Military veterans. She notes that this student group possesses strong leadership skills and rich experiences, but often possesses minimal business know-how. In fact, veterans often make great mentors to traditional students in St.-John’s experience.
Regardless, older applicants often possess an advantage over their younger breathen: A clear sense of purpose. According to Sara E. Neher, assistant dean for MBA admissions at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, these students frequently come with a plan. Perhaps that’s the real benefit of being an older student: You’ve figured out exactly what you need to learn and want to achieve.
Source: Bloomberg Businessweek
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