Harvard | Ms. Female Sales Leader
GMAT 740 (target), GPA 3.45
Chicago Booth | Mr. Unilever To MBB
GRE 308, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Mr. Finance
GMAT 750, GPA 3.0
MIT Sloan | Ms. Rocket Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.9
Harvard | Mr. Defense Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Kellogg | Mr. Maximum Impact
GMAT Waiver, GPA 3.77
Kellogg | Mr. Concrete Angel
GRE 318, GPA 3.33
Chicago Booth | Mr. Healthcare PM
GMAT 730, GPA 2.8
INSEAD | Mr. Product Manager
GMAT 740, GPA 63%
Kellogg | Ms. Sustainable Development
GRE N/A, GPA 3.4
UCLA Anderson | Mr. SME Consulting
GMAT 740, GPA 3.55 (as per WES paid service)
Wharton | Mr. Future Non-Profit
GMAT 720, GPA 8/10
Harvard | Mr. Military Quant
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Harvard | Mr. Healthcare PE
GRE 340, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. Renewables Athlete
GMAT 710 (1st take), GPA 3.63
Kellogg | Ms. Big4 M&A
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Army Aviator
GRE 314, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Ms. Gay Techie
GRE 332, GPA 3.88
INSEAD | Mr. INSEAD Aspirant
GRE 322, GPA 3.5
Chicago Booth | Ms. Indian Banker
GMAT 740, GPA 9.18/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. Army Engineer
GRE 326, GPA 3.89
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Salesman
GMAT 700, GPA 3.0
Tuck | Mr. Liberal Arts Military
GMAT 680, GPA 2.9
Columbia | Mr. Energy Italian
GMAT 700, GPA 3.5
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Quality Assurance
GMAT 770, GPA 3.6
Harvard | Mr. African Energy
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
NYU Stern | Ms. Luxury Retail
GMAT 730, GPA 2.5

How To Get Accepted By A Top Business School — The Best Of Jon Fuller

Waitlist Follow Up Letter: How do I make my candidacy more compelling?

Teleste

I am on Ross’ waitlist. Ross is my 1st choice school and I am preparing my 300-word response to try and stay in the running…-What will Ross look for? Should I focus on my application’s weaknesses and try and fill the gaps?

Jon

Thanks for the post . . . given the academic information that you provided [See Post], I don’t see that as a factor that would’ve pushed you to the WL, so that leaves a couple of other things to consider. The main one that jumps out to me is how your background connects to your goals and whether they’re realistic and sensible. It’s obviously a big jump from video games to energy.

Go back to your materials and interview with a fresh set of eyes and think about how you conveyed your plans – did you point to specific skills and experiences that you possess that will make your career transition feasible? Were you detailed about your goals, not only speaking to industry, but also functions you want to pursue? Specific companies you plan to target and particular roles/titles? If you didn’t show that kind of detailed thought in your essays/interview, then your update could include a mention of how you’ve continued to research your goals. This can help increase the adcom’s confidence that you’re focused and that you have a feasible plan.

Since Ross is mostly looking for any new information that has come to light since you applied, I think mentioning the internship is also a great idea. That definitely qualifies, and it shows your seriousness about preparing for the MBA experience. The adcom is also looking for a clear indication that you’re still really interested in attending. Providing an update at all generally accomplishes this goal, but showing how you’ve continued to engage with the Ross community, new research that you’ve done on the program, etc. is advisable. Be mindful to not just rehash what they already know if at all possible. They know you visited campus, did the group exercise, etc., so hopefully there are other tangible things that you can highlight.

Standing Out: How do you separate yourself from the crowd?

Rajiv Shukla 

I am an Indian engineer aiming to pursue my MBA from a top-tier U.S. business school. Can you tell me what things I need to do in order to become a competitive applicant in the near future for the top-tier programs?

Jon

This is a question that all candidates need to address effectively, and it’s all the more important for candidates from typically overrepresented backgrounds (for example, Indian males with an engineering background).

When laying out a plan to do this, keep in mind the broad elements that the admissions process assesses – academics, professional experiences, and extracurriculars/interests/hobbies. For academics, you can stand out by having stronger academics than the typical applicant – graduated from a very well-known undergrad at the top of your class; a GMAT that is way above a school’s average. Undergrad is important in that the perceived reputation/quality of the school can help elevate you.

At a first glance, an adcom is going to be more impressed with an engineering candidate who graduated from MIT than an engineering candidate who graduated from a school they’re not familiar with. Most are going to be initially more enthusiastic about the MIT grad. Professionally, you want your work to show significant impact and results (quantifiable whenever possible), progression in responsibility, demonstrated leadership, excellent team work skills, etc. Working for a well-known employer is also an asset for similar reasons as it’s preferable to have attended a well-known undergrad. Extracurriculars can reinforce many the same elements that your professional experiences can, but these activities also serve to make you more interesting and memorable as well. A robust set of interests also provides an adcom with the confidence that you’ll be an involved student while in the program. Do all of these things at an exceedingly high level with flawless execution, and you’ll go a long way to being competitive in the applicant pool.

[Check out Why B-Schools Reject MBA Applicants]