The Biggest Mistakes in an MBA Application
Too many applicants…Narrow-minded adcoms…Mediocre GMATs.
Those are often the excuses we make for getting rejected (or waitlisted). Call it human nature: It’s easier to blame distant and faceless forces than take an objective look at our candidacy. Make no mistake: It’s usually what we say or fail to say (or how we approach the application itself) that ultimately dooms our candidacies.
That’s the underlying theme behind an excellent article from InGenius Prep, a graduate school consulting firm that boasts former admissions directors (and assistant directors) from iconic institutions like Wharton, Berkeley Haas, and NYU Stern.
Before you send out that first round application – or think your resume, essays, and recommendations as “good enough” – take a look at InGenius Prep’s insights on the biggest mistakes that keep good candidates out of schools where they deserve to be:
“Personal statement that is not personal. Following the same thought as the resume, the Personal Statement should be about you and what makes you different from other applicants (in a good way, obviously): why will your presence in the community be a benefit for the school? What do you offer the school that others cannot? Why is that offering important? It is alright to address other people (most frequently, grandparents) in your personal statement, but just remember: after reading the essay, the admissions office should be impressed by you – not by the other person you wrote about.”
“They are running away from something, not running towards something. According to a long-time admissions reader from Wharton (who requested to remain anonymous), one of the biggest red flags in a b-school application is when a student appears to be pursuing an MBA more to escape what came before it than to prepare for what lies ahead of it. That is, often times it is clear that applicants have no clear vision of how an MBA will help them in their future endeavors (sometimes, that’s made most abundantly clear where applicants appear to have little or no idea of what those future endeavors might entail).”
“Going for big names in letters of recommendation, rather than big value. A lot of applicants – particularly those from reputable financial and/or consulting firms – neglect the possible recommenders who have had genuine and profound exposure to the applicant. Instead, these applicants think that if their recommendations are coming from the head honcho, they are better off. This is a common, and sometimes fatal error. It is abundantly clear when someone is writing a letter of recommendation based on a tired, old, overused template which could describe any of 1,000 young associates. Make sure your recommenders actually know who you are, have seen you perform at your best, and who can credible attest to how you generate success, and overcome failure.”
“Resume which is a monologue, instead of a dialogue. Forget listing all the tasks you accomplished in hopes of impressing the reviewer. Describe what you did that made the organization better than it was before you arrived. Don’t brag, use data or tangible evidence to support your achievements. Sales increased, customer complaints decreased, satisfaction scores soared. Were you able to solve a problem that had been a real issue for customer service? Or did you guide a team through a difficult project and still delivered a flawless effort? How did you handle it and how was your effort the one that made the difference? This is what the reviewer wants to read about.”
“Even when they have an answer for “Why this MBA program”, their answer is incoherent and often jumbled. For someone who has not done their homework and found schools that resonate well with their passions, trying to articulate the “why” will end up being a long and arduous explanation rather than a clear, concise and informative statement. Admissions offices don’t just want to hear about what they can offer you, they also want to hear about what you can offer them. Making it clear that your answer to “why this school” is a two-way street goes a long way in persuading someone to pull for you in the admissions office.”
To read the full article, click on the InGenius Prep link below:
Don’t Miss: How to Get Accepted by a Top Business School
Source: InGenius Prep