Tips on Applying to Business School
Recently, The Financial Times surveyed its MBA student bloggers on tips for getting into business school. Here is some of their advice:
Follow The Four C’s
“When considering an MBA, too may people get hung up on school rankings and don’t focus enough on the qualities that can make or break your business school experience. My advice to prospective students is to carefully consider these 4 Cs: Community, Career, Courses and Clubs.
“Community – The idea of “fit” is a real thing and it largely boils down to the school’s community. Admissions officers are intimately aware of the kind of people who thrive in their programme and work hard to select candidates that fit a certain mould. But you should also assess the school’s fit for your own needs. Make sure to connect with current students and alumni to get a sense of the type of people that go to each school. Would they make good partners for group project and, more importantly, do you see yourself becoming friends with them?
“Career – MBAs are almost always in high demand and getting a job when you graduate likely won’t be a problem. But landing your dream job could be dependent on how successful your school is at placing people in your industry of choice. Learn what kind of resources each school’s career office provides, how well connected they are with companies that interest you, and whether or not alumni have been placed at those companies.
“Courses – Not only should you take a look at the course prospectus to see what’s offered, but how are courses conducted and how are grades determined? Are you someone who thrives in a more competitive or collaborative classroom environment? Do you like being graded or would you prefer grade non-disclosure? It’s critical to know each school’s course offerings and grade policy before you apply.
“Clubs – You’ll want to make sure that there are opportunities outside of the classroom to learn about marketing, private equity, social enterprise or whatever your career interests may be. Professional clubs help expand your network and prepare you for tough interviews. Affinity clubs are important too, and most schools have clubs dedicated to supporting minority groups, international students, veterans, and more.
“Doing research on the 4 Cs will not only help you make the right decision on where to apply, but down the line this knowledge will also help you ace the admissions interview. If you’ve made it that far, make sure you know your story inside and out, believe in yourself, and then close the deal.”
– Victoria Michelotti / New York University, Stern School of Business
Be Yourself And Know What You Want
“My first piece of advice is to be totally honest. Express who you really are [and] don’t be afraid to be different. Applications should be seen as two-way processes. The school has to suit you and you have to suit the school. If the school you are applying to has an entrepreneurial focus and you have no history or no intention of becoming an entrepreneur, for example, do you really want to be accepted by this school? I appreciate many people will have their hearts set on particular schools, but have the attitude – the school should want me for who I am. If this doesn’t fit, then see it as a blessing.
“My top tip though is: research what the school you’re applying to [specialises in]. It is you, not the school, who is going to be the one finding it a grind to complete your assignments if you’re not enjoying or appreciating what is being taught. I’ve heard all too often during my MBA how people are unhappy with the modules being delivered and how things they wanted to focus on are only touched upon. The content is pretty clear at the application stage as to what modules are taught. If you research this then you can fully understand what you are applying to do. Those who enjoy and gain the most from their experiences generally have a good appreciation for what is ahead.”
– Gareth Rees / University of Bath School of Management
Ask The Right Questions
“Prospective students must first understand themselves and know who they are before they even apply. Although it may seem peculiar, there’s actually a very good reason why business schools prefer [candidates to have] several years of work experience. Landing one’s first “real job” out of a four-year college degree paves a road leading to maturity and self-awareness. A lot of the MBA curriculum simply involves understanding how the world works, and the topics that students study are best absorbed and applied by mature adults.
“Once prospective applicants really know themselves and what they want out of life, questions to consider are: does this school specialise in the field I want to pursue? What are the school’s employment placement statistics? How robust is the career management center and alumni network? How much debt am I willing to finance? Do I want to live and work overseas? Do I want to keep my full-time job while attending business school?”
– Brenden Sheehan, Thunderbird School of Global Management
To read additional advice from bloggers from Harvard, Booth and Columbia, click on The Financial Times link below.
DON’T MISS: A GREAT 100 HOUR MBA APPLICATION
Source: The Financial Times