MBA Prestige May Not Matter That Much

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How To Explain An Unemployment Gap And Strengthen Your MBA Application

A gap in employment history is not the end of the world for MBA applicants. The biggest mistake MBA applicants can make is not explaining a period of unemployment when applying for business school.

Sound scary?  Worried that being honest could cost you a spot at your target business school? US News and World Report and the University of Cambridge recently discussed a few tips to explain job loss and strengthen an MBA application:

1.) Discuss What You Learned During Unemployment Period: Being able to explain how you’ve learned from mistakes is crucial in an MBA application. Failure is often a time of self-reflection and personal growth. A strong applicant is one who can demonstrate an ability to move forward and channel failure into growth. Understand your failures and use them to build and improve.

2.) Take Time For Extra Curricular Activities: A time of unemployment can be spent wisely. On top of applying for jobs, find something you are passionate about. Whether it’s sports, art, or volunteer work, your activities outside of work can illustrate that you are a well-rounded candidate. This is your time to build on other skills that are important for an MBA.

3.) Stay Positive

Putting blame on yourself or on your previous employer is not a smart move. MBA applicants should convey a positive tone in their applications. Rather than point fingers, acknowledge your mistakes in your application and move forward. Resilience and learning to own up to past failures are qualities of successful business individuals.

At the end of the day, admission committee members are humans too. There is no one-thing that will make-or-break your MBA application. Have confidence and understand that this period of unemployment can be channeled into something positive.

Sources: US News, University of Cambridge