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How Social Media Influences MBA Admissions

In the internet age, nearly everyone has a presence on social media. Yet, MBA applicants and students needs to be especially careful when it comes to social media activity.

Social Media is a Reflection of an Applicant’s “Personal Brand”

Over a third of admissions officers say they look at a candidate’s social media profile when reviewing at an application, according to Kaplan Test Prep survey data.

Paola Eicher, an MBA recruitment manger with IMD, recently told Financial Times that reviewing an applicant’s social media offers a more authentic portrayal outside a traditional application.

“Some applications are too polished, too similar,” Eicher tells Financial Times. “Often, admissions coaches don’t help candidates edit their social media profiles, so they can provide an unfiltered view.”

Lisa Bevill is a director at Fortuna Admissions and former MBA Admissions Director at IE Business School in Madrid, Spain. In a Poets & Quants article, Bevill says an applicant’s social media presence is a reflection of his or her personal brand.

“They want to know if the profile presented in your resume and application is consistent across your personal and professional identities,” she writes. “This means your social media imprint should be aligned with how you perceive your personal brand.”

Watch Your Activity and Update Privacy Settings

When applying to business schools, it’s important to be mindful of what kind of activity is present on your social media platforms. Experts advise applicants to update their Facebook privacy settings to ensure there aren’t any visibly embarrassing photos.

Karen Marks is the founder of North Star Admissions Consulting. In a Poets & Quants article, Marks says a good rule of thumb regarding photos is to not have any that “you wouldn’t want your boss to see.”

In terms of social media activity, Marks advises applicants to be cautious about what they “like” – including schools you may be interested in.

“It’s better not to telegraph your complete list to admissions officers or students, and you definitely don’t want them to think that you prefer another program,” Marks writes. “It’s also a good idea to avoid participating in online discussions about highly controversial topics.”

Positive Impact of Social Media

While social media may negatively impact an applicant’s admission, it may also have positive effects. According to Kaplan Test Prep, nearly 48% of business schools say they found something on an applicant’s social media that positively influenced their chance of admission. If an applicant has a hobby or an interest they are passionate about, actively demonstrating that interest on social media may leave a positive first impression on admissions committees.

“We got a better understanding of the student. We got to learn more about their hobbies, and ambitions,” one admissions official reported.

With anything on social media, it’s important to be mindful about what you share. Anything is fair game and if you’re unsure about something may fare among admissions committees, it’s best not to post it.

Sources: Financial Times, Poets & Quants, Poets & Quants, Poets & Quants