The Rise Of Online & Part-Time MBAs

Strengthening Your MBA Application

Strengthening an MBA application requires careful construction and focus. But experts say one of the best ways to strengthen an application is to avoid repetition.

Ilana Kowarski, a reporter at U.S. News, recently discussed ways applicants can strengthen their applications.

Avoiding repetition

You might have one strength or accomplishment that you really want to highlight in your application. However, according to experts, it’s best to have a balanced application that highlights a wide variety of your personality and experiences.

Deena Maerowitz is a principal with the Bertram Group admissions consulting firm and former associate director of admissions with the Columbia Business School. In an interview with US News, Maerowitz says focusing too much on a single accomplishment or trait can come across negatively.

“You want to be able to cover different facets of who you are and not be repetitive,” she tells U.S. News.

Think about questions admissions officer may ask

Your personal statement should illustrate your personality and fit to a program by answering questions that admissions officers are likely to ask.

Michella Chiu is an admissions consultant with the PROFEDVICE company. Chiu tells U.S. News that essays and applications should answer three critical questions.

“A good compelling story, in a personal statement or as revealed by application materials, should always answer three questions: Why you? Why now? Why this program?”

According to Stacy Blackman Consulting, applicants should always review previous years’ essay questions to get a good understanding of the types of questions admissions officers are asking.

“Although many schools change their essay questions from year to year, by reading a prior year’s application, you will develop a good idea of the types of stories you will need,” Blackman writes. “Knowing that you will be asked to describe a leadership experience may motivate you take on a leadership role – in or outside of work. Knowing that you will have questions about community involvement will push you to finally become involved.”

Answer the right question

This may seem obvious, but it’s important to provide answers to the questions being asked. Experts say applicants too often get carried away in answering a question that they fail to address the right question being asked.

“Sometimes people write what they want to say rather than what the question asks,” David Simpson, an admissions director of the London Business School, tells U.S. News. “Applicants need to be quite careful about shoehorning that information in where it isn’t being asked for.”

After you finish your application, be sure to review every aspect of your profile and ensure that information is not being repeated. Avoiding repetition, knowing what questions will be asked, and answering those questions directly will set your application up for success.

Sources: U.S. News, Stacy Blackman Consulting