Are You Prepared For MBA Background Checks?
You’ve been accepted to your dream b-school. You’re in, you think. This is it.
That is, once you pass the MBA admissions background check.
Stacy Blackman, of Stacy Blackman Consulting, recently discussed how background checks in MBA admissions work and what admissions officers see as potential red flags.
“Background checks in MBA admissions are more common for some schools than others, but their overall use is growing,” Blackman writes. “Some programs vet every admitted applicant, while others randomly select a percentage of candidates. Still others delve further only when something seems to raise a red flag.”
Most Common Red Flags
While most students will typically be pass the background check, there are a few instances that raise red flags for admissions officers.
Blackman says the typical reasons for rejecting a candidate include:
- Ethical lapses
- Questionable behavior
- Not disclosing a layoff or firing
- Evidence of plagiarism
- Not disclosing a criminal conviction
“Willful deception or lying by omission will jeopardize your admission,” Blackman writes. “Minor discrepancies such as being off by a month when listing your employment dates likely won’t. Most schools give applicants a chance to explain any plausible mistakes.”
The Importance in Transparency
If you want to avoid failing a background check and getting your decision revoked, Blackman suggests being honest and transparent in your application.
“If you’re on the fence about whether to include or explain something in your application, chances are you probably should mention it,” she writes. “When the issue is something like poor academic performance or a gap in employment history, it’s always best to come completely clean.”
Those most vulnerable during this process are those who choose to omit critical information.
”Vulnerability during the background verification process manifests itself either through a discrepancy, or through an absence of information,” Marina Glazman, Director of Background Verification Services at admissions consulting firm The MBA Exchange, tells Poets & Quants. “Any input that appears to conflict with other information provided, or insufficient data to support information provided, can raise a red flag.”
Being transparent about your past, however, doesn’t necessarily equate to failure.
“The admissions team isn’t looking for perfection in applicants,” Blackman writes. “Major failures can translate into a story about lessons learned and self-improvement. These can actually help your candidacy if you show how you’ve become a wiser, more humble person because of them.”