3 Strategies To Make Your Application Stand Out

3 Strategies to Make Your Application Stand Out

Making your MBA application stand out can be tough—especially at top business schools where acceptance rates can fall to single digits.

Fortuna Admissions recently highlighted a few strategies to help make your application stand out amongst the competition.


Before diving into your application, it can be helpful to take some time to reflect and think about what values, skills, and strengths are unique to you.

“Many of us don’t have a habit of self-reflection, making the idea feel awkward or challenging. You might feel unsure about how big you can dare to dream or uncomfortable thinking too far ahead,” Fortuna’s Caroline Diarte Edwards, former Director of MBA Admissions at INSEAD, says. “Beginning a process of deep reflection several months ahead of application deadlines gives you both time to get introspective and to ritualize it as routine. Insights may not arrive immediately, but just voicing the questions and inviting the answers can elicit unexpected connections. The answers may appear suddenly or at odd moments – reading a blog, commuting to the office or gazing through the cabin window of an airplane.”


Too often, applicants will make the mistake of trying to build an inauthentic narrative of themselves that they think admission officers want to hear. The key to conveying a unique perspective, experts say, is to be vulnerable—both with yourself and with your reader.

“When you take the risk to be vulnerable, it inspires a human connection, and it’s so much more appealing to read,” Fortuna’s Karla Cohen says. “The more personal you can be in terms of why you do what you do, the more interesting and memorable you’ll be. Because so few people are. Few people are honest, and fewer are vulnerable in the process of storytelling. But there is something so powerful about the truth when you read it – it hits you.”


One strategy Fortuna recommends is to connect your strengths with your story. Finding a compelling way to align your values and beliefs to your accomplishments will help your application shine.

“What’s compelling to the admissions committee is what you’ve learned from your experiences, and how they’ve grown your personal and professional ability to imagine, act and lead,” Fortuna’s Judith Silverman Hodara, former head of Wharton admissions, says. “To get there, consider the circumstances, defining moments, and pivot points that have shaped you, the achievements you’re most proud of, and the challenges you’ve faced and overcome along the way.”

Sources: Fortuna Admissions, P&Q

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