Preparing your Application

Applying to business school takes a lot of internal reflection, meticulous planning, and extraordinary effort. Most applications comprise of similar components: administrative information, official college transcript(s), resume, GMAT/GRE/Executive Assessment score(s), recommendations, and essays. Before you submit your application, make sure that your efforts are not in vain. Comb through your application thoroughly, verify that all the information you input is correctly formatted and that your story flows cohesively. Each application component should all highlight one or more of your strengths. If there is an area that leaves more to be desired, be sure to address that in an optional essay, if one is available. Here are some additional tips as you comb through your carefully crafted application:

  1. Verify your research! Top tier schools all have an exhaustive amount of information available to you through various outlets: information sessions, networking seminars, websites, videos and more. Take the time to sign up for these to glean as much information about a school as you can. This will help you ensure that the application you are submitting shows your understanding of the school’s culture, community, and opportunities.

  2. Articulate specific future goals Admissions members want to understand what your short term and long-term goals are, and how an MBA will help you achieve them. Reflect on where you see yourself in a few years – if you believe an MBA will help you get there, then you are on the right track. Make sure your goals are as specific and measurable as possible. Take time to think through this – if your plan changes at school, that is okay! Business schools won’t force you to become exactly what you wrote about in your essay. Just be sure that your background, your strengths, and your rationale for applying to business school all tie into a specific set of goals that you have set for yourself.

  3. Highlight strengths Every applicant will have a different type of value that they add to a school. Schools are looking for applicants that have leadership skills, analytical intelligence, emotional intelligence, creativity, self-awareness, global awareness, and many other traits. Think of a few that you are strong in – these areas should be highlighted in what you have done (resume and transcripts and recommendation), what you are doing (resume and transcripts and recommendation), and what you intend to do (essays, and recommendations).

  4. Don’t overlook the extracurriculars One of the best ways emphasize your uniqueness to the admissions committee is through the extracurriculars section on your resume. Take it from Peter Johnson, the assistant dean of MBA program at UC Berkeley: “To be honest, while the description of work achievements and things is very important, one of the things I enjoy is seeing what people put at the bottom of their resume… secretly I enjoy jumping down to the bottom to say, ‘what’s this person really about beyond their day-to-day job?’”

After you click submit, the battle is not yet over. Make sure you continue to maintain communication with current students, admissions members, and alumni that you have established relationships with as you crafted your application. Finally, enjoy the process! Life consists of seeking opportunities, so congratulate yourself for seeking out this one!

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