Business School Application Tips

by IJR112

The business school application process is time-consuming and mentally draining. This page will present helpful tips on how to maximize your chances of getting into b-school.

Tips on Your Application Essays

Your application essays are your chance to separate yourself from the pack of the other applicants.  Admissions committees place high importance on your essays, so you should make sure you write the best ones possible.  Here are some tips on how to make the best of this opportunity.

Understand your niche applicant pool

-Business schools like to take a certain percentage of their students from different fields of business.  For example, they will have a rough percentage of students that they want to take who are investment bankers, another certain percentage who are consultants pre-MBA, etc.  With this being said, you need to understand the pool of applicants you are competing against.  If you are an investment banker, for example, you will be competing against a very large number of applicants who are also investment bankers.  Knowing you will really be competing mostly against this pool of applicants versus all applicants is a must in your application process.  You need to somehow differentiate yourself from the other investment banker applicants.  To do this, you could show that you've extraordinary extracurricular activities and/or leadership experience.  You could have a very high GPA or GMAT score.  You could also try to write truly unique and interesting essays.  The point is that your work experience is so similar to a very large number of applicants, so you have to do something to stand out.

Show Many Different Sides to Yourself

-It is important to show that you have many different sides to yourself.  If you are an engineer, then you will be expected to have a highly quant-focused background.  Business schools will want to see that you also have leadership potential and strong interpersonal skills.  To do this, you could try your best to get a high verbal score on the GMAT.  You could also get involved in a leadership position at a non-profit.  You could also write in your essays a few examples of how you have led/managed a team of people at work.  Similarly, if you were a liberal arts major in college, you may need to try extra hard to show you can handle the rigorous quant workload of school.  You can do this by performing well on the quant section of the GMAT or by taking additional quant-focused classes.  Business schools want multi-faceted students, so understand your strengths and try to also show as many sides to yourself as possible.

Show That You've Done Major Research on the School

-Business schools want you to prove that you are serious about attending the school, so you need to prove to them your interest by doing a lot of research on the school.  You will often by asked "Why do you want an MBA and why xxxxxx school specifically?"  To really answer the "why xxxxx school?" question, you need to be able to cite very specific examples that show how much research you've undertaken about the school.  You should at a minimum cite specific classes and professors and also mention specific clubs that you will join.  You should talk to at least 2 current students about the school and then mention their names in your essays.  Mentioning these specific things will put you at a significant advantage because a large portion of applicants will fail to do this themselves.  To really show interest in the school, you should consider visiting before you apply.  This will show you are very serious about the school, because you took the time and paid the money to visit the school.

Leadership, leadership, leadership

-Business schools want students with high leadership potential.  Most people know this already, but I just wanted to reaffirm this.  Anywhere in your essays where you can mention examples of your leadership, do it.  You can't demonstrate too much leadership on your essays.

Be Interesting But Have Them Take You Seriously

-Admissions officers get tired really quickly of reading the same boring essays over and over.  You can therefore stand out by writing unique and interesting essays.  Do something to catch their attention without being silly, and you will put yourself at a significant advantage.

Try to Have a good GPA or GMAT Score

This seems obvious, but it will really help you if you at least have one or the other.  If you have an amazing GMAT score, then adcoms will often overlook a mediocre GPA.  The reverse is true as well.  So, if you have a mediocre GPA, you need to focus really hard on the GMAT.  You are probably wondering, how hard is the gmat?  Well, the GMAT is a very doable test, but you are going to have to be willing to put in a lot of time and effort into it.  The material tested on the GMAT actually isn't that difficult, but it is tested in very difficult ways.  You therefore need to have a very solid understanding of the fundamentals and put in a lot of time doing practice problems in order to get used to the way the questions work.  If you study smart and hard, however, you can definitely do well on the test.  Even if you aren't naturally good at standardized tests, you can still do well on this test.

If you have a great GPA, you should obviously still try to do well on the GMAT.  Business schools seem to be placing more emphasis on the GMAT score as part of the admissions process, so definitely try your hardest on this test.

Good Books For More Application Advice

65 Successful Harvard Business School Application Essays, Second Edition: With Analysis by the St...

YOUR LIFE . . . IN 300 WORDS OR LESSIt's a daunting task. Even the most seasoned professionals find business school application essays to be among the hardest pieces they ever w...

$16.99  $7.00
MBA Admissions Strategy: From Profile Building to Essay Writing

"Avi Gordon has achieved what most MBA admissions books strive for. In concise and clear prose he unravels the complexities of getting into a top business school... This second ...

$29.98  $17.59
Great Applications for Business School, Second Edition (Great Application for Business School)

'Great Applications for Business School' provides a flexible, practical system for enabling business school applicants to find their applications' central theme, brainstorm thei...

$14.00  $5.00
Updated: 02/16/2012, IJR112
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