10 things you should avoid on your MBA Application


Submitting a competitive MBA application is critical; as a candidate, your job is do thorough research and find out the unique offerings of the program(s) you’re interested in. MBA applications are time consuming especially if you are targeting more than one business school. The research phase will take quite a bit of your time and you shouldn’t leave any stone unturned when it comes to making such a big investment of time, money and energy. Below are 10 simple things you should keep in mind before submitting your application:

  1. Rushing your application: You have to proof-read your application. Every admissions officer respects the fact that you are applying to multiple business schools but they really do not need to know which ones they are!
  2. Generic essays: Doing some research beforehand will definitely strengthen your application. Every business school has a competitive edge. Find out what it is and tie it to your future goals to make a long-lasting impression.
  3. Choosing wrong references: When selecting your referee, choose someone who knows you well enough to provide examples. Your current supervisor will most likely be required as admissions committees like to learn about your current professional experience. When choosing the second one, choosing someone from your volunteer work would be ideal but if you cannot, I’d recommend choosing someone senior in your current or past company that you worked with. Don’t fall for titles; the CEO of the company might know you but it doesn’t mean that he knows your work well.

    Regardless what your references will say is beyond your control, however, you can educate them about the MBA program you’re interested in. There are certain skills all top tier MBA programs value; each of skill is required for a specific reason. For example interpersonal skills are important because you will be working in diverse teams. Careers is a hot topic in any MBA program; you should expect to network with employers and alumni all the time. Having strong communication skills will be instrumental in making a positive first impression. The MBA degree prepares you for senior level roles, therefore leadership potential is important. You should take every opportunity to demonstrate your potential to your employer so that they can touch on it
    in their reference letters.
  4. Submitting an incomplete application: To avoid unexpected delays, find out all the admissions requirements and submit a complete application. Some business schools will not review your application until it is complete and if the program is highly competitive, the class might be full by the time your application is complete.
  5. Generic questions during the interview: If you are invited for an in-person or Skype interview, it means you are inching ever closer to being admitted into our program. Consider this like a job interview; come prepared and well-dressed-yes even it’s via Skype. Have thoughtful questions. Asking things that can be found on the website will show that you have not done your research well.
  6. Excluding pertinent information: You are expected to submit a truthful application. Excluding any pertinent information such as your current studies or past work experience might jeopardize your application.
  7. Underestimating the spell check tool: Take advantage of technology, you might be a native speaker but it doesn’t mean that you mastered the Spelling Bee.
  8. Writing essays for the sake of writing: Yes, you are applying for a business school but this does not mean that you should exclude the human factor. Definitely write something you are passionate about. Business schools change their approach to essays every year, while some business schools require only one essay with no word limit, some will require you to introduce yourself in 140 characters. Take this as an opportunity to present your true self.
  9. Take ownership of your mistakes: Making mistakes is part of the experience. The art is taking ownership of our mistakes and turning them into a learning experience. If you are able to demonstrate these qualities, you will definitely earn some brownie points.
  10.  Plagiarism: Refrain yourself from copying and pasting directly from the Internet and school websites. It is easy to tell from the tone you use in your essays which sentences are genuinely yours and which ones belong to someone else!

Hope these pointers will help you submit your best application and get into the program you are interested in.

Claire Gumus Seasoned higher education and business school professional, blogger, social media strategist and a talent scout. Currently working for the Rotman School of Management as Assistant Director, Recruitment & Admissions. http://clairegumus.wordpress.com/
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