Getting into an MBA program can be competitive. Knowing what information you will have to produce to complete an MBA application, and understanding how to communicate your unique skills and talents to an admissions committee may be one way to get a leg up on your competition.
Common MBA Application Materials
Application requirements will vary from program to program, but some of the most common pieces of information requested from MBA applicants include:
- Completed Application Form
- Undergraduate Transcripts
- Work History (Resume)
- Letters of Recommendation
- Personal Statement or Essays
- GRE/GMAT Scores
- TOFEL Scores (International Students Only)
Each element of the application provides insight into who you are as a person, a professional, and a student. Applications committees use the information from each element of the application as a lens through which to judge your fit with their program.
The personal statement or essay helps the admissions committee understand who you think you are as a person and what you hope to achieve in the future; recommendation letters tell them about how other people perceive you and what they judge your potential to be; transcripts and resumes provide insight into your past educational and professional experiences; and GRE/GMAT scores help members quantitatively compare you against other applicants.
It is essential for applicants to MBA programs to ensure that each element of their application presents them as a good fit for the program they are applying to; but HOW do you do this?
Presenting Yourself to an Admissions Committee
The MBA Admissions Secrets eBook from GradSchools.com contains application advice from the admissions professionals from over 20 MBA programs. Find out what qualities these admissions professionals’ value in applicants and learn how you might present yourself as an interesting and competitive candidate.
Some of the advice from admissions professionals in the MBA Admission Secrets eBook includes;
“While business experience is important, there are many other aspects of your background that can illustrate your ability to contribute in an MBA program. For this reason, make sure your resume represents your background as a whole.” —Foster School of Business – Erin E. Town
“Most business schools are looking for leadership and team skills. If you haven’t been able to highlight your leadership skills in your essay or resume, tell the person writing your recommendation that you really want them to focus on your leadership qualities. Guide the recommender; it should be a collaborative effort.” —University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – The Illinois MBA Admissions Team
“If you have gaps in your work history (you’ve been laid off or you too a gap year to travel, etc.) or you have identified a weakness in your application (below par quantitative skills), you should proactively address the issue(s) in your application.” —Emory-Goizueta – Julie Barefoot
Developing an understanding of the qualities admissions professionals are looking for in candidates may help ensure that you highlight the qualities you possess that align with those values. Your MBA application is not the time to be humble, emphasize the skills and accomplishments that you think will make you a “must have” candidate at your top choice school.