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What Is the Most Important Item in Your MBA Application?

January 5, 2013 3:25 am0 commentsViews: 182
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Many potential MBA students are always wondering what are the most important aspects of getting through MBA admissions successfully. If you have a 2.9 GPA and a 670 GMAT and a few years of work experience, what are your chances? What are the most important parts of the application for MBA school? Is it the GMAT, transcript, essays, the interview, recommendations or something else?

The fact is that all of these items are important, but the best MBA schools do not just admit you based upon your numbers. Of course, it is true that having good numbers can help you in the consideration of your MBA application. A GMAT score of 550 and a GPA of 2.5 will tend to raise a red flag at a good MBA program, such as Stanford University. A 700 GMAT and a 3.5 GPA would make you a stronger candidate of course. But you should know that even an 800 GMAT and a 4.0 GPA can be turned down at a top MBA school.

If you ask a lot of admissions professionals at many universities, they will tell you that it is the sum of all the parts that makes up the successful MBA applicant. It is not one piece, but rather the sum of the total parts. The best MBA programs want to know who you really are, and statistics and a resume do not really do that. The essays, interviews and recommendations really tell the admissions people who you are.

Keep in mind that a good essay, strong recommendations and good interviews can help to provide context and improve your chances if you have a low GMAT or GPA. But if your supporting information is weak, if you make a poor representation of yourself, you will not be able to make up for this with a high GPA and GMAT score.

Some admissions experts say that the key part of your MBA application is whatever is your weakest area. the truth is that everyone has weaknesses, and you should be candid about yours. Every application has a weakness, so it is going to be seen by the admissions staff. If you point it out and are up front about it, this actually can help you. It is better than trying to hide your weaknesses, because the admissions staff are very adept at figuring out the weaknesses of candidates.

Other experts say that the essay is the key part of the application. The essays are what allows the committee to really understand who you are. This is where you are going to explain why an MBA is a good move for you, and why this school in particular is a good fit for your future career goals. You also can detail why you have much to offer the MBA program and why you deserve a slot.

MBA essays also are consistent for all applicants; everyone has to do them and they are part of every application. So it is quite easy to evaluate them and compare to others. All candidates get the same questions and the essays are reviewed by the same board. This makes for a nice level playing field.

Interviews, on the other hand, are different. Some are done by phone, some at the school, and are handled by different people with different belief systems. Recommendations also vary in quality. Some applicants have recommendations who understand the application process and know how to write an MBA recommendation, but others have no idea.

The essay is your chance to talk about your true self. You should keep in mind that most of the applicants that come into the top MBA programs are well qualified. So, the difference between an accepted application and a rejected one can be very thin. So, use the essay to make a big difference. Talk about your passions, career goals, prior experiences, and how this business school will help to fulfill your goals. You also should describe all of the benefits that you will bring the program.

It is always worth it to put your absolute best into your MBA application, because even in a weaker economy, MBAs just about always fare better than anyone else in terms of job possibilities.