The MBA application package is your branding portfolio. It can secure you not only admission, but also a scholarship. But, how to build a unique and outstanding application?
Just stick to our nine steps described below which have been tested for more than a decade in admissions consulting for MBA applicants all over the world.
What are the elements of the MBA application?
The full MBA application package consists of an application form, CV/resume, letters of reference, application essays, university diploma and official transcripts, test scores (GMAT, GRE, TOEFL, IELTS, etc.). Additional essays or other materials may be required for a scholarship application.
Your application “portfolio” must be informative, focused, and coherent. It should present what is really unique about your profile, how you will contribute to the MBA programme, and how you will benefit from it.
Where to begin and how to be efficient?
The MBA application package should be coherent. All elements should come into play together and just like a puzzle, build the big picture with all the important details about you with all their flavor and colour. Follow the steps below to create an application package that will provide the AdComs with all they need to evaluate your application in the best possible light:
Start by reviewing the admissions requirements and the checklist of application materials which you need to submit. You will find all the details on the websites of the universities to which you are applying. Remember that although requirements might seem similar, there are always important differences. If there is something you are not sure about, it is best to contact the school’s admissions office and clarify it. Do not assume that because one business school requires something, the rest will do the same. Always ask each business school separately.
Prepare a detailed CV. You will need it to pull out important details and insert them in different parts of the MBA application package. This is just a working version of your CV, so the format is not important. What matters most is that it is really complete. Do not forget your achievements, hobbies, interests. Do not limit the CV to your professional life only. The AdComs are very much interested in your personality.
Plan where to place each important piece of information. Review the application form, recommendation forms and instructions/questions to recommenders, essay topics, as well as any interview questions which may be available in advance. Analyse the student profile – average age, years of work experience, academic and professional background, geographic diversity, etc. Some important details about you may be mentioned more than once – for example in your essays and in the recommendation forms, or in the application CV/resume and one of the essays, etc.
Start working on the application essays. They usually take much more of your time than you initially planned. Although most of the essays are short – up to 500 words, making a strong essay takes brainstorming, writing, many revisions and editing, before you are happy with the final product. Essays are one of the most important elements of the application package because they bring to the AdComs valuable information about your personality and uniqueness.
Select recommenders and ask them to start working on your letter of reference. Give them enough time. Assist them by providing a copy of your CV and details about your accomplishments on the job they will comment on. Ask them to submit the recommendations at least 10 days before the application deadline.
Most MBA applicants take the admission tests before they start working on the MBA application package. If you follow the same pattern, all you need to do is to make sure that your official scores reach the admissions offices of the business schools before the application deadlines.
Arrange that your university diploma (for your Bachelor’s or Master’s degree) and transcripts reach the admissions offices of the business schools before the application deadlines. Carefully check the requirements – some AdComs will only take scanned copies for the review of your application, while others will require official transcripts translated into English. This takes more time to prepare and deliver.
Work on the application form only after you have prepared all other elements. Do NOT submit the application form before you have reviewed your full application package. Make sure that all elements are complete and that your MBA application package is coherent. Make amendments if needed.
Complete a final review of your MBA application package. Check all details, facts, dates, spelling and grammar. Ask someone else to take a fresh look as well. Submit the application package no later than several days before the deadline.
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