Although admissions decisions are taken by a committee, not just by the Director of Admissions, it is important to be prepared to impress school representatives wherever and whenever you meet them.
Always bear in mind these two major limitations:
- You will never have a second chance to make a first impression.
- You will never have enough time to say everything.
How to overcome them and give a strong positive impression about yourself?
This is perfectly achievable, but you need to prepare well and practice. Your goal is to leave a positive impression about your value for your dream MBA or Master’s class and to build a positive label of yourself which the school representative will remember. Imagine how you would like the school representative to describe you to his/her colleagues – “that English accountant who climbed three 5,000 m high mountain peaks”, “that Indian engineer who trains homeless kids how to work on a computer”, etc. Your ‘label’ should be relevant to management, leadership, business development, responsibility.
How unique you are
Not to discourage, but rather to challenge you, I will start by saying that this is the most difficult task – to discover your uniqueness, to make it relevant to your MBA/Master’s application and all of this without knowing much about your competitors.
There is no doubt that the best way is to get an outside perspective. The perfect approach is to work with an admissions expert – someone who has seen many MBA/Master’s applications and knows what parts of your story will stand out. You can also involve friends and colleagues in this self-discovery process, but at some point it is good to have someone who knows graduate business education applicants.
How you will contribute
This is definitely step two, because it builds on how unique you are. But it also involves additional research on the focus of the programme you are going to apply for, as well as the profile of the previous class and school/programme values.
What will help you is to attend an open class and put yourself in the shoes of a student in the programme. If it is not possible to attend the schools where you will apply, go to the nearest business school within your reach. This will also help you, even if you never apply there.
All you have is one minute
Yes, this is all the time you have to catch the attention of the school representative. Practice, make a video to see how you perform, get outside feedback until you are happy with your self-presentation skills. It is not only about what you say, but how you say it, how much energy, enthusiasm, emotion you invest. Think about how you talk about things you are most passionate about. Be as passionate about yourself and your business education as well.