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Application Tips

Strategic advice on executing your MBA application, including tips on your résumé, data forms, and essays.

Latest Stories About Application Tips

Aug 24, 2015

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The MBA Application: Know Your Audience

As Round 1 deadlines approach, applicants are coming to understand that applying to business school is an incredibly demanding process. In addition to taking the GMAT, assembling academic transcripts and providing recommendation letters, candidates are required to draft multiple essays, job descriptions, lists of activities and more. With the obvious incentive to save time wherever possible, it’s understandable that many applicants simply cut and paste content from an existing resume and write a... Read more »

Aug 17, 2015

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Common Recommendation Dilemmas

As many of our readers are aware, MBA recommendation letters are a central part of the application process. We would like to take a look at how to handle the snags that often arise for applicants in unique employment situations. The applicant who is most likely to have trouble finding a suitable recommender is either self-employed or works in his or her family’s business. First, self-employed entrepreneurs by their very nature do not have a direct supervisor.  Similarly, an applicant who works f... Read more »

Aug 10, 2015

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Don’t Overlook the MBA Application Data Forms

With Round 1 deadlines just around the corner, we wanted to offer some words of advice about an often overlooked element of one’s file: the MBA application data forms. All too often, we see candidates leave these online application forms to the last minute, even rushing to enter all of the required information “deadline day.” The truth is that a weak effort on these forms can do serious harm to one’s candidacy, as it might reflect poorly on the applicant’s professional polish or commitment to th... Read more »

Jul 13, 2015

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Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before Submitting an Optional Essay

We realize that the questions of whether to answer an optional essay and, if so, what to say are ones that loom large for many MBA applicants at this time of year. While we’ve been offering a great deal of school-specific essay advice over the past few weeks, we wanted to take some time to suggest a few considerations that applicants might want to take into account when making this call. Is it relevant? Perhaps this goes without saying, but the only information worth sharing in an optional essay... Read more »

Jun 15, 2015

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Admissions Tip: Addressing a Gap in Employment

Given the emphasis that schools place on a candidate’s work experience, it is important for applicants to be proactive in addressing gaps in employment.  When applying to business school, many candidates worry about how the adcom might perceive a gap in employment.  We would like to take some time to discuss strategies for addressing this issue. It’s not unheard of for an MBA candidate to have a gap in employment, and this will not necessarily make a negative impact on someone’s candidacy.  Gaps... Read more »

Jun 1, 2015

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Admissions Tip: How to Write a Winning MBA Résumé

Your résumé is not only an important component of your MBA application, it’s also a great place to start when crafting your overall positioning strategy.  This document forces one to distill a candidacy into a concise summary, focusing on key aspects and themes.  With that in mind, here are a few simple tips to get you started: 1) First things first.  Because you’re applying to graduate school, it makes sense to lead this document with a section detailing your academic history.  This is also the... Read more »

May 25, 2015

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Admissions Tip: Crafting Strong Essays – The Rewards of Reflection

With several of the leading schools having already released their essay questions for this admissions season, we’re sure that quite a number of early birds are eager to get a jump on the process in order to complete as many applications as possible by Round 1.  As applicants find themselves brainstorming for essay topics, we wanted to offer a few tips on presenting yourself and your experiences as advantageously as possible. 1) Take time to reflect.  Before diving in and beginning work on a draf... Read more »

Apr 27, 2015

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Admissions Tip: Approaching the Career Goals Essay

Though essay questions tend to vary year to year, the two things that nearly every prospective student can count on being asked are “What are your short-term and long-term post-MBA goals?” and “How will Business School X help you achieve these goals?” These are the fundamental questions of the entire application process; identifying clear answers will help in everything from creating a list of target schools to communicating effectively with recommenders and interviewers down the line.  As such,... Read more »

Apr 6, 2015

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Admissions Tip: Avoiding Red Flags

When applying to the top schools, it is important to avoid “red flags” in your application.  For the uninitiated, red flags are negative items that stand out in your file and may result in rejection from business school.  While most applicants understand the basic red flags, like a 2.4 GPA or a recommendation letter that raises serious concerns about the candidate’s maturity, there are many less obvious triggers. Some time ago, an Admissions Director Symposium organized by the Graduate Managemen... Read more »

Mar 30, 2015

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Admissions Tip: Addressing Academic Strengths

While we devoted time last week to advice on addressing weaknesses in one’s academic record, today we wanted to explore the other side of the issue: the strengths that lie in your undergraduate record. Beyond issues of aptitude or previous achievement, there are a number of other things that your academic profile might say about you.  For instance, if you have a range of quant-focused classes in your record, this might create the impression that you are well prepared for the sort of coursework y... Read more »

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