Getting into an MBA program is not a walk in the park. If you plan to enter a prestigious business school, the application process becomes even harder. The competition for a single slot is ultra high, but you can increase your chances of getting into the program by focusing on your application.
This is the first item you need to secure when applying for a slot in an MBA program. The application form should give business schools a brief, but clear overall picture of you. Here are some tips on how to properly fill up an MBA application form.
- Make extra copies of the application form so you can try out several drafts before submitting the final version.
- Answer the questions honestly and to the best of your ability.
- As much as possible, type your answer to make it look more professional.
- If you need to fill up the application by hand, write your answers as neatly and legibly as possible.
- Be aware of deadlines and make sure to submit the application form on time. (Learn how to beat an impossible deadline)
This segment of the application form asks for your basic personal details, namely your full name, birth date, gender, nationality, country of origin, address, age and contact number. You may also be asked to input the name, birth date and profession of each of your parents or guardian.
Your application can be given a second look if you post an impressive academic background. Enumerate all the schools you’ve attended since nursery. Emphasize each scholastic award, recognition and certificate you received during college. List down all courses and seminars you’ve attended that are relevant to the position you are applying for.
Your employment history is as important as your academic past. Detail all the tasks and responsibilities of every job position you’ve held since your days as a college intern. You might also have to disclose the reasons for taking and leaving each job. Be specific with every entry by providing concrete examples of how you handled your tasks.
Write a short essay to convince business schools that you deserve to have an MBA degree. List the credentials, skills and traits that make you an ideal postgraduate student. Share your future career plans and how important it is for you to have an MBA degree. Remember that you aren’t writing an autobiography so limit this part to about two to three paragraphs.
Although you already gave a brief summary about your work history in your application form, many MBA schools still require an updated resume. This separate document also serves as proof for all the information you wrote on your application form. Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind when creating a resume.
- Be organized, concise, neat and specific with the information you put in your resume.
- Stress the skills and abilities that would make you stand out from other applicants.
- Customize your curriculum vitae according to each school you apply to.
- Your resume must be formal, high-quality and well-formed.
- Double check for errors in spelling, grammar, syntax, layout and information.
- Avoid using fancy designs, clipart and humor.
- Be honest with all your accomplishments.
- Don’t ask someone to write your resume for you.
- Specify all the responsibilities in every job position you’ve held.
- Exclude items that aren’t related to your career.
(Writing about your strengths, weaknesses and achievements is harder than it seems, especially when you commit these Mistakes in Writing a Resume.)
Start with your most recent job position and work your way backwards. If you’ve had too many jobs in your career, include only those that are most significant. Don’t forget to put the company name, your date of employment, along with the job description and its responsibilities.
Enumerate all the company seminars, conferences and certification programs you’ve attended. For fresh graduates, include the internships and summer jobs that are related to your field.
Emphasize your specific skills that are relevant to your application. As much as possible, make your assertions concrete by mentioning evidence such as certificates or licenses. You may also opt to rate your proficiency level for each skill to be more specific.
The Graduate Management Admission Test measures your aptitude and learning proficiency. It gives business schools an idea on how you might handle being an MBA student. The questions assess your proficiency in verbal analysis, mathematics and analytical writing.
What the GMAT doesn’t measure is your knowledge about a specific field or subjective qualities, such as motivation, creativity and interpersonal skills. You are given three and a half hours to complete the 800-point exam.
This section measures your proficiency to in understanding written material. You have 75 minutes to answer 40 multiple choice questions about sentence correction, critical reasoning and reading comprehension.
The verbal section and critical reasoning parts evaluate your ability to revise inaccurate English grammar and logic. The last part examines your reading comprehension and ability to determine the weak and strong points of a paragraph.
This part of the exam is all about mathematics. The questions are about problem solving, graph interpretation and quantitative analysis. The quantitative section has 37 questions that you must complete within 75 minutes.
The problems are not necessarily about business or economics, but more on basic arithmetic, elementary algebra and general geometry. The hardest part of this segment is analyzing relationships between statements and how they satisfy the main problem.
Analytical Writing Assessment
This comprehensive writing part of the GMAT includes one topic about a hotly debated issue and another on a given argument. You have 30 minutes for each essay to showcase your writing skills about a diverse range of topics.
Unlike the two other sections, the AWA essays are scored on a scale of zero to six and aren’t included in the 800-point total of the GMAT. The main criteria in judging your essay is your ability to write well-structured sentences and coherent paragraphs, not your actual response on the given topic.
This piece of paper contains a list of testimonials that vouch for you as a professional. It adds credibility to your application and proves that your claims are not fabricated. By creating a well-formed recommendation letter, you become several steps closer in getting your application approved.
The Right People
A letter of recommendation ultimately depends on the people you ask to write it. Choose peers who know you beyond a professional level, but make sure they know how you tackle work situations. Make writing skills a criterion in your selection so your letters are well-structured and clearly presented.
Remember that an endorsement from a CEO is more impressive than one from an entry-level employee. Choose those who will put in some effort in writing the letter. Hopefully, your colleagues won’t go behind your back when MBA schools call them to verify your letter.
Asking people to help you with a recommendation letter isn’t easy as you think. They are also professionals who have a hectic schedule and writing a recommendation letter would only add to their daily chores. The most important thing is to be polite and courteous. This gives your colleagues more incentive to make a solid recommendation letter.
Give them an overview on how you plan to tackle your application so they have an idea on what to put in the letter. Writing a recommendation letter is no easy task. Ask them well in advance and make sure you thank them for this huge favor.
The best way to display your English proficiency and writing abilities at the same time is by writing a striking letter of intent. Your essay should convince the business school that you deserve a shot of having an MBA degree. Here are quick tips to make your MBA application essay a worthwhile read.
- Always check your spelling and grammar. (Be sure to avoid the Top ten common grammar mistakes)
- If possible, ask a few people to read your work before finally submitting it.
- Display your strengths, but be honest about your weaknesses as well.
- Mention how an MBA degree will address your career goals.
- If you are required to respond on a specific question or topic, express your views and opinions clearly and concisely.
- Follow instructions regarding line spacing, word count and margins, to name a few.
Once you finish your application, all you need to do is wait for the results. Getting into the program is just the beginning of your journey. If you thought the application process was difficult, you’ll soon find out that maintaining your stay in the program is an even harder task.