Monday, February 27, 2012

How to improve your chance of getting into a business school?

As everyone of you might know, there are two stages of getting accepted into a business school. Your written application in which you need to market yourself and your interview in which you need to sell yourself. Improve on these two and you improve your chance of getting accepted. Simple?

Improving written application: A business school written application has many pieces, some of which you can improve and others you can't. Ideally, to stand qualified and competitive for a top-notch business school, all the pieces should be up to the par, which couldn't be possible for many. So the idea to improve your overall chance is to improve your best on the pieces you can improve to compensate on those which are below average and couldn't be improved. Below listed are the written application pieces:

1. GMAT: Try to score good i.e. 720+. This might compensate for the low GPA.
2. Resume: A good one page Resume could create a lasting impression. Jump to my earlier post to know about resume building in detail.
3. Essays: Your stories are the most important and could set you apart. They must be compelling but at the same time easy to comprehend.
4. LORs (Recommendations): This is also a very important piece and depends on how well you select your recommenders. Your recommenders must know you well and could back up your stories.
5. Professional Growth in both title and responsibilities: The companies you have worked with and the growth curve both in the title and responsibilities are very important. Remember, schools are looking for the leaders both in professional and personal life. Secondly, how many from your company have made into good business schools makes a difference. Means if you are working in company X where 1 of every 10 gets into a business school, improves your chances quite a bit.
6. Extra Curricular and community work: You can't improve much on these except you are planning to apply after a year or two and have enough time to work on these. But don't join just for the sake of the mentioning it your application. Be very serious about it, else they will make out in the interview.
7. University and GPA: Where are you graduated from? If it is a renowned university like IIT and is heard by the admission committee makes a difference. You can't improve these but could compensate.

Improving your interview: Interview is the final but the toughest part of the admission game from your side. No matter how perfectly who have marketed yourself in your written application, but if you can't sell it in the interview, they won't buy you.

You are at the interview stage means admissions committee likes your application and is interested in knowing more about you. Mostly a business school interview goes for 30 to 60 minutes and this is the time where you need to back up your written pieces, most importantly your essays and professional responsibilities, in a very smart and impressive manner, and this requires your soft skills, improving those is not easy and demand a lot of time. Below listed are a few ways:

1. Keep your responses short, succinct and to the point.
2. Rehearse your responses before the interview. You could record your responses for the basic interview questions (like why MBA?) and improve by listening and practicing them time and again. You could also practice in front of a mirror to get more confidence.
3. Take mock interviews with your friends and ask them for the honest feedback.
4. Take mock interview with the experts. There feedback is worth the money.
5. If you have enough time and not good enough communication skills, join a communication course / class and improve your communication skills to the best you could.

Hope this helps improving your chance of being accepted into a business school.
Best!
A

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