Applying to an MBA program can be stressful. The competition is fierce, and not every applicant has a perfect record. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing concerned applicants can do to increase their odds of acceptance, though. They can read on to find some tips for turning the odds in their favor.
Focus on Academic Performance
Still in school and concerned about less-than-perfect grades? There’s still time to make positive changes. Students with GPAs of 3.2 or less should consider taking quantitative classes that will enhance their academic profiles. MBA programs love undergrad experience with calculus, statistics, and microeconomics, so consider retaking these courses to get better grades.
For most applicants, GMAT scores are also quite important. It’s fine to retake this test once or twice. Students who don’t feel that their scores reflect their true abilities can also take prep courses or consult a Personal MBA Coach to enhance their skills and get a refresher on logic-based math problems.
Applicants don’t get into leading business schools by doing exactly what everyone else does. They need to take some risks, whether that means stepping up to perform a new role at work, taking on leadership roles in volunteer positions, or even moving to a different country to learn the ins and outs of different business cultures.
Taking some risks and making bold life choices has the added benefit of giving applicants compelling life experiences to discuss on their applications. If those career choices are a perfect reflection of the applicant’s personal passions, that’s even better. It will give applicants a compelling story to tell that will grab attention and act as a reflection of personal strength.
Develop a Reputation
Successful MBA applicants have solid support networks. That may mean requesting the help of coaches and mentors, reconnecting with business professionals who can write good recommendation letters, or developing a reputation for going the extra mile at work. It takes some time to build a dream-team of coaches, mentors, and recommenders, so get started making these changes early.
Everyone has different reasons for applying to MBA programs. It’s important to clarify those goals before putting the pen to paper to complete the application. Schools want to know not just why applicants are seeking MBAs, but also how they will use them to further professional goals and what they will bring to the table in terms of enriching the program, itself.
Determined to get into one particular school? It’s also worth it for applicants to take the time to write a list of reasons that school has caught their eyes. Schools almost always ask why applicants want to attend their programs and having a compelling, believable response can go a long way.
The Bottom Line
There aren’t any shortcuts when it comes to increasing the odds of admission into a competitive MBA program. Applicants must work hard, stay committed to their goals, and develop a strong network of supportive colleagues, mentors, and superiors willing to stand by them. Plan to spend nine months to one year researching programs, improving academic metrics, and crafting a stellar application to maximize chances of success.