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How to Make a Successful MBA Application

By : Guest on 01 November 2017 E-mail Comments     Print Print  Report Abuse

An MBA is one of the biggest investments in terms of time, effort and money you are ever likely to make, so it's essential to pick the programme and the school that are exactly right for you.


The ideal time to apply


Once you have completed your research, attended MBA Fairs, spoken to recruiters, and visited the campuses, you may now have a shortlist of schools. So, when should you apply to business school? We've seen thousands of candidates go through this process, and very often, the proper timing makes or breaks their quest. Once you have taken the decision to do an MBA, and drawn up your shortlist, you are then confronted with the deadlines used by the schools in the application process. Despite the claims from certain schools that there is no ideal time to apply, the majority of schools admit that timing can play an important role in the admissions process. Some schools use what they call a rolling admission process. This means, quite simply, that they are constantly receiving and reviewing dossiers throughout the academic year. They accept or reject the dossiers as they are reviewed (including a waiting list option for borderline applications), and provide a response within four to six weeks of reception.


Preparing your dossier


The majority of schools use rounds of application, whereby they determine three rounds of deadlines, typically in November, January and March for a September class start. At this stage, they collect together all the dossiers that are of interest to them and start to decide whether you are in, out, or placed on a waiting list. These decisions are typically decided by an Admissions Committee, which can be made up of admissions officers, professors, and students. But before the Admissions Committee gets to decide between the Swedish furniture designer, the Brazilian financier and the French engineer, applications are checked over to make sure that they are complete (GPA, test scores, essays, letters of recommendation etc.).


If any elements of your file are missing, you can expect the file to sit on a desk and start to collect dust - or, at least, get overlooked. Being organised at this stage is crucial, to make sure that both you and your recommenders have provided the school with all that they need to make a decision. So which deadline should you aim for? And what goes in that Express Pack that you hand to Mr Fedex? The bottom line has to be to apply to a school when you have a great dossier ready. If meeting the November deadline means a poorly prepared GMAT test, with hurried essays that lack definition and impact, you'd be better off waiting for the next round. If, however, you are preparing well ahead of the game and feel that your dossier is as strong as it could be, apply early.


The explanation lies in the numbers game. A top business school may receive over 5,000 applications in a year for the 500 places in the programme. For the first round deadline in mid- November all 500 places are typically available (perhaps a small handful of places have already been filled by students with deferrals or exceptional circumstances). The Admissions Committee then starts to offer places to the best candidates, and by the time you reach the second round deadline in January there may be 300 or so places left (my figures are purely illustrative). Continue to the third round deadline in March and you may be left with only 80 to 150 places still to be filled. Also, bear in mind that many schools receive huge numbers of applications in the last 24 hours before the final deadline - at a time when there are only a handful of places left. It's great business for UPS, DHL and the rest, but makes your chances of success very slim indeed.


The three key areas


For students used to a selection process based on competitive entrance exams, where the top percentage is guaranteed a place, the admissions process for MBAs presents a very different model. Sure you have tests like the GMAT to evaluate basic quantitative and verbal skills, but the GMAT is not an exam that guarantees acceptance for those with the highest scores. Throughout the process, there may be common threads of leadership, or high-potential, but there is no magic formula for getting into a school. To get a better sense of the abilities and characteristics of a candidate, schools look at three areas:


Academic ability


Remember that the M in MBA is for Masters. Do you have the academic aptitude to get you through school? You need to provide:

  1. Undergraduate transcript with your GPA (Grade Point Average from your bachelors degree)
  2. GMAT score
  3. TOEFL score.


Professional experience


The top programmes all require an absolute minimum of two years professional experience (unless perhaps you have been studying for a PhD). You need to provide:

  1. CV of your career to date
  2. Essays that provide examples of professional achievements
  3. Letters of Recommendation
  4. Interviews to share goals and objectives.




All those mountains you have climbed, pianos you have played, winning goals you have scored. You need to provide:

  1. Essays that provide examples of personal achievements
  2. Interviews to convey your values and sense of self.


Pulling the different pieces of the dossier together requires you to be on top of things from the beginning. However long the initial process of selecting schools, certain candidates spend months, sometimes even years, nurturing and refining their profile and subsequent application, while others complete the entire process in a frenzy of essay writing and test taking. Whether you are applying to one school or several, you will need to devote time and energy to produce a polished marketing document that features you as the product. As you prepare your application to business school, pay particular attention to the elements of the dossier on which you can still have.


Related image

The admissions process in one minute:


1. Do your research at business school fairs such as The QS World MBA Tour

2. Prepare for the GMAT and TOEFL (the standard application test for most major schools and the key assessment of your command of English - essential for most international MBA programmes).

3. Start work on your essays, brainstorm achievements, strengths and weaknesses, define your goals and objectives in choosing to do an MBA

4. Get your letters of recommendation

5. Request your undergraduate transcripts

6. Take the GMAT and TOEFL

7.  Complete work on your essays

8.  Mail all completed applications


Better your chances of admission by meeting the top ranked MBA Colleges like Bocconi, CUHK, Georgia State, G.Washinton, ESSEC, Kings, Imperial, IE, NUS, SUNY Buffalo, Pepperdine, USF, Warwick + 50 more across India from 26 November to 7 December. Register now to book your meeting


Written by – QS Blogger

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Wrote on 21 February 2019


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