Thank you to the Consortium MBA panelists (including reps from CMU Tepper, Rochester Simon, Cornell Johnson, and others) for an insightful Q&A. The following excerpt offers important tips into what NOT to do when completing your Consortium MBA application:
Linda Abraham: Kurt asked, "Could the member schools talk about a few common mistakes they see applicants make during the application process?"
Evan Bouffides: Well, there are certainly a lot of pitfalls and mistakes that could be made. As far as the most common ones, I would say, going back to a point I made earlier, we really, as business schools, want to know that you, the applicant, have given careful thought to the notion of going back to school, getting your graduate degree in business, that it's the right moment in time, that you've really thought about what you would like your life and your career to look like afterwards. I think sometimes students don't present with as much focus...and maybe the reason for that is they're trying to second-guess what admissions officers want to hear. We really want you to craft a good argument for yourself that goes something like this, "Here's who I've been so far in my life professionally, and maybe even personally speaking. This is where I want to go, and this is how the MBA is going to get me there."
Monique Moreland:I think one of the biggest pitfalls is that people need to take this process as seriously as if they were applying for a job. This is a serious process. From the application to the interview to the interactions with the staff, it's just as important as if you were looking for a job. As was mentioned before, we all talk with each other and so does our staff. If someone comes in and is rude to our receptionist or things like that, that doesn't look very good for you as an applicant, a Consortium applicant or an applicant in general. So my best piece of advice, take this process very seriously. It's just as important as it will be when you're applying for a job.
Stefanie Bascom: Sure. I agree with everything my colleagues have said. I'll take a pretty easy one: proofread, proofread, proofread. There's several applications every year–we've all experienced it–where someone is taking an essay on why they want to attend a certain business school, and they have another university name in there. This is not the best thing that we want to see. We certainly want you to be excited about coming to our school. This is a chance for you to show how you've researched the school, who you may have spoken with at the school, any alumni or current students, if you attended an event. So we really do expect you to know as much as possible about our business school prior to the application, and so that can come through in the essay
Ann Richards: I have to second what Stefanie said about that carelessness because the way that we look at it is if you're sloppy in your application to us, you're going to be that way with employers as well, and that's not how we want you to represent our program. So I really want to second Stefanie's comments and everybody else's. The unique piece of advice that I think I have is to really take this MBA application opportunity to think about what it is, why it is you're going to business school. It's not just to get a better salary. It's not just to change a job. We have all created our applications in a manner so that it really forces good candidates to be introspective, to think about what drives them, what motivates them. Take advantage of this opportunity. This is probably the first time in your adult life that you've really had the luxury to think about, "What is it that I want to do? What am I good at? What skills do I need to develop?" And if you really think about that, if you use this as an opportunity to really think about what drives you and what you want to do, your application will be so much stronger.
For the full Q&A, please view the Consortium MBA transcript or listen to the audio file. You can also boost your Johnson IQ by visiting our Consortium B-School Zone.
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