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Application Essay

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Application Essay [#permalink] New post 18 May 2010, 09:58
I am in the process of writing my essays for the application to a few graduate schools. I am a weak applicant, in that I have little work experience, a low GPA, and a low GMAT score. I want to convey in my essay that I have turned things around and that I am taking the MBA program and its processes very seriously. Any suggestions on how to convey this in my essay or should I leave my shortcomings out? Thanks for all of your help
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Re: Application Essay [#permalink] New post 18 May 2010, 11:35
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Hi Ponyphish:

There is not enough information about your background to provide a very insightful and actionable answer on your question. It's not simple statement in your essays or on the application that can address a weak GMAT and GPA. It is woven into the stories you provide via your essays (for the most part).

Here is a little perspective. The admissions committee is reviewing your stats against the thousands of other applicants who will not have these types of deficiencies. So you may have great reasons for a low GPA and GMAT, but when viewed in context of the thousand of other applicant's backgrounds, your case may be viewed as throwing yourself upon the mercy of the court. This does not bode well as if your reasons are viewed as "excuses" it will indicate a certain amount of immaturity.

With respect to GPA, the longer you are out of school, the less it matters. However, with lower GPAs the adcom is going to look towards a high GMAT score to satiate their concerns around your lackluster performance. Additionally, you can take CEUs to help bolster your GPA and demonstrate recent maturity and academic prowess.

With the GMAT, you can not really make a conveyance that is going to remove performance doubts in the mind of the adcom. So maybe you had a bad day? Maybe the test is biased? The admissions committee is not really going to look kindly upon this as the thousands of other applicants will have higher scores and will not be putting forth reasons for low performance. It demonstrates immaturity to the adcom - Why? They will think that you could have spent time making up for the low GMAT score (by studying) and they will be put off that you just spent a significant portion of your application explaining this away, when you should have been dictating your leadership characteristics.

My suggestion is to take additional CEUs to bolster your GPA and then retake the GMAT. I know this is trite advice but the alternative path is not a realistic one.

Respectfully,
Paul Lanzillotti

ponyphish wrote:
I am in the process of writing my essays for the application to a few graduate schools. I am a weak applicant, in that I have little work experience, a low GPA, and a low GMAT score. I want to convey in my essay that I have turned things around and that I am taking the MBA program and its processes very seriously. Any suggestions on how to convey this in my essay or should I leave my shortcomings out? Thanks for all of your help

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Re: Application Essay [#permalink] New post 18 May 2010, 11:46
Hi Paul,

Thank you for the feedback. My thought process in these essays was to give reasons (immaturity,etc.) to why my GPA is sub-par and then describe what I have done and what I plan on doing to correct my past flaws. I understand what you are saying about making excuses and how the board does not take kindly to this.

What are CEU's?

Thanks for all the help
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Re: Application Essay [#permalink] New post 18 May 2010, 11:52
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Thanks ponyphish.
CEUs are continuing education units. I use it a as a generic term to indicate courses that you can take to demonstrate proficiency in a core MBA subject. Wikipedia Defn: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuing_education_unit
Respectfully,
Paul

ponyphish wrote:
Hi Paul,

Thank you for the feedback. My thought process in these essays was to give reasons (immaturity,etc.) to why my GPA is sub-par and then describe what I have done and what I plan on doing to correct my past flaws. I understand what you are saying about making excuses and how the board does not take kindly to this.

What are CEU's?

Thanks for all the help

_________________


Paul Lanzillotti | Founder| About | mba@amerasiaconsulting.com | 877.866.9251

Schedule a Consultation | Twitter | Blog

Download "How To Apply" Guides | INSEAD | Columbia | Harvard | Wharton

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Re: Application Essay [#permalink] New post 19 May 2010, 06:23
We will be collecting all our profile evaluations and application review responses posted at GMATClub and other forums under the MyMBAAdmit thread to provide a single resource for our readers.

How do I strengthen my application?

ponyphish wrote:
I am in the process of writing my essays for the application to a few graduate schools. I am a weak applicant, in that I have little work experience, a low GPA, and a low GMAT score. I want to convey in my essay that I have turned things around and that I am taking the MBA program and its processes very seriously. Any suggestions on how to convey this in my essay or should I leave my shortcomings out? Thanks for all of your help


Hi there,

I appreciate your honesty in talking about your candidacy. If you have read our previous posts on the Ask My MBA Admit thread, you probably know that we assess applicants from a professional, academic and personal perspective. Let's try to apply this to ways of improving your candidacy.

You mentioned that you have little work experience. In the short work experience that you have had, what were the most important skills you picked up or achievements you had - did you lead a project (however small), quantify your impact, help a colleague, supervise a team member, suggest an innovation to improve efficiency? As I was telling one of my clients yesterday, the names of employers are not as important as what you did for them. Similarly, doing the same thing for X years is not as strong as achieving something remarkable in a shorter time span. Also, do consider that all of the achievements I listed above are possible in any kind of job, full-time, part-time or internship, and at a very small employer as well.

A recent example I worked on comes to mind of a young client applying for an MBA to Glion in Europe. This person had relatively little full-time experience as well, but had significant impact at the university food court he used to work in - he built strong work relationships and was able to implement a process improvement that allowed for much greater efficiency. This was a part-time job (and hence not a part of the length of his full-time work experience), but still his example was strong enough to be a part of one of the essays. Ultimately, he got in too. The point I am trying to make is that although length of work experience is important, the quality of work you get done has equal, if not more, importance.

You also mentioned a low GPA. Have you looked over your transcript to identify the courses that pulled it down? If so, what led to a weaker performance in them? If they are relevant to business school coursework, how will you improve your performance during an MBA? This could be something you touch upon in your optional essay, along with any other efforts you may have taken in this direction, such as work projects that built your knowledge in the areas that you were missing, e.g. quantitative skills, or additional coursework you may have taken or plan to undertake to be at par with your classmates before you start the program. At My MBA Admit, a Transcript Evaluation is part of our Admission Consulting process and very helpful in cases such as yours.

As for the low GMAT score, I would advise you to take it again. That's the one part of your profile that is the easiest (relatively speaking) fix. Why not take full advantage of it? Someone we spoke to a couple days ago had taken it 4 times, and built his score each time. This is much a stronger story for the AdCom, strengthens the academic section of your profile, and becomes one less area for you to worry about.

You haven't mentioned anything about your extracurricular/volunteering activities but these help to demonstrate the diversity of your profile. You could also use these to compensate for the lower work experience by becoming involved with a non-profit organization that needs pro-bono business skills.

Essentially, having weaknesses in an application is common to all applicants. However, taking a positive approach wherein you demonstrate your strengths, and have a plan to mitigate or eliminate your weaknesses makes a much stronger application than one that is trying to explain the weaknesses alone.

Feel free to drop us a line at mbaconsult@mymbaadmit.com to discuss your application further. Check out our Application Packages and Volume Discounts tailored to help with your admission needs.
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Re: Application Essay   [#permalink] 19 May 2010, 06:23
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