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?
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
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.
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