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Applying this year? Do these five things NOW

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Status: Strategist & Coach
Affiliations: Vibranture
Joined: 30 Nov 2014
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Location: India
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Applying this year? Do these five things NOW  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Jun 2016, 16:48
Applying this year? Do these five things NOW

If you are considering applying for MBA in Fall 2016, there are quite a few things you can do to enhance your chances of admission.

1. Get good test scores: If you have not taken GMAT yet - this is the best time to prepare and take it. This will leave you with ample time to work on your essays, recommendations and other aspects of your application. In case you have scored below your target score, you might want to consider retaking the test. Here's why:

a. Chances of admission: There is no denying that a good score can help your application considerably. Even if you are not aiming for the top schools (which you totally should), the higher the score, the better your chances. Period. If you belong to certain overrepresented pools of candidates such as Indian Male Engineers, then a higher GMAT becomes even more important.

b. Scholarships: A good score helps you stand out and definitely boosts your chances of getting a substantial scholarship. We have seen several students with 730+ scores (even Indians in the over-represented pool) getting up to 100% scholarships from top B-schools. If you are aiming for a scholarship with a slightly lower score, then you will have to be strategic about your school choices.

c. Career goals: A lesser-known fact is that most of the top Management Consulting and Investment Banking firms look at GMAT scores at the time of recruiting. Usually, the cut-off is 700 and even if you can cross that barrier, you will be competing with many who will have 740 plus scores. Hence, if Consulting or I-Banking is your career goal, then having a good score is critical. If your score is low, the admissions committee might not see you as an attractive candidate in front of your target employers. This could jeopardize your chances of admission.

2. Enhance work profile: Utilize the next 3-5 months you have in your hand to further improve the quality of your work experience. One of the ways could be taking leadership roles in your line of work or in related projects. If that is not possible, then you can simply take initiatives and find areas/ projects where you can leave an impact. At the end of the day, you will be compared against those with profiles similar to yours, so differentiating yourself by showing a superior work experience would definitely work in your favor. The initiatives you take now could also translate into meaningful stories for your essays and interviews- so be proactive and make the best use of the time you have now!
If you are considering taking on a new job/role, this is the right time to do it. It will give you enough time to show your results and also give your recommenders a chance to know you better and comment on your performance in a significant way.

3. Strengthen extracurricular: Strong extra-curricular activities make one stand out and are indicative of a well-rounded personality. The adcom will judge you based on the things you are interested in and the causes you care about. But mind you, it is not simply about having a certain hobby listed on your resume or taking up something new just a few months before the application just for the sake of it. It requires passion, commitment, and involvement. Also, simply being a passive member of an organization will not help your application. It is important to be able to demonstrate the impact you had on a group, a cause or a community. It is all about how your immediate world became a better place with your presence in it. So, take initiative, do something extraordinary, go beyond what is routine and defined, preferably take a leadership role in the organization/ club/ group that you are already associated with and make a positive impact. You will learn and grow and one of these experiences could potentially become a great story for your essays.

4. Perform school research: A sure shot way to improve your application and differentiate yourself from your competition is by conducting an in-depth research on your target schools. Many students skip this part completely and fail miserably at convincing a business school why their MBA program is best suited for the student. On the surface, it appears that all business schools offer similar programs and it can be fairly confusing to decide which program is better and why. But if you dig a little deeper, you will definitely find aspects of different schools that will make it a better fit for you personally. Your application should show that you have put in time and effort and have taken an active interest in filling it out.

The schools spend a lot of time and dime in marketing their programs and would be more than happy to help you with information about the programs. Remember: before you apply, you are school’s ‘customer’. They will (mostly) make a good effort to sell their programs to you. Once you apply, however, it's your application that will try to sell you and it should be convincing. Use this time to schedule campus visits. This reflects your interest for a particular school and all the school’s appreciate it. It will give you a lot of things to talk about in your essays and interviews. If you are overseas and can’t visit the school, attend MBA Fairs and Tours. Many schools travel internationally and fairs provide you with a great opportunity to connect with the adcom and current students and get to know about the MBA programs. In case you are unable to do either, your best shot is connecting with the school via email. Many schools have designated Student Ambassadors and the adcom would be more than happy to put you in touch with the students.

A note of caution: When interacting with anyone from the business school community, act courteous and professional. Assume you are being evaluated in each interaction. It could be your chance to make (or break) your impression.

5. Solidify your post-MBA goals: One of the main reasons for rejection by B-schools is the lack of clarity about career goals. Contrary to what some MBA students might say about not knowing what they wanted to do after MBA, most B-schools expect you to give thoughtful consideration to your career plans after MBA. This includes research on the kind of role(s) you might take up, your target employers as well as your long-term career vision. Please note that we are talking about vision as opposed to a goal, so go beyond the obvious description of what you want to do and highlight why you want to do it and why you and the school you have chosen will be the most suitable and adept in helping you achieve your goals. In this regard also reaching out to current students and alumni could give realistic and invaluable information about your chosen goals.

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Applying this year? Do these five things NOW   [#permalink] 14 Jun 2016, 16:48
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