The process of applying to business school can be a long and arduous one. But, although it’s a long road, it’s one that you’ve worked hard to get to, and nothing would make you happier than being accepted into your chosen MBA Program. Even though you’re anxious to prove you’re worthy of acceptance, there are several mistakes you could easily make in your haste to achieve this.
1. Answer the questions as directly as possible
As simple as it sounds, this can sometimes pose a problem. We can sometimes start answering a question one way, only to find ourselves on a totally different topic, without even realizing it. Keep your answer concise and stick to the point you want to make. And, make the answer you give your answer, not the answer you think they want to hear.
2. Make your answers easy to understand
Keep in mind that the person reviewing your application may not be an expert in your field, so using language specific to that industry may not be easily understandable. Because they’re reviewing so many applications, they will have just a short time to look at each one, which means they won’t have time to stop and figure out what you’re trying to say. Answer your questions and write your essay using words that are easy for a layperson to understand.
3. Don’t cater your answers to what you think they should be
It’s never a good idea to try to pretend to be something you’re not. When it comes to answering your admissions questions, give truthful answers, rather than trying to shape your answer around what you think the admissions committee might be looking to hear. Honestly outline your academic and professional goals. They will have a clear picture of where you want to go, and you’ll have a better shot of getting there.
4. Focus on the positive
When using examples to outline different experiences where problem solving, leadership, or another skill was needed, keep the attention on the positive. Talking about the negative can sound like you’re complaining. Even if the experience was not a positive one, focus on the positive outcome - what you learned or what changes were implemented. Speaking negatively about co-workers or your boss only reflects badly on you – remember, you’re the one being considered for admission, not them.
5. Stick to the facts
Of course you’ll want to stand out from the rest and be noticed, but there is never any reason for lying or embellishing the truth. The truth always has a way of making itself known, and one way or another it will come out. It’s better to start off with the truth, rather than try to dig yourself out of a lie later on. And remember, when it comes to academics, lying on an admissions essay or application could mean expulsion from the program.
6. Let your passion shine through
It can be difficult to demonstrate your level of passion and excitement about a subject, especially when you’re trying to put that passion into an essay. The best way to stand out and be noticed is to write your college essay from the heart. Don’t try to make it a long-winded, boring recital of your resume. Instead, try to connect with whoever will be reading and evaluating you. Give honest, real life stories and experiences to help demonstrate your passion.
7. Keep some things off the table
There are a number of topics that are totally appropriate for your business school admissions essay and to discuss with the admissions committee. But, some things should stay off limits. Religion and politics are both big no-no’s when it comes to topics of discussion. It’s also a good idea to steer clear of talking about money and what kind of money you’ll likely be making after business school.
8. Stick to the limits
There is a specific reason why there are word limits on admissions essays. Because of the number of applications received, those reviewing the essays don’t have much time to spend on each one. If you’re far over the limit, they may not have time to review your entire essay. And, it may also signal to the reviewer that you’re unable to follow instructions or express your thoughts in a few brief words.