Last Updated: August 02, 2021
MBA Admission Process
Candidates who are interested in pursuing MBA generally do so in order to secure the promotion they have always wanted or to switch their job into a leadership position. Taking an MBA is considered to be beneficial for career prospects in industries like consulting, marketing, human resources, financing, etc., and hence these different fields are often provided as specializations under a full-time MBA.
Applying for an MBA is a tedious process that involves plenty of research ranging from the kind of institution one wants to attend to the kind of specialization and financial aid they have to secure. The best bet for any candidate in securing admission at a top university is to start the process as early as possible. Since most business schools recommend that candidates have a minimum of 3 years of work experience before enrolling for the course, candidates can choose to complete the required number of years in work before they apply for the course.
The application process involves processes like finding the target institution, figuring out the expense for the course, preparing the documents required for the course, etc. among others. It is important that candidates begin with the timeline they have to follow for the admission and application process and then move on to the other aspects of the application.
Steps to Follow for MBA Application
The steps that have to be followed for any college admission will include collecting the necessary documents in the right format. But at the same time, it is important for candidates to start not from the documents but with the kind of institutions and specializations they aspire to learn or that will help them progress further in their lives. Candidates have to create a list of target schools as a start.
- Research for Institutions and Specializations- Candidates should take as much time to collect information regarding the institutions they would like to attend. This should include the benefits of the location the school is situated in along with details regarding the specializations offered by the school, the ranking, cost of attendance, etc.
- Consider Financial Aid Options- Top business schools most often offer financial aid based on merit. There are also need-based financial aid and other student loans that candidates can avail themselves of for the course. It is important that candidates make a list of aid they can apply for before enrolling in the course.
- Apply for and Complete GRE/GMAT- It is important that candidates apply for the GRE or GMAT, as is required by their target school at least 5 months before applying to schools. Candidates must ensure that they leave enough time to take a retest in case they do not receive their desired score the first time.
- Procure Letters of Recommendation- Letters of Recommendation should be procured from mentors/instructors/managers/head of organization depending on whether the candidate is working or studying before they apply for an MBA.
- Get Transcripts for Academic Qualification- The transcripts for the candidate’s previous academic qualification must be formatted according to the format required by the target schools and kept ready for submission.
- Create Draft for Application Essay- The application essay must be written as drafts that can be refashioned for every school the candidate is applying to.
- Create a Resume- The resume the candidate is submitted can be written in the format of a job resume though the educational qualifications of the candidate must be highlighted since it is being submitted for higher studies.
- Complete the Application Form- The application form from each school must be completed with every column filled without errors and grammatical inaccuracies. It should also be submitted before the specified deadline.
- Prepare for Interview- Once the candidate has been shortlisted by the school, they will have to attend an interview which can be in any format. Candidates must ideally prepare for the interview as soon as they receive the call letter.
MBA Application Timeline
Returning back to academia even for a professional course is a significant investment of both time and effort for most candidates. Due to this considerable investment that candidates have to make in order to do the course, it is often advised that candidates consider their options for joining for at least a little over a year. Candidates will be able to take this time to assimilate the necessary funds and documents that are required for the application process.
The general rule for receiving admission to a target school is to apply as early as possible. Earlier rounds of the admission process will have the largest number of seats and hence a higher probability of being admitted. But at the same time, candidates must take enough and more time to prepare and crack the GRE
examination which is an eligibility requirement for the course.
Applying 12+ Months Before Deadline
Candidates who wish to apply with over a year to spare will have enough time for both the preparation of exams like GMAT/ GRE along with sufficient time to research MBA program types and institutions. It is important for candidates to go through these processes in order to find the ideal course and institution that is also affordable to them.
It is also ideal for candidates to look for financial aid
according to the business school they are applying to by contacting the institution directly. By curating a list of business schools as their target schools, candidates will also be able to choose the specialization they would like to pursue and apply accordingly.
Applying 8+ Months Before Deadline
Candidates who have only a little above 8 months will find the time to be sufficient enough but that the processes have to be rushed through. They will have to start by preparing for the GMAT or GRE by either self-prep or enrolling in crash courses for the same that can let them clear the examination as soon as possible. Candidates who are opting for self-prep will have to create strict study plans that can help them achieve the highest scores they are capable of scoring.
These candidates will also have to find their target schools and create a list for the same based on the specializations they offer and the cost of attendance for each place. They will be able to visit the campuses they have shortlisted to get an idea of the ambiance and department before they finalize their list.
Applying 6+ Months Before Deadline
Candidates who have only 6 months for the application process will find they are running short on time and will have to register for the GMAT/GRE examination as soon as possible giving them a window of a month within which they have to prepare for the examination. Since these candidates are hard-pressed for time, they will have to seek professional help to procure the list of institutions that might suit their interests.
These candidates will have to focus less on the research and more on obtaining the necessary documents like the transcripts and recommendation letters that are required. They will also have to create exemplary resumes that can stand out from the pile that will be submitted to the schools. Once the examination is done and the necessary documents have been obtained, candidates will have to focus on the interview preparation as soon as they have completed applying to different business schools.
Writing the Perfect Application Essay
The essay part in the application is considered to be the most critical part of it since it is completely personalized by the candidate and speaks more than transcripts can. This is the window through which candidates can compensate for any weaknesses in their academic qualifications and showcase their skills. The content and structure of the essay are hence the most important factors candidates have to focus on while preparing the essay.
Application Essay: The Content
Explain why the candidate is apt for MBA
Candidates will have to focus on highlighting the specific reasons that make them ideal for MBA. Different schools will focus on different qualities that students ought to have in order to take the MBA. This can be understood by carefully going through the website of the specific institution and through the accounts from alumni. The most common factors that business schools focus on are qualities like leadership and management skills. It is exceptionally important for candidates to include these necessary pointers with respect to their personality in order to make the essay unique.
Highlight Key Accomplishments
Candidates who have over a year to prepare for their MBA application can begin to do this by highlighting information about themselves that they are proud of. This can include minor achievements to academic and extracurricular achievements both in their regular life and professional life. By carefully perusing this list, candidates will be able to understand their skillsets that can be beneficial for a course in MBA. Writing about these qualities and giving instances of when the candidate exhibited these qualities can be part of an excellent application essay.
State Reasons to Choose MBA
It is important that candidates mention how and why they came to the decision of taking an MBA. Being professional in answering this question and focusing on aspects like career goals can be part of a good essay. Candidates will also be able to state their reasons for choosing this particular institution by going into specifics regarding the institution will also be helpful.
Application Essay: Basic Guidelines
The most common errors that candidates make while drafting their essay is to not focus on the details of the essay. Every institution will have its own set of questions that need answering in the form of an essay. Creating a general essay for all the business schools one is applying to is the worst mistake that candidates can make in the application process. The following pointers, though seemingly simple, need to be taken seriously and considered the fundamentals of writing the essay.
Follow Directions to the Point
Instead of offering generic application essays for every institution, candidates will have to send in tailor-made applications made from the questions the institution has asked of them. The basics in this aspect are to stick to the length requirements mentioned and not leaving out any question that has been asked. These mistakes, though trivial, will stand out in the application essay when being reviewed by the admission officer.
Answer the Questions Asked
Candidates will have to answer every question that has been asked by the institution to the best of their knowledge. Elaborating on the topics is permitted as long as the candidate sticks to the word limit. It is considered better to provide explanations and examples in answers instead of stating obvious facts that can be found in the transcripts and recommendation letters that are submitted with the application.
It is ideal for candidates to prepare the first draft of their application essay way before the deadlines have been set. This first draft can include answers to the generic questions that are asked in different institutions. The draft can then be fashioned into answers that suit the application essay questions of the target institutions the candidate is applying to. This method of creating different drafts for the same essay will let candidates avoid grammatical inaccuracies since they will have more time to proofread the essays before submission.
Consider the Optional Essay
Some business schools offer candidates the option of an optional essay at the end of the application. This optional essay provides the candidate with the opportunity of providing clarifications for other parts of the application and ought not to be skipped even if the explanations may seem trivial to the candidate.
Other Requirements for MBA Application
While the most important component of the application is the application essay, every other document that has to be submitted is also of considerable importance. These documents include the transcript, resume
, letters of recommendation, and the score report of the GRE/GMAT examination.
While sending in the transcript, candidates would do better if they apply to institutions according to what the institution looks for. Some institutions often only focus on the final GPA
of the candidate and the subjects that the candidate had taken in their undergraduate course. At the same time, some other institutions look for the scores the candidate received in their junior and senior year separately. They might also focus on the grades of the candidate in particular subjects that are beneficial to the course. Some institutions even look at the reputation of the institution the candidate studied in.
The resume must include only the highlights in the candidate's professional and academic life along with their strengths and weaknesses. This can be in a similar format as the ones used for applying to jobs. The candidate can also include instances where they did community service and other extracurricular activities that can reflect on their achievements in life. The language of the resume should be brisk and short making the content easily understandable with as little time as required.
The recommendation letters that after submitted for MBA can either be from the professors that have taught the candidate in the undergrad or from people that they have worked under depending upon when they are applying for the course. Candidates who have worked for long years will do better if they get recommendation letters from their manager/supervisor and candidates who are enrolling for an MBA right after graduation will be able to get it from their mentor/instructor.