The last article on applications touched on the skills needed by re-applicants. This time round let’s focus on the first time applicants who, as I mentioned earlier, are clearly the majority but who are often prey to their own follies. Surprisingly, even after a good GMAT score some applicants are unable to secure admission to any school, leave alone a ‘good ’school. Why? In the aftermath of every season this question comes up and yet a clear answer eludes even intelligent minds. Over and over again every season has it tragic heroes- the applicants who marred their chances of success by their own follies.
The most pronounced of these mistakes is wrong school selection. Most MBA school applicants are driven by the herd mentality and are obsessed with getting where seemingly the best go. Now, there is nothing wrong with aspiring high, with wanting to emulate others but this only works if all else with you is the same as with the one you are emulating. And that is highly improbable. Remember no two applicants are the same and no two situations are the same. When you apply to a school for a particular academic year entry, you must be ready for factors beyond your control but which control the outcome of the effort. The most challenging of these is the comparative pool of applicants against whom you will be measured for that year. So, the best way to face this challenge is to make a list of the admission requirements of your ‘wish’ school and to ensure that you are in the upper echelon in each category- test score, work experience, essay writing skills and versatility. Just one factor, say a high GMAT score, may assist you in getting your foot in the door but will still not culminate in an entry! The moral of the story then is to be practical, to select schools that are in synch with you. Do not be reticent to explore lesser known schools that are leaving a strong imprint on the map of business education.
The other most common flaw committed by applicants is unprofessionalism with handling the application. Strange but true – some of the strongest applicants fail to give to their effort that cutting edge. This of course rarely happens at the GMAT score stage.With the GMAT well done, applicants acquire a false sense of invincibility!!! And the tragedy strikes. The rigmarole of the application process is gone through nonchalantly. The essays are not thought over, recommenders are not selected prudently and the resume is not smartly put together. In short, all else except the GMAT score comes across to the Admission Committee as mediocre, sometimes even slipshod! And that clearly does not speak well of you. The advice then is to put your heart and soul into the entire process, to keep time for detailed review and editing of the essays and for your recommenders to draft meaningful and insightful commentaries about you.
Good luck to all those applying for 2016 entries. Make the most of your time and of your talents. Be yourself and apply to schools that appreciate you for what you have to offer.