30 Tips For Your MBA Admissions Success

Fortune may favor the brave, but when applying to business school it is careful planning and meaningful self-reflection that win the day. With round-one deadlines for the world’s top MBA programs less than six months away, this is the time to put together a plan for admissions success. You’ve got a lot of ground to cover: • Introspection about your personal and professional goals • Research to identify the schools that match your objectives • Study for the GMAT or GRE, and any courses that boost your academic record • Outstanding professional performance to strengthen letters of recommendation • Purposeful community engagement and genuine leadership opportunities • Outreach to b-school students and alumni combined with campus visits That’s quite a to-do list, but MBA admissions success doesn’t just happen — you create it. And that means accepting all the challenges that are involved, and not just pursuing the ones you like. You don’t have to go to business to make a success of your life, but this is your chance to shape your own path, and not rely on somebody else’s. To more accurately quote business philosopher Jim Rohn, “Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” So where do you get started? Pursuing the theme of insightful quotes, I asked my colleagues at Fortuna Admissions for their advice, based on years of insider experience working in the admissions offices of the world’s top business schools. Here are their 30 tips for MBA admissions success. Self-Awareness And Defining Your Personal And Professional Goals 1. “Be your authentic self in your application. The most engaging candidates strip away the pretence, and don’t try to fit into a mould.”...

3 tips for acing a Wharton MBA interview

Every year, top business schools receive thousands of applications for admission, but they only admit an average of 25% of those who apply. The story is no different at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, where approximately half of all applicants are interviewed, but less than one in 10 are ultimately granted admission — and no student is admitted without an interview. As a consultant who helps clients earn admission to top MBA programs, I know first-hand how important interviews are. They’re a key component of how the admissions committee gets a full picture of you as an applicant, and evaluates whether you’ll fit into the Wharton community. Here are three tips for ensuring your Wharton interview strategy shows your assets and skills off to their best advantage: 1. Be prepared for the team-based discussion. Wharton was among the first business schools in the US to implement a team-based discussion component as part of the interview process, in which five to six applicants discuss a topic while being observed by admissions committee members. This new aspect of the application is designed to get a sense of who you are outside of a well-written essay or even a well-rehearsed interview. Wharton is looking for team players and people who can be analytical while working well with others. Keep in mind that observers want to see candidates contributing without dominating the discussion; the idea is to see how you might engage in a productive conversation with a group of future classmates. To make a positive impression, be sure to share your point of view, but also listen thoughtfully; respect differing points of view; and bring others into the conversation. 2. Emphasize your experience as an innovator. Innovation is integral to Wharton’s...

Tips to Maximize Your MBA Application Feedback Session...

All MBA hopefuls fear getting denied, but if there’s any silver lining to rejection, it’s that many business schools now offer feedback sessions to help unsuccessful candidates figure out where they might have gone wrong. This availability of application feedback confirms that the schools really do welcome and encourage re-applicants, who often find success the second time around. In fact, in the past, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School has shared with us anecdotally​ that applicants who reapplied often have a slight edge in the applicant pool. Find out the policy of your school of choice and get in touch with the admissions office right away, making it clear that you will use the feedback to reapply next year, if that’s the case. These meetings usually take place on a first-come, first-served basis in the spring, at the end of the admissions season. Due to the brevity of these sessions, it’s important to prepare in advance. Write down a few pointed questions that will help you make the most of your meeting. If you questioned anything during the application process, you now have the opportunity to clear things up. In order to gather actionable information, your questions should sound something like this: • Was there any concern about my quantitative abilities? If so, what can I do to demonstrate my capabilities? • Were my career goals clear? • Are my reasons for wanting an MBA sound? • What were some of the biggest weaknesses in my application? Do you have any suggestions for how I can ease your concerns in those areas? Have a plan to make sure the session stays on pace, because you’ll usually have a maximum of 15 minutes. Keep track of the time and strive...

How To Ace The Job Interview: Advice For MBA Students...

This post was cowritten with Ellen Regan, a first year MBA student at the Darden School of Business, actively recruiting for internships in marketing. To help Marketing/GM students prepare for the recruiting gauntlet, we sat in on a couple of interviewing workshop sessions led by Johnson & Johnson and E.&J. Gallo at the Darden School of Business, University of Virginia. To see tips on how to ace the interview from Johnson & Johnson, click here. Below are tips from Lee Susen, Marketing Director, from E.&J. Gallo (the world’s largest wine company and one of the top 100 companies for flexible green jobs). Tips from E.&J. Gallo: 1. Understand what the interviewer is looking for – Typically an interviewer is trying to get a sense of four things when speaking with a candidate: interest, fit, leadership, and skill. Make sure you can answer the following questions: Can you articulate why you are interested in the industry/company/role? Can you demonstrate that you understand the core values of the company? Have you been a leader in the past and are you well positioned to lead people in the future? Do you have direct or transferable marketing skills that can add immediate value? 2. Know what a technical marketing interview question is – Technical marketing questions test your ability to demonstrate skill in marketing and passion for brand-building. They are typically shorter than marketing case questions (one sentence) and provide less parameters to candidates answering the question. Examples include: How would you improve the positioning of [brand]? Why is [brand] performing poorly and what would you do to fix it? How would you increase the penetration of [brand]? How would you extend [brand] into another category? Because these questions don’t provide a lot...

Tips for Applying to B-School After Years in the Workforce...

The average age of business school applicants has been trending downward for the past decade, and with that, work experience expectations have shifted as well. But not everyone is ready or in a position to take the business school plunge at 26 years old. If you want to pursue an MBA in your early-30s and beyond, consider these specific tips as you put together your application package. 1. Show career progression:​ When applying to a top-tier business school, you’ll need to show the admissions committee a clear path of professional growth. Avoid looking stagnant, as the admissions team wants to admit students who continually seek to learn and advance their skills and leadership abilities. Even if you have held the same job for several years, you should demonstrate career progression either in the formal sense, with increasingly higher-level job titles, or by pointing out how you have gradually taken on greater responsibilities. Coach your recommenders to specifically address this upward trajectory in their letters of support, as this will help convey your dedication to your professional development. Make sure to ask a current or recent manager for that recommendation, as a letter from a supervisor who worked with you eight years ago might raise a red flag. If you do select a recommender from the more distant past, make sure that you have really kept in touch and they can speak to your professional progression and work habits now. Also, if you have had several jobs, don’t worry about squeezing all of them on to the MBA resume. Highlight only the most important positions and responsibilities. 2. Show strong leadership: It’s understandable that younger applicants won’t have many examples of leadership one year out of school, but as time...