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The 360 Degree Guide to Applying & Getting into a MBA Program

Choosing the MBA program that fits your purpose requires a lot of research. Generally consultants suggest that you classify schools that fit into following three categories.

  • Your target schools
  • Schools that you can reach
  • Safety schools


The first assignment you need to do is to determine which schools you wish to attend and then place each school into one of these categories. The key things that you need to consider for determining which schools to attend are things such as reputation of the school/degree awarding body, specialization offered by the school, location, size, pedagogy in terms of whether instruction is case study or lecture or a combination or experiential. Schools that you can reach can be around ten which narrows down to may be five when you set your target dream b-schools. It is always suggested to keep a safety school in mind as it will always be a relaxing factor while you struggle for the other two.

After short-listing the schools of your choice, the thing you need to stress on is your essays and recommendation letters. The essays are the most critical part of the application process. Start as early as possible and think deeply about who you are professionally, personally and in the community. Introspect, how within the professional dimension you have enhanced your responsibilities, competencies and skills over time especially the leadership, manager or team work abilities and then drill down so that you can identify how you lead, what strategies you employ and then also understand which achievements within the professional realm are more important and why. 

Another suggested tip would be to research the school where you have succeeded to get into so that you can specifically spotlight the activities that would fit your needs. Keep the focus on the school’s values so that you can gather confidence to move ahead to achieve your preset goals. MBA is all about managing people and managing resources. So, keep intrinsic eyes on all the activities going within and outside classroom so that it helps you to build an effective post MBA career. 

Now within the personal area, identify your passions, your pursuits and hobbies that define who
you are and reveal important characteristics about you, then see if you can map these activities with your target schools profile/offerings. Admissions committees want to admit human being with character and the personal aspect allows you to tell your story. At least in one essay write about your non professional activities/achievements. In your other essays you can discuss your record of organizational accomplishment and leadership developments inside/outside of the office and mention the passion that defines you as a human being. 

If you haven`t already started your preparation for the GMAT, start by taking a diagnostic test to see where you stand. GMAT is an essential factor but not the wholesome approach. Take GMAT at least a year before the session you intend to join. This will allow you ample time to retake the test, in case of unsatisfactory score in the first attempt.

MBA interviews won`t be all too traumatic if you come prepared. Prepare main points you wish to discuss and introduce these points within more open questions that the admissions committee might ask. You will be asked certain questions that the panel can already see in your resume, but still come prepared with answers to generic questions like what are your goals, discuss a time that you lead a team, etc. There are certain questions that you should be expecting and you should have in your mind but do not sound as if you have mugged up the entire answer. Be precise in your wording, do not merely say, `I`m a great leader` or `I have great leadership skills`. Rather discuss, why you think you have effective leadership skills. Explain how do you have an ability to visualize the end, how excellent are you at motivating others and do you have the interpersonal skills to build harmony or are you the type of person who provides support for people whether it is emotional or in terms of tasks or something like that. A variety of people have a variety of effective ways to lead and you should be able to identify what your leadership style is and give examples of that leadership style in action.
 

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