Current MBA students are one of the best resources for learning what it takes to get accepted into your target business school. They are recent applicants themselves and, therefore, know what it takes to stand out in the process.
At UVA Darden, rising Second Year students shared a blog filled with MBA application advice for full Full-Time MBA applicants. Here’s what they had to say.
According to Allie Medack, the last thing you should do is wait until the last minute to start the application process. She found business school applications to be highly introspective, and so felt that she needed time to reflect on her experiences and who she was as a multi-dimensional person. “Your genuine excitement will catch the Admissions Committee’s attention and help you shine through the pack.”
Reflect on Your Story
“Let [your story] shine and recognize that it’s all new to anyone who doesn’t know you,” says Max Linden. He believes that every applicant already has many defining moments that to use to demonstrate character, so take advantage of that.
For Christina Wong-Namura that meant not being afraid to dig deep. “For me, I made sure that my highest and lowest points were transparent on my application — and I tried to make my personality shine through despite the word limit.”
Link Yourself to the Program
The question of “Why this school” and “Why me” are intertwined. You can’t explain one without the other, according to Bingjing “Krystal” Yao. You have to talk about your future career in terms of how this particular MBA program will help you. Look at your passions and contributions in terms of how they’ll impact the business school community.
Ask for Help
You don’t have to go through the application process by yourself. Jordan Hart advises to ask for help, get diverse perspectives, and talk to anyone you can. “There are many people who would be happy to help you as you take this exciting next step in your life — let them,” he says.
At the same time, you still need to make sure that you are self-aware and honest with yourself. While advice is good, be true to who you are and follow your own instincts.
Frame Your Narrative
A well-framed narrative is critical to differentiating yourself from every other applicant. That means it’s vital to showcase your unique experiences based on your early life, education, and career. “Consider of how these experiences play a role in your resolve to apply for an MBA program and to then transition to a successful business role after graduation,” explains Clement Le Royer.
More MBA Application Advice from Students
Five more UVA Darden MBA students offered advice in the original blog. Here’s just a quick overview.
- Connect with friends and family during your application process, says Chloe Stegeman.
- Craft a personal positioning or brand statement, advises Pierce Lee.
- Don’t obsess over online forums. Instead, focus on running your own race, recommends Temi Adekanbi.
- Take time to step away from your essays after you write them to gauge the clarity of your response, says Teresa “Tess” Engebretson.
- Choose an MBA program where you are celebrated, not just tolerated, says AJ Amankwaa.