[0:30] Q: How can applicants best demonstrate their suitability for your programme?

[0:33] A: The first piece of advice I would offer candidates is to think about the study mode that you want to take. Are you in a position to commit to a full-time MBA? Or are you in a job currently that offers career progression, and therefore you want to take an MBA while continuing to work full- time? In such a case, you have to look at Executive MBAs, distance MBAs, online MBAs, or part-time MBAs. When a candidate has made the decision in terms of what study routes to look at, then they need to look at different business schools. There are so many great business schools in the world; therefore candidates need to look into a particular programme and how they fit into it. Each MBA programme should be unique. So if you look at, say, the Manchester MBA, you will find that the practical elements are unique. Our Manchester Method is a practice-based approach to teaching and learning where we ask students to apply what they learn in the classroom to a real-life setting. Therefore what we have done is we have integrated real-life consultancy projects throughout, so students do a not-for-profit project, then they do a commercial business project, and, finally, they do an international business project. Because our MBA is so practical, you have to think as an applicant if this is the type of MBA you are looking for. Or are you looking for a more traditional, theoretical MBA? Do your research about what’s unique about a specific school or programme and how you think you fit into that.

Learn more about MBA programmes at Alliance Manchester Business School by taking a look at this handy school profile.

[3:23] Q: What are some common mistakes that can be easily avoided by applicants?

[3:31] A: It’s a mistake when you send the same application to five different schools. In that instance, there is nothing unique that the applicant relates to a specific MBA programme. For example, there’s nothing about how the applicant would contribute to the Manchester MBA class. So that’s definitely a common mistake. You can write a couple of essays and use them time and time again. Of course there are elements in the essays that you can use in each application, but they certainly need to be adapted to the specific programme.

[4:28] Q: Are there other important aspects that should be included in the essay?

[4:38] A: One of the important aspects for our essays is to find out more about a person’s experience, about the impact they have had in their professional life to date. Because our MBA is so hands-on, the experience of the students is absolutely key to gain admission. You, as a candidate, need to ensure that you are conveying the impact you have had during your professional career.

[5:18] Q: How important is the GMAT score for admission?

[5:24] A: At Manchester, we look at our MBA applications holistically. A good GMAT score will give you a solid base with which to start your MBA application. It’s not the absolute be-all and end-all, I would say. Just last week I was at an admissions committee where a candidate who had scored 700 on the GMAT was not offered a place. Someone else had scored 580 and we gave them a conditional offer based on their retaking the GMAT, and even if they get around 600 they will be offered a place. The GMAT is important but it’s certainly not the key thing. Our clients need to be sure of how our candidates act in real life situations. How they act when they are faced with tough deadlines, and the GMAT is not always the best indicator of that. If you score above 600, this means you are in a competitive position to apply to some top business schools. If you score below 600, don’t necessarily become disheartened. Depending on the rest of your profile, that can still work.

[7:09] Q: How does a top test score affect the possibility of winning a scholarship from Manchester Business School?

[7:17] A: All our scholarships are merit-based. You would need to score a minimum of 600 to be considered. But if a candidate scores 610 and another one scores 690, they both will be considered for a scholarship, so there is not a big advantage. It all goes down to that person’s profile  - international experience, the type of companies they have worked for, career progression, their academic background. The question you’ve asked is very common and I hear it time and time again. Yes, the GMAT score is important, but it’s not the be-all and end-all.

Check out: Common Mistakes to Avoid in Your MBA Application