In our MBA Profile Evaluation series, admissions expert Iliana Bobova reveals what business schools take into consideration and why when they assess prospective applicants. She also shares the main Dos and Don’ts for your application.
How do admissions committees assess MBA applicants? In this final part of our series on MBA profile evaluation, find out how you can craft an outstanding resume and apply for scholarships.
How can applicants discuss any weak points in their resume?
First, applicants should work really well on preparing their MBA resume. It’s different from a job application resume. It needs to be focused on the MBA application. Of course, they should be very honest and not try to be someone they’re not. If there are any drawbacks that the CV shows, like, for example, lack of quantitative experience, this should be directly addressed in the application essays.
Most business schools have one or several admission essays that applicants need to write. So, this is the place where they can comment or provide additional information and evidence that they have certain skills or, alternatively, compensate for certain weaknesses in their profile and in their CV.
Also, the recommenders can address such weaknesses and explain what the reason might be for these. In their letters of recommendation, they can convince the admissions committee that this will not be a barrier to the applicant’s success at business school. Of course, during the admissions interview, these weaknesses will be discussed again, so the applicant needs to prepare well in advance about how to address them.
Which section of the resume is the most important for my profile?
Every section has its value. The education background gives information on whether applicants are qualified – whether they have the Bachelor’s degree. However, I would say that admissions committees would be very much looking into the career section. They will certainly pay attention also to the section describing your additional interests, hobbies, volunteer work, etc. This is because the admissions team want to get to know the person really well – not only professionally, but also personally. They need to assess an applicant’s potential contribution to the MBA program.
How can I improve sections from my profile to make them more visible for admission directors?
Actually, the admissions directors and the admissions committee review a whole set of documents that the applicant prepares: the application form, the CV/resume, test scores, academic transcripts, recommendations, and the essays. This whole package needs to be very well thought through and interconnected, so that each part provides the most important and relevant information, but also, each of those documents should support the rest. For example, the data you supply in the online application form needs to be supported by the CV, and some parts of the CV need to be supported by the letters of recommendation, etc.
Can an admission officer or other adviser advise which MBA format – full-time or part time – is best for the applicants’ profile?
No, I would say not, at least this advice can’t be based on the profile alone. Based on the profile, they can recommend whether the applicant is eligible for an MBA versus an Executive MBA. But choosing between different formats – full-time, part-time, distance, online, blended, etc., is not something that they can see from the profile, and not even from the CV.
So, the best way is for the applicant to contact the admissions team and ask for details about the differences between these types of programs. Thus, the applicant can decide what works best for them. This is a rather personal choice, because this choice reflects how they will participate in an MBA program. This depends on many factors: whether the person wants to stay employed while studying or whether, for example for a full-time program, they would like to quit their job for one year or two years and commit fully to their MBA studies. Many factors should be taken into consideration, but the answer doesn’t come from the profile evaluation.
What is the most important thing to know about the profile evaluation if I want to receive a scholarship?
Two things. First, scholarships are provided to really strong applicants for the particular program. One needs to be really outstanding, not just satisfy the minimum requirements for admission to the program.
So, scholarship applicants need to make sure that their profile really stands out, that they are a great fit for the school. They should be clear about what unique experiences they can bring to the school, so that the school would want to reward them with a scholarship.
Applicants should do thorough research about the types of scholarships and make sure where they fit. Some of the scholarships are merit-based, which means that the test scores will play a significant role, so they should aim to achieve high test scores. There are also scholarships of other types – based on nationality, on particular subject area, such as entrepreneurship. Each scholarship might have specific requirements.
So, first – make sure you are a strong applicant overall for the program. Number two – make sure your profile meets the scholarship requirements.
Do you still have questions about your MBA profile evaluation? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.