Your ability to show interest in your target MBA may indeed tip the scales in your favor. And yes, schools do want to know if you really mean business. A recent article published by the Wall Street Journal revealed that some US colleges, in an effort to sort through a growing number of applications, are analyzing prospective students’ online interaction with the schools and factoring it into their admission decisions.
Smart and personalized online tools can enable you to declare your interest to business Schools. Unimy, for instance, combines the power of AI technology and decades of human orientation expertise to suggest your best MBA match among 3,000 programs globally. It notifies business schools whenever you view their profiles or add them to your favorites’ list.
If you are an MBA applicant you will need to know how to demonstrate your interest in a particular MBA program, either in essays or interviews. So, here are four tips.
Research the program
This should be your starting point. If you want to enroll in a particular MBA program, you need to know what you are getting into. The more thoroughly you research the program, the better. Reviewing the description of the course on the business school’s website is obligatory. You can go the extra mile by contacting alumni and current students, who certainly can offer information that is not available on the website. For instance, they can tell you about the general environment in the classroom, teaching methods and career prospects etc.
Knowing the program inside out will not only help you impress admissions’ officers, but will also enable you to ask better questions whenever you get the chance to talk to program representatives. Obviously, getting basic facts wrong like requirements or the duration of the program will make a bad impression on admissions’ staff who want to see that applicants have done their homework and spent time researching the nuts and bolts of the course.
Schools look for aspirants who are excited about it. When explaining why they have chosen a particular program, many students list the reasons listlessly. Admissions’ officers know the program details. What they don’t know, however, is what exactly draws you to the business school and why.
During the interview(s) you will be asked about your reasons for applying to the program. Your interviewer will want to find out if you are sincerely enthusiastic about the school, but also hear your specific reasons. Here, you can talk about how you expect the curriculum to help you reach your goals (for more on that, read on), specific components of the program that you find exciting like study trips, projects etc., or faculty that you want to learn from.
Demonstrate the link between your goals and the program
During interviews and essays, you will be asked to state your short- and long-term goals. But not only that, you will also need to explain why that specific school is the right fit in the context of your goals. The Economist advises:
Start with describing the gaps that you are trying to close with an MBA degree, then pick specific elements of the school that address them. These could be classes, professors, student clubs, immersion programs, leadership programs, the learning environment, class size, location and many other factors that are unique to the school.
By linking your goals to specific elements of the program you will not only demonstrate the research you have done, but also emphasize the uniqueness of your application, what sets you apart from other aspirants. You also let the admissions’ commission see your vision for the future and how you will turn it into reality. If done right, the goals-program connection serves as a strong signal that you and the school are the perfect match for each other.
Show how you are going to add value to the class
Before you even start working on your application, you need to decide how you will stand out, but also fit, into the MBA classroom. Business schools are keen on forming a diverse group of fellow students for a variety of reasons. Diversity fosters innovation, creates an inclusive environment and promotes a nuanced, multifaceted understanding of business.
Business schools want to hear how you are going to contribute to the learning environment. They want to know how you will enrich the program and discussions within class. They are looking for applicants who will give just as much as they receive.
Check out: How to Wait for the MBA Admissions Decision
It is pivotal to give concrete answers about what you can contribute to the program. It would be wrong to offer vague responses such as: “I’ll be a leader” or “I will contribute with a global mindset.” Don’t expect admissions’ officers to guess how exactly you will add value to the class; instead, tell them directly how your experience, professional and personal, will benefit your classmates.
Revealing your motivation to do an MBA is an often-underestimated aspect of the application process. Many applicants simply don’t know that they need to demonstrate interest or are too neutral and detached when explaining their reasons for choosing a particular school. Spend some time thinking about what makes your dream MBA so appealing and try to pass the enthusiasm on to the admissions’ officers.