If you are looking to apply to business school in 2022, it is time to get started on your MBA application strategy. So you will definitely find it useful to get an industry expert’s insight on how to avoid the most common MBA application mistakes. 

From selecting the wrong recommender to confusing the reader with industry buzzwords, unsuccessful applicants often make a number of easy-to-avoid mistakes. In this webinar, Scott Edinburgh, an MBA admissions consultant and career advisor, offers tips for avoiding these pitfalls.

Scott is a Wharton MBA graduate and the founder of Personal MBA Coach. Through his boutique admissions consulting and tutoring company, he and his team have helped hundreds of applicants around the world get into top MBA and graduate programs as well as advance their careers. Prior to founding Personal MBA Coach, Scott began his career at Deloitte and worked across consulting, financial services and strategy & corporate development roles.

Top pitfalls

#1. Having illogical career goals

Your goals should make sense, Scott says. One way to think about whether your goal makes sense or not is to talk about it with someone who is not in your industry. If your goal is explained in a clear way, a person who is not familiar with the sector should be able to understand it.

#2. Asking your company’s CEO to write your letter of recommendation

You don’t have to ask someone really high up. You need to turn to someone who knows you really well and who can get into a lot of specific details about what you have done. What’s been good about you have done and what you need to improve.

#3. Using job description bullets on your CV/resume

If you want to highlight strengths, include specific and measurable results. You need to have them be impact-oriented. For instance: you have created a program that led to a 20% cost reduction.

#4. Not including school specifics

You want to avoid vague statements that could apply to any school. If you are going to write something about a school you are interested in, try to make sure it is specific to this school. Also, try not to compliment the school because admissions officers will see right through fake praises. Schools want to know why you want to join their unique campuses, and the more specific you are the better.

#5. Stating a vague reason for wanting an MBA

You have to know exactly why you want to do an MBA. Things like business knowledge and strong fundamentals are not specific enough terms to use when you apply to business school.

#6. Not answering the question

This seems like a strange advice, but many applicants fail to answer the specific essay questions. While it’s ok to include some details for context, if background is not required, don’t spend a lot of time on it.

#7. Using too many buzzwords

Buzzwords are not helpful. You may say something that an admissions officer doesn’t understand, or you say something that they understand but they don’t need to read in the application.

#8. Lacking consistency in the application

All of your application pieces should fit together. Besides, if you have a theme, it should run through your entire application. Admissions officers are not going to spend an hour or two on your application, so the key features should be easily recognizable and memorable. If your application strays in too many directions and contains inconsistent messages, the admissions committee will have a hard time understanding who you are. 

#9. Having too much repetition

Don’t waste valuable space telling admissions directors the same thing more than once. Consistency does not mean repetition.

#10. Not properly engaging with the school

Admissions officers are real people and you can show them that you love their schools. You can interact with them at MBA fairs or even virtual events where you talk to admissions directors, students and alumni.

Looking to learn more about the MBA application process and get useful MBA application tips – check out Personal MBA Coach’s extensive e-book library.