Is This a Good Match?
A business school will assess your fit, i.e. do you match up with their ethos and values? However, this isn’t a one-way street – you need to assess their fit. How do they much up in terms of your wants and needs?
That’s why, if you’re thinking about applying to an on-campus programme, it’s a good idea to visit the campus, if possible. Most schools will allow you to sit in on a class, speak to the students and, in some cases, alumni as well. This will allow you to experience, momentarily, what it’s like to be a student and whether the school and programme are a good match for you.
Talk to them, they don’t bite. A good admissions advisor will assess whether their programme is right for you and, if it is, help you fine-tune your application, and if it’s not, recommend another programme or school.
Credible schools, and advisors, are not interested in placing students in programmes that aren’t right for them.
This may seem obvious, but can be overlooked: Identify and engage referees sooner rather than later and, where possible, walk them through what is expected. Again, a little obvious, but try to select your most enthusiastic advocates and, if possible, referees that believe in the value of an MBA.
This is not as scary as it may seem to some. Remember, the school has already seen, and likes, your application, i.e. you look good on paper!
The admissions advisor is not trying to trip you up, nor do they wish to know what you had for breakfast or your mother’s maiden name, i.e. it’s not designed to be an interrogation.
The admissions advisor will be hoping to bring out the best in you, which should make for a cordial environment. However, be careful not to misread this and allow your focus to slip. The interview process should be treated in a professional manner, which means preparation and practice (out loud, with a friend or colleague) are crucial, as are good listening skills on the day.
Whilst you will be answering a lot of questions, don’t forget to ask them as well. This is one of the best chances you will have to get under the skin of the programme, and well placed intelligent questions will certainly do your case no harm!
Be concise, you don’t have a lot of room to work with or a lot of time to catch the attention of the person reading your CV.
Schools tend to ask that résumés are kept to one page, although some will allow two. Given that the reader may only spend a few minutes scanning your CV, make the details count. When detailing achievements and successes, be specific: If you increased revenue, detail by how much. If you completed a project on time, don’t be ambiguous about the timeframe. These are the small but important details that can sometimes help to separate candidates.