Don’t Write Your MBA Personal Statement Until You Watch This

Before you write your MBA personal statement, you’re going to want to think about MBA recruiting, prepare some MBA strategies and build an MBA timeline so you’re not left behind when term starts. Getting a great job is why so many of you take MBAs, and recruiters for graduates arrive on campus almost at day 1, so you need to be ready to take advantage of them and also be thinking about your career with business school in mind!

Angela Guido is here to unveil three secrets of MBA recruiting and offer a preliminary guide to MBA recruiting in general. It might not be everything you need to know about MBA recruiting, but it’s a good start! Keep these tips in mind and hopefully you’ll be able to achieve that perfect personal statement for your MBA applications.

YouTube video

Prefer to read? Here’s the transcript:

Welcome back to MBA Monday. I'm Angela Guido, the founder of Protocol, and today I'm talking about the three secrets of MBA recruiting that you need to know before you write your personal statements.

Before I became an MBA and career coach, I worked at the Boston Consulting Group. I was a consultant. And then for a couple of years I was a recruiter. So, part of my job was to visit all the different MBA campuses and teach people how to be successful in BCG’s competitive interviews. In that process,

I really got to know the nitty gritty of MBA graduate recruitment, what it's all about, how the MBA timeline works and what really matters when you're on campus looking to get your post MBA job or internship.

What's really important for you to understand as an applicant is that it's not a wide open free for all, where you're going to get any job offer that you want at any given moment, and be able to consider a wide variety of job options. This is a big misconception that MBA applicants have. We tend to think – and I was guilty of this too, pre-MBA -, we tend to think that we'll just get to campus, we'll figure it out, there will be plenty of job options for us to consider and then we'll just take the one that we like best and ride off into the sunset. But it really doesn't work that way. So let me tell you the top three things that you need to know about how MBA recruiting works before you write your personal statements.

Everything You Need to Know About MBA Recruiting

  1. Number one, the first thing is, it starts really fast. Most people think that you get to campus, you get oriented, you have plenty of time to hang out with your classmates, get to know each other, attend classes, and then maybe some time a bit later, maybe sometime later in first year, then you'll have to start worrying about your internship and eventually about your full-time job. But the truth is that elements of recruiting begin as early as day one. It depends on which school you go to but even if you take Harvard Business School as an example – and Harvard tends to be the most protective of its students – it keeps recruiters at bay for the longest period of time of any MBA program. And even at Harvard, within six weeks of arriving on campus, you've got to make some critical decisions that are going to impact your summer internship recruiting. You're not interviewing within six weeks, but you are choosing what to put on your resume, what clubs you need to join, what face you're going to present to all of the companies that are recruiting on campus. So that means that you need to have made some really key decisions, pre-MBA before you even get there.
  2. Number two, you can only have one job offer at a time. This isn't a strict rule, but there is a sort of unstated agreement – and sometimes it's overtly stated – that every offer you receive is an offer that you're taking away from your fellow classmates. So, it's super uncool to go out and collect two, three or four job offers and then just kind of take your pick because it's not like the company is them going to turn around and make that offer to someone else. It just means that someone from your school likely will miss out on the chance to work for that company. So you can only typically have one job offer at a time. And if you're not going to accept an offer that you've gotten at the beginning of the season, you need to let it go before figuring out the next offer that you're going to get. So this means that you have to be quite decisive in the recruiting process so that you're not trying to collect offers. You really have to go after just the one or two or three things that you really want.
  3. The third thing you need to understand is that consulting and banking recruiting happens first. Those companies need the most MBAs. They're hiring – a company like McKinsey or BCG – is hiring 10, 20, 30 students from a given program and hundreds worldwide in a given year. So they come to campus first, they do their interviews for summer internships typically in about January, so you're going to be forced to decide “consulting or not?”, “banking or not?”, before you can move on to marketing jobs and corporate strategy jobs and business development jobs, because consulting and banking happen first.

So Get Your MBA Strategies & MBA Timeline In Order!

So, what does that mean? What is all of this mean for your personal statements?

  • First of all, it means that you need to have a very clear plan A, and you need to show the admissions committee that you've already done enough thinking, that you can – within a week or two of arriving on campus – begin to make progress towards the job that you want.
  • The second thing it means is that if you think you're going to do consulting or banking, those are going to have to be your plan A by default, because they happen first.

Ideally, you've done at least a bit of research about the jobs that you want post-MBA so that when you present your personal statement, your discussion of your goals and your plans and why you want to go to this program, it's informed by actual conversations with people who do those jobs. Basically, you need to present a pretty convincing picture of what it is that you really think you want to do. Of course, you're free to change your mind, but you understand that because recruiting starts so fast and because things are pretty organized on campus, you don't have a lot of time to figure things out. This is why the personal statement question is so important to business schools, because the last thing they want is for you to, like, not really know what you want to do and get to campus and just sort of get lost in the recruiting process and miss the chance to get the job that you really want post-MBA.

So take into account these three secrets of MBA recruiting as you're structuring your personal statements, and you'll go a really long way to proving to schools that you know what you want and you're really MBA ready.

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Angela Guido

Student of Human Nature| Founder and
Chief Education Officer of Career Protocol

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