Applying to business school might seem like a task for future you, but you can (and probably should) begin to strengthen your MBA application profile right now! It’s going to take a run-up to boost your MBA application, and this week Angela Guido goes through some important MBA application tips that will come in handy once you get to your MBA profile evaluation later this year.
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Prefer to read? Here’s the transcript:
I'm going to give you three steps, because three is my favorite number. Three steps to strengthening your profile before you apply to business school in the next six months. Welcome back to MBA Monday. I'm Angela Guido, the founder of Career Protocol. And today I'm talking about how to build your MBA resume before you apply to business school.
Play To Your Strengths for a Strong MBA Application
A lot of candidates are concerned about whether they're good enough to get into business school. I think this is kind of a dumb question because to be honest, everyone can get into business school. You can't get into every business school and not everyone can get into any given school. But if you really want an MBA, you will be able to find a program that's a perfect fit for you and that you're able to get into. So the question is not “are you good enough to get into business school or not?”, the question is “how can you make your candidacy as strong as possible before you apply?”. Given that we're at the beginning of March and applications aren't due until September. You've got six whole months to really crush your career and bring it so that when you apply to business school, you've got amazing stories to tell, incredible achievements for your resume and an overall really strong candidacy to present to admissions committees.
3 Steps To Strengthen Your MBA Application
- So step number one, this is the most important one, crush your career. You really want to do everything you can do in your career over the next six months to move your professional profile forward. So some tactics you can use today to get started. Number one, talk to your manager about your development. If you work in a company that's open to people applying to business school, you might even tell your manager or your superiors that you're planning to apply to business school in six months and you want to use this window of time to have as much impact in the company as possible. So you're looking for stretch roles, new learning opportunities, cross training, cross-functional experience, working with other teams, working on exciting new projects. Talk to your network, talk to the people who are managing you. Let them know what your goals and plans are and help them help you advance and improve in these next six months. You don't want to expect your manager to do everything for you. It's best if you come with a plan, some proposals, some projects that you'd like to join and some specific skills that you'd like to develop. But use your network, use the existing structures within your company and the people who support you to do more, better, amazing accomplishments in your day job.
- Number two, seek stretch extracurricular opportunities at work. This is a part of your professional profile that a lot of people overlook. When most people think about MBA applications, they think about community service or they think about amazing achievements in sports or hobbies – and I am going to talk about that, that's point number three – but a really important opportunity for leadership development and demonstrating that you are someone who seeks to have an impact and go beyond your mandate are opportunities at work. These are things like recruiting, training, affiliation activities, charity drives, environmental impact. Most companies have opportunities outside of your day job for you to make meaningful contributions to your team, to your peers, to your superiors and to the company at large. So, if you're not already involved in any of those activities, see if you can do so in the next six months. And if you are already involved with those opportunities, see if you can have even more impact. So, if you're involved in recruiting, do more recruiting. If you're involved in training, see if you can come up with a few new training sessions or if you can take on leadership of a program that you've only been involved in on the sidelines, seek to do more and have more impact.
- And then number three, the third way that you can really strengthen your profile in the next six months is in everything that you do outside of work. This includes community service, hobbies, sports, athletics, whatever it is that you do in your free time or in, you're off the clock, not working time, seek to do more. And if there are any banner achievements that you've been working on, now's a good time to pull the trigger. For example, if you're a runner and you haven't run a marathon yet, that would be a good time to do it. Then you'll have something interesting to talk about in your interviews and potentially also in your essay. Whatever it is that you do that you love, take it as far as you can take it in the next six months. You don't have to radically change what you care about. If you haven't been deeply involved in any kind of community service, you might not have time to build a meaningful community service profile between now and when you apply. But whatever you're already doing, take it further so that when you apply, you've got interesting stories to tell and really cool achievements for your resume.
Don’t Forget To Have Fun!
Those are the three best ways to build your profile before you apply to business school. Whatever you do in the next six months as you seek to build your MBA profile, make sure that you're having fun. If you do stuff you love and you do more of what you love, you're inherently going to be a more interesting person to talk to when MBA interviews come around. I know you can do it. Get out there. Have fun.