Scott Edinburgh
August 10, 2023

Are Your MBA Applications Ready?

MBA Round 2 Deadline with a clock

With the first MBA round 1 deadline in less than four weeks, it is time to check on your progress and make sure your business school applications are on track and solid.

2023 MBA Round 1 Deadlines:

If you are not sure if your applications are ready, here are 7 questions to ask yourself.

1. Do you have a well-articulated personal story?

  • Is your personal story clear?
  • Does the reader walk away knowing who you are and what matters to you? The admissions committee does not want to read a long explanation detailing a chronological flow of your life. Instead, your story must be focused, logical and unique.
  • Are the stories consistent throughout all of the application components? Your resume, essays, short answer responses and letters of recommendation should all include the same general message. Any inconsistencies are an instant red flag!

2. Do your essays answer the question asked?

  • Do you find yourself rereading paragraphs because you do not see how they fit into the essay? Are you telling admissions directors what you want them to know about you or what they asked? It can be very tempting to have a strong vision of the story you WANT to tell and force that into the essay questions. However, admissions directors are all looking to gather different information about you and develop their questions accordingly. Be sure to draft essays that truly answer the question!

3. Do your essays paint a clear and accurate picture of YOU?

  • It is a good idea to have someone else read your essays. Ask someone who is not extremely familiar with what you do daily. This will help to ensure you are talking about your experiences with the right level of detail for someone outside of your industry.
  • Is each essay telling the reader something about you? While a story can often add to or even make a great essay, the goal of every essay is to convince the admissions committee that you will add value on campus (and beyond). Make sure every essay sends a message about what impact you will make, and think about how they all connect with each other.

4. Is it clear WHY you want an MBA?

  • Have you thought out and articulated why you want an MBA? To get promoted or to gain “business skills” are NOT good reasons.
  • While not all schools ask this question directly, all candidates should be able to explain the skills and experiences they hope to gain from an MBA and how these skills will help them attain their career goals. These goals can be shared either in the essay or in the interview (if the offer is extended). Watch this quick tips video with Scott Edinburgh, Personal MBA Coach’s Founder, to find out how to properly articulate your career goals:

5. Does your MBA application include specific information about the target school?

  • A strong MBA application will include school specifics where appropriate. Make sure that your essays mention specific information such as unique classes, programs, or professors you are interested in.
  • Admissions committee members read thousands of essays every year, and it is easy for them to determine who is genuinely interested in a school versus who crafted a generic essay. Try to connect your background and interests to the things you would like to do on campus, so you showcase a bit of personality.

6. Are your letters of recommendation strong enough?

  • One of the most overlooked areas when working to build a strong MBA application is the LOR section. Even if your recommenders are not comfortable sharing their letters, there are steps you should take to ensure quality.
  • It is important to go over your complete story with your recommenders so that they can write letters that help to corroborate that story.
  • If your goals and/or story have changed as you have moved through the application phase, make sure to update your recommenders.

7. Have you perfected your short answer questions?

  • Do your short answer responses share additional aspects of your candidacy? Naturally, you cannot detail all your accomplishments and traits in your application essays, so the short answer section is your chance to share these important achievements.
  • Also ask yourself if your responses are consistent. The voice used in the short answer section should match that shared throughout your essays and paint a clear, credible image of who you are as a candidate.

Need a second pair of eyes on your application? Aside from Comprehensive PackagesPersonal MBA Coach also offers a Gut Check service. Reach out to schedule a free consultation today!