Scott Edinburgh
July 12, 2022

Top 10 MBA Application Mistakes

Man Frustrated with MBA Application

Courting your target business schools is a crucial part of the MBA application process. Admissions committee members want to know that you are truly interested in attending their schools. One common way that candidates demonstrate this interest is by attending MBA fairs.

These (typically free) events present candidates with the opportunity to meet admissions directors from top business schools and attend presentations by leading MBA admissions experts. This summer, Personal MBA Coach Founder Scott Edinburgh will be traveling to The MBA Tour events across the US including Chicago, New York City and Boston to present on the Top 10 MBA Application Pitfalls.

If you are not able to attend one of these presentations, Personal MBA Coach has shared a preview of the 10 most common MBA application mistakes and how to avoid them.

1) Stating a vague reason for wanting an MBA

Although an MBA may be viewed as a “check the box” degree in some professions, this is NOT a message that should come across in your MBA applications. You should have a clear reason for wanting an MBA, detailing the skills you hope to gain and how they will help in your future roles.

2) Not including school specifics

While it can be tempting to copy and paste across essays, this is not recommended. Take the time to research the courses, professors and programs that are the best match for your future aspirations and include these details in your essays.

3) Using too many industry buzzwords

Many candidates use too many technical terms in resumes, essays, or even during interviews, potentially confusing or even putting off the audience. Keep the language simple so that your accomplishments do not get lost in technical terms.

4) Not answering the question

This may seem obvious, but we have read countless essays that do not answer the question. If the question says: “Do not repeat your resume,” then do not write 300 words on your accomplishments. While including some details may be needed for context, keep this limited.

5) Too much repetition

While you may have a very impressive role or accomplishments, this does not mean you need to mention them in every essay and in your LORs. Instead, think about your entire story and everything you have to offer.

6) Asking your company’s CEO to write your LOR

Unless you work very closely with your company’s CEO, they are not a good choice to write you a letter of recommendation. Instead, consider who knows you well and will be able to compare you to your peers.

7) Lack of consistency across the application

All your application components should be consistent, including your letters of recommendation. An application that fails to do so will not be perceived as genuine.

8) Not properly engaging with the school

By engaging with your target schools, you are communicating to the admissions committee that you truly want to attend their program. Engagement opportunities include talking to students, attending MBA fairs, and visiting campus, to name a few.

9) Using job description bullets on your resume​

Your MBA resume should sell your future potential. Rather than proving that you can do a particular job, use your MBA resume to highlight your strengths and leadership experience.

10) Having illogical career goals

In general, be specific and decisive when stating your MBA goals. It can be challenging to communicate true passion for goals that are illogical or not genuine.

Be sure to check out Personal MBA Coach’s complete presentation including in-depth information about these MBA application mistakes at The MBA Tour this summer. Sign up for a city near you below!

The MBA Tour Chicago – July 14th

The MBA Tour GMAC Master’s Tour NYC – July 15th

The MBA Tour NYC – July 16th

The MBA Tour Boston – July 20th

About Personal MBA Coach:

Founded by a Wharton MBA and MIT Sloan graduate who sits on the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants Board of Directors, Personal MBA Coach has been guiding clients for 15 years and is consistently ranked #1 or #2 by leading sources. Personal MBA Coach is the #1 most favorably reviewed US Consultant of all time on Poets & Quants.

We help clients with all aspects of the MBA application process including early planning, GMAT/GRE/EA tutoring, application strategy, school selection, essay editing, and mock interviews. Our team includes former M7 admissions directors and former M7 admissions interviewers.

Last cycle, our clients earned more than $6.5M in scholarships!