Here are a few extra helpings of advice drawn from our Prepare to Be Accepted™ Video Series:
Identify ways your academic story can differentiate you
You should obtain a copy of your grade reports and review them carefully long before the admissions officers do. Don’t rely on your memory because you might discover too late that the 3.1 GPA you remember earning was actually a 2.9 – or that you repressed the memory of that D in freshman psychology.
But looking for skeletons in your academic closet isn’t the only advantage of reviewing your transcripts. You want to review your academic history to identify ways to differentiate yourself from other candidates. For example, if you excelled in a foreign language or studied abroad in college those might be things to emphasize in your essays.
Showcase qualities business schools care about on your resume
There are important differences between an MBA application resume and an employment resume. Your objective and your audience are different. For example, an employer might be interested in your technical skills whereas an MBA admissions officer will be more interested in significant achievements and the moments in your career that distinguish you from your peers.
Your objective with an application resume is to showcase the qualities that a business school will be most interested in such as leadership, teamwork, initiative, creativity, and management potential. Keep in mind that it is quite common that your resume will be the only background an admissions interviewer has about you; so you should ensure that it features the qualities that the school values most.
Start drafting application forms weeks in advance
You want to start working on your application form weeks before the deadlines. Candidates who wait until the night before the deadline may be in for a rude awakening. Some programs include short-answer essays in the application form such as “What was your most significant challenge in each job?” or “Describe your role in each extracurricular organization.”
As a practical matter, you also want to have time to carefully proof your application data sheets. Typos in the forms are easy to miss, especially because there is no spell check for most online applications.