Too many applicants don’t devote enough time and attention to the MBA application forms and thereby miss a prime opportunity to use these forms as an additional way to promote their candidacy.
Typically, the forms are the first part of the application reviewed by the admissions committee; if they are incomplete, rushed, or full of errors, you will hurt your candidacy from the start.
In this 2-part series, we will answer a few of the most frequently asked questions about the MBA application forms and offers some tips that will help you make the most of this element of your MBA application.
One important caveat: we share general policies and guidelines based on past experience. However, you need to follow the exact “letter of the law” for each school’s application form. So the most important tip in this article is that you need to be sure that you fully understand each school’s specific submission requirements.
Q: I went to school outside the US and I am applying to US business schools. Should I have my GPA and transcripts translated?
If you studied outside of the United States and/or the grading system at your university was different than the standard U.S. four-point system, some schools will require you to use a translation service, like the World Education Service (“WES”). Other schools will ask you to submit your transcripts without translation. Check each individual school’s policy and don’t assume that the same rules apply for every school.
If your transcripts are written in a foreign language you may be asked to have course titles translated into English as well. School websites typically offer some guidance on the proper procedures to follow. If not, contact the admissions office and ask.
Q: What is the difference between the work experience section of the application forms and my resume?
When filling in the work experience section of the MBA application forms, don’t just cut and paste from your resume. The application form is a good place to provide contextual information that will make your resume easier to understand. Take the time to write concise company descriptions, summarize your roles and responsibilities, and highlight your most important skills and achievements.
Keep in mind that admissions officers may review the information on the forms before they read your resume; so you want to ensure that you have provided persuasive evidence about your career progress, career readiness, and leadership potential. A good test is to read the section and ask yourself if what you have written is simply a generic job description or whether what you have written will differentiate you from peers who might have a similar job description.
In part 2 of this article, we answer two more frequently asked questions:
- Q: The form asks for number of people supervised, but I don’t have any direct reports? How do I answer this?
- Q: Do I need to write anything in the MBA form’s optional essay?