I thought I would change it up a little bit and share some of the insider tips and tricks I am learning from being behind the scenes in the MBA Admissions Office. With application season well under way, hopefully this information is helpful as you are writing your essays and preparing for interviews at top ranked MBA colleges.
1. Be knowledgeable on programs unique to the school: I cannot tell you how frequently I am reading essays and at any given time, you could insert any other top ranked MBA program's name where Kelley is listed. Being knowledgeable about programs unique to the school and more importantly, how you would like to be involved in them or what you would like to gain from the experience shows you have spent time really thinking about the best path to your career aspirations and know how the school can help you get there.
2. Have a clear focus and solid understanding of short and long term goals: One of the main components I try and understand in an interview or essay is what do you want to do in the short term and long term, and more importantly, why do you need an MBA to pursue those goals? While people change their minds or are still exploring potential career paths, it is important to have a general area of business and some idea of potential career paths.
3. Proofread: This may sound obvious, but little errors throughout the application add up and make it seem as though you are not detail oriented. The last thing a company wants is to hire someone that when they present a memo or presentation to company execs to have formatting, spelling or grammatical errors. Take the extra few minutes to double check everything before hitting submit, including the spelling of the program's name.
4. Let your personality come through: Many candidates have asked me what we are looking for in an interview or an essay response. The truth is, there is not a formulaic answer and telling us what you think we want to hear usually makes your response feel insincere. Instead, use the optional and more creative questions to share insight into what motivates you, what you are passionate about and what your personality is like. This helps us assess "fit" and get a better feel for you as a person, not just as another application.
Hopefully these tips provide some helpful insight as you continue through the application process!