How to improve your MBA profile

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How to improve your MBA profile? Is it your academic scores or work experience that would be the cherry on the cake? Is it your extra-curricular achievements or GMAT score, or is it how you craft your essays

how to improve MBA profile

Well, crafting a stellar MBA profile needs a bit of everything. In addition to your academic scores (GMAT/GRE and GPA), to get into a top MBA program, you need to ensure that your overall application shines you in the brightest light possible. 

To improve your MBA profile, you need to evaluate components of your MBA Application, identify the gaps, and work on your weak areas. Moreover, you need to ensure that your application aligns with what the admissions committee is looking for. 

This article lists down five key factors that business schools want in a candidate and highlights 7 steps that you can follow to improve your MBA profile. 

What do Business schools want in a candidate?

Before diving into the steps to create a strong MBA profile, let us understand what a top B-school admissions committee wants in a candidate. 

Why is knowing this important? Because it will help you become aware of the qualities they are looking for and whether you are a good fit for that B-school. Moreover, it will make it easier for you to pinpoint areas of improvement in your MBA profile. 

For instance, your proven leadership qualities are paramount to getting into Harvard Business school. So, to make a strong profile for HBS, you need to highlight your leadership qualities through essays, letters of recommendation, and a resume.

On the other hand, Stanford GSB seeks diverse people who want a transformational experience. They value aspirations and ideas. So, to make a strong MBA profile for Stanford GSB, highlighting your goals, aspirations, and diverse background is crucial. 

Looking for expert help to fulfill your MBA dream?

At Admit Expert, we have helped hundreds of students get into top MBA programs around the world. We would be happy to help you too.
Schedule a free call with us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you achieve your goals.

Depending upon your target business school, you need to align your MBA profile with what the Admissions Committee is looking for.

In general, there are the five key factors that the Admissions Committee looks for:

  1. Leadership qualities 
  2. Clarity of post-MBA goals
  3. Diversity of background
  4. Academic Rigor
  5. Extracurricular achievements

Leadership Qualities 

What do MIT Sloan, Stanford, Harvard, and Kellogg have in common? All of them look for leadership qualities in candidates. While some B-schools emphasize it more than others, leadership is essential to every school. B-schools that value leadership ask specific questions through essays or interviews, giving them insights into your leadership qualities. 

For example, as a part of your Oxford MBA application, you need to complete an online assessment where you align your skills and qualities with what Oxford is looking for, such as decision-making, problem-solving, and leadership. Scroll down to see how you can demonstrate leadership qualities in your MBA Application. 

Clarity of post-MBA goals

Business schools are looking for candidates with a strong vision. Having clarity about your post-MBA goals will indicate a clear thought process. With the emerging trends in technology and the changing course of globalization, your ability to make conscious decisions plays an important part. 

Moreover, based on your post-MBA goals Adcoms can evaluate if an MBA degree from that B-school is the right fit for you. Scroll down to see how you showcase your post-MBA goals in your MBA application. 

Diversity of background

The Admissions Committee aims to bring students from a wide range of backgrounds. Why? Because having a diverse MBA class enhances the classroom experience through various perceptions. Moreover, having a diverse background will tell Adcoms that you have been exposed to various perspectives and values, which will help you contribute to the class discussions and your batch overall 

The Admissions Committee evaluates candidates based on various diversity parameters such as gender, race/ethnicity, age, and industry. Scroll down to learn how you can showcase your diverse background in MBA Applications. 

Academic Rigor

An MBA program has a rigorous course structure.  It requires effort, commitment, and hard work to earn the degree. Thus, the Admissions Committee has to ensure that the candidates they choose are capable of thriving in such an environment. Your GMAT/GRE score indicates how skilled you are at thinking on your feet when under pressure. These competitive exams test your logical, quantitative, and analytical skills, which are also required to pursue an MBA degree.

GPA is another parameter on which the Admissions Committee evaluates you. Your GPA (Grade Point Average) will help them determine your past academic performance and know the extent you would be able to tackle the rigorous MBA curriculum.

Generally, business schools do not specify minimum GMAT/GRE or GPA score requirements. However, you can look at the average score of the latest MBA batch to understand the profile of students who got admission.

The top 10 Business schools have an average GMAT score of 729, GRE score of 325, and GPA of 3.5 for MBA class 2023: 

Best Business schools GMAT Score GRE score GPA 
University of Chicago Booth 7323253.54
University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)7333243.6
Northwestern University (Kellogg)7273273.7
Stanford University 7383303.7
Harvard University 7303273.6
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)7303253.5
Yale University 7303313.6
Columbia University 729NA3.5
University of California – Berkeley (Haas)7263233.6
University of Michigan – Ann Arbor (Ross)7223203.5
Average 729.73253.584

Extracurricular achievements 

Former associate director of admissions at Columbia Business School, Deena Maerowitz, points out that impressive extracurricular activities are necessary to get into a top MBA degree program. It is a section where you can portray your leadership and collaboration skills. For example, organizing a fund-raising activity at work. You can also showcase volunteering work which tells the Adcoms how passionate you are for a cause and your ability to contribute. 

Extracurricular achievements can also be related to sports and art. For example, you can include how you have spent 8 years learning different forms of dancing. This will show your dedication. You may also point out how you give free dance lessons to kids in high school, which will highlight your ability to share your talent. INSEAD MBA essay (Fall intake 2021) asks the candidate to describe all types of extra-professional activities (clubs, sports, music, arts, etc.) and how these activities enrich them?

Looking for expert help to fulfill your MBA dream?

At Admit Expert, we have helped hundreds of students get into top MBA programs around the world. We would be happy to help you too.
Schedule a free call with us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you achieve your goals.

When to start your MBA Application?

Applying to business school is a rigorous, time-consuming process. The earlier you start, the higher your chances of getting an admit. Based on the experience of Admit Expert consultants who are alumni of top B-schools such as Wharton, Chicago Booth, and NYU, we have designed a timeline on when to start your MBA Application.

Here are the 5 major factors you need to consider: 

  1. GMAT/GRE prep time: Generally, it takes 3-4 months to score a good GMAT/GRE score. However, it entirely depends on your capability and time to study for GMAT/GRE. It is advised that you should finish taking the competitive exam at least 5-6 months before you apply so that you have enough time to focus on other components for your MBA application. 
  2. Take the language test: Non-native English speakers need to take a language test (IELTS/TOFEL) if their mode of pedagogy wasn’t in English during their undergraduate program. Acing the language test ensures that you will be able to communicate well in class discussions and do group presentations. Your English proficiency depends on the amount of time you will take to prepare and ace the English language test. Generally, it takes 2 weeks to 3 months. 
  3. Get to know your target B-school: Make sure you set some time aside to know your target business school. Visit the campus if you’re in the same country, interact with current students online or offline, and experience the teaching first-hand. It will help you evaluate your candidacy and fit with the target B-school. You can set aside 10 days to 3 weeks to research your target business school. 
  4. Preparation for your essays: The essay questions generally revolve around a few common things, such as post-MBA goals, contribution to the community, and personal stories. Get a head start by introspecting your life and career goals. Note down instances that highlight your achievements and key parameters that Adcoms look for in a candidate (Scroll to the top to know what Adcoms look for in a candidate). You can set aside 1 to 2 months to work on your essay.
  5. Securing recommendation letter: Consider that the recommenders might be busy, and it would take at least a few weeks for them to give you a Letter of Recommendation. Get your LORs at least 2-3 months before the application deadline.

7 ways to improve your MBA profile 

Now that you know the amount of time it will take you, here are 7 steps to improve your MBA profile: 

Step 1: Identify the gaps in your application and work on them

To improve your MBA profile, you first need to evaluate your application and look for gaps. You need to identify the weak components of your application and balance them out with your achievements. For example, to compensate for a low GPA, you need to do well in your GMAT/GRE. You can even take additional statistical and quant courses to leverage a low GPA and highlight your quantitative and analytical work experience. 

Similarly, to overcome a low GMAT/GRE score, you can take coursework that demonstrates your quantitative ability. Also, use the optional essay to your advantage. Give context to why you scored low and what you have done to compensate for it. Moreover, if you have any gap in your work experience or have changed many industries, you can use essays to explain the reason. 

To make your resume stronger, you can also take up cross-functional activities at work and pick up ambitious projects. Take up responsibilities that you could use to build a story for your essays. You can then highlight the challenges you faced and takeaways. You can also take an active part in community activities and volunteering work. This will demonstrate that you are involved in giving back to the community, which is one of the factors that most of the top B-schools look for. 

Step 2: Showcase your leadership qualities 

Showcasing your leadership qualities is one way in which you can improve your MBA profile. The ultimate aim of the Admissions Committee at top B-schools is to groom you to become future leaders, and thus, they want to make sure that you have the potential to do so. MBA Application components such as essays, resume, and letters of recommendation can help you demonstrate your leadership qualities. 

Remember, just having an authoritative position won’t help you shed light on your leadership qualities.

Thinking about the challenges you faced while executing a project etc., and how you overcame those challenges would give you deeper insights into your leadership qualities.

Step 3: Define your career goals 

To strengthen your MBA profile, you must align your past and present skill sets and experiences with your future aspirations. Moreover, defining how an MBA fits into achieving your goals is crucial. Here are some questions that will help you determine your career goals better:

  • Why MBA and Why Now? What experience led me to pursue an MBA. Why do I feel this is the correct time to pursue an MBA. For example, explain how after having 8 years of experience, it is time for you to learn new skills and gain knowledge that can lead to career progression.
  • Why XYZ industry? Explain your motivation to work in that industry. 
  • What are my short-term goals? Example: Highlight the types of internship and certifications you plan on holding. 
  • What are my long-term goals? The ideal position you want to hold and your motivation to take XYZ career path. 
  • How will  XYZ B-school help me achieve my goals? Talk about the opportunities that B-school will offer you to help you achieve your goals. 

So, make sure that you clearly define your goals and craft a compelling story around them to strengthen your MBA profile. Generally, essays are the best way where you can explain your goals and aspirations. Most business schools ask questions about goals either in essay prompts or later during the interview. 

Step 4: Understand how can your target business help you achieve your career goals

To align your goal with the target B-school you need to ask yourself – How will the MBA Program at that B-school help you achieve your goals?  Highlight the opportunities the business school will offer you to achieve your short and long-term goals. For example, if you are looking for a career in Finance:

  • Research the business school employment stats. See the percentage of students that get recruited in the finance industry. Based on the research, evaluate which B-school would be better for you. For example, Columbia’s MBA graduates find employment predominantly in the finance industry compared to Kellogg.
  • Research about the curriculum. Are there courses related to your post MBA function/industry goals that can enhance your knowledge?

The best way to showcase that your goals align with the B-school is through essays. Some business schools like Wharton and LBS ask direct questions to evaluate if your goals align with business schools.

Step 5: Showcase your diverse background 

Essays are the best places in your MBA application where you can show Adcoms how your diverse background has helped shape who you are today. For example, you can opt for writing the optional essay to emphasize how being a female in the manufacturing sector which is dominated by males, you successfully navigated your way around everyday challenges and made an impact.

In fact, some business schools ask specific questions related to diversity for their essays. For example, Darden’s MBA essay question (Fall intake 2021) asks the applicants to share a time they engaged with a different perspective, identity, community, or experience and how it impacted their worldview.

You can also use your resume and letters of recommendation to highlight your diverse background. For example, if you have performed any community activity, you can mention those in your resume and ask recommenders to write and discuss the same.

Step 6: Connect with Alumni 

Connecting with Alumni will help you get insight into how you can make your application unique. They have gone through the admissions process and know what the admissions committee looks for in a candidate. They can guide you through the process, pinpoint weaknesses in your application, and provide tips to make your application stand out. 

At Admit Expert, we connect you with alumni of all your target B-schools, who form one of the layers (school mentors) in our unique 3-layer system (the other two being the lead consultant and essay editor). 

Step 7: Connect with recommenders 

Connecting with recommenders and making sure that they understand what is expected is crucial. A strong MBA profile has letters of recommendation in sync with the overall application. Think of it like a piece of a puzzle that puts everything into perspective. 

Through your LORs, you provide proof of who you are and your leadership from a third-person perspective. It should substantiate and support what you have mentioned in your essays and resume.

To craft a strong MBA profile, you need to choose your recommender carefully. Generally, the business schools ask for two recommendations. It can be personal or professional. However, it is recommended that you have at least one professional LOR. Choose someone with whom you have worked closely or who managed you directly, such as your direct reporting manager. 

So, there you have it! 7 Steps to improve your MBA profile. Make sure that you start your application early, know what the Admissions Committee is looking for, and follow the 7 steps to improve your MBA profile. 

FAQs – How to improve your MBA Profile? 

How to make your MBA profile stand out? 

The Admissions Committee is looking for accomplished candidates from diverse backgrounds. To make your profile stand out, you need to first understand what  Adcoms are looking for, based on which you identify gaps in your profile. Here are 7 steps you can follow to improve your MBA profile. 

Can I get into a business school with a low GPA? 

There are no minimum criteria for GPA. However, the average GPA at the top 10 business schools is approx. 3.5. You can do an MBA with a lower GPA if you can compensate for it with your other application components. One way to compensate for a low GPA is to do exceptionally well on GMAT/GRE. 

How to write a killer MBA essay? 

To write a killer MBA essay, you need to make sure that it is concise, cohesive, compelling, clear, and represents a true picture of yourself. You need to introspect what are your future goals and how your past experiences have shaped you. There are different types of essays that you can expect in your application. Take a look at this article where we highlight 5 steps to writing a compelling essay. 

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