How to Create a Great MBA Application!

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As a former Harvard interviewer and Harvard grad, I thought I would  answer some of my clients’ most frequently asked questions, regarding How to Create a Great MBA Application!


TIP 1Focus on your professional experience

Though obvious to some, it is not obvious to others, which is why I’ll state it as my Number 1 point: MBA programs want to hear about your professional experience.

So, whereas on your undergraduate college applications, it was important to show how well-rounded you were, and how you participated in all kinds of activities and things, when applying to an MBA program admissions committees are looking for PROFESSIONAL FOCUS in almost every question.

They want to hear about your work, your professional life, your level of responsibility, the number of people you manage, the level of finances you or your department handles, your goals, your future, and your long-term career interests… all how they relate to you professionally.

So, keep the fact that you “also play saxophone” out of it, unless you are planning on starting an entrepreneurial saxophone-related business. If that’s the case, they love that, and you should mention it.

TIP 2Demonstrate Vision

Schools want to see that you’re not just applying for an MBA because it’s simply “what people do” in order to advance to the next level in your job. They want to see that you have an overall future plan in place — 5, 10, 20 years down the road. A plan that makes sense in terms of getting your MBA now.

And, “now” is a key word, and one that you will see mentioned on to a lot of the MBA application essay prompts: “Why do you want to get your MBA now?” “Why is now the time to pursue your degree as opposed to next year?”

Most people overlook this little, tiny word when writing their essays, and doing so will cut your chances of getting in. Really.  I know.  Don’t disregard it.

It’s important.

Schools want to see how “NOW” fits perfectly into your overall plan. How “NOW” is absolutely the right move to take for your future goals to come to pass. How “NOW” has been well-thought out, is completely rational, and makes perfect professional sense.

Schools then want to see that you have placed that “now” in the context of your future professional dreams. Again, it doesn’t matter if they eventually come to pass, or not (I hope they do). What matters is that you demonstrate that you have vision, and a concrete plan, and that by walking out that plan, by walking down the professional path you have laid out for yourself, your dream goal, project, or entrepreneurial venture, or career is a very real possibility.

So, again, focus on your professional experience, make sure you answer the question “Why now?” and demonstrate future vision.

I am always happy to answer additional questions or provide further MBA or EMBA consulting advice. You are welcome to contact me through my website:



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