How to Get In to a Top Ten MBA Program: What You Need to Know…
Applying to a Top Ten MBA program this year?
The ability to be concise is a gift. It’s also one of the business skills MBA admissions committees look for in an applicant. Not just at Harvard and Stanford, mind you, but at any of the Top Ten highly competitive business schools.
What MBA and EMBA program admissions committees look for is this:
- Can you convey your assets and talents in a clear, crisp, concise professional way, and
- Can you be consistent?
The real question is, can you get your message across in a moderate amount of words? That means, under or near, but not over the maximum. Can you do it in a way that’s succinct, and yet shows the MBA committee who you are as a future successful business leader and innovator? Can you do this in a way that will make you stand out?
In other words, are you up for the challenge? If so, than allow me to relate the following as an example:
This year’s Harvard MBA essay question is: “As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA Program? (no word limit).”
Most of the applicants who are successful in getting in to HBS have, on average, essays that come in with a word count of 1,000 words. Not 1,500 words, and not 2,000 words or more.
In other words, listen to me: write a manifesto, and it will get you dinged!
The goal, especially at an Ivy League or “Top Ten” business school, is to present who you are, personally and professionally in the strongest way possible.
1. Know what you want to do. “Undecided” as a career move is weak. The schools (and the business world) doesn’t like weak.
2. Know how your current background and expertise fits in with what that particular school can UNIQUELY offer. In other words, know what makes that school DIFFERENT
3. Know what you, yourself, intend to give back to the school. The adcom wants to know what you bring to table, not only for your fellow classmates, but what you see in yourself, right now, that will set you apart, and indicate that you already have the potential to succeed in the future.
Successful MBA essays usually revolve around a candidate’s unique vision, background, and passion
Drive is also an important trait. All that said, you don’t need to have conquered the world (yet) to get into HBS or a comparable school like Kellogg, Chicago Booth, Wharton or MIT Sloan. You just need to show the admissions committee that you have the intense drive and vision to succeed, at whatever it is you uniquely are setting out to do.
A focused VISION, and a logical, thought out road map in terms of how you’re going to get there, makes you different and stands out.
Top Ten students, as a whole, are competitive, ambitious, driven, and interesting…and, they care about their fellow students and community.
Harvard, for example, values leadership, and those who have the demonstrated potential in their background to become leaders in the future succeed. However, equally important, are those who can demonstrate that they care about their community. In other words, you need to show that your drive isn’t all about YOU.
MBA and EMBA “Top Ten” business school candidates who can show a larger, global, or even (especially for HBS, in particular) social humanitarian interest, and zone in what they do, or want to do with an actionable plan — have, throughout the years that I personally have been working with clients, have had the best possible outcome of success.
The MBA admissions essay therefore is your place to shine, so don’t hold back. Top Ten business school adcoms don’t just want to see a reiteration of your resume though. Your resume is an outline, the plate your application sits on. The foundation, but the MBA admissions essays, if you think of them this way, becomes the meat or centerpiece of your meal.
[Looking for help on your MBA or EMBA applications? I’m a former Harvard interviewer, and Harvard grad and run the award-winning MBA & EMBA admission firm: MBA Ivy League Contact me today for a free consultation, and get into the school of your dreams!]
Check out my other related MBA blog articles here: The Harvard 2+2 Program: Is it Right For You?