- Start working on your MBA applications as soon as possible. The ideal time to start would be right when you have decided on a particular business school. Why? Reading the form right way will help you plan for any obstacles, such as a lack of references or experience. You won't know how to address issues from your past, let alone what information to include in the application form, without reading it first. If your information changes, you can always update the application.
- Read the MBA application questions carefully. Make sure you know why each question is being asked. Think about how the MBA admissions committee will view the information you give them as they evaluate your MBA candidacy.
- If you are unsure about any part of the application, contact someone in admissions. This should give you a clear understanding of what they are asking for. You should also keep up with MBA admissions blogs, since business schools often use them as a way to provide information about application questions.
- Make sure the information you include in your application form complements the story you tell in your essays. This doesn't mean that every piece of information in your application should also be mentioned in your essay. Information that is unclear or may make you look bad, however, should be addressed in the essay section.
- Be honest. While you should do your best to present yourself in a positive light, you shouldn't lie. Not only is lying unethical, but feeling that you need to lie is a sign that you either aren't qualified or ready to attend business school. If you lie and do get accepted, it won't be because of who you are but because of who you pretended to be on the application form. At some point the truth will come out, so lying really isn't worth it.
- When filling out the work experience section of your MBA application form, do not cut and paste items from your resume. Instead, use the work experience section to provide information that will make it easier for MBA admissions officers to understand what you've done at your job. The MBA application form is a good place to (concisely) describe your company, the positions you've held and the responsibilities that came with them, your skills and your achievements.
- Once you've filled out the work experience section, read it to make sure that it is not a generic job description, but something that will demonstrate how you stand out amongst all the other applicants. Check to see if your application demonstrates how much you've progressed in your career, your leadership ability, and your potential for career advancement.
- Most MBA application forms will ask you to give the number of people you have supervised. Even if no one reports to you directly, you can list the number of people you have supervised during the course of your career. For example, if you were responsible for leading team projects, you could give the average number of people on each team. You shouldn't exaggerate, but if your job requires you to regularly oversee work done by other people, you should definitely mention it in your application.
- If there is an optional essay, use it to address any weaknesses in your application such as a low undergraduate GPA or lack of work experience. When you write the optional essay, do not make excuses or blame others. Instead, you should provide reasonable explanations for why you performed poorly in the past and demonstrate that you have addressed your weaknesses.
- Check your application to make sure it delivers a consistent message.
- Have a few trustworthy (and grammatically-minded) friends proofread your application. Even the best of writers make typos and it can be difficult to catch your own mistakes.
MBA Application Form TipsWritten by Nicole Willson
While it's easy to get caught up in brainstorming essay questions or studying for the GMAT, do not underestimate the importance of your MBA application form. Your answers will determine whether or not you will get into the business school of your choice. Here are some tips that will help you come up with answers that will make a good impression on the MBA admissions committee.