mbaMission recently moderated several Kaplan Road to Business School admissions panels—in New York, Boston, Chicago and Washington, DC—that featured admissions officers from some of the country’s top business schools. In doing so, we were able to gather valuable application-related information and advice directly from the decision makers themselves.
The following tidbits stood out to us as particularly useful and relevant:
- If you are interviewed via Skype, treat your interview the same as you would if it were an in-person meeting and dress the part. A ripped T-shirt and a cat crawling around on your lap or a dog barking in the background will not do. Wear the proper attire, and clear away any clutter from the area where you will be seated. Be sure to conduct yourself in a professional manner.
- No matter how profoundly texting has permeated your brain, do not use any abbreviations or emoticons anywhere in your application or any other communications with representatives of your target school. Do not presume that admissions officers will respond well to such informalities. As you compose your essays and complete the other portions of your application, always keep in mind that you have a professional audience.
- The Integrated Reasoning portion of the GMAT is still quite new and, as a result, is not yet something you need to worry about. The schools need more time to understand what a particular score may indicate about a candidate. So, for now, do not let this portion of the exam cause you any real stress.
- Constantly telling a school, “You are my number one choice,” can ultimately have a negative rather than a positive effect. The admissions office gets tired of hearing it, and you are perceived as less and less believable with every repetition. Sincerity is important in your application, and schools want to know that you have truly done your homework on them and are not just saying what you think they want to hear. Avoid pandering.
- Applicants often think that meeting with a recommender is wrong, but every candidate should in fact do just that. First, you need to be certain that your intended recommender will genuinely support you and your candidacy, and second, you should take the opportunity to remind him/her of your accomplishments and strengths. Although you absolutely should not write your own recommendations, there is nothing ethically wrong with taking some time to connect with your recommenders and ensuring that they have all the information they need to write a compelling letter on your behalf.