How to Use Social Media When Applying to Business School

Whether you love social media or hate it, you cannot afford to ignore it when you are applying to business school!

You should assume that admissions committees will assess how your character and interests are reflected in your social media and general online presence—just as firms do during the recruiting process. In a 2023 survey by Kaplan, 67% of the admissions officers polled said that they believe an applicant’s social media is “fair game” when their candidacy is being evaluated (up from 65% in 2020 and 57% in 2018), and we expect that this practice will only continue to grow in prevalence. You therefore need to ensure that anything on your social media that is within your control supports the personal brand you want to portray and are working to cultivate in your application. At a minimum, Google yourself to view the results, use the “public viewing” feature available on several social media platforms, delete anything that could call into question your credibility as an MBA candidate and potentially successful student, and adjust your privacy settings accordingly! 

Focus in particular on LinkedIn, and make sure that the information provided there fully aligns with the key details in your application, including your past employers, job titles, and dates of employment. Building a robust LinkedIn profile (if you do not already have one) could also prove beneficial during the job recruiting process, both for internships and for full-time, post-MBA employment. In addition, it can demonstrate your genuine passion for your career goals, based on the posts you engage with and the companies and groups you follow.

If you enjoy social media, leverage it to your advantage! Essentially all the top-ranked MBA programs are active on social media, which can be a fantastic way to research the various schools and assess mutual fit, while also providing essay fodder for why you want to attend a specific school. Two-way communication is another key benefit of social media, and many MBA programs not only appreciate but also encourage active engagement. By participating in conversations about a school’s blog posts, video content, or press releases via thoughtful, relevant, and intelligent commentary, you can demonstrate your genuine interest in the program. This is also a great way to stay up-to-date on key admissions events and information and to show the school that you are someone who will be actively involved with the community as part of the MBA program.

Ideally, you want your business school application to indicate to the admissions committee that you are a multidimensional, dynamic person who participates in and contributes positively to society. Social media can be a powerful platform through which to showcase your passions and interests, allowing you to post photos from a humanitarian trip abroad, a review of a hot new restaurant from your “foodie” perspective, or a video of your recent musical performance. This publicly available content should effectively reinforce the claims you make in the “interests” section of your MBA application, thereby providing validity and authenticity. In addition, engagement on LinkedIn can showcase your “EQ” (emotional intelligence). For example, perhaps you congratulated a connection for a promotion or applauded someone who published an article that resonated with you, thereby showing your support of them.

Again, regardless of your personal stance on social media, do not neglect this important avenue through which the admissions committees can learn more about you. Although your social media presence and activity are not formal elements of the application process, social media research can (and likely will) be used to help schools form a more holistic impression of you, so make sure to manage it in such a way that it mitigates any negative perceptions of you—or even better, use it to strengthen your MBA candidacy!

For more detailed guidance on optimizing your social media as part of your business school candidacy, download a free copy of our guide to Managing Your Social Media Presence for MBA Admissions. And follow our social media channels for more helpful tips and advice on your MBA application: Facebook, Instagram, and  YouTube. If you would like a personalized, one-on-one conversation regarding your specific profile and MBA goals, sign up for free 30-minute consultation with one of mbaMission’s admissions experts.

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