Whether you love social media or hate it, you cannot afford to ignore it with respect to your MBA application!
You should assume that—just as firms do during the recruiting process—admissions committees will Google you and assess how your character is reflected in your social media presence. In a 2020 survey by Kaplan, 65% of the admissions officers polled said they believe an applicant’s social media is “fair game” when their candidacy is being evaluated. This percentage is probably even higher in 2023, and we expect that this practice will only become more prevalent. You therefore need to ensure that anything 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, delete anything that could call into question your credibility as an MBA candidate and potential successful student, and adjust your privacy settings accordingly! Focus in particular on LinkedIn, and make sure the information 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 as a positive! 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, as well as provide 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” savvy. For example, perhaps you congratulated a connection for a promotion or commented about and applauded someone who published an article that resonated with you, thereby showing your support of them.
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 one’s social media presence and activity are not formal elements of the application process today, 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 your advantage!
For more detailed guidance on making the most of social media as part of your business school candidacy, download a copy of our free guide. And follow our social media channels for more helpful tips and advice on your MBA application: Facebook, Twitter, 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 call with one of mbaMission’s admissions experts.