What Makes a Good MBA Candidate a Great MBA Candidate?

Thinking of applying to business school this Fall? Admissions consultants MBAsop.com give you their top tips on crafting the best MBA application!

This is a guest post by Vivek Nanda, MBA student at WHU -Otto Beisheim School of Management and co-founder of MBAsop.com.

The most common and the most often asked question to me by the prospective candidates is:  what differentiates a good MBA candidate from a great MBA candidate? Let me be the first to admit that there isn't one simple answer. In fact, it's a difficult one to answer. But let me try to bring up a few things that may be very useful to you when you start writing your MBA applications.

Let me start with a myth-buster: 

GMAT score is only one of the main aspects of your entire application review process: Schools do look into your profiles more carefully than you would have thought. So, don't just simply focus on GMAT score; there is a more to an application.

A Great application is about 'story telling': Most MBA candidates know that they want to do an MBA, but are they sure why they want to? Of course, there has to be a reason for it, other than big post MBA salaries! You have to make sure that you convey your true story, and your passions and dreams in your MBA application. It's more about being truthful and telling your story than it is about saying what the admissions committee wants to hear. If you have a cheerful personality, showcase this in your application. The key thing is that the MBA admissions committee understands who you are from your application - so keep it sweet and simple.

Do your homework and apply it! If you've been to an MBA event, met an alumnus of the school or visited the school, try to use this information in your application because it helps. After all, it's also about how much you really know the school.

Why choose this business school? The best MBA admission applications answer this question to perfection. It's very important that you're able to clearly convey why the MBA program you are applying to is particularly compelling to you.

Your CV is the picture of your professional life, make sure it's worth watching: Your CV is the most important ingredient in a perfect MBA application recipe. It's the first thing that an admissions team will review. Don't worry too much about the gaps you have had, it's more about explaining why you had them. Formatting and the ease of readability of a CV is very important, but the reality is that it's the most ignored aspect of a CV. Make sure you don't commit this crime! For most schools, a one page CV is ideal. Most people say that they simply can't fit a CV into just one page - but trust me, if the high profiling board of directors of big multinational firms can do it, you can too.

Think very carefully about the people who are going to refer you: I've noticed on several occasions, especially from South Asian candidates, that applicants do not think enough about their referees. Their job titles or positions are less important than what they have to say about you. Please stick to people who have worked directly with you - otherwise it's simply going to be an arrow in the dark story.

I hope the above provides some basic information to get you started on how you should approach your MBA application. It's certainly not a secret, but it's also more easily said than done. I've gone through the entire MBA admissions process myself and it's certainly not what you think of it initially. So when I started my MBA journey at WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management, Germany, in April 2013, the first thing that came to my mind was: how can I help other candidates? How can I make sure they don't make the same mistakes that I did?

Eventually, with my fellow classmate Shivank Saran, I decided to start a small MBA consulting-service-project called MBASop.com, where we do our best to help all the prospective university candidates, especially the MBA candidates. If you have any questions or queries, contact us on our website and we will certainly help you in the best possible way we can.

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