It's time for another Applicant Question of the Week at BusinessBecause!
Every week, we give you the opportunity to ask one of our chosen admissions experts anything you want to know about getting into business school. One question each week is chosen for our expert to answer.
This week, our question comes from an experienced chemical engineer, who's beginning to think about business school.
Applicant Question of the Week
I am a chemical engineer with 15 years’ experience in operations management in India, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
First, in terms of schools and courses, the requirement or non-requirement can change year to year, so it is always good to reconfirm with each program's updated application requirements.
Moreover, some schools may offer a waiver, provided you share an explanation attesting as to why you should qualify for a waiver. While we can’t promise it, we know folks who have tried this approach and succeeded.
To suggest a few specific, strong schools consider: MIT, Ross, Emory, UCLA, Notre Dame, Cornell, and NYU.
Of course, we would need to see more in your background as it pertains to goals, and your specific operations management sector, to refine a final list and make sure that the most stretched version of you is applying to the most sensible list of schools, such that you’re able to maximize your potential.
Your own values, traits, and way of learning will come into play with how you engage in whatever school you end up at, and should less determine where you apply.
With that much experience in operations management, the most important thing for you to articulate convincingly is why you need to return to school. Also, at this point, you are an operations management pro! No more chemical engineering, unless it features prominently in your business work.
Admission committees are looking for business people (leaders, specifically), not engineers, so you if there’s room for one headline in your application, it has to be that above all else.
The program you select must serve as a launchpad for X business goal you have. In the best case, admission committees see you as someone who will benefit greatly from complementary business skills, a strong network, and more, which you can add to your extensive journey in operations.
In the worst case, they will deem you as too entrenched in your 15 years in a very specific area. Think of where specifically you will apply this experience in terms of business - is it healthcare, food or agriculture, materials, industrials, sustainability, or something else?
You must have a very specific plan for how the specific things a one-year program offers will nitro boost your ability to achieve your goals, after all these years.
Admission committees will be looking for what, if any, business experience you have had, why you remained in the position for that long and didn’t return earlier, and what you offer to classmates as well, in terms of helping them advance. Thus, 'why now?' is critical. This will require finesse.
Check out another Applicant Question:
Remember, it is 'business' school. Everything in your application has to point to business potential and business impact, no matter what role you have had in operations.
Sounds obvious, right? Well, folks miss this all the time; therefore, you want to emphasize the business-y stuff on your resume. Again, downplay engineering.
Admission committees are always seeking ways you have shown your business side. Think of ways in which your engineering background makes your business stories different from other folks with similar achievements–that lens will be useful as you articulate your case for why you stand out. Remember to articulate business impact when describing your goals.
Admission committees know how an operations management function can be applied to myriad companies. They are screening on management and leadership potential, especially in an executive or one-year program!
Focus on the tangible impact and stories you have versus the comparatively “boring” achievement stuff you may have accumulated over the years. All AAA personality types are competing for these one-year spots. Those who stand out focus on how an accelerated program will accelerate their own growth as impactful business leaders.
This is critical: It must be clear to admission committees you need this specific one-year experience and can’t just transition via lateral networking, given all of your experience.
Admission committees love to see trigger events or life moments that feed your post-MBA goals–what sets you off about the next thing you want? What drives you to pursue it now?
So many candidates fail to reveal this narrative of personal motivation, this could be a way in which you set yourself apart. Your argument must be evidence-based when describing why you need the one-year program at this juncture.
Set out the path for the admission committee in gory detail, so they develop confidence in your ability to get there, with their one-year assist.
Ask an Admissions Expert a Question!
Next week, you'll have the opportunity to ask Pamela Echeverria, head of international recruitment at BI Norwegian Business School, anything you want about getting into business school.
Prior to the last seven years at BI, Pamela worked at a number of universities in the US, including the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business at NOVA Southeastern University, and the John H. Sykes College of Business at the University of Tampa.
Got a question you'd love Pamela to answer?