Getting the GMAT out of the way, hopefully with an above-average score, is such a huge relief. But, once the euphoria of acing the GMAT subsides, you would want to start working on the MBA application essays immediately. Essay writing is a significant undertaking that requires you to immerse yourself in the brainstorming and writing process.
In the mad rush to get things done, applicants tend to get inwardly focused and try to put their best foot forward, without pausing to think what their dream business school expects from their candidates. All top schools regularly hold webinars for prospective applicants where they speak about their screening criteria. We highly recommend that applicants take the time to attend these seminars, for they often contain insights that are easy to miss. These seminars often provide information candidates can use to understand whether there are any shortcomings in their candidacy and take steps to address them.
You won’t be able to change the fundamental aspects of your profile. You can’t magically change where you earned your undergraduate degree or the school you attended, your GPA, or your career choices thus far. However, you can certainly take action to boost your candidacy in the eyes of the MBA admissions committee.
Leadership comes in all shapes and forms. While experience leading and managing teams is very good to have, it may not always be possible for all candidates given the stage of their careers. Flatter hierarchies, Matrix organization structures, and cross-functional collaboration mean leading and influencing teams without direct hierarchical authority is a valuable skill.
Another way to prove your leadership credentials is to undertake initiative in the workplace. Proposing and implementing actions to improve processes and efficiencies, increase revenue, or reducing costs highlight your leadership potential.
Sharing your knowledge and expertise within your organization, mentoring junior employees, helping HR in their recruitment efforts are all valid ways to demonstrate your value to your organization.
Traveling, in general, is neither easy nor recommended during the pandemic. It is not easy to get experience in international assignments or business trips overseas. But with video conferences becoming an accepted form of communication, traveling is no longer necessary. In these circumstances, you can still make efforts to volunteer for a project with international exposure or work with international clients or colleagues.
If you are someone who stretches your comfort zone and pushes the organization forward, business schools want to hear about it. Such learning and growth experiences make for interesting talking points in your essays.
Business schools are aware that workplace initiatives are tricky to implement in the post COVID world, especially where face to face meetings and social interactions are limited. Finding ways to contribute to your community in these difficult times demonstrates your engagement in your community. Taking an active role in community organizations, non-profit organizations, community health activities, mental health initiatives, are just a few examples where you can take a leadership role that sets you apart from other applicants.
However, volunteer only if you are genuinely passionate about the cause at hand. It needs to be an extension of your personality and should truly reflect your priorities. Business schools are experts at reading applications, so piling on volunteer work a month before submitting your application is perhaps not the smartest thing to do.
Improve your GMAT (or GRE) Score
If you think there is any room to improve your GMAT/GRE score, we certainly recommend you to give it a go. Any small improvement in your score will help your chances of getting through the screening process. If your original score is below the school benchmark, it makes all the sense in the world to do so. Even if your subsequent scores don’t improve, they won’t harm your application. If anything, your efforts demonstrate your determination and drive to better yourself.
Business schools seek to groom high performing future business leaders who lead with empathy and an international mindset while contributing to their local community and the world. Your sincere efforts to improve your credentials will reflect positively on your overall candidacy.