Tips for Creating a Competitive Application

SenthilThe following blog post was written by Senthil Sevugan, 2015 MBA Candidate.

Narrowing down the schools you want to apply to is half the job. Applying to them is probably the other, more significant half. Like anything else that is important in life, a b-school application requires thorough research and groundwork.


We know the key pillars of any b-school application are GMAT score, work experience, undergrad GPA and application essays. SenthilThe first three pillars previously mentioned are static parts that you cannot influence during the application process. For instance, the most you could do is retake the GMAT in an attempt to improve your score, but even that plateaus after a certain number of tries. Your biggest remaining opportunity is the application essays. The good news is that these carry a lot of weight.  I went through the application process a couple of years ago and I thought it would be helpful to share the below tips on how to make your essays – and overall application – more competitive.Senthil

  • Know how to tell a good story in your essays. Align your story with the school’s identity. The Admissions Committee will need to determine if the school is the right fit for you and if it will help you achieve your goals. If your ambition is to become an entrepreneur and the school doesn’t have a historical trend of producing such placements, you may want to position your story carefully or even consider applying to schools that have a stronger entrepreneurship profile.
  • Connect with current students and alumni. This is the best way to learn about the school. Ask questions about their school experience, what the culture is like, how the school helped them succeed, etc.
  • Attend on-campus and off-campus events. MBA and MS fairs and off-campus and on-campus admission events are great ways of experiencing the b-school firsthand. Besides, these events also get you in front of the admissions staff, which could be a great endorsement to your application. When thousands of applications are submitted electronically, creating a personal impression can go a long way.
  • Conduct online research. This includes reading the school’s website and student blogs. (If you are reading this, you are already ahead of the game!) Not everyone gets a chance to connect with current students and alumni so the next best option is internet resources. Apart from the school’s website, you should consider checking out Poets and Quants, The MBA Tour and other b-school forums like PaGaLGuy.

I encourage you to consider these efforts as you develop and finalize a competitive application – at the very least, these efforts will help you reflect on who you are and where you want to be!

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