It is widely discussed that business schools hold late rounds of applications with the specific goal of attracting diverse profiles, especially for applicants from highly competitive demographic groups. Whatever the reason for the late submission, these proven strategies that applicants can employ will help them excel in the late rounds.
Proactively address the reason for the late application.
Business schools are actively looking for potential applicants to contact the admissions office, campus ambassadors, and former students to get a sense of which applicants are genuinely interested in understanding the school’s offerings and participating in the program. Most successful converts actively network in the early stages.
However, if you were late to the party, it is even more crucial to demonstrate extra interest now so that the schools will look favorably upon you. You can accomplish this with the optional essay. Explain the cause for the late application in detail. A decent amount of time working in a new position, been laid off recently, or studying to improve GRE/GMAT scores in several attempts with accompanying proof are all acceptable. Sincerity and honesty will be rewarded!
2. Avoid presenting a generic profile with overused post-MBA goals statements
I often advise students, “Consulting goals are overused/generic…” or “Think of a Plan A and a Plan B…”.
Remember, the admissions committee will have a long memory of earlier applicants who have stated consulting and MAANG goals (phew!).”
As a late applicant, you need to take a hard look at your long-term goals and map out a short- and medium-term path that makes the most sense. If you want to stand out, think about your long-term vision and what ambitious and inspiring goals you would set to make your short-term goals look plausible. To show that you have thought through your goals, consider what hard and soft skills you have acquired in your past experiences and what areas you would like to improve. If you want to work long-term in a different industry, consider what new skills are needed to make that change.
Outline the full future plan in your essays to demonstrate that you are conscientious in your decision-making. An outstanding candidate provides Plan A and Plan B, and backs up both plans with relevant insights gained from networking with alums, possible recruiters, and industry experts.
3. Make an effort to highlight the uniqueness of your story and the turning points in your career path.
We advise applicants to evaluate successes and accomplishments objectively and in light of their backgrounds, as this is the only way business schools can fairly evaluate applicants!
If you started in an entry-level position and have progressed significantly over the years, take every opportunity to show what challenges you have overcome along the way. Present yourself as a self-starter, not an average MBA applicant!
Are you someone who has changed jobs frequently? This might lead to a potential concern which you should pro-actively address. For example, better career prospects and salary are sometimes both professional and personal needs, and this may have been your motivation for pursuing multiple roles. Having strong recommendations from supervisors in the current and previous organizations would also alleviate concerns about the many job changes.
You may be someone with employment gaps. Be honest about your reason behind the break but also illustrate how you grew as a person during this period. We have helped several applicants with significant employment gaps get into the top B Schools of their choice. The employment gap has traditionally been a dreaded topic of conversation for job seekers and MBA applicants alike. But optimistically, the employment gap can also be seen as an opportunity to pursue passion projects or activities that give your life meaning. Presenting your conviction to remain productive and learn new skills during the employment gap can have a positive impact on your applicant profile.
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