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../Morning Post
Posted December 1, 2011


Tips and pointers for surviving the MBA application process

ST. CATHARINES — Applying for business school can be an arduous, stressful process, but there are ways to make it easier on yourself — and increase your chances of getting into the program you want.

Masters of Business Administration programs are diverse offerings that introduce students to several different areas of the business world, including accounting, finance, marketing, human resources and management. But it takes more than a simple application and good marks to get into an MBA program. First there is the Graduate Management Admission Test, but most schools also look at your work experience, essays, letters of reference and interviews.

“Getting into an MBA program opens so many career paths,” says Shari Sekel, Director of Graduate Programs at Brock University’s Faculty of Business. “It’s important that you do what you can to simplify the process, both for your sake of mind and to make you a candidate business schools can’t refuse.”

Here are five tips from the Brock University business school to help ease your way into an MBA program:

1. The GMAT is not your enemy . It is often the most feared part of the application process, but it is absolutely necessary for most MBA programs. But a strong performance on the GMAT can make up for weak marks on your transcript. You also have greater control over the GMAT process. You set your study schedule, and can take as much time as you want to prepare for it. You can also write it up to 5 times a year — and some schools look at your highest score, regardless of how many times you write it.

2. Ask questions to the right people . While a quick Google search can return pages of answers to burning MBA questions, there is no replacement for speaking directly with MBA admissions staff. They can give you answers tailored to your specific situation and can give you tips to help strengthen your application. They are the experts, so ask them first.

3. Find your fit. What do you want to study? How do you learn best? Remember, employers, don’t hire your MBA school, they hire you for the skill sets you develop and knowledge that you gain while in the program. For example, don’t apply to the largest program available if you thrive in smaller classes.

4. Don’t over think the application process . Admissions committees are looking for reasons to accept you. The process is meant to give the committee more background about you, so don’t try to conform to some mythical model MBA student. Don’t pad your resume, or write a statement of interest that tells nothing about your personality, goals and interests. If you are confused about a part of the application process, just ask. Often the answer is more simple than you may think.

5. Be realistic . Before you apply, take a careful look at your background, interests, finances and time commitment. If you can’t afford a $60,000 MBA program, then consider something more affordable. And be realistic about the time commitment. An MBA program requir es significant time in and out of the classroom. An MBA program isn’t the time to decide what career path you want to follow; it’s the time to pick up the skills and knowledge to make the career you want happen.

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