30 Tips For MBA Admissions Success – Part 2 of 3

April 29, 2016 | by Matt Symonds

Matt Symonds is a Director of Fortuna Admissions and regular contributor to Forbes. The following is adapted from his original article posted March 31, 2016.

The coaches at Fortuna have put together some MBA application advice, based on years of insider experience working in the admissions offices of the world’s top business schools.

As the second of a 3 part series, here are 11 out of the 30 tips we have compiled for MBA admissions success. To read part 1, click here.

Personal Branding

“Think like a marketer — define and design your brand. What’s your unique expertise and contribution to the MBA program? Leverage that in each part of the application.” – Katherine Johnson, Harvard Business School

“As you look to set yourself apart, consider the lens that has influenced your worldview—and then find ways to project that understanding of yourself into your application.” – Brittany Maschal, Wharton

“Every school wants diversity – think how could your professional background, upbringing, nationality, age, future ambitions or interests add a unique dimension to your MBA class.” – Melissa Jones, INSEAD


“Be specific – demonstrate your value with objective evidence, don’t just ask the reader to take your word for it.” – Jodi Keating, Wharton

“Tone back the technical language and take it back to basics, highlighting the skills relevant to the role and ones the school will be looking for.” – Nicola Sandford, INSEAD

“There is probably someone applying to your target school with the exact same job title as you. Your resume needs to show exactly why you are better at that job.” – Jodi Keating, Wharton

Application Essays

“Telling a story that illustrates the type of person you are has far more impact than telling the reader what kind of person you are. Show, don’t tell.” – Heather Lamb Friedman, Harvard Business School

“In your essays, go for the why, not the what. The resume tells what you did, it is up to the essays to explain what motivated you.” – Heidi Hillis, Stanford GSB

“Don’t just cut and paste essays from one school to another. Each application should feel like it was written specifically for that school, including concrete examples and specific school offerings rather than generalized statements.” — Dina Glasofer, NYU Stern

“Focus on depth over breadth! Talk in a non-technical manner when explaining your career — your file reader may come from a different background to you.” – Nonie Mackie, INSEAD

“Show self awareness. When talking about your weaknesses, be honest. A strength disguised as a weakness could very well backfire. Remember that you need to show that you still have something to learn.” – Michel Belden, Wharton

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