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Building the Best MBA Application: Improving Your Chances of Admission to The Consortium

It’s fall — and that means MBA application season! But what should be an exciting time is often stress-ridden and anxiety-inducing. Applying to multiple schools, completing and submitting all necessary documents, writing a stellar essay and figuring out how to pay for your MBA can be overwhelming. 

That’s where The Consortium comes in. With a common application and recruiting staff ready and willing to answer your questions, The Consortium works to provide a seamless, straightforward MBA application process and experience.

Kaylan Gaines

Applications are now open for fall 2020, with round two applications due January 5. With the deadline fast approaching, we spoke with Manager of Recruiting Kaylan Gaines, who provided insight into the application process and tips on how to build the best possible application.

First, the Benefits

In addition to the common application, the benefits of applying to MBA programs through The Consortium are many. Students selected for fellowships receive a full-ride scholarship to cover the cost of their MBA as well as the many other perks that come with membership in The Consortium. Members — both those who receive a fellowship and those who don’t — gain access to a network of more than 1,000 current students, 10,000 alumni (many of whom are working at top companies) and corporate partner companies seeking diverse talent. 

Members also attend The Consortium’s annual Orientation Program & Career Forum (OP), where they have the opportunity to engage with this network, make professional connections and attend business-focused workshops. 

“Consortium members also have access to CGSM Online, which is our online career portal, with roles exclusive to Consortium members,” says Gaines. “Lastly, Consortium members receive life-long career prep and help as alumni.”

Building the Best Application

For students interested in learning more about The Consortium and how to build a stellar application, Gaines recommends attending one of the organization’s events, like its MBA Application Preparation Seminars (MAPS), which are hosted across the country. 

“The goal of these MAPS events is for prospective students to learn best practices for building their strongest application possible,” says Gaines. “In addition, prospective students have the opportunity to engage with admissions staff from our member schools, Consortium alumni and Consortium staff to [ask questions and] get advice on going through the application process.”

Webinars are another way to get information about the application process and next steps, and The Consortium hosts these online throughout the year. 

Avoid These Mistakes

According to Gaines, the most common mistake prospective students make on the application is not following directions. This, he says, is often caused by candidates rushing to finish — the result of waiting till the last minute to apply. 

To avoid this pitfall, Gaines recommends getting an early start as well as reading questions and instructions carefully and multiple times to ensure a thorough and complete application.

“We recommend starting an application early so you can create a plan of action for finishing it and reviewing it before submitting,” says Gaines.

How to Stand Out

One of the most important aspects of any application to The Consortium is a demonstrated commitment to the organization’s mission “to enhance diversity and inclusion in global business education and leadership.”

“The Consortium looks at an applicant’s demonstrated commitment toward including, cultivating, enhancing or serving African American, Hispanic American or Native American communities,” says Gaines.

The extent to which you are able to demonstrate this commitment through your membership recommendation, essay and resume will determine whether or not you are offered membership to The Consortium.

“Applicants can show a demonstrated commitment to our mission by proving their passion for diversity in community or professional settings or with personal life experiences,” Gaines says. “An applicant’s affiliation with college, professional or community organizations that align with our mission will help prove [this] commitment as well.”     

Furthermore, candidates who are authentic, take initiative and clearly articulate their goals, motivations and what they hope to get out of their MBA experience often stand out in a crowded applicant pool, notes Gaines. 

“Admission offices ultimately want to know why you want an MBA, how the school can help you achieve your ‘why’ and how you can contribute positively to the school’s community as a current student and alumni,” he says. 

Overall, Gaines encourages applicants not to underestimate the power of a positive impression and the reverberating effects it can have.

“Understand that every interaction with Consortium staff, a school’s admissions staff, alumni or current Consortium students is an opportunity to leave [them with] a positive impression of who you are,” he says. 

Most Asked Questions

In his role, Gaines says there are several questions he hears time and time again from applicants. The following are the most-asked questions and how the recruiting team responds to them:

1. Do I apply to The Consortium and member schools separately?

The Consortium provides a common application that allows applicants to apply with one application for admission to one or more of our member schools, Consortium membership and Consortium fellowship consideration.

2. How is membership to The Consortium decided? 

Membership is decided by an applicant’s demonstrated commitment to the mission of the Consortium. Three documents are reviewed by Consortium staff to determine the applicant’s demonstrated commitment to the mission; a membership essay, a membership recommendation and resume.

3. How is The Consortium fellowship decided? 

Fellowship selections are merit-based awards determined individually by our member schools. Applicants who are admitted into at least one member school and approved for Consortium membership are considered for a Consortium fellowship.

4. Are executive, part-time or online MBA programs part of The Consortium? 

No, they are not. All of our member schools’ two-year full-time MBA programs are part of The Consortium. The only difference is at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, where both the two-year full-time program and one-year full-time program are part of The Consortium.  

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