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How to Craft the Best Possible MBA Application: Current Consortium Students Weigh In

With The Consortium’s round two application deadline only a month away, we decided to survey current MBA students and Consortium members to gain some insight into the application process. We asked them to share one piece of advice on how to build the best possible application to improve your chances of gaining both admission to member schools and membership in The Consortium.

While varied, responses from students centered on a couple key themes: being yourself and telling your story. The following advice, which comes from six Consortium members, is meant to serve as a roadmap for prospective students — proof that these genuine approaches to crafting an MBA application can and do work.

As you work toward completing your own application, consider the following recommendations:

How Can Candidates Build the Best Possible Application?

“Tell your unique story in a way that makes sense from beginning to end. You should be able to clearly draw the connections between experiences, succinctly describing how one experience led to the next and how you made the decisions that led you to where you are now in your professional life. Then you must be able to explain why business school is the logical next step to your short- and, eventually, long-term goals. You should also understand what strengths you will bring to an MBA program and then ensure that your application demonstrates those strengths.”
— Natalia Alvarez, Class of 2020, Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business 

“Highlight who you really are, besides school and volunteer work. I have a lot of people emailing me about their essays and telling me how they wrote about all this volunteer work they do. That’s fantastic; I did the same, and then I realized that if we’re interested in The Consortium, it is already second nature to us to give back. While this is important and should be mentioned in the application process, if an essay prompt asks you about the ‘back of your résumé,’ then talk about something that’s very unique to you (e.g., are you a competitive frisbee player? Did you learn a new language because you love music from a foreign country?). Talk about the thing your family would say is unique to you.”
— Baron Munoz, Class of 2021, Cornell University SC Johnson Graduate School of Management

“Be yourself — I mean it. Showcase the impact of your work and connect the dots for the reader. Don’t assume they will know how your work has made a difference. The hardest part is done in the sense that you probably already have a lot of stories that embrace and exhibit The Consortium’s mission; now, just focus on showcasing them. Share a little about the motivations and personal life experiences that have contributed to your experiences and success and how you plan to continue giving back to the community post MBA.”
— Gloria Escobar, Class of 2021, Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University

“My best advice is to craft a strong narrative, which includes … pinpointing your post-MBA plans; albeit, you can change your plans! Post acceptance, however, you must stick to something that works for you and your past. If you are coming from tech, maybe suggest product management or strategy in tech (hence propelling your career forward). If you are coming from a nontraditional background, maybe suggest banking or consulting to showcase linear career, financial and professional progression. Storytelling is most key!”
Michael Vilardo, Class of 2021, UCLA Anderson School of Management

“Have a good plan and explanation as to why you want to pursue an MBA and how you hope to utilize it. Be able to elaborate on why this plan is important to you, and be enthusiastic when you have the opportunity to talk about it.”
— Jason Hernandez, Class of 2020, Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business

“Each of you has accomplished incredible things throughout your career; [these] can appear to be ‘just part of the job’ to you, but employers want to know about them. During an interview with Apple, I had an honest interviewer provide great advice. He stated, ‘You have accomplished a lot more than you give yourself credit for on your résumé. There is no reason why you should have extra space below the content on your résumé.’ I believe this is true of each of us, so my advice to you is to use your résumé as an opportunity to highlight all you have accomplished. There is no reason to have additional white space … on a one-page résumé.
— Joe L. Williams, Class of 2021, Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University

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