How to Improve Your MBA Admissions Profile
How to Improve Your MBA Application and Profile
(1) Improve Your GMAT Score!
The most important thing you can do now to improve your chances of being accepted by a great business school is ace the GMAT. The test takes only three hours to complete, but your score will be weighted more heavily than will your four years of undergraduate work. Schools are reluctant to admit the importance of the GMAT, but I've seen it too many times. If you don't get a respectable score on the test, you won't go to a top program.
Take a GMAT prep course if at all possible; and don't shortchange yourself on the course you choose. You're trying to make up for four years of undergraduate partying, so skimping on a prep program doesn't make much sense. Check out the GMAT tutorial we have at this site, but be sure to take a course as well.
(2) Join a Professional Organization
Try to find a professional organization for people in your industry. Virtually every occupation has an associated professional organization. I suggest joining such groups because seeing them on a applicant's resume makes me believe he enjoys his work and is serious about excelling in that industry.
(3) Volunteer with a Nonprofit
I wish community service meant more in the admissions decision. There's a lot of talk about volunteer work in business school brochures, but I rarely see it having much impact on who gets in and who doesn't. The only exception, of course, is for applicants whose full-time jobs are in nonprofits.
Try to get involved in a nonprofit that interests you. Find something you really like. That way you'll get great experience, and it won't matter whether it helps you get into B-school or not.
(4) Take Extension School Courses
This is particularly important if you need to improve your math profile. Because admissions people are so concerned about math skills, it's important that applicants who didn't do particularly well in math classes as an undergraduate prove they can keep up with their classmates now. The best way to convince the admissions people is to ace the math section of the GMAT, take a math class through a local extension school and do well in it, or do both.
There are a few classes that I regularly recommend to my students:
(A) Math Classes Related to Management
You have to reassure the admissions people that you have the math skills needed to perform in their schools (and a management-related math course may help your GMAT score a little while improving your math profile).
I strongly recommend the "Math for Management" class that is available through UCLA Extension. In fact, I recommend it so strongly that I fill about half the class each term with my GMAT students.
That extension course is now available online for a very reasonable price. If you hope to improve your math profile for business school, you might consider enrolling. The grading is pretty generous. (In other words, it's fairly easy to get an "A" and convince the admissions committee that your math skills aren't as bad as your undergraduate transcript might indicate.)
You can check out the online version of the Math for Management class at the following address. (Type "mathematics for management" into the search box to go directly to the class.)
(B) Business Statistics Classes
You will probably have to take a statistics course in your first term at B-school. Every fall I hear from my GMAT students who are in their first semester. They're having a hard time with statistics and wish I would have warned them (which I did!).
A good way to prove to an admissions committee that you can make it in business school is to do well in a stats class before applying. A stats class might also help with the GMAT, since more problems involving statistics and probability are appearing on the test.
(C) Accounting Classes
You will probably be forced to take an accounting class in your first term of business school. Students who were not business undergrads always feel they're at a disadvantage in their first semester because they are thrown into accounting classes with people who already understand it (a complaint I hear from a lot of my former students).
If you take accounting now through an extension program and do well, you can improve the admissions committee's view of your undergraduate math performance and prepare for your first semester in B-school at the same time.How to Improve Your GMAT Score >
How to improve your MBA profile.
Crush the GMAT, develop an effective branding strategy, write terrific application essays, interview well, and don't worry too much about your undergraduate GPA.
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