Admission Drivers: What are the MBA Programs Looking For |
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When applying to business school it is critical for an applicant to know what business schools are actually looking for. Otherwise it will be extremely difficult to market yourself in the right way, especially considering how competitive the process of getting into business school is. And for that precise reason you should take a look at the list of admissions drivers most MBA admission committees value the most in business school applicants below.

Led/managed/recruited people
Worked well with others, built relationships under difficult circumstances
GPA/academic distinctions, GMAT, recommender reviews
Initiated successful projects/changes
International orientation/experience, cultural sensitivity
Public speaking (large audience is strongest – state the number of people), presenting to senior people, presenting to team
Persuaded people (senior people in particular)
Contributed to community/society
Negotiating, planning, decision making, selling, buying
Essay ends with something like:

“this experience helped me realize that I want to become the CEO of…”


“this experience made me realize that I need to do an MBA”


“this experience made me realize that Wharton is the right school for me”

In most cases, a promotion is a situation in which:

  • A title listed on the resume is more senior than the previous title listed on the resume, AND in both positions the candidate worked with the same organization OR worked with organizations of similar size in the same industry.
  • A “semi-promotion” (better than nothing!) is an increase in responsibility (manage more people/bigger budget/bigger project, etc.) with no change in title.
  • Association with global brands (employer: Procter & Gamble, or: “negotiated with IBM”)
  • Association with large local companies (“Canada’s second largest cosmetics distributor”)
  • Association with famous people (“presented to the Secretary of State”)
  • Association with federal/governmental bodies (employer: the Ministry of Finance)
The admission committee is not likely to encounter many such stories

MIT Sloan School of Management

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