Distinguishing Yourself in Your MBA Applications

This Veritas Prep Head Consultant received a BA in Economics and Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia and went on to The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts. Eventually, she received her MBA from The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, and is now a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for Tuck. She has experience in environmental consulting, urban education, and finance.

As you prepare your business school applications, one question that might arise is:

How can I distinguish my profile from that of other applicants who have a similar background?

Having worked with a number of people of South or East Asian origin with technical backgrounds (for example), I understand where you are coming from and your concerns.

Branding is critical to distinguishing your application, regardless of your background.

Here are three tips to help you distinguish your application and develop your personal brand:

  1. Draw attention away from the commonalities you may have with other applicants by focusing the adcom’s attention on your key values and characteristics, as demonstrated by your contributions and actions in both personal and professional realms. Also, by highlighting only a few personal attributes, you increase the chances of making your application memorable. ┬áMake sure these key themes emerge in all aspects of your application, including your resume, essays, and recommendation letters. While you cannot control the final content of your recommendation letters, I do recommend letting your recommenders know your application strategy, so that they can support you in the best way possible.
  2. Remember that people who share a common background (culturally, academically, or professionally) do not necessarily share the same goals. Many people do not take the time to think thoroughly about why they need to obtain an MBA, so be sure that your logic for pursuing this path of study comes through clearly in your application. Avoid catering solely to what you think the adcom wants to hear. By articulating your vision, long-term goal, and short-term goal in an authentic and thoughtful manner, you have the opportunity to distinguish yourself from other applicants, regardless of background.
  3. Avoid reinforcing stereotypes that might be associated with the group from which you wish to distinguish yourself. For example, if you come from a technical background, then make sure your essays are free of jargon (this goes for everyone, but especially for those who work in technical fields). The same goes for someone with a liberal or fine arts background: feel free to show off your creative writing skills at some point in your essays, but then also be sure to demonstrate your ability to present your thoughts in a linear fashion. Your goal should be to present yourself as someone who is able to communicate clearly with a broad audience.

If you’re wondering how best to distinguish yourself, call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. And, as always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!