How to Think Like an Admissions Committee Member

Law School AdmissionsReverse engineering is an amazing process.  Why reinvent the wheel when you can pick apart someone else’s expertise to inspire you or lead you in the right direction?  While this concept is largely applied in the technology and manufacturing world, it can be readily utilized in your business school application process as well.

There are several ways to put this concept to good use, but in the next three posts,  I will discuss specifically how to  put yourself into the shoes of an admissions committee member and think like they do.

After all, if you could know what they are looking for and could subsequently draw out the parts of your experience and background which dovetail with it— wouldn’t it be easier to assemble your application?

You likely know that admissions committee members read thousands of applications every season from individuals with impressive work experience, great GPAs, and top GMAT scores.  However, schools are looking for more from candidates than this alone.  Top business schools are looking for demonstrated leadership potential, ingenuity, teamwork, and a passion for making a difference in the world.  Therefore, when writing your essays, the most important things to do are to be engaging, passionate, clear, and memorable, in order to stand out from the crowd.

When you tell your story, whether it be through your essays, your short answers or even your resume, you should know that the admissions committee members are asking themselves if your examples are exemplary, unusual or unique.  This should therefore be the first question you ask yourself when deciding whether or not to include something in your application.  More specifically, you should also be asking whether or not your examples sound different from others in your field or job duty.   Part of an admission committee member’s job is to put candidates in piles according to similarities.  The first and most obvious similarity is profession.

Professionally speaking, the adcom member is looking for leadership potential—do your examples demonstrate it?  How about teamwork skills?  Creativity or innovation?  Maturity?  These are all core attributes of a good MBA candidate.  Digging deeper, the adcom is also looking for people who are thoughtful and are good decision makers.  Are you communicating in your application how and why you make decisions?

But applications should be more than just impressing them with professional achievements.  They need to make an impact, a lasting impression…at least long enough to have you placed in the “for consideration pile” vs. the “for rejection pile.”  For this reason, your essays and information need to hook them in, make them think and stick in their brain.  Have someone read your essays and ask them if the essays achieve this.

Stay tuned for Part II later this week. In the meantime, if you have MBA admissions questions, call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today.

Click here to take our Free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation! As always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! If you’re thinking that you’d like to raise your GMAT score, we have GMAT classes starting next week!

Scott Bryant has over 25 years of professional post undergraduate experience in the entertainment industry as well as on Wall Street with Goldman Sachs. He served on the admissions committee at the Fuqua School of Business where he received his MBA and now works part time in retirement for a top tier business school. He has been consulting with Veritas Prep clients for the past six admissions seasons.

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