Every touchpoint in the MBA application process can have an impact on a candidate’s results. Leveraging interpersonal relationships or outreach for access, awareness and information is a great way to improve your chances at gaining admission.
Taking advantage of the various touchpoints during business school application season – such as information sessions, open houses, and school visits – is a value-added strategy. The key with all of these interactions is to go beyond the typical levels of engagement and work towards cultivating a real relationship with the relevant party. Let’s explore a few different stakeholders that could help you improve your odds of admission into your dream school:
Developing a relationship with a representative from admissions is a great way to secure some valuable information about the application process – this information can help you optimize your application when it comes time to pull together your package for submission. Alternatively, developing a relationship with members of the admissions team that you may have met can help you secure a valuable advocate among the decision makers during the review period. Creating an honest and open dialogue about your interest in the program is key to making this happen. Patience is paramount – types of relationship do not appear over night so try and bridge the gap with admissions as early in your admissions journey as possible.
Always a good source of info, as they have already achieved exactly what you are striving to do – lean on them for their knowledge. Current students can also provide the most current references to life on-campus, so make sure you leverage these conversations to inform the content and reference points utilized in your essays and interviews. Also, in some instances the admissions team will connect with current students on their feelings on an applicant. This usually stems from on-campus events where admissions is able to track prospective applicants and current students who have attended the event.
Networking with alumni is often the easiest of the stakeholders to gain access to. Depending on your location and the size of the school’s network, many alumni can even be found right in the corporate directory of your current employer. Leveraging friends and other members of your personal network to connect you with graduates of your school of interest is another strategy that can help you source this network. Alumni often remain big program cheerleaders years after leaving campus and can add tons of value by providing insight into the culture of the program. Depending on the nature of your relationship with the alumni they are often very helpful when it comes to essay reviews as well.
Make the most of your personal and professional relationships during MBA application season and add an insider’s perspective to your application.
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Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. You can read more of his articles here.