How You Can Contribute to Your MBA Cohort
The Art of Talking About Your Strengths
When completing an MBA application, it’s important to not just talk about what you hope to take away from your studies, but to also highlight how you will contribute to the MBA program. Now, it can be hard to take a compliment, let alone give yourself one. But there is an art to talking about your unique set of experiences or point of view that sets you apart and will bring value to your MBA cohort.
Just because you didn’t study business as an undergraduate doesn’t diminish your chances of landing a spot in an MBA program. In fact, most students in top MBA programs didn’t study business at all.1 MBA programs like the one at Santa Clara University want students who bring a broad context into their business studies, so don’t shy away from a past in the liberal arts or European history. When you’re crafting your MBA resume, remember, highlighting a unique course of study could be the distinguishing feature that sets you apart.2
Just how important is work experience for an MBA? Well, internships are great, but most MBA programs give extra attention to candidates with a few years of professional experience under their belts.3 Even better, there isn’t a single professional profile that MBA admissions officials prefer. Their goal is to admit qualified, talented students, but they’re also responsible for composing a diverse and well-rounded cohort. So go ahead and highlight your time volunteering overseas or your stint in IT. Just like your undergraduate course of study, think about how the jobs you’ve had give you a unique point of view on business. Naturally, focus on positions where you led teams or times you collaborated to solve extremely sticky problems.
This is the part of your MBA resume that can feel a little like paying yourself compliments. Don’t shy away from honestly writing about the big “wins” in your career so far. How have you contributed to personal, team, or organizational success? What successful changes have you helped to implement? Are there any times you’ve been given specific positive feedback? Think about the times you’ve had measurable success and weave them into your narrative.4 MBA admissions teams like a candidate who can tackle a challenge and deliver results. How have you done that in your career up to now?
The flip side of your business successes are the lessons you learned from setbacks. Again, an honest recounting of your work experience is sure to include some times when you didn’t quite hit the mark. Here, it’s not important to dwell on what went wrong and why. Instead, focus on how your past defeat opened your eyes. What changed in your process or outlook because of what happened? How has it made you better? Past setbacks give you valuable insight as a student of business, and the perspective you gained from these experiences can be a valuable contribution to your MBA cohort.5
Give the Entire Picture
Whether you’re pursuing an MBA because you want to change career paths, improve your chances at advancement, or start your own business, it’s important to think past what you hope to get out of your MBA program. By giving interviewers and MBA admissions officials a sense of what you bring to the table, you set yourself apart and increase your profile.
Crafting your MBA resume may seem like an intimidating task, but if you view this as a chance to showcase how your unique journey and worldview can contribute to the program and your cohort, you’ll develop confidence and feel more willing to lead or contribute to discussions from day one.
If you’ve gone through these MBA admissions tips, you’re already prepared to confidently complete your application to the Online MBA program at Santa Clara University. For additional application advice, check out our blog posts on securing the best letters of recommendation and improving your personal essay.
1 Retrieved on February 25, 2019, from earnest.com/blog/what-should-you-major-in-if-you-want-to-get-an-mba/
2 Retrieved on February 25, 2019, from poetsandquants.com/2018/02/20/does-your-major-matter-mba-acceptance-rates-by-major/
3 Retrieved on February 25, 2019, from usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools/applying/articles/2010/12/17/get-into-business-school-work-experience
4 Retrieved on February 25, 2019, from jobs.telegraph.co.uk/article/how-to-highlight-your-achievements-on-your-cv/
5 Retrieved on February 25, 2019, from inc.com/betty-liu/how-to-talk-about-failure-with-confidence.html