Surely, after having obtained your professional degree or undergraduate, you had a very clear objective: to achieve professional success. To reach it, there is a path that has been followed over the years, without a formula to achieve it, but with key points that bring you one step closer every day. The trajectory will include reaping achievements and, in turn, establishing new challenges, be it a promotion in your current job, a change in sector or industry, migrating to international labor markets, among others. Of course, the fact that this goal is clear is not synonymous with its being simple.
To achieve the above, you must draw a strategic route, where each decision made is with the purpose of making your profile as a professional more and more competitive. In today’s world of work this goes hand in hand with the completion of postgraduate studies, that is, masters or doctorates that are highly competitive and of global prestige. as are the programs of universities such as Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Duke, among others. It is important that you recognize the fact that it is not enough to study just any master’s degree, as this can end up playing against you.
Once you have thoroughly analyzed and reflected on which is the right graduate degree for you, you have decided to study a Master in Business Administration or better known as an MBA. Obtaining admission to these programs is a process that requires strategic and comprehensive planning and preparation. In addition, these postgraduate courses, being highly competitive, receive a large number of applications and have very low acceptance rates. For example, Stanford University, one of the best Business Schools, reported 7342 applicants in its latest data, of which only 504 received an acceptance letter. This means that 14 out of 15 candidates who applied to the committee were rejected.
Although there are no rules or guidelines to ensure acceptance, you can build your admission portfolio taking into account four fundamental characteristics that admissions committees look for in their future students:
- Solid academic training.
- Interesting profile.
- Clarity of your professional goals and objectives.
With the above, you will achieve “Projecting a solid, authentic and congruent profile, which integrates well the elements that make up the admissions portfolio, is a priority to get the committee to be interested in your profile and place your application with the ones you are going to consider in depth ”. (Borunda & Borunda, 2018).
For all the above, in this article we share general recommendations as well as tips, obtained from our book “ Comprehensive strategy to be admitted to competitive postgraduate courses. Coaching in Admissions by Harvard graduates ”. Taking these aspects into account during the admission processes and in the construction of your portfolio will allow you to be prepared to present an application in due time and reflecting a competitive profile.
As a first step, and assuming that at this point you have already evaluated the options for universities and programs, and chosen a list of those that suit your profile and personal interests, we suggest you build a blog. In this you can have in an organized way and easily visualized the times with which you have to prepare, taking into account the following: Consider that several deadlines depend on you, but there are also those independent of you, such as those of Universities or organizations who administer the standardized tests that you will have to take. Likewise, it includes here the different deadlines for the admission rounds of each program. These depend on the Program and in the same way each one offers a different number of them. Establish a period of time that allows you to work on strengthening a competitive profile, since believing that you already have an outstanding profile is a very common mistake. Send your request soon, talk about your advance and interest; however, do not risk your admission by presenting a poorly prepared profile. If you want to know in which round is it better to apply to a Postgraduate, we invite you to read “In which round is it better to apply to Postgraduate? What you should consider ”.
Now, let’s get to work! in building a portfolio that shows you as a strong, competitive and deserving candidate for a place in the MBA of your dreams. The Methodology divides this portfolio into objective criteria, such as standardized tests: TOEFL or IELTS and GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) or GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test). Similarly, you must include other elements that will be subjectively evaluated such as your CV, letters of recommendation and motive letters or motivation essays.
It is common in Latin American culture not to spend enough time preparing for exams. Start by not overestimating your level of English, even if it is a language that you use frequently in your work or that you have had some international experience that has demanded its use. Having knowledge of the language does not guarantee to cover the score that will be requested as a requirement, and not covering it will prevent you from advancing to the next stages of the admission process. On the other hand, keep in mind that your GMAT or GRE score will be a first letter of presentation to the committee, so proper preparation is essential , in advance and strategic, to obtain scores that are competitive in comparison to the rest of thousands of applicants against whom you compete. Visit our article “Why are the intensive GRE and GMAT courses not working?” for details to consider in this preparation.
On the other hand, the requirements that are evaluated with a subjective criterion become more complex, due to the different perspectives and angles from which they can be analyzed. These are usually the ones that determine the final decisions of the committees. Keep in mind that your profile will be evaluated against that of a diverse, highly competitive group. For this reason, distinguishing and highlighting your differentiators, both professional and personal, becomes a key point to achieve your admission. However, this is not the only factor that will play an important role in this process. Another of the most common mistakes made by candidates is not having a complete view of their profile, and, as a consequence,
In addition to the above, having strengths that make you an extremely attractive candidate for the Program to which you apply is not enough. The requirements in your admission portfolio such as the CV, letters of recommendation and essays will be the tools that will allow you to communicate and transmit to the evaluators what you want them to know about you. For this reason, creating a coherent narrative between all these elements, that support each other and that, in addition, demonstrate their value as a future graduate student, becomes an essential task to cover. Although preparing all these elements is not easy, we provide below tips that will lead you to a correct connection between these points.
- Curriculum Vitae: Use this requirement to provide evaluators with an image of you in a comprehensive way, which also contextualizes what your recommenders talk about or what you expose in the essays. Keep in mind that a CV to apply for admission to a Postgraduate course will not be the same as those presented for a job position. If you want to delve deeper into its content, we invite you to read our article “How to make a professional CV? and what you should NOT mention ”.
- Letters of recommendation: The letter issued by a recommender who knows you in depth and is also supported by the information in your CV, will be much more valuable than that which is written by someone, which although it may be important and recognized, is not have been close enough with you to talk about your skills, differentiators, achievements, etc.
- Essays: Use this opportunity to speak with the evaluators to promote yourself as a candidate, support your strengths mentioned in the other admission requirements and above all “narrate” the image that you want the committee to build about you. Check out our article “Successful Motive Letters: Dos and Don’ts” for more specific advice on them.
- Interviews: This requirement has become more relevant, as new technologies have allowed online interviews. For them we suggest a previous preparation with possible questions that can make you meet the expectations of the committee.
As you may have noticed, the admission process to an MBA requires strategic preparation and planning that allows you to have plenty of time, not only your own, but also from third parties. For this reason, turning to experts to guide you in the development of a successful application becomes your great ally. Here, we not only have the perspective that experience in this field has provided us, thus knowing your competition, but also, our Admissions Coaching attends to the needs of Spanish-speaking candidates like you, breaking the gap of disadvantages that this it can present if this aspect is not worked properly. Do you want to delve into it?