The final round deadlines for MBA aspirants are around the corner. This is going to be a make-or-break period for you, so it’s time to roll up your sleeves and start working towards the upcoming April and May deadlines. Here are seven highly effective round 3 MBA application strategies to ensure you have a successful and well-rounded application:
- Think of a compelling reason why you did not apply in earlier rounds
When applying to round 3, you will be directly or indirectly asked about the reason you missed the earlier opportunities. Do not get nervous; put forward your reason confidently. You have to convince the committee with a compelling reason and with full conviction. Be prepared for some cross-questioning. Just make sure your case is devoid of any outright false stipulations because that may land you in serious trouble.
- Convince the committee what difference you can bring to the table
Being in round 3 means more candidates and fewer available spots, which lessens the conversion percentage. You need to demonstrate to the admission committee that you will add a positive experience to the program, which could be from your professional or academic experience or co-curricular activities. You need to showcase your talent which gives you an edge over other applicants with a promise to deliver the best under any circumstances.
- Focus on a limited number of schools
As the time is limited, instead of going for many options, focus on just three to four schools that matter the most. This way you can tailor-make your resume and prepare better for these schools. By limiting yourself to fewer schools, you will have more time to devote to research and build a strong application for your target schools. You can always save a few options to apply to in round 1 the next academic year.
- Showcase your motivation
In round 3, you need to work on your application and an essay that should reflect that your goal for an MBA programme is well thought out and that you are clear about your short- and long-term goals. Moreover, you have to align them with the mission and vision of an MBA programme, showcasing that both the institution and you have a single interest. Your conviction, that your presence will bring about positive changes and will have a long-lasting effect, will boost your chances substantially.
- Demonstrate that you have researched the school
You need to show the admissions committee that you have thoroughly researched the school. In your application and essay(s), you have to demonstrate that you have interacted with students (both current and alumni) and faculty, and that the school’s philosophy is aligned with your interests and goals. Your research about the school will prove to be a gateway to success. Extensive and relevant knowledge about the business school and programme will surely manifest in your zeal and enthusiasm. It will also reinforce your claim that the school is not your back-up plan, but rather a first choice.
- Have a backup plan ready
It’s not uncommon for meritorious and worthy candidates to be rejected in round 3. Ensure you have a Plan B, whether it’s staying in your current job or pursuing other opportunities. Reassess your efforts this time around and think about the ways you might enhance your profile for a reapplication when the admission cycle begins next year. Self-analysis will provide new perspectives and will help you boost your application for the next time.
- Consider benefits of other programmes
The United States is a country that first comes to mind when you sift through your options for MBA schools. Keep other top international destinations in mind including Singapore, Europe and Canada. These geographies too have premiere institutes with world-class MBA programmes, and you may still be eligible for financial aid and scholarship.
To sum up, round 3 is a tactical round in the MBA application process. You should be thoroughly prepared before applying as one mistake can severely mar your chances to make it to the cut-off list. Even if you miss the chance, it should not deter you from reapplying in round 1 or 2 the next year in the following academic cycle. The strategies listed above will help you prepare better. However, getting into a top B-school is definitely challenging, but go full throttle and leave no stone unturned in your efforts, then you emerge a winner always.
Gaargi Desai is a Senior Counsellor at ReachIvy.com