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Essential Tips on Applying to MBA Programs

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Resume or Curriculum Vitae

Some business schools take a close look at your resume--not only at job history, relevant content, and clarity, but at your business presentation. Read application instructions carefully, since many MBA programs spell out precisely what they're looking for in this document. List your work experience chronologically or by skill set. If you're submitting a c.v., follow academic formatting. You may want to search online for resume models to copy.

Application Essay

Not every business school considers the essay a vital component--but most do. Before you write a word, be sure you have read the instructions carefully, since many MBA applications require specific essay topics. Here's the best tip of all: address the topic squarely, add no filler, and do not stray from the required subject.

You'll need to write a unique essay for each school to which you apply. Some typical topics include:

  • Why are you applying to business school?
  • What are your career goals?
  • Why have you chosen this MBA program?

Letters of Recommendation

Reference letters should be written only by people with a business or academic orientation, and who are directly familiar with your work and accomplishments. The application may require them to address specific topics, but also be sure to ask your prospects to provide clear examples of your strengths and potential. Ask them to cover:

  • How long they have known you and in which capacity
  • What strengths distinguish you, and what your best qualities are
  • How you interact with others
  • Specific examples of how you have impacted business, academic, or personal projects and relationships.