So you’ve done all the research, decided on the MBA program that’s right for you, and have your heart set on the perfect business school. Now comes the hard part: getting accepted into the program. Every school has its own MBA admissions process and culture and will look for different things from its candidates. But there are some universal tips and tricks that can help you get your foot in the door. Here, Hult’s Vice President of Enrollment and Strategy, Fernando Mora, gives tips on how to ace your MBA admissions essays and interviews.
Fernando started at Hult in 2006 at our Boston campus as an enrollment advisor for Latin American candidates. He then worked as a director on the team for North American candidates before moving to London in 2008 to lead the European team. He has more than ten years of experience interviewing 1000s of MBA candidates from all over the world. We asked Fernando what advice he had for candidates wanting to face their MBA admissions interviews and essays. Here are Fernando’s top ten tips:
Tip 1. Have a clear plan for the future and communicate it clearly
People who perform best in admissions interviews are those who have a clear plan for the future. The first question is always about the background, and most people are confident talking about that. It acts as a nice warm-up. Where people stumble is when you ask them about their plan for the future.
If we don’t know what you want to accomplish with your MBA, how can we know if this is the right program for you? It’s so important to have thought through before you get to interview what you want to achieve and how your MBA will help you achieve it. Even if you have several options, at least show you’ve thought about it.
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Students on a one-year program have to be super focused, super motivated. And this is going to be a lot easier if you have a clear path mapped out from the beginning.
This is especially important if you’re applying for scholarships. We make scholarship offers based on a candidate’s potential, not just past achievements. So if you don’t have a vision, we can’t assess your potential.
Tip 2. Sell your vision
Passion is infectious. The more passionate you are about your vision for the future, the more we will want to support it and you. I remember one candidate who really stood out. He had exciting aspirations for his own business, like many people who come to Hult. What made him different was the way he sold his idea to me like I was an investor. By the end of the interview, he totally had my buy-in for his plans. In fact, I was cheering him on! And that’s all to do with showing passion and conviction in your ideas and selling them to your audience.
Tip 3. Don’t make the interviewer work hard
Some candidates tend to wait for us to ask the questions and follow our lead with everything. We have to work really hard to get the information out of them. These are not going to be the standout candidates; they are easily forgettable.
The ones we remember are the ones who make our job easy – they take a question, and they run with it, using it to showcase their vision and their talent. Some will turn the tables, so they are questioning us, trying to find out how we can support them, and effectively leading the interview – there’s evidence of leadership potential right there.