Updated: Nov 21
So you're thinking about applying to business school to get your MBA? That's great! An MBA can open up a lot of doors and provide you with the skills you need to further your career.
However, MBA applications can be overwhelming. With all the components and requirements, it's easy to make a mistake.
So before you hit "submit" on that online application, here are seven mistakes you must avoid when applying to an MBA program.
Mistake #1: Failing to proofread your essays
One of the most critical aspects of your MBA application is your essays. Your essays allow you to share your story, show off your skills and accomplishments, and explain why you would be a good fit for the program. But if you don't proofread your essays carefully, all your hard work could be for nothing.
As you go through the process of completing your application, here are a few key mistakes that you'll want to avoid.
One mistake immediately disqualifies you from consideration is applying with poor English. The admissions committee will read your application carefully and not hesitate to ding you for errors.
To avoid this mistake, have your application reviewed by a professional editor before submitting it. A fresh set of eyes can often spot errors that you’ve missed.
Remember, you’re trying to impress admissions committees with your intellect and communication skills. Using poor grammar will not only make you look bad but will also make it difficult for committee members to understand your essays.
If you’re not confident in your grammar skills, plenty of resources are available to help you brush up (including online grammar checkers).
Using too many industry buzzwords
Sure, it's important to show that you know your stuff. But using too many buzzwords will make you sound like you're trying too hard. And it won't impress the admissions committee. In fact, it may make them wonder if you're really as knowledgeable as you claim to be.
How can you avoid using too many buzzwords?
First, take a step back and assess what you're trying to say. If you can say it without using jargon, then do so. Second, when using industry terms, make sure you explain what they mean. Don't assume that everyone knows what they mean. These guidelines will make your writing more engaging and give the admissions committee a better sense of who you are as a person and a thinker.
Writing the wrong school name
One of the most common and costly errors is simply writing the wrong school name on your application. This may seem like a minor error, but it signals to the admissions committee that you're not interested in their school, And that's not the kind of first impression you want to make.
So take the time to double-check all the schools you're applying to before you submit your application. A little extra effort can save you many headaches down the road.
One of the most important parts of your MBA application is answering the questions posed by the prompt. Any question on the application should be considered carefully, regardless of how small it may seem. However, even the most well-prepared applicant can make a fatal mistake: leaving questions unanswered.
This can be a costly oversight, as it gives the impression that you are not fully invested in the program or lack attention to detail. To avoid this mistake, be sure to answer all of the questions in the prompt, even if it requires some extra research on your part.
Taking the time to answer each question thoroughly will demonstrate your dedication to the program and give you a much better chance of being admitted.
Mistake #2: Sending the same essay to different schools
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when applying to a business school is sending the same essay to every school. Not only does this show a lack of effort, but it also demonstrates that you aren’t genuinely interested in the program.
Each business school has unique culture and values, and your essay should reflect an understanding of what makes that school special. Admissions committees want to see that you’re excited about their school and have done your research. So, take the time to tailor your essays to each program. This doesn’t mean completely rewriting your essay for each school but making adjustments to reflect each program's unique aspects.
By taking the time to customize your essays, you’ll show that you’re a serious applicant who is committed to finding the right fit. And that is precisely the kind of student ADCOMS is looking for.
Mistake #3: Lying or exaggerating
It goes without saying that honesty is the best policy when it comes to your application. Admissions committees can spot a liar a mile away, and if you're caught in a lie, your application will likely be immediately rejected.
It's important to be truthful about your work experience, educational background, and anything else the ADCOMS asks you about. But that doesn't mean you should present yourself in the best possible light. You don't need to exaggerate your accomplishments or try to make yourself look like a superhero.
Don't try to inflate your accomplishments or make things up-it will only come back to bite you in the end. Just be honest, and let your accomplishments speak for themselves.
Mistake #4: Neglecting your professional experiences
While your grades and test scores are essential, they're not the only things that matter. Admissions committees want to see evidence of your professional accomplishments. What are your professional experiences? They're the jobs you've had, internships you've completed, and the leadership roles you've taken on.
Your professional experiences are an important part of your story, don't be afraid to show them off! Highlight your successes, discuss the challenges you faced and overcame, and explain how you developed as a manager.
And if you're still early in your career and don't have much professional experience to highlight, that's OK! Instead, focus on things like extracurricular activities and volunteering experiences that demonstrate your leadership potential and commitment to community service.
And above all else, be sure to emphasize the lessons you learned. ADCOMS loves applicants who can reflect on their experiences and articulate what they've gained from them. As long as you can do that, your professional experiences will help strengthen your MBA application.
Mistake #5: Choosing the wrong reference
Another important part of your MBA application is your list of references. These people will speak on your behalf and attest to your character, work ethic, and ability to succeed in business school.
However, the people you choose to write your application recommendations can make or break your chances of getting into the school of your choice. So it's important to choose references who will paint you in the best possible light and will be able to give you a strong recommendation.
Here are five things to avoid when choosing your recommenders:
1. Don't choose a recommender who doesn't know you well.
A strong recommendation comes from someone who can speak to your specific skills and qualifications. If your potential recommender hasn't worked closely with you, their letter will likely be less impactful.
2. Don't choose a recommender who is ineligible.
Most business schools have strict guidelines about who can and cannot write recommendations. Make sure your recommender meets the requirements before you ask them to write a letter on your behalf.
3. Don't choose a recommender who is not enthusiastic about you.
A lukewarm letter of recommendation is not going to do much to improve your chances of admission. Choose recommenders who are genuinely excited about supporting your application.
4. Don't choose a recommender who is not responsive.
Once you've asked someone to be a recommender, make sure to stay in touch and keep them updated on your progress. If they don't hear from you, they may assume you've lost interest and will be less inclined to write a strong letter of recommendation.
5. Don't choose a recommender who is not supportive.
Recommendations are not the time for confessions or criticism. If your potential recommender doubts your ability to succeed in an MBA program, it's better to find someone else to write your letter of recommendation.
It's no secret that the competition for spots in top MBA programs is fierce. You've worked hard to get to this point in your career. You've crushed it at work, logged countless extra credit hours, and aced the GMAT. The only thing standing between you and your dream school is the application itself. But even the most well-qualified candidates can make avoidable mistakes that can cost them their dream school's acceptance.
While many potential MBA application mistakes to avoid, these seven will most likely negatively impact your admission chances. By avoiding them, you'll be putting yourself in a much better position for acceptance into the b-school of your dreams.
Applying to business school is a long and complicated process, and there are many potential pitfalls along the way. With Mr. MBA on your side, you can rest assured that we have everything you need to get into the best business school for you. Contact us today, and we will take the stress out of the process and put you on track for a great future!