The Over-Achieving Chicks’ Guide to MBA Admissions, Part I

This post is long overdue but I think it’s worth the wait. I’ve been out and about talking and listening to MBA admissions officers from around the country. Whether you’re preparing for Rounds 2 or 3 or perhaps still considering whether to apply, you’ll want to read my roadmap of mission-critical strategies to consider as you begin your MBA admissions journey.

What the Heck Do They Want?

I know you’re extremely qualified yet you need to understand how all of the pieces of the MBA admission puzzle fit together to avoid missteps. The MBA Admissions Committee (Adcom) will draw their conclusions about your candidacy based on the following:  Academic Profile, GMAT score, Work Experience, Essays, Recommendations and Interviews. I’ll review each section so you will better understand what the Adcom is looking for and what you can do to take charge of the process and not  only meet but exceed their expectations.

MBA Admission Process Overview

Before you begin to write a word, determine why you want an MBA. That may sound basic but you’d be surprised to learn that many applicants fail to consider their motivation and find that when they voice their desire it sounds uninspiring and trite. If this happens to you, don’t panic. It’s simply time to get quiet and figure out what is driving you to apply. One of the easiest ways to get started is by pulling out a journal or opening a word document and write about YOUR  true desires, not the ones imparted to you by your friends, parents or society. 

The big questions you must ultimately be prepared to answer are: What is my story? What are my goals (short and long-term)? Why an MBA? Why now? Why an X (school name here) MBA?

Academic Profile

Your academic profile is important because it a strong indicator of how you learn. The MBA Adcom needs to be confident that you have the ability to succeed in the classroom.  Contrary to popular belief, they will not look at your overall GPA and give you a pass. They will look at your full transcript including the types of classes, your performance and grade trends. The MBA program requires you to enter with a requisite level of quantitative expertise so know they will be looking at your history with quantitative work. The good news is there isn’t an expectation or penalty for not having a “traditional” b-school major such as engineering, economics or undergraduate business.  MBA Admissions Officers desire and value a diversity of perspective in their programs. You may not realize this, but the role of the MBA student is to teach as well as learn so a variety of experiences sets the stage for a challenging environment.

That’s enough to digest for now. In Part II of this series, we’ll discuss the infamous GMAT, the role of Work Experience and the relevance of Recommendations.

Geanine Thompson is CEO of MBA Goddess, an MBA admissions consulting firm for over-achieving chicks, gutsy girls and non-traditional, non-business career applicants. For more must-have MBA admissions tips, visit    

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