You’ve spent a lot of time getting everything in order to apply to business school. From taking the GMAT or GRE to chatting with current students, you’re almost ready to hit "submit" and hope for good news. So, how do you set yourself apart from others and impress the admissions committee with a great application? Let me offer a few tips to help.
A well-written resume is like a strong virtual handshake. It instantly gives our admissions committee a snapshot into who you are as a person-- and it's their first impression of you.
How do you create a strong resume? Start with a classic format that's easy to read and has good flow. Stick to a classic typeface like Times New Roman, Arial, Georgia, or Tahoma. Avoid using color. Make sure each block of text (headers, bullet points, etc.) are all consistent in appearance. Provide plenty of room between sections so the eye knows where one section stops and another begins.
Next, make sure each of your bullet points starts with a strong action verb and, when possible, includes a quantifiable result. This helps our committee understand what you did and how it directly contributed to your company.
Finally, it should go without saying, but make sure it’s free of grammatical and spelling errors. Have a few friends or colleagues look it over before you call it good.
Diverse / unique work experience
Most people enroll in business school to change careers, move up within their company, or pick up core business skills they didn’t receive in while in their undergraduate education. So, if your work experience is not business-heavy or does not seem applicable to business school, don’t worry—everyone comes in from a different path!
Just make sure you understand (and can convey) what makes your background unique and how it will help you in the program. For example, if you currently work as a teacher, understand what transferrable skills you have (like leading groups of people, excellent time management, etc.) that will benefit your time at Fisher and the program as a whole. Being able to sell this in your application will be key.
Create a compelling story
One of the most important pieces of your application is how you tell your story. This is done in a number of ways, from the essays you write to the video essay to your admissions interview (by invitation only). It’s absolutely crucial that you craft a compelling story about why you want to attend business school, what you hope to get out of it, and how you will contribute to society afterward.
Your story is the ultimate gateway into your thought process. It shows our admissions committee that you have critically thought about why business school is the perfect next step in your career and what you hope to gain from the experience. Being able to articulate why the Fisher MBA specifically is the right one for you is equally important. Our committee will be looking to see if you have done your research into what makes our program unique and why you think you will fit in. They want to make sure you can truly see yourself thriving here because that will have a huge effect on your success while at Fisher and after you leave.
Strong interviewing skills
My last piece of advice to impress the admissions committee is to have strong interviewing skills. Knowing how to anticipate and respond to questions will be crucial during your video interview and the on-campus interview. Do some research on common behavioral questions and then formulate your responses using the STAR format, where you describe the situation at hand, the tasks required, the actions you specifically took to solve the problem, and the results at the end. Additionally, make sure you’re dressed for the part—business formal is the norm for interviews, so make sure you’re looking your best.
Applying to business school can be a long and exhausting process. Once you get to the application stage, you’re almost there. Follow the items outlined above and you will be well on your way to making yourself look like an extremely attractive candidate to our admissions committee.