Paying Attention to MBA Application Details
What’s the difference between a 2.2 and a 2:2? A lot!
A 2.2 GPA in the United States’ system is essentially a D average. A 2:2 in the British system is a second-class lower, which is a significantly better academic record.
Something as trivial as a period vs. a colon can make or break your application.
If you accidentally misrepresent a 2:2 as a 2.2, there’s no reason to believe adcoms are going to take the time to go through your transcripts and find the mistake. A typo can get your application tossed in the reject pile.
There are many little ways that not double-checking the details can rob applicants’ of their b-school dreams.
One common mistake I see is people putting the wrong dates on their resume. Even if the original resume is correct, it’s easy to make a mistake entering data in the online application. And without realizing it, suddenly you’re telling adcoms that you spent a large chunk of time unemployed.
You don’t ever want to put adcoms in the position of having to guess which information in your application is correct—they simply don’t have time for that. It’s your job to go through and triple-check that all the details add up.
A similar oversight I’ve seen applicants make is simply not updating their resume. It’s 2017, but your resume still says you held your last job from 2015 to 2016!
If you don’t catch this one, you end up unintentionally saying that you left your current job a year ago, a careless mistake you can’t afford given how steep the competition is!
Another unforced error applicants make is not filling in their recommenders on their brand positioning and making sure they’re on the same page.
One way this mistake can lead to recommendation letters going off the rails is when recommenders are asked to talk about constructive feedback they’ve given the candidate in the past.
For instance, I worked with one applicant whose recommender wrote that he’d given the candidate constructive feedback on needing to be more confident and assertive. This is something that could have been a deal-breaker at top business schools!
In this case, we were able to improve communication with the recommender, who came up with some different feedback that was still realistic but not detrimental. Schools don’t want candidates who don’t have confidence!!!
It’s a good reminder that if you don’t coordinate carefully with our recommenders, they can sink your application without you knowing it.
Another thing to watch out for is double-checking your reported GMAT or GRE score. It sounds obvious, but I’ve seen people report the wrong score too many times not to mention it!
If you report your test scores as lower than they actually were, that clearly doesn’t help you. If you report them as higher than they were, that’s even worse because it’s going to cause serious problems when schools verify your information before finalizing your acceptance!
Finally, don’t mix up school names in your applications. If you’re applying to Harvard, don’t talk about why you want to go to Stanford in your essay!
Again, sounds obvious, but it happens more than you’d think. At the very least, adcoms find these mistakes irritating, which can color how they see the rest of your application.
In a world were more than 80 percent of candidates are rejected, you don’t want to give adcoms an excuse to dismiss your application, or do anything that will make them read your application unsympathetically. So when you’re done with your application, be sure to double-check, and then double-check again!