Making the Most of the MBA Data Form
You've finalized your resume and secured your undergrad transcript. Your recommenders are working on their letters, and your essays are well underway. What's next to tackle in the typical b-school application? The MBA data form.
The data form consists of drop-down menus, checklists, informational fields, and short-answer responses that give the adcomm a quick overview of who you are. They’re also likely to be the first thing reviewed in your package. This means they create the reader’s initial impression of you. That’s why it’s important not to complete the data form in a rush right before the program’s submission deadline.
MBA Data Form Blunders
These two problems commonly arise when you hurry through a data form:
- Careless typos, and
- Failure to use short-answer fields strategically.
You can easily avoid the first issue by having someone review your data form once you’ve completed it. Since you have to complete most forms through the school’s online application, there’s no spell-check functionality included.
For short-answer responses—meaning fields where you have anywhere from 50 to 2,000 characters for your answer—you should think through what information you’ve provided in the rest of your materials and then try to either complement or expand upon it in the data form.
Think of each part of your application package as an opportunity to strengthen your candidacy and tell the admissions committee something new. Applicants often overlook the data form's possibilities because it seems so straightforward and, well, boring. But we view it as an easy way to make a positive first impression.
Looking for more concrete advice? We covered common MBA data form questions (about the employment, salary, awards, and activities fields, as well as various dropdowns) and provided several additional tips for how to make the most of the data form on our B-Schooled podcast's episode #21, which you can find on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or TuneIn.
Until next time,
The team at Stacy Blackman Consulting
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