How to Market Yourself to an MBA Admissions Committee


How to Market Yourself to an MBA Admissions Committee

MBA admissions can feel pretty daunting – especially when you consider some of the leading schools’ acceptance rates (Stanford GSB says its rate is typically 5-7%, for example). From GMAT scores to letters of recommendation and those often-imposing MBA essay questions, it’s not only important to have everything in place before the deadline, but also to differentiate yourself from other applicants in the process.

To get into your dream business school, therefore, you’ll need to take the right approach. You can get some guidance on application dos and don’ts by attending an admissions fair – such as the QS World MBA Tour New York – but, for now, here are three pointers raised by admissions staff attached to leading schools, from an interview series on

Make your MBA essay stand out

When it comes to an MBA application’s essay questions, Stanford GSB’s MBA admissions director, Lisa Giannangeli, explains that, “You don’t need to have accomplishments or feats that are unusual or different from your peers…If you concentrate your efforts on telling us who you are, differentiation will occur naturally.”

It seems wise, therefore, to ensure your MBA essay captures who you really are. From the values and experiences you hold, to why you believe an MBA is right for your future.

Research the specific MBA program to which you are applying

If you don’t research the specific MBA program to which you’re applying properly, you’re sure to be found out sooner or later, as Renice Jones, assistant director of graduate recruitment and admissions at York University’s Schulich School of Business, points out:

“One mistake that applicants make is not doing enough research to ensure that the program will fit with their career goals.”

Adequate research isn’t just about impressing the MBA admissions panel with knowledge of their program. It’s also very much in your interests to find out whether the school matches what you’re looking for.

Don’t overlook the importance of recommendation letters

The recommendation letter requirements of an MBA application are an opportunity for you to select recommenders who can speak to your accomplishments and corroborate what you are saying about yourself.

With this in mind, it’s worth having an informal chat with your chosen recommenders when asking them to furnish you with a written blessing, as Duke Fuqua’s director of marketing and recruitment, Allison Jamison, says:

“Share with them why you are seeking an MBA – if they understand what your goals are, they are better equipped to provide supporting anecdotes in their write up.”


Looking to speak directly with admissions directors and representatives of the world’s top business schools, as well as members from the team at InGenius Prep? Join us at the QS World MBA Tour  New York on May 13th. By attending, you can also get free advice on your MBA admissions strategy and will become eligible for QS’s exclusive MBA scholarships!

To reserve your free place at the event, register online today.


This article is adapted from an original published on

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