Being smart about your application and interview can earn you high marks.
You have decided to pursue an MBA, excellent! Now comes the hard part: impressing the admissions team and getting your acceptance letter. While GMAT scores and relevant work experience are obvious standards, Canadian university recruiters look at more than just grades and your resume. So how can you increase your chances of making a great impression?
Whether it’s a cause, a club, or your hobbies, showing passion and dedication to something outside of the business world can showcase your collaborative abilities, creativity, leadership skills, and problem-solving acumen. “We look at our applicants holistically,” says Brittany DeCoffe, manager of student recruitment at the University of Fredericton. “Helps demonstrate experience related to managing people, projects, and budgets.” As important? Being able to explain how an MBA aligns with your passions.
To be prepared
Learn as much as you can about the school of your choice before you apply. “Don’t assume that everything you need to know about the program is in the [school’s] website,” says Teresa Pires, associate director of recruitment for the MBA program at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. “Do your due diligence and connect with as many people as you can to learn about the show.”
Fine-tune your resume to highlight your accomplishments, proofread your application documents for typos or errors, and ask someone you trust to give you feedback on your admissions essay. “The admissions committee will notice that you are unprepared and show a lack of interest during the application process,” says Rima Vasudevan, director of recruitment and admissions at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, BC.
The MBA admission process is interactive. Recruiters want to see evidence that you are committed to the task. Check your email regularly and respond promptly to your requests for information; attend in-person events hosted by the school and introduce yourself to alumni and faculty; and of course meeting all the deadlines set for you – it reflects how well you will meet deadlines throughout the program.
On your application and in your interview, tell your story your way, in your own words. Don’t try to offer what you think a recruiter wants to hear: be honest and candid about your experience, your goals, your strengths and even your weaknesses or any gaps in your resume. “Whatever your motivation for pursuing an MBA, we want to hear from you!” DeCoffee says. “Your attitude and overall motivation to continue your education is a good indicator of the value you will bring to the program.”
Believe in yourself
There is no one “perfect” candidate for everyone. Remember that students accepted into Canadian MBA programs have vastly different backgrounds, skill sets, goals, and experience, so don’t worry about “making the cut,” recruiters want to see that you think you have what it takes. to have success. “One of the most important recommendations is not to write yourself off,” says DeCoffe. “An MBA can be intimidating, but it’s important to be confident in your abilities and everything you bring to the table.”
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