Sunday, June 26, 2016

MBA Applicants - Get a Second Opinion!

I speak regularly with a lot of MBA applicants other than those I counsel myself. For those I do not work with, some do well while others are disappointed with their results. I suppose this is natural. However, I find it frustrating when I meet applicants that finished the process with applications that weren’t as good as they could have been, and this translated into disappointing final results. Some are luckier - they may switch counsellors at the interview stage and then get new insights on their goal story or other elements of their application. This is better, but I worry the advice is coming too late - especially if they don’t get a lot of interview invites!  Finally - and perhaps the largest group - are the ones that realise their interviews were tougher than they thought they’d be and they were not adequately prepared.

So here are the three types of regretful statements you may hear:

(1) Looking back I should have made sure my applications were better!
(2) I’m getting great feedback now that I'm preparing for interviews. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a lot of interview offers to start with!
(3) I got a lot of interview invitations but realised after completing the interviews that they were a lot tougher than I thought they would have been!

If you want to avoid saying any of these things are you prepare your MBA applications, I suggest getting a second opinion.

Second Opinion on your Application

After completing your first application with your counsellor, get a second opinion. Good consultants will encourage this, and so you don’t need to keep it a secret or worry that they will be upset. Often the insight you gain from the second opinion will help you make that application a bit better - and that can be the difference between success and failure. Sometimes you may get more feedback than you anticipated. So - be sure to get the second opinion well in advance of your deadline in case you wish to make a lot of changes. I offer this service - find out more at my website

Interview Preparation

Another way to get new feedback is to do interview practice with others. When it comes to interviewing it is extremely beneficial for you to practice with more than one person. I always encourage my clients to do interview practice with me initially, but then with other counsellors or trusted advisors. Interview practice with someone who doesn’t know your story very well can feel more like the real interview (especially if it is a blind interview), and is a valuable experience for all applicants. 

I hope everyone is working hard on their test scores and getting ready to submit strong applications. Make sure you put your best foot forward and submit the strongest and best application possible! You’re only going to apply once (hopefully!) so get it right the first time!

John Couke