I always find that the people who work in business schools offer a lot more real advice about the application process than I can, and people at the Tuck school stand out as being the most helpful. This article by Jonathan Masland, director of the career development office at Dartmouth’s
business school, is definitely worth reading.
Applying to B-School is Like Landing a Job
And the best part is that he echoes what I have been saying – in this blog! – for years. My favorite of his recommendations are
1. School Fit is Critical.
2. Meet the People and Visit the Campus
3. Be Memorable and Tell Good Stories
4. Have Fun
Everyone does wonder what “fit” means, and one of the best ways to find that fit is to visit campus. Here’s what Masland says
To be successful on the “fit,” applicants need to sync three components:
- They need to understand themselves and their own priorities
- They need to get to know the unique characteristics of the different MBA programs
- They need to be able to articulate …[how] they are a fit for the program in question
I’ve also written about the “right fit” in a business school. It’s not obvious from reading rankings, that’s for sure. You really need to figure out who you are and what the school offers and where you and the school connect. It’s how you strengthen the school’s culture and the school’s culture strengthens you.
I’ve also encouraged people to tell stories. I love stories, who doesn’t? Masland writes, “The vehicle for sharing interesting things about you and your background is through storytelling—being able to share events or accomplishments that are interesting, make a point, and are memorable.” That’s great advice whether looking for a job or aiming for business school.
Let the process be fun
Applying to business school CAN be fun, but that’s only if you don’t take yourself too seriously. Take the process seriously. Indeed, be prepared and have an open mind about what you will learn. But don’t take yourself too seriously – the worry doesn’t make you a better candidate. I know THAT one from experience.