Being “employable” won’t just earn you a good job, but may also help you secure a seat in a top business school. A recent Wall Street Journal article talks about the increased emphasis b-school admissions boards are placing on job placement. In an uncertain job market, schools want to show that they can place their students in prime positions; the best way to do this, of course, is to admit highly employable applicants.
Admissions boards are inviting career services staff to weigh in on admissions decisions. In addition to matching up potential students with industry needs, career services representatives are also evaluating leadership potential and interview capabilities. In a way, by having the career services staff on the admissions board, adcoms learn to evaluate applicants as corporate recruiters might – they look for applicants who will have “the same traits a hiring manager might, such as the ability to assess a problem and self-edit their remarks.” Additionally, this “integrated” admissions approach helps the students set out on a clear career path early on in the game.
I’ve said it for years, and it is the premise of my book, MBA Admission for Smarties: Realistic, attainable professional goals are a must when you apply to business school. You need them to guide you in choosing schools and to show “fit.” You need them to hit the ground running and to dodge the flood of activities and internship recruiting when you arrive on campus. And not surprisingly, you need them more and more simply to get in, just like the GMAT (or GRE) and an undergraduate transcript.
Too many applicants try to shoe-horn or manufacture a goal based on what they imagine the schools will want to hear. That’s backwards. Figure out first what you want to do post-MBA. Then research the schools that will help you do it.
Good goals are the foundation of employability, but there clearly is much more to it than one’s aspirations, as the article points out. EQ, leadership, communication, and a host of personal qualities are also critical to employability. Make sure you show them not only in your essays, but in all interactions with school representatives.
Obviously an appropriate goal and even employability are not sufficient to guarantee acceptance; you also need to be competitive. But by starting with the end in mind and showing that you, with your professional experience, academic credentials and personal qualities PLUS the MBA experience at Top Choice U are employable, you are enhancing your chances of acceptance and of that plum position upon graduation.
By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.