It’s your job to demonstrate to the adcom that you stand out from the applicant pool and are exactly the person they want in their next MBA class. In this series, you’ll learn how to dig deep to unearth your unique character traits, experiences, skills, and talents and bring them to the forefront of your application, so that when the adcom pick up your file, they’re hooked from the very first moment.
Top business schools generally accept a few to several Chinese applicants each year, depending on class size. How can you make sure that you’re one of them?
The following four tips will help Chinese applicants boost their candidacy by teaching them how to highlight their strengths, explain why they need an international MBA, and emphasize how they – as global citizens of the world – will contribute to the next MBA class.
1. Explain why you are pursuing an American or international MBA.
The adcom will want to know that you’re not just applying to their school because you want to be closer to Disney World. You need to be able to address this point or you shouldn’t be applying to b-school. Why are you pursuing an MBA so far from home? Why in this particular country? Why at this particular institution? How are your goals dependent on this school’s location and on an international education? How will interacting with international faculty and students add value to your experience and help further your goals?
2. Improve your English.
You need to make sure that your written and spoken English language skills are up to snuff. Your essays need to be well written with correct grammar and word usage (try to get a native English speaker to review your writing), and later on when you interview, you need to be clearly understood – both in meaning and enunciation (be sure to prepare specific stories and practice telling them so that you don’t need to think up examples on the spot). If you’re not confident about your English language skills, take some time to polish them: read English newspapers/books/websites, join an English conversation group, and make some new English speaking friends. Your goal here isn’t to acquire a mastery of the English language on the native level, but you do need to convey a good grasp of the language if you want to be considered by an English speaking MBA program.
3. Show off your global experience.
As a non-American applicant, you have the advantage of having natural exposure to other non-American cultures – including business culture. Show the adcom that you understand the differences between Western and Eastern business values, ethics, and practices, and that your skills and global experiences have helped you gain the sensitivity to shift from one to the other, depending on the situation. What have you learned about the different ways Chinese business people and American business people communicate? How has that knowledge contributed to your life as a global citizen?
Other things to emphasize: your language skills, your international business experience, your understanding of multinational business, non-work cultural experiences, study abroad experiences, etc. Think about what makes your experience unique, and show it in your application.
4. Highlight your community involvement.
Volunteer activities are heavily encouraged among American students, so you’ll need to show that you’re competitive in this category as well. Show the adcom that in addition to your rigorous academic and work life, you’ve also carved out time to serve your community. Volunteering demonstrates devotion, passion, and oftentimes, leadership. Be sure that when describing your experiences, you demonstrate the impact you had: For example, if you taught disadvantaged youth how to read English, make sure you talk about the number of students you tutored, over the course of how many months or years, and for how many hours. What was the result?
Finally, it’s your goal to prove to the adcom that you will fit in with the school’s culture of diversity, while simultaneously standing out due to your unique background. Show the school how your experience growing up in China has positioned you as an ideal candidate, as someone who will contribute to their class, their school, and to the business community at large.
Read the complete 9 Secrets to Standing Out in Your MBA Application series for more tips on how to create a compelling application that highlights your unique strengths, character traits, and talents.
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