According to the GMAC Corporate Recruiters Survey 2016, teamwork is one of the three most important factors that companies look for in new MBA hires. Not surprisingly, this is also a key factor that admissions committees of business schools across the board seek in their applicants. Knowing how to work in a group setting is essential not only for your success in business school but also in the business world.
With this in mind, it is essential, that you highlight this skill in your application. Some schools specifically ask you in one of their essays about a time when you worked in a team. Others do not, but they still want to hear about it, and there are a number of places where you can tell them:
1. In your resume.
Unless you work completely alone and with absolutely no interaction with anyone (very unlikely) you probably have worked as part of a team. Highlight what you did, with how many people, and what you accomplished.
2. In the application boxes.
The application will probably have a short answer question about teamwork. Don’t take it lightly. Answer it with specific examples and quantifying, whenever possible, your results. Just because teamwork isn’t asked about in one of the main essay questions doesn’t mean it’s not as important.
3. In the interview.
You will very likely be asked a question about a time when you had to work in a team, a successful – or unsuccessful– team and your role in it. Think about recent examples and be prepared to answer with specifics.
If you feel that due to the nature of your work, teamwork is a weak point, look to your past for evidence of teamwork and also seek current off-the-job opportunities to enhance your collaborative credentials. If you participated in a team sport, played in a musical group, or were an active member of a committee, club, fraternity, sorority, religious, political, or service organization in the past, highlight the experience. If your job currently has you working in solitude much of the time, look outside of work to add teamwork to your profile: volunteer for a community service organization, get involved in sports or the arts, take an active role in ethnic, religious, professional, or political projects that can give you an opportunity to shine in a group setting. It’s never too late to start. Would the adcoms notice the recent teamwork jump start? Yes, and they will appreciate that you were proactive instead of waiting for them to point it out to you.
So, as you get ready to apply to business school, think about teamwork. Adcoms will want to hear about it, and later on, recruiters will want to hire you for it.
By Esmeralda Cardenal, previously the Associate Director of Admissions at Yale SOM, Director of MBA Admissions at MSU Broad, and consultant at Cardiff Business School in the UK. She is happy to help you showcase your achievements in your MBA application.