12 Tips: Do’s, Do Not’s and other application tips

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Applying for the University at Buffalo’s full-time MBA program? Well you’re in luck. I’ve reviewed thousands of #UBMBA applications since my admissions career began here at UB. Many of these applications have been memorable in positive, and sometimes, negative ways. I’m often asked the questions, “What do you look for?” and “How can I make my application stand out?” These tips will assist you as you move through the application process.

  1. Get to know us. Talk with an admissions representative, current student or one of our alumni at an on or off-campus event. We offer several #UBMBA events, on and off campus, throughout the year. If you’re unable to attend an event in person, contact our office to schedule a virtual meeting.
  2. Be prepared. Build a timeline from now through your intended admissions deadline to ensure you allocate enough time for each step of the process.
  1. Our admissions process is holistic; we evaluate your application as a whole, not just the parts. We are thorough—we review the application and all admissions requirements in great detail.
  1. Know yourself. This might sound funny, but we want to know the real you, not someone who you think we want you to be. You should be able to speak confidently about your strengths and weaknesses, short- and long-term goals and what you will bring to our program and the classroom.
  1. Prepare two personal statements. The recommended length is 700 words each, about 1-2 pages. One paragraph is not sufficient. It may seem funny, but it has happened.
  2. Have two people review your personal statements. The first should be someone who knows you well and will be honest whether your essay sounds like you. The second person should be someone who excels in grammar and can make these types of edits.
  1. Review your résumé carefully. Banish industry or company-specific acronyms and jargon, and be sure to highlight achievements. Quantify wherever possible and identify results and impact.

  1. Take either the GMAT or GRE. We don’t prefer one over the other. Take whichever exam you feel you are most prepared to take and will perform better on. No, we will not waive the GMAT or GRE requirement.
  1. International applicants: submit your TOEFL, IELTS or PTE score report in addition to the GMAT or GRE score report.
  1. Be thoughtful when selecting your recommenders for letters of recommendation (LOR). The letters provide us with additional insight into your talents, strengths, weaknesses and potential. We require two LORs and prefer at least one from an immediate (current or past) supervisor. Your recommender should be able to speak to your work experience, leadership, maturity, team orientation and communication skills with supporting examples.
  1. Do not ask a family member for a letter of recommendation. As a follow up to No. 10, you should not ask a family member or significant other’s family member to write your letter of recommendation. It may seem obvious, but I’ve seen it.
  1. Prepare for an admissions interview. The #UBMBA requires an interview with all admissible candidates. These invitation-only interviews are conducted by a senior member of the admissions staff or a member of our admissions committee. The interview is a great time for you to ask specific program questions.

If you have any questions about the #UBMBA program, admissions requirements, deadlines or anything else along the way, please contact me. I wish you much success as you move forward with this exciting chapter of your life.

 Interested in our Full-Time MBA program? Our next deadline is Feb. 15. Learn more about the application requirements by visiting our Full-Time MBA Admissions Page.

Photo credit: flazingo_photos via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-SA


Meghan WoodAs senior associate director of admissions and recruitment, Meghan Felser has 10 years of graduate management admissions experience. Prior to UB, she worked in promotions, strategic planning and sales for two Fortune 100 companies. She is passionate about helping students find the right program fit and all things Buffalo. Connect with her via email or LinkedIn and mention this post.

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