Top 3 Tips for Your MBA Application

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

As a second year student and a current member of the application screening committee, I’ve had my fair share of experience with the MBA application. Since application deadlines are flying by or quickly approaching I thought it may be helpful to provide a few tips. Hope they help and good luck!

Focus your thoughts and words.
The application is your opportunity to prove that you already have some valuable experiences, you have deeply considered what your career goals are and you know why an MBA will help you reach those goals. Don’t muddy the waters with stories that don’t directly relate to these facets. It’s great that you perfected your beer brewing skills over the past five years, but if it has nothing to do with your career don’t spend half your Goals essay talking about it.

Know the school.
Every MBA program, including Foster, is looking for people who have explored, researched, and decided THIS program is the best match. Know what makes Foster different than Stanford and MIT and explain in your application why you’re seeking a school with those unique characteristics. Go on a class visit, chat with alumni and current students, get to know the course schedule and options. I hate to finish reading an application that someone has surely spent hours working on only to have one word pop into my head – generic.

Choose recommenders thoughtfully.
It is not enough to have recommenders who write a few sentences about what a smart person you are and that you always get your work done on time. The key to really strong recommendations is choosing people who know you very well and can speak to your skills with breadth and depth. Ask them to provide concrete examples and request that they go a little above and beyond just answering the provided questions. If you don’t feel comfortable asking this of your recommenders, maybe you don’t actually know them very well.

Preview your life as an MBA

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

As I write this there is a room full of curious people next door listening to staff, faculty and current students talk about life as a Foster MBA. They are here for the first Preview Weekend* of the year and will likely be overwhelmed by the amount of information they receive, but after having countless conversations with current students they should leave with a very strong sense of what Foster is all about.

Current StudentsHopefully they’ll also walk away from a long conversation with a first year student and realize that she has voluntarily given up time in her busy schedule and remained on campus during her first Friday afternoon without class to chat with those interested in Foster. She likely has a list of assignments waiting for her, midterm exams to study for, as well as an endless supply of other demands on her time. This is one undeniable thing about Foster – the students are really n-i-c-e!

This morning I spoke with prospective students from Portland (right down the road a mere three hours) to Hawaii and Thailand (not exactly right down the road)! It’s a huge commitment to travel that far to just visit a school, but it’s a bigger commitment to take two years out of your life to pursue an MBA! I think it’s a wise decision to learn as much as you can about a program before you take the plunge and there is no better way than being on campus and meeting the people who make up the program.

The next Preview Weekend will begin on January 21st. Visit the Foster website for more info.