EssaySnark sits in on a lot of MBA admissions chats (and hopefully you do too!!) and today we’re going to answer some questions that we saw candidates asking admissions peeps recently, but the admissions peeps didn’t get to their questions. Obviously this is EssaySnark’s take on the answers and not what the adcom said (since they didn’t answer!!) however we’d be willing to bet that the adcoms in question would likely have responded in a similar fashion. Also, these are questions that are more universal rather than being specific to a school, so we’re not even going to mention which schools’ chats we saw these on.
Q: Is most of the information in the “what we want to know” section expected to be obtained via the interview or essay? How much work detail should you go into in the essay?
EssaySnark’s A: Your key objective with the application is to give the adcom enough to invite you to interview — which means that everything needs to be in the essays! The interview is always a supplement to the application. See here: “I’ll just explain this situation in the interview.” We’re not certain of what this person was asking about the “work detail” question, but presumably they meant, “How much detail from your professional experience should you go into in the career goals essay?” The best way to handle any essay on goals for pretty much any school is to include enough context and content from your past career to show how you’re prepared and ready to go for the future goals that you’re naming.
May I confirm with you whether I need to send the official GMAT report before the application deadline, or I can just submit a student copy for application? Thanks!
The schools are OK with getting self-reported scores entered into their application or uploaded via the score report that the testing agency provides to you as the test taker, and then in conjunction, you request that the official scores be sent by the testing agency directly to the school. The schools don’t need to receive the official scores submitted by the testing agency before the deadline. However, read the school website and see what they say in their app instructions; Tuck’s app says that they need to have received the scores from the testing agency by the deadline but we don’t know if they actually enforce that or not. All other schools are OK with getting the official verified test scores after the deadline (but don’t delay in getting them requested!!).
How valuable/relevant are extracurriculars in getting to know us? E.G. running/music/writing?
The things you engage in outside of work are always of interest to the adcoms, because they can paint a fuller picture of who you are as an individual. Many applications have fields where you can enter hobbies or interests, and/or sections of the app to capture your commitment to the community through volunteer work and other service-based activities. But how “valuable” are they? Not usually as valuable as many applicants seem to think! It’s always nice to get involved with the world and to show what you are passionate about through the things you commit to, however it’s highly unlikely that such activities are going to make tremendous difference to your outcomes at a specific school. The whole package is what counts, and so these things are considered in terms of what they communicate about who you are, and sometimes they’re a lens through which the adcom can understand your values. From the way this question was asked, it sounds like these activities are valuable to the applicant, in which case yes, the adcoms are likely to be interested in them, too, since they could be more representative of the person. For more reading: Request for help: No extracurricular after college
Is there an age limit to the application? I read on many blogs that applicants over 30 are at a disadvantage? Is there any truth to this? Is it too late?
Hi! What’s the maximum age to apply for the full MBA program?
The schools have no upper limit in terms of age for any of their programs. That being said, it’s a big component of the whole “school fit” thing that they’re always talking about. You need to show how you’re a fit to the exact program you’re applying to, and there is no one way to do this. If you’re “older” (over 30 is what’s typically considered as “older”) then there are two main factors that play into it: First, are your career goals in line with what a top MBA program can help you with? Are you at the right stage in your career to benefit from the experience and be a good match to the opportunities that are going to be available to you when you graduate? If you are too senior or have too much experience for the norm that the hiring managers want to see in a freshly minted MBA, then that is a mismatch. Second, are you a competitive candidate compared to others in your pool? If you’re coming from a very crowded candidate pool like certain regions or employment groups, you’re competing against everyone else with a similar background. If someone who has a comparable profile to yours and who has done cool things in her career to date and made an impact already, yet has less work experience under her belt yet similar results or equally impressive stories, then she’s going to be a more desirable candidate simply because she’ll be giving the adcom evidence that she’s a go-getter. If you’re coming into this whole thing with more years of work experience then you may need to do more to show how fabulous you are and all the amazing things you’ve done in your life so far. This is where it can get dicey. So, no, no cutoff or maximum age, and definitely we work with BSers all the time who are older than 30 and still make it into the top full-time programs. But it’s always more challenging and there are a lot of factors to consider in setting your strategy. For more reading: “Is 30 too old?”
That last answer is way more than what you will likely ever receive from an admissions person fielding that question. Hope all of these are helpful to you as you’re figuring out strategy for apps in the remainder of the season! If there are other questions we can help you with, feel free to drop them on us in the comments to this post or on any other relevant post on the blahg. We read and respond to them all, no matter how far back in the ‘snarchive you may end up with your researching!!!