So yesterday we were all GOOD LUCK!! to the Class of 2021 applicants who are about to know their fate. And today we’ll jump forward again to the Class of 2022 BSers who are at the very beginning of the process. We spoke last week about how to get a true head start, even this early. On the topic of “What can I do to improve my chances?” we spoke in the context of the GMAT and volunteering and the very important issue of addressing a weakness around the academic transcripts.
That’s a good start. But we’re not done. What else might you be able to work on now, if you’re eager to get started on your applications for Round 1, but Round 1 is months away and there aren’t even any essay questions out?
Here’s an idea:
In MBA admissions, everything is fair game. An admissions officer who is curious about you can absolutely Google you, or go onto Facebook and see if they can find you. Will they automatically do this? No, not necessarily. But if there’s something intriguing about how you’re presenting your background, or if you have some reference to a paper you presented at an industry conference, or if you’re saying that you were the youngest founder of a company acquired by Google, or whatever other thing you’re touting in your essays and app that catches their eye, then sure, they’ve got the internet available. They will make use of it.
If someone Googled you today, what would they find?
If an admissions team found your Twitter account, what would they think?
We don’t want to freak you out about this but it’s important to have an awareness of what your “brand” is and how you are depicted online.
So, a project you can embark upon today: Go research yourself. How do you come up when you search for your name?
This isn’t about burying any negatives. If you were arrested when you were 17 for underage drinking and it was written up in your local community paper, you don’t have to worry about that impacting your chances of admission. If it resulted in any kind of charges or legal action, then many schools do ask that it be disclosed in the application (you’ll need to log on to each school’s account to see what they require) and again, don’t worry, that is not an automatic cause for rejection from the school you are trying for. If you have something like that in your past, then you’ll need to disclose it, and write up a very short explanation for what happened and the outcome or resolution. (If you are now freaking out about this, you can hit us up for our input on your specifics through the Private Consult, or fill us in on what happened in the Comprehensive Profile Review questionnaire and we’ll help you assess it and any impact it may have on your candidacy.)
If you are embarrassed about something that comes up on the first page of your Google hits, then now is the time to do things that can be more positively newsworthy, that are recent, and captured by the Google crawlers, and that will be on the top of the page if the adcom ends up searching for you later on, in September or October when they’re looking at your MBA app.
What might that be?
Well, things like 5K race results often appear in search results screens, and participating on boards, or serving on committees with a local nonprofit that’s putting on an event in the community. Are you engaged in such things?
We’re not big fans of having an agenda for your volunteer efforts, but hey, sometimes there’s a value to a transaction. You put in some time with a local group and you help them meet their goals for fundraising, then yeah, you’re going to be written up as their Volunteer of the Month, or you’ll be named on their website where they talk about the team captain who did so much for their important community initiative. That’s a fair trade, right?
But it’s going to take time to execute on that.
Then, you can go to the next step and look for opportunities to build out your profile. Some MBA applications invite you to disclose your LinkedIn and other social media accounts within the app itself. Other schools have in the past asked you to craft a tweet as part of their app requirements (this gimmick hasn’t been done recently by any schools that we know of, but it was a “thing” about five years ago, when the schools finally woke up and realized that social media existed and got very excited about it). MIT has been asking for a video to be included in their app and many candidates use YouTube to host them, so social media may in fact end up as part of your actual application content in some way. All of these can be appropriate usage of social media within the overall landscape of your attempt to get into bschool. Just make sure everything is there with intention — and don’t forget to take stuff down after it’s no longer needed. Sometimes we run across candidate YouTube videos for MIT and other schools that aren’t actually that compelling or thoughtfully constructed, and they’ve been left online well past the time that the adcom would be referencing them. If you end up uploading any content to the internet for the purpose of your app, you may want to calendar a tickler for yourself to go remove it from the site later. It might be a little embarrassing for your blind date to come across your video when s/he’s Googling you to find out some 411 before you meet up.
We’ve got a few more ideas to share on this topic so come back tomorrow for the continuation of this post.