February 13 @ 2pm – 3pm (EDT)

Megan Solinger, Assistant Director ofAdmissions at Carey Business School

Carey Business School (Johns HopkinsUniversity)

Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:53 pm

Q: So Megan, what is the first way that aspiring applicants can make themselves stand out in MBA Admissions?

A: My first piece of advice is: Prove your Academic Ability,especially in a quantitative field.  Historically, MBA programs have evolved out of Engineering programs and schools, probably due tothe heavily quantitative focus of both programs. When looking at MBA programs, regardless of what youracademic and professional backgrounds are, you want to highlight and prove to the committee that you can handle heavily quantitative coursework.

For those who have a more humanities focused or less quantitative focusedbackground, if it has been a number of years since you attended school, itmight be a good idea to considertaking a micro/macroeconomics, stats, or calculus course at a localcollege/university to brush up on your quantitative skills. In addition,something like the quantitative portion of the GMAT or GRE would holdsignificant weight as well, to prove your academic ability in this area.

Be proactive in making sure you’redemonstrating you can handle the curriculum of an MBA. The AdmissionsCommittee’s goal is to admit students who they believe can handle thecoursework and rigor. The last thing they want to do is set someone up forfailure.

第一点: MBA 对于申请者的Quant 要求很高,所以高分的GMAT的Quant 部分是个不小的优势。这对于中国学生来说确实是好消息!

Q: What’s the 2nd way you have for us?

A:  Reference the School and the specifics of the program you’re applying to. This may seem rather obvious, but it's really important to be as specific as possible.Admissions staff, when reviewing applications, are really good at picking outand recognizing essays that are generic. DO NOT copy and paste essays, butrather make them specific for the school and the program you’re applying to.You want to show the committee and the person reviewing your application thatyou did your homework and research.

The Admissions Committee spends a lot oftime reviewing your application, and reading your essays, and assumes that youput a lot of time into your application and deserve that in return. Every school asks their own questions,so be sure that you actually answer the questions being posed, and it reflectsthe correct school and specific aspects of the program you’re applying to.
 Believe it or not, we often get essays that say “The MBA program atSchool XYZ is my number one choice,” but you actually submitted the essay toSchool ABC. That’s a HUGE red flag.

第二点:写的essay 一定要对于不同学校有不同的侧重点来展现出你对“这个”学校的了解和热爱。不要原封不动的把其他学校的essay 复制黏贴到另外一个学校。

My next piece of advice is: Put your best foot forward!

Again, this seems obvious but ultimatelythis is what you're trying to do with your application. Putting your best footforward applies to the entire application, and also to the aforementionedessay. Your application is something, again, that the Admissions Committeeassumes you have put a lot of time and thought into, and thus in return, we doa holistic and thorough read as well. When we start noticing that the applicant is notfollowing instructions, there are typos in the essays, bad grammar, spelling,the wrong school’s name, etc, that does not bode well for the applicant. Youcan think of that as an automatic strike against you.

For example, at Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, more times than Ilike to admit, we read applications or speak to people in interviews who say“John Hopkins.” Etched in stone and marble, on letterhead, and printed on the application numerous times, is the correct spelling,“JohnS Hopkins.” It is not John, and it’s not John’s,but JOHNS. Trust me when I say we did not make a mistake on our advertising andprint for this long and on this many sources for people to say John or useJohn’s. To me/us here at JHU CBS, this shows us that you’re not payingattention to detail.

Another piece of advice in order to helpyou put your best foot forward is to have someone proofread your application,and in particular your essays. Give them the essay without the prompt, and seeif they get the general idea of the essay/prompt. 

Additionally, “putting your best foot forward” is all about payingattention to detail, so be sure that you read instructions carefully, andfollow them, and minimize errors.

Giving a proofreader your essay withoutthe prompt is a fantastic idea

第三点:也是很基本的一点。如果招生官再看你的材料时候发现拼写错误,语法错误,另外一所学校的名字等等对于你的录取情况都是有影响的。尤其是学校名字拼写错误的:是Johns Hopkins. 但还是看到很多申请者会有这样那样的拼写错误。

Nice, what’s the 4th?

My fourth piece of advice is to askyourself: What makes you different/unique?

I always challenge applicants to thinkof ways to set themselves apart from the rest of the applicant pool. When theAdmissions person is done reading the entire application, they really want towalk away, feeling that they get you, get why you want the school and program,and if the program is a good fit. Know that, most often the review is veryholistic, so there are plenty of opportunities to highlight things that makeyou unique. We want to know how you’re going to contribute to the program onceyou’re here, and beyond the program as well. Think about hobbies and unique experiences you’ve hadthat would make an admissions officer go “wow!”

On the flip side, don’t fabricatethings, since anything you put in your application, is fair game for theAdmissions Interviewer to ask you to elaborate and reflect on during a followup conversation or interview. 

Often times, applicants belittle/overlook their hobbies. This is a greatway to highlight some uniquely defining characteristics and experiences you’vehad that make you, you! Know that there is no “cookie cutter” student we’relooking for, and when we’re developing a class, we want diversity. We want people with various educational and professional backgrounds, non-traditional students, and those who have done some interesting things in their life/career.


You’ve given us a lot to think about. So what’s the final way you would advise, that can help applicants stand out?

And my last way to stand out is to: Demonstrate/articulate yourGlobal Perspective.

This really lends itself to highlightdiverse populations you’ve worked with, any International perspectives andtravel experiences you’ve had since this is something that will be replicatedin program through the class demographics, curriculum and experiential learningopportunities. 

Having a Global Perspective is increasingly important as our world isgetting smaller and smaller, in respect to how we do business these days, sincemany things have become so multinational and global in scope. It’s important that you have aglobal perspective and/or experience globally.



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