Five Things I Learned When I Applied to Business School by Anonymous NYU Stern Tech MBA ’22
My MBA Journey: Anonymous NYU Stern Tech MBA ’22 (also admitted to Cambridge Judge MBA + Washington Foster MBA)
Anonymous NYU Stern Tech MBA ’22 previously worked as a consultant for a supply chain risk analytics company and as an analyst for a corporate advisory firm specializing in government affairs. He got his Bachelors in Economics from Miami University and had 6 years of full-time experience before applying for his MBA. If you would like to share your MBA application journey to help future applicants, please contact us here.
1. There is no harm in applying when you have little experience
I considered applying to business school over several recruiting cycles but demurred because I thought that I wouldn’t have enough experience to be a compelling candidate. In retrospect, I wish that I had applied earlier. If I did not get in, the learning process would have only strengthened my future applications.
2. You don’t need to have it all worked out before you start applying
For me, learning about myself and defining my career objectives occurred during three phases over the course of the application process. During research, I learned most about what I did not want. During essay writing, I thought carefully about my past experiences and what narratives I could craft to market myself for future roles. Finally, after receiving application decisions is when I made a decision about the type of career path I would most like to pursue. Of course, this learning process only continues during school!
3. Speak to admits for the best information on what the school values in applications
Each school has a different approach to evaluating candidates which may or may not be officially stated. For example, some schools expect to see highly specific post-MBA career objectives and plans while others do not.
On several occasions, I received tips from admits to that school about specific things that their admissions team did or did not appreciate. Although they should be taken with a grain of salt, there are also troves of information on MBA admissions forums to help you prepare for interviews.
4. Nothing beats unfiltered feedback from school alumni
I feel happy with the school selection that I ultimately made, but I would attribute this partly to luck. There is no doubt that applying during the pandemic had an impact on my approach. However, I think that I placed an undue bias on statistics and rankings in my research. I wish that I had made more of an effort to connect with alumni on my own and learn from their perspectives. When I did make these connections at other schools, it helped me to learn more “inside information” about the school culture, alumni network, and student experiences that I used to narrow down my search.
5. The three P’s are great, but if all else fails, show what you learned
Demonstrating successful leadership of people, projects, and P&L is the good stuff that most admissions teams look for. However, it can sometimes feel like a stretch to demonstrate this for every experience. As you prepare for interviews, if you’re unable to connect the Three P’s of leadership to certain experiences, describing the most valuable lesson(s) that you took from that experience is a great alternative.