Are you thinking of applying to MBA school in the next year? Then this is a great time for you to think about what your strengths and weaknesses are as an MBA candidate.
You still have some time to make improvements that will help you to keep competitive with your peers who are also trying to get into a good MBA school. Below, we look at three of the most common weaknesses of business school applicants, and how to deal with them.
#1 – No Quantitative Background
Having an undergraduate degree in the liberal arts is not necessarily a problem. Actually, today’s business schools do want to have students with many different backgrounds and personalities so that there is the richest possible learning environment. However, you will need to prove that you can handle the mathematics that come with a rigorous MBA education.
If you are required to take the GMAT for your MBA program, and you were not happy with your score, you should think about a prep course to improve your quantitative skills. A lot of the questions on the test are really high school math logic problems that you can become pretty adept at if you practice enough. Think about if your academics would benefit from having more college classes in math and statistics. If you would prefer not to take the GMAT or GRE, there are several MBA options without GMAT or GRE. Often times the option may be waived in place of 5+ years of professional work experience.
If your bachelor’s program was weak in quantitative classes, you will want to take some calculus, microeconomics and statistics at your local community college. And make sure you do well in those classes so that you can show MBA admissions panels that you have the skills to do well in their program.
Some MBA programs may give you conditional acceptance, such as that you need to take a calculus class and get a B or higher. You also can sign up for classes online in mathematics and statistics that will show that you have the needed quantitative skills to be a successful MBA student.
#2 – No Time for Extracurricular Activities
What you need to do here is to find something that you are really passionate about, that will help your MBA application, and get involved ASAP. Many young professionals say that they do not have many activities outside of work, and they say that they hardly have time to go to the gym and to hang out with their friends in their limited time outside of work.
No doubt that life is hectic, but most of us can make time to take a couple hours on a weekend to tidy up a park, help to teach someone to read, or to talk with the elderly at a nursing home. You should try to find something that you really are interested in. You might take up an activity that you did in your bachelor’s program. For example, if you used to play lacrosse, you can probably find community service activities in sports where you can teach lacrosse at various schools. This sort of activity will help to make your MBA application look better and it can be a very rewarding experience.
#3 – No Leadership Experience
You need to find some creative ways to demonstrate your management potential. If you are not in line for a promotion soon, this is no reason to despair. Think about any instances in your career where you were the first, or youngest, or only person to accomplish some goal in your work. Did you take on assignments beyond what was expected? Did you ask for extra work?
Also, look at anything you have done in your community. Can you maybe show more leadership there? Maybe organize a fundraiser, or take a leadership role in a group?
Think of examples at work and in community activities where you provided motivation for other people. Business schools wish to see that you have showed potential to both lead and inspire.