Top 6 application tips from an MBA graduate

MBA students walking together with masks on

If you’ve sought out this blogpost or clicked on a link which redirected you here, chances are that you are considering the ESMT MBA program. Congratulations! Having been through the MBA college application process, I can empathize with you if you find it daunting.  

You have probably read hundreds of forum posts and stared at a blank Word document trying to write your essay, only to discover that the white background color has a special name, “writer’s-block-white”. Either way, this blog post is a series of action items to help you navigate the ESMT admissions process and submit a great application. 

My name is Aparajith Raman. I am a full-time MBA graduate from the Class of 2021. Or the COVID cohort, if you may. I volunteered my time as an MBA ambassador helping potential students get an idea of what it’s like studying at ESMT. I thought that putting together a set of “tips” to help prospective applicants navigate the application process would be even better. You don’t have to worry about questions like “what should I be doing?”. You can use that time to reflect on how you will impress the admissions committee.  

Tip # 1 – Do your homework on the school 

There are thousands of business schools around the world and ESMT has its own unique set of offerings. Do your homework on the school and be extensive. Read every webpage and take notes on what the school offers.  

ESMT offers a variety of degree programs, each of which is catered to the needs of a specific group. You might be a 22-year-old soon-to-graduate fashion designer who wants to get a management degree. Doing a comprehensive scan of the website will show you that you are better suited for ESMT’s MIM program. Perhaps you are intrigued by the words “Agile Leadership” a unique course taught at ESMT. By combing the school’s website and social media accounts you will find a 10-minute teaching session by Professor Matt (Check it out!).  

Learn as much about ESMT from forums, websites, social media, and the ESMT Blog. The ESMT Blog populates the perspectives of various students. Reading each article helped me acquire a new perspective or a new insight. Doing so helped me get a taste of the ESMT experience. It helped me put together different bits of information and figure out if ESMT was a school for me. (It was!!) 

Ensure that you take notes of what resonates with you. When you start doing research on a school you will quickly be overwhelmed with data. By taking notes of various insights, you prepare yourself for making an informed decision.  

Tip # 2 – Connect with current students 

The ESMT MBA Ambassadors program is a great opportunity for you to connect with a current student and understand first-hand, what makes ESMT special. ESMT has a diverse cohort. People come from across the globe and bring such diverse perspectives. It’s one of many factors which enriches the learning experience.  

Connect with MBA Ambassadors and stay in touch. Hear them share their stories as they experience them. This way you get to put yourself in their shoes and walk a bit. Use the connections to ask questions. Understand what they like about the MBA program. What challenges did they face? What did they say which resonated with you? MBA Ambassadors are not ESMT appointed marketeers. We love the college so much, we volunteered to share our experiences with whoever wanted to listen. So make use of the opportunity to connect with people who are happy to talk to you.  

Tip # 3 – Connect with ESMT alumni strategically 

ESMT has a formidable alumni base (8,000 and counting!) spread around the world. The advantage of having a diverse class is that upon graduation, the diversity extends into the alumni base. Connecting with people with a profile similar to yours, who ventured down your dream career path, could be a good idea. You will learn what challenges they faced as they transitioned. An added bonus is that you will broaden your network. 

Tip # 4 – Put the data to use 

Once you have reached out to numerous people and gotten all the data, compare the notes and reflect on the notes you made from Tip #1. The MBA program teaches you how to analyze data and make informed decisions. Most MBA applications require you to write an essay. Through these essays (and later on, the interviews) you answer two broad questions:  

1. Why do you want to go to the school?  

2. Why should the school offer you an admit ? 

Writing well-structured essays using simple language will help you communicate clearly. Through your essays you show the reader that you have done your homework on the school and its alumni. You know what awaits you in the MBA program and you can explain with ease, how ESMT fits with your plans. 

Tip # 5 – Read the FAQs, don’t ask “lemme-google-that-for-you” questions 

The link to the FAQs is here 

Coming across as a well informed person who has done their homework helps you leave a positive impression. 

Tip # 6 – Be yourself! 

Don’t overthink what the admissions committee would like to hear. Help the admissions team understand what makes you special. What are you passionate about? Are you a Poi artist? Can you talk about a particular cuisine for hours? Use the essays and the interviews to show ESMT that you are a multifaceted person. Be open and vulnerable about your challenges. Show that you have learned something from having faced these failures and grown as a person. Balance it out by talking about your personal and professional achievements. 

I wish you all the success with your MBA application and I hope to see you at an alumni get-together soon.