Business schools prefer the eclectic mixes of student population in their management programs. The institutes offer a level playing field to all the candidates during the admission process. This allows applicants from varying backgrounds, abilities, and interests get the opportunity to study together.
While no particular selection criterion is declared, certain factors do determine the gap between success and failure in MBA admissions. Following are 7 key attributes of the winning applicants:
Attitude. Attitude includes how confident you are about your abilities, goals, and decisions. The manner in which you carry yourself is a key indicator of how self-assured you are. Remember that you cannot fake confidence. Take your time to reinforce your thoughts and work through your fears. However, there is a thin line between confidence and over-confidence. An aggressive and fixed attitude can go against you whether you are appearing for an interview or responding to application questions.
Vision. The clarity about your life direction and your goals determines how focused, self-aware, realistic, and progressive you are. This also affects your chances of success in the real world. Business schools are increasingly looking at the candidates who demonstrate initiative and leadership in their overall vision for life.
Leadership. Top management institutes, such as Harvard Business School, INSEAD, and MIT Sloan expressly emphasize on the leadership qualities of prospective students. The ability to lead from the front in varying settings; devise innovative solutions; put in hard work; and the ability to follow through, are on test. Candidates successful in the MBA entrance supplement their responses with real examples that highlight their leadership skills.
Creativity. Creative thinking is one of the most important factors determining success in the business world. At some point of time, every venture, big or small, is in need of fresh solutions. Something that has never been done before is often what sets a business apart.
Awareness. A potential candidate is expected to be aware of their surroundings. A broad understanding of general events and trends, right from politics to society, has its own place in shaping strategic thinking. On a macro level, awareness about the immediate environment is a key to timely and effective decision-making.
Soft Skills. Any other personal or professional attribute is insufficient if you do not know how to communicate your thoughts well. It boils down to what signals you send out and how others perceive you. Mutual respect, cordiality, and empathy can affect your results greatly. For instance, managers who can motivate their teams well are much more successful. Therefore, the admission committees (e.g. NYU Stern) actively look for these qualities in a prospective student.
Openness. Openness to new ideas as well as a continuous learning prevents stagnation in actions and results. People who maintain open feedback loops and assimilate new information, continuously make progress that trickles down to the work they are associated with.
What trait do you think is most valuable?
What do you think the most important trait of a top MBA Applicant is? It might be one of these seven, or something completely different. Let us know in the comments!