Putting together a Superb Application (Part III)
Recommenders should be individuals able to comment on your preparedness for business school, your past experiences, and your personal and professional attributes. A recommender need not be a big name at your company or elsewhere, but most importantly someone who knows you well.
Sometimes this aspect of the process is frustrating. Your recommender is pressed for time, forgets they promised you a recommendation. But you can make it easier on yourself and your recommender by making sure you:
- Provide them with a copy of your resume, even essay draft.
- Meet with them (whether by phone or in person).
- Give them a clear understanding of deadlines.
On the recommendations themselves, if you feel appropriate doing so request that your recommender address how they know you, your accomplishments, you vs. others in similar roles, your strengths, and your weaknesses. As a rule, the more specific a recommendation is, the better the recommendation is.
Your resume is also an important selling point to the admissions committee. It should be flawless and in a style the admissions committees find suitable. Some schools, for example, insist that the resume be one-page, so you should adapt, cut, and edit to their expectations. Some guiding principles to follow include the following.
- Do not include high school experiences in your business school resume.
- List your work experiences first, before your education.
- Do not state your objectives.
Do the best you can and give yourself adequate time to prepare. Take a review class or seek out private tutoring to ensure that your score is as good as it can be.
It can not be changed. For some it will be a strength, for others a weakness. Consider explaining in an optional essay, for example, a low GPA, but do not make excuses. Professional or academic successes post-college do say a great deal already.
Do not simply list these activities. Make sure that you also explain them and their importance to you as well as your particular accomplishments. If you do not have at least 4 extracurricular activities, consider explaining why: Were you working? Were you fulfilling other personal or professional roles? What in the future would you like to do outside the professional sphere? How will you ensure that you are able to do so?
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