A guide to making your MBA application

04 December 2023

Venkata Durvasula discusses his top tips for making an MBA application after having completed a successful application for our Executive MBA programme.

As a current student at WBS, I vividly recall the journey I embarked on when applying for the MBA programme. It was a process of discovery, self-reflection, and strategic planning.

Researching MBAs and Business Schools

When I first decided to pursue an MBA, the vast array of options and information was overwhelming. To navigate this, I researched various MBA programmes and business schools in the UK and worldwide. Online resources, alumni testimonials, and programme rankings were crucial in helping me identify schools that aligned with my career goals. From this research, Warwick Business School (WBS) stood out to me .

When researching for a business school, connecting with its alumni can be the most effective way to gain insight. In this regard, WBS stands out for its exceptional alumni network. During my research, I had the opportunity to have multiple conversations with various alumni who provided me with valuable information on the school's culture, accessibility of professors, and post-MBA opportunities.

Another way to find out about the school is the open events. I attended the open days at WBS and The Shard. The evening started with a taster lecture followed by a networking session. I had the opportunity to speak to the professors, current students, and admission teams. This gave me an idea of the programme's expectations, application requirements, and the overall ethos of WBS.

Allowing plenty of time for the application process

One of the key lessons I learned was the importance of time management in the application process. Allowing ample time for researching, drafting essays, gathering recommendation letters (make sure your boss is on board with your idea of doing an MBA), and preparing for interviews significantly reduced stress and contributed to a more polished application. START EARLY!

Preparing for the written application

A compelling written application requires thoughtful reflection on one's experiences, goals, and motivations. My strategy was to ensure each question asked aligned with WBS’s core values. Be authentic and genuine in sharing your story. Admissions teams appreciate sincerity and a unique perspective. Don't be afraid to share challenges you've faced and how you've overcome them.

Use your personal and professional experiences to illustrate key qualities or skills that make you a standout candidate. Clearly connect your past experiences with your future goals. Demonstrate how your skills, achievements, and lessons learned so far have prepared you for success in the MBA programme and beyond.

Use concrete examples to illustrate your capabilities and highlight instances where you've demonstrated leadership, teamwork, and innovation.

Don't hesitate to seek feedback from mentors, colleagues, or friends. Outside perspectives can provide valuable insights and help you refine your narrative. Ensure that your essays are clear, concise, and free of grammatical errors. Attention to detail is crucial in making a positive impression.

Emphasise how your values align with those of WBS. If you attended any WBS events or interacted with current students, share those experiences to illustrate your enthusiasm for becoming a part of the WBS family.

Preparing for the interview

The interview is a pivotal moment in the MBA application process, offering a chance to bring your application to life and showcase the person behind the paperwork.

Know yourself:

Before entering the interview room, take the time to reflect on your professional and personal journey. Understand your strengths, weaknesses, and the experiences that have shaped you. Be ready to discuss key achievements, challenges you've overcome, and what motivates you.

Anticipate common questions:

While every interview is unique, certain questions are universal in MBA interviews. Be ready to discuss your professional background, reasons for pursuing an MBA, and your post-MBA goals. Practice concise and compelling responses to these common questions.

Mock interviews:

Conduct mock interviews with friends, mentors, or career advisors. This not only helps you practice articulating your thoughts but also provides an opportunity to receive constructive feedback. Pay attention to your body language, tone, and clarity of expression.

Express your unique value:

Identify what makes you stand out from other candidates. Whether it's a unique skill set, diverse experiences, or a compelling personal story, ensure that you communicate the unique qualities that you bring to the WBS community.

Handle the 'Why MBA' question with precision:

Be ready to articulate why now is the right time for an MBA and how it fits into your overall career trajectory. Address how the WBS programme specifically aligns with your aspirations and why it stands out among other options.

Just chill and have a good time during the interview! It's more like a casual conversation so that the School can get to know you better.

I hope these insights and tips provide valuable guidance for those who aspire to apply!