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Core Pillars of an Application

There are three common questions that you will consistently be asked during the application process, in your essays and during the interviews.

Why an MBA?

Why are you applying to this specific business school?

What are your post-MBA career goals?

Now, consider each question individually and how best to answer it.

Why an MBA?

When thinking about why you want to study for an MBA and your career goals, you probably have a lot of different ideas. For the application, you need to hone your ambitions and create a clear narrative that will make sense to the admissions committee. This can be difficult for many applicants.

Answering this question can take significant self-reflection so start early and think about how an MBA will fit in to your career plans. What you are trying to achieve in your professional career? What additional experiences do you need to get that only an MBA will give you? Also think about a follow up question that you might be asked: why now? Can you explain why this year is the best time in your career to take a break and commit one or two years to studying for an MBA degree?

Why this specific business school?

Many applications will have a component where you need to express why you think that their program is a good fit for you. There are many resources out there; however, if you only read the school’s website it is not enough. Applying to business school is competitive and many applicants spend a lot of time interacting with a school. From an essay, it is easy to distinguish between the person who has only read a program’s website and the person who has had personalized interactions with the school.

As you think about why you want to attend a business school, go beyond rankings and reputation. You should visit the campus or attend a class if possible. If you cannot visit the school, then attend a virtual event or meet with an admissions committee member if they come to your city. Also, speak to a current student or read student blogs. There are so many resources with valuable information about a program. Make sure that you utilize them to your advantage.

What are your post-MBA goals?

Many of us have a dream job but make sure to consider how that job fits into the story that you are sharing through the application. When you share your post-MBA goal, it is important that your aspirations are realistic. The admissions committee wants to be certain that studying for an MBA is the best degree for you and that once you complete the program, you will be able to find a job. After all, rankings are significantly influenced by the career performance of MBA graduates.

If you plan to make a major career change, you will need to demonstrate that your goals make sense given what you have already accomplished. For instance, have you partaken in any extracurricular activities that have already shown your interest in your post-MBA goal? You need to be convincing in your application and make sure that you can clearly demonstrate how studying at business school will be the next best step toward your goal.

These are the three core pillars of your application and you have to be able to answer these questions with confidence. If you are not yet able to answer these questions, it will be challenging to submit a strong application. Give yourself enough time for self-reflection and to do research into your target programs. You will thank yourself once you sit down to complete your applications.

Oriel Admissions has helped many candidates get admitted to top business schools in the US and internationally. If you would like to know more about our services and how the Oriel team can help you with your applications, please contact Rona at for a free consultation.

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