Which Round Should I Apply? Advice on When To Hit Submit

From Julia Campbell, Associate Director of MBA Admissions, Full-Time Texas MBA Program:

Before pen meets paper, smart MBA applicants take the time to develop an overall strategy to tackle all the elements of the massive MBA application – What are my strengths? What’s my message? But one thing that is often forgotten is not what you submit, but when. Timing is a key factor in your overall application strategy, so when should you hit “Submit”?

EARLIER IS BETTER (sort of):Which Round Should I Apply? Advice on When To Hit Submit

At first thought, you might stick with tried and true “early bird gets the worm” strategy. You might be tempted to think about the applicant pool in terms of pure numbers and assume that the best chance of your application being ruled upon favorably is to submit when the maximum amount of spots are available. But there’s a caveat – you should NEVER rush to submit your MBA application.

Imagine this: You’ve heard that applying in Round 1 gives you a better likelihood of getting accepted so you skip taking a formal GMAT prep class, take the test and end up with a score you aren’t exactly thrilled with. In this case, submitting in Round 1 might not be a great idea, especially if you know that you can improve your score. Waiting to apply until all aspects of your application are strong is the best approach.

…BUT LATER IS OKAY TOO:

There is a reason we have three rounds. If we filled up the class in Round 1, the admissions committee could just kick back for the rest of the year on a beach somewhere and sip fruity beverages with frilly umbrellas. But that’s not the reality, as many strong applicants apply in later rounds. So if you read the above “Earlier Is Better” and thought that it means final round folks don’t have a fighting chance, or at the very least have a much smaller chance of getting in, it is not exactly black and white. The truth is that a strong application will stand out in any round, anytime. Remember that if you scramble to throw together your essay to get in your application by the first deadline, how can the admissions committee know that normally you are an eloquent and concise writer if what you’ve written doesn’t reflect that?

SOME DON’TS:

We are committed to courteous and fair consideration for all applicants, and therefore, there are a few things we just can’t allow when it comes to the timing of your application submission. Obviously, we are not able to accept applications submitted after 11:59pm CT on the day of the deadline. That’s just not fair to those who made sure to meet the deadline. Also, we aren’t able to look at any “works in progress” before the deadline, meaning we can’t read drafts of your essays, give feedback on your resume and work experience, or tell you who should write your letters of recommendation. The purpose of these policies is to ensure that everyone has a fair shot and is considered by the admissions committee on even ground. Check out our website for more common admissions questions.

So remember; if your application couldn’t possibly smell any sweeter, submit in Round 1. But if you aren’t ready yet (you need to retake your GMAT/GRE, rework your essay or wait for that promotion at work to come through), don’t risk it – wait until you’re 100% confident in your application before hitting the “Submit” button.

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From Texas MBA Admissions: Application Tips & Tricks

The goal of the embedded instructional videos on our application is to walk you through each section and address common questions. But even with these helpful tips, there’s always a special situation or further questions you might need answered as you submit your responses, so…

Here are the Texas MBA Admissions Team’s Top 5 FAQ topics:Application FAQs

  1. Texas Residency Status - Everyone who applies to an MBA program is classified as a non-resident until s/he is admitted, accepts the offer, and completes the Texas Residency Questionnaire. The rest easy, even though your status may look incorrect – If you were born and bred here, you’ll surely have a chance to prove it later on.
  2. How & What to Submit for Transcripts - We get all sorts of questions on transcripts from foreign language transcripts to study abroad transcripts and from old transcripts to web downloaded transcripts. Here’s how to deal with transcripts:
    • Order official transcripts from any university or college you attended EXCEPT junior or technical colleges. If your transcripts are in a foreign language, they must be translated into English.
    • Scan and upload these to your McCombs Application online.
    • Pay your Application Fee.
    • Scan and upload transcripts to the Graduate and International Admissions Center (GIAC).
    • Put your official transcripts in safe-keeping. If you’re offered admission and intend to enroll, you’ll send your officials to GIAC.
  1. Letter of Recommendation – This is also a common question, and since you’re not in complete control of this aspect of your application, you may just need assurance of what you can control. Here at the Texas MBA program, we offer you two options for submitting the recommendation for your Texas MBA application.
      1. Send a recommendation request via our admissions management system
      2. Utilize the recommendation function within LinkedIn

A couple helpful hints:

        • Complete this part of your application first. This will launch email notifications to your recommenders and allow them to get started on the form while you’re working on the other components of your application.
        • Contact your recommenders ASAP to let them know they should receive an email as soon as you save the section. Sometimes these emails end up in a junk folder since they come from a generic Texas MBA email address.
        • Monitor the status of your recommendations on your “My Status” page to ensure they’re completed within a reasonable amount of time and by the deadline. You can resend notifications from within the application as needed.

Read More: Application Recommendations & References: Providing an Austin Twist

4. Test Scores – As long as you’ve taken the test and have made the request to have official score sent to UT by the round deadline, your application will be considered “on time”. During the admissions process we sync what you reported in the application with what’s received by UT. It can take several weeks for your official score to be received by the university, and the one-stop status check in your application marks this item complete once it arrives.

If you’ve decided to retake the exam after you’ve submitted your application, please notify the appropriate program as soon as you have your score. Please note there is no guarantee that your updated test score(s) will be considered in the evaluation of your candidacy, as this depends on when the McCombs Admissions Committee receives the update from you. Again, it’ll take several weeks for the official score to reach UT, but be sure you’ve made the request to have the updated score sent.

If you’re applying to multiple programs at McCombs, you don’t need to send separate scores to each program. UT has a central repository for official scores that all departments can access.

5. Application Fee – You will not be able to pay the application fee for about two business days after you hit the submit button, depending on when you submit your application. Your application is considered “on time” if submitted by the deadline, regardless if the fee is paid on that date. However your application will not be evaluated if you do not pay the fee once it’s due. For information about where to pay the fee, and application fee waivers for select applicants, please review After Applying under the Admissions Process section of the website.

Feel free to reach out to us if you have any further questions!

Hook ‘em!

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5 Things To Do Before Leaving Your Job (That Your Company Won’t Tell You)Advice On Leaving Your Job MBA Admissions Interview: How to Totally Crush ItHow To Crush Your Interview To Quit or Not to Quit? Deciding Between a Full-Time or Professional MBA ProgramFull-Time MBA vs. Part-Time MBA You’ve Got Application Questions, We’ve Got AnswersWrite A Successful Application Essay

 

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Application Recommendations & References: Providing an Austin Twist

From Stephen Sweeney, Senior Associate Director of MBA Admissions, Full-Time Texas MBA Program:

Here at the Texas MBA program, we offer you two options for submitting the recommendation for your Texas MBA application.

  1. Send a recommendation request via our admissions management system
  2. Utilize the recommendation function within LinkedIn

Recommendations

Option 1

The first option is to send a recommendation request via our admissions management system. This is how we have been reviewing recommendations for the past several years. Basically, you fill out a form in our application with the information for who you want to recommend you. Your recommender then receives an email notifying them to complete the recommendation. Once complete, your recommendation appears on your application. This is a straight-forward process and one that many other MBA programs follow.

Option 2

The second option is for you to utilize the recommendation function within LinkedIn, a platform familiar to most working professionals worldwide. We believe a strong LinkedIn profile with substantial recommendations will be a great asset to you during your MBA program and beyond.

LinkedIn offers a form similar to the application and based on the information you provide, the Admissions Committee will access your LinkedIn profile and review your recommendation. Note: It is important that the recommendation information you provide matches your LinkedIn profile and that the recommendation is publicly visible before you submit your application.

Why Provide Options?

Here at the Texas MBA, we believe in flexibility. Our program is designed to be flexible and customizable. Our application follows a similar approach. You have options in choosing how you wish to submit Essay 1, your recommendation, and many other options exist throughout the process that revolve around us getting to know you.

The LinkedIn option may prove attractive to applicants who are already comfortable with a current recommendation on their profile, as there is no need to request an additional recommendation.

We recognize that some of our international applicants may not have a LinkedIn profile, or that in some cases, military veterans may not be allowed to have an online social presence for security reasons.

The Admissions Committee does not prefer one option over the other. The most important part of a recommendation is the actual substance of the recommendation. With that in mind, let’s review how to leverage your recommendation to help make your application shine.

If you’re like me, asking your supervisor or your colleague to write a recommendation detailing your virtues makes you feel incredibly uncomfortable.  “So, tell me again how I’m amazing?  And don’t spare any details!” But a solid recommendation for your MBA application is very critical. Here’s how you can leverage your personal testimonials:

3rd personYou’ve worked hard over the past few years and have earned praise, but why must you have to ask for it, and in writing? Well, the answer is easy: as an Admissions Officer, I need perspective on your business acumen, your personality, and your leadership and teamwork skills to confirm your claims of awesome-ness from someone other than yourself. Think about it: You have complete control over every aspect of your MBA application, except for the recommendation.  You’ve already written essays, submitted a resume and transcripts, took your tests, and you may have also been interviewed. Now it’s time for a 3rd party to weigh-in and offer us a new perspective that will hopefully add depth and value to your overall application.  But most importantly, a good recommendation will provide a CREDIBLE corroboration of your positive attributes.

Who’s the Boss?

The best recommendation will come from a direct supervisor or the equivalent. Nobody knows your capabilities in the business world better than the person supervising you in your current role.  Even better if they write your performance evaluations!  This means they are used to thinking about you and your skill set.  This person should be able to come up with clear examples from first-hand knowledge of your measurable success, which is crucial.

There are, of course, some exceptions when asking your direct supervisor isn’t the best bet. Perhaps you or your supervisor is new to the position, organization or role. This could be bad news if you or they haven’t been around long enough to speak intelligently about your abilities. Also, there may be conflicts of interest. Your supervisor could be a relative (in the case of a family business), or they could be opposed to you leaving your position for an MBA (if you’re applying to our full-time program), or in rare situations, you may not have a healthy relationship with your supervisor that may jeopardize your opportunity.

All of these are valid reasons for not getting a recommendation from your supervisor. You may want to elaborate on this in the Optional Essay to give us context for why you may have made this decision.

Other Options?

Other good recommendation options would be a former supervisor at a previous job, or a project manager. You may also consider a business client, lawyer, accountant, industry mentor, or other peer professional if you’re in a family business setting or in a consulting/ advertising role. Remember that whoever you choose needs to be able to discuss with us in detail your qualities, skills, and virtues.

Quick Tip: don’t just pick the CEO or President of the company. Just because they know your name and you have shared an elevator ride with them doesn’t mean they know you well enough to recommend you for b-school.  We’ve read enough recommendations to know when somebody knows of you, and when they know you.

Get on Their Calendar.

Make sure to let your recommenders know in advance you are going to request their help. I would suggest letting them know a good three months ahead of time, if possible. It is also a good idea to meet with them, let them know what your short and long term goals are, why McCombs is the best school for you, and offer them a copy of your updated resume. That way they can talk about their belief in your direction and goals with some background.

One Final (obvious) Tip…

Most importantly, make sure to ask someone who actually likes you. Sounds obvious, but you would be surprised how many candidates have recommendations submitted by people who write just a few words (“She’s really great.”), come up with poor examples (“One time we had a problem with a client, and she handled it well.”), or clearly just don’t think that highly of you (“She performs equally well when compared to her peers at a similar level.”).  Yikes.  You might as well have asked a perfect stranger to write your recommendation, and it probably would have come out better.

We look forward to reading these glowing professional love letters soon. if you have any questions about your application process please reach out to us at TexasMBA@mccombs.utexas.edu.

Good luck in selecting your recommenders!

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Get to Know the Texas MBA in Dallas/Fort Worth or Houston

Six FormatsThe top-ranked Texas MBA program offers a prestigious degree from world-renowned faculty across six programs. We encourage you to check out all the events happening this summer and fall so you can learn more about how the Texas MBA can unlock your full potential!

Events are the best way to interact directly with our programs, as you get to know current and former students and admissions staff. Please check out the events happening this fall in Dallas/Fort Worth & in Houston (including informal coffee chats with our admissions officers, coming soon!). Our programs in DFW & Houston allow you to earn your Texas MBA from the same acclaimed McCombs school of business faculty, while continuing to work full-time!

Register now: This fall, the Texas MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth & the Texas MBA at Houston are offering special “Lunch & Learn” events so you can get to know these programs & enjoy lunch on us!

Texas MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth Lunch and Learn | September 12th in Dallas

Texas MBA at Houston Lunch and Learn | September 12th in Houston

If you have any questions, please send us an email. We look forward to seeing you soon!

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Life as an EMBA: Explore the Texas Executive MBA Program

The Texas Executive MBA program offers experienced business leaders the opportunity to unlock their full potential, expand their network, and earn one of the most prestigious MBA degrees in the world. All while continuing to work full-time.

A current Texas Executive MBA, Rachel Truair, has shared some key takeaways from her first year in the program:

MBA-1st-Year-3-29wjla3

This summer or fall, learn more about the program by attending a Texas MBA event.

Read more on our Texas MBA Student blog or reach out to us at TexasEMBA@mccombs.utexas.edu with any questions you may have. We hope to meet you soon!

 

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What Diversity Means at McCombs

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Texas MBA students celebrate at the 2014 Diversity Forum. Apply for the 2015 forum on our website!

From Rene Martinez, Associate Director of Admissions, Full-Time Texas MBA Program:

Here at the McCombs School of Business we tend to brag incessantly about our awesome students. They truly are not only the smartest MBA students around, but also the kindest, most genuine, and highly capable people that we know.  But what makes them this way?

I could begin to list off their unique work backgrounds, or the interesting things they learned during their undergraduate experiences, or their innovative career plans, but while important and impressive, these lists do not really explain what makes them special. If I were to identify the defining characteristic of a McCombs student, it would be an excitement for learning and an adventurous spirit that keeps this excitement alive through adversity and change.

This characteristic is so pervasive within our student body that we work very hard to create an academic environment to support and encourage innovation, adaptation, and excitement for the unknown. We insist that our student body is as diverse as possible, so that the unknown can be found not only in the courses you take, but also in the person sitting next to you in your study group. Diversity, at its core, is opportunity: opportunity to learn, step outside yourself and grow, and to make a network that can pull you in directions that will most benefit your future. It is what makes us different, and we encourage each of our students to be themselves fully, without reservation.

No matter who you are, you can be successful at McCombs, as long as you, too, are excited about the unknown and want to grow with the people around you. 

Last summer we celebrated our 30th year of partnering with the Consortium of Graduate Study in Management (CGSM), an organization whose purpose is to promote and develop diverse MBA candidates. Our recently admitted CGSM Class of 2017 is our largest class at McCombs to date and one of the largest among member schools!

This is only one of many ways we support and promote diversity, including our Diversity and Women’s Forums, the Forte Foundation, MLT, ROMBA, National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA), National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) and our many, many student organizations. Each year we are excited to see the countless ways each new student adds to the diversity we have forged over the decades McCombs has existed. We look forward to the possibility of adding your uniqueness to our community as well! Please reach out to us to learn more about how you can find your fit at McCombs.

Hook ‘Em!

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Texas MBA 2015-2016 Essay Questions: Admissions Guide to Introspection

From Julia Campbell, Associate Director of MBA Admissions, Full-Time Texas MBA Program:

As you think about how to approach the essays in your MBA application, consider appropriate mental theme music. Unfortunately for most, a fitting score might be the one from “Jaws”; ominous, foreboding and downright intimidating. But maybe for you it’s less scary, a bit more uplifting, full of hope, something like “Chariots of Fire” perhaps? Let’s hope. In any case, your best shot at writing strong essays is to approach them armed with insider tips from the Admissions Committee.

We read hundreds of essays. Thousands. The purpose of these essay questions is to understand why you want to attend McCombs, who you are both professionally and personally, and what goals you want to achieve while in our program and beyond. We only have two short essay questions and while it may be tempting, avoid the snooze-fest/shock-factor extremes, do us (and yourself) a favor and think hard about these answers.  Heed our advice below and tackle it while “Don’t Stop Believing” plays in the background:

ESSAY 1

  1. At The University of Texas at Austin, what starts here changes the world.  You are at the Texas MBA Orientation for the Class of 2018, meeting your cohort for the first time. Please introduce yourself to your new classmates, including relevant information about your personal and professional life.

Select only one communication method that you would like to use for your response.

    1. Write an essay (250 words)
    2. Share a video introduction (one minute)
    3. Share your about.me profile

AO Advice:

You are going to need to role play a little bit. Close your eyes. Imagine you are standing in front of your new Texas MBA Class of 2018 classmates introducing yourself. You will be placed into one of four cohorts, a group of 65-70 classmates that will be your family during the core curriculum. What would you say if you only have 250 words or one-minute? First impressions are important in person and are equally important in an admissions application.

A few key things to make sure you include are a greeting or introduction, your current profession or professional identity, goals for the future, how McCombs fits in and some personal anecdotes. We want the full picture, but in a nutshell.

Also, what makes you interesting and unique are both your personal and professional interests and attributes.  Therefore, an intro that only discusses work experience, or only discusses previous life experience, is incomplete.  Give us a rounded mix, so that we better understand who you are in a more complete sense, and not only in one facet of your life.

Finally, the choice is yours: written essay, about.me page, or video.  We have seen significant success in each platform.  Therefore, play to your strengths.  If your skill is in writing, focus on the essay.  If you have a knack for creative flare, color, design and photos, then have fun with an about.me profile.  If you want to create a video and rely on your voice and video editing skills, then we are excited to see it.  In any submission, have fun with it and do not take this essay for granted—it can go a long way to setting the stage for your application as your introduction.

ESSAY 2

The McCombs School of Business is where leadership is earned.  We have an inclusive environment where our dynamic and driven students take an active role in the Texas MBA community.  Please discuss why the Texas MBA is the ideal program for you, what you hope to achieve, and how you will contribute to your classmates’ experience. (500 words)

AO Advice:

Love McCombs? Prove it. This is your chance to convey your passion, excitement, personality, and experience, while also addressing how that experience relates to your MBA and career goals.  By the time we read your essays, we have already seen your resume, scores and basic elements of your application.  In this answer, we need you to expand upon the bare facts, and convey to us why you are the perfect student for McCombs.

This is a dense question, lots of content. The key will be to make sure you address each section of the question individually and within the tight limit of 500 words. Below is a dissection of each part of the question to help you craft a complete answer:

  • “… why the Texas MBA is the ideal program for you…”: Focus here on the words Texas MBA and you.  A vague essay is a poor essay, so give us specifics. Meditate on “how do I love McCombs, let me count the ways”, because if you’ve read our website or spoken to an admissions team member, frankly there is a LOT to love; classes, concentrations, organizations, students/alumni, professors, unique academic and career-oriented opportunities, the list goes on. So before you write your essay, I recommend you write a list of your top reasons why McCombs is total MBA perfection.  Then, make sure these specifics are mentioned to illustrate your dedication to our program. What’s the consequence of saying vague things like McCombs is “amazing” and “a great program”? First, we may question your familiarity with our school, or worse we may assume you just reused the same generic essay you used for another MBA program – yikes.
  • “… what you hope to achieve…”:  The primary difference between this portion of the prompt and the previous section is that we are asking you to clearly connect how McCombs will help you achieve your career objectives and personal goals.  Create a 5 and 10 year plan for yourself, then see what classes, organizations, and experiential opportunities that we offer specifically relate to this career plan.   Then connect the dots for us.  Essentially, we want to know what you want and how McCombs will help you get it.
  • “… how you will contribute to your classmates’ experience …”: Lastly, as you are mapping out your reasons for attending our program, also remember that we pride ourselves first and foremost on our collaborative, diverse and extremely tight-knit community.  We work very hard to find individuals excited about being a part of this community in particular, so in what ways will you contribute?  How will you give back while you are here? How can you leverage our program offerings and combine it with your skill set to propel the entire program forward. Convince us that you are indispensable to our community, and that we simply cannot live without you.

Last bit of advice. Return to classic writing techniques, a strong essay structure, grammar, punctuation, spelling and cadence.  A few common essay writing pitfalls to avoid include convoluted sentences, going off-topic, name-dropping, vague or confusing goals, citing inaccurate classes, professors, or student organizations, or calling us by any other name besides McCombs or the Texas MBA (a common mistake for people who reuse essays.)  Also, DON’T REUSE ESSAYS FROM OTHER SCHOOLS!  We can totally tell.

As always, please email us at TexasMBA@mccombs.utexas.edu if you have any other questions.  Get started early and edit, edit, edit!  Your essays can really send a strong application into orbit, so good luck, and happy applying!

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McCombs is Coming to a City Near You!


Throughout this summer and fall, current Texas MBA students & admissions staff will be traveling around the globe to meet you and answer your questions. Look out for event details and registration info soon on our off-campus events page. Events will be confirmed and added throughout the season.

Register Now for a Texas MBA Coffee Chat in Your City!

Our students will be across the United States this summer for amazing internship opportunities. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to meet a student for coffee in your city and learn first-hand what sets the full-time Texas MBA program apart from the rest. These informal meetings will be taking place in a variety of cities so students can directly address your questions about the program as well as the admissions process. RSVP to your chat now!.

We encourage you to stay in touch and we look forward to meeting you. See you soon!
Hook em!

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Attend a Texas Evening MBA Summer Event!

Join us for a Texas Evening MBA admissions event this summer! Information sessions and special ice cream socials are happening in June and July.

This is your opportunity to experience the Texas MBA, chat with current students, learn about the admissions process, and get an inside look at life at McCombs!

Texas Evening & Executive MBA Info Session | June 10, 2015
Learn about the Texas Evening MBA and Texas Executive MBA programs to find out which program is right for you.

Texas Evening MBA Lunch Info Session at Cover 3 | June 17, 2015
Join admissions staff and current students for lunch to learn about the Texas Evening MBA program in a small, informal setting. Space is limited so register now!


Texas Evening MBA Summer Ice Cream Socials!

Network with current Texas MBA students and enjoy a sweet treat! We will be hosting Ice Cream Socials in June and July to give you the  opportunity to experience the program first-hand.

Hold your spot! Register now:

Register: June 23 Ice Cream Social

Register: July 7 Ice Cream Social

We encourage you to check our website for a list of all admissions events coming up throughout the summer. We look forward to meeting you soon!

 

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Be Prepared for 2016: Full-Time Texas MBA Application Rounds Announced!

The 2015 Full-Time Texas MBA application is now closed. In order to help you prepare for our next admissions cycle, the 2016 Full-Time Texas MBA application deadlines are listed below. The application will open in late summer 2015 and we encourage you to learn more about our admissions process and criteria or review the Full-Time Texas MBA application webpage for more information on applying to the McCombs School of Business.

2016 Rounds Application Deadlines
First Round October 13, 2015,
Priority deadline for scholarships & fellowships
Second Round January 12, 2016
Final Round March 31, 2016

Please check back soon for the 2016 application essays announcement in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you may review the 2015 essays.

We encourage you to check out all of our upcoming admissions events for opportunities to learn more about the program, join the #WhyMcCombs conversation, or send us an email with any questions you may have.
Hook ‘em!

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