Category: Application Tips (page 1 of 13)

Successfully Answering the MBA Essay Questions

The essays in your MBA application are an important part of sharing your unique story. The most successful essays thoughtfully address the prompts, clearly communicate why you want to attend Texas McCombs, and authentically share who you are. We’ve shared some tips below to aid you in submitting a strong set of essays.

Texas McCombs MBA Essay 1

We will learn a lot about your professional background through your resume and letter of recommendation, but we want to get to know you further. Please introduce yourself. Select only one communication method for your response

a. Write an essay (250 words)
b. Share a video introduction (one minute in length)

First, this prompt is purposely open-ended. It grants you the freedom to introduce yourself in a way that is genuinely “you.” Think about what gives you energy and recharges you. When you first meet someone, what’s your personal elevator pitch? How does it share your values? Give us a well-rounded mix of information in this essay so we can better understand you beyond your work life.

Don’t forget about the first sentence of the prompt: “We will learn a lot about your professional background through your resume and letter of recommendation.” The admissions committee already read your resume, letter of recommendation, education history, and goals. While your professional life is important, this essay is your opportunity to share who you are outside of those components.

Finally, the choice is yours: written essay or video. We have seen significant success with both mediums and do not have a preference of one over the other. Therefore, play to your strengths! If your skill is in writing, focus on the essay. If you’re not shy in front of a camera, then record a video. However, if you do submit a video, keep in mind that sending us a photo slideshow isn’t advisable. These slideshow submissions don’t grant the admissions committee the chance to actually see and hear from you, which is really what we are looking for in a video submission. Have fun with either submission, and do not take this essay for granted— it can go a long way in setting the stage for your MBA application and creating another great impression.

Texas McCombs MBA Essay 2

Picture yourself at the completion of your MBA journey. Describe how you spent your time as a Texas McCombs MBA student to achieve your personal and professional goals. (500 words)

Essay Two provides an opportunity to explain why you’re applying to Texas McCombs. By describing what you’re excited for and your plans as an MBA, we will understand your career plan, learn what you’re passionate about, and discover how you want to develop yourself both in and out of the classroom.

What classes, organizations, and experiential opportunities specifically relate to your career plan? Personally, how do you envision yourself becoming an active member of our community? Connect the dots between your goals and how McCombs will get you there.

Make sure to give us specifics. If you’ve engaged with the program, you know there is a lot to look forward to: challenging classes, concentrations, organizations, student/alumni networking, award-winning professors, unique career-oriented opportunities, a vibrant city…the list goes on. Illustrate what attributes of the program you plan to take full advantage of and how you plan to make a positive impact while you are a student. What will be your MBA legacy? Convince us that you are indispensable to our community.

MBA Optional Statement

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Who Should Write Your MBA Recommendation?

The Texas McCombs MBA application requires one professional letter of recommendation from a person who has supervised your work and/or has assessed your performance during your career.

A recommendation letter is one of the only things you rely on someone else to provide in your application. Circumstances differ for every applicant and deciding who you should ask will vary.  Below are some scenarios to help guide you in choosing the best recommender your application.

Your Supervisor

Your current direct supervisor is traditionally the best choice. This is likely the person in your network that knows your strengths and weaknesses better than anyone else. However, this may not be a viable option for you.  Perhaps you aren’t able to communicate to your employer that you’re applying to business school or you do not work with your direct boss that closely. It could also be that you attained a new role recently and your current supervisor has not had a chance to work with you very much. Or,  you’re an entrepreneur & don’t have a supervisor.

All of these are valid reasons to look for other recommendation sources, but remember that if you do not ask your current supervisor to write your recommendation letter, we do ask that you explain your choice in the Optional Statement.

Your Former Supervisor

If you cannot ask your current direct supervisor to write your recommendation, maybe you can ask a previous supervisor? Depending on how recently you worked with them, the “old boss” may be the best choice, especially if you had a strong professional relationship with that person. This is also a very common option.

Your Indirect Supervisor

Asking an indirect supervisor can another option, especially if you’ve worked with this person closely on past assignments or long-term projects.  This is a nice alternative to a supervisor that you may not work with closely.

Your Client or Vendor

This type of recommendation source is especially useful for entrepreneurs or for applicants who work for a family business.

If you work for a family business, it is preferred that you ask an individual outside of your family to write your letter of recommendation.

Your Mentor

Mentors inside or outside of your workplace are great to have in your corner when it comes time to apply to business school. However, be sure that your mentor has a clear understanding of your current professional value, not just your potential or future goals. Select a mentor with whom you have worked with on measurable tasks to ensure that they will provide a recommendation with depth. Often, mentor recommendations are submitted as an optional secondary recommendation. Keep in mind that the admissions committee is looking for someone who has worked with you professionally.

Other Options

There are many individuals who may fall in the category of “other recommenders.” For example, a former professor, a colleague or a coach.

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Navigating Your Time on the MBA Waitlist

Texas McCombs receives many applications from highly qualified applicants throughout the year. It’s impossible to fit everyone into the limited space of our program, so we have an MBA waitlist.

The waitlist can be a challenging place for applicants, given its uncertainty and lack of a clear timeline and expectations, but we feel very strongly that it is also a wonderful opportunity, an exercise in patience, and a gift of time not given to all who apply.

waitlist webinar April 13, 2020 - register here

Virtual Info Session reserved for those on the MBA waitlist after their decision deadline.

The waitlist is not a final decision from the MBA Admissions Committee. Rather, it is a place to wait and see what unfolds. Please explore the information below to better understand what it means to be on the waitlist, and how you can make the most of this time.

When will I have a final decision?

The MBA Admissions Committee periodically reviews candidates currently on the waitlist, but we are not able to offer a concrete timeline of when you will hear your final decision. We are never able to predict the movement of the incoming class.  If you apply in Round One, this does not mean that you will receive a final decision along with Round Two applicants.  If you apply in Round Two, this does not mean that you will receive a final decision in Round Three.  We review the entire waitlist (which includes applicants from all rounds) as needed.

How many people are placed on the waitlist in a given year?

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Test Options for Working
Professional MBA Candidates

This MBA Insider info comes from the Working Professional and Executive MBA Admissions team.

Preparing for and taking an MBA admissions exam is one of the best ways to get your mind back into academic mode. The most common questions we receive from candidates are about the standardized tests — how to prepare for them and if there are average or minimum scores. While competitive test scores can certainly enhance your chances of admission, it is only one factor in a holistic review of your application. Exploring the Class Profiles will give you the best idea of how our admitted students scored on their tests when preparing for the admissions process.

Texas McCombs Professional or Executive MBA candidates — for Evening, Executive, Dallas/Fort Worth, or Houston— have more options than ever when considering which graduate entrance exam to submit.

Test Options at a Glance

Submitting Expired GRE or GMAT Scores

Many of our Professional and Executive MBA candidates come into the program with a master’s degree that was earned immediately following their undergraduate degree. Until recently, only valid GRE or GMAT scores within the past five years were accepted from applicants. The reality is, prior graduate education and quality work experience are strong indicators of success in graduate business curriculum.

So if you hold a master’s degree and have your expired GRE or GMAT score report, a current exam score is not required and you may submit your expired scores.

The Executive Assessment (EA)

Several years ago, GMAC (who also delivers the GMAT) saw the need for a new test, tailored to the needs of MBA programs and their applicants who have significant years of work experience. Originally conceived for Executive MBA programs, the Executive Assessment (EA) was created in 2017. Today, over 70 MBA programs accept the EA. Where the GMAT and GRE are seen as screening tools, the EA is a readiness exam and a benchmark for academic preparedness.

If you have at least 8 years of work experience post-undergrad, you may choose to submit the EA with your Professional or Executive MBA application instead of the GMAT or GRE.

The Right Test for Your Application and Career Goals

When you’re considering an MBA program for a specific career path, it’s good to know what the recruiting landscape looks like. Be sure to educate yourself on choosing a test for your career search before starting your test prep.

Scholarship awards are another aspect to think about when deciding which test to submit. The Dallas and Houston Weekend MBA, and the Austin Evening MBA programs award small recruiting scholarships to outstanding incoming students based on the merits of the application as well as financial need. While the committee reviews each candidate holistically when awarding scholarships, a strong, valid GMAT or GRE will outweigh an expired GMAT or GRE, or an EA.

It’s true, some Executive MBA candidates can waive their exam requirements. The Executive MBA program is the only McCombs MBA that allows candidates to petition to waive the exam altogether. Candidates use the Optional Essay to explain why they do not need an exam, and the committee evaluates each waiver petition in the context of the entire application. Essentially, we’re looking elsewhere for information that the test would convey.

Our best advice to Executive MBA candidates: You must have at least 8 years of work experience to apply, but Executive MBAs have an average of over 14 years of experience. If you have below this average and solely a bachelor’s degree, plan to submit the EA. 

If you have any questions about your testing options please contact our admissions team:
MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth Admissions
MBA at Houston Admissions
Evening MBA Admissions
Executive MBA Admissions

Hook ’em!

Top Tips for a Successful MBA Interview

This Insider advice come from the Texas McCombs Full-Time MBA Admissions Committee:

After you submit your MBA application, you may receive an invitation to interview. First, we hope you take time to feel excited to have made it to this stage of the process! But then you might have some questions: What interview format options are there? What sort of questions will I be asked? Who conducts the interview? How should I prepare?

Like anything else, your MBA interview is an opportunity.

Some applicants may look forward to an interview but many may feel nervous, which is natural. If you are nervous, some key advice: The interview affords one of the only formal opportunities for official face-to-face interaction during the MBA application process– seize it. This interview can be just the thing the Admissions Committee needs to stitch together the rest of your application elements and we really enjoy getting to know you!

Different schools have different interview processes. It’s important to be familiar with how the Texas McCombs MBA program runs its interview operations. Be sure to read all confirmation emails and instructions very carefully. There may be various formats, booking procedures, or location & parking information provided for you.

Interviews are by invitation only.

Full-Time MBA

There are four different interview types:

  • on-campus with a student,
  • via video conference/call with a student,
  • off-campus in your local city with an alumni interviewer,
  • at another city location with an admissions officer

There is an online calendar from which you can select an interview slot that works with your schedule. We will inform you of the last date your interview needs to be completed. The only exception to this is booking an interview in your local city with an alumni interviewer; that process is slightly different, but we provide the step-by-step instructions in our interview invitation communications if you decide to go that route.

All of our student interviewers, alumni volunteer interviewers, and admissions officers are fully trained on conducting an interview that is professional, fair, impartial and helpful. Interviews typically last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.

Working Professional and Executive (WPE) MBA Programs

Please watch your email after you submit your WPE application to be able to respond to an invitation and secure your preferred time slot. All interviews are conducted by members of the Admissions Committee and can typically last from 30 minutes to an hour.

Interview invitations can come at any time during the application round.

All interviews are blind.

“Blind interview” means the interviewer does not have access to anything about you or your application, except for your resume. Even so, it’s always a good idea to bring a copy for the interviewer to reference during the conversation. (This is required if you are interviewing with an alumni interviewer for the Full-Time program.)

Most interviews follow the general framework of introductions, questions from the interviewer for you to answer, then some time is left at the end for you to ask your questions about the program and/or application process.

Our Top Interview Tips

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