Category: Application Tips (page 1 of 13)

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 January 7, 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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How to Highlight Your Work Experience

This MBA Insider content comes from Sharon Barrett, Director of Working Professional & Executive MBA Admissions.

When evaluating your application, our MBA Admissions Committee aims for a complete picture of your qualifications and fit with the program. It’s all about perspective. We look  at your application as if we are holding a scale, balancing all the parts.

When considering the specific experience on your resume, on one side there’s a raw number of years (Quantity), and on the other is your job experience (Quality).

Quantity

Say that you are the CEO of a mid-size corporation. Wonderful!  Oh, you just started in this position? That’s an amazing accomplishment, but perhaps you’d still admit that your knowledge and expertise in such a new position wouldn’t be as developed as someone who’s been doing it for a few years.

Or maybe you have been in the same job for 10 years.  Wow!  No doubt you are a go-to person when it comes to that role, but could it mean that perhaps you didn’t take as much initiative or demonstrate leadership qualities required to launch you to the next level? Or perhaps you have only had a project manager role for a year, but in that time you’ve produced measurable results and demonstrated leadership.  In these cases, the quality of your work experience matters more.

Quality

A general job title like “Project Manager” may seem lackluster, but could actually be pretty exciting.  Don’t let us make assumptions. Take every opportunity on your application to illustrate just WHAT about your job made your experience rich and rewarding.

On the flip side, a Chief Operating Office title sounds impressive, but what kind of company did you work for and how extensive were your duties?  An impressive title with naught to back it up won’t move the needle in your favor when it comes to work experience.

The take-away on work experience:  Years, titles, and accomplishments are not, by themselves deciding factors. To help you provide us with a clear picture, here are our top tips for highlighting the quality and quantity of your work experience on your resume:

7 Tips for a Better Resume

  1. Tailor Content – You may have heard the adage that your resume should be tailored to your audience, which is true. But customizing your resume may simply entail reordering or swapping out bullet points. Remember, a resume is a summary of your relevant experience, not necessarily all of it.
  2. Emphasize Results – We don’t just want a summary. We want to know whether you generated results from your work.  If the person replacing you could copy and paste your resume bullet points into their resume, that’s probably a sign your bullet points need to better emphasize your individual contributions in the role.
  3. Avoid Redundancy – Think of each line on your resume as a valuable piece of real estate. Consider the incremental value that each line on your resume provides for you as a candidate. If you have performed the same task in multiple roles, is it necessary to list that same task more than once on your resume? Likely not.
  4. Show Balance – We want to see a “balanced” candidate – someone who has been strong in the classroom and in the workplace while participating in extracurricular activities and having unique interests outside of work. Consider creating an “Additional” section to detail your activities and interests for use as a potential conversation starter.
  5. Utilize White Space – Great resume content can only be great if a reader can easily access it. That’s where resume readability comes into play. Don’t forget to use your white space effectively. A resume is not about cramming as much you can onto the page. Rather, give your content some space to breathe.
  6. Enlist Proofreaders– Perhaps the most important element of a resume is that it is free of errors. A single spelling, grammatical, or formatting error can hurt even the most impressive resume. Have multiple individuals proofread your resume.
  7. Convey Personal Brand – What do you think of when you think of great global brands like Apple, Nike, or Google? What words come to mind? Now, when we read your resume, what words do you want to come to mind about you? Have a peer give your resume a 30-second review and see if the words you want to pop for a reader, actually do.

Remember, your resume is important, but it’s only one data point for you as a candidate. Years of work experience give only one sense of you as a candidate, so use your resume to make the quality of those years really stand out. Hook ’em!

Successfully Answering the MBA Essay Questions

The most successful  MBA application essays result from a thoughtful and genuine response to the prompts. Specifically, we want to understand why you want to attend Texas McCombs, and to learn more about you as an individual.  It’s personal for a reason. With a goal of authenticity and the tips below to aid you, you will be well on your way to submitting a strong application.

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)

Our Advice

You may be wondering, “How do I introduce myself in only 250 words or through a one minute clip?” Don’t worry– you’re not alone. Many applicants struggle with how to package their entire experience into a short essay.

First, this prompt is purposely open-ended. It grants you the freedom to introduce yourself in a way that is authentically you. When you first meet someone, what’s your elevator pitch? Give us a well-rounded mix of information, so that we better understand who you are in a more complete sense, and not only in one facet of your life. Think about what makes you tick.

But 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.” This is meant to remind you that the admissions committee will already know a lot about your background through other parts of the application. While your professional life is important, this essay is your opportunity to share who you are outside of the bullet points on your resume.

Finally, the choice is yours: written essay or video. We have seen significant success on both platforms and do not prefer one over the other. Therefore, play to your strengths! If your skill is in writing, focus on the essay. If you want to create a video and rely on your voice and video editing skills, then we are excited to see it. However, if you do submit a video, keep in mind that sending us a photo slideshow isn’t advisable. These clips do not grant the admissions committee the chance to actually see or hear you, and that is really what we are looking for, and what makes these videos so great. 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.

Texas McCombs MBA Essay #2

Picture yourself at graduation. Describe how you spent your time as a TexasMcCombs MBA to achieve your personal and professional goals.
500 words

Our Advice

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