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).
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.
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:
This Insider Insight comes from the Texas MBA Admissions Team:
We know you want to put forth the best application you can when you apply to any Texas McCombs MBA program. And we’ve covered many components of the application in the past, including the resume, letter of recommendation, essays, and test scores (as well as some tips for interviewing if you are selected). But some components of the application that might be viewed as procedural are just as important, and if not addressed properly, they can delay processing, which can in turn delay your decision.
When you apply to a Texas McCombs MBA program, you’re actually applying to two separate entities at the same time. One is the McCombs School of Business; the other is the Graduate School of the University of Texas at Austin (which we’ll call GIAC, for the Graduate and International Admissions Center).
Three key components of the application are required by GIAC before it will be considered complete, and GIAC does not allow McCombs to issue a decision until these three elements are completed.
This is the final installment in a series of posts on GMAT/GRE testing. We encourage you to review previous posts, if you have not already.
The Texas MBA Admissions Committee recognizes that you might be putting a lot of pressure on yourself to achieve a high test score. After all, you’re competitive and driven enough to want to pursue an MBA! It’s important to remember that your test score is only one piece of your story, and it’s considered in the context of your overall application. We review your scores with the knowledge that a test is only one day in your life, and your academic and work history span many years.
Nevertheless, the test is an important component in evaluating your application.
“Quantitative test scores, in particular, have proven to be predictive of success in an MBA program, and taking the GMAT or GRE gets you back into the practice of preparing for exams. The preparation you put into the test sets you up for the mindset you’ll have to bring to your MBA– setting aside time to study on a nightly basis and working your way through problems analytically.”
– Sharon Barrett, Director of Working Professional MBA Admissions at Texas McCombs
This is the third in a series of posts on GMAT/GRE testing. We encourage you to review previous posts, if you have not already.
Before you make a final decision on which test to take, it’s best to research some of your target companies or industries and determine two things:
- The extent to which they evaluate a test score in reviewing job candidates.
- Whether they have a preference for one of the tests. At McCombs, we have found that most consulting and investment banking firms do look at the candidate’s score, and both industries historically have favored the GMAT.
Regardless of which test you take, you should consider it as another opportunity to not only impress the Admissions Committee, but also potential employers.
Once you’ve done your research on the format and content of the GMAT and GRE tests, you’re ready to settle on which one you want to take and start your preparation.
If you still need a review of each test to help you navigate the details, see our previous post examining both test options.
Test preparation is critical. The tests are rigorous, but your prep has the advantage of getting you in the right mindset for entering a top MBA program– where the exams and workload will be just as challenging, if not more so.
Prep tools include books that take you through the format of the test and offer practice exams, as well as formal prep classes (in person or online) and tutoring that can cost hundreds of dollars. Going with a more affordable option can work for some candidates.
“If you did well on the SAT or if you have a rigorous math background, you might be able to prepare on your own.”
– Jamie Nelson, an instructor with Manhattan Prep, which offers test prep classes in Dallas, Houston and Austin.
Here are some top prep tips from students and test prep instructors: