Category: Application Tips (page 1 of 13)

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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The Top 5 MBA Admissions Questions

If you have reviewed the Texas McCombs MBA application process, you are familiar with the basic steps to applying. Here are some of the steps we’ve highlighted on this blog:

Of course, the above list does not cover everything. Each application is unique, and you may have a special situation or questions specific to your career goals or background. Our MBA Admissions team has put together our Top 5 Most Frequently Asked Questions below.

Who has Texas residency status?

Everyone who applies to the Texas McCombs MBA is classified as a non-resident until they are admitted, accept the offer, and complete a Texas Residency questionnaire. So even though your status may look incorrect to start, if you’re a Texas resident, you’ll have a chance to prove it later on in the process.

How do I submit transcripts?

We get all sorts of questions on transcripts– foreign language transcripts, study abroad transcripts, old paper transcripts, and electronic transcripts. Here’s a breakdown of the steps for transcripts:

  • Order official transcripts from any university or college you attended EXCEPT junior or technical colleges. Have the transcripts sent to you directly. If your transcripts are in a foreign language, they must also be accompanied by an official English translation.
  • Scan and upload all transcripts to your McCombs Application online.
  • Pay your Application Fee. (see #5 below)
  • Scan and upload transcripts to the Graduate and International Admissions Center (GIAC).
  • Store your official transcripts safely. If you’re offered admission and intend to enroll, you’ll then send your official transcripts to GIAC.

Are letters of recommendation required?

We require one professional letter of recommendation from a person who has supervised your work and/or has assessed your performance during your career. We cannot accept additional letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation are received directly from the recommender via a secure portal in your application. While completing your application, you will be able to send your recommender an invitation to access this secure portal to submit their recommendation. Once your letter of recommendation is received, you will be notified via automated email.

A few 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 to avoid them ending up in someone’s junk/spam email folder since they come from a generic Texas MBA email address.
  • Monitor the status of your recommendations in the McCombs application portal to ensure they’re completed within a reasonable amount of time, and by the deadline. You can resend notifications from within the portal as needed.

How long do I have to submit my test scores?

As long as you’ve taken a test and have made the request to have your official scores sent to UT Austin 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 Austin. It can take several weeks for your official score to be received by the university, and 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 Austin, 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 Austin has a central repository for official scores that all departments can access.

When do I pay the 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.

Please be sure to complete the following steps AFTER you hit the submit button on the application:

  • Within two business days of submission of your application you will receive an email with instructions for how to log into your GIAC MyStatus Page. Log into your GIAC MyStatus page to pay the $200 application fee. Your application fee status should reflect “Paid” in the McCombs application portal within five business days of submission.
  • Upload Transcripts to GIAC after you have paid the fee. Note: Former University of Texas at Austin students will pay a transcript fee in lieu of uploading UT Austin transcripts to GIAC.

We encourage you to carefully review all the MBA application components in detail as you complete your application. And if you have additional questions, please reach out to us.

Hook ’em!

These tips were originally posted on Sept. 18, 2017 and have been updated for this application cycle.

All Testing Options for Working Professional & Executive MBA Candidates

This MBA Insider Insight comes from our Directors of MBA Admissions, Sharon Barrett and Rodrigo Malta.

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. (Hint: There are not. Exploring the Class Profiles gives you the best idea of where our students tend to fall.)

Now, the Texas McCombs MBA Admissions Committee is excited to share that 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.

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 now, 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)

Three 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 40 MBA programs, both Professional and Executive, accept the EA. Unlike the GMAT or GRE, 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 consider submitting the EA with your Professional or Executive MBA application.

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Working Professional/Executive MBA Final Round Applicants

This MBA Insider content comes from the Working Professional & Executive MBA Admissions team.

See if you can spot the two true statements and one myth about applying to the Texas McCombs Working Professional or Executive (WPE) MBA programs:

  • The MBA is seeking the most qualified candidates for its WPE programs in Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston and Austin.
  • We consider a candidate’s academic performance, work experience and overall motivation in reviewing an application.
  • Candidates must apply early in the process to have a chance at being considered.

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