Tag: application tips (page 1 of 2)

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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After Admission: Deciding Your
MBA Offer

Making it through the MBA application process to receive an offer of admission from Texas McCombs is a big accomplishment! But it is not the end of your MBA admissions journey. The decision process goes both ways and you must accept your offer of admission to be enrolled in the next class. As a driven and competitive MBA candidate,  you may be deciding between offers at multiple business schools. Everyone’s individual decision is different, but a few common themes always come up when we ask our students, “Why McCombs?”

The City

Austin, Texas tops rankings for quality of life, growth, tech and innovation year after year. ATX has been named the No. 1 Best Place to Live by U.S. News & World Report for 2017, 2018 and 2019!

A few photos of Austin - Lake Travis, the city, the Capitol, & a concert

The MBA program moved into a new, world-class facility in 2018. Robert B. Rowling Hall sits at the intersection of the university and the Austin business community, acting as a launchpad for ideas. Open, transparent and flexibly designed, the building creates the physical space for you to engage, collaborate and learn experientially. Our dedication to excellence plus our new home made us a Top Ten Business School to Watch in 2019 .

Rowling Hall exterior

Robert B. Rowling Hall, Graduate Business Building, UT Austin

The Network

Right at the center of Austin is the McCombs School of Business–  a tight-knit, driven community of students, staff and faculty, making up part of one of the largest university networks in the world:

500,000+ UTY Austin Alumni, 100,000+ McCombs Alumni, 25,000+ MBA Alumni

Our MBA culture is famously welcoming and our students come from diverse backgrounds that make our community dynamic and inspiring. It has been said that McCombs MBAs are relentlessly driven, yet they are the first to jump in and encourage and support each other to excel. Connect with current MBA students to learn more about what sets us apart.

Texas McCombs MBA Consortium Students at Rowling Hall, fall 2018

Texas McCombs Consortium MBA students at Orientation 2018

The Focus on the Future

Texas McCombs is human-centered and future-focused, meaning we have our eye on what’s coming next in business– from the exciting research coming out of McCombs every day to the many rankings where we are among the best schools in the nation. We strive to be a top business school, giving our students the best possible experience. Recently, we landed on seven Top 10 lists in Princeton Review’s 2020 rankings!


Visit Texas McCombs MBA to find out more about all our programs, events and community, or take a peek into student life on Instagram. Hook ’em!

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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Top Tips for a Successful MBA Interview

We understand that if you are planning to apply to start your MBA next fall, this application cycle or your plans may be affected by challenges posed by COVID-19. The University of Texas continues to prioritize your safety and you can stay updated on safety measures and announcements via Protect Texas Together.


After you submit your MBA application, you may receive an invitation to interview.  The weeks after submitting create a new set of questions, especially because of the current restrictions for on-campus visits and virtual interviews. Common questions include:  What interview format options are there? What sort of questions will I be asked? Who conducts the interview? How should I prepare?

Some applicants anticipate an interview and feel nervous, which is natural. If you are nervous, here is some key advice: The interview is your official opportunity to share your story, provide examples, and tell us why you chose McCombs like no one else can. Take advantage of this opportunity; It can be just the thing the Admissions Committee needs to understand the rest of your application elements and gives us the chance to get to know you better!

Different schools have different interview processes. It’s important to be familiar with how the Texas McCombs MBA runs the virtual interview experience. Be sure to read all confirmation emails and instructions very carefully.

Invitation Only

Currently, all interviews are being conducted virtually. For our Full-Time MBA program, interviews will be conducted by a current MBA student member of the Admissions Committee. For our Working Professional MBA programs, interviews will be conducted by the dedicated Admissions Officer for your program.

If you receive an interview invitation, an email will point you to our online platform and allow you to select an interview time slot that works with your schedule. There is a deadline to complete your interview, so be sure to schedule it as early as you can.

Interview invitations can come at any time during the application round. You will want to check your email (and  your Spam Folder) regularly after you submit your application  so you can  respond to our invitation and secure your preferred time slot.

An Un-Biased Approach  

Going into each interview, our interviewers do not have access to anything about you or your application, except for your resume. (Even so, it’s always a good idea to have a copy of your resume on-hand during the conversation.)

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

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

Top Tips

  1. Be On Time: Arriving on time is “Interviewing 101,” yet it still manages to trip up even the most prepared of candidates. Please follow all the instructions in your confirmation email about how to connect with your interviewer.
  2. Test Technology: Virtual interviews are being conducted through Zoom. If you don’t have one already, create a Zoom account. You’ll want to find a good space to conduct your interview, ideally with good lighting, stable internet, and access to a plug. We recommend connecting directly to your internet for the most reliable internet connection.
  3. Pace Yourself: You’d be surprised how many times, at the end of an applicant’s long answer, we are asked to repeat the original question. Most often this happens to people who try to put too much into the first answer for fear of not being given an opportunity later on to address their prepared examples.  Don’t worry, you will have time to get to it.  Plus, there is often an opportunity at the end of an interview to mention anything you didn’t address in the formal line of questioning.
  4. Be Professional But Loosen Up: Given our program’s famously friendly culture, our interviews are relatively informal.  If you still find yourself nervous, practice your answers in front of a mirror or with a friend or colleague and ask them how you did. Did you answer the question? Did you rush through it? Take a moment to outline your answer in your mind first, and then address it calmly and confidently.  Don’t get too comfortable, though. While we’re an easy-going group, maintaining an appropriate level of professionalism is always a good idea. This includes professional language and attire, as if you were interviewing for a job.
  5. Know What We’re Looking For: We listen for confidence, clear and concise communication of career goals, concrete examples of teamwork and leadership, in-depth knowledge of our MBA program, and overall genuine enthusiasm.  Also, the interview can be a place to showcase secondary skills that are difficult for us to determine solely based on your application: interview skills, self-awareness, communication style, and “hire-ability.” Keep these in mind so we can get a feel for the application intangibles.
  6. Come with questions: A good list of questions for your interviewer can illustrate a few key things about you as a candidate: You’ve done your research, you care about our program, you have envisioned yourself as an MBA, and you can formulate coherent thoughts under pressure. We usually leave anywhere from 10-15 minutes for questions, so limit your list to 2-3 good ones and have a few backups.

If you have any questions during the application process, we’re here to help. Please visit our website for details on applying to each program and follow us on Instagram for an inside look into the the Texas McCombs MBA.

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!

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