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Networking for your MBA Application

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From improving your skillset to meeting future partners, networking in business is invaluable. It’s equally vital for graduate business school applicants. Networking for your MBA application helps you foster relationships, gain insights, and build your future before your first class even begins.

Who’s who in your network

When determining your connections, remember that variety yields opportunity. In other words, networking for your MBA application means reaching out to a good mix of individuals that will help you rise above other MBA candidates. Your MBA application needs to prove that you are a good fit for your chosen business school’s program and campus culture. Engaging in conversations with these types of people is more than meaningful; it significantly enhances your candidacy:

1. Colleagues

Coworkers can offer you real-world insights on the MBA application process through their post-graduation experience, even if they attended a different graduate business school. Colleagues like your direct boss are also good professionals to ask for your business school letter of recommendation.

2. Administrators, teachers, and professors

Sit in on classes, chat with graduate business school administrators, and ask professors a bit about their curriculum and expectations. The more you know what a typical day is like on campus or within a virtual learning environment for your chosen MBA program, the more you can match your strengths to what the admissions committee is looking for.

3. Mentors

Similar to colleagues, mentors will help you gain the real-world experience you need to learn about in your chosen MBA program. Even better, these professionals can teach you how to network effectively. Remember to cast a large net and consider mentors who aren’t in your chosen field, as they can offer you insights and may pique your interests in areas you hadn’t considered before.

4. Current MBA students and alumni

These folks represent a segment of stakeholders that can help you truly understand a school’s culture and learn to “speak the language.” There is no one person who will guarantee your acceptance, which is why networking for your MBA application with MBA students and alumni is key.

5. Campus leaders

Explore student organizations on campus that interest you, then contact the leaders of these clubs. They are often energetic, welcoming, and well-connected people who can augment anything you’ve gleaned from a website or campus tour.

Making your network work for you

The point of networking for your MBA application and your career future is not about how many contacts you can compile; it’s about relationships, mutual exchange, and respect. Try to build solid connections that you can have throughout your MBA journey and well into the future. When you’re not on a campus tour or in the workplace, attend as many in-person and virtual events as you can to expand your network. In addition, stay active on the most effective social media platform for professionals—LinkedIn. Use LinkedIn wisely by optimizing your profile page and using the search tools to find your best possible connections.

From networking to acceptance

While you’re busy networking for your MBA application, don’t forget about other important aspects of the MBA application process, such as the interview and your resume. Ready to shine among other MBA program candidates? Check out these tips for b-school admission success.

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