An Admissions Expert’s Top Tips for Business School Applicants


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Accepted MBA admissions consultant Esmeralda Cardenal shares advice with applicants [Show summary] Esmeralda Cardenal, an Accepted consultant and former admissions professional at business schools around the U.S. and abroad, is an expert on both sides of the admissions process. In this episode, she shares her advice on improving your MBA applicant profile, applying to data science and analytics programs, and how applicants can prepare during this unconventional time for schools around the world. Hear expert tips for a stand-out application [Show notes] Esmeralda Cardenal is no stranger to Admissions Straight Talk. She was a guest shortly after joining Accepted and is returning to Admissions Straight Talk just about five years later. (Frankly, that's much too big a gap! A real omission on my part.) Prior to joining Accepted, Esmeralda Cardenal was the Associate Director of Admissions at Yale School of Management, the Director of MBA admissions at the Eli Broad College of Business at Michigan State, and then across the pond, she served as a consultant to the Cardiff Business School in the UK. In the last five years, she's become a much-loved consultant at Accepted, helping Accepted's clients who are applying to MBA, data science, and data analytics programs get accepted. What are your top tips for dealing with a low GPA? [2:17] The GPA is very, very important for the application. If you have a low GPA, there is not much you can do about it. You can't just go back and erase time. But there are ways that you can mitigate the impact of a low GPA in your application. So I would say the very first thing you could do is compensate for a low GPA with a strong score, with a strong GMAT or GRE. That would be the best thing. > (opens in a new tab)"><< WATCH: Get Accepted to Business School With Low Stats! >> Another way could be, and you could do it in conjunction with a high score, would be to create alternative transcripts. By that I mean, take classes that are relevant to business school, like accounting, economics, statistics, calculus, and try to get solid A's on those. That would help you provide evidence that you can succeed academically at business school, and also, use the optional essay or the additional information essay. Sometimes they even provide a box in the application where you can explain what happened. As a former director of admissions, I can tell you that there is nothing better than having an applicant who can actually admit the situation because it tells you that the person did research and knew that they had a lower GPA than the rest of the class. So I would say admit that. Explain what happened. The admission's committee doesn't know you, so unless you tell them, they won't know what happened. Was that because of a family illness? Was it because you had to attend to a personal emergency that had you distracted for some time? Was it that you were maybe over-committed in some other extracurricular activities or sports, for example? Or was it that you have to work to support your schooling? Whatever it was, explain it in the optional essay, but also provide evidence of improvement. Mention the classes where you did well, or maybe you had an upward trend. Maybe the first two years were low, but the other two years were higher, and maybe talk about those classes you have taken outside, the alternative transcript that I mentioned, etc., so they can see that you took the right course of action and that you are ready to succeed academically in business school. hbspt.cta.load(58291, 'b6c9f876-0125-49b0-b2cf-3c5c8301554f', {}); When you have a low GMAT, then I would say the obvious would be to (we are in March right now) retake it. This is the perfect time to practice more to get the help of an online class, hire a tutor. You can do those things virtually now, so definitely prepare to retake. If you feel that you have taken it as many times as possible,

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