What do B Schools look for in your academic records?
Academic qualities is one of the most important criteria that admissions officers evaluate in a candidate. A two year MBA at a top U.S business school is a rigorous program. Your academic records help schools evaluate your intellectual readiness for such a program. How you spent your time at college is of interest to admissions officers. It helps you to highlight extra-curricular activities, interpersonal skills, leadership and communication skills in your application. More than anything, academic records display intelligence and personal characteristics. Schools are interested in your motivation and initiative, and how you made decisions and solved problems before you joined the workforce.
What Admissions Officers are looking for
Admission officers assess your career planning and progression you made during your under-graduation. If you know what you want and where you are headed, that makes you an eligible candidate. Your intellectual abilities are assessed from your undergraduate records and your GMAT scores. This is where essays play a very important role. Through essays, you get a chance to highlight a number of personal qualities. Let us briefly look at a few of those qualities.
If you happened to pursue any extra-curricular activities or additional certifications during your college days, talk about them in your essays. Have you done any community service? Talk about it. Business schools have high regard for candidates who did community service. If you have not done any community service, do engage in one. It will definitely add weightage to your application.
Beyond Academic Records
Extra-curricular activities such as community services not only display your intellectual ability, i.e., your ability to take on additional load, but also your managerial ability – your ability to manage time and resources, your personal attributes such as placing others above self.
Where you went to college and what scores you got are important. But what is more important is your intellectual ability and willingness to work hard. U.S MBA curriculum gives a lot of weightage to quantitative skills. If you studied quantitative subjects such as economics, calculus, statistics, it is worth mentioning them in your application and your essays. For candidates with less work experience, such qualities demonstrate an ability to crunch numbers and communicate them well. The more the demanding your college subjects were, the better your chances are.
I haven’t taken such demanding courses at college. So do I stand a chance? Yes, if you are willing to put in the hard work now. Start taking extra classes on economics, calculus, statistics, and mathematics. Show them on your application. Highlight the fact that you are putting in the effort in order to prepare for your business education and your career ahead.
Admissions officers look at how consistently you scored at college. Be prepared to explain if they were all over the place. Were you involved in extra-curricular activities? Were you taking extra-classes or certification courses outside college hours? Taking difficult classes and scoring an average is much better than taking simple subjects and scoring high. If you have only two years of work experience, then your college performance holds more attention. However, if you have been working for a long time, then your GMAT scores carry more importance. In such cases, schools would be more interested in your quantitative skills.
Business schools are doing this just to make sure that you will succeed academically. Hence your past success as a student is an indicator of your performance during an MBA program.