Navigating the MBA Admissions Process: Tips From Students

Each student in NC State’s Poole College of Management’s MBA programs has taken a unique journey on their path here. Yet there are common threads for all students—whether in the Full-Time, Professional Evening or Online MBA programs—as they navigated the admissions process.

We talked with some current students to get their thoughts on the admissions process and tips for students interested in applying.

  1. Don’t let the essay get you down.

For many people, writing the essay is the most difficult part of the application. Jose Castillo, who started the Full-Time MBA program in September 2017, says that it can be challenging to summarize your experiences and motivations in just one to two pages. He started writing his essay early in the application process so he had enough time to shape it.  Afrouz Fetanat, a student in the Full-Time program, had a similar strategy since English isn’t her first language and she doesn’t enjoy writing.

Stephanie Carter, who is in the Professional Evening MBA program,  wrestled with the struggle between wanting to sound “perfect” for the program and being authentic . Her advice: “Be true to your own story; don’t focus on what the ‘perfect’ candidate’s responses would be.”

  1. There is no perfect time to start on your application.

Loany Melissa Saldivar, who is in the Professional Online MBA program, says that she spent about six months on the application process because she rewrote her essay four or five times before feeling satisfied. (See above!)  “Take your time with the application process and the program in general because the race is only with yourself,” she says.

Arvind Lakshman, a Professional Evening MBA student, says that it took him less than two months to apply for and receive the GMAT waiver and complete the application and interview processes. His advice: “The admissions process is quite easy and straightforward. Just go with the flow, tackle each deliverable one step at a time and you’ll be surprised that you got it done that easily!”

Professional Online MBA student Greg Sweeney says he recommends One Day to MBA. “I was able to complete the application, a GMAT waiver, an essay and the video interview all within a few short weeks,” he says.

  1. Reach out to students and staff for advice and support.

“Do your research online, then attend the information session (more than one if you have lingering questions), communicate with the attentive admissions staff and reach out to the Admissions Ambassadors available through the website,” recommends Sweeney.

Afrouz Fetanat connected with a current student and attended a class. “That helped me understand what the culture of the program is like and how classes are conducted,” she says.

Jose Castillo, who is currently a Student Ambassador, agrees. “Students can provide meaningful information about the program, professors, classes, concentrations, and the city,” he says.

“The staff and the Director of Admissions in the Jenkins program are awesome,” says Arvind Lakshman. “They really make you feel at ease and understand the process. Please don’t be shy in asking for help. I’m confident of their assistance and commitment to your success!”

— Written for the NC State Poole College of Management by Michele Lynn

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