Advice for non-traditional MBA applicants

Advice for non-traditional MBA applicants

I have a message for the non-traditional applicant. That’s those of you going into areas outside of finance and consulting, areas that aren’t so served by [on-campus] recruiting, such as arts management or non-profit or education, or areas in media and technology. These industries are growing, and it’s exciting, and business schools really like you. Don’t feel shy to apply, but the key is that you need to brand yourself as someone who is very clear about what you want to do and that whatever it is you want to do is business school appropriate. You could go and see that the leaders of charter schools have had MBAs in the past, or that the leaders of these e-commerce startups have gone to business school. If they haven’t and you’re trying to do something totally different where there’s absolutely no recruiting or MBA presence at all, then you want to try to brand yourself as someone going into an entrepreneurial space. Let them see those parts of you that would say, ‘I could see him starting something up.’ That you’re resourceful, that you’re scrappy, that the different jobs you’ve had or extracurriculars you’ve been involved in have been completely your own and you’ve had to take a lot of initiative and be innovative in them. So, good luck branding yourself. It’s a huge part of the process for you, but I’ve had and seen some great successes along the way.