Selling Your MBA Elevator Pitch to the Admissions Committee
January 17, 2017
Imagine that you are standing in the lobby of a large building. You’ve just pushed the button to go up to the 10th floor for an appointment you have in a few minutes. As you wait for the elevator to arrive, you strike up a conversation with the person waiting next to you.
To your amazement, you find that your companion for the elevator ride will be none other than a member of the MBA admissions committee from your top choice business school—the very business school you’re applying to this fall.
What will you say in the 30 to 45 seconds you have to make a great impression and potentially secure your dream?
Preparing your MBA elevator pitch
Before you begin to meet with admissions committee officers and send in that application to your programs of choice, it’s essential that you articulate and refine your elevator pitch. In other words, you need to be able to give a synopsis, in under one minute, of what qualifies you as a candidate and why the admissions committee should be interested in inviting you to join the next incoming class.
There are three vital questions to answer in developing your MBA elevator pitch:
- Why do you want to go to business school?
- Why this business school rather than others?
- Why is now the right time for you to go to business school?
These three questions make up the heart of any good application. If you can’t answer them, you need to do some earnest soul searching if you hope to present a compelling case both in-person and in your business school application.
What does the admissions committee want to know?
Taking the time to think through why you want to go to your target business at this point in your career will make it easier to write your personal statement and prepare for your interview. You should be able to answer these questions in longer form in your personal statement—but you will also want to be able to hit the main points succinctly when it comes time for your interview and other on-campus events where you might need to impress admissions officers.
When answering these questions, make sure you’re being authentic. The rationale behind your answers needs to honestly reflect who you really are and demonstrate a high degree of self-awareness. Whatever reasons you give for wanting to attend business school, make sure they sound like you.
Admissions committees also want to know that you’ve taken the time to do your research about the differences between schools. Know the specifics of the target program you’re interested in. Get details about why you would choose their program over others. What classes interest you, what groups will you join, and how will you fit into the culture of the school?
Practice for a perfect pitch
Finally, before you attend any event where you might meet admissions committee members, practice your elevator pitch. Present your pitch to friends, family, coworkers, etc. until it feels natural and polished. Remember to get straight to the point and make every word count—think of it like writing a tweet. You want to pack the most punch in as short a time as possible.
Get started now—you never know when you’ll get that short elevator ride that could change the trajectory of your future.
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