Saturday, January 12, 2013

MBA Interview Strategies - Relationships Are the Key to Getting Good Letters of Recommendation

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The MBA interview is one of the last steps in the MBA application process, just like a job interview comes at the end of the process. But you need to get there first. Read on to discover one specific key step you must master in order to have a chance to get that interview in the first place.

Before you have a even a chance to ace that MBA interview, you need to get there first. And there are quite a few steps you need to take to be invited for an interview.

Among those steps are the MCAT, a great resume with the work history to match, and... great letters of recommendation. It's the last one where a lot of people trip up.

Since you're applying to an academic program, how you did at college is important. The committee needs to make sure you'll be able to handle the academic work. And this means, great letters of recommendation from your former professors are crucial.

How do you get those? The key is to ask the right professors -- and to build relationships with your professors so you have someone you can ask in the first place. Obviously, that relationship building work is best done while you're still in college, so try to plan early.

1) Build relationships with your professors
Your professors are human, and many of them are overworked and underpaid. You may only see them a few hours a week, but most of them are working very long hours on their other academic obligations. They appreciate being treated with respect, appreciation, and consideration.
How do you build relationships with them? Do good work in their classes. Be well prepared and be someone your professor can count on for good answers -- and interesting (but not obnoxious) questions.
Stop by their office hours periodically. And also try to take more than one class from professors you like and in whose classes you're doing well. This helps the professor become familiar enough with you and your work that they can serve as an excellent reference for years to come.

2) Choose your references wisely
This ought to be obvious, but you'd be surprised how often professors are approached by students who did very poorly in their classes. If you were only average or below average in their class, they cannot possibly write a useful letter of recommendation for you.
They won't lie, and the truth will hurt you more than not getting that letter at all. Remember, they may not even write bad things, but there is such as thing as damning with very faint praise. For example, they could write that the student turned in most of their papers. Or attended many of the classes, without reference to how well they did. Don't risk it.
Instead, build relationships over time and cultivate them for when you might need those letters. Also, even if you don't have those relationships, only ever approach professors who gave you an A in at least one class.
In a nutshell, approach only professors where you have very good reason to believe that they think well of you. If you do, chances are good that their letters will help you get to the MBA interview. What happens next will be up to you.
Why not keep going while you're ahead... Seek out more secrets and put them to use.

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