Nobody likes bringing up their past, and especially if they are mistakes, academic or otherwise. This is particularly so when one is applying for a place at an über-competitive business school. Failing to address obvious weaknesses, such as a low GPA or gaps in employment history, does more harm than good in the end. It is important for one to be upfront about their foibles since it is the best way for them to know how to tackle them in the future, and it will actually increase chances of admission. Below are some of the things that MBA applicants face and how to deal with them.
Explaining a Layoff
Many people think that if they tell about their lay off, it will most likely reflect negatively and raise a red flag. It is likely that the committee will notice the employment gap that you’ve been out work. If I were to bet, I would bet that they would wonder what you did during that time since layoffs are common nowadays based on the economic recession that many countries are going through. Keep the explanation short and sweet and draw the attention to how you bounced back, whether you went ahead to open your own business, or went to volunteer.
Handling a low GPA
A low MBA would make the admission committee wonder if you would be able to handle pressure from the MBA. The best way to handle this is to take pre-MBA courses to boost your quantitative profile and remove any concerns about you not being able to handle the MBA.
Addressing a criminal record
Many M.B.A. programs ask a person to explain a mistake they made, or discuss a challenge you overcame. The most interesting candidates have faced difficulty and learned from it, preferably changing their behavior for the better. We took a youthful mistake and showcased a person determined to improve her life.
Admissions officers look for applicants who will succeed in their particular program, as well as in the world after graduation. Showing who you are, your potential, and even how you have overcome blemishes to your otherwise perfect record gives the school insight into your potential as a student and as a future business leader. We all fail sometimes, but the trick is to try to look at your failures through a fresh lens and figure out the good that came from it.
Take a look at the way that Stephen Collins tackled his situation. Stephen Collins was an actor in a popular television show, 7th Heaven, where he played a reverend and father. More than twenty years ago, he had sexual contact with minors, and since then has been undergoing therapy so as to understand why he did it, and how he can keep from repeating the behavior.
It was not Collins idea to have the information come out the way that it did. He was undergoing therapy with his ex-wife in an attempt to salvage their marriage. During one of the sessions, where he made his confession, she secretly recorded everything and then later released the tape to TMZ, bringing everything to the public front. What we should see here is that he had not been going to therapy regarding his acts due to public pressure but due to personal pressure even before the information became public.
This is what he had to say to Katie Couric, “I had dealt with them [the sexual incidents] very, very strongly and committedly in my private life. I think I’m a human being with flaws and I’ve done everything I can to address them.”
He also said, “I deeply regret the mistakes I’ve made and any pain I caused these three women. I admit to, apologize for, and take responsibility for what I did.”
He has been very sincere in his efforts to make things right as he addresses his shortcomings. This is one of the very reasons why we should forgive and support him. It is like for the past 20 years, he has been in a prison of emotional torture at his deeds. He has done everything right, and this included not apologizing to his victims since that would have opened up old wounds that might affect their lives. There are at least three ways as we will mention below:
- Admitted to God, to himself, and to another human being the exact nature of his wrongs.
- Made a list of all persons he had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
He came to terms with what he did and acted to make it right. This is the very same way that MBA students should be. They shouldn’t try and hide their past mistakes but rather work at correcting them.