MBA application tips for engineers and tech candidates


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When it comes to over-represented profiles in the MBA applicant pool, engineers rank high (along with consulting and finance applicants – which we’ll cover in the next articles in this series).

Set your sights on the top 10 business schools, and you can imagine that your peers have equally impressive academic and career distinctions as stellar GMAT scores. So, these elements are rarely what sets you apart. If you are an engineer, you should approach the MBA application differently with a sector-specific strategy.

First, keep in mind: having a tech background and a degree from a top business school is great for getting into your future career. Both of you will be in a great position to move into different roles in different industries. They are a great combination.

Top business schools think so too. The best of the tech giants continue to go to world-class business schools – more than 16% of Stanford GSB’s revenue comes from the technology sector, and 11% of revenue comes from Harvard Business School.

The question is, if you’re in tech or engineering, how do you position your application to stand out in a sea of ​​excellence?

Think about how you can motivate the recruiting team to choose you over another candidate. Do you bring an unusual academic background, unique diversity in your field, or experience in a non-traditional industry? What unique perspectives, characteristics, or stories can you weave into your narrative? What sets you apart is not just the work you do, but your ability to communicate your identity and uniqueness in a consistent and compelling way.

Before you sit down to write, consider these tips from my colleagues at Fortuna Admissions, part two of our Sector Savvy series Tips for Overrepresented Profiles.

Important tips for engineers and candidates in tech

  1. Maximize your transferable skills.
    The difficulty for many engineering applicants is that your role and the work you’ve done may not be directly relevant to your MBA degree. (Or for your post-MBA career—many engineers want to change careers.) Step outside of your narrow role and look at the bigger picture of the skills and talents you’ve acquired through the job. As you do, think about the transferable skills you’ve developed – such as communication, teamwork, leadership and/or presentation skills. This may be very different from how you think about your skills in terms of day-to-day needs and may not be very clear at first. Consider the patterns of behavior that flow through your professional performance and how they extend your involvement in the community, the roles you’ve taken on and how you’ve contributed.
  2. Provide consistent career direction.
    There is a lot more activity in the tech industry than others like consulting or finance. Top programmers will be bypassed by competition, and the Registrar’s Office will be familiar with the high level of activity in your sector. For example, it’s not uncommon to see a software engineer who started at Oracle, then moved on to Salesforce before moving on to Uber. The most important thing is to ensure consistency in the career narrative you share.

Instead of being considered a ‘hired gun’ with Mosaic, employers want to communicate that they have taken the time and opportunity to take ownership of a project and see it through. Focus on the impact you’ve really made—and get there fast. Beyond what you’ve done to transfer what you’ve learned from your experience, you can relate what you’ve learned to what you’ll bring to the MBA class.

  1. Train your advisors.
    They may be accomplished professionals, but don’t assume that your advisors know exactly what is expected of them. Unlike the consulting industry, where it’s common for senior executives to have an MBA, it’s not a given that your boss went to b-school. Set your mentors up for success by walking them through the process, emphasizing the importance of depth, detail, and storytelling to address specific situations and your contributions. This doesn’t mean telling you what to write—you want your mentor’s voice and authenticity to guide you. But you don’t want them to dive in blindly – ​​especially if they’re new to the subject. Business schools look for content with stories that support you as a great person and star employee with great potential to succeed.

Make sure to share your goals and how business school can help you get there when setting up your advisor. Having this conversation is critical to ensuring consistency in your application. The added benefit is that your conversation may reveal insights you may not have considered about how your skills are viewed or how you contribute to a team or project. Your mentor can convey your personality or character traits that will add color to your candidacy.

Check out the seven tips for technical and engineering candidates The whole article On the Fortuna Admissions website. Check out Part 1 in our Sector Savvy series Tips for consultants And stay tuned for next week’s focus on tips for finance candidates.

Want more insights? Register now b Free consultation For a personal, honest assessment of your chances of getting into a top business school.

Caroline Diarte Edwards He is Director of Admissions at Fortuna and former Director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid at INSEAD. If you need more guidance on applying to a top business school and an accurate assessment of your chances of admission, Reach out to Fortuna for a free consultation.


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