Biggest MBA Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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mba programmeThe path to success is not without its share of challenges, and sometimes, making mistakes with your MBA programme is part of that journey. What may seem like a disaster is not always insurmountable however. The good news is that if you are aware of some of the mistakes made commonly by MBA students, you can also learn to avoid making them yourself.

One of the biggest causes of mistakes is often a lack of preparation. Deciding on a whim to complete your MBA can put you at risk of being unprepared for the challenges ahead. You might rush things that should not be rushed, or skip things that really should not be skipped.

In today’s blog post, we take a look at some of the most frequently made mistake when doing MBAs online in South Africa.

Avoid Making These MBA Programme Mistakes

Top mistakes to avoid during your MBA application include the following:

  1. Ignoring the overall application

You have put thought into your essay, carefully updated your CV and considered your recommendations, but what about the overall application itself? Does the application read well? Do all the elements flow logically in a way that is easy to read and understand? Have you selected stories and skills that are aligned with your CV and experience? Is any information repeated, or is the application clear and simple? Looking at the broader picture will help you notice anything that needs to be revised.

  1. Misunderstanding volunteer experience

It is great that you took part in a recent social media blanket drive. It’s fantastic that you donate to local charities. But what business schools are really looking for when it comes to volunteer experience is whether or not you have displayed leadership during your volunteer efforts. There is quite a big leap between donating old clothes or money and organising a clothing drive or food relief campaign. If you are in the process of gaining volunteer experience, keep this in mind and look for ways that help on a deeper, more involved level.

  1. Submitting an impersonal, dull essay

Your MBA dissertation gives you the opportunity to truly shine, but sadly, not all students take advantage of this chance. Business schools are certainly looking for achievements that you are highlighting, but that does not mean that they want to see a dull, impersonal account of all the things you have done in your personal and professional life. What they want to see is something that gives some indication of who you are, what you are all about and what your dreams are for the future. Remember that it will be actual human beings reading your essay. To keep it interesting, don’t be afraid to use your own voice, weave in some stories, make it humorous (appropriately so!) and most of all, make it personal.

  1. Lack of research when applying for schools

Another thing to remember is that your essay should not be a generic document that can be used to apply to multiple schools. Hopefully, you will have put some thought into the type of school you wish to attend… long before writing your essay. If you are looking for a flexible, advance school that offers distance learning MBA opportunities, you might consider the remote learning aspect in your essay. You could talk about the challenges you have faced in your journey, your responsibilities and dreams and how a distance learning campus would allow you to make those dreams happen.

  1. Choosing your recommenders poorly

Do not choose recommenders on title alone. While some may have the benefit of having a mentor or boss who is at a senior level and willing to write your letter of recommendation, others may be tempted to choose someone who seems better on paper rather than someone who is truly able to give you a solid endorsement. What matters more than title is relevance and authenticity. A junior partner or peer who you have worked with closely, and is able to give honest, glowing feedback about your skills would be a far better choice than a senior who only knows you vaguely.

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By putting a bit of thought into your MBA application, you will be in a far better position to not only avoid making these mistakes, but also get the best chance of MBA programme success.


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