How to Stand Out on Your Online MBA Application: Advice from Baylor University
Baylor’s online MBA team removes application barriers and sets the stage for a rewarding, career-boosting experience.How to Stand Out on Your Online MBA Application: Advice from Baylor University
Going back to school to earn an online MBA is, of course, a big decision. If you have decided to take this step to pursue your career and personal goals, there is one part of the process that you might start to wonder and worry about—what is the application process like, and how can you stand out?Mary Reinhardt
The team has made the application process easy and accessible, Mary Reinhardt, director of the Baylor Online MBA, said. You do not have to pay any fees and you will not need GMAT scores. You will only need a few things to complete your application.
Start by filling out a form online and include a cover letter, an unofficial transcript, three professional letters of recommendation and a recent resume. Within a week, typically, you will hear back if you have been accepted. In some cases, staff will request an interview to see if Baylor is a good fit.
Reinhardt offered some tips to help maximize your candidacy and what you bring to the program.
What Strengths Do You Bring to Baylor’s Online MBA?
What you include in your resume and cover letter tells the admissions team how successful you have been and how a Baylor MBA will push you forward in your career. The resume is the most important piece.
“Use that resume to brag on yourself, “Reinhardt said. “Show examples of your leadership. We are looking to see what you are going to bring into classroom discussions, where classmates are asking you, ‘How did you handle this situation?’ We all become mentors to each other. That is what we are looking for. What are the strengths that you are going to bring into our program?”
Highlight leadership roles you have held in the workplace since graduation (leave out college activities, such as Greek and other club roles). Did you manage a project? Lead a team?
“Even if that team was three people, if you had that leadership role, or if the experience you had on a project opened another door for you, those are the things we want to hear about,” Reinhardt said.
The Cover Letter: Tell Us Your Story
The cover letter is the narrative, your voice, providing context for your resume. It is a good place to expand on leadership roles that do not jump out on the resume. It is an especially useful tool for applicants—who are early in their career or who have had few opportunities to lead—to explain why they would be an asset to the program.
And if you are concerned that your undergraduate GPA will not reflect the professional you have become, the cover letter is a great way to address it.
“Your cover letter can tell a story,” Reinhardt said. “Give us a few sentences about why—for example, ‘I had no business being in college at 18.’ And that is OK! That is part of your journey. There is nothing wrong with that. But own it and say here is what was going on.”
Before hitting send, be sure to proofread your resume and letter—or, better yet, have someone else do it. Reinhardt mentioned how her team has received applications intended for other schools. Seemingly small errors distract from the professional message you are trying to convey.
Getting Started with the Online MBA Team
Since Baylor’s decision comes within a week, you will have plenty of time to consider your options. Accepted applicants receive the news in a phone call and letter. Soon after, the Online MBA team brings incoming students on board, starting with Zoom calls to meet each other. Students do not move through the program in cohorts, so they will not always be in classes with the same people. Reinhardt said that the Zoom meetups are the first of many ways the school helps online students connect throughout their time in the program.
Half of Baylor’s MBA students receive loans to cover the cost. An MBA is a serious financial commitment, and Reinhardt said that a solid understanding of what it is going to cost is essential. Financial aid staff provide guidance tailored to your situation.
“If you are borrowing money, we want you to be able to talk with our financial aid team so they can give you a clear picture of what that looks like. We want to be as transparent as we can,” Reinhardt said, adding, “Never borrow more than the cost of the program.”
If you are applying for FAFSA or VA benefits, the staff will coach you through every step of the process. And they will tackle it right away because the decision turnaround can take a while.
The team also helps new students learn the technology used in online classes—and what being an online MBA student at Baylor means. An online orientation in the Canvas learning management system introduces the technology, sets expectations for participation and introduces you to your team of support.
Support from Family and Friends
Perhaps the most important support starts at home, Reinhardt said. The average age of Baylor Online MBA students is 36. Many have busy families and deep ties in the community—and these commitments will shift while you’re in school.
“This is a family decision. You are going to need their support and their understanding because we are going to be pulling you away from your family time and your friends,” Reinhardt, who earned a master’s degree online herself, said. “There are going to be times when life has just gotten crazy and there is a lot going on. So having that built-in support system to encourage you to keep going is important.”
The proof of that support comes at graduation, she said, when students’ families and friends show up to celebrate their achievement.
“It is a big decision to make. It cannot be made alone. And our most successful students have this built-in support group to help them.”
Discover how Baylor’s Online MBA team can help you decide if the program is right for your career goals by filling out the below form. They will answer questions and offer tips to guide you through the application process if you decide to apply. You can also look at our Online MBA and Admissions pages for more information.