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What does it take for an engineer to get into a top MBA program?

What does it take for an engineer to get into a top MBA program?

Aug 21, 2011

Having been both an engineer in a former life, and now a freshly-minted MBA, I think it is critical for an software engineer to show that they are more than a code monkey. A business school doesn’t want someone who wants an MBA just so they can hang it in the same darkened office from whence they came and then continue to just spit code. Just like any other applicant, be it a marketer or a financier, an engineer has to weave a story that shows how they look to use their background along with whatever value they anticipate receiving via an MBA to build something greater in the end.

I don’t think any admissions officers is going to doubt the mathematical and problem solving abilities of an established software engineer, so don’t worry yourself about a high GMAT score or applying a veneer to one’s GPA. Instead, focus on gaining experiences in your current job where you are taking the lead and driving something…anything! It can be a feature, project or even just good UI design, show that you can lead, and can communicate with others. You need to show that you aren’t part of the stereotype of an engineer being someone who got sand kicked in their eyes as a kid and now spends their nights dancing with a Toys R’ Us light saber battling Darth Ballmer and his band of Microsoft-built drones.

If you find yourself writing essays about how you look to use your MBA to justify a switch from the mangled morass of managed code back to native execution, well then I urge yourself to rethink your own motivations for getting an MBA. If thats what you want to do, save yourself the months of essay writing and ultimate rejection and just go and be the best damn native code writer this side of Dances with Wolves.

For an engineer, your background should already establish your intellectual chops. Use the application as a canvas to show that you are more than just a brain. Write a story that shows that the guy coming out of the program 2 years from now is both an excellent thinker and a credible leader.

See question on Quora

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