1. No solid evidence — academic or professional — of your quantitative abilities.
2. Recommendations that lack specific, convincing examples of your tangible impact.
3. Resume filled with technical jargon that those outside your industry would not understand.
4. No direct engagement with current students or alumni of the targeted business school.
5. Absence of having any meaningful, cross-cultural understanding, experience or interest.
6. Sole focus on your past victories with no mention of having grown from disappointments.
7. Excessive humility that overshadows your leadership potential and risk appetite.
8. Blatant arrogance conveyed by overusing “I, me, my” while ignoring “we, our, us.”
9. Failure to explain significant gaps or vulnerabilities in your underlying candidacy.
10. No sense of your post-MBA goal and how an MBA education can help you achieve it.
These observations from The MBA Exchange are based on our experience in advising over 4,500 MBA applicants over the past 21 years. Of course, the best way to avoid constraining your chances for success is to start with an accurate, objective and actionable analysis of your background and goals. By considering that assessment, you can more easily determine not only problems to avoid but also strengths to leverage throughout your admissions campaign.