Individuals applying to business school have plenty of reasons to feel doubt, fear and sometimes even paranoia. Application instructions can be confusing. Selection criteria are typically vague. Essay and interview questions can be frustrating.
However, there’s no element of the application process that fosters more uncertainty and anxiety than the final step before matriculation – background verification.
For example, consider what this nervous MBA admit posted online:
“I recently got admitted to one of the M7 schools. As I now got an admission, I am planning on quitting work this month and start preparing for a professional certification/license exam full-time for the next 6-7 months until Fall term begins. However, one thing that worries me is that my background check has not yet been finished and whether the fact that I left work can become a problem. Is this something that could become problematic to background check if I am no longer working for the company?”
And here’s another MBA admit’s stressful experience:
“I’m a round 1 admit, [verification firm] Re Vera reached out to me on a few things regarding my work experience pretty soon after I was accepted. Anyway, after some back and forth with Re Vera person where I explained the situation, haven’t heard from them since, which is probably good. So my point is that even if you have potential issues where they need to talk to you, they still don’t give you a confirmation when it’s done.”
So, given the cold realities of background verification, what can an honest and ethical MBA admit do to minimize the uncertainty and apprehension that surrounds background verification?
First, it’s essential to prepare before leaving a full-time, pre-MBA job. Having written documentation in hand for employment dates, titles, promotions, raises and bonuses can save you from panicking later. This is especially true – and challenging – for individuals who’ve been self-employed and thus don’t have a former supervisor or HR department to confirm their story.
Second, assess your MBA application as if you were a professional background checker, paid by the school to raise questions, find disconnects and report problems. Which stated achievements sound like exaggerations or possibly misrepresentations? Which academic or professional credentials could be most difficult to prove? Which job titles or responsibilities seem most atypical or dubious? Anticipate what could cause the background checker to pause, wonder, misunderstand or assume.
And finally, have an expert advisor in your corner to help you strategize appropriately and respond convincingly. Background verification firms don’t give up easily or quickly when they sense a problem. One proven resource for admits to engage is CounterCheck™from The MBA Exchange. Working with a professional who, since 2011, has helped dozens of other MBA admits prevail can make all the difference for you.
By all means, keep celebrating your hard-earned MBA admission. But also start planning and preparing for the next step – background verification. You’ve worked too long and too hard to achieve your ultimate goal and potentially have your dream derailed prior to enrollment.