“Communication” is a key skill that top hirers look for in applicants nowadays. GMAC recently conducted a survey of nearly 600 employers and they ranked communications skills, on average, twice as important as managerial skills.
Therefore the selection procedure to the top B-schools across the world is designed such that they are able to take-in candidates who are already effective communicators. One more reason this makes sense is because MBA by itself requires effective class participation, adaptability and teamwork.
When a candidate finishes his/her MBA and steps into the real world to seek a job, it is assumed that he/she possesses the entire skills package – core business knowledge as well as strong analytical, quantitative and technical skills. Now imagine a situation where a candidate actually possesses all of these skills and is still not recruited.
One key factor here could be “Lack of Communication Skills”.
What is the point of having all the skills if a person is not able to share those with his/her team-mates or articulate into words whatever he/she wants to say?
So let’s look at 5 ways how prospective students are tested for communication skills by B-schools and what can be done to improve or highlight these skills:
AWA Test Scores
The AWA section on the GMAT matters. Some students take this section way too lightly. Scoring respectably on this section is very important because you don’t want the admission committee to doubt your written communication skills.One good way to improve your score on the AWA essay is to practice writing essays along with full length practice tests.
In fact you can send those essays to us and our team of experts at CrackVerbal will review it for you. Our experts will not only pinpoint your weaknesses but will also provide you with a definite strategy to improve.
In Interviews AdCom sees whether the candidate can express his/her views clearly. Though a lot of basic questions like, “Tell us about yourself…”, “Why MBA…” and “Why now…” sound clichéd, it’s important to prepare well for each one of these e.g. If you are a person who uses lot of fillers while speaking, you could rehearse the answers with a friend.
Sometimes coming up with a short and interesting write-up about yourself can probably do the magic too. Practising in front of mirror can be of great help as you become more aware of your body language and gestures. You will know how to use your hands better to communicate effectively. Make use of the 3C approach and make sure all your Cs are in place to crack it.
Here your written communication skills are on display and the AdCom looks for clarity and consistency. Preparing well thought answers to the questions and doing your homework well helps a lot. The better you do your homework, the better you will be at answering the questions with confidence. This is one place where you can mention all the things you have achieved in the past to highlight what you bring to the table as a student.
But at the same time it is also important to not go overboard. Being realistic is the key. Finally the essays should give the other person a pretty good idea about who you are as a person. CrackVerbal has a team of in house experts from the top b-schools to assist students with their application essays.
Letters of Recommendation
If you are yet to apply to programs and you intend to ask your current supervisor for a recommendation in the next year or so, start thinking about your communication skills and how others perceive those. Because some applications require evaluators to score students among peers in areas such as communication skills.
It’s a good idea to choose your recommenders intelligently -A recommender should preferably be a senior person you know in the organisation with whom you have worked extensively in the past. He/she should know you and your career goals well. Educate your recommenders and when you actually approach your supervisors for recommendation, make sure they understand exactly what skills you would want to be highlighted and what not.
Video Essay/ Group Discussion
These are some creative ways how B-Schools can get a peek within you for a duration of 90 seconds and get a real feel of who you really are. On one hand applicants may find this intimidating but on the other hand, if a clear strategy is planned out to deal through it, you can turn this into a great opportunity by making that FIRST excellent impression. Let’s dig a little deeper into each one of these :
Video Essays: How long are 90 seconds actually? I’d say a one page document with double line spacing. It’s a good idea to be ready with a well-rehearsed script before you start shooting the video. You could call a friend and rehearse on the phone to receive feedback. Use that feedback to improve your script, tone quality, voice modulation etc. and once you have perfected that you could graduate to the video.
Group Discussion: Assuming that you are up to date in your knowledge of current issues and have no problem in putting your points across in an urbane manner, two things that can help during a group discussion are:
Being a good listener
Being a good speaker
You have to do both of these together in some way. You have to juggle between both of these intelligently. Have you ever played that game where two people hold the skipping rope and move it? The other players have to intuitively enter the rope, jump a few times and then exit. This requires some practice.
Start listening actively – this is easier said than done. Most of us listen to reply and not really focus on what the other person is trying to say. Start listening for the sake of listening. And speak only when you feel that you actually have something unique to say that will add value to the discussion.
Did you face any obstacle due to lack of communication skills during your MBA selection process? We’d like to hear your story. Leave your comments in the comment section below!
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