MBA Admissions Advice About Social Media
If you’re applying to business school this year, you’ve likely been scanning the internet for MBA admissions advice to help you put your best foot forward. Today we’re going to talk about a topic that doesn’t come up much on MBA admissions advice forums or blogs but can be used to your advantage in MBA applications if done wisely. Conversely, doing it wrong risks detracting from the perfectly packaged picture you’ve presented of yourself in your MBA applications. That topic is social media.
You might wonder who is going to look at your social media presence as part of the MBA admissions process. It is quite likely that the MBA admissions committee will at least glance at your LinkedIn profile (if not others). It is also very likely that, if you are granted an interview, your admissions interviewer will use your social media presence to get a sense of who you are outside of the interview room. Last but not least, once admitted, you will meet boatloads of new faces at admitted students’ weekends and on campus. You know how tempting it is to look up a new peer online, right?
Pro Tip #1: Social Media is an Extension of Your Personal Brand
First, we’ll cover how to use social media to your advantage in the MBA admissions process. Remember that personal branding work you (hopefully) did at the beginning of your MBA application process? If you did it right, you should have a strong sense of how you will present yourself in your application materials. Think of your social media presence as another vehicle to showcase the unique skillset you bring to the table and reinforce the career interests you’ve set your sights on for the future.
How do you do this exactly? Most importantly is your LinkedIn profile. We recommend including a headline that crystallizes your career experience thus far and may include a nod to your passion areas tangential to or outside of work. For example, your headline could read something like ‘Innovative strategy consultant with experience in the consumer products and technology spaces and a passion for mentorship.’ In addition to your headline, make sure your LinkedIn profile is robustly built out and consistent with what you’ve included on your resume and in the applications themselves.
It’s also ok, and can even been strategic, to add a little personality and individuality to your social media profiles. If you talk about a passion in your applications (e.g., running, hiking, travelling, etc.), it can be a nice touch to incorporate it into your profile. Additionally, think about how you can add authenticity to your future career goals by following accounts related to your target industry or posting links to newsworthy articles about the sector.
Pro Tip #2: Give Your Social Media the Mother-In-Law Test
Next, we’ll talk about ensuring your social media doesn’t negatively impact your MBA applications. This may seem (or should be) obvious, but it can be an easy thing to forget in the chaos of info sessions, essay writing, etc.
The best way to make sure you are presenting yourself positively on social media is to perform what we call ‘The Mother-in-Law Test’. Imagine you are meeting a new significant other’s family for the first time – it’s likely they’ll want to get a sense for who you are and google you. What will they find? Google yourself and find out.
Additionally, review your privacy settings across all your social media accounts and make sure the publicly available information, pictures, etc. are things you would want your future mother-in-law to see. In other words, photos of excessive drinking, scandalous or irresponsible behavior, etc. are not a great look. Scanning what’s out there and adjusting if needed is easy to do and important.
Related to ensuring your public profiles are mother-in-law approved, it’s also important to be respectful and cautious with things you post or comment on. Now is not the time to have heated debates with political adversaries in a public forum or post anything that can be read as insensitive or uninformed.
On the contrary, feel free to post or comment in ways that demonstrate you congratulate others on accomplishments, acknowledge their skills in a particular area, etc. Encouraging others is a key element of leadership, exactly what the adcom wants to see.