Make your collaboration skills shine in your MBA application

Rodrigo Malta is the Managing Director of MBA Marketing, Recruiting, and Admissions at the McCombs Schools of Business in Austin, Texas. He’s an alumnus of the school himself and has also worked there for nearly 14 years. He tells us how the MBA programs at Texas McCombs create diverse leaders who hold collaboration and cooperation near and dear as professional values.

In short

Leadership and cooperation values are a must

The McCombs School of Business is made up of a community of leaders, but they’re always willing to lend a helping hand to others while working towards their goals.

MBA Managing Director Rodrigo Malta suggests that prospective students should highlight their leadership abilities as well as their cooperation skills in their applications: 

“[Making sure that] you demonstrate that collaboration through the application components is really important, so you can showcase leadership and collaboration in your resume, in the admissions interview, letters of recommendation become really important…” (03:05)

Rodrigo adds that leadership and cooperation values are a must for students to be a perfect fit for the McCombs School of Business’s academic community.

He says, “’Fit’ for us really means somebody [who] is going to be a great addition to the community that we have here at Texas McCombs, and [it’s] leaders [who] really like to collaborate and help each other out.” (03:30)

Transparency in the MBA application process

The McCombs Schools of Business gets between 2,000 and 3,000 applications per year for their various MBA programs. Naturally, admissions is competitive and results in a fair amount of students being put on the waitlist. Rodrigo discusses how Texas McCombs tries to be as transparent as possible throughout their selection process:

“Normally we will send out a message wherever we start to review the waitlist and make sure that you’re still interested so we can consider you for admission,” he explains. “We do want to know, for example, if you had a promotion or if you’ve retaken the exam and gotten a new test score…We try to be as transparent as possible…We would never waitlist somebody who we’d never at some point and time consider for admission.” (07:05)

The importance of “give and take” in your MBA application

When applying to study at the McCombs School of Business, it’s important to explain why you’re interested in your program of choice specifically. However, Rodrigo points out that it’s also key to share what you can bring to the program yourself.

He says, “You should for sure have done the research about not only what you want to get out of the program, but also how you’re going to contribute to our culture [and] our community as well. That give and take is really important.” (10:22)

Rodrigo advises that it’s hard to be successful at Texas McCombs if you only focus on the take. You should also think about what you can give.

“We hear a lot of our applicants kind of doing the research on what they would take...For us, for you to be successful…you also have to give,” he emphasizes. “That give may be sharing expertise that you have. That give may be being super vulnerable and making mistakes and trying something new so that you’re achieving your goals and taking that next step in your career.” (10:44)

Showcase what makes you unique

The McCombs School of Business values having a diverse student body. Because of that, they’ve intentionally designed an admissions process that allows prospective students to highlight the different parts of their personal identity and let them shine. 

“We have purposely built the application process to allow all of the pieces that make you who you are shine through,” Rodrigo says. (12:50).

Even though the evaluation criteria are the same for all students, they’re given the opportunity to share what makes them unique in their application. Rodrigo adds, “We give you space and flexibility to weave your story and who you are into the application process.” (13:36)

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