MBA Admissions Q&A: ESMT |

MBA Admissions Q&A: ESMT

By Mike Grill

Updated March 2, 2021 Updated March 2, 2021

In this interview, Stephanie Kluth – head of admissions at the Berlin-based, ESMT European School of Management and Technology – outlines the MBA admissions process at ESMT and has some words of guidance for those interested in applying.

Head of admissions at ESMT, Stephanie Kluth
What is the typical acceptance rate to the ESMT MBA program?

Usually, 25% of all submitted applications get accepted. The typical percentage of domestic students is between 10 and 15%.

What are the most important aspects of the ESMT MBA application process besides GMAT score, prior GPA, and current job position?

What we look for is a person who will suit our school in terms of diversity and background, and who will learn from our strengths, as we will from theirs.

We strive to achieve a fit between what our program has to offer and what candidates need for their professional advancement and self-development.

The ESMT MBA is not only aimed at people who have a management background. ESMT is committed to preparing professionals for a meaningful contribution in the area of leadership, regardless of their field. The MBA program is designed for those who have strong professional experience, be it in engineering, science, business, finance, architecture, law, medicine, healthcare, public service, journalism, or the like, and now feel ready to move to broader business-wide leadership responsibility.

For our mission to be accomplished successfully, all candidates admitted to our full-time MBA program should have an outstanding background as a professional with at least three years of significant practical experience, as well as a university degree and an adequate GMAT score.

The most important things are a successful career to date and evidence of a determination to succeed as a senior manager. We look at what the candidate has achieved, his/her views on how he/she has dealt with challenges and what they hope to achieve in the future. During the interview we will ask the applicant to give examples from their past experience that indicate not only their management and leadership abilities, but also commitment, ambition, international exposure and teamwork skills.

What is one mistake you see applicants make?

Sometimes applicants try to impress admissions with business knowledge they do not necessarily have. This can sometimes be taken from essays which are mostly cut and pasted and come across as very impressive but hollow and not unique. We prefer applicants to be unique and try to answer the questions honestly. We prefer receiving more information about the individual’s background and thoughts than general disposable information. The essays should sound like the applicant, and should be written by the applicant.

What is something you would like to see applicants do more often?

We appreciate it if applicants know the school’s profile and requirements before they apply to enable them to ask relevant questions. Applicants should know what they would like to achieve by doing an MBA at ESMT and what their post-MBA plans are. Business schools receive lots of requests that are very general and could be answered by quick internet research as well.

What does the ESMT application process look like?

ESMT operates a rolling admissions process. You can apply using our online application form. Prospects unsure of their suitability can ask admissions staff for a preliminary CV check.

Formal applications are processed on the day they are received, and interviews usually take place within two weeks.

All candidates have to be interviewed before they can be offered a place on the MBA, and ESMT encourages all applicants to come to the school for a personal interview. Alternatively interviews are conducted by video Skype or, in exceptional cases, by phone.

Following the interview, applications go before the admissions and examinations committee. The committee uses various points of reference to judge the applicant‘s suitability: academic qualifications and GMAT test scores, professional qualifications and references, their motivation to attend ESMT and the conclusions reached by the interviewer.

By considering each of these aspects we are able to build up a holistic picture of the candidate‘s potential. We look to confirm the applicant‘s suitability for our MBA programs and the likelihood of the candidate being successful and reaching a senior management level after graduating. If a candidate is successful, the committee will have decided that their experience and communication skills will contribute to the diversity we seek among our students.

Applicants are informed of the admissions and examinations committee‘s decision within one to three weeks following their admissions interview.

What are some of the tests, official documents, and other hurdles that international students must deal with?

Students joining ESMT need to apply for a visa at the German embassy in their home country. Students need to prove they have an offer to study at ESMT, health insurance coverage and sufficient funds on a blocked German account which can be opened in their home country. Instructions are available at the respective German embassy. No German language skills are required. That is pretty much it. Chinese students may need to go through a special examination, called APS (German: Akademische Prüfstelle). An office based in Beijing has the function of verifying academic qualifications.

Once students are in Berlin, ESMT’s admissions office assists and takes care of administrative matters, such as registering in Berlin and applying for a student residence permit. Upon graduation, students are allowed to stay in Germany for up to 18 months to look for a position which matches their qualification. This residence permit is easy to get and can be transformed into a work permit once a job is secured.

How can a candidate overcome a lower GMAT score?

The GMAT is not the sole predictor of an applicant's success. There is no particular weight for an applicant’s GMAT score in the application review process. We carefully check the grades of the certified university transcripts together with the GMAT results and how they are balanced. Furthermore, we select our participants based on their leadership potential and ambition to make a difference as much as we do on strong academic performance. The interview performance as well as the reception by the referees is taken into consideration, in order to get a more rounded picture of an applicant's personality as a whole.

The overall impression of education, work background, test results and essay questions is the basis for selection. A strong performance on all other mentioned criteria might help to overcome a low GMAT test score. This also refers to GRE scores which ESMT accepts as well.

MBA Admissions Tips

Essay: Do not repeat yourself, be natural and be yourself, do not copy and paste – be original. This is important as it helps us to get to know you.

Interview: Good preparation is essential. Give natural, well-structured and confident answers. Be aware of the purpose of the interview. Treat the interview like a job interview and show your knowledge of the ESMT program you are applying to. Wear suitable business attire, arrive ahead of time, be polite and enthusiastic.

Letter of recommendation: The ideal letter of recommendation is from a current or recent supervisor, but most importantly from somebody who knows how the applicant performs on the job. Recommendations provide valuable insight into how applicants are viewed by others. Choose individuals that know you well and will take the time to write a thorough and supportive letter, detailing your performance with specific examples rather than general statements. If your recommender is unable to discuss your strengths and potential in any depth, or provide specific illustrations of your performance, do not ask them. If you have any difficulty selecting the correct person to recommend you for the program, contact the office of admissions and we will try to help you.

CV/résumé: Avoid tiresome industry jargon, technical terms, financial lingo or management speak. Keep it simple and to the point and make it easy on the eye. Your CV is an important overview of your experience. Since the CV is often the first item the application admissions staff and interviewers take a look at, it should target the MBA program for which you are applying and should bring out the relevant skills you have to offer. Your CV can set the tone for the rest of your application. Make sure it generates interest.

School visit: Show a genuine interest. As with the interview, dress well, show up in time and be friendly and polite. Try to see as much as possible of the campus and try to speak to as many people as possible to get beyond just the school’s version of the program.

This article was originally published in April 2015 . It was last updated in March 2021

Want more content like this Register for free site membership to get regular updates and your own personal content feed.

Related Articles Last year

Most Shared Last year

Most Read Last year