How to increase your admission chances in an MBA or MIM program


Getting admitted into an MBA or Master of Management (MIM) program is not guaranteed by simply submitting your application. Competition is fierce and you need to make sure that you stand out in the crowd. Sounds logical, right? But how to stand out?

In this blog we give you some tips on how to increase your admission chances.

1. Get the basics right

Apply to the right school and the right program
It seems rather obvious, but before submitting your application, you have to be sure that you are applying to the right school and the right program. In your research to find the school and program that best fit your needs and wishes, you might have created a short list of institutes and programs that fulfill your requirements. Of course, you can take your chances in more than one institute when applying, but make sure that the school and program you are applying to is reflected in the motivation of your application.

Needless to say, before even considering applying, you need to fulfill the admission requirements of the specific school and program in the first place. Are you not completely sure if a certain diploma or work experience is according to the requirements of the specific school? Reach out to the admission office and ask!

At MSM we are open to discuss your ambitions and background to see which program would be the best fit for you. You can reach out to our recruitment officers at to ask for advice or for a personal Zoom session.

Follow the instructions
Every school will have its own application instructions and it is important to follow these. Read carefully what you need to submit and how, and do exactly as described. If there are clear instructions on the size and content of a motivation letter/essay, then respect these requirements. For instance, if you are asked to write a 3-page motivation letter, don't write 5 pages. You might think it will help you stand out, but it will not. By not following or respecting the application instructions, admission officers might question your ability or willingness to adhere to policies, rules and guidelines once admitted into the program.

On the MSM website you can find all application requirements and instructions in the Admissions TAB of the specific program: Full-time MBA Admissions, Executive MBA Admissions, Online MBA Admissions, Master in Management Admissions.

Take time to prepare your application
Once you are clear about what is required to apply to a certain school and program, allow yourself time to prepare your application. Start gathering and compiling the documents well on time to allow you to check and recheck, and to read and read again. One more basic rule: check your English language/wording and use the spell check. As proficiency in English is a requirement for many MBA or MIM programs, your documents should reflect your English level right away, and as such should be free of misspellings and typos. To overcome ‘word blindness’, you might want to ask the help of family or friends to proofread your documents.

Don’t mess with your documents
Again, this seems obvious, but diplomas, transcripts, English test scores and reference letters should not be falsified in any way. Your CV should be a true reflection of your education and career path. And the motivation essay(s) should be truthfully yours, not written by someone else, or characterized by plagiarism. Any case of fraud will immediately be recognized by the admission officer or you will be exposed during the interview.

2. Research the school(s)

Create a shortlist
In order to make the right choice and to see which school and program is the best fit for your needs and ambitions, you need to research your options carefully. First start with evaluating different schools based on your personal set of selection criteria (curriculum, rankings, accreditations, electives, program structure, extra-curricular activities, career support, teaching faculty, fees, scholarships, location etc.). Based on this you can make a short list of schools that fulfill your most important criteria.

Check out the different program pages on the MSM website to find all information on what the programs offer you: Full-time MBA, Executive MBA, Online MBA, Master in Management

Get to know the school(s)
Once you have a shortlist of favorable schools, do everything you can to get to know the schools. This means going beyond what can be found on the website, but really getting a feel for what the school stands for, the school’s values and culture, teaching approach, the learning experience, facilities etc. Visit your shortlisted schools at (online) fairs, join (virtual) open days and webinars, talk to current students and/or alumni. By getting in touch with student recruiters, admission officers and current students/alumni of the schools, you will get valuable insights that you cannot get in any other way. These insights will certainly reflect in your application and in the interview, helping you to stand out.

If you want to (virtually) meet with MSM representatives, keep an eye on our event section on the website. Here you can see where you can meet us and when, which webinars and free master classes we offer, and when we organize (virtual) open days.

To get more first-hand information, you can chat with our current students and alumni via the chat on our website.

Understand what the school(s) are looking for in a student
Apart from finding out if a school is a fit for you, it is also important to understand if you would be a fit for the school. You need to understand what the school is looking for in a student. Once you understand, this will help you to stand out in your motivation letter and during the interview. To find out you can talk to program coordinators, student recruitment and admission officers, visit the school at (online) fairs and open days, and talk to students and alumni.

For example, at MSM we are a looking at a specific set of personal traits in a student, next to the ‘hard’ admission requirements. You need to be open-minded and willing to learn about your own blind spots. We are looking for uniqueness, not a dime a dozen. Our students need to be hard working and motivated, ready to go the extra mile. To be able to successfully finalize our MBA or MIM program, you need to be a well-balanced all-rounder. But most of all, MSM is looking for people that focus on making a difference rather than making money.

3. Bring it all together in the motivation letter/essay(s)

Once you have completed your in-depth research on the school, understand what they are looking for in a student and know your own values and ambitions, bring it all together in an astonishing motivation letter/essay.

An eminently well-written motivation letter or essay is the document to focus on to stand out from the crowd. This is your chance to shine. But start with the basic rule: read the instructions and respect these.

As is clear from the tips above, you cannot use the same motivation letter or essay for different schools. This would imply a very general, meaningless and cliché letter/essay that would send your application straight away to the waste bin.

When writing your motivation letter/essay, it is important to show why the school would want you in their classroom. To find your ‘outstanding’ factor is hard though and requires a high level of self-reflection. A few guidelines:

  • Most of all be honest.
  • Show real self-awareness.
  • Know what unique qualities and viewpoints you bring into the classroom.
  • Understand your personal weaknesses and don’t be afraid to name these, consider it learning goals. Use examples to show how you have been working on them.
  • Use the insights you gathered about the school to make a connection with your unique attributes.
  • Envision how the MBA or MIM program will help you to make a difference after graduation.

MSM has set clear instructions for the motivation letter which should cover following topics: Motivation, Career, Personality and Choices. In the instructions you will find what MSM is expecting you to cover within these topics. Your motivation essay is important for us to get to know you beyond your CV and transcript, to learn how well you understand the program and it plays a crucial role in our admission reviewal process. In addition, your essay plays a decisive role in the awarding of the Academic Excellence Scholarship, the Women Ambassador Scholarship and the Orange Tulip Scholarship. Read more about the criteria for these and other scholarships here.

4. Get good recommendations

The recommendation letters are also an important part of your application. The letters should provide insights into your performance, your personality, your qualities and your achievements. So, make sure to identify the right people for writing the recommendation letters. Your recommenders should really be able to provide those insights and as such should have been working with you very closely in recent times.

At MSM your recommenders will have to fill in an online template with fixed questions, focusing on various qualities and skills, as well as reasons why the MBA or MIM would benefit you.

5. Keep your LinkedIn updated

This might not be the first point of attention, but it is recommended to have your LinkedIn profile up-to-date and in line with the education, work experience and skills as outlined in your CV. Even better if you have some recommendations on your LinkedIn profile. It will all contribute to building the whole picture of who you are. An additional advantage is that once you start your MBA or MIM program, you will grow your network and most likely connect through social platforms like LinkedIn. An updated and well-maintained profile will be helpful then as well.

When you get an invitation for the MBA/MIM admission interview, you can use LinkedIn to find out more about the persons that will conduct your interview.

During the MBA or MIM program at MSM, you will have the opportunity to follow a LinkedIn workshop as part of the Career and Personal Development Track. In this workshop you will learn more about how to set up a good LinkedIn profile for career purposes.

6. Prepare for the interview

When you make it to the interview, you have come a long way already. Now it is time to take on the last hurdle. You have already written an outstanding motivation letter, so you know exactly why you want to study at this particular school, what your career goals are, how you think the MBA or MIM will help you achieve these goals, what you will contribute to the classroom and what makes you stand out from the crowd. So, go into the interview with full confidence! Being yourself will be crucial. But still, it is important to prepare.

You can start by searching what typical business school questions you can expect. Think carefully about the answers you would give to these questions. If it would make you feel more comfortable, you might even want to practice with a relative or friend. At every interview you typically will get the opportunity to ask questions. This is another moment where you can show that you really did your homework on the school and program. So, avoid asking any questions that can easily be found on the School’s website. Instead, ask questions that demonstrate your interest in and knowledge about the program.

During the MBA/MIM admission interview at MSM we will discuss more in detail what you covered in your motivation letter. Moreover, during the 30-45-minute interview we want to get to know you. Not only do we want to make sure that you are a good fit for the program, but also that the program is the right fit for you. Of course, you will also get the opportunity to ask your questions to us.

More information about the MSM admission and scholarship process

We hope that the above tips and advices are helpful for your MBA/MIM application. In case you would have any questions about the MSM admission and scholarship process for the MBA or Master in Management programs, contact us at or at or check the Admissions and Scholarship sections of the specific program on the website.

To conclude, we would like to wish you good luck with your application, and we hope to see you soon at MSM.