Your online presence can affect your MBA application. Everyday, social media is integrated more and more into our lives. We must be cognizant of our actions and apply them in ways that help us reach our goals and not hinder them. For many students receiving their MBA is more than a goal, it is a life-long dream. As universities begin to scale back on essays and increase the research they do online, potential students must have a strategy for how they approach their online presence.
Consider Your Privacy Settings
Yes, if you apply to an MBA program or a job, chances are that they will be looking at your social-media profiles. Do yourself a favor and check your privacy settings. For Facebook, hide images and posts that you don't wish to be shown. Set personal information to private and set your positive information, such as past jobs, to public. For LinkedIn, make sure that your profile is visible. Make sure that you created your vanity URL, check the profile for grammar and spelling, and be as thorough as possible when completing your profile. For other social-media profiles, use your discretion.
This is important. Be sure that you know of anything an admissions staff member could potentially see online.Search your name, your email and your name against other companies and organizations that you have ever been associated with. For most of us, there won’t be many incriminating results, but we cannot know if we do not look.
Follow Admissions Staff
As anyone who has ever had to do a background check can attest, it can be time consuming and tiring. Make it easy for admissions people to find you. Following admissions staff can be helpful to them and to you. However, remember that I said "follow" and not "connect." If you are in the application process, I do not suggest connecting with admissions. They may not want applicants to connect with them, considering how many they review in a year.
Add the University to Your LinkedIn Decision Board
LinkedIn has a section for University Pages. These pages allow for alumni, staff and students to join the board and converse together. It also allows potential students to add the univeritiy's page to their “potential board.” When you have added a school to your potential board, you can then chat among other potential students for that school. UCLA's Anderson School of Management university page is an excellent example of how a university page should be used. I strongly urge potential MBA students to use this tool.
Remember Whom You Are Addressing
None of the above-mentioned will help you if your messaging is all wrong. Remember that you are creating pages for admissions staff members and not your peers. Think before you leave comments on posts and proofread the content on your profile page. Have other people read over the content on your profile and ask them to make suggestions.
Lastly, choose your profile image wisely. First impressions are very important and the first thing anyone will look at when viewing your social media profile is your profile image. Find a headshot that is a focused, professional and recent. Try to take your profile image as seriously as you take your application.
What are some of your thoughts on this? Do you have any experience with this process?