Mar 23, 2012

MBA Admissions, Background Checks and You!

With a lot of schools releasing their R1 and R2 decisions during the last few weeks, many admitted candidates might be having some questions about the background checks that are often reported to be conducted by the top MBA programs.

To help explain the process, here are some quick facts :

1) What is a background check?

Background check involves checking out and verifying the information that an applicant (and now an admitted student) provides to the school during his or her MBA applications. The process may differ a litl bit for different schools, it usually includes verifying that the applicant attended the schools (undergrad/grad/community, etc) that he or she claimed in the application to have attended, received the grades that are indicated in the application and worked in the organizations that is reported on the application. It also involves the checking the candidate’s job history, titles, starting and ending dates and salary information. Finally, background checks may even involve contacting applicant's recommenders to check about their support and confirming applicant's involvement in the extracurricular or community activities as she or he may have earlier claimed.

2) Do all schools have background checks? When is this done? 

A lot of top business schools like to verify the application information that has been provided by applicants and is usually done only for the admitted applicants. Most background checks occur in the spring – once the decisions for most rounds are released and admitted students start putting in their deposits.  Often, the MBA programs outsource this function to a professional agency such as Kroll.

3) Why is background check required? 

Simple answer - With a brand name that any top MBA program can not afford to tarnish, business schools conduct background check to protect all stakeholders of the MBA program (students, faculty, staff, alumni) against those who may falsify their backgrounds to gain an unfair advantage in the admissions process. Some schools may choose to investigate the backgrounds of random sample of applicants through a background check. This also serves to increase the trust in the application process of business schools.

4) What about minor discrepancies?

It's quite natural for admitted applicants to get anxious at the background check stage, wondering whether the admission offer might be rescinded if, for instance, the “start date” for an old job is one week earlier than the start date that HR reports during the background check. No! The good news is that most schools report any discrepancies back to the applicant and give them a chance to explain a plausible mistake. However, it always make sense to do your best to report as correct information as possible while applying to school, so that you can be certain that the data you report is accurate.  If there are any potential issues that come to your mind after submitting, you can preemptively contact the adcom (if the discrpancy is serious enough.)

5) Will this flag me to my employer about my intention to go to a business school?

As the background check process usually takes place AFTER you’ve been admitted, this shouldn't be a major issue (and it happens mostly for only those who are admitted and not who just applied).

6) How to ensure a smooth background check?

Be honest in your application. Do not "guesstimate" out of lazyness but do due diligence and find the right information to report. Present the admissions committee with the most accurate information you can.

Good luck to everyone who is heading to the business schools this fall !

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  1. A lot of top business schools like to verify the application information that has been provided by applicants and is usually done only for the admitted applicants.

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  2. Hello Friends.........

    Great information.Thanks for sharing this useful information with all of us.Keep sharing more in the future.

    Have a nice time ahead.