An application cover letter, like any other step in your MBA application process can literally make or break your admission chances. We look at ten things, which you should not miss in your application letter.

Correct Salutation

Gone are the days to ‘To Whomever It May Concern’, please mention the target audience. If the letter is to the admissions department, address them. This not only shows confidence in application but also shows focus. Moreover, when it is like ‘TWIMC’, it looks like a very generic letter written to copy pasted and sent everywhere. Ensure, that if they have they’ve asked to address to the Dean, or the School, you get it correct. No one wants to read and respond to a letter not addressed to them.

Please include a subject, yes, it still holds valid

We feel in the times of emails, the value of subject lines may have gone down drastically, given the fact that we have address lines in emails, but do not forget you’ll be sending a whole bunch of documents in the email together, and you don’t want to confuse the addressee with a narrow subject line like ‘Application Cover Letter’ and you also don’t want them to lose sight of it. Best said and done, put a subject line. And for so much, many schools restrict you to address the subject of the email in a particular format. Do not miss on that.

Correct Date

Ah, nothing can sink the ship faster than a hole in the bottom. A wrong date is like that hole. You do not want to get that wrong. That’s the most basic thing that they want you to manage around. As MBA is a global program and you have schools to be applied to in different time zones, check the time zone do verify the date and time. Imagine being in US and writing an application to a college in Dubai or China and dating it to your today, which is their yesterday. Small but important nuances, you should be careful about.

Program Name

Though this detail is already with the school authorities and the admissions department in cognizance with your admission form, you do not want to confuse with incorrect degree details. If it is Global Program in Marketing Management, it is, and yes it is, very different from Masters in Marketing Management. Different schools and countries might have different ways to name a program, so be careful that you get it right.

Where are you from

Imagine getting a letter, the first detail that we look for is where it has come from. Exactly the same hold true in a cover letter. Along with your name and application number, one of the first things you should state is which country and city you belong to. One facilitation reason is the segregation of international applications that is generally suggested in top business schools to evaluate how they can imbibe international diversity. Help them, it leaves a better impression and also lets your application stand out.

Academic Background

Do not copy-paste from your resume. This has to be written in sentences, not tabular. Again, your highest degree comes first and then others. After that, your most recent and prominent certification should be mentioned. Do not talk about awards and felicitation you’ve received for academic excellence as yet. Also, if you’ve been a part of a research program or are currently pursuing a research, do not dilute its importance by mentioning it here. We’ll mention it separately to get focus.

Corporate Experience

If you’ve any, yes, any experience in the corporate world, now is the time to mention it. Find that part time job at Pizza Hut too petty and shameful to mention, time to get a reality check. Please do not forget two things; you’re competing with people who might have a lot of experience in top companies and other people who are fresh undergraduates. To beat both, mentioning even the smallest of jobs is crucial. You have had a feel of the corporate world, doesn’t matter what. It needs to go in black and white. But remember, no salary mentions and no corporate anecdotes. Reserve them to in case they ask you in the interview.

Research Experience and Awards

Been a part of research programs or are currently pursuing one? It goes in the letter now. Imagine the letter to be a funnel; we started from academic to corporate and now to something specific like a research. Also, ensure now you should list your academic and co-curricular achievements. It is time the letter reader knows how awesome you are!

Closing Lines

Do not shower praises on the college, unrequited. Just because you’re applying there, does not mean you need to go praising it to them only. Rankings and alumni have proved the college’s worth; it is time to prove yours. State how the college and you can work together on something to excel.


Do not mention, looking for a positive reply, or anything similar to this. Firstly it is a very old-school rotten way of asking for a positive reply. Be confident. Secondly, there cannot be positive or negative reply to the letter. So, do not solicit one. Just say ‘Best Regards’ and your name. Period. No unnecessary talking and no flurrying around the closing style.


An ideal covering letter should be contained within 500 words. Go beyond and you might not hold the interest of the reader. Your application and other documents also have to tell your story. Keep it short and simple.

Remember; write a letter thinking if you were on the other side of the table, what would you expect? What would delight you? Then get to writing and framing the perfect cover letter.

Feel free to ask any questions.