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How MBA Aspirants should clean up their Social Media Profiles

Social Media Profile Cleaning MBA CandidatesThe word limit for MBA Application essays has come down by 50%, and applicants are trying to find unique ways to express themselves. Most applicants are carefully planning how they present themselves by spreading out stories to different MBA admission rounds. The essays focus on the essential qualities – maturity, leadership, and effective communication while the interviews and group discussions allow aspirants to showcase their interpersonal and teamwork skills.

With the exponential growth of Social Media from 2009 onwards, AdCom has one additional data source to evaluate candidates.  MBA Aspirants using Facebook are conscious about their privacy and profile presentation. The personal details entered in Facebook profiles have limited access through search engines. However, MBA aspirants are much more open about the data that they share through Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus and Foursquare.

Here are some tips on cleaning up Social Media profiles for MBA Admissions:

Facebook

Although Facebook users are more aware about the privacy settings, the number of friends for each user is rising exponentially. The truth be told - you are less likely to interact with 90% of the Facebook friends in real life. With a wide and unmonitored friend network, the privacy settings that you have set for “non-friends” are completely different for friends and friend of friends. This makes it possible for AdCom to access your information through a connection. If you had shown intent to join a Business School by liking their page, the administrators can access lot of information about you by association through pages.

Feeds are created for each “friend” activity. Therefore, it would be wise to unfriend people who haven’t interacted with you for a long time. Make sure that the timeline settings are updated. By default, posts and photos hidden from the timeline are still available in the news feed, search, and other applications with access to your timeline. Do a complete audit on the applications accessing your timeline.

Twitter

Tweets are publicly available to the MBA AdCom. Be very careful about the language and the interactions that you have on twitter. Most applicants would have never thought about how twitter chats would be archived forever. Here are some interesting tweets from Biz Stone, one of the co-founders of twitter, right when Twitter began gaining momentum.



Social Media Tools available in the market can access the mood , influence and activity of the candidate. You can do very little to change the archived tweets but make sure that you do a thorough audit of your tweets for the past 3 years. If you had set twitter to private, the conversations would not be visible to the public but most MBA aspirants would have used Twitter publicly for some period. Make sure that the tweets don’t contradict your values or the profile that is presented to the AdCom through essays and resume. You can’t fake being a positive person when your tweets are frequent updates about how miserable your life is. Audit your twitter accounts with advanced search or topsy

Instagram

Instagram is another popular social photo sharing network that can give AdCom a lot of inputs on what the candidate is like, and how they behave. Picture indeed say a thousand words, and no words or phrase can compensate the embarrassing photos shared in Instagram. Make sure that sharing is set to private mode. If you are sharing the photos with Facebook users, double check the privacy settings for third-party applications in Facebook, and change it to private.

Block random followers. It is easy to pick a photograph from your instagram feed and publish it in a different context. Photos can be more damaging that tweets. AdCom understands that Tweets are mostly random thoughts, and if the individual shows some level of immaturity, it would be still tolerated. But pictures have a lasting impact, and the AdCom might develop biases based on a few images shared in Instagram.

Foursquare

At least 30% of Facebook users have enabled photo tagging based on location. This might be useful when you look at the photos, 2-3 years after they have been clicked.  Foursquare takes it to the next level with location-based tracking enabled through GPS. This maps your every move with incentives like check-in awards and badges. If the AdCom wants to know how serious you are about your football practice, a history of Foursquare feed would be enough to verify. If you have nothing to hide, then keeping the foursquare data public will not be detrimental for your admissions.

Google Plus

With a single sign-on feature, all Google products are linked to Google + profile. For Gmail and other private services, this feature might be useful but for video sites like YouTube, which is linked in G+ by default, the videos shared, subscribed, and uploaded can be easily identified to your profile. AdCom can learn about your interests, activity and information consumption pattern based on youtube feeds. Thumbnails of the YouTube videos and Images shared publicly in G+ are available under Google Image Search.

The politically incorrect prank video that you shared might be associated with your G+ profile name. When someone searches for your name, the images might be listed as second or third entry. It is easy to form unconscious association between images and names, and for your future, do a thorough audit of the videos and posts, publically shared in G+.

MBA aspirants spend thousands of dollars on Consultants. A few mistakes with social media profiles shouldn’t jeopardize an aspirant’s chance to get into a top Business School. MBA Applicants have a vibrant personal life. AdCom understands this but how they interpret each social media profile depends on the background, nationality, and exposure of the AdCom.

There are some common best practices and etiquette while using Social Media, but let essays, resume, and interviews be the three presentation tools for your candidacy.
The tips until now have been about how to clean up social media profiles, but if MBA Aspirants are strategic, the social media profiles can be leveraged for MBA Admissions.  We will cover how to leverage social media in the next article.

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