In this video, learn about some interesting tips on writing emails. The guidelines pertaining to email etiquette will prepare you well for the MBA Applications process.
Tips on Email Etiquette
When applying to MBA programs, it is vital to maintain proper email etiquette. In today's world, email is perhaps the most important medium for business communication; this is why Experts' Global's MBA admission consultants
often stress the need to ensure that your emails to the institutions that you will be applying to are absolutely professional; doing so will convey that you are a mature individual and candidate.
A Sober Email ID
The first thing to do is to select a sober email id; if you were to contact an admissions consultant from a cheesy or childish email id, such as email@example.com, the first thing that the admissions consultant would suggest would be for you to use a different id for your application. Play around with your name, surname, and numbers to come up with an email id that fits - something along the lines of firstname.lastname@example.org would be best; remember to begin your first name and surname with capital letters.
A Precise Subject
When writing an email, the first point pertaining to email etiquette that you must consider is the email subject. The subject of an email must convey the context of the communication; avoid generic subject lines that do not inform the reader of what to expect from the email. The subject should also be short enough to fit into the inbox preview and the first letter of each word should be in caps unless it is a conjunction, pronoun, or has fewer than three letters. Use the Pipe (|) as a logical separator; for example, if you were writing to a school or your admissions consultant to inquire about the TOEFL requirement for your eligibility, the subject of the email could be written as:
Regarding my Eligibility | Clarity on TOEFL
This subject clearly and concisely suggests what the context of the email is and the school or your admissions consultant will be able to tell exactly what you want to know, as soon as he/she sees the email in his/her inbox.
Whenever you are replying to an email, remember to change the subject if the context of the email has changed. Furthermore, only reply to an email if you are responding to the content of that email; if you are starting a new thread, prepare a new email with a new subject.
Address and Greeting
An email should begin with a respectful greeting. For the greeting, it is always safer, to begin with, 'Respected' or 'Dear'. In some cultures, it can be considered rude to directly name a person. Remember, it is always better to be a shade more polite than a shade less so, which is why your email should always address the necessary pleasantries, wishing the recipient of the email well and thanking them for any previous email sent by them, before moving on to the main body of the email.
Body of the Email
When writing the main body of an email, the priority should be legibility and clarity; as per experts in MBA admission consulting, admissions committees have little patience for material that is difficult to parse. To that end, select an appropriate font type, size, and color; do not sacrifice legibility for style. Ideally, your email should have short, logically separated paragraphs that are precise and talk to the point. However, remember to include all pertinent details; emails that are too short can be just as inefficient as those that are too long. Finally, be sure to end the email cordially.
As mentioned above, when responding to an email you must change the subject if the context has changed and thank the sender for their email. Critically, you must take care to address every part of the sender's email; do not interpret the email and reply as per your understanding; reply to what the sender has actually written.
There are a number of clear rules to follow when following up on an email that you have sent. Most importantly, do not follow up an email with a phone call; calling someone to inform them that you have just sent them an email is considered annoying by most. Related to the preceding point, be sure to wait for at least two business days before following up; this is the agreed upon global standard with regard to email etiquette. Even after waiting for two days it would be wise of you to avoid taking an unnecessary tone in your follow up; only ask for urgent responses when the situation is truly urgent. Of course, if the situation legitimately calls for it, you can urge the recipient to respond sooner and even call them; however, calling should be reserved as a final option. This is a point that anyone in the MBA consultancy field will be sure to point out to you if you need to contact your school; improperly following up will convey that you are not a mature professional.
Here are a few pieces of general wisdom from the Experts' Global MBA admissions consultancy team that will help improve your email skills.
- As stated above, the standard response time to an email is two business days; so, you must be sure to respond to any email that you receive within that timeframe; if you cannot do so, then buy some time; ideally, buy a bit more time than you will actually need.
- Generally speaking, you should avoid using caps and large fonts, as they are often used to convey that the writer is metaphorically raising his/her voice. If you need to highlight a portion of the text, use background colors or italics.
- As should go without saying, completely avoid grammatical errors, typos, slang, and 'SMS language'. MBA admissions consultants warn that the admissions committees heavily frown upon grammatical mistakes and typos.
- Use cordial words; remember, an email cannot convey a tone of voice so using words such as 'please' and 'thank you' will help ensure that your email reads as polite and professional. Wherever possible, also try to show your appreciation for the recipient.
The Most Important Email Etiquette
At Experts' Global, our admissions consultants have one absolutely strict guideline regarding student emails - always acknowledge! No matter the circumstance, be sure to acknowledge every email that you receive. Acknowledging your emails in a timely manner suggests to the sender that you are a sincere, interested, and courteous individual. An acknowledgment does not have to be elaborate; it can be a simple 'Thank you' or 'All right' but you must make sure to close the communication loop.
Gmail has a number of settings that you can employ to improve the standards of your emails.
- As already stated, set a nice, legible font, with an easy to read type, size, and color. Aside from making communication easier, it also displays a sense of respect for the recipient that, as your admissions consultant will tell you, is very important when communicating with the university.
- If you intend to set a signature, make sure that it is as sober as your email id.
- If you will not be working for a few days, set up a vacation responder.
- If you send an email from a mobile device, be sure to include a signature along the lines of 'Sent from a mobile device, I regret the brevity and typos', a little piece of email etiquette that will inform the recipient why your email may come across as brusque.
- Archive your emails; the only emails in your inbox should be those that have pending action items; doing so will allow you to maintain a neat inbox and avoid missing emails.
- Enable the 'Undo Send' option - this is a Gmail option that allows you to recall an email, up to 30 seconds after it was sent. This feature is a great way to avoid last minute errors.
Keeping these email etiquette tips in mind will help you present yourself as a mature, experienced professional to the admissions committee and will serve you well in your future career. For more useful information on the MBA application process please see the other articles prepared by Experts’ Global’s MBA admissions consultancy team.