Free Evaluation, MBA Preparation

Part 3 of 3: How to Start Your MBA Applications

July 26 2016 By The MBA Exchange
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8 key steps that business school applicants can and should take… starting today

When you feel intimidation, ignorance, procrastination or fear, here’s a simple mantra for MBA candidates to keep in mind: “Go from known to unknown, from easy to difficult.” This methodical approach will help you build momentum and work through obstacles.

So, here are 8 key steps to jumpstarting your admissions campaign:

1. Update your resume.
This step is relatively easy and painless. Summarize what you do at work, describe your tangible accomplishments, and capture what you’re learning along the way. Don’t worry about keeping the resume to one page – you can always edit it later. This first step is about capturing information that describes your past and present – professionally, academically and personally.

2. Review your college transcript.
Depending on which school you attended, you may need to order a paper transcript from the registrar’s office rather than just access it immediately online. It’s important to refresh your memory as soon as possible about what courses you took and what grades you earned. If you find any surprises, like that “D” grade in Calculus 101, then you’ll have sufficient time to do something about it.

3. Get an expert evaluation of your candidacy.
Now that you have the details in hand, it’s very helpful to get some professional feedback to determine your competitiveness for admission. This will help you identify which aspects of your profile need immediate attention and with ones you can disregard.

4. Consider your recommenders.
Most business schools require two recommendations. And adcoms expect these to come from individuals who know you very well, professionally and personally. Even if your choice seem easy, start strengthening your relationships with these potential recommenders as soon as possible, ideally months before you’ll ask them to prepare recs for you. That way, their impressions and recollections will be more vivid, and their desire to support your candidacy will be stronger and more authentic. Or, if they should surprise with a “no” or “I’m too busy”, then you’ll have adequate time to come up with a good substitute.

5. Articulate your career goal.

Of course, you can – and probably will – change your career plans once you get into business school. But, having a hypothetical goal in mind that relates to your background and requires a top MBA education is essential. Adcoms want to know what motivates you to attend their school and how employable you’ll be upon graduation. So, do the research, explore various options, and come up with a career objective about which you can talk and write with passion, accuracy and conviction.

6. Short list your targeted schools.
Now that you’ve reviewed your professional and academic profiles, and framed your post-MBA goals, you can narrow the universe of business schools to a set of programs where you’d be glad to attend. Thoroughly assessing and comparing the curriculum, culture, community, job placement, etc., requires time. So don’t delay!

7. Calendarize milestone dates.
There are several key events and offerings that must be considered in advance. For example, most schools hold information sessions in major cities during the summer and early fall. And campus visits are most valuable when you can observe classes in session. So, take a look at the school’s website and academic calendar. Then enter those dates on the same calendar that you use every day so you won’t miss anything.

8. Decide whether you need an admissions consultant.
Congratulations! You’ve now set the stage for a success admissions campaign. However, are you still feeling uncertain about how to maximize your chances for success? If engaging the services of a professional advisor like The MBA Exchange is something you want to do, then take action early. You’ll have more options because the consultant’s client roster will still have some room. And your advisor will have more time to help you achieve the desired level of quality on each deliverable without having to rush.

So, now you’re out of excuses, right? If in doubt, please go back to Part 1 of this blog series explained “Why do some applicants wait to start their business school admissions campaign?” and Part 2 told you: “Why sooner is better than later when pursuing business school admission.” Let us know how you’re doing!