With business school application deadlines rapidly approaching, thousands of aspiring (and perspiring!) MBA candidates worldwide are asking themselves the same difficult question: “Is it too late for me to produce great applications for the current round?”
The answer is “no, if…” Here are 5 key considerations before you decide whether you can sprint to the finish line this round or would be better treating this as a marathon for the following round.
It’s not too late to apply now, IF…
A lower score will make it too easy for adcoms to put your application aside — or ding you on the spot. So, if you don’t have your desired score yet, start working with an excellent tutor and schedule a test date. Frankly, you have nothing to lose since you can cancel any score that falls short of your goal. And if severe “test anxiety” is the issue, then counseling from a trained psychologist may be the answer.
2. You know which schools are the best fit for your background and goals.
It makes no sense to apply to a b-school you’re not sure you’d actually attend if admitted. So, if you’ve completed your research, attended info sessions and visited campuses, then you’re good to go. However, if you’re still a bit fuzzy on where you want to apply, then getting the sage advice of an admissions consultant could help you refine and finalize your target list. And to confirm whether you’ll be competitive at those schools, get a free, expert evaluation of your candidacy from an admissions expert.
3. You have evidence of your leadership impact, on the job and in the community.
As long as your resume reflects clear, tangible results of your initiative and influence, then MBA adcoms can easily check the “leadership” box when reviewing your application. But if you’re scratching your head right now and wondering if/when/where you’ve been a leader, then speak with trusted colleagues, relatives and friends and ask them if they can recall such examples from your background.
4. Your recommenders will produce timely, on-target recommendations.
It’s essential that recommenders are fully committed to help you succeed. Are you sure that yours have the motivation and time to craft stellar recs on your behalf? One way to encourage this is to provide them with basic guidance on the attributes and examples that will bolster your candidacy. And be sure they realize it can take a few weeks to write the final recs.
5. Your “story” is authentic, distinctive, and fully aligned with MBA admissions criteria.
You know yourself better than anyone else on the planet. However, it can be very frustrating and time-consuming to do a self-audit of your life, prioritize the most significant pieces, and then weave a tapestry that will resonate with decision makers at your targeted schools. Engaging a skilled admissions consultant can help you streamline this discovery process and produce a “story” that will make you even more competitive.
At The MBA Exchange, each year we’re contacted by reapplicants who were denied admission the prior year because: 1) they applied before they were truly ready to do so; or 2) they missed an application deadline they should and could have made. As a first-time MBA applicant, please learn from their disappointment, consider the 5 criteria above, and make a smart decision about which application round makes the best sense for you.