A “Holiday Gift” for Round 2 MBA Applicants – Time!

Season’s Greetings! If you plan to apply to top business schools in Round 2, you’ve received an incredibly valuable gift – more time! Most application deadlines don’t hit until January 3rd or later. And the adcoms won’t give you extra credit for being the first to apply. So, you still have opportunity to improve and perfect your apps before submission.

While friends and family are relaxing in front of the fireplace, shopping for bargains, overindulging in goodies or sitting around watching football games, you can be adding substance and sizzle to your MBA candidacy and applications in 6 important ways:

1. Double check the official application deadlines.
Visit the schools’ websites just to make sure you know the date, time, and time zone (!) when the app is actually due. Spare yourself the anguish of unintentionally missing the cutoff by a few hours. Adcoms don’t have to make any exceptions for late arrivals – and they probably won’t.

2. Confirm that the recommendations have been sent.

Even if your recommenders promised you they would submit their online recommendations to the schools prior to deadlines, unless they told you they’ve actually done so, reach out to them just to be sure. Busy people are easily distracted, especially as the year comes to an end. In fact, they’ll probably appreciate a polite inquiry from you.

3. Review your resume for accuracy and clarity.
It’s amazing how a one-page document you know so thoroughly, and have revised so many times, can still have an error buried somewhere in that familiar verbiage. But it happens. And sometimes it’s not really an “error” but rather just a description that adcoms might not understand as you intended. Working with an admissions consultant who comes from your industry is one way to make sure your professional profile is on target and understood.

4. Network and bond with current students and alumni.
The holiday season is always a very social time. In addition to just having fun at the parties and gatherings you attend, be sure to mention your MBA plans to other guests. Chances are that someone in the room, or someone they know, attends or has graduated from your dream school. Having a casual chat with a student or alum could provide you with one more item to include in your application. Adcoms always love to see applicants engage with their community before applying.

5. Take a fresh look at your short answers.

Have you really answered the questions as asked? Have you capitalized on this chance to showcase a particular challenge or achievement that isn’t evident elsewhere in the application? This can be an overlooked, undervalued aspect of your application that merits additional review and possible tweaks.

6. Re-read your essays for understanding and impact.
Last but definitely not least — examine your story one more time, start to finish, with fresh eyes. Read it aloud to make sure that it feels authentic and sounds convincing. Improving your essays is probably the most valuable thing you can do prior to the deadline. Consider engaging a professional admissions consultant from The MBA Exchange to assist you in the review. With many years of experience helping applicants differentiate and distinguish their candidacies, we can do the same for you.

While working on MBA applications isn’t the most enjoyable way to spend the holidays, one thing is for sure: if you take the extra time and make the extra effort now to ensure the strongest possible applications, you’ll maximize your chances for admission. And just imagine how much fun you can have next winter — after you complete the first semester of your MBA education!