Regardless of the endeavor, procrastination rarely produces better results. This is especially true when pursuing admittance to a top-tier business school. Based on our experience with 5,000+ applicants over the past three decades, The MBA Exchange offers 7 compelling reasons to start your admissions campaign today:
1. Some of your competitors already have a head start.
One segment of next season’s MBA applicant pool is especially motivated: last season’s denied applicants. Re-applicants – those who put their hearts and souls into applying last year but were turned down – have been planning for success since the moment they were rejected. They’re also quite savvy about the application process. This knowledge and motivation can give them a competitive edge over first-time applicants – an advantage that only increases the longer you wait to apply.
2. Achieving GMAT or GRE success shouldn’t be rushed.
Many applicants believe they need to complete the standardized test before addressing any other aspect of their campaigns. However, unless earning a specific score will determine IF you’re going to apply to business school vs. WHEN, delaying the rest of the application process only reduces your overall chances for admission. While important, your test score is only one factor in the application process. Furthermore, prepping for the GMAT or GRE can be stressful and/or monotonous. So, balancing test practice with strategically shaping other aspects of your campaign can help reduce anxiety and maximize productivity and performance.
3. You don’t need to wait for the new applications.
Another common excuse for procrastination is the fact that schools have yet to publish the upcoming year’s applications. Think again! First, there are many important steps you can (and should) take before drafting essays or soliciting recommendations. And second, MBA applications – including essay and recommendation questions – rarely change significantly from year to year. Preparing skeletal outlines based on last year’s questions can make good sense, especially if you intend to apply to multiple schools.
4. Improving your overall candidacy takes time.
If you’re like most MBA applicants, there are some gaps or flaws in your academic, personal or professional profile. That’s just reality and wishful thinking won’t make the “soft spots” in your profile vanish. The longer you wait to confront these constraints, the harder it will be to reverse, mitigate or explain them. So, start optimizing instead of rationalizing today. If you’re unsure about the quality of your candidacy, get a free, expert evaluation as a starting point.
5. Campus visits in the spring are more valuable.
It’s highly valuable to visit a business school campus, to observe classes, to engage directly with students, and to experience the community first-hand. Campus visits can a) make you a more credible applicant and b) confirm whether it’s a school you would ultimately want to attend if admitted. Among the subset of applicants who realize the value of such visits, most don’t arrive on campus until a few weeks before the application deadline. In contrast, if you can visit in the spring, you’ll find a more relaxed setting with greater access to the people, places and things you really want to see. But (you knew there would be a “but”), it’s important to have your candidacy well framed before you arrive so your observations and conversations can be more focused and beneficial.
6. Top admissions consultants have capacity on their rosters.
Demand for the guidance and support of skilled admissions consultants peaks once new applications are published. This is especially true at consulting firms with the most qualified consultants. The most popular advisors find it necessary to turn away eager applicants once their client rosters are filled. So, don’t put off seeking that perfect partner to support your admissions campaign. He/she may be too booked to support you if you wait.
7. Shhhh! (Most other candidates are still waiting to start.)
Here’s the best reason of all to begin your MBA admissions campaign now: most of your fellow applicants are still procrastinating. They’re either oblivious to, or simply ignoring, the points above. You can gain an edge by commencing your campaign now. When deadlines approach, the thorough, thoughtful, compelling application you’re confident to submit will be a function of those first steps you took…today.