Part 2 of 2: Immediate “Must Do’s” for Serious MBA Applicants

If you’re planning to apply to a top business school in 2012 for enrollment in 2013, it’s very tempting to procrastinate. After all, the deadlines are more than six months away. The new applications won’t be available until summer, right? And there’s so much on your plate already with work, family, friends, vacations, etc.

Well, if you’re determined to be among the select few who gain admission to their dream schools, then the worst thing you can do is delay the start of your campaign.

If you missed our previous blog post, featuring the first six steps, click here.

Here’s the next set of six immediate (yes, immediate!) steps that you can and should initiate.

7. Examine and clean up your social media profile

More than ever, MBA admissions committees are researching and assessing the online presence of applicants. What will they see when they Google your name? What are others saying about you? Have you considered individuals whose names are similar to yours? The stakes are too high to take chances. If you’d like a thorough, professional audit of your online profile, let us know. In fact, we include this service at no extra charge in our Comprehensive Consultation.

8. Check school websites for upcoming info sessions and forums

Whether or not you can visit campus, there’s a good chance that administrators and alumni from your targeted schools will be coming to a city near you this summer to hold an info session or participate in an admissions forum. Seats fill quickly so be sure to register as early as possible. You’ll use this opportunity to learn more about the schools and, more importantly, to help them learn more about you. In fact, this could be your only chance to shake hands with the admissions officers who later will decide your fate. Planning ahead can help you make an impression that proves very beneficial later.

9. Pre-qualify and cultivate your future recommenders

The best recommenders are those who know you best — personally and professionally. If you don’t already have at least three great choices in mind, and if you don’t know whether they’ll write wonderful things about you, then you have work to do starting now. Approach and cultivate individuals who could be strong recommenders. Invite them to coffee or lunch. Probe to see how much they know and how they feel about your past, present and future before you ask if they’ll provide a rec. Watch for early signs of jealousy, reluctance or ambivalence. If they don’t step up enthusiastically, then you still have ample time to source better options.

10. Check your college transcript for “surprises”

It’s probably been a few years since you took a look at your official undergrad transcript. Perhaps you’ve never seen it or can’t find it. Contact the registrar’s office today to order a transcript so you can review it line by line. If there’s a mistake or discrepancy in how a grade is reported, it can take you months to reconcile it. And if there’s a low grade, especially in a quant course, you’ll have time to sign up and complete an extension course with an “A” to mitigate it.

11. Initiate your financial plan

Two years at a top MBA program can cost you more than $175,000. Plus there’s the foregone income to consider. You can’t rely on getting aid, so now’s the time to determine if and how you’ll pay for the education you’re seeking. There are experienced financial planning experts available who can help you find the best resources at the lowest cost. But you have to beat the fall rush in order to get the attention and support you need.

12. Look into accent-reduction coaching and immigration planning

If you’re a non-native English speaker and/or a non-US resident targeting US business schools, two topics for you to consider now are accent reduction and immigration planning. It can take months to reduce an accent that might be problematic in an admissions interview. We arrange a free professional assessment for our clients. And the red-tape that can make immigration such a nightmare is addressable with the expertise of an immigration specialist like ours. The key to avoiding or resolving these issues? Start now.

And here’s one more “Must Do” that’s so important, we’re repeating it from our previous post:

If you haven’t already done so, get a free expert evaluation of your candidacy!

The best way to learn what you need to optimize your candidacy is to get expert, objective feedback on your professional, academic and personal profiles. We’ve helped thousands of MBA applicants to discover aspects of their candidacy – both strengths and weaknesses — that they never realized could matter. All it takes is 5 minutes to complete our confidential, online input form. You have the option of uploading your resume if there are additional details you’d like us to share.

In closing, we want to emphasize that time is your greatest ally and asset if you make it work for you. Waiting to launch your MBA admissions campaign means that your competitors – even those with lesser candidacies – gain an immediate advantage. If you’re playing to win, then start today.