How to Start Your MBA Applications


How to Start Your MBA Applications

March 9 2024 By The MBA Exchange
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Applying for an MBA is a significant step that can greatly impact your professional trajectory. However, many potential candidates find themselves delaying the start of their applications. This procrastination often stems from various factors such as intimidation, lack of information, and fear of failure. Yet, postponing the initiation of your MBA application can lead to unnecessary stress and missed opportunities.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the common reasons for delay and the crucial importance of starting your MBA applications early. We will provide you with actionable steps to begin your admissions journey today, ensuring you have ample time to optimize your profile, build meaningful connections, and submit a compelling application. By following these strategies, you can confidently navigate the MBA application process and enhance your chances of securing a spot in a top-tier business school.

Let’s dive into why starting early is essential and how you can set the foundation for a successful MBA admissions campaign.

Why Delay is a Common Pitfall in MBA Applications

Procrastination is a common human trait, especially when faced with daunting tasks like MBA applications. Many applicants delay starting their business school admissions campaign due to several factors, each of which contributes to unnecessary stress and potential setbacks. Understanding these factors is crucial in overcoming them and getting a head start on your applications.


The MBA application process can seem complicated and overwhelming, which can deter potential applicants. The array of requirements, from standardized tests to essays and recommendations, can feel like an insurmountable hurdle. This sense of intimidation often stems from a lack of familiarity with the process and the high stakes involved.


Lack of information or misunderstanding of the process can cause delays. Applicants might think they need to have every detail figured out before starting, which is rarely the case. Misconceptions about what is required can lead to unnecessary postponement, further exacerbating stress as deadlines approach.


Everyday responsibilities and more urgent tasks can take precedence over starting the MBA application process. This delay often leads to last-minute stress and rushed, suboptimal applications. Balancing daily life with the demands of the application process requires careful planning and prioritization.

Fear of Failure

The fear of rejection can be paralyzing. As long as the application is not started, the possibility of rejection remains a distant, hypothetical concern rather than a tangible reality. Overcoming this fear is essential for moving forward with confidence and determination.

The Importance of Starting Your MBA Applications Early

To mitigate these challenges, it’s important to start your MBA applications early. Doing so offers numerous benefits, including optimizing your candidacy and ensuring you have ample time to present the best version of yourself to the admissions committees. Most applicants wait until the last minute. Starting now gives you a significant advantage as you’ll be better prepared and less stressed. Early preparation allows you to submit a polished and compelling application. Being ahead of the curve means you can take your time to ensure every aspect of your application is perfect.

Optimize Your Candidacy

The MBA application process is more than just filling out forms. It involves a thorough optimization of your professional, academic, and personal profile. This can take time, so starting early allows you to make necessary adjustments and improvements. Enhancing your resume, improving your academic record, and gaining relevant work experience are steps that require substantial time and effort. By starting early, you give yourself the best chance to shine.

Submit Strong Applications in Round 1

Submitting in Round 1 can convey confidence and urgency to the admissions committee (Adcoms). Early submissions demonstrate proactivity, a trait highly valued by business schools. Moreover, applying early reduces competition from waitlisted applicants from previous rounds. It also allows you to receive your admissions decision sooner, giving you more time to make plans and possibly apply to other schools if needed. The peace of mind that comes with an early decision can be invaluable.

Build Momentum

When faced with intimidation, uncertainty, or fear, a methodical approach helps. Start with known, easier tasks and gradually move to more challenging ones. This approach builds momentum and helps you overcome obstacles. For example, updating your resume or gathering transcripts are simpler tasks that can get you started. Building momentum can make the entire process feel more manageable and less overwhelming.

Build Relationships

Connecting with students, faculty, and administrators is easier in the spring when they are less busy. Starting early allows you to form meaningful relationships that can support your application. These connections can provide valuable insights into the school’s culture and enhance your application. Building a network within the school community can also benefit you during your studies and beyond.

Visit Campuses

Campus visits provide valuable insights into the schools you’re considering. Visiting in the spring offers a more relaxed setting and greater access to the community. Take the opportunity to sit in on classes, talk to current students, and explore the campus to get a feel for the environment. These visits can help you determine if a school is the right fit for you and strengthen your application.

Secure Top Consultants

Demand for admissions consultants peaks after new applications are published. Engaging one early ensures you get the best support available. Consultants can provide valuable feedback and help you present the best version of yourself to Adcoms. Working with a consultant can significantly enhance the quality of your application materials.

Key Steps to Launch Your MBA Applications Today

Once you’ve committed to starting early, there are several key steps to take that will set you on the right path. Each step is designed to build a strong foundation for your application and ensure you are well-prepared when it comes time to submit.

1. Update Your Resume

Begin by summarizing your professional, academic, and personal achievements. This includes job responsibilities, accomplishments, and any relevant skills or experiences. Don’t worry about keeping it concise initially; capturing all relevant information is more important. Later, you can refine and condense it to fit the one-page standard if necessary. Having a comprehensive resume will help you identify strengths and areas for improvement.

2. Review Your College Transcript

Refresh your memory about your academic history. If you find any surprises, such as a poor grade, you’ll have time to address them. Consider taking additional courses to improve your academic record or prepare a solid explanation for any discrepancies. Reviewing your transcript early also ensures you have all necessary documentation ready for submission.

3. Get an Expert Evaluation

Seek professional feedback to determine your competitiveness and identify areas needing immediate attention. Many services offer free evaluations to help you start. An expert can provide insights into your strengths and weaknesses and suggest ways to enhance your profile. This objective evaluation can guide your preparation and strategy.

4. Consider Your Recommenders

Begin strengthening relationships with potential recommenders now. This ensures they are well-prepared and enthusiastic about supporting your candidacy. Choose recommenders who know you well and can speak to your professional abilities and character. Building these relationships early ensures their recommendations will be detailed and sincere. Strong, heartfelt recommendations can significantly boost your application.

5. Articulate Your Career Goals

Having a clear career goal is essential. It helps Adcoms understand your motivation and employability. Research different career paths and consider how an MBA will help you achieve your goals. Be prepared to explain why you chose a particular field and how your background has prepared you for it. Clearly articulated goals demonstrate your vision and purpose, which are crucial for a compelling application.

6. Shortlist Target Schools

Based on your profile and goals, narrow down a list of business schools. Compare their curriculum, culture, community, and job placement records thoroughly. Consider factors such as location, class size, and alumni network. Visiting campuses, attending information sessions, and talking to current students can provide valuable insights. A well-researched shortlist ensures you apply to schools that are the best fit for you.

7. Calendarize Milestone Dates

Check each school’s website for key events and deadlines. Mark these dates on your calendar to ensure you don’t miss any important opportunities. Attend information sessions, webinars, and networking events to learn more about the schools and make a positive impression on Adcoms. Staying organized with a detailed calendar helps you manage your time effectively.

8. Decide on an Admissions Consultant

If you feel uncertain, consider hiring an admissions consultant. Engaging one early provides more options and time to maximize the quality of your applications. A consultant can offer personalized advice, help you craft compelling essays, and provide guidance throughout the application process. Their expertise can be invaluable in navigating the complexities of MBA admissions.


Starting your MBA applications early provides numerous advantages, from optimizing your profile to building meaningful connections and reducing stress. Each step you take today brings you closer to a successful admissions campaign. Don’t wait—begin your journey towards a top-tier MBA program now and set yourself up for future success.

Remember, the key to a successful MBA application is preparation and timing. Start early, follow a structured plan, and stay committed to your goals. Good luck!