Too Late to Apply for MBA Admission?

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As business school application deadlines approach, many potential MBA candidates find themselves regretting they didn’t begin their campaigns sooner. Individuals typically deal with this reality in one of two ways. Either they say:

1) “Well, I’ll just wait and apply next year” or

2) “I’m going to start today and give this effort everything I have.”

If response #2 resonates with you, read on.

Having advised over 5,000 MBA applicants over the past three decades, The MBA Exchange knows that even a few weeks of strong effort, focused on the most critical application components, is sufficient for many candidates to produce a reasonably competitive application. Is this timing ideal? Of course not. But is it better than delaying your business school plans for a full year? For many individuals, turning the marathon into a sprint makes excellent sense!

For starters, let’s debunk the most common reasons why prospective MBA applicants like you haven’t begun their admissions campaigns:

“I’m too busy with projects at work”
Actually, that’s a good thing! Business school admissions officers value candidates who are challenged and fully utilized by their employers. Furthermore, being totally immersed in a challenging project means that you have top-of-mind content for your MBA essays and interviews.

“I don’t think I can get recommendations”
Sure, it might feel awkward to ask a supervisor or colleague to write a recommendation for MBA admission – especially if the applications’ deadlines are in a few short weeks. However, senior execs often feel flattered when asked respectfully to endorse a hard-working employee with high aspirations. By providing the potential recommender with a skeletal outline of suggested topics and examples, you can minimize the perceived burden of actually writing the rec.

“My GPA is just average for admits”
If college grades were the only criterion for MBA admission, thousands of admits would have been turned away. Fortunately, business schools take a holistic look at applicants’ backgrounds. Strengths, achievements and excellence in your professional and/or personal profile can help mitigate a modest GPA.

“I haven’t decided which b-school to attend”
So many schools, so little time – we get it. However, once you consider variables such as academic focus, geographic location, campus culture, recruiting footprint, etc., the list of potential MBA programs narrows. An admissions consultant with first-hand knowledge of all top-tier business schools can help you come up with a short list that makes the most sense for you. And, candidly speaking, you can’t decide exactly where to enroll until you receive an offer of admission.

“I don’t have a GMAT or GRE score yet”
Prepping for the required, standardized test is a common reason why MBA applicants delay starting their applications. The great news is that you can take the test and then, if you don’t feel good about the score, simply cancel it and walk away. No harm, no foul. Furthermore, a talented test tutor can help you concentrate on aspects of your testing strategy and tactics that have the greatest influence on your final results.

“My non-work activities aren’t very impressive”
You’re probably underestimating the relevance and potential of your past and present activities and affiliations. Again, a skilled admissions consultant can help you explore and leverage various activities and connections that you can position as credible evidence of a well-rounded candidacy.

“I’ll have a better chance if I wait until next year”
Simply being one year older than you are today is not going to bolster your chances for MBA admission. Other than allowing more time to prepare your applications, is your candidacy really going to become much stronger during the next 9-12 months? Probably not. Furthermore, as recent MBA application volume has declined during the past year, many top business schools are hungrier than ever for qualified admits. This “perfect storm” for MBA applicants won’t last forever. It’s quick, easy and free (yes, free) to find out how competitive your candidacy is by requesting an objective evaluation from The MBA Exchange.

While there’s no shortage of possible reasons, rationalizations and excuses for postponing your application process, if you’ve envisioned getting a top MBA education but haven’t yet launched your campaign, what are you waiting for? It’s not too late, and we can help.