Beginning The MBA Application Process In October

October has arrived. If you are considering applying for an MBA program in the fall of 2009, now is a good time to begin the process. It’s certainly not too late. You’ll still be likely to be ready to apply in rounds 1 or 2, which offer a pretty good chance of acceptance.

Order of Attack

1. GMAT PREPARATION

Preparation can last anywhere from 1-6 months, but 2 months usually is an adequate prep period. Though study can be done individually, taking a course or seeking out private tutoring provides disciplined structure and guidance for your study.

2. GMAT

Take the GMAT as soon as you feel ready. If you take it by end of October, you should have the needed time to retake the GMAT (including an additional 1 month prep) if your score is not what you desired.

3. RESEARCH SCHOOLS

During preparation, look into different MBA programs. Look at them from as many angles as possible, including ranking, conversations with current students and alumni, correspondence with admissions officers and visits to campuses. Ultimately, select a range of schools you’d like to apply to. The most important criteria to use in determining where to apply is: What places are best suited to your personality, professional and academic history and goals? There are a variety of recommendations as to how many schools to apply to. Some say as few as 3, others as many as 8 or 10. Ultimately, you want to have some options, so lean toward more rather than less, and be sure to include safety schools. You may consider seeking advise from an admissions consultant to determine where it might be best to apply.

4. RECOMMENDATIONS

Ask for recommendations as early as possible, giving each recommender ample time to complete the forms on time.

5. APPROACH APPLICATIONS

The entire process and especially the application involve a great deal of self-evaluation. In this stage it will be most important that you recognize your strengths and weaknesses, and determine how you will express these in your applications. This will also be important in your interview. It is generally recommended that the application show your true self. There is no need to conceal mistakes; the incorporation of constructive explanations for faults, mistakes, or minuses will allow the admissions committee to develop a clear perception of who you really are. Admissions officers especially dislike fakeness and falsehood in applications.

Essays too require evaluation and most importantly they require time, time not only to write, but time to think as well. It is recommended that you spend between 50 and 100 hours on your essays, depending on the number of schools you apply to. Admissions advisors recommend that you devote your energy in particular to making sure each application explains why you want to attend particular programs.

6. INTERVIEW (Should occur as early as possible)

Interviews require preparation. Reviewing your application and practicing interviewing skills with a friend or co-worker is useful. Also, some individuals try to interview as early as possible at a local school and use this interview to test their skills, as well as to inform themselves of answers or approaches that seem to work, and those that do not. And, as your parents or friends have said to you time and again, be yourself and relax.

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Posted on October 16, 2008 by Manhattan Review

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