Three Tips To Prepare For B-School…Before You Graduate From College
There’s never a right time to start preparing for b-school. But, experts say starting early can give you a head start to gain acceptance into an MBA program.
Stacy Blackman, an MBA consultant, recently wrote a Harvard Crimson article detailing ways undergrads at Harvard (or any school) can start preparing for b-school.
Be a Leader
Blackman lists leadership as the first step in strengthening your MBA candidacy. She says MBA admissions committees seek students who already have leadership experience by the time they apply.
“Can you show that you launched initiatives, programs or ventures of some kind? Perhaps you’ve started a small business while at Harvard, led a nonprofit, founded and led a student organization, or spearheaded a fundraiser,” Blackman writes. “All of that’s good stuff in the eyes of the admissions committee.”
Yet, Blackman stresses that it’s not about the scale of your achievements, but the fact that you made a mark.
In a P&Q article, Brian Precious, author of Get In. Get Connected. Get Hired, offers excerpts from his book on what MBA admissions officers are looking for when they seek leaders.
“I’m looking for evidence that you have made a positive impact on the organizations and companies with which you’ve been affiliated,” Precious writes. “I’m not expecting a twenty-two-year-old to have run a major corporation, but I would like to see that you’ve been active in student organizations.”
Intern to Build Skills and Grow
Blackman advises students to seek internships that will help them grow and develop new skills.
Often times, she says, internships can allow you to discover a new career and build a strong network.
“You’ll acquire new skills, crystallize your career goals, and have a better idea of whether the degree is the next logical step,” she writes. “Future employers and graduate programs alike appreciate the educational value a quality internship provides.”
Emotional maturity is now practically a requirement for b-schools and Blackman suggests that applicants take the time to grow and learn about themselves so that when it comes time to apply, they have rich experiences to bring to the table.
At NYU’s Stern, the EQ endorsement is now a requirement in which applicants must have an endorser speak on their emotional intelligence (EQ) skills such as self-awareness, empathy, communication and self-management.
But Blackman says these skills last far beyond the application stage for b-school.
“The ability to show humility and gratitude, keep long-term commitments, bounce back from adversity, and seek continual self-improvement will serve you immensely in whatever path your future takes,” she writes.