The first MBA application deadlines are less than two months away. If you are feeling a little panicked that you won’t be ready in time, follow these steps to make the most out of the next eight weeks.
- Have you selected your schools? By this point, your list should be finalized, but if it’s not, make this your first priority. Do your research by checking out school websites and if possible, scheduling a campus visit or tour. Search your network to find current students or alumni that you can take out for a coffee to discuss their experiences.
- Have you taken the GMAT/GRE? Schedule your test ASAP, leaving time if possible for a retest to reach your target score.
- Have you selected your recommenders? Do not wait until the last minute to ask people for letters of recommendation. They will not appreciate feeling rushed and your letters may suffer if they do not have the time to adequately prepare thoughtful and insightful letters. If you have already asked recommenders, now is a good time to make sure they have all the information they need and to gently remind them of the deadline. At Personal MBA Coach, we often give recommenders “early deadlines” to ensure nothing is rushed at the end.
- Have you started your essays? Most essays will need multiple drafts. You can kick-start the process by using the information from your MBA resume. What are your accomplishments? What steps have you taken in your career to lead you to where you are now, and where do you see yourself in the future? Consider what makes you unique and what you hope to gain from the program. Then, customize the essays for each school by using the knowledge you gained from online research, campus visits, and alumni networking. You may wish to begin with the easiest school, as your writing will likely improve as you write more essays. If your schedule is tight, however, start with the essays that are due the soonest.
- Have you started the application? Have you thought about the short answer questions? The short answer questions may require just as much thought and preparation as your long essays. Give yourself adequate time to make sure you carefully and thoroughly address these questions.
- Did you proofread? Did you proofread again? Ask a friend (or hopefully two) to proofread your essays and applications. You may not see that typo or misspelled word after all of your drafts and rewrites, but someone with a fresh pair of eyes will.
Eight weeks may not seem like a long time, but with careful planning and attention to detail, you should be able to accomplish everything you need to submit impressive applications to your target schools.
Scott Edinburgh is a Wharton MBA and MIT Sloan BS graduate and the Founder of Personal MBA Coach. As a boutique MBA admissions consulting and tutoring firm, we have been helping clients for over 10 years with a 96% success rate. Last year we helped applicants receive over $4.5M in fellowships. If you would like individual and personal support with any aspect of the MBA application process, find out more about Personal MBA Coach and our 5-star rating.