Countdown To R1: Your MBA Application Strategy by: Matt Symonds, Fortuna Admissions on August 11, 2023 | 6,790 Views August 11, 2023 Copy Link Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email Share on LinkedIn Share on WhatsApp Share on Reddit The Round 1 2024 application deadlines for Harvard Business School and Wharton are less than a month away, and other top schools are just a week or so after that. Some deadlines for schools in the UK and Europe are rolling up even faster. Are you ready? Here, my colleagues at Fortuna Admissions, who are former admissions directors and business school insiders, share their best thinking on how to focus your time and prioritize your efforts over the next three weeks. For maximum success, your emphasis should be on finessing the fine details. YOUR COUNTDOWN TO ROUND ONE: SIX STRATEGIES TO START NOW 1. Start with a status check. If you have not been keeping a checklist of all required components of the application and the status of each item, take time to assemble that list now. It seems basic, but you don’t want to get dinged or delay your application for one small component you overlooked and forgot to prepare or request. 2. Review your resume. Since a resume is the one item you probably already had in hand when you started your MBA journey, it’s easy to leave that until last — or update it first and then set it aside while working on your essays. Your narrative likely evolved a bit as you reflected upon and refined each element of your application. Now is the time to take a look and make sure your resume aligns with the story you are telling in your essays. Your essays shouldn’t repeat the facts of your resume, but the two should buttress each other. Take a final pass to remove any redundancy and inconsistencies. 3. Check in with your recommenders. Make sure your recommenders know the deadlines and are clear on what is expected of them. They may be accomplished professionals, but don’t assume they have read all the requirements and know each detail of the process. Set your recommenders up for success by walking them through the process, emphasizing the importance of depth, details and anecdotes to address specific situations and your contributions. 4. Read with a reviewer’s eyes. Read your application one more time from the perspective of the admissions reviewer. They want to read something authentic, inspiring, and possibly even a little bit entertaining. Have you presented a story that is both memorable and meticulous in its concise and consistent narrative? If you have hit all those targets, you’ll stand out to the reviewer. If not, keep rewriting and revising. 5. Find a fresh pair of eyes. By now, you probably feel like you’ve read every word of your package a thousand times. You can no longer see the forest for the trees, so find someone who knows you well and is invested in your success to read your whole package. They can spot inconsistencies and give you invaluable, honest, objective feedback. 6. Seek an expert opinion. If you’re almost ready to submit but want extra assurance that you’ve done all you can to maximize your chances of admission, you can submit it first to a Fortuna Admissions Director for a comprehensive review. Our directors have personally evaluated tens of thousands of applications for top business schools — and we’ve made the actual admission decisions. We can give you an insider’s sense of how your application will be judged and provide detailed feedback to strengthen your candidacy. Ultimately, the responsibility for what you submit is yours, so take the time to double- or triple-check every word and detail. Is your GMAT score recorded correctly? Have you accidentally mixed up the numbers in some dates? Did you (heaven forbid) cut and paste some information from another application and leave in a reference to the wrong school? Have you told a consistent, compelling, and memorable story of who you are, what you will achieve with an MBA, and why this school is the best fit for you? Be honest with yourself, and if you think there’s room for improvement, don’t rush to submit. Take your time, keep polishing, and submit for Round 2. Matt Symonds is Co-Founder of MBA admissions coaching firm Fortuna Admissions and co-host of the CentreCourt MBA Festival. For a candid assessment of your chances of admission success at a top MBA program, sign up for a free consultation. Comments or questions about this article? Email us.