MBA Application Advice: Procrastination is the Enemy

Although it seems as though application deadlines are an eternity away, the cutting realization that you’re running out of time will inevitably set in if you are a procrastinator. 

Don't put things off along the way, or else they will ultimately stack up on you, causing stress--something you definitely do not need to add to the already hectic process of MBA applications.  Classic procrastination is a dangerous enemy to business school applications in particular, since the assignment is pass/fail.  It’s not like in college, where you would receive a letter grade or score from your efforts.  Maybe you didn’t get that ‘A’ grade you would have liked, but your ‘C’ got you through without much damage.  With b-school applications, it’s all or nothing, and watching your seat go to someone else is a cold reminder that you “shoulda-coulda-woulda,” had you only stayed on top of the process.One particularly devastating effect of waiting around comes in the form of quality degradation of your application materials.  

Sixty percent of admissions officers cite careless mistakes as a reason for an applicant’s rejection, and careless mistakes are far more likely when rushing to put final touches on an application. 

The reason is simple and it ties into the classic Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.  Psychology actually dictates that the more anxiety behind a process, the more focused you will be on the “big” stuff—did you answer all the questions?, are all the required materials included?, did you arrange to have your transcript and GMAT score sent?, etc.  What gets lost are the finer points- the details- and to paraphrase another idiom, that’s where they devil is.  Admissions committees are very adept at spotting a comma splice or a misspelled word. 

Keep in mind that spell check will not point out the problem with your having said “conversation” instead of “conservation” or vice versa, as long as they are spelled correctly. 

This is why having an objective third party evaluate your essays and materials prior to submission is so important.  When you hurriedly look over your own essay for the 1000th time in the waning hours until the cutoff, your brain ceases to see errors that will jump off the page at someone who reads it for the first time.  The problem with procrastination is, your carefully selected third party evaluator may or may not be at your beck and call at 1 a.m. Eastern Standard Time when the deadline is midnight Pacific and the clock is ticking away.

We always recommend clients finish essays at least a week or two before they are due.  Ideally, you can have all your schools done early, since working on subsequent schools can often help identify ways you can go back and improve the earlier apps. 

If you put your applications “on ice” and then go back to revisit them before submission, you will not only see them with fresh eyes and potentially improve them, but you will also eliminate the stress which comes with an 11th hour submission.  Plus don’t forget about Murphy’s law.   Schools are very unsympathetic to missing deadlines due to server crashes, slow computer uploads or power outages.   Even when things are out of your control, there’s always the fact that you could have avoided problems if you’d only submitted earlier. This is exactly why now is the best time of the year to do some planning and to set some personal deadlines.  

And don't use the school's submission deadlines as your own.  Make your own deadline schedule to allow for some wiggle room. 

Schedule those campus visits before the Spring semester is done (schools are ghost towns in the summer---you want to go when classes are in session).  Start reaching out to recommenders.  Request those random transcripts.  Take the math refresher course you have been thinking about.  All these things will give you a jump on the process and be fuel in your tank when things get tighter later this summer.  Remember--- it's never too early to get help.


If you are looking help with your applications, please contact us via or at We have seen what the competition is doing and we can say without a doubt that we go deeper, more strategic, and generate better results with our methods.  Line up a call and find out for yourself.