Nervous about applying to your favorite business school? Don’t you wish you could have a practice run? Maybe you can.
Clients get pretty squirrelly about applying to their top choice MBA program. Lots of time and effort goes into school selection and when you find that perfect fit, anxiety sets in. After all, you only get one shot at it, unless you want to come back year after year and try again.
There’s nothing wrong with using other schools as practice runs.
The trick to cutting your teeth on a b-school application is to pick a school with a similar application package. You might be surprised how many schools have essay questions that are very close to, if not exactly like the essays for your top choice. Even if the questions are not the same, you should see striking similarities in the spirit of what almost all accredited b-schools are looking for.
The core of what schools seek in candidates is essentially found in four key areas:
2) Solid work experience
3) Teamwork skills
Testing out your version of demonstrating these attributes can sometimes get you an early decision from a school you don’t really care about going to, but you might find highly useful for feedback. If you are accepted, it can be a real confidence boost as you begin working on your target schools. If you are rejected for some reason, it’s a good chance to rework how you are couching your story or positioning your background for the real deal.
Some schools will even give you written or verbal feedback on your application.
Now comes the ethics talk…it is being disingenuous to apply to a school where you have no intention of matriculation? Some might say yes, but if you are earnestly and simply seeking an honest look at your package, there’s certainly no law against applying. Who knows? Perhaps in the process, you might discover a school you could like if your plan A does not work out?