Not So Fast

This time of year is about finishing well and new beginnings.  And Summertime, and sipping lemonade and relaxing.  Before you head off to the beach, however, you might want to do a few things to advance your MBA application process.

It’s tempting to bask in the value of “plenty of time,” which is what most b-school applicants are thinking they have right now.  Sure, as you sit in your little sister’s college graduation ceremony, you might be reminded you need to start pulling things together, but what are you really doing right now to get ahead of the game?  Are you making real plans?
If you don’t start thinking about your b-school application as a job, the demons of procrastination will descend upon you.

There’s a lot of work ahead of you if you are vying for a slot in a top MBA program.  

This is not something you can whip together in the last few days before an application deadline, trust us.  While it’s true that schools won’t be releasing their new application packages for a few months, there’s no reason why you can’t go ahead and tackle some tasks that will help you prepare a better application when they do become available.

For starters, you can do all the boring stuff that would become tedious if left unaddressed.

 For example, now is a great time to reach out to your alma mater for official copies of your transcripts.  Granted, the digital age has made this process much easier, but there are still some schools where you must call or visit in person to dig up records.  Remember---all college transcripts are required, so if you did a summer back home and took classes at your local community college, the b-schools are going to want to see that transcript too, and those are the ones which can be onerous and time consuming to find.

Another thing you can do without the official application package is to begin reaching out to potential recommenders.  

Since recommendations are the one thing outside your direct control (where you must rely on other people’s availability and follow-through), it’s a good idea to take them to lunch and talk about your plan.  This informal “interview process” can be beneficial in preparing your recommender to submit the most thoughtful and thorough recommendation possible.   Book some time with your recommenders to explore their willingness and availability---also, you should analyze whether or not you should use them at all.  That person you picked out in your mind might not be as into the opportunity when you discuss it with them in person.  We find that having several alternatives for recommenders is a good idea and it always seems to take more time than you think to line this part of the application up.  You also don't want to ask any one person to do too many recos.  Two or three schools is usually fine, but if you are applying to five or ten, you will want alternative recommenders to spread the workload around.

Visiting Schools is always a great idea, and even though you should really conduct your visits when school is in session vs. over the summer, summertime is a great time to plan your visits for the fall.

 Of course traveling is always better when you plan, considering the additional expense and stress of waiting until the last minute, but there’s also the school schedules to contend with.  The more popular schools book their class visits early, so you don’t want to get shut out of a slot and miss the opportunity to hobnob with actual students and faculty.
So, despite the rush of summer freedom you may be feeling, don’t squander the luxury of time as you formulate plans to apply for your MBA.

To find out more about your options and how we can guide your business school application process, email us at or contact us via