Stay Motivated

As the end of round two approaches, are you feeling like you’re running out of gas?  Here’s a few things you do to stay motivated and finish well.

The competitive increase over the years in MBA admissions has driven even the most confident of applicants to cast a wide net when applying to top schools.  While the odds are slightly better than winning the Mega Ball, it’s still heated enough out there to get everyone a little stressed. How can you stay cool?

One thing to remember above all else is that you never know which application is going to resonate best with the adcoms. 

These are real people out there reading your essays and resumes, not machines and human nature varies so widely that it’s virtually impossible to guess sometimes where your story will click in any given year.  From this perspective, every application is equally important.  When thinking that the last application is as important as the first, it will perhaps help you to muster some of that enthusiasm you had back in the summer when the whole process began.

Don’t “mail in” your effort on those last few essays.

By now, you may be tempted to copy and paste something that sounded good for HBS a couple of months ago, but may not work quite as well for Cornell or NYU, whose deadlines for whatever reason fall later in the season.  Don’t let your guard down.  Take a fresh look at each and every school’s questions and seek out the subtleties which articulate what they are really asking for.  If you put a square peg in a round hole, the question never really gets answered and schools will smell it a mile away.  The last thing you want to ever to is to make a school think you don’t truly care about going there, and you are just using them as a safety or backup plan.

Time your visits strategically.

Nothing will put wind in your sails like a crisp fall visit to your target school.  If you can time your visit to coincide with the window in which you plan to work on that school’s admissions package, you will likely achieve a much better result than you would if you cranked them out before your visits.  If you did have to visit schools outside this window, you have hopefully been putting your applications on ice, so you can tweak them after you have visited.  You can also go visit schools again.  There’s no law against two visits to the same school, and you are guaranteed to learn or see something new each time you go.

Take a beat and remember why you are doing this.

Recapturing the foundational drive which propelled you to go back for your MBA in the first place can often be the spark which stokes the fire once again.  Try to hang on to this core motivation and put the same spit and polish on those last few schools that you would have if you had done them first. 

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