If you are reading this blog, you are either in the throes of the final rounds, or more likely, are getting a head start on the 2019 application season. Either way, it’s good to think ahead to August.
Most MBA applicants are organized, motivated and passionate, so they generally find themselves ahead of the game in most every area of their lives. Applying to business school is no exception, so we find that January brings out hundreds of new MBA hopefuls, looking for early advice on how to set themselves up for a winning application season.
While the applications for the coming fall are quite a ways off from releasing, there are plenty of things you can do to get ahead.
You can start by asking the right questions. Some of these questions are more philosophical, such as, “why am I going back to business school?” or “why is this year the right time to do so?” These two questions are important to consider, because they are two questions which every school to which you apply will want to probe with you. Schools have a very limited number of seats to fill and far more applicants to fill them with, so being able to definitively explain why you need or want an MBA is paramount. Especially the most competitive schools relish finding any reason to place your application aside, because it’s hard enough for them to split hairs over candidates anyway. Coming in soft on why you want the MBA or why now is a good time (check that—the ideal time) for you to come back to school is a sure way to be invited to apply again.
Thinking ahead also means getting your ducks in a row for the fast approaching avalanche of administrative details.
Gathering transcripts (yes even from that community college you attended one summer), re-connecting with potential recommenders, and arranging travel to visit prospective schools are all tasks which require real legwork, not just cerebral exercise, so make sure you work these kinds of plans into your schedule early. One of the biggest reasons for a failed run on business schools is when client become overwhelmed with all there is to do as the deadlines approach. Here’s a hint: most school’s processes don’t change radically from year to year, so instead of waiting for this year’s applications to drop, go back and study up on last year’s. At the very least, you will be priming the pump.
Finally, it’s good to get out ahead of the consulting wave. Many of the best consultants book up their schedules early, so reach out and begin talking to folks. There’s never a commitment up front, and you will save yourself valuable time later if you beat the rush.