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How to Prep for the MBA Application Process

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This is our MBA series by our friends at Admit Advantage, an undergraduate and graduate admissions company, that will be providing a series of articles to Levo League in the next few weeks which explore the value of an MBA and the ways you can prepare to obtain one. Senior consultant Alex Kenin will lead the efforts.

Between the moment when you decide to apply to business school and the moment when you start your applications, there is a period of time when you can step back, get strategic, and come up with your business school plan of attack.

You can use this period of time to nail down final details about schools and testing, to get serious about time, and to create an action plan to keep you on track.

School Strategy

By this time you may already have in mind schools where you want to apply. However, if your school list is a blank slate, now is the time to get clear on the type of program you want to apply to. You should figure out whether you want to leave work for two years and get the immersive full-time MBA experience or whether you want to work full-time while you go to school part-time. If you’re more experienced in your career, a part-time or an executive program may be a good fit.

You’ll then want to research schools — a topic we wrote about in our first post of this series.

You should also figure out which round you’re applying to school (Early Action, Round One, Round Two) and you should commit to this.

Testing Strategy

Next up is your testing strategy. You should figure out whether you’re okay to start your application without a GMAT or GRE score or whether you want to take the test first and then make your application decisions after that. If your score is low, for example, you may want to factor in time to GMAT prep class to raise your score and make you a better candidate for your top schools.

Other Intangibles

It’s good to remember that not everything in the MBA application process is directly related to business school. There are a number of other intangibles to consider before you apply. You’ll want to get support from your family and friends as you enter into the application process. At your job, you’ll get as much accomplished as you can before you apply, and you’ll want to figure out timing for asking for recommendations and informing your manager of your applications. You’ll also want to make sure you’re financially prepared for the application process. GMAT scores aren’t cheap and neither are the application fees. You’ll also want to budget time and money for school visits.

Time Management

Managing time properly during your MBA applications is key. You should think about your MBA applications as a job, which means you will need to carve out time on a regular basis, create a work plan, and meet deadlines.

In your daily life, you’ll want to eliminate time killers including social media. You might want to take the 30 minutes you normally spend on Facebook and Twitter to research schools, write essays, etc.

Since you may run into a time crunch as your application deadlines approach, you can think about taking of low-hanging fruit now — such as working on your resume and scheduling school visits. You should also enroll in classes you may need to finish to improve overall application package.

Create an Action Plan

Before you start in on your applications, you should create a detailed action plan with goals and deadlines. You’ll want to update keep the plan around your desk and update it regularly. You should take into account family events, work projects, wedding, etc. that will get in the way of your timeline. You should also include “flex time” into your plan as you likely won’t be on schedule the whole time.

You may even want to take “days on” instead of “days off.” This could mean that you take work vacation days to dedicate time to the application process for additional focus.

We realize this must all seem like a lot of work, but keep this all in perspective — this is a near-term sacrifice for a long-term gain.

Interested in learning more on this topic? Be sure to attend our upcoming June 18th webinar on Preparing for the MBA Application Process!

And if you are interested in a free 20-minute consultation with Admit Advantage, please sign up here.

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