Applying to Business School? Five Things to Do NOW!
It’s never too early to begin preparing for business school. The sooner you start your application, the less likely is you’ll miss a deadline or be derailed by a missing recommendation or a low test score. Here are five things you should be doing right now:
1. Decide whether you’re happy with your GMAT score.
At this point, you should already have taken the GMAT Exam, but perhaps your score wasn’t as good as you’d hoped. If you have a strong resume, and if your score fits within the range accepted by the business schools of your choice, don’t worry about the extra twenty or thirty points you’d gain from retaking the GMAT Test.
2. Start thinking about your essay.
Even if you don’t know the essay topics that will be assigned, it’s not hard to guess what they’ll be. Typical questions include:
- What can you contribute to our school?
- What achievement are you most proud of?
- What are your goals for the future?
These are all topics you can – and should – be thinking about in advance. Start jotting down notes and ideas now, and when it comes time to sit down and write the actual essay, you’ll find that much of the prep work is already done.
3. Think about who you will ask for recommendations.
Put some thought into who you’d like to ask for a recommendation, keeping in mind that not everyone you ask will be available or willing to provide one. Asking for a recommendation is not something you want to leave until the last minute, not if you want the best possible result. Read the application instructions carefully – if the school asks for two recommendations from supervisors or faculty and one from a peer, don’t ask for three recommendations from just anyone.
A spreadsheet or notebook can be useful in tracking recommendation requests. Make a note of who has been asked, and what schools the recommendations should be sent to. Follow up with the schools to make sure everything was received on time.
4. Bring your resume up to date.
Begin now to craft a resume that showcases your work experience and achievements. If you haven’t been promoted recently, that’s not a problem. Use your resume to show how you have built on your past experiences, gained new skills, and deepened your mastery of your job.
Give some thought to how an MBA will fit into your future plans. Will the degree bridge a gap between your current work experience and your future goals? Use your resume to show a line of continuity from your current position to your vision of the future, and how an MBA fits into that vision.
5. Sign up for preparatory or remedial courses.
The summer before your MBA program begins is far too late to start signing up for any classes you might need to prepare for graduate work. If you need several courses to get up to speed, be realistic – it’s better to spread the coursework over several months than to try to cram it all into one summer. If you work fulltime, you’ll be even more limited in how many classes you can take and when.
Follow these five steps, and you’ll find yourself better prepared when it’s time to start on your applications. Thorough preparation means less stress, more confidence, and a much higher quality application. Preparation + Effort = Success!
- Business School Resume – Getting it Right
- Application Essay
- Some Important Tips for Business School Applicants