Congrats! You feel you’re up for the challenge, the financial investment and the time it’s going to take to apply to business school, so you want to know what this process entails. It’s going to be pretty rigorous but if you start early (at least six months out) and stay organized from the beginning, you might even enjoy the process.
Here’s some high-level tips on how to get started:
- Speak to people in school and those who have recently finished about their experiences
- Determine why you want the degree and figure out how to tell your “story”
- Take the GMAT or GRE as early as you can (the closer to college, the better, because you’re still good at taking tests and scores are good for five years). It may require a prep course, so take a practice test to see where you’re at, scorewise
- Decide if you’re going full-time or part-time or online
- Analyze the latest rankings from US News, Bloomberg Business Week, and Financial Times (which schools are best for your [desired] industry, admitted student stats, program costs and what you can expect salary-wise) and set your targets
- Plan school visits and engage with program admissions and PR teams on social media / email
- Attend MBA Tours in your city (bring specific questions you can’t find anywhere online, more on that to come)
- Round up application deadlines to stay on track (or use our Tracker; Keep reading…)
- Reach out to potential recommendation writers, and prepare them regarding timelines (you will need two letters)
- Research financial aid offerings (scholarships, loans, grants, sponsorship or tuition reimbursement by your employer)
- Polish that resume (address any gaps) and have someone review it (we’ll review it, too; reply to this email with your resume! Subscriber perk.)
- Research interview tips and tricks, draft responses, conduct mock interviews
- Submit your application and crush that interview
Keeping it organized
The MBA application process is grueling and time-consuming but a little organization at the very beginning can help streamline the entire process. You might consider hiring an MBA admissions consultant to help you apply to business school. MBA consultants are very helpful at guiding you to what AdComs are looking for, but they are an investment. You’re entirely capable of managing the application process yourself but we’ll publish pieces reviewing and showcasing some consultants to help you make an informed decision. Either way, if you join our mailing list, you’ll get access to our MBA Application Tracker that we’re building; make sure you’re signed up! Also to come: articles offering advice on every single bullet up there. Stay tuned and we’ll be here to help every step of the way!
Resources for MBA applications
Here’s a (#nonsponsored) list of resources that we have found helpful over time. Please let us know if there’s anything you’ve found useful and we’ll add it to the list (especially for GMAT prep! We just got a reader question about courses and will be digging into options for a post on that):
- Beat the GMAT: GMAT prep website and network, started as a blog by Eric Bahn and now offering the largest aggregation of GMAT prep and MBA admissions advice/resources in the world (and the first site to syndicate MBAchic blog posts!)
- Poets & Quants: a news website devoted to the coverage of business schools, MBA degrees, MBA rankings and more
- The MBA Tour: a subsidiary of GMAC that produces events around the world to provide potential MBA students an opportunity to meet with top business schools around the world
- Clear Admit: independent resource for top-tier MBA applicants (FYI, MBAchic was syndicated here on Fridays from the Frontline)
- QS Top MBA: a multi-city tour featuring top business schools (and admissions reps!); great if you cannot plan a physical school visit
- Reddit forums and discussions: r/MBA and r/businessschool
- CommonBond: one of the top names you’ll hear when looking for an MBA lender. They offer lower rates than the government, award-winning customer service, and even support the education of children in need through their 1-for-1 social mission
What resources did you use in your MBA application process? Who did you consult when you decided to apply to business school?
Would you use our MBA Application Tracker? Let us know!