Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Deadlines Approaching

The life of an MBA applicant can prove hectic during the approaching holiday season. A number of school's first round deadlines have already passed, others loom on the horizon. So, for those of you taking the GMAT, interviewing, and writing essays--this time of year can seem like you are already back in school taking exams and finishing up class projects.

I hope that when you were making your decisions about where to apply you didn't select your top 10 and then set about to complete as many applications. If so, I may need to come and visit you for a personal intervention or serious pep talk. Our advice at Forte is to pick 3-5 schools. Pick 1-2 stretch schools, 1-2 schools where you are very competitive based on the applicant profile, and a back-up school where you are fairly sure you will be admitted.

Now that we're all on the same page, a couple of tips for making it through the next couple of months.

  • If you haven't already, take the GMAT as soon as possible so that you can move forward with the remaining steps of applying to b-school. Having this test behind you will make the rest of the process go more smoothly.

  • Spend some time in preparation before you start writing or interviewing. Ask yourself the hard questions about why you want an MBA, how will it advance your career, why have you chosen the particular schools on your short list, etc. Make sure you have strong and valid reasons that you can share through your essays and campus interviews.

  • For tips on application essays and interviewing, refer back to earlier entries in this blog. Also, check out the Getting Your MBA section on Forte's web site. The Articles link will take you to lots of great articles about the admissions process.

  • Once you've completed a draft of your essays, ask a colleague, friend, or family member to review the essays. Be sure to pick someone who will be straightforward and constructively critical of what you've written. Asking someone who attended business school or who has a business background is also helpful.

  • Spend some time incorporating clarifying points and strong examples into your essays.

And finally, don't forget to relax--enjoy the time you can spend with friends and family over the next couple of months. Keeping that balance will give you perspective and help you focus as you write your essays and interview.