Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hot tip to those applying for MBA: Apply verrrrrrrrry early !

This post for for future MBA applicants, from what I learnt during the 4 month application process and from my mistakes (will post more in the future).

Apply very early on. The deadline date mentioned on the Website of Business Schools is not meant to rush your applications at the last minute (again, it could vary, depending on supply vs demand). The date that you should keep your eyes on, IS NOT THE CLOSING DATE, BUT THE OPENING DATE !!! I know, this sounds difficult and I did go through the same problem too. But hey, I did not have a guide or mentor! If you are reading this post, atleast you know!

Ideally, the preparation for applications to business schools (and the decision in your mind to join a B school) should be made atleast a year to a year and half before classes begin. For example, for the program beginning in Fall (August end) 2009, I should ideally have started preparations in June 2008 (but I did not, & I feel sorry now!).

Most importantly, get started on the following as early as possible (atleast 1 year in advance):
* GMAT preparation course
* GMAT itself (its ok to take it a second time if you are sure of doing better)
* TOEFL preparation course (if applicable)
* TOEFL (if applicable)
* Impressive resume: sharp, short, yet complete. And do remember to use KEY WORDS! lots of them. Do not hesitate to highlight your achievements and flaunt them!
* Personalized statement of intent to each school you wish to apply
* Research about each B school that you shall apply (I suggest that you apply to minimum of 3 )
* Plan your finances, student loans, permission from employer etc (or better yet, get your employer to sponsor you!)
* Do the ground work regarding getting references and transcripts. Give your referees enough time. Give the whole process enough time.
* Preparations for interview (seek expert advise or practice with friends)

As time passes you shall be surprised by the amount of work that is needed and by the number of to and fro communications that you shall have with your school.

I definetly recommend getting the help of someone who has gone through the process before. In my case, being new to Canada and having a limited network of friends, I did not have anyone to turn to.

Though all this seems general info, trust me on the time factor. The earlier you start, the better. Remember, your application itself and the way you apply, speaks volumes about you, no matter what you have written in the application. Your application is also reflective of your time management skills, eh!

Finally, it is a matter of supply and demand. If you apply very early, the chances of you getting selected are high as there are lots of spots available to fill up. But if you apply towards the very end, you shall be competing with a lot of bright students. And TRUST me, there are a lot of bright students out there competing for those limited spots at the last minute!!!

Good luck to you!

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