Most of the top U.S. business schools accept students in two or three rounds. Applicants are not always sure in which round to apply, and when they make a decision, they usually underestimate the time it takes to put together a solid application.
Applying for an MBA is not like applying for a job. A well-rounded application not only needs quantitative data such as undergraduate grades and test scores, but also needs an accurate depiction of your qualitative traits, which are usually shown through your essays, letters of recommendation, CV and extracurricular activities.
A thorough application can be seen as a presentation package to Admissions that should tell a consistent story. When I work with applicants, I tell them to spend time researching but also reflecting, as opposed to solely applying. Ideally, I would start in the January of the year of submitting an application, so to allow roughly 18 months prior to enrollment. Will you be too old to be considered? Not at all! Although some schools do accept younger applicants, Admissions still want to compose a class of individuals who are mature and capable of self-reflection. Having slightly more years of experience is always a plus, as many schools use the case study method of instruction, so having worked in the real world is a pre-requisite for success in the MBA program.
Wait until Round 1 and use these 6-9 months before the application deadline to:
- Allocate enough time to study for and take the GMAT. Many applicants may want to take the test more than once, and you can only take the test once every 30 days.
- Start improving your reading and writing skills by reading publications such as The Atlantic or Harvard Business Review. You can read The Economist later once you enroll to stay up to date with world business news. Read this article for more tips to score high on the GMAT.
- Try to take on a leadership role by volunteering or participating in extracurricular activities, as sometimes this is easier than earning a promotion at work.
Overall, try to reflect upon yourself as a leader, no matter your job title. Remember, it is not only what you have accomplished or your job title that will make you prime MBA material, but also how well you have handled and made the most out of the situation that you were in. Make sure this comes through coherently before you click that ‘Submit’ button.
If you are still thinking about applying in round 3, take a look at our round 3 guarantee, or call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. Click here to take our Free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation! As always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!
This Veritas Prep Head Consultant received a BA in International Economics from UCLA, and went on to the Stanford Graduate School of Business to receive her MBA. Her specialties for helping students include low GMAT score, low GPA, multicultural marketing, and entrepreneurship.