Monday, April 30, 2012

If Only I Knew....

Thank God the bschool application process is over and all the hard work paid off. I'm ready to begin the fun!! For those who are just starting out with their bschool process  here are some things I wish I knew before beginning this process and/or things that helped me throughout the process.

  • Add EXTRA money to whatever bschool budget you create. During my process so many other expenses came up I wish I would have put more away. I had to dip into my summer travel fund :/
  • Books- there are a lot of great books out there to help you with this process
    • Take a look at this post and comments.
    • MBA for Smarties- I found this book late in the game but the information & the tips it provided were great! Also, I enjoyed "the bottom line" at the end of each chapter. 
  • Apply to MLT. I wasn't in MLT but seeing some of the benefits Motown had access to, I wish had some of those opportunities. If you don't apply to MLT at least find a someone who is in MLT and latch on lol (that's what I did to Motown). 
  • School visits - If you have the means, visit each school before submitting your application. In almost all cases my visit allowed me to create a more impactful essay or  helped me knock a school off my list. 
    • Keep those relationships you make. Even though you may not end up at the same school, you meet some really ambitious and smart people during the application process. Keep them in your network, you never know when you all will cross paths again.
    • Get to know the admission officers.
    • Take students up on their offer(s) to read your essay!!!!! 
  • Essays- Find friends and people who have been through this process to help give you feedback.
    • Now not everyone's advice should be used. I had people read my essays but chose to not to use their recommendations because it wasn't me or I just didn't agree with what they said. 
    • START EARLY on the essays. With all the edits you may have to do, you will wish you  had more time.
  • GMAT- Do your best but it isn't the end all be all.  Now that a lot of schools are accepting the GRE take stab at the GRE if the GMAT isn't your friend. Make sure you tell a compelling story with every other piece of your application.
  • Have fun! It's a stressful process but you may learn something new about yourself ( I know I did).
Those who have completed this process , what advice do you have for those who are just beginning this process?

-Ms. HR


Cheetarah1980 April 30, 2012 at 11:38 AM  

Great advice. I agree with everything you've said. A couple of things I would add:

1) Start early. This will give you time to focus on each part of the process by itself. It's no fun to be studying for the GMAT while visiting schools and writing essays.

2) Coach your recommenders. Make their lives easier by compiling a binder that includes your resume, notes on accomplishments they've seen you achieve, and a strategy for how you would like them to approach recs for each school. I recommend being very detailed about everything from leadership to teamwork to innovation. Don't just list your accomplishments, be sure to include how you did it as well. With this packet of information your recommendations should basically write themselves and you will have a large say in what it written about you.

3) Give yourself a break. This process is stressful no matter how well you plan. Build some b.s. time into your timeline. There will be days where the essay writing just ain't happening but you've played Bejeweled for 3 hours straight and read every MBA blog you can find. I will not admit to knowing this from personal experience.

4) The GMAT is important. It's not the end all and be all, but it definitely matters a lot. Make the GMAT your life for a few months. It is worth the sacrifice to your social life to come to the table with a strong score. The other parts of your app will only have to pull their own weight instead of having to balance out your GMAT score too.

5) Save your vacation time. You will need it for school visits and interviews.

Linda Abraham May 16, 2012 at 7:32 PM  

Thanks for the feedback on MBA Admissions for Smarties

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