This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com
Applying to business school is a stressful, exhausting and arduous process no matter how brilliant or organized a person you are. A great way to reduce the risk of burnout is allowing ample time for the entire application process, which you can gauge by checking out this MBA timeline?.
Life doesn’t always follow a tidy pattern though, so when application fatigue looms, dodge the fear of MBA application failure and try these tactics to get your MBA mojo back on track.
1. Team up with a buddy: It can be hard to stay motivated when you are faced with so many competing responsibilities, both as an applicant and from the real world. Schools often connect incoming students with a second-year buddy, so take a page from their book and pair up with a fellow MBA applicant targeting a different set of schools in order to bolster your enthusiasm.
When – fingers crossed – the invitations to interview start coming in, conduct mock interviews with your partner, in person if possible or via Skype, and provide each other with feedback on the exchange. Mock interviews will help crystallize your thoughts and allow you to figure out the appropriate level of detail and length of response to each question.
Never underestimate the importance of having someone you can vent to who knows exactly what it feels like in your shoes. A little nudge from your application buddy, and having a sense of support, community and accountability to another person in the MBA trenches, can go a long way toward keeping your motivation levels running high and your eye on the prize.
2. Choose your online resources wisely: The Internet is a wonderful resource for free information about applying to business school. Major news outlets cover the subject, admissions consultants like me publish MBA blogs to share the latest news and tips and test prep forums provide another popular source for information as well as camaraderie.
While nervous applicants often jump at the chance to read any and all information about the process and their dream schools, the smart thing is to pick a handful of trusted resources and filter out the rest. Not only will you arm yourself with the most accurate information out there, but you’ll also sidestep a lot of external anxiety as well as inevitable rumors constantly circulating online.
School-hosted and independent student blogs provide a valuable, up-close look at the programs, which is useful when you’re making your final selections but can also be biased. Blogs written by applicants offer a real-time glimpse into the process, with all its ups and downs, and can be a comfort to candidates going through this phase on their own.
Any advice offered through test-prep or MBA forums, or posts on student or applicant blogs, should be taken with a grain of salt. What worked for one applicant may completely backfire for another, so make sure those tips are substantiated through other credible sources. When in doubt, ask your admissions consultant or, if appropriate, contact the admissions committee at the schools where you’re applying.
The MBA application has several components, so when one area starts making your head spin – I’m looking at you, essays – then it’s time to redirect your attention elsewhere temporarily or take breaks when the demands on your time have exceeded your energy reserves. Most importantly, remember that you’re pursuing an MBA to transform your career, so do whatever it takes to revitalize your excitement and keep on keeping on.