If you’re planning to apply to business school in the fall, now is the time to come up with a game plan for completing the admissions components within a schedule that doesn’t necessitate sleepless nights and a jumbo bottle of Maalox. The best way to do this is to put together your MBA application timeline months before your target deadlines.
Timing and planning are both key to reducing the stress of the MBA application process, and applicants should channel their energy and enthusiasm into planning through their MBA steps. This way, candidates can commit enough time to put their ”˜best foot forward’ when it comes to completing all of the application requirements.
By identifying your desired program’s start date and planning backward through the necessary steps required to meet all admissions components, you’ll build a critical path that makes the process manageable and allows you to shine in every aspect.
Here are some time management suggestions for the MBA application process:
- Devote a significant amount of time to GMAT preparation, typically at least 100 hours;
- allow yourself the time to develop thoughtful MBA essays;
- ensure you have built relationships and briefed the individuals you will approach for references.
Some people work most efficiently when they can break up tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces, while others prefer to devote several hours to their writing in one sitting. MBA applicants should be aware of the way they work most effectively and structure their writing and editing sessions accordingly.
We typically recommend that candidates allocate two to three hours each time they sit down to work on their essays, particularly for the first few drafts. Conversely, most applicants should also avoid the “marathon session.”
Few people are still sharp or creative eight hours into a writing and editing session. If you need to make up for lost time, try breaking it up with a session in the morning and another in the evening.
The amount of time MBA aspirants will spend on their applications will vary, depending on writing abilities and general work efficiency. That said, plan to spend between 40 and 60 hours preparing four to eight applications. Non-native English speakers will also likely need to allot more time on their applications, particularly on writing, revising, editing, proofing, formatting, and inputting essays.
Remember that all parts of your application must be submitted by the application deadline, including the recommendation letters. Since it is more difficult to control the timeline of a third party, give your recommenders plenty of lead time. Build in a buffer for yourself by providing them with a deadline well in advance of the actual application deadline. At a minimum, request the letter four weeks prior to the application deadline.
The b-school application process is stressful, but careful planning will make the experience manageable and help you channel your energies into continually improving your candidacy until the moment you submit your applications.