Plan Your Time Wisely in Round 2

By the end of this week, we’ll be halfway through November already—can you believe it? What’s even harder to believe is that Round 2 deadlines will start to hit in less than two months. And since end-of-year wrap-ups at work—not to mention the holidays—will consume a ton of your time in the coming weeks, those deadlines will be here in the blink of an eye. That’s why getting application materials finalized before early January requires a laser-like focus.

You need to ask yourself the following questions before you get started:

  1. How many hours per week can I dedicate to applications before deadlines arrive?
  2. Which schools on my list have the highest priority—and why?
  3. What’s more important: increasing my odds of getting in somewhere, or knowing that I at least gave my best shot to the top programs I’m interested in, even if I am not accepted?
  4. Am I prepared to wait until next year to apply, or is it “now or never”?

If you want to go back to school next year no matter what, but don’t have enough spare time to pull together quality MBA applications in about eight or nine weeks, something’s gotta give.

Make sure you’re casting a wide net with the programs you’re targeting. Do some research on acceptance rates and average class demographics; try to think positively, but still realistically, about your odds and select your schools accordingly.

If you’re just not going to be able to pull yourself away from career, extracurricular and family obligations in the near future, focus on only the schools you’re most interested in rather than making a half-baked effort across several applications.

Then buckle down, start politely declining as many non-essential commitments as you can, and get to work. Competition is fierce in Round 2, and it’s a tough time of the year to find extra hours. Use that knowledge to fuel your commitment to your MBA applications and put together the best materials you can.


The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities. Stephen Covey.

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