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If you are just starting your MBA applications and hope to make the round 2 deadlines, managing your time is crucial. With recommenders to manage, essays to write, goals to formulate and networking to do it might seem like too much work to prioritize your tasks. Our client Tasha found herself in this situation last season, and was able to fit in the applications for three schools between Thanksgiving and New Year’s with some smart time management.
Tasha came to us five weeks before most R2 deadlines with some idea of her target schools and a GMAT score she wanted to improve. With her limited time she needed to schedule the GMAT for two weeks before her deadlines. That meant she did not have the luxury of focused studying for the GMAT in all of her free time. Tasha needed to prepare her recommenders, write several drafts of her essays, and ”“ most importantly ”“ decide upon her final target schools.
To help Tasha manage her time we first wrote down all of her tasks (including the number of essay iterations we expected her to go through). Then we worked backwards from her deadlines to see how many days she had to work. After doing the calculations it was clear that Tasha needed to turn around a new essay draft every two days. This was tough while she was studying for the GMAT. However, Tasha dedicated several hours after work each night to MBA prep. Before Tasha started any materials we had a long conversation about her background and goals. At the end of that conversation Tasha was confident she wanted to apply to Stanford, Yale and Cornell. On her first night of working on her applications Tasha wrote a document to prepare her recommenders to make sure they had time to write support letters and submit on time. Then she worked on essays the next night, studied for the GMAT on the third night, and then started alternating essay writing and GMAt study until the day she took the test.
With her thoughtful time management system Tasha was able to improve her GMAT by 30 points and submit a strong application to her three target schools. She ultimately gained admission to Stanford and Cornell, and decided to attend Stanford.