WSJ Advice on Handling MBA Application Season

paperworkWith three or more rounds to choose from, it can be tricky deciding when to apply and how to inform your current boss of your plans. In Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, Diana Middleton laid out some suggestions for how to handle the MBA application season and included advice from Stacy Blackman Consulting.

Here are the key takeaways from Middleton’s article…

Choose your application round carefully–The trick is to zero in on your top choice and work on that application before the others. Waiting until the third round can be a mistake, since by that late in the game, schools are looking for specific types of candidates to round out the class.

Keep your boss in the loop— Blackman recommends discussing your plans with your employer about two years before you apply, if possible. A letter of recommendation from your current boss makes your application much stronger.

Prepare for the interview— Successful interview preparation typically takes a few weeks, so spend time browsing online forums to get a feel for the types of questions each school tends to ask and studying the details of your application.

Don’t panic if you’re wait-listed— If a mediocre GMAT score is the culprit, Middleton suggests sending transcripts of accounting or finance classes taken at a community college to boost your skills, for example. Make sure to inform the school of recent promotions or new work assignments, she adds.

Plan a graceful exit— If your employer doesn’t already know of your B-school plans, now is the time to share the news. Offer to finish any significant projects and to train your replacement, says Blackman. Work out a clear transition plan. This will leave your employer happier””and more likely to offer a positive reference.

(image courtesy of Flickr user gregoryjameswalsh, CC 2.0)


For a concise, thoughtful guide that will help you navigate the MBA admissions process with greater success, order our NEW book, The MBA Application Roadmap.

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