Over the past couple of weeks, top MBA programs — including Harvard Business School, University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Michigan Ross School of Business, Duke Fuqua, INSEAD and Columbia Business School — have started announcing their deadlines for the 2018–2019 application season.
While those September and October dates might seem far away right now, we assure you that the next few months are going to go by in a flash. We can also guarantee that many of your fellow applicants are already diving into the MBA process, especially since some schools, such as Columbia, LBS and HBS, have also confirmed their essay questions. You can expect that most programs’ full applications will be available online in the coming month or so.
So how can you go about getting your head in the game when the thought of pulling together application materials doesn’t exactly seem urgent just yet, especially for applicants in the US who recently ended a long holiday weekend?
First and foremost, it’s never too early to start a list of potential recommenders. You’ll want to consider managers and co-workers who know you extremely well and can speak to both your professional achievements and personal qualities.
You can also start thinking about your essay responses for schools who have released their questions . . . or for some of the more commonly asked queries, such as “What are your future career goals?” and “Why School X?”.
Even if you intend to wait a few more months to begin drafting responses, letting ideas brew in the back of your mind in the meantime can only help you come up with more possibilities for compelling themes.
Contemplate what makes you tick, what you’re truly passionate about, and what you honestly want to do in the future. Then consider the “whys.” Why does a certain cause speak to you? Why do you know you’d be happiest working in your target field? Why do you care so much about improving the healthcare system in your country?
By the end of summer — in the U.S. that would be Labor Day weekend in early September — you’ll be finalizing your MBA Class of 2021 materials. The best way to keep from becoming a huge ball of stress and anxiety in the process is to pace yourself, and there’s no time like the present to get going.
Until next time,
The team at Stacy Blackman Consulting
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