Many of our clients need support beyond preparing for tests: picking the best schools and getting their candidacy in check. We work with several expert admissions consultants, and David Petersam of AdmissionsConsultants is one of them.
We’re excited to share some of his expertise with you here on this guest blog post, below:
MBA Application: Prep Now!
If you have decided you want to apply to b-school for the 2017-2018 application season, it’s not too early to take meaningful steps towards a successful and ultimately rewarding candidacy. Here is a list of actions you can get started on right now.
Take the GMAT or GRE – The sooner you get this out of the way, the better. Having your score in hand will let you compare yourself against recent admits to your target schools and devise an appropriate application strategy. You’ll also leave yourself ample time to re-take the test if you feel you need to – but make that decision carefully; it’s not always the best use of your time or resources.
Most business schools now accept both tests and we’ve seen no evidence of bias from any school that accepts either exam. Talk to a standardized test prep expert like Test Prep NY to determine which test is best for you and take your preparation very seriously. A lot is riding on this score and your competition will be largely availing themselves of effective test prep assistance.
Focus on School Selection – B-school selection is an often-overlooked component in successful admissions. Admissions committees are looking for applicants who have not only the right qualifications but also the right ‘fit’ for their institution. You’ll need to tailor your applications for the schools you targeting.
More importantly, you want to make sure that you’re applying to the schools that are the right choice for your interests, goals, and learning and life styles. Your choices are plentiful even in the top tier and these programs go to great lengths to differentiate themselves in meaningful ways. The MBA is a large investment and it’s a one-shot deal, so take the time to carefully conduct your due diligence.
Select Your Recommenders – Effective recommendations reflect the applicant’s wise choice of recommenders and their efforts to inform those people of their b-school interests. Ideally, you will wait until your essays are completed, but you will need to remain mindful that these letters of reference are often critical time paths in your application process. Tell your recommenders specifics about your MBA plans and school choices and why you would value their recommendations. Think about what your recommenders can say that will most effectively address the admissions committees’ concerns about your particular profile.
Plan Your Finances – There’s no getting around the fact that attending an MBA program is an expensive endeavor. Happily, that investment pays off handsomely for most people in greatly improved career prospects and greater career satisfaction. You can make the expense of your b-school investment more palatable by starting to plan how you’re going to pay for b-school now. Come up with a realistic budget, including items like books, a computer, and an interview suit. Look into scholarships and fellowships.
Research your loan options, too. That includes checking your credit record ahead of time and repairing any problems you find. And don’t forget to start economizing now. Save what money you can and accustom yourself to a less expensive lifestyle. Even small economies can add up and make a significant difference in the amount of money you need to borrow. As you can imagine, we have some alumni clients who have told us that following these steps have allowed them to pursue start-up opportunities. Unfortunately, we have other alumni clients who felt pigeon holed with regards to pursuing higher starting salary positions because of their financial situations.
Plan Your Applications – The top business schools have several admissions ’rounds’ for each class. Although most schools will not publish deadlines for the next admission season until late spring or early summer, it’s safe to use this year’s deadlines as a rough guide of when they will fall. As a general rule, you should submit your top-priority applications first, and try to spread your work out over the first two rounds. Save Round 3 as a fall-back in case your applications are interrupted by work or family demands, or in case you are not admitted to your preferred schools but are still committed to beginning an MBA program next fall.
David Petersam is the president of AdmissionsConsultants and the author of Top MBA Programs: Finding the Best Business School for You.
Since 1996, AdmissionsConsultants, www.admissionsconsultants.com, has helped thousands of clients gain admission to highly selective MBA programs. The company’s global network of seasoned consultants helps clients develop best strategies for admissions: identifying “best-fit” schools, developing applications and essays, and preparing for interviews. AdmissionsConsultants’ sole focus is on helping clients successfully enter college and graduate programs that will help them meet career and life goals.
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