Applying to business schools is a daunting exercise. For many of you, this may be the first time you come in contact with extreme competition. By the time you are contemplating business school, you will have already been successful in your career – graduated from high school with stellar grades, landed in a top-tier undergrad program, and got the highest paying jobs out of college! However, in most cases, you were the big fish in a small pond compared to what you are going to encounter while applying and studying in business school (think Lake Michigan vs. Pacific Ocean). Many of you will experience failure for the first time as in not getting into your top choice school - in no way this is a reflection of your capabilities, but is purely a numbers game – the total openings in all elite schools combined is miniscule compared to the number of applicants!
This is the first in a series of articles where we will de-mystify the entire application process and share with you the tools that will enable you to succeed. The same tools will help you succeed during business school and also your career!
First, let’s distill what we mean by the APPLICATION PROCESS. Is’nt it just taking the GMAT, filling out a few forms, writing a few essays and voila!... you get admitted to Harvard? You could not be more wrong!!
It all starts with understanding what you want to do in your career, what critical skills gap that you currently have, which school will help you bridge that gap, and how do you successfully get into that school. While most of us (including yours truly) focus on how to successfully get into a school, we do not pay enough attention to the other aspects which strangely enough is the “magic” that helps you land in the right school.
So, in other words, the APPLICATION PROCESS broadly has the following steps:
Introspection and truthful self-assessment
Identify your “personal narrative”
Identifying and selecting the school(s)
Preparing the application package (GMAT, essays, etc.)
Finalizing the school to attend (for all the lucky ones who will have multiple admissions)
In a perfect world, going through the above steps will help you get into a right school. But, we need to be pragmatic and smart about b-schools. After all, we do not have all the time in the world and need to move on with life. We will be sharing with you here on how to achieve your goals without compromising on the integrity of the above approachWith regards to planning and timing, you will need to start approximately 2 years in advance to the start of the school term. i.e., if you need to start your MBA in August 2014, you should begin your self assessment and school selection (steps a & b) by mid 2012! You will be taking the GMAT in early 2013 and begin preparing the application packages to submit by late 2013. It is a long drawn out process!!
In future posts, we will dive into each of the five steps discussed above.
To listen to MyGuru's podcasts on the MBA school admissions process, visit MyGuru's Podbean Podcast site on the MBA School admissions process.