5 Steps for Getting into Business SchoolFeatured
After doing a career pivot (finance to tech) sans MBA, I didn’t think I needed or wanted one. And yet, amid the Covid-19 chaos and a job change within tech, I determined it was the right next step for me. I quickly scrambled to prepare, but wondered, how hard could it be? I even debated dusting off the old college application essay and wisely chose against it. Somewhere between 20 open tabs of business school application requirements, a disorganized excel spreadsheet, and page two of a rolling to-dos doc, I realized I underestimated what getting into business school would take. After some time for wallowing, I created a step-by-step plan. This problem-solver loves a challenge. Fast forward to today, having gotten into my dream B-school, here are my 10 surefire steps for getting in. 1. Take the GMAT early.It's good to get this out of the way and you can even take the exam remotely online during Covid-19. You want to give yourself room to take it a second or third time if needed. Take a few practice tests in advance (and on the computer to mimic the real testing environment). Your GMAT score and college GPA will help determine which MBA programs are within reach.2. Research the MBA programs. Find the ones best for you. Go to information sessions, reach out to someone in your network who went there, ask the admissions office if you can ask them some questions. Doing your due diligence will help you prepare for essays and interviews as well as for your own benefit of choosing the place right for you. If you do steps 1 and 2 right, you will only need to apply to 3-5 schools (within reach and well researched), which will save you time and headache. 3. Know why an MBA and why these schools. An MBA is costly (including opportunity cost from not working), it’s time intensive, and it’s less relevant today than it was 10 years ago. Make sure it’s the right next step for you. Think about short term and long term goals post MBA and how the MBA helps you get there. Look at what classes the MBAs have and think about what you want your concentration to be and what classes, organizations, and student activities are interesting to you. 4. Prep and outline the application requirements for your selected choices. Make an application plan and give yourself plenty of time to rework and revise the essays. Determine which application round is best for you (earlier typically means better chances but you also want to give yourself time to prepare and put your best foot forward) and then work backwards from the application deadlines to set your own goals and due dates.5. Draft the essays. Do this early. Make sure it speaks to what you want to get out of the MBA and how you will be an effective leader. Write freely at first to let it flow and capture what you want to say. Then, track the word count and cut cut cut. For each essay, I started with nearly double the word count and got it down. You can always say something in a more concise way. Take out the fluff, keep the meat. Make each word count.