There’s a lot more to getting into business school than a good GMAT score (though it certainly helps!) Luckily, our friends at Graduateprograms.com are here with some great tips for getting into the right b-school for you.
The first step when applying for a Master of Business Administration is to be realistic about undergraduate performance. While it’s good to aim high–and you should select one or two reach options–you should assess whether you meet the basic requirements of the program. Next, put some deep thought into where you want to apply and why. While some students cast a wide net with the hope of more security, it’s often a better idea to focus on your top choices and put all efforts into these programs. There’s something to be said for having intimate knowledge of a program you’re excited to join: professors by name, program specialties, quirks unique to the university, etc.
All business schools are not created equally and they all have core strengths, personality and focus. Try to find the program that is as tailored to your personal needs. For example, if you want to go global with your MBA, you might want to apply to University of Pennsylvania. But if you want to be an entrepreneur, perhaps Stanford would be a better choice. If you don’t know what your needs are, think about waiting until you do. This isn’t undergrad. Business school is rigorous and expensive—but well worth the commitments when the time is right. According to Bloomberg/Businessweek, the average target salary for business school grads is $140,000.
Once you decide which business schools will receive your applications, make a note of every deadline on a calendar. This includes both official admissions deadlines as well as deadlines you set for yourself. If you don’t know when something is due—or when you need to complete it—then you could miss an important date.
Next, become a skillful hunter and gatherer of application materials, and do so early. With so many students applying for graduate school each semester, it’s best to contact the professors and advisers who will write letters of recommendation as soon as possible (if you’re the last one on the list before a holiday, sorry!). Obtain any exam results and other examples of stellar work to share with admissions. Apply for your transcripts and know where they should be sent and by which date. Work on your resume: go for no typos, great layout, and a clear read.
Then, visit program websites. Do this in advance, and often, in order to familiarize yourself with the program and connect with the university you hope to attend. Some admissions teams offer tips and tricks. For example, Harvard Business School allows students to create a profile on their website that is separate from the application but allows admissions to get to know applicants a bit better. These additional steps show determination, creativity, and versatility. Think about how to diversify your application ahead of time.
On that note, keep that creative hat on. Business schools often emphasize innovation and forward thought. Admissions teams look for entrepreneurial students who move ahead of trends. So before you submit your application, show that you can think outside the box.
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