Advice for Future MBA Applicants (From Our Clients Who Just Survived the Process)

We recently asked our latest group of clients: What is one piece of advice you’d offer to future MBAs? Here are the responses we received.  (Notice some common themes…?)

  • Prepare early and plan ahead with the application timeline
  • Work hard at getting to know each program you are applying to. Really get to know students who are attending these programs because they are the ones who will be able to speak the most candidly and honestly about what the school has to offer.
  • Begin studying for the GMAT at least 10-12 months before you want to begin your applications (which should be started 3 months before the deadline). I would also recommend polishing/finishing your resume during this time period. With a decent score knocked out of the way along with a completed resume, the applicant can truly concentrate on putting together a coherent and tailored application to each school.
  • Start early and talk to as many people as possible (colleagues, friends, alumni, current students). That really helped me to shape my story.
  • Start early, drafting takes longer than you think. (And don’t get married during R1.)
  • Research each school thoroughly.
  • Visit the schools before applying if you can. It’s easier to add a personal touch to your essays if you can envision yourself there.  Also go to the information sessions – you never know who you’ll meet!
  • Prep your recommenders as much as you can!
  • Start early and plan ahead!!
  • Your GMAT score is more important to admissions than one might think – or admissions conveys to you.
  • Every piece of the application takes longer than expected.
  • Take the INSEAD test instead of the GMAT (for those applying to INSEAD’s EMBA programme)
  • Don’t stress about things you can’t control.  Once the application is in, you just have to wait!
  • Hire Shine!*
  • Get an MBA consultant.  The sooner the better.  I personally did not realize that one could work with a consultant up to say 9 months to a year in advance of applications, and that a consultant could provide assistance on selecting schools, etc.  Looking back, had someone given me the advice to get started with a consultant (Shine!)* much earlier, that might have been helpful
  • Go to information sessions. Schools provide a lot of information here that they do not formally communicate (e.g., we don’t even evaluate the new part of the GMAT rated on a 1-7 scale, we are looking the most for X, Y, and Z in your essays, A, B, and C in your recs).

* We couldn’t make this up

Best of luck to those about to embark on this exciting endeavor. We look forward to the opportunity to help you through the application process.

[For help with preparing your business school applications, or for general MBA admissions advice, contact us at]

© Shine/ MBA Admissions Consulting, May 12, 2015, 10:07am MT

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