I get this question every so often, so I thought I’d draft up some thoughts of advice for potential MBA applicants! Here goes:
- MBA programs want to see work experience and solid test scores, so devote yourself to a prep program like Princeton Review, early, like a year before you want to apply.
- Polish your resume and stay active in work, building it right up until you enter school. Build it toward the type of business you want to do.
- Interview business professionals to decide if you want to go into management, real estate, finance, HR, operations, entrepreneurship, strategy, etc etc. Ask if you can job shadow them.
- Build a solid LinkedIn profile and connect with as many people as possible.
- Your essay needs to show passion for business and global change, and a desire to learn key things to help you advance in business, gaps you discovered during work.
- Get the book about the top business schools, sold by the Princeton Review. Each school tries to have its own angle, so learn them and choose the ones that best suit you.
- Build your list with an even mix of reach, match and safety schools. Probably apply to 10 schools and it is every bit as complex as applying to undergrad.
- Give yourself enough time to retake the GMAT or GRE. Figure out which schools want which test. You do not want to be testing under stress and you will want to retest.
- Cultivate rec letters now.
- Make sure your college transcript has no errors!!!
- Take classes at a community college to bolster weak spots in your learning, especially math, which B schools call “quants”.
- For UK schools, the Times Higher Education supplement ranks the schools, so that’s how you choose those. Find it online for this year.
- All schools have info sessions in person and online. Visiting campuses really helps. Interview everywhere. Join mailing lists.
- Plan to attend the QMBA B school fair. You might have to travel to go to it. Great way to meet tons of B schools in one room and you can set up interviews during the days around the fair if you email the reps ahead.
- Go meet with the office of career services at your college and ask for advice. Naturally, they will steer you toward their school if they have one, but see if there is an MBA advisor you can talk with.
- B schools are keen to get more women and minorities, just so you know, but I’m not sure I’d talk much about that.
- Business is an exciting career with many diverse avenues you can pursue, so best of luck to
you as you research this path!