For all those of you who made a new year resolution to apply for an MBA course, we have drawn up a year-long schedule to help you stay on top of the myriad exams, and applications.
It requires careful planning, extensive preparations and a lot of grit to gain admission in a reputed business school. Make sure you are on track with our handy schedule for those targeting Round 1 deadlines in USA and Europe.
January To July: Crack The GMAT
The very first thing to be done is to draw up plans for tackling GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) the scores of which are crucial for getting a seat. This could be scheduled anytime from January-April for the first attempt which will leave you time for a second attempt if needed in June-July.
The time for preparation may vary from candidate to candidate with some of them able to complete it within a month while others may need four to six months. However, it is best to start early.
January to April could also be utilized for post MBA Goals Finalization. This is important as it forms the main component of the application though some top schools have begun to omit this question altogether. The aim has to be made crystal clear and practical enough to pass muster with the admission committee.
Along with preparations for GMAT, you could plan out research or visit to Business School campuses for connecting with the student community and getting a feel of the place. This is important because not only would you be spending the next 1-2 years in the campus, the school itself could play a role in shaping your career. It would be worth while to take a look at the web sites of the institutions as in today’s digitally connected world, Business schools do want to ensure that geographic distance does not put international candidates at any disadvantage.
July To August: TOEFL Time
Next comes TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) that some of the schools insist on even if the majority of the candidate’s schooling has been in English. This requires just about a month’s preparation in July. For those reasonably familiar with the language, it is not a difficult test. This is required for admission to many of the popular B-Schools in USA, UK and France.
August To October: Pen Down That Killer Essay And Fill Out Application Forms
The all-important writing of essays could be undertaken from August to October. Since the essay is expected to reflect the candidate both as a person and a professional, adequate time and care needs to be devoted to framing it with logic and analytical skills. It would be best to give it at least two months before the application deadlines that mostly fall in September-October barring a few exceptions. It also pays to get it vetted by friends, family.
August-October would also be the time to fill the Online MBA Application Form. This should preferably be the first step after the GMAT. It will be best to go to the school website for the purpose than any third party websites for information on essays or any other matter.
Keep the forms ready in tandem with your essays so that you can hit that submit button well before the actual deadline date.
August To September: Reconnect With Old Bosses For Recommendations
Here’s hoping you quit your last assignment on a good note! It’s time to ring up bosses or old colleagues who can attest to your ability to make the best use of an MBA and rope in those who would recommend you by writing your recommendations.
This task could be completed in August-September. Admission committees look at recommendations to check on the veracity of the claims made by the candidate. It would also provide them an opportunity to judge the student’s potential and areas of strength.
Points to be noted for this stage are that since most of the persons writing recommendations would be senior professionals, you may need to closely work with them to help them complete the process. make allowances for delays due to time constraints at their end.
November To January: Interview Prep
Interview preparation could be from November – January. It is not necessary to start the preparations right after the strenuous exercise of submitting the application. It would be alright to take some time off and relax. In most cases,the preparations could begin after getting an interview invite. This avoids any frustration of wasted efforts and also ensures freshness of responses. A week or two is usually good for preparation.
Year Round: Plan Your Finances
The all-important planning for MBA Financing should be something you shouldn’t leave for the last moment.
Candidates are well advised to get a clear estimate of he kind of money commitment an international MBA requires. It would be worth while to do some basic fact finding about where the funds would come from early on, if you plan to go without any financial assistance from the school.
A few financing agencies could be contacted to have a high level plan in place even before starting the application process. The real work begins after securing admission. But the process could take time and that is another reason to try and target the Round 1 deadlines.