Knowing that I will go to b-school next year, I can enjoy the Christmas time and use these last days of the year to reflect on the lessons learned and start planning my 2017. So, to close the chapter of my MBA application, I want to share a list of some lessons I learned during the process in the hope that future applicants will find it useful.
1. Beat the GMAT as soon as you can. Studying for the GMAT can take a lot of your time and, eventually, you will need that time for researching programs and writing essays. I ended up taken my GMAT on June this year, so I was a bit short in time for the next part of the applications for Round 1. Remember the GMAT is valid for 5 years, so if you are already planning to apply you can as well take the GMAT now.
2. Get feedback on your essays. Whether you hire a consultant or not, it’s a good idea to get someone else to read your essays and ask them for feedback. A friend, your significant other, a supervisor or a relative that knows you well will be able to tell you if your essay is really showing the best version of you. I asked some friends for help here and they gave me some really useful feedback.
3. Do not apply only because everyone recommends that program. I researched and talked with a lot of people to decide on my 4 target schools for Round 1. I ended up applying to HBS, GSB, Wharton and Booth. I never felt that Wharton was a good fit, but I apply anyway because of how highly recommended it was. This was a mistake, I felt that I never really showed a connection with this school through the essays and, indeed, I wasn’t even invited to interview.
4. Get in touch alumni or current students. You can learn a lot about a program just through the web, but hearing about the experience form a current student or alumni is completely different. Going to student-hosted events is a great option.
5. Plan to visit campus with time. When I made up my mind to make a campus tour, it was too late. I made the decision in July so the classes were already over and I would have had to go in September. As the Round 1 deadlines were in September too, I felt my visit would be too rushed and decided not to go in the end.
6.If you can, tell your boss about your MBA plans. I did and it was one of the best decisions I made during the process. There were many times I needed to leave work a bit early or arrive late because I had to review my essays or a GMAT lesson. My boss was really supportive through all the process and this helped alleviate the stress a bit.