& Timelines - MBA Admissions Timeline
Identify your strengths and weaknesses as a candidate. Understanding
what differentiates you from the rest of the candidates in
the applicant pool will help you highlight these strengths
in your application.
Develop a plan to address your weaknesses and enhance your
strengths. This is the time to start addressing any weaknesses
in your profile. For instance, if you are not involved in
outside activities, seriously consider joining a club or organization
that you can present as an extension of a long-standing interest
or tie in to future involvement at the individual MBA programs.
On the other hand, if you feel that your academic profile
is weak, you should consider putting together an alternative
transcript that demonstrates a strong track record of quantitative
coursework (e.g. basic classes in accounting, statistics,
calculus, or economics). These classes can be taken at any
community college or even through an accredited online program.
Define/refine career goals, talk to those in your target
industry. Not only will talking to people in your targeted
industry help you to refine your objectives, but it will provide
you with a valuable professional network.
Visit MBA programs and talk with students. In order to get
a distinct sense of which programs fit with your interests
and personality, talk to students at the individual schools.
Visiting campus is a great way to really get a feel for a
school and determine whether it’s a good fit for one’s
goals and personality. Getting this step out of the way in
the spring – as opposed to in the fall when you are
juggling applications – can be incredibly helpful. Not
only can a campus visit be advantageous in the application
process, but it is also a great way to gain some firsthand
experience with the program and the people. This experience
will be valuable as you write your application essays: the
more information you can provide about trips to campus, visits
to classes and conversations with students and alums, the
more sincere your interest in the program will seem. Reading
up on the programs with Clear Admit’s School Guides
or visiting the Clear Admit Blog will also help you showcase
your in-depth knowledge in your application essays.
Begin to study for the GMAT. In order to get ready for the
test, seriously consider taking a course or working with a
tutor. Manhattan GMAT can provide just the support and preparation
you will need to earn a high score.
GMAT preparation! We cannot emphasize enough the importance
of preparation in helping you earn a high mark. A high GMAT
score will help solidify a strong picture of your candidacy.
Begin crafting your resume. Nearly every MBA program requires
that you produce a resume for the admissions process. Remember
to round out the picture of your candidacy and keep it simple.
While you’ll certainly want to describe your professional
responsibilities and achievements in some detail, remember
that this document needs to fit on a single page (with rare
exceptions). Rather than overwhelming the reader with information,
try to identify three or four discrete projects or accomplishments
to complement a few concise statements about your day to day
responsibilities in each position. Remember that it’s
also important to be as specific as possible about the impact
you’ve had on your organization by quantifying the results
of your efforts.
Take the GMAT. Good luck!
Begin working on a statement detailing your career plans.
Regardless of whether you apply to schools that have a career
goals essay, it will be important to reflect upon why you
want an MBA and how it will help you reach the next step in
your professional objectives. Having well-defined and feasible
objectives can make your candidacy appear more focused and
Retake GMAT (if needed). Top schools like to see applicants
scoring at or above the 80th percentile in each section of
the exam. If your first effort falls below this mark, retaking
often makes sense. Keep in mind that most applicants experience
a boost in scores during the second sitting of the exam.
Brainstorm essay topics. As you brainstorm, think about balancing
your examples with both professional and personal anecdotes.
Decide on recommenders and approach them to gauge their interest.
In general, your recommenders should have greater seniority
than you, unless the school specifically asks for a peer recommendation.
Also, the people you select should be able to provide the
adcom with a fairly comprehensive and up-to-date perspective
on your professional experiences.
Essay writing/revising. As you write, be sure to quantify
your impact, fully explain your actions, and provide illustrative
examples to produce a set of engaging essays. It is crucial
that your essays work together to present a consistent and
compelling picture of who you are, what you’ve done,
and what you bring to the table. The adcoms are looking for
students who are interesting, well-rounded, and likely to
make a contribution to the school both in and out of the classroom.
Provide recommenders with materials (resume, goals, background
on schools, deadlines, etc.). In helping your recommenders
speak to your contributions and professional and personal
strengths, it would be beneficial to provide them with key
information in order to better focus the recommendations.
For instance, think about reminding them of projects you worked
on under their direction so that they can touch on the impact
of your contributions in the recommendations. Also, it would
be helpful to discuss your goals with recommenders so that
they can indicate how your past and current work will prepare
you to meet your objectives, with the help of an MBA. Providing
your recommenders with a list of your target schools’
deadlines is also a critical step.
GMAT score reports sent to schools, transcript options investigated.
Though schools require that GMAT scores be submitted with
the application, they differ on when they require official
academic transcripts. Familiarize yourself with the requirements
and processes of your target schools.
Sign up for interviews at schools that have open interviews.
Visit school-hosted blogs to get in on the latest buzz at
the MBA programs. Admissions offices often use blogs to inform
students about the latest deadlines, policies, and events,
and many schools even have student-hosted blogs that can give
you personable insight into the individual programs.
Begin planning for the deadlines. Decide which schools you
would like to apply to in each round. Target your top schools
in R1, as based upon invitations to interview, you will get
a better sense of whether you should broaden your list for
Look into off-campus admissions events. Beginning in the
summer, MBA programs take to the road, hosting an array of
admissions panels, information sessions, and meet & greets.
These events are wonderful opportunities to learn more about
Fill out the online application forms. Don’t underestimate
how long these take, and pacing yourself will be key to getting
these finished with plenty of time for review. Make everything
clear and concise, and be sure to follow instructions!
Visit campus. If you have time, consider visiting the campuses
of your target schools a second time to gain a better sense
of what classes and programs will help you best achieve your
career objectives and how you can contribute to campus life.
This valuable exposure to the schools’ communities will
help you touch on details in your essays, allowing you to
showcase your in-depth knowledge of the school and understanding
of how great a fit it is for you and vice versa.
Finish essays and application forms. It’s time to put
those finishing touches on your essays and forms. Make sure
that you are maintaining a consistent message and focus. Check
in with your recommenders to ensure that they’ve done
The month of R1 deadlines! Work hard to finish and submit
R1 interviews. Prepare for interviews by reviewing your materials
and gaining practice articulating your responses. In the actual
interview, you will want to expand or add new information
to your file via the interviewer’s notes in addition
to reinforcing your existing message (a critical component
of most interviews). Interviews are often in November, but
many schools interview for R1 in December as well.
Begin planning for R2 deadlines. If you intend to submit
additional applications in R2, begin planning for these deadlines.
The R2 deadlines are mostly condensed within the two weeks
of January, so you will want to begin planning early in order
to have plenty of time to devote the necessary attention to
each school’s application.
More R1 interviews.
R1 decisions! Many schools begin releasing their decisions
in December, though these notifications often continue through
Prepare for R2 deadlines.
Think about b-school financing. As you greet the New Year,
it’s time to think about financing for business school
through earning scholarships or taking out federal or alternative
education loans. The main federal loans, available to U.S.
citizens or permanent residents, are the Federal Stafford
Loan (subsidized or unsubsidized), the Federal Perkins Loan,
and the GradPLUS Loan. Full-time students, usually those enrolled
in two or more courses per semester, can borrow as much as
$20,500/year through the Federal Strafford Loan program.
The month of R2 deadlines!