Do This If You’re Applying to MBA Programs in Round 2
Perhaps it’s because this year has been…untraditional to say the least, time is flying by. The earliest Round 2 deadlines are approaching in just over six weeks! With the holidays thrown in the mix, the time that remains will elapse before you know it. That realization may strike fear in many of you, which is understandable, but try to harness the panic as motivation to plan for how you will use the remaining time to craft the best possible applications.
Timelines are an indispensable tool we use with our clients and I urge you to create one if you haven’t already. From a mental standpoint, they help break down the amorphous task of completing applications into manageable workstreams, which can reduce the natural anxiety this process creates. They also help keep you honest with yourself as to whether you are falling behind (and help you course correct if you are!).
While your individual timeline will depend heavily on the number of schools to which you are applying and any unique work or personal commitments you have upcoming, here is a broad sketch of where our clients are in the process and the goals we’ve set with them for the weeks to come.
Here is the list of tasks we expect our clients will have completed at this point – if you haven’t gotten to these yet, you know where to start (and do it quickly!):
- Achieved the GMAT/GRE score you plan to use for your applications
- Finalized your list of schools and researched them extensively
- Iterated on your MBA resume so that it is ready to go aside from some final tweaks in the week before submission
- Reflected on your ‘personal brand’ – the experiences and goals that make you unique amongst thousands of other applicants
- Selected recommenders and created/shared a ‘Recommender Packet’ that outlines the process, how you plan to position yourself in the applications, and provides examples of projects you and your recommender have worked on together that support this positioning
- Reviewed the essay questions for your schools and brainstormed potential topics
Once you are through those tasks, here is a SAMPLE TIMELINE for the remaining items (for four schools but adjust for your own situation):
Week of November 23rd:
- Complete first draft of essays for School 1, send them to a trusted friend or consultant for review. Note that 10+ drafts of your first set of essays is normal and recommended! You will typically do fewer for subsequent schools.
- Complete the ‘data form’ (essentially the online application) for School 1. There are short-answer questions that can sometimes catch people off guard, you don’t want to rush through these at the last minute.
- Check in with your recommenders to make sure they are on track and do not have any questions about process or content.
Week of November 30th:
- Complete the first draft of essays for School 2.
- Revise essays for School 1…and then revise them again.
- Complete the ‘data form’ for School 2.
Week of December 7th:
- Send your entire application packet for School 1 to someone who will review it in its entirety and provide feedback (optimally someone who knows about the process like an MBA alum, etc.).
- Complete the first draft of essays for School 3.
- Revise essays for School 2.
Week of December 14th:
- Complete the first draft of essays for School 4.
- Incorporate feedback for School 1; continue to iterate on essays for Schools 2 and 3 and complete their data forms.
Week of December 21st:
- Send completed applications for Schools 2 and 3 to alums or other reviewers for final feedback.
- Revise essays for School 4 and complete data form.
- Check in with recommenders.
Week of December 28th:
- Send completed application for School 4 to alums or other reviewers for final feedback.
- Use this week as a buffer in case you’ve fallen behind on any of the above!
Week of January 4th:
- Deadlines begin, hit submit as soon as you’re ready!
As you can see, things naturally get busy when you are managing multiple applications. Remaining organized and methodical with your approach can keep your anxiety at bay and ensure you put your best foot forward.
If you need help with the final push, we would be happy to assist! Click here to request an initial consultation with one of our MBA admissions experts. And most importantly, best of luck!!