In this fourth article in our 5 Steps to Applying for an MBA series, we turn to the things you will focus on in the all-important three months leading up to the deadline. This is the period when all of your diligent preparation and strategic planning comes together in the form of in your essays, recommendation letters, and interview preparation.
Assemble/Submit MBA Application Paperwork
One housekeeping detail that trips some applicants up is submitting all the required application paperwork to the business schools on time. At the beginning of the execution phase you should have your transcripts in hand, your test scores submitted, and any other administrative tasks checked off your list.
Write Your MBA Essays
In terms of your MBA essays, you’ll now use your application strategy to pick the essay topics and stories for your essay questions. In an earlier article in this series, we talked about business school “fit qualities”. Your job now is to identify the personal and professional stories that feature the qualities that you know the admissions officer at each MBA program value most so that your application will prove that you are a great fit.
Collaborate With Your MBA References
Regarding your MBA recommendation letters, great process management leads to great outcomes. Admissions officers fully understand that the recommendation letter process is going be a collaborative one. That doesn’t mean that you’ll write your own recommendation letters – and that’s something you definitely want to avoid. But you can give your references plenty of guidance and support. For example, you’ll want to tell your recommenders about the Fit Qualities you are trying to emphasize in each application and suggest ways that they might tailor their letters in the same way that you’ll be tailoring your resume and application essays for each program. Be sure to check out MBA Prep School video course on the MBA recommendation letter process.
Prepare for MBA Admissions Interviews
Although most business schools don’t send interview invitations until after the application deadlines, I mention admissions interview prep now as a reminder that a handful of programs such as Kellogg and Tuck interview all candidates prior to or at least directly following the application deadlines. If you’re applying to one of these programs then you need to be preparing for your interview at the same time that you are writing your essays and collaborating with your references.
Coming Attractions: The Last Mile
The final four weeks to the deadline will be intense. Even if you’ve built a strong foundation, followed every MBA Prep Step™, and executed your application strategy flawlessly, pressing the submit button may be the toughest step of all.