The MBA Prep Steps™ program was developed by MBA Prep School’s faculty of experienced MBA admissions consultants to provide our clients with a powerful, step-by-step approach for building an outstanding application.
In this chapter, we introduce the ten steps in the MBA Prep Steps™ program and provide you with a 12-week project calendar so you will know what you need to concentrate on each week.
As the weekly schedule on the next page will make clear, the MBA Prep Steps™ are designed to be completed in order because the steps that come later draw on the insights and content you generate in the preceding Prep Steps.
If you want to complete three outstanding applications in just twelve weeks, stay on pace with the weekly schedule provided. If you have less than twelve weeks to work with, we recommend that you double-up on your workload in the early steps until you are on pace with the weekly program. This may require taking some vacation time from work and/or sacrificing nights and weekends until you are on schedule.
In the forthcoming sections of the book, we will explore each MBA Prep Step™ in some detail and describe the activities and exercises you need to complete at each stage. This chapter will serve as an introduction and overview of the steps in the work plan.
The MBA Prep Steps™ Program
Figure 3: Overview of the MBA Prep Steps™
MBA Prep Step 1: Prepare to Apply
For the early birds who have more than twelve weeks before it’s time to apply, this section of the book discusses the things you can do to make your candidacy that much stronger.
First, you will learn to think like an admissions officer in order to identify the strengths and weaknesses in your candidacy. After showing you how to diagnose opportunities for improvement in your applicant profile, we prescribe a series of steps that you can take to strengthen your candidacy before you apply.
MBA Prep Step 2: Discover Your Strengths
An outstanding application will clearly communicate your key strengths to the admissions committee; therefore, you need to begin the application process with a crystal clear picture of what your strengths are. In this first week of the formal, 12-week MBA Prep Steps™ program, you will complete a thorough accounting of your key differentiators, character strengths, career history, and leadership capabilities. The things you discover about yourself will serve as the building blocks for a powerful application.
MBA Prep Step 3: Define Your Career Goals
The clarity of the career vision you write about in your essays and talk about in your admissions interview can serve as an elegant proof of your future potential. In this MBA Prep Step, you’ll investigate the intersection between your strengths, passion, and sense of purpose in order to define your career goals. The career goals you develop using the exercises in this section of the book will set you apart from other candidates competing for a spot in a top school.
MBA Prep Step 4: Select Your Schools
In this MBA Prep Step you’ll learn how to look beyond the magazine rankings, the school’s marketing messages, and the opinions of others. We will guide you through a research program and a list of due diligence steps that you can take to select the schools that are the best fit for you.
MBA Prep Step 5: Identify Each School’s Fit Qualities
To prove you are a better fit than your competition, you need to know what qualities the school values most and use that knowledge to shape and to customize every element of your application – especially your essays. In this MBA Prep Step, we will show you how to identify the school’s Fit Qualities — the highest common denominators among students who are accepted.
MBA Prep Step 6: Create Your Application Resume
Most schools will require you to submit a 1-2 page resume. Other books and articles about creating a resume are generally written from the standpoint of creating a resume for a job search. In this book, you’ll learn exactly what admissions officers are looking for in an MBA application resume and how to build a resume that will “wow” the admissions committee.
MBA Prep Step 7: Write Your Essays
The essays you write for your MBA applications are the best way to differentiate yourself from other candidates, and this MBA Prep Step will provide you with the guidance you need to create impressive essays.
There are no shortcuts to creating great essays. To help you stay on track with your essay writing efforts, we break the writing process down into a weekly program that will take you from first draft to final draft for three separate sets of application essays. Armed with the insights provided in this section of the book, you will embark on your writing process with greater confidence and a clearer idea of your writing objectives.
MBA Prep Step 8: Select and Support Your References
Selecting your references and supporting them along the way are critical aspects of a successful application. In this MBA Prep Step, we provide you with the important “Do’s and Don’ts” of reference selection.
After you have selected your references, guiding them through the recommendation letter process is the best way to ensure that great letters result. We will offer you a series of Reference Letter Best Practices so that you can maximize the quality of the reference letters that accompany your application.
MBA Prep Step 9: Complete the Application Forms
The application forms provide another opportunity to strengthen your candidacy. In this MBA Prep Step, we will provide you with tips on all the major sections of the forms and share a series of best practices so that your application forms will further your bid for admission.
MBA Prep Step 10: Prepare for Interviews
The admissions interview is the “final exam” in the application process. In this MBA Prep Step, you will learn what you are going to be “tested on” and how to score top marks with your interview answers. We also offer a series of Admissions Interview Best Practices that will make a noticeable difference in your performance on interview day.