5 Things You Should Do Right Now for Your MBA Applications

So, Harvard released their 2013 essays (and we heard the shrieks of horror from around the globe), and that only means one thing. No, it doesn’t mean you now have zero chance of getting in. You’re gonna be just fiiine. What it means is that MBA Application season is upon us, and more and more schools will start releasing their essays and deadlines every week….

Yes, my friends, it’s time to buckle down and get to work. Not because it’s smart to get an early start; no, the ‘early start’ portion of the year has already passed. It’s time to get to work because we’re really IN IT now. This is when everything needs to start happening.

And here are 5 things you can (and SHOULD) do RIGHT NOW to start the process (and make it a much, much smoother one)

1. Hammer out those career goals. Yup, both short-term and long. It’s time to figure out what you want to do with your life, folks. Sit down and outline your plans: what do you want to do immediately after business school? And what about 10 years down the road? Now, take a step back and look at those goals. Do they make sense? Is there a logical connection between the two? And do those plans tie back to the experience you already have? They should. If they don’t, start over.

2. Make a list of your greatest hits. No matter what application you’re working on and no matter what the questions are, you are ALWAYS going to want to lead with your best stories. Your shining moments. Your greatest hits. So save yourself some time down the road and get those stories down on paper now. Just list ’em all out. Then narrow ‘em down from there to the top 3 or 5. Those will be your application gold.

3. Start thinking of your recommenders. Who wants you to succeed? Who would go to bat for you? Who knows you well and can speak on your work accomplishments and abilities? Start buttering…erm… lining those people up now. Give them time to do this for ya. Don’t wait until the deadlines are looming to slap ‘em with 8 LORs.

4. Identify your weaknesses. Is it your GMAT score? Your college GPA? Age? Lack of work experience? Are you a career changer? Figure that out early so you can come up with a strong offensive plan… and then crush those things in your apps.

5. Shortlist those schools. The best way to successfully navigate the admissions process? Have a plan. And that plan should start with a solid list of schools you’re gonna target. Once you have that, the next steps will just fall into place: school research, school visits, a deadline schedule to keep you on track with those apps…. It all starts with the list of schools.

That’s not so hard, eh?

And getting that stuff out of the way now is going to be HUGE come August when you’re working on 3 applications while simultaneously juggling work and life. Seriously, folks, it’s time to do this. The more time you have to come up with your plan, the stronger your applications will be.

The Tuesday Q&A: Is Round 1 Better Than Round 2?