Re: those 6 months
Some people know, others were wondering… I spent that time focused on the business school application process – it’s completely consuming. Here are my quick tips on how to successfully apply to business school.
1. Decide to apply if/when to apply YOU are ready. Not when your peers are doing it. Not when you’re running away from something instead of running towards a goal. Not when your family thinks it’s time. Not because you’ve spent all those months in MLT and you might as well. The process is deep and thorough, you cannot tackle it until you are fully committed. I dropped out of MLT back in 2008 because I knew it wasn’t my time. I followed my instinct and couldn’t be happier with that choice.
2. GMAT: Study for the GMAT sometime between October and April. Which means take the test a year before you apply. I didn’t do it that way, but trust me, it will make your life easier. It requires total concentration and no one wants to be boo’d up with the big orange GMAT book inside when it’s beautiful and time to play outside. Also, you don’t need a class, all you need is to apply yourself to studying. I recommend Manhattan GMAT books because they allow you to focus on your weak points and give you access to practice tests, which you REALLY need. Oh yea… and know your study habits. If you can study with a friend and genuinely be able to focus, do it. If you can’t, don’t. Sounds simple enough, but not many people know themselves. Know when you’ve given the test your truly best shot and then leave it alone.
3. SCHOOLS: Some people are determined to just go to school others are determined to go to select schools. I knew that since I love my job if I would apply only to schools I really love. This made it easier for me to choose schools to apply to. When you know where you want to go focus on those schools: attend all the events they have in your city, familiarize yourself with admissions people, talk to alum and current students, visit classes, go to special interest group weekends/events. I totally got involved with my schools and I think that helps. Make sure you and the program “fit” with the students, teaching style, career path, clubs, etc.
4. ESSAYS: These are SO important. Have people who will read your essays a million times and can truly help you put the best of you in 500-750 words or less. Make sure you answer the questions asked honestly and appropriately. Be your best self in your esssays. Make them unique to your story. Make sure they clearly show that you know what you want to do (even if you don’t) and that you’re capable of doing so AT THAT SCHOOL for xyz reasons. Know when you’ve revised for the last time and leave it alone.
5. INTERVIEWS: These are also SO crucial. Once they have interest in you via your application package, they want to make sure you are who they think you are. They want to know that you did not stop at the application and that you’re still performing well at your job and in the community. They want to know who you really are to see if you “fit” with their school. So show them your best professional self, they’re good at their jobs. Reread your essays for that particular school to make sure you know what they know. Some interviews are blind of your application and in others, they remember more about you than you do. Make sure that you show that you’ve spent time on choosing the school in your application and how you want to contribute to the community.
6. DECISIONS: Once you’ve done 1-5 all you can do is wait for them to give you an answer. Pat yourself on the back for giving it the best that you had and be patient. Once you’re in or not, decide on what to do next. The choice is yours!!
With all that said, i’m REALLY HAPPY to say that i’ll be starting at Columbia Business School this fall! I am SO excited!!!