jueves, octubre 05, 2006

those poor MBA applicants...

I just came to think that it was only about one year ago, that I started actually working on my application to the London Business School. Around one year ago I went for a long weekend to Paris, where I attended one of topMBA World MBA Tour forums. Apart from taking home a suitcase full of brochures, we rollerbladed by the Seine, had great French food and walked around le Marée, le Quartier Latin and many other great Parisian neighborhoods. Unforgettable weekend! But I digress...

I always had had in mind the idea of pursuing an MBA. Before the summer, I had discussed it with a few friends. But it was only at the beginning of october that I took a real step in the direction of the MBA. Now, let me join the hordes of current students who blog about the MBA application process and try to give some tips.

First, and most important: do your research and preparation. Mine included:
  • buying Montauk's book along with some GMAT preparation books.
  • following current students and other applicant's blogs. Some advanced schools have official blogs, like the one here at London Business School.
  • Reading the BusinessWeek MBA forums. Some schools give access to their forums, like Wharton.
  • diving deep on all the schools' websites and downloading programme brochures
This allows for understanding of both the application process (which is very similar for all schools) and for pre-screening the schools that interest you the most. It is also good for motivation, and to get a sense of aim.

Second, start thinking of the typical essay questions. Make sketches. Brainstorm. Meditate. Most schools ask about:

  • leadership and teamwork experiences. When were you in charge. When did you persuade, convince, advice, counsel, etc.
  • short-term and long-term goals, both professional and personal
  • things that you are proud of, and occasions when you failed
  • hobbies, voluntary activities, commuunity service. How you are and what you do when you're not working
After jotting down some ideas on this questions, answering a 'why an MBA is suitable for you now?' kind of essay should not be a problem.

Third, work early on the administrative paperwork: Recommendations, Transcripts, Official diplomas. It all takes time, and we want to focus on the parts of the application where we can have a bigger impact, so try to get them done as soon as possible.

Fourth, gather a group of reviewers around you. Friends who want to enter into an MBA programme. Your boyfriend/girlfriend. Your family. Colleagues (if you have told them already). They'll be there when you are tired of writing essays, and believe me, you'll need some moral support some time. The human factor is fundamental in the process. Your morale as well. There will be highs and downs. I can't be thankful enough to my girlfriend...

Fifth, take your time. Don't be stingy with it. If you have to give up a leisure weekend away because you have to work on your essays, do so. You are sure you want to join the MBA world, aren't you? It is not impossible to get into any top school. But you need to make sure that inspiration arrives when you are working.

Since I am so bad at time management, I will not comment on suitable dates for GMAT, TOEFL, recommendations, essays and the like. Just remember to focus on a few schools where you see yourself attending, and try to apply early. In my case, I worked by batches. Application to London Business School done, then move on to the application for INSEAD, and so on. Maybe other approaches are better, but this one worked for me and kept me busy while waiting for the results of the different stages.

Bottomline: you need to be focused and constant towards the next goal. As if it was just another work project!

So, I hope I didn't repeat that much what other resources say, and that it was useful for you. Don't hesitate to leave me a comment if you have further questions!!


At 8:33 p. m., Blogger -tvu said...

Thanks for the tips.


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