5 Tips for Applying to an MBA Program

Applying to an MBA program means you’re seizing exciting opportunities, but the process can also be daunting. Business school admissions can be very competitive, and you may be worried that your application won’t be good enough.

Follow these five expert tips to ensure that your application shines.

Take Time to Prepare for the GMAT

Getting a good score on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is essential no matter the business school to which you’re applying. Most students will need between four and six months of study to do well on the test. You can enroll in an exam prep course in your local area, take a course online, or use books and flashcards to prepare for the test. Experts recommend that you aim for a score 20 or more points above the average at your target school. Singing up for a practice GMAT is a great way to gauge where you are on the score continuum.

Related: What is the Difference Between the GRE and the GMAT?

Communicate Why You Need an MBA Now

The competitive nature of MBA admissions means that you’ll be up against hundreds of other qualified applicants. Set yourself apart from others by clearly communicating why you need to earn your MBA right now. Maybe you’re looking to advance in your career or want to start your own business. Knowing the reason you need to be admitted this year can help keep you off the wait list. Remember that the reasons you want an MBA may be different from the reason that you need an MBA now. Be sure that you explain your immediate and long-term goals so that you can touch on both of these areas.

Address Holes in Your Resume

Few students applying to business school have a perfect resume. You can give yourself a competitive advantage by actively addressing anything that’s lacking on your resume. If you don’t have enough real-world business experience, pursue an internship or get a part-time job in your target industry. If you have experience, consider seeking out challenging projects to prove that you have what it takes to succeed in business school. As you write your resume, remember that it should connect directly with your admissions essay too. Make sure that any schooling or work you’ve highlighted in your essay is also reflected on your resume.

Build Your Relationships with References

Filling out online reference forms for MBA applicants is a tedious process. Reaching out to potential references as early as possible is essential. You should spend time talking to each of your references to ensure that they understand your career objectives and know why you want to study for an MBA right now. You’ll get better and more genuine feedback if your references are invested in your success. Remember that your business school references may also serve as references for employment and academic opportunities in the future. Treat them well, and be sure to give them four to six weeks to fill out recommendation forms too.

Apply to Your Dream School

Most people only apply to business school once. Now is the time to apply to the school you’ve always dreamed of attending. Working towards admission at your dream school can give you the motivation you need to study harder for the GMAT or focus on your admissions essay. You might not be admitted to your dream school, but you also won’t have to wonder about what might have been for the rest of your life.

Remember that taking your time to prepare your application will pay off too. Check everything you submit for errors, and make sure that you’ve painted a clear and accurate picture of yourself. Investing time in your application now will be more than worth it in the long run.