How to get admission into an MBA school

Considering going to graduate school to earn a Master in Business Administration (MBA)? If so, the MBA application and admissions process can be challenging to navigate. There are many factors that contribute to schools admissions decisions. It is up to you as the MBA candidate to ensure your application distinguishes you from the sea of applicants. Below are recommendations on how to best handle the admissions process to increase your chances of being accepted into your target school.

1. Do Your Research and Start Early

As a prospective student, you should do your research, so you know what MBA programs you are interested in attending. Don't rely solely on research done by others about MBA programs and rankings. Getting an MBA is a significant investment of your time and money to spend time upfront researching before diving into applications. For first-hand information, visit the campus and connect with current students and alumni. Networking can not only help you while you're in college, it can also help you in your future. If you're lucky, you might end up getting a waiver on application fee if you have their reference. Also, keep in mind that just because a school is well known for an area does not mean that’s all that they do well. Any of the top business schools will prepare you for whatever you want to do post-MBA.

2. Apply to multiple schools

Apply to multiple MBA programs and consider schools with a variety of competitiveness to increase your odds of acceptance. Admissions experts suggest applying to about four programs for MBA. This helps you cast a wider net. Experts also recommend applying to less than six schools because the admissions process is intense and time-consuming.

3. Plan and Prepare for the GMAT or GRE

It's important that you take your aptitude test preparation very seriously. Although in previous years, the GMAT was the standard MBA admissions exam, more and more MBA programs now accept the GRE. Read < MBA Admissions â€" the GMAT or GRE> for help determining which exam is best for you. The more effort you put into it, the better your outcome will be. This is an opportunity for you to make yourself stand out. Top MBA schools have many highly qualified candidates competing for limited spots in the program, so this is one way you can differentiate yourself.

Establish a study plan and schedule. Many admissions experts recommend taking a class to prepare. This helps MBA candidates set up a study routine and provides the opportunity to take practice exams in a realistic setting. If you decide not to take a course, be diligent about your study schedule and build in plenty of time to take practice exams. Your study plan should provide ample time for you to take the exam multiple times before the admissions deadline. More practice and fewer nerves often lead to a higher test score the second time around. Fortunately, schools evaluate your highest score, so there is no need to worry about re-taking the exam. For this reason, do not cancel a score after taking a test, no matter how badly you think you did. You may have scored better than you think so canceling your score would be a mistake.

4. Use Professional References

MBA programs recommend that you use professional references for your letters of recommendation. These provide schools with insight on your professional performance, which is difficult for an academic reference to do. For this reason, try to use someone from your current or a recent job or the information will be dated. Also, avoid using someone who hardly knows you. So instead of selecting the individual with the most impressive title at your work, ask someone to be your reference who you have worked with closely. Someone who doesn’t know you as well, probably won’t be able to answer the recommendation questions. For part-time MBA programs, many recommend having one of your references be your current supervisor. It is important that your supervisor supports you pursuing your MBA. In addition to securing professional references, manage your references closely. It is your responsibility to make sure they follow the directions provided and submit your recommendation on time.

5. Use your Resume as a tool

Your resume can you help you shine at your interview. Mention things that you would want to talk about during your interview. Your interviewer will go through your resume and talk about it. The more your resume piques his interest, the more time you will spend talking about it. It's better than talking about some unfamiliar territory. Your resume can be a powerful tool.

6. Start Your Essays Early

Although essays can be an intimidating part of the application process, they are a great opportunity to make yourself stand out. Start preparing for your essays early on and save plenty of time to review and revise them. Ask someone else to review your essays too. It’s helpful to have a second set of eyes to identify errors or points of confusion. To prepare, jot down anything that inspires you and may be helpful in an essay, such as a great quote, something from a book or that you think of when reflecting. These notes of inspiration may help you as you begin drafting your essays.

7. Prep for the Interview

If you have the opportunity to interview, make sure you prepare for it. Consider asking a friend or colleague to do a mock interview with you. Prepare answers to questions you think they may ask. Make sure you have a compelling reason of why you’re interested in attending that school and why you'd like to earn your MBA. Avoid general statements about graduate school.

Above all else, make sure you do your research and set aside enough time for the MBA application process. Every school is unique; therefore research is critical to know how to appeal to your target schools. You can learn a lot of information online, and admissions offices are always available to connect with you and answer any questions you have about the school or the application process. Earning an MBA is a significant time and money commitment, so invest your time beforehand, so you have choices on which program to attend.

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