Last-Minute Round 2 Tips

Over the next week, more than a dozen top MBA programs will close out their Round 2 application periods.

If you are targeting one of those schools and haven’t hit “Submit” yet, here are some last-minute tips for you:

  • Ensure your recommendation letters are in. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: you know you’ll get your materials uploaded in time, but you simply can’t be as confident about your recommenders. If you haven’t received confirmation that they’ve submitted their letters, stop everything and do what you can to help them finish this critical task. Seriously. Right now. Go call them. (Don’t email or text them—call)
  • Give both your resume and your essays to a family member or friend to review for typos. And just typos or other errors! At this point, it’s not wise to change much about the content itself, so be clear that you are not looking for their thoughts on whether there’s a better story to use or example to discuss. Their concern should be your spelling and grammar, not making you second-guess your strategy.
  • The application itself—or, the “data form”—also needs a careful review. Here are specific things to look for before you hand it over to someone else with fresh eyes:
    1. Spelling errors, missing letters/words, stray punctuation. There’s no spell-check feature in most applications, and if you’re in a hurry, it’s easy to make a mistake.
    2. Consistency. Ensure you’ve remained consistent in everything from titles to organization names to date ranges across the data form, your resume and your essays. If something doesn’t match up across your materials, it may raise a red flag to the AdCom.
    3. Redundancy. While you want your background to presented consistently across each piece of your MBA application, if you simply copy and paste your resume bullets into data-form fields such as “Most significant accomplishment,” you’re wasting an opportunity to tell the AdCom something new. Even if time is tight, you should be able to describe an achievement in a fresh way or give additional details that didn’t fit on your resume.
    4. Correct program name. The “optional essay” or “additional information” field in particular can be a dangerous one if you re-use the same content across applications—ensure you don’t have School X’s name in School Y’s materials.

Best of luck in getting everything in!

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Think of it this way: “Nothing makes a person more productive than the last minute.”

Oh, and make sure you’re following all of our social media channels for ongoing tips and inspiration as part of our “Words of Wisdom” series! We kicked things off yesterday with this great advice from MBA admissions at CBS:

“Have fun, be excited about the opportunity for self-reflection and, in that spirit, be yourself! Open communication with your friends and classmates makes for a richer and even more rewarding experience.” – Amanda Carlson, Assistant Dean of Admissions, Columbia Business School.

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