The Clock Is Ticking

As round one deadlines rapidly approach, Personal MBA Coach is here to help keep you on track. For some schools, such as HBS, you have less than 2 weeks to go. For others, there is still a bit of time to perfect your essays. However, that window is quickly closing.

* Denotes early decision deadline

Most candidates will fall into one of three categories. If one of these describes you, check out these tips on your best action plan.

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“My applications are nearly ready to go!”

If you read last week’s post, “Are my applications really ready?” and answered yes to all of the questions, then Congratulations! If you are lucky enough to be in this category, now is the time to dot your I’s and cross your T’s. Read through the requirements for each school you are applying to once again. Pay attention to smaller items such as short career goal statements, added videos and specific resume formatting requirements. Then, be sure to check off each element for EACH school. It is easy for something to fall through the crack. Check in with your recommenders to see if they have submitted and offer to provide them with any necessary additional information. Naturally, start with the school with the earliest deadline and take each school one at a time so you can look at the application as a whole.

“My applications are done but I have concerns.”

If instead you have doubts after reading our last blog, your ideal action plan is less straight forward and will differ by school. You may consider applying across two different rounds.

For some schools, particularly those with early September deadlines, you likely do not have time to make any major changes. Plus, rushed last minute changes often lead to mistakes. For most schools, there is little disadvantage to waiting until round 2. In fact, if this gives you more time to settle into a new job, finish off a major project, re-take the GMAT/GRE or secure a promotion, waiting could work in your favor.

However, there are some schools where your odds of success are considerably higher during round 1 or the early decisions round. For those schools, particularly if the deadlines are in October, you should consider whether you can make the necessary improvements in time. Plus, by narrowing down your round 1 list and focusing on fewer schools, your odds of success will improve. Then you can take extra time to perfect your other applications in round 2.

“I am really behind on my applications”

Finally, if despite your best intentions, you have not started writing your essays, you may have missed the round 1 window. With few exceptions, if you have not made a considerable dent in your applications yet, you should consider waiting until round 2. When asked when to apply, I nearly always say when your application will be the strongest. An application thrown together in two weeks is not likely to fit the bill. In fact, I tell my clients that we should be doing little to no editing with the last 2 weeks. This is the time to proof and ensure your story flows together.

For a more detailed and customized plan, and individualized support with various aspects of the MBA application process such as early planning, school selection, essay editing or interview preparation, visit Personal MBA Coach.

This article has been re-published from Personal MBA Coach’s blog.

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