The Do’s and Don’ts of Applying to Business School
Sponsored by IE Business School
With business school application season upon us, we thought now would be as good a time as ever to consider what you should and shouldn’t do when it comes to submitting that all-important business school application.
Although it can feel overwhelming at times, it’s good to know what you can do to help make the rigorous process a little easier, while ensuring that business schools are getting the best of you in your application.
So, we’ve teamed up with IE Business School to find out what 10 things you should bear in mind when it comes to applying to business school.
Don’t follow the crowd – pick the perfect degree program for you
There are a lot of options out there when it comes to finding the perfect postgraduate degree program for you. Whether it’s an on-campus experience you’re after, or you’re thinking of pursuing an online degree so you can study at a time and pace that suits you, you’ll need to do your research.
IE Business School offers a wide range of degree programs that cater to the diverse needs and interests of current and aspiring business professionals around the world.
You may have heard about a dozen different business schools which offer outstanding master’s programs in finance or management, but if your passion is to study an MBA, you’d do well to pursue a course that you’re passionate about and is right for you.
This is where university rankings can help…
Do make the most of university rankings
Although university rankings can only offer a snapshot of what an institution and its degree programs have to offer, they’re still a very useful resource especially when it comes to whittling down your options between multiple business schools.
Do get in touch with the business school (or schools) you’re interested in
Once you’ve got a good idea of not just what you want to study, but where you want to study, getting in touch with business schools is a great way to find out more information.
Dig deep and find out whether they have any events, such as open days where you can visit the campus, and meet with professors and current students. Of course, if you’re looking to apply to an international institution, this may not be as easy. Many business schools offer a virtual campus tour, and even run their own international event fairs.
Do take the GMAT/GRE exams seriously
Although you need to be sure to check the specific entry requirements for each school you apply to, the GMAT/GRE exams are almost always necessary when it comes to applying to business school.
The GMAT is the most common entry exam for business school admissions and focuses more on your numerical and analytical skills, while the GRE is more versatile and assesses the way you think about business.
Don’t apply too early
Wait, what? It may sound counter-productive, and we’re not saying the opposite and for you to leave your application until the last minute. What we’re saying is, don’t rush anything. Give yourself enough time to do the best job possible and make sure it’s the best it can be.
Don’t be afraid to criticize your own application
You’re going to want to make sure your application shines brightest when the admissions team filter through the myriad of other stand-out applications, so you need to make sure every possible qualification, skill and experience you have is on it.
However, you’re going to need to be strict and consider what are the most critical elements of your application that need to be kept in, and what can be chucked out.
You’d benefit from having some fresh eyes look over your application, so ask a friend or family member to go over it and see how it comes across to them. Does your application sound genuine? Are you playing down your achievements? Don’t give the admissions team any reason to doubt your application.
Which brings us on to our next point…
Do make each application personal
Your application is essentially the digital version of you as a person. If you can get your personality and positive attitude across in words before the admissions team have even met you yet, then you’re doing well.
But be careful! If you’re applying to several business schools, make sure you demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of what each school stands for. Make sure your admissions essay is honest and reflects your interest in that particular business school and the degree program you’re applying to.
Do stick to the deadline
Mark your calendar as deadlines can come around a lot quicker than you may realize, and most business schools refuse to give extensions.
Do make sure to prepare all necessary documents
This includes an up-to-date CV, degree transcripts (which may need to be translated depending on where you studied your undergraduate degree), admissions essay (see above), up-to-date TOEFL exam results, as well as GRE or GMAT scores.
Business schools all have their own checklist when it comes to what is required when you apply, so double check with each school before you send anything off.
And finally… don’t panic!
If something goes wrong, or you weren’t successful the first time round, you may want to take a step back and think about what it is you could do to try and make your application even stronger next time. You haven’t missed your only shot at an MBA, so relax and start the process again.
This article was originally published on July 24th, 2019.
This article was originally published in July 2019 . It was last updated in January 2020