Tuesday, December 14, 2004
- Know thyself: Having spoken with admissions directors, this is the #1 thing that an applicant must do in order to be accepted. Know who you are, where you've been, and where you're going.
- Plan ahead: It's almost too late for this, but it's critical to notify recommenders early and to give essay reviewers enough time. That means finishing essays as much as 2 weeks ahead of the deadline!
- Be yourself: This is closely related to #1. B-schools have a pretty good idea of what kind of students will most benefit from the education, so be yourself in your application so that you will be accepted wherever's best for you. This may sound fatalistic, but I think it's better to be rejected and figure out that you don't really need/want an MBA than to get here, pay all this money, and realize that this isn't the right thing. I know, easy for me to say.
- Stand out, fit in: Finally, some practical advice. Your application should be designed to show how you fit in to the school and yet stand out from the applicant pool. It's a real challenge, but one of the sure ways to increase your chances.
- Find a theme: Well, around 4, actually. Your application should be focused on around 4 central themes, so much so that a random person off the street could read your app and then tell you your themes. This helps communicate who you are much better than a jumbled mess of thoughts that resemble my undergrad apps.
I'll conclude with my standard disclaimer: the advice you have just received is worth exactly what you paid for it, and it is based solely upon my own observations and opinions. Oh yeah, good luck!