It’s nearly a year since TopDogMBA came into being and – over 18,000 hits later – I’ve decided to share some of the application aids I created that helped me get two admits (and a waitlist) from top 10 b schools.
I hope that it helps any newbies to the MBA application process, gives some light relief to anyone going through it right now and elicits some groans from anyone who already made it through.
Part 3: My School-by-School Application Plan
Building on the Application Masterplan spreadsheet I shared in my recent post, here’s my school-by-school plan which I used to manage my time and tackle all the (main) constituent parts of the MBA application process.
Eagle-eyed followers of my blog will no doubt notice that the final plan differs from the one I posted last fall. The application process is hard to predict sometimes – after a 12 hour day at the office picking up a first draft essay is possibly not a great idea! – and my schedule moved around a bit as a result.
Having a clear idea of what I wanted to achieve week-by-week and day-by-day helped me prioritise my MBA application workload, and avoid the trap of cramming near deadline dates and delaying things I didn’t want to do.
I gave myself a green box each time I achieved what I planned to achieve on that date, and a red box if I did not (and an orange box on a new date to catch up with the work I missed).
There are also some hard lessons reflected in this plan:
- Build in some ‘slippage’ time by being keen in the early days so you can push back items if needed (and you will need to!)
- Prepare the key points you’d like your recommenders to focus on early in the game, and allow them enough time to submit their recommendation
- It takes time for your friends/alumni/consultant to review your essay drafts, so leave at least a week between drafts to allow for their feedback
- Work on the ‘boring’ bits of the application, e.g. filling in your education and job details, in the interim periods
Speaking of which, I also prepared a one-pager with all the missing bits in each of my applications which didn’t really deserve a mention in the Application Masterplan or School-by-School Application Plan.
These are pretty self-explanatory and don’t need any explanation, but I found them worthwhile to carry about in case I had a few minutes unexpected free time to work on them. I also know people who completely overlooked additional questions in their application and only discovered them shortly before the submission deadline – not a great situation! 🙂
Well, I’ve pretty much shared the main application aids that I used during my MBA application process. I hope it gives you an idea of what’s involved, help with your actual applications or, if you’re a current MBA student or alum who mysteriously likes to read MBA applicants blogs, a bit of a kick!
For the final part of this ‘A Day In The Life’ series, I’m going to share some of my actual correspondence from b schools I applied to. Stay tuned!