Your 1st Step to Higher Education™
If you are like most MBA applicants, then it took you at least a full 10 minutes to recover from the shock of having submitted your admissions package.
Perhaps the first thing that flew through your mind was, “Oh no! I think I put a comma where it wasn’t necessary!” or, “What if I misspelled that word in the demographics section of the application?” You might have quickly realized that it was too late to change the one teeny tiny error that (GASP!) might make or break your application. (Don’t worry - we doubt it will.) If you are like some of our students, you sat there in a daze, eyes brimming over with tears of happiness because you finally, FINALLY completed your application! Or, it could be you simply collapsed into a pool of exhaustion.
However, now that it’s been at least a few days after you clicked that intimidating submit button, you may be wondering, what now?
For some of you, it may be tempting to worry over every detail of your application or spend hours perusing online discussion boards trying to gauge your chances of acceptance. For others, there is the tendency to kick back, assume the best, and make little progress in your career or b-school related activities.
Neither approach will help you.
Instead, key into these tips to make the waiting game not only bearable, but also productive
1. Stay involved with your b-schools
There’s no need to brown-nose your way into your favorite business program, but showing continued and genuine interest through staying involved can only help your chances.
If the MBA programs you applied to are holding info sessions online or near you, why not participate? Haven’t had the chance to speak with alumni? Now is the time to get in touch with them.
Not only will staying involved signal to admissions officers that you have strong commitment to attend the program if accepted, but it will also help you with tip 2, below.
2. Prepare for interviews
If you’re lucky, you’ll have a few weeks after the interview invitation to prepare for your MBA admissions interview, but this may not be the case. Oftentimes, candidates are given less than a week’s notice. To avoid being caught off guard, begin preparing for your interviews well before they are likely to be scheduled.
Continue to learn more about your MBA schools through staying involved with them, as in tip 1. If you haven’t already done so, you can also browse the school’s website extensively and utilize third party guides.
We also recommend you regularly read business press. Being up-to-date on and having well-thought-out opinions about current business issues will help you sound intelligent and professional.
To read more tips on excelling on the MBA interview, click here.
3. Keep on plugging away
The worst thing you could do is to slack off. Some students assume that they will gain acceptance to at least one business school and consequently stop taking initiative in their jobs and activities. If you’re in your mid-twenties to thirties like the majority of b-school applicants, you’ve probably realized that life isn’t always predictable. It is possible that you will receive many rejections or be put on a waiting list. Even if you do get accepted, your financial or family situation could change in the mean time. Be prepared for a variety of circumstances, and keep plugging away in both your work and outside-of-work activities.
This is especially important in the case that you are waitlisted. To get yourself off of the waitlist and into the “accept” pile, you’ll definitely want to show admissions officers how you have added value to yourself as a future business leader during the months after application submission.
Specifically, take on or create for yourself leadership development opportunities. Perhaps you’ll find an opportunity to lead a larger-scale project or team at work or initiate a new branch of your volunteer society.
Furthermore, now is a good time to address gaps in your application. For example, if you had few volunteer experiences to show off at the time of application, perhaps you can take on greater roles in your organization or join another.
Polishing or adding to your credentials will help you professionally in addition to helping you get off the wait list.
4. Have a Plan B, not an anxiety attack
Are you quite confident in your applications? Or, maybe you’re somebody who can take life as it comes and has faith in fate.
For those of us (and, admit it, there are a lot us out there) who could never fit into the descriptions above, then we need to control our tendencies to re-analyze every aspect of our applications or worry incessantly about the future outcomes.
One way to take your mind off the applications, as you may well know, is to engage in another activity. In short, do something FUN! Take up that salsa dance class you’ve been dreaming about for the past year, go trekking in nearby destinations in Malaysia, or throw a bash for your best friend – fun doesn’t have to empty your pockets.
Another option that may be less entertaining but highly important is to detail out Plan B. That’s right. There is, for every applicant, a chance that he or she will not be accepted by any school. While we hope and pray this is not the case for you, it’s better to be prepared than sorry.
If you were not going to b-school within the next months, then what would be your next steps? Is there a promotion coming up for you at work, or are you considering switching to a different company or industry? Would you consider a postgraduate degree in another field? Or, are you so determined to obtain an MBA that you want to reapply next year? It could also be that an Executive MBA will be appropriate for you if you continue working for a few more years.
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