Five Ways to Build Your Profile for Top Business Schools

Applying to business school has never seemed more competitive than it does today. During the pandemic, business schools have reported ever-increasing application volume gains as high as 30-40%, thereby intensifying the competition for those limited seats.

By Nupur Gupta, Crack the MBA

With several seats occupied already due to deferrals, applicants in 2020-21 have felt the heat more than in previous years.

As a business school aspirant, what can you do today to position yourself for success?

Here are some tips:

  • Plan early: Whether you are graduating from college now or you are three years into your job, it’s never too early to start planning how you may spend the remaining time until your MBA applications are due.
  • Get the test done early: More often than not, applicants end up taking the GMAT or GRE more than once, sometimes as many as four to six times. With such unpredictability in what it will take for you to hit your target score, I cannot overemphasize the importance of taking the GMAT or GRE early so you give yourself time to retake it, if needed. Ideally, if you can get the test done 12-18 months before you apply, you will be in a position of advantage to give your MBA applications the time that they deserve.
  • Prioritize learning and growth: In the early part of your career, you will often be faced with choices regarding how you spend your time at work. Here, it would be meaningful to seize challenging assignments – ones that make you fail and offer you an opportunity for growth. Adopt an owner’s mindset and ask yourself, “How can I add value to my organization?” By doing so, you’ll be giving yourself an opportunity to maximize your learning and growth, which will give you an advantage over your peers.
  • Be Authentic: Often enough, it’s tempting to seek formulaic approaches to success. However, what makes a real difference is to tell your unique story and to tell it well. MBA applications provide you a unique opportunity to connect with yourself and understand what truly matters to you. Take the time to introspect on your life’s choices and think through how you would love to spend the next 5-10 years of your life.
  • Engage with Curiosity: While researching schools, there is so much more than rankings. Genuinely engaging with each school takes time. You want to attend informational events, sit in on classes, speak with students and alumni and potentially even visit schools, especially once the pandemic permits the same. All this takes time and planning and a genuine desire to learn about the school. Rankings are a human construct that cannot convey real-life experience. To gain an experiential understanding of studying at a school, engage with curiosity and visualize yourself studying there to assess whether or not it is a fit with your needs.

Are you ready to apply in the near future? If so, set yourself up for success by reading these 10 Steps to a Successful MBA Application.

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