Around this time last year, I still hadn’t decided that I definitely wanted to go to business school. I had been to many school presentations, visited a school or two, talked to my friends and as many strangers as would listen, but I just couldn’t make the commitment to apply. Eventually, I concluded that business school would be the best thing for my career, and now, two months into my first year, I couldn’t be happier with my decision.
Hopefully you are already past this point, but if you aren’t, don’t worry! You still have plenty of time to write essays, ask for recommendations, and get those applications in for next year. If you are thinking about applying in the future, even better. Start as early as possible, and really spend a lot of time thinking about your career and what you’d like to get out of business school.
Here are a couple of tips I have, after experiencing the application process last year:
- Visit schools – I know it can be expensive, but try to visit as many schools as possible to get a real feeling for how the school operates and what it’s like to be on campus. If you can’t, don’t stress out, many schools have presentations in various cities, and you can always reach out to current students and alums to get their opinions. Talk to as many people as possible.
- Keep an open mind about schools – reputation isn’t everything. There are plenty of really great business schools out there that aren’t ranked #1 in the polls.
- Apply to a range of schools – I know this seems obvious, but nothing is a guarantee in business schools applications, even with an 800 on your GMAT. If you really want to go to business school, make sure you apply to some safeties as well as reaches.
- Dedicate time to your applications – Yes, this is a time-consuming and challenging process, but commit 100% at the beginning, and follow through because it is worth it. There is no point in only putting half your effort into applying. It is a waste of your time.
- Be honest about yourself – If you don’t know exactly what you want to do in the future, that’s okay! Admissions offices don’t expect you to know that right now. What they want to see is that you’ve demonstrated clarity of thought about your strengths and what you want out of your career.
- Exude confidence — you are an amazing, accomplished, impressive woman, even if you don’t think you are. Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn a bit!
Sarah Miller, Forte Fellow MBA 2014, Ross School of Business at Michigan