If you’re thinking about applying to an MBA program, the application process may seem overwhelming at first but it’s important to take it step-by-step.

According to U.S. News, fear, self-doubt, anxiety, and procrastination are some of the reasons why people don’t finish the MBA application process. To ease your worry, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide on how to apply to an MBA program.

Step One: Assess Why an MBA is Right for You

The first step is to think about whether or not an MBA is right for you. There are some students who apply for an MBA because they’re unsure about to do next after their undergraduate program or they’re unsure about their career goals.

It’s important to spend time putting together a list of pros and cons to make sure you’re 100 percent sure you want to take the next step.

Step Two: Prepare for the GRE or GMAT Exam

According to U.S News, experts recommend applicants to take a diagnostic exam for both the GRE or GMAT exam, this will help to determine which standardized test to take. It’s important to note that most schools will accept either one, but it’s important to check with the schools you’re applying to.

It’s also important to spend a significant amount of time studying. In fact, it’s recommended that an applicant spend at least 100 hours for test preparation. There are hundreds of resources online to help study for either exam and you can also take a prep class to help you prepare.  

Step Three: Research and Choose an Accredited MBA Program

It’s important to spend time researching business schools because not all programs are the same. Find programs offered at schools that are in line with your career goals as this can help with success in your program. According to U.S News, it recommended that you apply to more than one business school in order to increase your odds of getting in. Just make sure it’s not at the expense of taking a program that you’re not interested in.

Though applying to schools takes time, it’s recommended that you don’t apply to more than six programs as you still want to ensure your application package is professional and free of mistakes.

Step Four: Know the Application Deadlines

Most business schools spread out their acceptances times throughout the year usually indicated by three rounds — so it’s important to understand what round you’re applying for. It’s better to apply to during round one. According to U.S News, students who apply early have a higher chance of admission.

Though it’s still possible to get acceptance no matter what round you apply in, applicants that apply in the first round tend to show to the administration more interest and planning, plus it’s more unlikely that you’ll be put on a waitlist.

Step Five: Update Your Resume

All MBA programs require you to submit a resume. As such, it’s important to craft a compelling resume, especially one that stands out amongst the rest.

According to the U.S News, business school admission applicants should include a list of soft skills that are specific to the business school program that they’re applying to. Some soft skills that are good to highlight for a business program include leadership, teamwork, and communications skills.

Step Six: Make Your Entrance Essay Stand Out

Another requirement for most business school is an essay component. The essay provides an argument as to why the applicant has decided to apply the business school. It’s important to make your essay stand out by expressing your personality and not writing a carbon copy of someone else’s essay.

Step Seven: Revise Your Application

It’s important to wait a few days to submit your application, so you can have a fresh pair of eyes to look at your application essay.

A good idea is to have a loved one look over your essay to see if anything needs to be changed or corrected. Also, if you wait a few days, you might be able to think of better examples.

Step Eight: Prepare for an Admissions Interview

Although not every applicant will make it to this stage, it’s important to know that an interview is required for admission acceptance, so why not prepare even if you haven’t yet been formally requested for an interview. Again, just like preparing for the GRE or GMAT exam, there are tons of online resources that can help you prepare for a business school interview.

Unfortunately, schools do not have time to interview every applicant, so they will narrow down the list of applicants by only inviting those with a strong application package to interview. You’ll usually hear if you have been accepted after two weeks from completing the above process, though you may have to wait longer at peak acceptance times.

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