IESE MBA Admissions Insider Series: Part 3. How to best use your summer for applications

Imagine yourself exactly this time next year, planning and preparing to start your MBA in the fall.

For aspiring MBA candidates, the summer break gives you a lot of time to prepare for the early round deadlines to get into your dream business school. With that, our Admissions Team has come up with some pointers on how to make the most of your time. While we understand not everyone is enjoying their vacation right now, we hope you still find these tips useful whenever you start preparing for your business school applications.

“Begin with the end in mind”

Habit #2 of the all-time famous book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” is Begin with the end in mind. It is not simply checking out the deadlines page, listing down requirements and completing them. Think beyond.

Why an MBA? What or who am I doing this for? What are my key learning objectives? Who am I? What kind of person would I like to be after – if I were to take 19-months off to develop myself professionally and personally? 

After you’ve given these questions some thought, think about how you will communicate this in the application. Remember, you will have limited space or words to convey your story. How can the MBA Admissions Committee have a clearer picture of who you are, just from reading your application?

After this, start to visualize yourself starting your MBA next September. One year from now seems like a lot of time but it will go by very fast. Having this goal clearly in mind and understanding your own motivations will help you very much in the day to day execution – (and we will be honest, it will not be as easy on some days especially when you have to manage your full-time job alongside working on your applications) – until you receive the acceptance letter to your dream business school.

Work on a daily plan to get to your end goal

Now that you know the requirements, you need to select a realistic deadline for yourself and work backwards on a daily plan.

Anticipate how much time you’ll need for each requirement, especially the GMAT/GRE and TOEFL/IELTs. Don’t wait until you finish these challenging, time-consuming, patience-testing exams before you start your application. Start filling out the information you already have today and work on it bit by bit. There are days when you can update your work experience, maybe edit your essays or follow up your recommenders, apart from devoting all your energy to the exams.

Also, you should keep in mind that the idea of this application is not just for you to complete and submit the requirements. Your MBA journey can start today. Apart from the day to day activities to get to your goal, there are other things you may want to include in your strategy. Connect with the network of the business school to know the stories of alumni and current students. Speak with the Admissions Director of your region for you to be able to clarify your doubts. Brush up on your language skills so you can have a more immersive experience and can communicate with a global pool of peers way better. Plan your financials – don’t just check the tuition fees, explore the overall cost of doing an MBA, including the cost of living in the city you are looking at – this is especially important for students coming with partners and children. Go back to your purpose of doing this – what are your post-MBA goals? Perhaps there are activities or initiatives in your company that can help you gain relevant experience to prepare you for the career-shift you are aiming for or whatever change that may be.

Lastly, don’t forget the most important things.

The whole thing is a reflective and learning process. Once you get into the middle of MBA preparation execution – the minutes can wear you down. Take time out! Have fun and be with your family and friends – they are very much a part of the journey you are about to engage in!

Here is a video to help you visualize the adventure you could be embarking on next summer:

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Pursue your dream MBA! Take these next steps today:

Karen Crisostomo View more

IESE Associate Director for MBA Admissions

One comment

  1. In Part I of this post, we addressed some of the key considerations for those who are trying to figure out what type of post graduate program to pursue. In Part II, we continue to discuss the differences between a MBA and Master’s degree to help answer the question, “Which one is right for me?

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