Five Month MBA Application Plan for GMAT

Starting your application early is always best, giving you time to get your materials together and target those early deadlines.

Application Month One

1. Virtual campus events: While visiting campuses this season is not an option, many schools are offering online webinars and other events to give students a sense of life on the campus.

2. Develop GMAT preparation plan: Develop a solid plan to prepare and revise for the GMAT.

3. Business school lists: Your final list may change (particularly if your GMAT score is not as you expected), but it is ideal to have an initial idea of your school list early.

4. Career goals: Writing your career goals will save you time while developing your essays.

Application Month Two

1. Resume for your MBA applications: Your MBA resume should differ from your professional one. While you may need to tweak your resume later, get most of your resume development work out of the way before essay questions are released.

2. Essay topics: Begin drafting essays. For some schools, the essay questions are not likely to change from year to year. For those, you can get started on brainstorming, outlining and editing. For other schools, you can look at past questions to get an idea of potential focus areas for each school on your list.

3. Personal story: Think about the choices you have made in your life, what drove those choices and what makes you unique. Keep this story in mind as you outline your essays.

4. Recommendations: Think about who will write the best letters and start reaching out them.

Application Month Three

1. GMAT Exam: If you have not already done so, try to get your testing completed by now. This will give you time to retake the test and not be too rushed.

2. Draft your essays: Essay development should be getting the bulk of your attention this month.

3. Finalize recommenders: Nail down your recommenders and schedule time to prepare them appropriately.

4. Network with current or former students: Speak with current students and alumni in your network to learn more about the programs. This will not only help you to confirm your interest, but it will also give you strong material for your applications. Some schools specifically ask who you talked to, so do not forget this step.

Application Month Four

1. Finish Essays: Aim to finish your essays in this month. Lock their essays at least 3 to 4 weeks in advance of deadlines. Last-minute changes are rarely for the better and you will need the time to focus on other application elements.

2. Revisit school lists: Based on your score, you may want to critically evaluate and expand your school list. On average, you should apply to over five schools.

Application Month Five

1. Ensure recommendations are ready: Follow up with your recommenders and make sure they are on track. Ask your recommenders if they need any additional information from you.

2. Short answer questions and video essays: Allocate enough time for short answer questions. Often these questions take longer than you might think and are an important part of the application.

3. Proofread: Always get someone with your applications to do a thorough review.