If you're considering applying to business school, do your homework. Each year many students apply but don't gain admission. Is it that they aren't qualified? That's likely for some, but the more common reason is that they didn't prepare. Thousands of applicants compete for slots at the top business schools in the country. The first step in getting in is understanding the process.
First and foremost, preparing for business school begins years before you apply. Business School is not only for students who have bachelor's degrees in business, economics, or finance. Business students come from a variety of educational backgrounds -- with degrees in English, history, psychology, and so on. Business school admissions committees look for applicants with diverse undergraduate backgrounds including classes in English, economics, math, the social sciences, and more. Such a liberal art education helps students oral, written, and reasoning skills that are essential to success in business school.
Choose Programs by Considering
- Training: whether applied and oriented towards the business field or theoretical and oriented towards research and academia
- Options after graduating: Where do graduates go?
- Tuition and financial aid.
- Is it full time or part time? Will you be able to work
Construct Your Application
After choosing a set of schools to which to apply it is show time. Here are the typical components of the business school application:
- Application form. These are submitted online via the school's website.
- GMAT. Take the GMAT. Try to take it the spring or summer before you apply to grad school. You can always retake the GMAT, but remember that you're allowed to take it only once per calendar month. It takes 2-3 weeks for your scores to be mailed to the schools so take it early.
- Personal statement/admissions essay: Relay your experience (work or volunteer) and relate it to your desire to attend business school and your career goals.
- Letters of recommendation. Request letters of recommendation at least a month before the application is due. Your recommenders need enough time to write a meaningful letter so help them do their job.
Attend the Interview
Most schools do not use interviews. If you're invited for an interview, you have a good chance of being accepted (but it's not a given). Prepare well.
Ultimately business school admission is based on three things:
- Undergraduate GPA
- GMAT scores
- Experience (as relayed in an admissions essay)