Congratulations on the decision to pursue a professional business degree! Are you wondering where to start? Applying to MBA and specialized master’s programs requires careful planning and preparation. Checking these first tasks off your list can help put you on the path to success.
1. Know your strengths.
Make a list of things you do well, outstanding professional accomplishments, what you’ve learned from your successes (and failures) and your most ambitious goals for the future. These are all items you’ll want to talk about in your essays and interviews. You’ll also want to start to identify people — such as professors, employers and clients — who can attest to your strengths in letters of recommendation.
2. Pick an admissions test.
You have options for applying to business school, so be sure to choose the best test for you. These days, more students than ever before are submitting GRE® scores with their applications. The test is accepted equally by top-ranked business programs all over the world, and it has several smart features to help you show your best. You can skip questions and go back and review or change answers. You also have the final say on which scores schools will see. Learn more about the GRE® General Test and double-check that your top-choice schools accept it.
3. Set your goals.
There are two important pieces to accomplishing this step:
- Commit to a test date — Seats can fill up quickly at test centers in some locations, and you’ll want to be sure you have your scores in time for admissions deadlines. The best thing to do is commit to a date now. Register for the GRE General Test here.
- Create a study plan — Once you have a test date, back out from there to create an efficient study plan. Then, gather plenty of prep materials, especially practice tests, which are an excellent way to get to know the test and assess your progress. Find all of this from the maker of the GRE General Test here.
4. Stay the course.
During the business school application process, the excitement of pursuing a new career milestone can turn to tedium if you let it. The key is to set short- and long-term goals and stay motivated to achieve them. Focus on the positive and what you can do, not what you can’t do. You may even want to team up with a buddy — another MBA hopeful who is applying to different schools — to practice, vent and swap encouragement. Students often connect with one another on the GRE Facebook and LinkedIn pages, which also provide a good dose of motivation and support.
Most of all, remember what drove you to consider this path in the first place and know all of your hard work will be worth it in the end.