Although some schools regularly update their essay questions from one season to the next, you will get a good idea of the types of stories you will need by reading the prior year’s application. Knowing that you will have to describe a leadership experience may motivate you to take on a new leadership role — in or outside of work. Realizing that you will see questions about your level of community involvement may push you to step up your volunteering efforts.
It is also a good idea to begin reflecting on your answers to two questions that will crop up in either essay questions or the MBA interview. First, what are your career goals? And second, why do you need an MBA now? Reflect on your background and what stories you could share. Start taking notes and brainstorming in the coming months. As you identify gaps, create a plan to fill them.
At Stacy Blackman Consulting, we recommend that candidates allocate 2 to 3 hours each time they sit down to work on their essays, especially for the first few drafts. That said, applicants should also avoid the “marathon session.” Few people remain sharp or creative during 8 hours of writing and editing. Nonnative English speakers may find they need to allow even more time for their applications, particularly on writing, revising, editing, proofing, formatting and inputting essays.
While you cannot dive in and begin writing essays or scheduling interviews for several months, you still have ample opportunity to plan ahead and positively impact your MBA application if you start now. Make this the year you take those vital first steps toward transforming your career.