Even if you won’t apply to business school for another year or two, there is still plenty that you can now to boost your chances of success when you apply. In fact, the best time to start working on your MBA candidacy is almost always yesterday! You may be months away from drafting your first essay or approaching people for letters of recommendation, but that’s great; it gives you far more time to start laying the groundwork for what will hopefully be a successful application process.
The most obvious place to start is academics, including your GMAT score. If you don’t already have a GMAT score that is at least close to the average at your target business school(s), then we recommend taking the time now to prepare some more and take another shot at the exam. Don’t worry about what it will look like to MBA admissions officers if you take the exam more than once — it will look far better to submit a 700+ score after taking the test two or three times than to submit a mid-600s score after only taking the GMAT once.
Beyond that, academically, hopefully you have an undergraduate transcript that shows a strong (above 3.5) GPA in rigorous coursework over the duration of your time in college. By “rigorous,” we don’t necessarily mean an engineering major, but something more quant-related than English or history. If you did major in one of the softer subjects, this is not a deal breaker, but you will want to get at least a couple of analytically rigorous courses under your belt (and earn A’s in them) before you apply.
Don’t worry — you don’t need to enroll at Princeton to take an economics course. Your local university or even community college will do just fine. The key here is not to add another name to your resume, but rather to put to rest any concerns that admissions officers might have about your ability to handle the rigors of the MBA curriculum. Whatever you do, once you start taking a class, stick with it and be sure to earn a strong grade!
That covers the academic areas… Next week, we’ll dive into a few other things that you can do to improve your chances of admissions success!
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