Now is absolutely the right time to get things rolling. The earliest application deadlines of some top US schools may be as soon as early September 2015. Not much time left.
Here are the milestones for the MBA 2016 application timeline. Check the tasks for the period January - June in MBA Application Timeline for the Fall 2016 Intake Part 1 of this article.
June – July 2016
Review MBA 2016 application requirements
US business schools start announcing their admission requirements for the new intake in June. This is the time to check the new essay topics, guidelines for the recommendation letters and the application form. Put the application deadlines in your calendars.
Make your application action plan
You may have limited time to prepare the application package. For example, in 2014, Harvard Business School announced the new requirements in June and the first round application deadline was in the beginning of September. Second round applicants will have more time, as the deadlines are usually in the first week of January.
Anyway, an action plan with deadlines, excellent time management and tight discipline will ensure that you compile the application package on time.
One of your most urgent tasks is to select recommenders and ask them to prepare their recommendations letters. You need to give them enough time. Also, as soon as the essay topics are announced, start brainstorming. Essays usually take much longer to prepare that initially anticipated.
Finally, allow enough time for your official test scores to reach business schools. This may take several weeks.
Prepare to retake the GMAT (if needed)
If you are not happy with your GMAT score, you may decide to retake the test. You can do this 30 days after the previous test. However, the goal of retaking the GMAT is to improve your score by at least 50 points. This will certainly require an analysis of your performance and additional preparation. Plan for 2 months before you retake the GMAT.
It is important to check the new score reporting policies, as you may need to take a decision whether to report or cancel your score.
July – August 2016
Retake GMAT (if needed)
Retake the GMAT early in order to allow enough time for the score to reach the business schools on time. Another reason for retaking it as early as possible is to allow yourself enough time to focus on preparing the rest of the application package to a high standard.
Focus on Round 1 applications
Time flies and work on the application package takes brainstorming, drafts, edits, reviews and feedback from friends or consultants.
Round 1 application deadlines are between first half of September and the middle of October. Here is a priority list of the essential tasks when preparing your application:
- Make an application strategy
- Select recommenders
- Work on essays
- Work on the rest of the application package
August – December 2016
Focus on Round 2 applications
Round 2 applicants have more time to work on the application. Use the same priority list as above to prepare your application package.
November – December 2016
Prepare for Round 1 interviews
At this point you may expect to hear back from AdComs with interview invitations. The interview is a great opportunity to gain admission, but also a scholarship. Prepare well for the interview. Drill for it, make videos to see how you perform at mock interviews or work with an admissions coach.
The fact that you have been invited to an admission interview does not mean that you are admitted. This only means that your application has attracted the attention of the AdComs. However, the real competition has only just begun!