Before applying to business school, there's some information our CommonBond MBAs wish they knew, which we suspect would be useful to anyone who's currently thinking about applying for their MBA. When I asked a few of my colleagues about the one thing they wish they knew before applying for their MBA, two key themes were very prominent: the application and funding.
1. The application
Pace yourself. Make sure you have enough time to draft, revise, and take a break from your essay. Then revise it again. The essay is your chance to tie together your previous work experience, GMAT, undergraduate experience, and anything else you think a business school should know about you. What makes you unique? Why do you want to go to business school? And, most importantly, why should this particular business school want you? Those are a lot of topics to cover, so make sure you give yourself enough time to get it on paper.
When you apply, make sure you have a good amount of work experience and your résumé highlights how that experience tells the story about why you want your MBA. You may want to format your résumé differently for your MBA applications by changing up the order. Make sure you look at plenty of samples to make sure this sheet of paper works the best it can for you.
The application process can be overwhelming, so make sure you don't stress! And, even after you're done sending off your applications, make sure you visit the final two or three schools you're thinking about attending. Similar to undergrad, it really helps when you picture yourself at a particular MBA program by getting on campus and walking around.
2. You'll need funding for:
Look at financing options before you think you have to. From student loans to scholarships to tapping into your savings, you have several options to finance your MBA. Make sure you've thought about it before you apply, because you may want to apply to some scholarships simultaneously (or soon after).
The cost of attendance doesn't include the cost of travel, which is a huge part of business school. Many schools sponsor trips across the country—and around the world—that you'll probably want to participate in. Beyond that, you're going back to a program with built-in breaks where you may want to schedule your own trips. So, if you want to take advantage of this part of the business school experience, make sure you budget for it.
Relocating (and housing).
You may need to relocate to a new city when you start your MBA program. This may involve movers, brokers, and a whole host of other costs. In addition, the housing options will vary greatly depending on where you end up. A lot of schools offer on-campus housing, and you'll want to be sure you look at the different options as you're applying. For instance, there may be some schools that you can initially rule out based on the housing costs in a particular city.
Before you apply, make sure you think about your application and funding. This will help you have a leg up when you start getting into different business schools—more than 10 CommonBond MBAs think so, at least!
Have more questions about making your time in b-school count? We can help. Get connected to one of CommonBond’s own MBA alumni. They can answer your questions and make sure you maximize your MBA experience.
And don't forget to join CommonBond's Pre-MBA group on LinkedIn, where you can ask questions, connect to other "pre-MBAs," and be first to see exclusive b-school content.