If you just hit “submit” on all of your MBA applications, take a deep sigh of relief.
We know that the days leading up to business school application deadlines can feel like the final sprint of a marathon. MBA candidates often apply while holding down full-time jobs, volunteering, visiting campuses, and trying not to fall off the social grid. So when the applications are all sent off to their respective schools, it can feel like a big weight has been lifted. Now is the time to revel in that feeling.
Once your very last application is complete, the very first matter of business is to relax. Sure, there is plenty else that needs to be done (we will get to that in a minute), but for now, kick up your feet, crack open a cold one, and give yourself some space to clear your mind. Take a weekend away from the application process, hit refresh… and then keep reading.
… Feel better now?
Whether you’ve applied to one school or seventeen, there are some key things you can do now to prepare for what will come next in your MBA journey.
9 Things You Should Do When Your MBA Applications Are Submitted
“But you already said that!”
You’re right. We did. But we’re saying it again because it’s that important. Applying for an MBA is often a bit of a scramble and can leave applicants feeling overwhelmed and maybe even burned out. It’s time to replenish your energy so you can back-up the spectacular person you outlined in your applications.
2. Thank your recommenders.
If you haven’t taken the time to personally extend your gratitude to your recommenders, run — don’t walk — to the nearest Hallmark, jot down your thanks, and get it in the mail.
In case you didn’t already know, writing letters of recommendation requires a lot of time and your recommenders are probably very busy people. By sending a personal message, you will not only show your appreciation, you’ll establish a relationship that may be beneficial in the future. The business world is all about networking and anyone you deemed worthy to write a recommendation is a person with which you ought to stay connected.
Aside from profusely thanking your recommenders, it’s also wise to discuss the content of their recommendations as you prepare for the next steps of the application process. Anything that was included in your letters of recommendation may come up in an interview, so you better know which of your characteristics they highlighted as well as the examples they provided.
3. Stay in touch with students and alumni.
Back to the subject of staying connected... A completed app does not mean it’s time to sever any ties you’ve made thus far in the application process. In fact, now is the time to tie those knots even tighter. If you’ve mentioned specific people in your application essays, it’s not uncommon for the admissions committee to reach out to those people looking for more info about you. By staying in contact with those individuals, you’ll remain at the forefront of their mind and cement your continued interest in the program.
Warning: This doesn’t mean sending daily emails or calling regularly on your lunch break. Once your application is complete, send a simple email thanking them for any advice they’ve given you and let them know you’ll be in touch once you hear back (hopefully with good news).
In addition to nurturing any relationships you may have already established, continue to seed new connections by interacting with students and alumni you haven’t yet met. By doing this, you will likely gain even more insight into the application process and gather more helpful tips regarding *fingers crossed* your interview.
4. Prepare for your interview.
Fortunately, many of the questions you’ll be asked during your interview are ones you’ve already had to ponder for your application. Questions like Why this program? or Why an MBA? will likely be asked. Even though you already know how to answer these questions in an essay, now’s the time for you to learn how to articulate them in person. As with most things in life, practice is essential for improvement. Perfect your elevator speech, confidently communicate your goals, and get your nerves out before the pressure is on.
Keep in mind that not all interviews are created equal. Different schools will employ different interviewing techniques in order to assess their MBA candidates. Spend some time researching the different types of MBA interviews each school utilizes so you won’t be thrown any curveballs.
5. Perfect your personal brand.
Another critical element to a successful interview is a cohesive story about who you are in all aspects of your life. Your interview is your chance to show the admissions committee the person you described in your application. Again, practice is key here.
In preparation for your interview, it’s essential to learn the ins and outs of your resume, your essays, and your identity. The information you provide in person should support your application and vice versa. There is no room for inconsistencies!
6. Fill in application gaps.
Unless you’re a rare “walk on water” candidate, your application likely has some weaknesses you worked to mitigate. If the shortcomings in your applicant profile are things that could be improved with more time, there’s no time like the present. If you go into your interview with notable progress to report, you will surely impress the admissions committee.
Sidenote: Even if you are the rare perfect applicant, it’s still important to show continued extracurricular involvement. The schools you are applying to will be looking to see the ways you can contribute to their student body through the efforts you are currently making.
7. Follow school news.
Hopefully you’ve already learned plenty about your target schools while you crafted your applications. Keep it up! Don’t go into your interview with outdated knowledge. Schools are looking for students who are passionate about their program and your understanding regarding any new developments will effectively communicate your enthusiasm.
8. Attend school events.
School events are another solid way to continue learning about your target program, nurture existing connections, and create new networking opportunities. If the school isn’t located nearby, look into viral events. Don’t use distance as an excuse! As we’ve already mentioned, your involvement and interest in the program may be what tips the scale in your favor.
Ideally, at this stage, you will have already visited the schools you’ve applied to. If you haven’t yet, use this time to go on tours, talk to students, sit in on classes, and get a feel for life on campus. Not only will help you determine the best program for you, the first-hand knowledge you gain will allow you to shine during your interview.
9. Apply for scholarships.
What they say about the early bird getting the worm can be true when it comes to business school scholarships. Use the time after you submit your application to do research on how you will fund your education. Many applicants don’t tackle this essential step until after they receive their first acceptance letter, but unfortunately, many scholarship deadlines fall early in the application cycle. By staying in-the-know about different funding opportunities, you better your chances at securing some financial assistance.