Before the GMAT, Look at the Big Picture
This post was written by our friends at tuck.dartmouth.edu
By Kristin Roth
Kristin is an Associate Director of Admissions at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and has been with Tuck since 2007. She serves on the admissions committee, reads applications, interviews candidates, leads recruitment of military veterans, and travels globally for Tuck.
The class of 2017 isn’t even on campus yet, but we’re already in the process of recruiting the Tuck class of 2018. Those of you who are also thinking about next year, we’d like to offer some suggestions to start you on your way.
There are lots of details to take care of, from taking tests to updating your resume. But before you dive into all the administrative work that goes into your MBA application, take a step back. Look at the big picture, specifically the MBA degree, your school(s) of choice, and you.
First, consider the MBA. Why this is the right degree for you? What can you gain from an MBA versus another degree? Talk to people you know with an MBA about their experience and what they learned. This gives you context to think about whether your understanding of the value of an MBA matches the reality. It also helps you to form the basis of your answer to the inevitable question during the application process, “Why do you want an MBA?”
Second, research the schools you’re considering. Learn what is distinctive about each school and program, as well as commonalities between them. Go back to what you wanted to get out of your MBA. How does each school fit your needs? Throw it all into an Excel spreadsheet if you want (you need to get comfortable with those anyway) and see how it fits your priorities.
Third, think about you: your career path so far, the decisions you’ve made along the way, and where you want to go two years from now, ten years from now, and beyond. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What skills do you want/need to develop to reach your goals? What are you looking for in a living and learning environment? What do you need outside of your academics to allow you to put your energy into your program?
The final step is to synthesize all the research you’ve done. Knowing yourself, identify what type of MBA makes sense for you and what schools offer the programs you want. Which of those schools best fit your personality but also challenge you to develop and stretch yourself?
There are lots of resources to help you in your research, but the most important resource you have right now is time. Next year’s applications will be out in a few months. Until then, use your time wisely to make the application process as smooth and stress-free as possible. And good luck!
Last Updated June 13, 2018