Have you heard the latest Ellie Goulding song which has the line- What are you waiting for? Well, the similarity between the song and this blog post ends with the following question: if you have already decided that you will apply for an MBA program this year, then what are you waiting for?
Now is the time for you to get your act together and work towards getting admission into the best MBA programs that you can manage. If there are any creases in your profile, they should be ironed out now, in the months before the admissions cycle starts. To do this, you should evaluate every part of your profile, judge where you can make improvements and get on the task without further ado.
Here are the few things you can do:
1. GMAT- Aim for a GMAT which is closer to the 80th percentile of the GMAT range published by your target b-schools. If you have already taken the GMAT and your scores are subpar, then hit the GMAT road again. The GMAT is among the most important selection criterion, so leave no stone unturned in getting your best score. A high score will also enable you to apply to better ranked programs.
2. Work experience: B-schools, just like employers love applicants with exceptional career graphs. You needn’t have become a marketing director within three years of joining a corporate (though this would be possible in a startup), but there must be something on the resume that makes you shine. Think about it along two lines:
a. the impact you have made on your organization or on the client’s business
b. your personal career growth.
Building the quality of your work experience is a process for life. But for now, if you think you are lacking somewhere, look out for opportunities where you get a chance to shine. It could be a promotion, a crucial project or just excellence in your current role. You may have to work hard to acquire these, but the dividends will be great- for your career and for your MBA application.
3. Leadership experience: Business schools groom students for future leadership roles. Think that you are preparing to be the CEO/CFO/COO et al. Early signs of leadership are indicators that you will reach the CXO spot and your target MBA programs are going to value this trait in the evaluation process.
How can you demonstrate your leadership? The obvious answer is the times when you have led people. How did you motivate them to get desired results? How did you manage conflict? How well did you delegate? How did you ensure the team’s personal growth and learning on the job?
The other ways you can show leadership skills are by demonstrating the following personality characteristics: innovating, initiating, team building, motivating others, problem solving and decision making, risk taking and communicating well.
Being involved in activities outside the work sphere also gives you a chance to develop your leadership skills. Therefore get involved in your community or with a non-profit organization (read about them here).