During our calls and meetings with MBA applicants over the past few weeks, there’s one really big category of concern that keeps coming up: timing. So, in this post, we’ve asked our team to gather up the most common timing-related questions that they’ve been hearing and to write up some helpful responses.
Here are the big four:
How much time does it take to build an app?
The short answer is that it takes a bit of time. When we work with applicants, we prefer having at least 2 to 3 months before the target deadline to develop the app content (i.e., resume, essays, recommendation letters, and so on). That amount of time allows us to proceed at a comfortable pace, even with individuals who are working in some pretty intense industries. On the other hand, if you’re going to be applying on your own, you should probably aim to set aside 3 to 5 months at a minimum, so that you can try to properly compensate for a lack of familiarity with the process. Is it possible to cut that time down? Of course. And some people can easily manage a shorter time frame. However, in most cases, less time leads to more admissions risk and stress.
Do I need to limit the number of applications I’m working on to make a deadline?
Theoretically, yes. There is a quality dilution risk when you’re working on too many apps at once. But the question at the heart of the matter is what is too many. There’s enough overlap among MBA applications that the investment in time required to complete a single app will, to a degree, drop for each additional app you’re working on—the 5th app you’ll be crafting will be a lot easier than the 2nd. So, on average, our applicants are shooting out the standard 4 to 6 apps in a round without any trouble. Having said that, if someone were to throw together 10 apps in a short time, there likely would be a significant drop in quality across the set, as, eventually, the time required to complete each additional app will more or less plateau out.
What about the GMAT/GRE?
First off, for most applicants, the GMAT or GRE is far less important than they think it is. There’s almost always someone with a similar profile to yours who would get accepted at a lower-than-average score. Now, does that mean a higher score won’t increase your chances? No, it doesn’t. But, usually, scoring higher only leads to a marginal increase in acceptance odds that should be weighed against a whole host of other admissions areas into which you could be investing your time.
Setting all of that aside, a lot of individuals who are going to be submitting their apps in Round 1 are currently still working on their tests. In fact, many applicants end up working on their exams and applications at the same time, which is not great but is manageable. Our biggest piece of advice here is to just be methodical. Test yourself at the start of your studies and then retest yourself often. Beyond that, be sure to track and benchmark your rate of progress, as well as to set a testing deadline. Entry examinations are the number one delayer of applications—often, for the wrong reasons.
Will I be doomed if I push to Round 2?
There are hundreds of factors that will influence your chances of being admitted to your dream school. A lot of what we do as Admissions Circle Consultants is minimizing and maximizing those factors in order to boost your odds as much as possible. The round you apply in happens to be just one such factor. Meaning, for many profiles, while applying in R2 might not be preferable, it’s still perfectly acceptable.
If you’re not 100% sure about your timeline, you can schedule a free consultation with our Admissions Experts who can help you identify the most efficient one. And, if you’d like to find out how we can help maximize your entry chances this application cycle, feel free to contact us.