Game Plan

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Well, I have decided to wait to apply until next year. Pursuing an MBA is a life changing decision and clearly I wasn’t ready for it. This journey is an extensive process that requires enough time for adequate preparation. Applying next year (to begin the program in Fall 2015) will give me enough time to prepare the best application possible and also prepare myself for this life change.

So I’m taking a step back and preparing my game plan.

Studying

I need to keep studying regularly, although I do plan to increase my study cadence prior to taking the test. Right now I want to focus on finding the right fit, comprising my essays, and working on my career growth. I do want to keep studying to stay fresh, but the majority of my studying will be done closer to my test date. Once I get closer to the date my goal is to study twice during the week for at least two hours each day and then also on Saturdays and Sundays for 4-6 hours each day.

Research

I have done quite a bit of research so far about MBA degrees and programs. However, there’s no such thing as having too much information. I have mostly been reading articles and reviewing program websites. I bought a few MBA guides and books that I need to start reading. The next one on my list is “The Complete MBA Admissions Guide.” I’ll let you know how it is!

Visits

Although research is important, there’s no comparison to actually visiting the college and town you are interested in. I want to make the effort to visit at least most of my top schools. If I cannot visit the school, I at least want to attend panel sessions, MBA tours, offsite events, and online webinars. I can research all I want, but actually speaking to representatives or students from these programs will give me the best insight to determine which program is best for me.

Essays

Essays help make the application come alive. Resumes and test scores are somewhat standard, but essays can really help to let your personality and individuality shine. Aside from the interview, I am the least worried about this portion of my application. I still plan to start early and dedicate a lot of time toward my essays.

Career

Having extra time before beginning an MBA program gives me time to mature and grow within my career. I have been very fortunate to experience numerous opportunities throughout my career to grow. However, career growth is a continuous process. It’s my goal to expand my skill set outside of my current industry before beginning an MBA program. I’ve mainly worked in automotive social media industry. In the future if I pursue a leadership position, I might be overseeing various departments. Having background in multiple industries would help me be a better manager.

Although I wish I would have been ready to apply this year, I’m not disappointed, but instead I’m excited. I have a plan and can take the time I need to prepare for the next journey in my life.

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A Second Chance

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I took the GMAT for a second time earlier this week. In the time that has passed since I first took the test, I’ve been putting in a lot of hours and even saw a tutor a couple times. Unfortunately my preparation was not enough to get me the score I was aiming for. However, I did improve my overall score, so at least some progress was made.

This puts me in a tricky spot. I was hoping to apply by the round two deadline which is in about a week or so for most schools. The GMAT can only be taken once every 31 days. The test is changed every 31 days. I am not able to take the test again prior to applying. Although a GMAT test score is one part of an application and the acceptance is not dependent on the score, the score still matters. And applications are often the determination factor of scholarship funding. I want to put my best foot forward and apply with a “good” GMAT score.

Now I need to decide whether I will try to apply to round three or wait until next year. Round three is not the most ideal round to apply to. Sometimes scholarships are not offered to round three applicants. Also it’s assumed most spots are already filled up and there isn’t much room for round 3 applicants in the class. It also may look like applicants “waited until the last minute” to apply. One of the acceptance factors considered is if an applicant is “ready” for graduate school. The factors that contribute to being “ready” may be maturity, work experience and academic preparation. If a prospective student is applying in round 3, there are only a few months before the program would begin. That’s not much time to wrap up any further growing that’s needed. Decisions, decisions. I don’t want to wait another year to apply, but I need to do what’s best in the long run. I also knew I should’ve taken more time to study before applying.