Are you unsure whether to apply to MBA programs this application cycle or in a subsequent application cycle?
This question comes up often when speaking with MBA aspirants, which is not surprising given that applying to business school requires a significant investment of time and energy. If you find yourself wondering whether now or later would be better for you to apply, ask yourself the questions below.
How do you see your candidacy changing over the next year or couple of years?
If you see your candidacy as essentially being the same whether you were to apply this MBA application cycle or in a subsequent cycle (for instance, from a professional as well as an extracurricular perspective), then applying sooner rather than later likely makes the most sense. However, if you feel that you would be able to strengthen your candidacy by waiting (for instance, perhaps there is an opportunity to take on a stretch assignment or maybe even to transition into a new role that allows you to take on additional responsibility as well as gets you closer to your post-MBA career goals, thereby strengthening your story), then applying later may be better.
Take some time to think about how you see this trajectory looking in the coming months and then make an assessment accordingly; this ultimately leads to the next question.
When do you think you can put your best foot forward?
Given how competitive the MBA application process is, you should always apply when you feel you can put your best foot forward. When you hit that submit button for your application(s), you should not have any regrets that you could have done something to make your candidacy stronger. Take stock of your strengths and weaknesses; for the weaknesses, give yourself a realistic amount of time to address. If those weaknesses can truly be mitigated in a short time frame, then now may be the best time to apply; however, if more time is required, delaying your application may be the best course of action.
When do you think you will benefit the most from pursuing an MBA?
Going to business school when you are not quite ready for it will prevent you from making the most out of the experience. For example, while there are always exceptions, applying to MBA programs with less work experience can often lead to difficulty participating in and contributing to classroom discussions compared to peers who have been in the workplace longer and typically have more insights to share. Or perhaps you may need more time to shore up your quantitative skillset if that is not a strength of yours, as the MBA curriculum is very analytically rigorous. It is always a good idea to assess when you will be in the optimal position to both learn from your business school environment as well as give back to enhance the experience for your classmates.
The fact that you have made the decision to pursue an MBA degree is an important first step; answer these questions to determine the next pivotal one – when to apply. If it would be helpful to get an expert opinion, check out our hourly services!
About Ivy Groupe:
Ivy Groupe is a boutique MBA admissions consulting company founded by Shaifali Aggarwal, who has been recognized as a top MBA admissions consultant by Business Insider and Poets & Quants. She received her MBA from Harvard Business School and undergraduate degree from Princeton University. Shaifali’s philosophy focuses on authenticity and storytelling to help clients craft compelling and differentiated applications that stand out. With this approach, Shaifali’s clients have gained admission to top-tier MBA programs such as Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, MIT, Columbia, Booth, Tuck, and Yale, among others.
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