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Timing The MBA

There are many ways an applicant can jeopardize his/her chance of admission.

One common way is not getting the timing of the application right–that is applying when you don’t have enough experience or applying after too long, and the MBA doesn’t make sense anymore for you.

Applicants who time it right are more likely to have a successful application outcome. As a first step, applicants should find out the age/work experience profile of students at their target schools.

It’s not enough to get the average age since the mean doesn’t necessarily paint a full picture of the class.

Take a look at the profile of Harvard’s class of 2010 Complete List From the Director – MBA – Harvard Business School.

Only 102 out of 900 admitted students had graduated from undergraduate programs within the past 6 years or more. Majority had graduated in the past 5 years.

While graduation year doesn’t necessarily translate to number of years of work experience, there is a strong link between the two.

That doesn’t mean that you have no chance of gaining admission to a MBA program like HBS if you have been out of school for 8 years.

But knowing that only 14 students with 8 years out of school gained admission in 2008 is important information to have when applying.

You should research all programs to find out what the class profile looks like and to get a better sense of how you fit in that profile.

Do keep in mind that every MBA program is different.
Three Quick Things to Help You Time Your MBA:

– Take the GMAT early and get it out of the way. Ideally, you should take the test while you are in college–consider taking it in your senior year. Remember that the test is active for five years.

– Seek Challenging Projects: You can create a track record of leadership early in your career and don’t have to wait for too long to apply to business school. What ever you do, volunteer for more challenging opportunities and build a track record of creating impact. The quality of the work experience is what MBA Boards care about not just number of years of work experience.

– Plan Ahead: This is an obvious one but lack of careful planning has caused many applicants to delay their MBA applications, leaving it too late. You should commit to two years to plan and execute a successful MBA application.

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