Taking the First Steps in the B-School Application Process

So you’ve decided to apply to an MBA or MS program – Congratulations! Studying for the GMAT or GRE, writing your essays, lining up recommendations, and attending admissions events – it all takes time. Now add your full-time job, managing everything outside of work, and it is easy to appreciate that there will not be much free time in the coming weeks and months while you apply for b-school. Here are some tips and advice as you start the journey to b-school.

Target an Application Deadline and Plan Accordingly
As you get started, carefully review the deadlines you will target and any specific details on what needs to be submitted by that date. You can build a schedule that includes enough time to prep for the GMAT or GRE (if needed), recruit recommenders, write the essays and applications, and schedule visits to meet admissions staff and alums on campus or at key recruiting events near you.

Take a Thoughtful Approach to Essay Writing
Applications essays are one of the most time consuming parts of the application, so make sure you review the essay topics far in advance. You can find essay prompts on our website, or by starting an online application. While the essay topics all relate to your b-school plans, they require you to carefully position your thoughts while also remaining within word limits. If you know the topics in advance, you can start to frame your ideas well ahead of the deadlines.

Application Tips

Consider the key messages you want to convey about your strengths, talents, expected future contributions, and what makes you special and unique. While the essay questions may not ask all these things, there are creative ways to integrate these components if you approach the essays strategically. Some information may not fit in your essays, but can be placed in your resume. Alternatively, you can use the admissions interview or possibly the optional essay to communicate important details about your candidacy.

Choose the Right Individuals to Provide Recommendations
Our Admissions Committee typically prefers professional recommendations from individuals who have recently supervised your work. This is sometimes tricky if you are trying to apply for graduate business school without your current boss knowing of your plans. It is really important to identify those individuals who have managed you on a daily basis and can provide details about the fantastic things you have done. If for some reason you absolutely cannot use your current or recent past supervisor, other alternatives may include a team leader, supervisor for significant volunteer work, previous internship supervisor or a client you worked with closely on a key project.

Ideally, grab coffee or lunch with the person who you are hoping to write the recommendation and share your future career plans, how b-school fits in to your professional development, and why you are considering each target school. I also recommend that you share key deadlines to confirm they can devote the time needed to submit your recommendation(s) on time.

Be Authentic
It can be really easy to over-think the b-school application process and try to imagine what the Admissions Committee is looking for. The entire admissions experience is about introspection, understanding why you are pursuing this investment in yourself and confirming how you want to grow and develop personally and professionally during this experience. You need to figure out what you are looking for in b-school and how you can contribute during the MBA or MS experience and beyond. Then you will be well positioned to demonstrate the value proposition that you offer.

Start Your Application Today
Don’t hesitate, start your application today! By doing so, you will also receive updates regarding important deadlines and relevant information on the application process. We have several upcoming application deadlines to choose from for our MBA and MS programs, including the upcoming Round 1 – October 15 deadline.

Have questions? You are welcome to attend an upcoming admissions webinar or you can contact the Simon Admissions Office at admissions@simon.rochester.edu or (585) 275-3533 for. We look forward to receiving your application!

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