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Aug. 2012 MBA prep plan: study for GMAT or work on statement of purpose? August 5, 2012

Posted by Sharehouse Jakarta in Uncategorized.
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The answer depends somewhat on your applications deadlines. A few likely scenarios are provided below.

Scenario 1: I don’t have my GMAT and I do have Oct. 2012 deadlines

If you’re applying for fall 2013 intake at top b-schools with traditional first-round deadlines (early Oct.), then you need a GMAT score now (ASAP).  That’s because schools like Desautels, INSEAD, Ivey, Queen, Stanford,Wharton wish to receive your application approx. 12 months ahead of time.  

So register at mba.com (official site) today for a GMAT test date in mid-late Sept. Because testing slots at University of Indonesia are going to fill up fast (leaving only Surabaya and Singapore which may be less convenient).

Of course, as per the awesome infographic from Accepted.com below, your statements/essays and letters of recommendation should be progressing in tandem with your GMAT prep.  If your applications have stalled, then you can ask Strata-G Test Prep & CV for help.  Just send us an email.  It’s very likely we can propose a strategy for freeing up your time and getting your applications process back on track.

Scenario 2: I already have my GMAT score

If you already have your GMAT score, then you should invest all your available time and energy into your CV, essays, letters, etc.

Scenario 3: I don’t have my GMAT score but my deadlines are mostly Nov. 2012 (and later)

Let’s say you’re focused on schools where the first-round deadline is more relaxed (usually November); or simply different.

The November group would include Erasmus in Holland; UST and CUHK in Hong Kong; and Boston College, Dartmouth, George Washington, Georgetown, UC Davis (and many more) in USA. Meanwhile, top programs like IESE (Spain), Kaist (South Korea), National University of Singapore (NUS), and INSEAD in Singapore all require a careful look since they do things a little differently.

In sum, if you don’t have  to take the test in September then stick to your GMAT study calendar for another couple months and see if you can improve your score by mid-October (retake late October if applicable).

Strategy recap:

  • Your GMAT score is like a key — even more important that your CV, etc — because you can slip it into your pocket and take it with you into next year’s application season  (2014 intake) if you don’t get the result you want this year. So study as much as you can!
  • Most people agree that applying earlier is better, so you should always shoot for Round 1. However, if you’re going to miss it, then miss it carefully: you should never send an application that isn’t complete, credible, persuasive, and as as strong as possible overall.
  • To keep all your application deadlines from bunching up together, you can choose a couple schools with non-traditional deadlines (Nov. 2012 or later).  Also, the following advice from Harvard MBA may apply to most other schools in the U.S. and Canada: “International candidates needing visas will find that applying in Round 3 makes the timing of their visa application stressful.”
  • Waiting until the last minute to send an application isn’t so good; but it isn’t so bad either, as long as you’ve done a careful job of determining when the last moment is;AND you’ve got DHL or Fed-Ex standing by to pick up your little package and fly it away to “Dear Admish Committee.”
  • Taking the GMAT before you’re ready is a good way to get ready;  but this doesn’t apply to sending b-school applications. Thus, never submit anything that isn’t ready, because there’s no reliable “redo” option.
  • Applying to several competitive foreign MBA programs is comparable to a full-time job (in terms of time and #setres  = ) . Thus, if you’re working full time, you will need to be extremely creative as regards time management. If you feel you’re running out of time, consider sending us an email. We can sometimes confirm a basic deadline question for no charge.

Hopefully you’ll turn out to be wrong, meaning there’s still time left before the deadline. Otherwise  (if you really are out of time), we can help you speed up the applications process.

Admissions calendar

As regards, the  gorgeous rainbow-pastel instant classic from Linda Abrams above, if you don’t have time to devise a plan like this one, then consider having someone else do it for you. Because nothing will be more helpful to you in accomplishing your admissions goal than a planning calendar. (The Accepted.com blog is also awesome.)

then you already have your GMAT score or else you need one ASAP.

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