Some might wonder why you would want to start your MBA application now, when the first deadline is almost four months away. Two reasons: you get to meet current students and alums and you let your brain do some ruminating.
I wrote in my last post that you should use your summer wisely by researching programs. It’s fun, there’s no downside, and you never know what interesting people you will meet. The second reason is much more scientific: it’s related to your brain and the nature of creativity.
Research, research, research
As you look into different graduate programs, comb through school websites, official and unofficial student blogs, YouTube channels, you can get a sense of what a school and its students are saying about themselves. These channels offer great hints about fit. Look up student clubs and contact the officers. Normally, their emails are public. As one admissions director has said, “It’s all fair game.”
If you read through the school websites early, explore the curricula, and start talking to current MBA students, you give yourself the chance to bump into some new concepts while you are doing your research. When you start writing up your reasons for wanting to attend a program, your application will be so much richer for having met and or spoken with school representatives. Those conversations will inform your thinking about business school, your career, and your overall future.
Meanwhile…turn the essays over to your brain
Many MBA programs have already released their essay questions. Even if they have not, take a look at last years’ questions – just to get a feel for what the school may be asking. . Start thinking of the stories you will be telling about yourself. Get your brain working on it.
You’ve heard that some people get their best ideas in the shower or while running, or even by mediating. Researchers at the University of British Columbia have found that daydreaming is a great tool for creativity. Think of these next few months as a meditation session. Feed the questions to your brain and then walk away. See what comes up.
And you can brainstorm. Throw ideas out there. Consider schools outside of your region or country. Look at different programs – joint degrees are increasingly popular, mix and match ideas. Want to go into entertainment? What about the NYU MBA/MFA in film program ? Want to change the planet? How about Yale’s MBA and a Master of Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry? Or the Indiana Kelley School MBA/MA in telecommunications? How about the Cornell MBA/Master’s in Real Estate . And of course, any of the joint degrees through Harvard Business School or Stanford Graduate School of Business.
You’d be surprised at the offerings out there. Listen to MBA Podcaster on the subject. Play with ideas – explore.
Your brain is smarter than you even know. Give it the material, and the time, to come up with the ideas and the knowledge to make you the best applicant you know how to be. Ready? Set? Go.