Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Aunty Agony Is Back ....

My, my .... it's questions season again. I know you all are excited to do your MBA and want to get in and out as soon as possible. But, my child, there's no easy way to success.

I got a couple of questions for you lots. Here are some of them:

Q: Can I take GMAT in 2 months? I want to apply for next intake.
A: Yes, you can if YOU have an excellent study strategy AND study everyday. And, I mean FULL-TIME study. No work, no play, no disturbances.

Realistically, 2 months will be a stretch for many of you. Mind you, this period is Round 2 for many business schools. The closing date is typically around end Dec/early Jan (check with the school(s) you're planning to apply to). You will miss this submission round if you have not started GMAT or ready to take GMAT anytime soon. And, to score well above 650 requires at least 6 months of hardcore, dedicated preparation, I kid you not. So, give yourself ample time to prepare for GMAT as well as good well-rounded essays.

You can't learn to fly a plane in two months, can you?

Q: I like to apply to the top schools, AND only the top schools. What are my chances?
A: Good chance if you have an excellent GMAT score, great story about yourself - both personal as well as professional achievements and leadership qualities that will make the Admissions Committee says, I WANT YOU.

I am not putting you down. You may have a chance but remember, you are competing with the world's bests. So, who are the world's bests? Take a look at the top schools' class profiles. Read some of the current students' and alumnis' achievements and background. Benchmark yourself against them. If you're within an arms length, you could stand a chance.

But, for many of you, always be realistic. I would like to get into top schools but I only got as far as the kitchen top.

If you aim to apply to top schools, go ahead and do your best. But, do try the second tier schools that you feel you will also qualify to enter. These second tier schools should be those that you feel you can learn and contribute to; schools that you will always do well and gain significantly.

Always have options. Not every day is rosy and when this does not meet your expectations, do not be despaired.

Q: How many applications should I send?
A: I never believe in quantity except money (and British Sterling Pound, please). Submit one application to the school that you truly want to get into and you have 80% confidence of getting in. Else, pick max 3. Why 3? Well, 3 represents manageable number. Here are the reasons:

1. 3 applications for different tiers of school - top 10 and next 10. You can have all 3 applications for top 10, 1 for top 10 and 2 for next 10, etc. You decide on the combinations.

2. Each application requires you to submit online application form, 4-6 essays and an interview. Multiply this by 3, you have a lot to do and each process can really drain your energy.

3. Nothing is free. Some schools charges US$200-250 per application before they even consider you; others free application. Then, there is time factor in preparing your applications, resume, essays, and other documentations such as undergraduate transcripts, mock interviews, etc. coupled with GMAT preparation and actual tests. Unless you're cash rich (which I recommend you to buy some of my cookies), manage your resources and energy well.

Okay, that's all for now. Time for baking ......

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