Forbes Is Right: Now Is the Time to Prepare for Your MBA Application!

Forbes Is Right: Now Is the Time to Prepare for Your MBA Application!
Friday, January 10, 2014

Last week, Forbes contributor Shawn O’Connor urged readers to build their profile now for Fall 2014 MBA deadlines. O’Connor recognizes that there’s still a lot of time left before those deadlines for Fall MBA applications, but also brings up an important point: “Your MBA application is about a lot more than filling out some forms.” MBA applications are also very much about professional qualifications, recommendations, and personal goals. 

More generally, a benefit to preparing for an MBA application is the experience and introspection that comes along with figuring out why you really want your MBA. Allowing yourself time to start thinking about that decision by applying in an early round, then, can be very helpful. An added benefit of applying early is greater access to financial support—which is certainly the case at Midland as round 1 applicants qualify to receive $8,000 in automatic scholarships and a $500 Amazon gift card. 

We agree strongly with O’Connor that preparing now for your future MBA application is a good idea. While our perspective on some of the individual goals he recommends may be slightly different, the end goal of attaining an MBA and growing as an individual and businessperson is the same, making his advice very valuable. 

Let’s first have a quick look at some of O’Connor’s recommendations: 

Step 1: Don’t just volunteer, lead
While many MBA applicants believe that volunteering and joining several organizations outside of work is enough to fill in the extracurricular section of their application, making a real impact by leading is much more important, and will help frame your leadership qualities within your application.

Step 2: Forge strong relationships with supervisors
As O’Connor notes, “Your supervisors at work have the potential to write strong MBA recommendations.” Strong relationships are important to strong recommendations, but building those relationships isn’t something you can do a month before MBA deadlines—so get started with this as soon as you can (if you haven’t started already).

Step 3: Start GMAT prep
O’Connor’s final point is simple: he recommends taking the GMAT before you begin filling out your MBA applications, and also suggests self-study, then tutoring if necessary prior to taking the test. 

As we hinted at above, we agree with most of what O’Connor has to say in terms of the application process for those seeking admission into our program. You can see our takeaways as they relate to the Midland MBA application below: 

Here at Midland, leadership is an important quality in MBA candidates, and is something we focus on when making admissions decisions. It’s important to us that applicants are motivated to contribute to the program, and one effective way to show that in your application—especially in your personal statement, one of the most important parts of your application—is by having clear, real-world examples of successful leadership, both in and out of the workplace.

Supervisor relationships
What’s more, relationships are critical to our application because we don’t ask for traditional recommendations; instead, we ask for two references who we will contact directly, which generally makes for much more candid, honest recommendations. Building these relationships—and showing strong performance—takes time, making this an essential element to start working on now. There’s no way to rush leadership and professional relationships, so again, if you haven’t already begun this process (though we certainly hope you have), then now is definitely the time to start.

O’Connor’s GMAT advice is largely irrelevant here, because we’ve waived the GMAT portion of our application until 2015. If you plan on holding off until next year to apply for MBA programs, then it may be a good idea to at least start thinking about GMAT prep, but if you plan on applying to our program before the end of the year, then this isn’t something you need to stress too much.

When thinking about an MBA as an important step forward in your personal and professional development—as we do here at Midland University—it makes sense to always strive towards improvement in the goals listed here, especially the first two. Doing so will strengthen your career regardless of your current educational goals, and personal development is always a good objective to work towards. 

If you’re concerned about personal and professional development, an MBA is a logical next step forward, and preparing for these aspects of your application is a great way to get yourself in shape for any upcoming MBA deadlines. 

Even if you’re not sure if or when you want to join a program, however, having these goals in mind is a good way to stay focused. There’s no wrong time for thinking about professional development and how you should be framing yourself and your career in preparation for the possibility of pursuing an MBA some time in the future. 

If you work towards strong leadership and professional development now, you’ll have a stronger MBA application in the future, and even if you decide not to apply, you will still have developed significantly as a professional in preparation for doing so. 

It may be a while until we find Fall 2014 MBA deadlines upon us, but it’s never too early to start preparing for your MBA application. 

If you’d like to learn more about the application process for the Midland MBA, see our blog post here, or reach out to us in the comments, via email at, or on Twitter @MidlandMBA. We can help answer any questions you have about admissions to our program, and would love to hear from you.


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