“Adapting Your List of B-Schools as the Season Progresses” is excerpted from the Accepted.com special report, Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One. To download the entire free special report, click here.
As I noted earlier, your initial school list isn’t set in stone. It is a firm starting point that allows you to plan and to proceed efficiently and systematically through the often unwieldy application process.
As you progress through your applications, continuously assess and respond to any new developments that might warrant revising your list. For example:
• Evidence that your initial assessment of reaches, on-pars, and safeties was off. E.g., if you applied to reaches and on-pars with competitive interviewing and you don’t receive interview invites even from some on-pars, it’s a sign that you may have miscalculated your competitiveness. On the other hand, if you receive an interview invite from a high reach that you really didn’t expect, a re-assessment might reveal the advisability of adding another reach or two in the second or third round. In either of these cases, revisit your list. Changing it may involve replacing some programs, or simply adding some.
• Your plans or needs change. As the applications progress, life goes on. Personal needs change: geography, partner and family issues, personal interests. Professional needs and goals change: Perhaps you lost your job; perhaps a new healthcare project intrigued you and you now want to consult in this area. Revisit your list, see what works and what doesn’t, and adapt it accordingly.
• You encounter a program that appeals to you that you didn’t initially consider. Look at your list: Would this program replace another one on your list? Or would you want to add it? Either option is fine, depending on your needs and resources.
Good luck in the upcoming MBA season! By following the steps in this guide you will create a list of MBA programs that meet your needs and will yield admission to desirable programs. This systematic approach will also help you keep sane during the application process.
If you would like professional assistance beyond this report with your school selection and/or application process, please visit our catalog of services.
By Cindy Tokumitsu, co-author of The Finance Professional’s Guide to MBA Admissions Success, and author of numerous ebooks, articles, and special reports. Cindy has advised hundreds of successful applicants in her last fifteen years with Accepted.com.
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This article originally appeared on the Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog, the official blog of Accepted.com.