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Wow, if you're only in your junior year of undergrad, no need to even think about b-school yet. Graduate, get 3-4 years of solid work experience under your belt, then think about b-school if it fits your plans. Unlike many graduate programs in academia, the MBA is not intended to be a "right out of undergrad" degree.
For now, concentrate on getting your career off the ground, working your way up, getting leadership experience both on the job and through extracurriculars, and clarifying your goals.
Are you really set on going to business school right out of college?
If so, the way I would approach it is to find a summer internship as soon as possible to get that out of the way (I guess the fall recruiting season is almost done?) and start studying for the GMAT. I would probably take the GMAT during winter break or the beginning of 06 and then gear up for the spring recruiting season (if I didn't get a position during the fall season).
Depending on my GMAT score, I'd re-take the test after securing a summer internship or just relax and try to get my GPA as high as possible. If you're not majoring in business, take some finance courses to show your interest and ability. At my college I was able to take a couple business school classes as an undergraduate. Perhaps you have the same opportunity?
Something to consider is that the average age of first-year business school students is around 27. I decided not to apply right out of school because I did not feel ready to tackle case studies and the like with students who had much more "real-world" experience. I felt that I could contribute more if I worked for a few years first.
Sorry if I wrote too much...I'm in a gabby mood. Good luck!
I would like to chime in on advising you to wait as well...unless you're an entrepreneur who's already run a successful company, your leadership experience may be good but it's not a substitute for full-time professional experience. VERY few b-school applicants without full-time work experience after college are really competitive or ready for b-school. I wanted to go right away too, and everyone -- I mean, EVERYONE -- advised me to wait (I graduated first in my concentration and 5th overall in my school's class, founded a major club at school, etc., so I was otherwise competitive).
I am very glad I did. My career goals changed considerably in the first few years after college, as I became exposed to different company structures (small business, then corporate, then start-up) and as I had real opportunities to develop my skills and interests.
Another key factor to consider: Most of the companies that recruit at b-schools are looking for professionals who already have 4-5 years of work experience. Without that, you're just an expensive entry-level employee who's untested. It would be a lot harder for you to land your first job out of b-school, and you won't command the initial salary that an MBA should bring you.
When I first started spending time in different b-school forums, I ran across a discussion similar to this, and a student who did go right into an MBA program after undergrad said he regretted it. This was in the BusinessWeek.com forum, which is pretty active. I would suggest initiating a thread there and asking anyone who's done it what worked for them and what didn't.
Overall, the general consensus from everyone I talked to was that there were numerous reasons to wait, but few really good reasons to go without work experience. Do some more research on this before you make a final decision. It's too expensive a decision to regret!
I agree that it is a very good idea to wait a few years before applying to business school (or many other types of graduate school for that matter). After a few years you will have a better idea of what interests you and a better idea of the expectations of different types of professions. On the other hand, it is certainly possible to be accepted into a school in one of the top clusters with little work experience. Many of the ultra elite schools have realized that the emphasis on an effective age minimum undermined the diversity of the class.
Regardless, thinking about business school is a good idea. This way you can plan out important issues like picking LOR writers well in advance.
Final decisions are in: Berkeley: Denied with interview Tepper: Waitlisted with interview Rotman: Admitted with scholarship (withdrawn) Random French School: Admitted to MSc in Management with scholarship (...