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How do you juggle a full-time job, b-school applications

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How do you juggle a full-time job, b-school applications [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2009, 07:55
a relationship, community involvement, and staying sane all at the same time? This is the first time I'm actually beginning to like the idea of a long-distance relationship. I have not been getting much sleep at all in the past month or so, and this is just the beginning of the application process.
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Re: How do you juggle a full-time job, b-school applications [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2009, 08:39
milias wrote:
a relationship, community involvement, and staying sane all at the same time? This is the first time I'm actually beginning to like the idea of a long-distance relationship. I have not been getting much sleep at all in the past month or so, and this is just the beginning of the application process.


I think you just have to start being productive. For me it helped to start writing stuff down (make list, time tables, or essay notes) when you have any thoughts. It helps relieve my mind from constantly worrying about it what I might have forgot. Also Today is the start of July, so you should have access to most of the schools essays. if you start now you should be able to churn out a couple good R1 sets. It's good to have a list of all the schools you plan to apply to and their deadlines handy.

There's no kidding that your gonna be giving up some of your free time and social time for this, weekends/nights, but afterwards I think all of us were amazed how much time we were wasting before applications. (Hence everyone is now on Chat)


I was taking classes in addition to working/gf/volunteering... so I didn't really have much window. I did a lot of my essays during school breaks. Hopefully you won't have to do that :D
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Re: How do you juggle a full-time job, b-school applications [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2009, 11:25
By not having a life! :?

During application season, I was either sleeping, exercising, at work, eating or writing my essays.

Every time I got an hour to spare in the day I was reviewing my essays.

The best part is, my MBA friends tell me that is nothing compared to actually being in b-school!!

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Re: How do you juggle a full-time job, b-school applications [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2009, 11:34
I'm in the same boat. I work full-time, in a LD relationship, and every other minute outside is working on the GMAT and the application. It's not easy, but difficulty things are worth doing - that's what I think :-)
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Re: How do you juggle a full-time job, b-school applications [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2009, 12:13
I feel very naive asking this, but how long do most people spend on an application(s)? I did my entire application from start to finish (minus rec letters) for Kelley in one night and was accepted with $ and a GA position. I know NYU and Chicago ask for slideshows so that would add some time, but do people really spend months writing short essays? Granted there is some stiff competition to get into the top schools, but I just figured people sat down, churned out what they wanted to say about themselves, and sent it in. Clearly, I am mistaken. Any light shed on this would be interesting for me.
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Re: How do you juggle a full-time job, b-school applications [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2009, 12:43
CalStep20 wrote:
I feel very naive asking this, but how long do most people spend on an application(s)? I did my entire application from start to finish (minus rec letters) for Kelley in one night and was accepted with $ and a GA position. I know NYU and Chicago ask for slideshows so that would add some time, but do people really spend months writing short essays? Granted there is some stiff competition to get into the top schools, but I just figured people sat down, churned out what they wanted to say about themselves, and sent it in. Clearly, I am mistaken. Any light shed on this would be interesting for me.


Well chicago took me 3 days, which is also the one I got dings w/o interview. But I would say my first application took me about 2 months averaging 5 hours a week on the application and making notes. I would say about 30-40 hours on your first couple applications then down to 15 hours per application by the time you reach your 5th or 6th application. Researching schools will probably be another 5 hours per school, not counting visits.
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Re: How do you juggle a full-time job, b-school applications [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2009, 18:32
CalStep20 wrote:
I feel very naive asking this, but how long do most people spend on an application(s)? I did my entire application from start to finish (minus rec letters) for Kelley in one night and was accepted with $ and a GA position.


It all depends on how good of a writer you are. I'm not very good.

It also depends on how good your profile is. If you're the "ideal" candidate (great GMAT, GPA, ECs) they'll probably be a little more lenient on essays than if you've got a obvious weakness.

My first set of essays took about a month (20 h/week). After that it just got easier and easier. By the end, I could bang one out in a week (borrowing heavily from other essays).

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Re: How do you juggle a full-time job, b-school applications [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2009, 18:49
CalStep20 wrote:
I feel very naive asking this, but how long do most people spend on an application(s)? I did my entire application from start to finish (minus rec letters) for Kelley in one night and was accepted with $ and a GA position. I know NYU and Chicago ask for slideshows so that would add some time, but do people really spend months writing short essays? Granted there is some stiff competition to get into the top schools, but I just figured people sat down, churned out what they wanted to say about themselves, and sent it in. Clearly, I am mistaken. Any light shed on this would be interesting for me.


I think part of the reason applications take so long is the countless iterations of review and revision for essays. In total I probably spent about 15-20 hours per application actually working on each application (planning an application approach, developing an outline for and actually writing essays, filling out data forms and transcripts, filling in recommender info, etc), but those hours were spread out over about 2 months. The rest of the time was spent waiting for feedback on my essays, or just taking a break from looking at the application so I could review again with a fresh perspective.
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Re: How do you juggle a full-time job, b-school applications [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2009, 20:00
refurb wrote:
It all depends on how good of a writer you are. I'm not very good.

It also depends on how good your profile is. If you're the "ideal" candidate (great GMAT, GPA, ECs) they'll probably be a little more lenient on essays than if you've got a obvious weakness.

My first set of essays took about a month (20 h/week). After that it just got easier and easier. By the end, I could bang one out in a week (borrowing heavily from other essays).

RF


I had a similar case. The first set of essays I wrote took the longest - about a month, with me spending most of the weekends working on them. After that it was MUCH easier. I also knew that I needed my essays to be solid, to help make the app stronger. So I spent longer on them, trying to perfect them as much as I could. I had 8 schools in one round, so by the end, I was churning out an app over 10 days.

As most applicants, I also spent a while:
- doing school and career research
- waiting for essay feedback from my reviewers
- contacting current students to get their perspectives on school, etc
- prepping for interviews
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Re: How do you juggle a full-time job, b-school applications [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2009, 23:54
It is really hard to give you an estimate of how much time I spent on my applications.

For example, do I count the number of hours thinking about my application and writing short notes of ideas while I'm doing other stuff? If you just want to count how many hours I put in for my essays, then I would say it depends on the school. Some applications came easy, some were really hard.

From my personal experience, the raw numbers don't matter. I spent the least time on my Chicago application. It took me one session (more on this later) to write both esssays, and another session to finish two Powerpoint "essays" (of course, I chose only one to submit.) This set of essays were also the ones that my reviewers liked the most and required the least changes. And of course, Chicago was the only admit out of my seven applications.

Another reason why the numbers don't matter is because your later essays will definitely take more time (and are usually better as well.) It took me two months to finish my first application (HBS), and then it took about two weeks for the rest (except Stanford, which took a month; and MIT, which took just one weekend because I really wasn't keen on going and shouldn't have applied.)

My advice is to find a system that works for you, and stick with it. Since you worry about balancing everything else in your life as well, I advise you to make a plan and stick with it. That's what I did.

I set aside my weekend mornings, 9 AM to noon on Saturdays and Sundays. That was my "MBA" time. I studied for my GMAT then, I did my pre-application groundwork then, and I usually worked on my essays then as well. I considered one "session" to be three hours of MBA related work. For me, this disciplined approach worked. This allowed me to track my progress (e.g. if I skipped a session, or had a session where I got very little done), and schedule additional time during the week if I felt I was falling too much behind. Despite all that planning, I still ended up pushing one application back to R2 (Chicago.) This approach also helped me maintain balance in my life.

Also, I strongly recommend doing pre-application groundwork. To be specific, I made a list of almost everything. What are my leadership stories, my teamwork stories, etc.? Whom can I approach for recommendations, what are the stories I should give each recommenders, etc.? I classified anything I did for my applications in general (figure out my GPA for each year in school, etc.) that were not school-specific as my pre-application groundwork. This can take up a lot more time than you initially anticipated. Get that out of the way, and make a cheat sheet or something along those lines, so you can keep referring back to it.

Hope this helps and good luck.
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Re: How do you juggle a full-time job, b-school applications [#permalink] New post 14 Jul 2009, 06:50
refurb wrote:
By not having a life! :?

During application season, I was either sleeping, exercising, at work, eating or writing my essays.

Every time I got an hour to spare in the day I was reviewing my essays.

The best part is, my MBA friends tell me that is nothing compared to actually being in b-school!!

RF


It's actually not been too bad so far, fortunately. Granted I had my first good night's sleep in a while last night and I've been spending a ton of time on essays, I'm surviving, and I still have time to have a little fun. Even combining a school visit with a girl visit. Just gotta be "efficient," I guess.
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Re: How do you juggle a full-time job, b-school applications [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2009, 08:58
CalStep20 wrote:
I feel very naive asking this, but how long do most people spend on an application(s)? I did my entire application from start to finish (minus rec letters) for Kelley in one night and was accepted with $ and a GA position. I know NYU and Chicago ask for slideshows so that would add some time, but do people really spend months writing short essays? Granted there is some stiff competition to get into the top schools, but I just figured people sat down, churned out what they wanted to say about themselves, and sent it in. Clearly, I am mistaken. Any light shed on this would be interesting for me.

No exaggeration, I had about 30 drafts of my essays for each school.




As to the original question, the solution is easy...shirk your job responsibilities! :lol:
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Re: How do you juggle a full-time job, b-school applications [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2009, 09:07
Hire a consultant. There is an exclusive, referral-only consultant that I've heard raves about - she's based out of NY, but travels all over the world. Harvard and Wharton background.

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Re: How do you juggle a full-time job, b-school applications [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2009, 09:14
rca215 wrote:
As to the original question, the solution is easy...shirk your job responsibilities! :lol:


Well, it's kinda hard to do, especially when my boss is writing my letters of recommendation.
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Re: How do you juggle a full-time job, b-school applications [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2009, 11:12
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Hi there :)

I'm currently applying and am also involved in a bunch other things inside and outside of work (and married). What I found helped me was printing out the application and writing in the information whenever I had a free 15-30 minutes. I found this way easier than trying to sit down for 4-5 hours in front of my computer (which feels a lot to me like taking a practice GMAT or filing my taxes). I also carry around a small notebook and jot down thoughts about why I want an MBA, why X school, what I want to be when I grow up, etc. I tend to think about these things on the bus, etc. really any time (for the most part) I am away from my computer so it helps me to just quickly dump them onto paper. Then I reference the notes for inspiration when I'm at my computer working on the essays.

As for the relationship part, I've actually found my husband to be a great sounding board for my thoughts. He knows me better than anyone and can let me know if I'm being genuine (or not) in my responses.

Hope those suggestions help. It sounds like from the other responses that it gets more fluid with time. :)
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Re: How do you juggle a full-time job, b-school applications [#permalink] New post 22 Jul 2009, 16:18
Well by going crazy about things... :-D
Been doing it for the last 2 weeks and things seem to be falling into slots slowly. Have most of the material for application ready and now working on all the ideas I want to put into essays. I do agree it is getting tough to slack on the job now that my manager is writing my recommendation but it all works out well as he allows us to work from home on wednesdays so it gives me extra time to work on the essays and read gmatclub.
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Re: How do you juggle a full-time job, b-school applications [#permalink] New post 22 Jul 2009, 19:25
I was thinking of preparing for GMAT in the next three months, giving it on the early November and then giving TOEFL (English is not my first language so have to sit for this exam too) by th end of November. I thought the remaining 1 month would be good for applying in 2/3 schools (will be applying based on the GMAT score), and then applying in the 3rd round to another 2/3/4 schools. However, after going through the thread, i am kind of scared and seeing a serious flaw in my plans. May be I have started late, but is there any suggestion on how to improve my plan? I really did not think that applications (specially competitive ones) can take that long!
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Re: How do you juggle a full-time job, b-school applications [#permalink] New post 22 Jul 2009, 20:20
it's not recommended you apply in round 3, especially if you are applying to your top five schools.
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Re: How do you juggle a full-time job, b-school applications [#permalink] New post 22 Jul 2009, 21:09
castelcr wrote:
it's not recommended you apply in round 3, especially if you are applying to your top five schools.


Well, would it be practical if I aim to complete the application process for 5 schools in two months?
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Re: How do you juggle a full-time job, b-school applications [#permalink] New post 23 Jul 2009, 09:15
eresh wrote:
castelcr wrote:
it's not recommended you apply in round 3, especially if you are applying to your top five schools.


Well, would it be practical if I aim to complete the application process for 5 schools in two months?


If you have the flexibility, you may be better off applying next year rather than trying to rush out applications for this cycle. Getting through GMAT, TOEFL and 2-5 applications in the next 5 months is a very aggressive timeline.
Re: How do you juggle a full-time job, b-school applications   [#permalink] 23 Jul 2009, 09:15
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