MBA Applications 2023 | 6 Things You Can Do RIGHT NOW To Prepare

Start your 2023 MBA applications the right way by preparing early! The year has just started but those business school application deadlines come sooner than you think. Angela Guido is here to make sure you know exactly what to do in these next few months to give you the best chance of MBA admission!

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Prefer to read? Here’s the transcript:

Something exciting is happening. It's the 2023 MBA application season. It's a brand-new year, a brand-new chance to achieve your MBA dreams, and I, Angela Guido, founder of Career Protocol, am here to help. I am a Career and MBA Coach for lo these many, many years, and I'm bringing you, every Monday, the very best guidance to help you advance your career and get into business school, both of which may be critical factors in helping you get everything you want in your career. That's really what we're here for at Career Protocol, for the achievement of your potential and your dreams. If you're applying in 2023, there are six things that you're going to want to do in the next several months so that you can achieve that dream that we referred to earlier of getting into your favorite MBA program. Without further ado, let me get right to it. No, actually one brief ado. Please subscribe to our channel. We've got videos coming to you every Monday that are going to help you get in to the schools of your choice.

Given that I'm coming to you here at the end of January, and there are still eight months remaining before you need to submit your applications for round 1 in early September — is it eight months? February, March, April, May, June, July, August… seven months? Seven months? I can't do math. Given that there are seven months between now and when you need to submit your applications at the beginning of September, here are the things you want to be focused on, especially over the next three months, so that your MBA application road can be smooth and happy.

1. That Test Score

  • Take care of it
  • Commit to a test

Number one, take care of that test score. Whether you're taking the GMAT or the GRE, it doesn't matter. Schools consider them both equally. Whichever test you take, you really need to get a great score. A great score for you may not be a 770 on the GMAT, it may not be a 335 on the GRE, but it needs to be the very best score that you can possibly get. So take some time now to choose one test. I don't recommend you switch in the middle. If you haven't already committed to one, pick the one that's right for you. If you need guidance on which test is right for you, you can watch this video. Go watch that video so that you can choose the right test and then give it your all. Take a class, work with a tutor, practice, take the test multiple times. Do everything you can do to get the best score you can possibly achieve. You will not regret it!

2. Build Your Name At Work & In General

  • If it exists, you should be doing it
  • Start early
  • Build your name in general

Step number two. The other thing you really want to go hard on, especially in the next few months, is crushing it at work and outside of work. This is a time for you to ramp up your achievement quotient. So if a promotion is on the horizon, see if you can get it in the next couple of months. If there's a new project that's a huge stretch for you, take that on now. If there are extracurricular activities at work, like leading social events, leading recruiting, leading training, stepping up beyond your pay grade, beyond your basic mandate to contribute to the community, to your colleagues, and to your company, do that now. Work on being the very best that you can be in your job so that you can have a stronger resume by the time you apply. This step is really about building your resume, not in the written form, but in the substance of your experiences. Do the same thing in your extracurricular activities. If you are a runner, run a marathon. If you have a blog, try to get covered by influencers or publish guest posts on other famous blogs. If you are into acting, be in a play. Whatever it is that you do, if you're involved in a nonprofit, see if you can join the board or plan an event. Do more. Do more of all the things that you're already doing that are really important to you, so that by the time you apply, you've got even more amazing accomplishments to talk about. Come June, you're going to have to start working on the essays, and you're really going to have a lot less time to continue to amp up your commitments both at work and outside of work. So now's the time to continue building the groundwork of your resume so it's as strong as it can be in September.

3. Get Close With Recommenders

(Not weirdly close)

Task number three, which relates to building your resume, is building relationships with recommenders. Your recommendations may well be the most important piece of information in your application. The recommendations will reveal so much about who you are. It will reveal information about what you value, what you have achieved, how you build relationships, how you're viewed by others within the organizations that are important to you. It's in some ways significantly richer and more important than the essays themselves. And the recommendations are frustratingly the work of someone else. You can influence what your recommenders write. You can make their lives easier. You can even coach them to write brilliant, vivid, robust testimonials about you — in fact, we really recommend that you do that — but none of that will mean anything if you don't already have an incredibly strong relationship with those people. So now is the time to be building relationships with your mentors, with your managers, even with people who work in your organization that maybe aren't directly on your team who could provide a testament to how awesome you are. Think now about who you might like to recommend you, and take those people out for coffee. Get to know them better. Impress them in your work. Get feedback from them and act on it. Use this time to deepen those relationships so that in the summer when they're writing your recommendations, they really, really believe in you, and they have even more to say about how awesome you are.

4. Research Schools

  • Start wide, whittle down
  • Don’t waste your energy on schools that don’t seem right for you

Task number four is to start researching schools. I'm not a big fan of visiting every campus that you're considering applying to. Most people really need to apply to between four and six schools, and if you're considering ten schools that you're going to whittle down to four or six, visiting campus at all of those programs can get expensive and time-consuming. So you want to conduct your research in a kind of cascading model. So cast a broad net first. If you're considering ten programs, do internet research, maybe try to talk to a current student or an alum at each program. Just start to get a general feel for all the schools that you're interested in so that you can really make good choices about which ones feel better to you by the time you apply. And then once you narrow down your school list and you've decided, all right, these are the four to six schools that I'm really going to target, then you want to do even deeper research. That's where you probably do want to visit campus, where you want to try to talk to multiple members of the community, where you want to talk to adcommers at events or on campus (if they are taking audiences) and reading a lot more beyond just the boilerplate that's on the school's website. Student blogs, books written by professors, whatever it is that is going to forward your intimacy with that program, now is the time also to be doing that. It's going to inform your essays when the time comes and the longer you put this task off, the less deep you're going to be able to go. So use the time in the next several months to start to get to know the program so that you can be educated about choosing the ones to apply to and then showing them that you really want to be a part of their program in the essays.

5. Level Up Your Soft Skills

  • The skills your think an MBA will teach you are actually needed to get in

The fifth thing that you can do over the next several months to really, really strengthen your MBA application is to up-level your soft skills. It's a bit of an illusion and a myth that the MBA gives you the tools and training to strengthen your soft skills. When I say soft skills, I'm talking about things like communication, emotional intelligence, resilience, self-awareness, even some of the more important leadership skills like influence, collaboration, feedback, collecting and giving, upward management. The soft skills that are going to make the biggest difference in your long-term success post MBA, potentially an even bigger difference than the brand of your MBA itself. It's an illusion that the MBA gives you these skills. The truth is, most MBA programs are screening for these skills. This is why so many programs have introduced video components to the application, because they want to get a real sense of how you present yourself. Do you have executive presence? Can you communicate? Do you engender trust by the way you talk about yourself and connect with others? These are absolutely essential skills for your success, and the MBA will not give them to you. So take the time now to enhance your soft skills. This is, of course, what we do at Career Protocol, and we have several courses that could help you advance the way you communicate and present yourself. Like, for example, our resume course or our interview training program that teaches you how to tell really vibrant and vivid stories about who you are and build an emotional connection with anyone you speak to, whether you're networking or interviewing, or just at a coffee shop meeting someone new. If you don't want to work with us, join Toastmasters. Take an acting class. Take an improv class. If this is a weakness for you, if you have any sense that the way you convey yourself as a professional could be improved in even the slightest manner, take the next three to four months to advance your confidence in the arena of your soft skills. You will be so glad you did when you land all those MBA interviews in the fall.

6. Find Out How Your Statistics Stack Up

And the last thing you can do, I've arrived at number six. Number six is not a great number… I should have stopped at five, but I want to add number six because it's actually going to be potentially the most valuable thing that you could do. Of everything I named on this list because it helps you inform everything else. It strengthens your ability to do the five other things that I said, and that is go to This is our MBA odds-calculating robot. AI can do a lot of things these days, and one of the things it can do is tell you your odds at the top 30 US MBA programs. And in the process, it will give you a 20-page detailed report of information about you and how you currently stack up vis-à-vis the five categories that MBA programs are evaluating, vis-à-vis the top programs that you want to go to. It's got really rich information about whether or not you need to improve your test scores, how to compensate for any weaknesses in your quant profile, how to think about investing your time to advance your passions, how to begin to present your character, which is the most important thing when you get to the essay part of this process. MBAmo is designed to give you the tools to advance your candidacy as much as possible before you apply. Don't get hung up on the idea that it's giving you your odds, because if you read the report, you'll see we don't really believe odds are that important. But since people like odds, MBAmo will give you your odds but then there will be so much more information to help you over the next several months to advance your MBA goals and get ready for the application process, which is coming up faster than you know it. I'm going to be here with you every week, giving you tips and tools to get ready for your MBA program or for whatever your next big career step may be. I hope you will join me. If you're not already subscribed, please hit that button down there and I'll see you next week!

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Picture of Angela Guido

Angela Guido

Student of Human Nature| Founder and
Chief Education Officer of Career Protocol

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