Scott Edinburgh
April 19, 2017

When Should I Start the Business School Application Process?

This is a common question that we get from applicants at Personal MBA Coach and the answer is almost always the same, now! That is because you can never start too early as the process takes a lot of time if done well.

Applying to business school is different from the undergraduate / college application process you are likely familiar with. That is because each business school wants applicants who have thoroughly researched its school, potentially visited its campus, sat in on classes, talked to alumni and much more. Admissions committee members want to know that you have fully thought through why you want an MBA, what you will do with it and most importantly, why you want an MBA from that particular school. They are not simply looking for candidates who are using an MBA to check a box or who copy and paste content across applications (and yes, it is easy to determine if this is done).

Naturally, this type of preparation takes time, lots of time! And this is why we can almost certainly tell anyone reading this or asking this question that now is the best time to start!

So how do I get started? This is the natural next question. I have outlined a few specific things you should be doing to get started.  


  • Research schools! Take a look at the many guides to get your initial list started and narrow down from there. Pay attention to industry expertise, career placement stats, school location, average GMAT & GPA to get you started. This is of course only a guide as schools look at your whole application package. This can also give you a rough idea on what score you should be aiming for on the GMAT.

  • Take the GMAT! Few are lucky enough to ace this test on the first try. Many take it more than once and most seek help with preparation. Remember, you can cancel your scores and re-take the test but this takes time. As does the preparation necessary to improve your score! So start preparing now. Need help? Personal MBA Coach has excellent tutors (with 4.0 GPAs from top schools like MIT and 99% GMAT scores) standing by to help you nail the GMAT.

  • Visit campuses! It is best if you can visit while school is in session and sit in on classes. Remember, for most schools, classes get out in May, if not sooner, so this takes some planning!

  • Talk to alumni and current students! Ideally, more than 1! Look for current students or alumni in your immediate or extended networks and take the time to learn about their experiences, what sets their programs apart, etc. This will not only help you confirm fit, but further stress your interest to the ad-coms. Undergraduate and professional alumni databases are a great source to find these connections if you don’t know anyone off hand.

  • Begin thinking about your story! Everyone has a unique story, spend the time now to think about yours. What are the themes that tie together your personal and career moves? What makes you tick? What are your career goals and why do you want an MBA? For almost every school, you will need to answer these questions. Take the time now to really think this through. It can be a lot harder than it seems!

Unsure about where to start? Have a question about which schools are right for your or how you can fine tune your application? Personal MBA Coach is here to help! A boutique admissions consulting firm helping clients since 2008 with a 96% success rate, we guide you through all aspects of the application process! Whether it is GMAT/GRE tutoring, school selection, letters of recommendation planning, essay development or all of the above (which is the most common!), we can help you achieve your career goals! Call today: +1 617-645-2424 or email: to discuss your profile as well as a strategy to get you in!