Choosing the right business school is essential if you want to use the MBA degree as a springboard to success. In this webinar, Dr. Don Martin, former Dean of Admissions at Chicago Booth School of Business, Columbia University, Northwestern University, and Wheaton College, talks about some common mistakes to avoid when picking a business school.

Choosing the right business school may play an important role in your future career. Thus, we have prepared a series of webinars to help you with your decision. This is part 2 of the 3-part webinar series with Dr. Don aiming to help you with your MBA application process. You can read about the first part here

Dr. Don is the founder of Grad School Road Map. Thanks to his over 28 years’ rich experience in coaching students, Dr. Don has helped more than 600 business school applicants, with a 97% acceptance rate. Grad School Road Map is not reserved only for those pursuing an MBA, but any Master’s degree, JD, MD, or Doctorate.  

The biggest mistake

The biggest mistake prospective MBA students make is not doing adequate research before they apply.  “In my forty some years of working with prospective graduate and MBA students, this happens almost every year,” Dr. Don says.

Instead, a great deal of emphasis is placed on two elements: word of mouth and rankings. While those two are useful, if they are the only factors you consider before applying, you are short-changing yourself dramatically.

You can avoid making this mistake by:

  • spreading your net wide.
  • creating a spreadsheet with schools.
  • doing some genuine comparison shopping.

Dr. Don points out that there are many free resources available to you, so why limit yourself to only two?

The importance of planning ahead

There are many reasons why you need to have a plan before starting the application process. Here are а few of them.

Adequate time for research

Starting early gives you an advantage. Let’s say you want to apply in September 2022. If you start now, you will have adequate time (six months) to pick a school.

Able to organize application priorities

Applying to a business school takes time and will also test your ability to prioritize. For example, you probably need to take the GMAT or the GRE. How much time are you going to need? “I find that often applicants try to take their standardized tests at the same time they are trying to prepare their applications,” Dr. Don says. That’s an awful lot trying to negotiate.

Can focus on tests, essays, recommendation letters

Having a plan means that every element of the application package will receive its fair share of attention.

Less stress or need to rush

If you give yourself enough time to prepare, you won’t feel that tremendous pressure. You are also likely to make far fewer mistakes.

The 12-month application checklist

Dr. Don then proceeded to present his 12-month checklist that applicants can use to put an order in their application process. 

10-12 months beforehand

  • Start doing thorough research
  • Create a spreadsheet with potential target schools
  • Make an alphabetical list of program options and start filling in a spreadsheet

7-9 months beforehand

  • Start planning campus visits and recruiting events.
  • Prepare for your standardized tests.
  • Reach out to current students and recent grads

Watch the full webinar if you want to learn more about the checklist or listen to the very interesting Q/A session at the end.

In addition, you will get a special 50% discount code should you wish to purchase Dr. Don’s book.