Table of Contents
1. The General Admissions Cycle
2. Business school specifics
3. Round One of Admission Cycle for an Ideal Candidate
4. Things to remember

The admissions cycle is both the window of time and the various necessary steps you need to take to make a successful application to your dream school.

It can seem like trying to read through a crystal ball, so to help give you a complete understanding of this process and what you can do to take advantage of it, let’s break down the admissions cycle process as it pertains to business schools, MBAs, or other higher education programs.

Now, disclaimer time, every school and country will have a marginally different process for their admissions cycles, whether it’s variance in the deadlines, in the necessities of the application, or the windows of time for applying itself.

However, there are some general trends you can follow that overlap from school to school and that you absolutely need to know about!

The General Admissions Cycle

For nearly all higher education programs, you’ll be applying nearly a year in advance of your chosen courses start date. For example, in the EU, applications for a 2023 MBA program will have their first rounds in September with the final round happening in March of 2024.

What this really means for you, though, is that you need to have prepared for the application process several months ahead of the opening for the admissions cycle.

And in case you need a quick rule of thumb on what you’ll need for a successful application, here’s a quick shortlist (note: certain schools may require additional collateral or less):

  • Personal statement & personal essays
  • Education and employment history
  • References
  • Scores from the admissions tests (GMAT, GRE, SAT, IELTS)
  • Transcripts
  • Additional documents (based on the course’s requirements)

Different schools will also have your application in a different way. For the UK, you need to apply through UCAS, while in the states, universities use the Common Application platform.

Business school specifics

Business schools differ from other higher education programs in that they’re composed of multiple rounds of cycles throughout the year when you can submit your application – usually around three or four. This doesn’t mean you have as much flexibility as you think, though, as the earlier the round you submit your application, the more spots will be available and the less critical the admissions teams will be when assessing a given candidate.

It’s also a period where the majority of sponsorships, scholarships and other financial incentives are on offer, so don’t wait until it’s too late – as they’re often gone after the first rounds!

This window of time averages between 6 to 9 months, and while that might mean you have more time to submit a better application, just later, we strongly recommend that you prep as if you’re only applying to the first cycle of admissions.

You’ll also need to remember that there are several aspects of your application that require third parties, in particular, your recommendation letters, and you need to give those parties adequate time to compose letters for you that truly sing your praises.

Here’s a quick example of what a round one of an admissions cycle will look like from an ideal candidate:

(December – year before your application – to March)

Step 1: Set your target to apply for the following year’s first round of admissions (Steps 2 and 3 should be considered in line with this)

Step 2: Choose recommenders and request recommendation letters.

Pick these people very carefully – they shouldn’t just be friends or family. They should be former employers who you “wowed” with your business acumen, or prior tutors at university who can profess your abilities.

You also need to allow them time in their schedules to make their contributions to your application, which should be as thought out and thorough as your own additions.

Step 3: Start preparing for the GRE or GMAT and determine which test is better (This is something we can help you with – to learn more, click here).

Although these tests can now be waived, they are hands down one of the best ways for you to showcase your breadth of qualitative, verbal and quantitative abilities – in fact, they can contribute as much as 20% to your overall application’s success!

It’s why we dedicate entire courses to the GMAT and GRE, both in one-on-one and group session variations. To learn more – click here!

(July – Three Months Before Round One Deadlines)

Step 4: Take the GMAT or GRE.

Step 5: Start drafting the essay and resume portions of the MBA application.

This is your time to shine from a personal standpoint. Communicate to the schools you’re submitting to why you’re the ideal candidate, and how your past employment and personal experience has led you to applying to their school.

U.S. colleges alone saw this as one of the most important parts of the application, and a convincing personal essay could help admissions teams look over any lacking experience or test scores.

Step 6: Revise the application over and over.

We strongly recommend you have an expert or previous candidate look through your application to identify any weak points or areas for improvement. Once more, with our Admissions Consulting Service we’re able to help you with exactly that!

September: Round One of Admissions

Step 7: Submit applications to your preferred MBA programs – this entails compiling all the necessary documents, test results, personal essays, and CV together to be sent off to your selection of dream schools.

Step 8: Prepare for admissions interviews at round one schools. Not every applicant will need to sit through an interview, however, the vast majority who do get accepted will be required to do so.

As a portion of your overall application, this counts for around 15% of your acceptance rate, so make sure you’ve prepared for it as effectively as the rest of your application.

We prepare our tutees for their actual interview as part of our Admissions Consulting as well – running them through the processes, scenarios, likely questions and more so they can make an impact with the admissions team!

Step 9: Await your acceptance!

Step 10: Round two begins… This is the period when most applicants enter their applications, however, getting in earlier than this can give you a competitive advantage, as your application will have more time to be reviewed by admissions teams.

Things to remember in summary:

  1. As we said before – earlier is better when it comes to the admissions cycle!
  2. Take each aspect of your application seriously, after all, 78% of what will get you into your dream school is determined in your application, test scores, interviews, and personal essays! That means that the majority of what will get you into your dream school is still within your control!
  3. Every school is different: Make sure you carefully look at the requirements of each school you’re applying to, the last thing you want to do is submit either an incomplete or bloated application for an admissions team to review.
  4. Speak with an expert: At 700+Club, we’re intimately aware of each school’s requirements for their higher education programs, and we’ll work with you to ensure every part of your application is aligned to that school’s needs and finessed to absolute perfection.All of this is done as part of our prep courses, and if you want to make your application a stand-out one, why not connect directly with us to discuss your application, selection of ideal schools, and any other questions you might have!

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