I’ve answered this as though you’ve been accepted, now what do you have to do for 2 years. If you are asking about the application itself – you need to demonstrate that you can do the following.
If it is for one of the top tier programs, you’d better get some hard skills and be a bad-ass.
1. Hard skills:
Perhaps you’re headed to an analyst program at a Big Bank. That will give you a first framework for understanding how to process business information. But you could also go to the Fundraising side of a major non-profit or political campaign. Immersing yourself in the fundraising will give you a frame of reference for how organizations like these work as well as how business development works.
The idea is that you go get specific experience, an apprenticeship, that will then be compelling when you come to the MBA program in 1-2 years (I prefer 2, but some programs give you 1). You will be adding one piece to the overall class. It helps to have students with different frames so you can all learn from each other.
(that’s an idealized sense of what bschool is….)
If you’ve been accepted to a top program early they expect that within 1-2 years you can synthesize a crazy amount of information and experience to put you on par with those of 5-6 years of experience. They also hope that you can mature. They’re making a bet on you.
Not-top-tier programs are making a different bet. They know you’ll get an MBA and they’d like those $$. So they may grant admission for the sake of making sure you come to them in 2 years rather than let you discover other (possibly better for you) programs.
Business Schools are businesses too.
2. Be bad-ass.
You may think you are now, but when you get to the wider world of work you will see (if you’re smart enough to notice) just how very, very little you know.
What can you do with that? Do you obsessively learn your field? Do you take daring assignments that can poke holes in your sense of self or do you take assignments that are safe – publicly and personally?
You’re not done once the MBA program starts. They can ask you to leave if you didn’t live up to expectations – not just for grades – though those are usually an underperforming match. They can also push you into an “internship” that lasts for more than the summer to delay your re-entry if they think your skills are weak but are willing to let you graduate eventually.
Even HBS does this.
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