Jul 9, 2009

Preparing for Round 1

How do you know if Darden is the place for you? Think about whether you'll be happy living and studying here. After all, it's two years of your life. You can learn much about Darden community's worldview and its mission from the school website. But, I'm reminded of a scene from Star Trek in which Spock sacrifices his individual welfare for the good of the ship. While Darden isn't asking for a personal sacrifice per se, it is a place that encourages its members to think beyond the individual ego to the collective ego, to look beyond individual accomplishments toward collaborative achievement.

MBA application can be a daunting process. For those who have made up their mind to take the plunge, start organizing now:

1. Create an application timeline - organization is your best friend.
2. Line up GMAT - take the sample test here before buying bunch of review books. Identify weak areas so that you can focus your time and energy.
3. Line up professional recommendations - thing to keep in mind is to try to unify your application. If possible, try to obtain recommendations that shed additional lights on your candidacy and at the same time bolsters your qualifications.
4. Draft your essays - just outline a few things, achievements, challenges, leadership, fit with case method, etc. You'll have time to refine and review later.
5. Network - make a list of alumni and school officials you might want to network with. I would wait until fall though; these people need their summer to rest.
6. Finances - while you've not gotten into the program, I would suggest you start saving and looking into scholarships as if you'd just been accepted. If you start lining up finances after admission, it could be too late. Assuming you don't earn a fellowship, the cost will be around $160K for 22-months. It's expensive.

If you're not quite at this stage, start brushing up now by consulting many online resources. There are many, free online websites dedicated to MBA program. Clearadmit is one among many.

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