Photo credit: Julie Gross

Business school programs are usually a compact one or two years, which means that the time is likely to overflow with coursework, people, and work experiences. We’re here to help you prepare for and navigate this experience.

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We are proud of our strong record of success with business school applicants! Read on for tips from clients who have excelled in business school about how to get the most out of your program—and stay sane in the process.

#1. Get a few years of experience working in business before you apply, as MBA programs have increasingly prioritized past business experience in admitting students. Working in the field will also enable you to confirm and refine your interests before you embark on graduate school.

#2. But also permit yourself to explore different fields before you apply, both inside and outside of business. (What counts as “business” ranges from working as an analyst at a hedge fund to starting your own t-shirt company!) Finding an area you’re enthusiastic about will not only serve as fodder for your application essays, it will also inform your choices in business school and beyond.

“Business school enables a career pivot so don’t worry about what you do before, but make sure you do something that you are excited and passionate about in order to gain the greatest experience. That in turn will lead to a compelling story for your MBA applications further down the road.”

#3. Even in business school, continue to allow yourself to explore. Taking courses across specializations, interning in different industries, and seeking contacts across disciplines will help you define your interests.

“Be open-minded to as many different industries and roles as possible. Not only will you learn about something new in a field that you find interesting, but it can also help grow your network. The variety of coursework and being able to dip my toes into healthcare from private equity, hedge fund and operations perspectives have helped build my confidence and skill set.”

#4. Make friends. On reality television shows, “I’m not here to make friends” might be the MO, but the mantra won’t fly in business school. Not only will your connections help you get the most out of business school—including both being exposed to different viewpoints and, let’s face it, having fun—they’ll also serve as vital contacts in your career moving forward.

“Making friends and developing relationships with people who have interdisciplinary interests can only strengthen your skills as a leader and your ability to solve problems from new perspectives. The friendships I developed were beyond what I could have imagined.

#5. Be prepared for some stress when you’re applying for summer internships. The weeks-long interview process can be busy and intense, coupled with the anxiety of waiting to hear back from companies. Know this period is finite and that you’re not alone in feeling overwhelmed! Preparing as well as possible—by researching the company, speaking with people who work there, and doing mock interviews—can help you feel confident in interviews, and succeed.

“The interview process for summer internships was really tough. It was two weeks of four to five interviews a day; we got a call at the end day about whether we’d received a second-round interview later in the week. My internship offer came from my very last interview of the two-week period and it turned out to be the perfect fit for me. Since it is so condensed and inevitably you will not get an offer from every place you interview, there is a lot of rejection. I had to be tough and get back out there and give every interview my best shot.”

#6. Prioritize. Even beyond the internship application period, business school is notoriously busy, so triage what’s most important to you.

“There are four activities universal to every business school: academics, networking, socializing, and sleep. The problem is you can only focus on two at any given time, so find your ‘balance.’”

#7. We, personally, give a nod to tending to your mental health, whether by relaxing with friends, exercising, meditating, or doing another activity that helps you unwind. It’ll help your other commitments run more smoothly, and enable you to enjoy the short gift of graduate school.

The business school application process is complex and competitive. Contact Collegiate Gateway if you would like guidance for any aspect of your journey. As always, we’re happy to help! Explore the upcoming presentations on our website or set up a complimentary consultation to learn about our services.