We at mbaMission try to encourage business school candidates to get as much “noise” out of the way as possible before they begin working on their official application(s) and essays, even several months in advance. We want applicants to have the freedom to reflect on their experiences, formally and thoroughly brainstorm, choose ideas, prepare outlines, and then focus on crafting powerful essays. Essentially, we want them to be unfettered as they engage in what is, for many, one of the most significant creative challenges they will ever face.
If you are targeting Round 2 deadlines, using this time to address a task such as preparing your resume—a process that often requires several rounds of revisions—will allow you to focus better on the other elements of your application later. By revising your resume now, you can dedicate the time needed to do so at a more leisurely pace, before “crunch time” hits. Further, you will lay the foundation for brainstorming for your essays, by reminding yourself of your most significant accomplishments.
If you prepare your resume now, you will definitely thank yourself later for having completed this task early. Note: We recognize that you may achieve additional accomplishments before applying. We nonetheless suggest that you update your resume now and then revisit and amend it as necessary one to two weeks before your application deadlines.
A similar message applies to personal leadership—you always have time to take steps to bolster your chances of admission. Many candidates completely ignore the personal side of their candidacy. But if you have, for example, completed a triathlon, learned a language, published an article, or simply been an inordinately dedicated neighbor/sibling/mentor in an unofficial capacity, your story can provide an interesting point of differentiation.
So, if you have an activity or adventure in mind that you would otherwise complete later anyway, we recommend pursuing it now. We are not suggesting that you start writing poetry tomorrow in hopes of getting something published, for instance, but if you are a dedicated poet and have verses that you have long intended to submit, do so now. If you can run 20 miles and have always planned to run a marathon, do it now. These kinds of personal stories can help set you apart from your fellow applicants.