Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips; a new one is posted each Tuesday.
MBA candidates often ask us whether they should complete one application and then move on to the next or whether they should attack all of their applications at once. Although no definitively “right” answer to this question exists, we generally advise candidates who start early to make significant progress on their first application before beginning their second or third.
Why? Simply put, candidates can learn a tremendous amount from the process of completing their first application and can therefore prevent themselves from repeating some of the same mistakes two or three times—errors not just in terms of grammar and style, but also in terms of approach. For example, once a candidate starts writing, he/she might discover that achieving “balance” in his/her essays (allocating the appropriate number of words to the introduction, body and conclusion) is difficult or that conforming to stringent word counts is tougher than expected. In this case, the candidate would benefit from “battling” through the first few essays and using them as an opportunity to refine his/her message and approach, rather than attacking 9 to 15 essays at once. After working through these issues, with a set of essays completed, the applicant can then progress with more than one application and can do so with the confidence that he/she is not making the same mistakes over and over again.
This is a simple recommendation but, if followed, can save an applicant a tremendous amount of time, especially those candidates who intend to start early and make steady progress.