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 “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 errors two or three times—not simply mistakes in terms of grammar and style, but in terms of approach.
For example, once a candidate starts writing, he/she might ultimately discover that he/she struggles with “balance” in his/her essays (the appropriate number of words to dedicate to the introduction, body and conclusion) or has difficulty managing stringent word counts. In this case, the candidate would benefit from “battling” through the first few essays and using them as an opportunity to refine, rather than attacking 9 to 15 essays at once. After working through these issues, with a set of essays completed, the candidate can then progress with more than one application thereafter 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, one that can save an applicant a tremendous amount of time, especially those who intend to start early and make steady progress.