Preparing for Business School
Decisions abound for anyone applying to graduate business schools. Practically at every juncture, a decision must be made and is best made if based on sufficient, reliable information. The AGENDA OF PRELIMINARIES has been developed to aid you as you delve into the decision whirlpool. Look it over and try to incorporate the pointers into your own personal agenda.
Visits to business schools are always helpful in gaining a sense of what the school is about - the atmosphere, size, location, student body, faculty. These visits should be informal. Since such visits are part of the preliminaries, it is probably too early in your search to schedule an interview, but a (casual) stop by the admissions office is practically a must. Also, be on the look out for Hunter students at the respective schools and ask them questions about decisions they made in selecting a business school.
Advice from the Field
It is a certainty that wherever you go and whatever you do, you will encounter people who have already made the decision to attend or not to attend business school. You can build your decision base by quizzing them on the choices they made: Did they enter directly after college? How important was location? How many applications did they complete? What is the general market for MBAs? What are their school's strengths and weaknesses? Family, friends, summer employers and academics all have a perspective (and probably a different one); do not hesitate to ask them questions and hear their side of the issue.
The Graduate Management Admission Test must be taken since most business schools require it. It is a good idea to take it as early as possible in the school year in which you are submitting applications. Some find that taking the test during their senior year gives them a head start; others prefer to wait until closer to the application year.
Gaining an understanding of the GMAT is an important preliminary and should be undertaken with great care. There are several study guides available as well as test preparation courses. The extent to which you seek aid in preparing for the test is your decision, but the idea is not to enter the test blindly.
Information and Printed Materials
Early in the application year, write schools or visit websites for information and request bulletins, applications, financial aid information, and program announcements. It is a good idea to seek information from all of the schools that interest you; more information, better decision.
As you receive materials, look through them noting admissions criteria, application dates, program options, and courses to be taken during the first year of study. Try to note differences and get a feel for approaches that are commensurate with your abilities. Several readings of the materials will be needed if you are to benefit from comparative shopping.
If you have time for an enriching work experience during the college years, try to secure a position in which you can engage in some business function. Internships, private efforts in enterprise, and volunteer work are all examples of activities that can be helpful to you. Business schools do value work experience, be it full-time or part-time, and if you have a chance to gain some, by all means do so. The need for full-time work experience remains high at most schools.
Remainder of Academic Program
A review of the publications from various schools should give you information about what is expected of you. While academic preparation may not be clearly defined, there are some expectations, particularly in terms of background courses. You should look over your Hunter program to date with an eye toward altering it. For instance, mathematics, economics, accounting, statistics, computer science, and foreign language are especially recommended. If you have not taken any one of these, you should schedule one in your academic program as soon as possible. Alumni needing to take preparatory courses can take advantage of institutions in the area where they reside.
Recommendations are an important part of your application profile; thus, it will be to your benefit to carefully select the persons you plan to ask to provide a recommendation. Now is not too soon to begin identifying and approaching prospects for recommendations. Faculty, deans, and employers are all possibilities to consider. Remember, it is important to ask someone who knows you well and who has had a recent association with you. A variety of recommenders who can respond from various viewpoints will be useful.
The Pre-Business Advisor is always available to answer questions. Preparation and counseling for business school should start early, preferably in your freshman or sophomore year. If you are interested in attending business school or have an interest in business, please schedule an appointment to meet with Hunter’s Pre-Business Advisor.