9 Surprising Ways MBA Schools are Making It Easier to Apply
By Bob Horton
Applying to an MBA program is a long and drawn out process, and for good reason: this is the first of many important projects you will oversee. The application process requires preparation, assessment, writing a convincing statement, and obtaining letters of recommendation. This process generally takes a year, and is a testament to your managerial skills. Still, many institutions recognize how stressful the whole process can be, and have taken measures to streamline at least parts of the process. Below are a few ways in which MBA programs are simplifying the admissions process.
#1 Fast Track Degrees
For those who are seeking to advance their careers without taking too much time out of the work force, an accelerated MBA program may be appealing. Some programs take as little as ten months to complete. Applicants with excellent academic records and a history of business studies may enjoy a faster application process, as admissions will often waive portions or the application. Preference may also be given to students with professional experience. Students who choose this option will save on tuition, but will likely miss out on internship opportunities due to time constraints.
#2 Distance Learning
The greatest benefit of an Online mba degree program is that practically all the work is done online. This is a boon to busy students, those with children, or those already in the workforce. The cost is generally far less, given the absence of travel time and material goods needed for your studies. Because these programs are online, the application process for a typical program is centralized in a convenient portal, complete with chat support, and can take as little as six weeks. Eliminating the paper chase significantly cuts the time it takes to apply.
#3 Hybrid Learning
Students who don’t want to give up the face-to-face interaction might look into hybrid learning programs, which combine the convenience of distance learning with the hands-on experience of a traditional program. As with exclusively online programs, the applications for hybrid, or blended degree programs tend to be online, and therefore less time-consuming to complete. The integrated format provides a more realistic experience, as technology is such an important part of today’s business world.
#4 Apply in the Sky
Apply in the Sky is a software created specifically to streamline the application process. This portal allows the user to organize and keep track of multiple applications via timelines, workflow charts, and progress reports. Everything you need to know is arranged on a convenient, easy to navigate dashboard, and most MBA programs accept this format.
#5 There’s an App for That
Many schools are going paperless, as are GMAT prep classes. That means you may be able to prepare and apply all from your iPad. This has the potential to shake up the essay portion of the process—prospective students can certainly create a fuller portrait of their experience with multimedia features. On the other hand, the current technology makes it inconvenient to move from page to page, so if you’re referring back to an event you described in one essay or another, it may be frustrating for the reviewing board to move back and forth.
#6 Dual Degree Programs
Many institutions are now offering dual degree programs, the most common being the J.D./MBA. The benefits of combining a law degree with a business degree are myriad. These programs tend to be fast track, and of course, cut down on the admissions process since you’re applying once for two degrees.
#7 Skip the GMAT
Lots of schools, both online and conventional, are beginning to waive the GMAT requirement. Some of these institutions substitute a GRE requirement instead, but many forgo the assessment altogether. As you can imagine, cutting out the preparation and test time can get you on your way to your MBA with far less time, money, and heartache.
#8 Faster Approval
Several universities feature a “speed up” option, where applicants strapped for time can request a rush review. Do note: this option tends to add significantly to the application fee. Other schools, like Harvard Business, are picking up the pace by requiring fewer essays, posting earlier deadlines, and moving to virtual interviews.
#9 Assistance and Consultation
Plenty of resources exist for the simple purpose of guiding prospective MBA students through the application and admissions process. Here, applicants can get support and advice every step of the way. Some consultation firms are free, while others charge.