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How to Apply to Business School

Academic Preparation
You can major in any subject at Smith and still apply to business school; in fact, schools
like to see diversity in their students’ training. Review each school’s requirements for undergraduate
courses; one school may require course work in statistics while another wants basic
economics, for example. All schools are interested in a good GPA, solid quantitative skills, and
a proven record in the major.

Investigating Schools

Graduate Management Admission Test
The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is required for admission to most
business schools. The CDO has information on registering for the computer-based test. The
GMAT is offered year-round at test centers throughout the world. Plan to take the GMAT in time
to apply to schools early in the admission cycle.

The test measures general verbal, mathematical, and analytical writing skills that are developed
over a long period of time. The most effective way to prepare for the GMAT is to review
the subject matter covered and to complete several practice tests. There are sample tests
in the back of the registration booklet and there are books on preparing for the exam. There are
also several services that provide formal test preparation.

Application Essay
Most business school applications will ask you to write several essays about your decision
to pursue an MBA, why you selected their school, or why you chose to attend business
school at this point in your life. Because most MBA applicants are not interviewed, the essays
may be your only chance to tell the admission committee about your strengths and to explain
any peculiarities in your record. Be sure to think them through carefully and write your essays
clearly.

Letters of Recommendation
Most applications will ask for three letters of recommendation. Choose people who can
make specific comments on the depth and breadth of your knowledge; on your ability to analyze,
write, and solve problems; and on your general aptitude for the study of business. You
should try to include a letter from a professor in your major department of program. An employer
reference is frequently appropriate, especially if you have been out of school for a while.

Interviewing
Most business schools do not require interviews, but some will let you request one. Interviews
are generally available between September 1 and February 1. If you have an interview,
take the opportunity to affirm your interest in the school. Address both your strengths and your
weaknesses with a positive tone. Dress as if you were going to a job interview.

Next: Timing for MBA Admissions Application


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