Here’s a word we hear often in MBA admissions circles: overwhelmed.
Overwhelmed with essays, overwhelmed with GMATs, overwhelmed with chasing down your recommender at the last minute though you know that the first thing she’ll ask you about (since she’s your boss!) is the status of that marketing presentation that you didn’t do because you were scrambling to write that last MBA application essay that you somehow completely forgot about until a day before the deadline.
Wow, I think my adrenaline levels spiked just writing that. Oh yes, I know that feeling well. When I was applying to school, panic attacks were a regular occurrence.
But here’s the secret… this can all be avoided as long as you start off right.
Rule #1 about getting organized: Never trust yourself.
Though one might argue that, in certain circles, an MBA provides a reproductive advantage, this was not true historically, and human brains never evolved to juggle the complex organizational challenges of applying to business school.
If you try to rely on your wits alone, you will forget deadlines, misplace to-do lists, procrastinate asking for recommendations, and needlessly stress yourself out. And stressing yourself out is always a bad idea.
Thankfully, we live in the 21st century, and there is a wealth of technology available at our finger tips to help us tackle life’s challenges. So do make sure to take advantage of the tools available to you. There are many available, to suit all preferences and levels of technical aptitude.
“I’m an investment banker. I live and die by MS Office.”
Alright… sounds like Excel might be the tool for you. Open up a spreadsheet and start writing out all the schools you’re applying to. Then write down the application deadlines for each school, and all the different requirements. As you get things done, color-code them as such. The one thing we would advise, however, is to put your spreadsheet online. Organization very quickly falls apart if you need to take note of something but you don’t have your spreadsheet on you… You start creating new versions and files, and next thing you know you’re juggling 8 spreadsheets and have lost track of everything. Go on… Give Google Docs a try. I hear they’re building short-cuts so you won’t even have to touch the mouse.
“I was among the first 1000 users on Twitter. Web 2.0 is my thing.”
Sound like you need a more tech-savvy option. May we suggest our start-up to you? It’s called Apply in the Sky, and it’s a cloud-based hyper-organizer for MBA applicants. All you have to do is select the schools you’re applying to, and we’ll provide you with a pre-populated dashboard with everything you need to stay organized during your application process. The service is free to try out for two weeks. Check it out at http://www.applyinthesky.com.
“I’m a jetsetter. I’m always on the go.”
Sounds like a mobile option is right for you. Thankfully, several companies have created convenient MBA planners for iPhones, smartphones and iPads. So take a virtual trip to the app store and start exploring the options available to you to keep track of your MBA applications from the convenience of your phone.
Don’t forget, organization is your first defense against feeling overwhelmed down the road.
And the right time to get organized is always right now.