Got a very reasonable question recently and thought we’d share our response with all of you eager-beaver BSers. The gist of it was that this person is going to be applying for full-time MBA programs in the Fall — they’ve got their short list identified — and they wanted to know how to get started now. They’d done some research on our site (good on them!) and determined that our Complete Essay Package is what they want to go with. But they got stymied by the fact that it’s a 60-day subscription to the services, and they didn’t yet know which specific school they’d want to work on with us.
Here’s what we said in response:
The best approach depends on which schools you’re applying to, since you want to make sure that they will be releasing their essay questions within the 60-day window that you’re working on the Complete Essay Package. Columbia and Harvard usually release questions in May; some schools release in June, most of them are out in July, and NYU is a straggler that sometimes doesn’t get essay questions out till August.
You can start on the Complete Essay Package **before** the school’s questions come out, because the first 1/3 or 1/2 of the process is about identifying your material and developing your message. We don’t need the upcoming-season’s actual essay questions for a specific school to know what that school cares about and looks for in a pitch. That doesn’t change from season to season, and we can help you with that at any time. And, there’s a good chunk of foundational work that is relevant and necessary regardless of which school you’re targeting or what their questions end up being. That’s the value of the Complete Essay Package; it helps you develop the pitch which you’ll them be able to reuse, with some tweaking of course, for ANY school.
You also don’t need to know which school you’ll be working on with the Complete Essay Package until you’re ready to develop your outlines. That’s when you commit to one school and one set of essay questions.
So short answer to your question:
For most schools, we would recommend starting in on the Complete Essay Package sometime in late May or by mid June.
(This advice could change depending on which school we’re talking about.)
If you’re not that far along in your process – if you haven’t figured out what schools you’re interested in, or if you need some help identifying the strengths and weaknesses in your profile – then the best place to start is the Comprehensive Profile Review – we talked about this in a post awhile ago, go check that out and see if it’s right for you.
If you have questions on what to do and when, just ask! We’re around.