Some of us decide to pursue a master’s right after their bachelor. Others want to take their time, take a gap year, do internships, find out about what are their drivers. Anyway, applying to a top business school ends up being a part-time process that one has to handle along with their internship or along with their studies. In my case, I was working and applying at the same time and through this article, I want to share my experience along with overall tips about the whole process.
The first and maybe the most important step is answering these two questions: “Why this program? Why this school?”. These answers will be the drivers for the whole process. When you’re ready to give up on the GMAT and settle for less, these answers will help you break through and accomplish your objectives. For me, the easy way to do it was to break it down into smaller questions whose answers could be found in an easy way. Ranging from the outcomes for employment and salary, the campus life or the academic content, these are deeply personal questions that come down to you to ask and to answer.
True motivation requires you to dig deep and the resources to do it range far and wide. You can start with the FT Ranking, but that won’t be enough. There is the HEC Master’s programs website where every program is comprehensively explained and where you can as for brochures who go into a bigger level of detail. There are webinars for you to ask questions or events where you can meet the school’s representatives. There is this blog and if you’re not satisfied, reach out to a student from that program for a Skype call.
Once you know when and why you want to come to HEC Paris, the real journey starts. Personally, I went through this thinking process during the summer after graduating. Once I had decided, I found myself doing an internship and unsure of how to go about the application process. Looking back, these are a few tips on how to do it.
- Plan. Assuming you have decided what program you want to join, you already know what you have to do to get in. You should know all of the application deadlines, the GMAT/GRE and IELTS/TOEFL requirements, the reference letters, essay questions etc. Once you have collected it, you have to plan which exams you are going to take and how long do you need to study for them, and which deadline fits with your plan.
- Time Management. Highly tied to planning, it’s one of the most important tools you need. Having to study for the GMAT while I was doing my internship was tough, and I really had to design a timetable that would allow me to perform efficiently after work and that would also be easy to keep up with. For me, what would work was studying during my lunch time and every other day after dinner, along with making the most out of weekends.
- The Holistic Application. HEC Paris is looking for students with different backgrounds and experiences. It’s an important factor to keep in mind when completing the application process. Those essay questions in the Master in Management’s application process? they work in your favor. This is where you can shine beyond your GMAT score or your good but not excellent It’s where you tell your story, and how all of your past experiences make you the best candidate to HEC. It’s also where you can tie in a recommendation later from that teacher you impressed, and/or your boss who knows how good you are.
It’ll never be perfect, but you can make it better. Remember you have 4 rounds, from September to April and the sooner you apply the better, but if you are not happy with the application and you are sure you can make it better, don’t be afraid of pushing it back to the next round. However, remember there is no perfect application, and especially if you are working like I was, you will eventually have to settle, take a deep breath and press send on the application page.
Then you wait for that fateful email. But during those waiting weeks, you’ll think back on the process and you’ll see it was an enriching process in which you got to know yourself better, which will be an asset in the future.
Best of Luck !!