Ibad Hyder, National University of Singapore The MBA countdown has begun

With just a few weeks away from meeting my MBA class, the few things that keep me occupied these days are the preparations for my departure and to spend as much time as possible with my family and friends. In essence, at this point in time I happen to be at the end of my “pre-MBA” and when I look back, I find myself among those individuals for whom the pre-MBA was a journey in itself.

My pre-MBA began in July 2011 and began with the GMAT. In retrospect preparing for the GMAT is not-so-difficult, on the other hand the admission and application process is a wee bit not-so-easy. There are numerous blogs and online forums where people have shared their experiences about how they went about tackling the numerous challenges in the admission and application process.

However, I would like to share what I learned from my application experience. I had a broad idea about my post-MBA goals, but the essay writing part for all applications forced me to think hard about them and why I wanted to pursue an MBA. It made me focus on my strengths and how I would use them during my time at the school. It also made me aware of my weaknesses and how an MBA would address them. All in all it helped me achieve more clarity and self-awareness.

The interviews usually revolved around the application essays, but at times the interviewer threw in some unexpected questions which not only reinforced the general rule to “expect the unexpected” but also proved useful when preparing for the next interview.

Finally I learnt the meaning of patience. From the day of the interviews, like all applicants, I suffered from the “instinctive” need to check my email and application status for an acceptance notification. Some business schools declare their decision within days of holding their interviews, others only release their decision on the very last date. So I learnt to be patient. Just as the various experiences in our lives help us to become more self aware, patient and prepare us for subsequent experiences, similarly, the MBA application process does the same, possibly in a less harsh way.

So for all aspiring candidates out there who are about to start their applications, I wish them good luck with their first step towards the MBA and the rest of the entire journey.