With the lazy days of summer approaching in Dubai, this is the perfect time for you to start your MBA applications so you don't have to rush through the process. Here's our advice:
1. Start thinking about the types of programs you're interested in. Do you want to stay in the UAE or go abroad? 1 year MBA or 2 year MBA? What would your specialization be? These are the questions you should know the answer to before you start applying. The more you can define the types of programs that interest you, the better you will be at selling your "fit" with the programs later.
2. Gather your supplemental documents. Request your official transcripts (2 copies) and any previous test scores now. These documents are hard to obtain at the last minute and will be required no matter which schools you choose.
3. Decide whether to take the TOEFL. Many programs will do not require the TOEFL for applicants educated in countries where English is the official language (unfortunately, the UAE and India do not count) or have attended undergraduate programs in which the primary language of instruction is English. If you don't fit either of these categories but still feel like you should be exempt from taking the TOEFL, you should apply for a TOEFL waiver. However, some programs, such as Columbia, require the TOEFL if you're an international student (period, end of discussion). If you are required to take the TOEFL or think you may be, now is the time to get the test out of the way. It's offered every Saturday at various locations around the UAE, so go to www.ets.org/toefl to register. Be sure to take the sample test provided free with your registration, so that you know the format of the test.
4. Prepare for the GMAT. If you start now, you'll have the 2 to 3 months that you need to do well on the test. Think you need to score a 700? Think again. While higher scores are better, many European schools consider applicants quite competitive in the 600-650 range. Some schools only care that both your quantitative and verbal scores are above the 50th percentile. Other schools, such as IE, INSEAD, and LBS, have started introducing their own admissions tests so that low scoring students with good profiles are still considered. Preparing for the GMAT is still the best way to prepare for these tests (it's overkill...so you'll be over-prepared). Choose a prep provider, set your study schedule, and register for the exam.
Now get started!
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