MBA - Application Process

Forté 12-Month MBA Applicant Timeline

Please note that the timeline for applying to business school is as varied and unique as each MBA candidate. Some people start sooner than we suggest here; some people start later. We are presenting one structured approach you can use to keep yourself on track.


  • Apply for the Forté MBALaunch for Women. The importance of planning and a support network to encourage you through this process can’t be overstated. Forté MBALaunch for Women will give you a clear road map to help you navigate the MBA application process.
  • Develop and maintain your network. Reach out to current and former employers and coworkers. Do you know friends of friends in the industries/functions you are targeting? Share your business school plans and career aspirations.
  • Develop a plan for how you will research schools. What is most important to you? Recruiting? Academics? Location? Size? Community? Alumni network? Cost?


  • Begin to research schools according to the priorities important to you. Keep track of the ones that peak your interest. Review class profiles to understand how competitive you will be against the applicant pool. Attend virtual events at schools that are interesting to you.


  • Begin the MBALaunch Program.
  • Begin Self Reflection. What do you better than anyone else? What makes you relevant to business schools? Unique? Where do you hope to be in 5 years? 10? What schools will help you get there?
  • Take a GMAT Practice Test.


  • Assess your GMAT readiness. Create a GMAT self-study schedule. Consider enrolling in a GMAT course or private tutoring.
  • Narrow your school list to 8-10 schools where your profile aligns well with the class. Include at least one reach school and one safety school.


  • Clarify and solidify career goals.
  • Listen to the Forté “Walk the Path” webinar in the industry that aligns with your goals.
  • Research the schools that will best prepare you to achieve your short and long term goals.
  • Assess your finances. Pay down your debt and begin living like a student. Create a budget. Balance your budget first, then trim to create room for monthly savings
  • Draft business school budget. Estimate savings & loans and b-school expenses (talk with current or former students for realistic expenses).


  • Craft your business school resume. Highlight areas of impact and leadership. Reduce to one page if possible.
  • Take a second GMAT practice test. Are there areas of the test where you feel less confident? Focus your study time here.
  • Get in touch with students and alumnae at schools of interest. Ask questions to assess your fit with the community and culture.


  • Write your goals down. Can you communicate them clearly and concisely? Create the foundation for your personal statements.
  • Identify options for people who can write your recommendations. Has it been a while since you’ve been in touch? Rekindle the relationship. Share your goals and MBA plans.


  • Take stock of your competitiveness in the applicant pools for the schools you are considering. Do you have significant weaknesses? Take steps to mitigate weaknesses and explain areas in your background that may be confusing to admissions committees.
  • Take the GMAT.
  • Finalize your list of target schools and plan your timeline for which schools you will apply to in which round.


  • Ask for recommendations from people you know well and trust. Be sure to give your recommenders plenty of time and the information they need to create a strong and specific recommendation. Agree on a timeline.
  • Draft essays for the schools you are considering.


  • Participate in a Forté Forum in a city near you.
  • Collect supporting documents (transcripts, etc.)
  • Ask colleagues and friends who know you well to review your essays and provide feedback.


  • Visit your top choice schools to better understand the community, culture, and expectations of students.
  • Finalize your essays.


  • Submit your application! Submit at least several days before the application deadline in case you run into any unexpected issues or delays.
  • Prepare for an interview opportunity. Reflect on your team experiences, leadership experiences, goals and background. What makes you impressive, unique and relevant?


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