MBA - Application Process

How to Best Position Yourself for B-School

Haley-Whitlock-GyoryMaybe you’ve been thinking about business school for a while, or maybe you are just starting to consider it. Regardless of where you are in the process, here are some ways you make sure you are prepared to put your best foot forward in the application process.

Do your research.

Before you apply to schools, do as much research as you can to make sure you end up applying to the schools that are right for you and your goals. Learn about the community, the academics and the career support.

Most programs have alumni and student ambassadors who are happy to answer your questions – use them to get an insider’s perspective!

Do the offerings match up with what you are looking for in a business school? When you are applying for admission, it can sometimes be hard to remember that fit is a two-way street — and you feeling like the school is a good fit for you is just as important as the school deciding that you are a good fit for it.

Take the time to visit.

In addition to doing your research, a great way to get to know a school better is to visit. Spend some time on campus (or Grounds, for us Virginians), visit a class or go to lunch with some students. Visiting shows that you are committed to getting to know a school, and also gives you an even better idea of where you might find your ‘fit.’

For example, Darden classes are taught through the case study method, which many people initially think seems intimidating. But after sitting in on a class, most applicants see the case method as empowering. And it’s the in-person visit that made all the difference.

Have a mentor (or two, or three).

Mentors can play a huge role in preparing for business school. A mentor is someone who can help you lay out your plans for business school and your career goals. And when application season comes around, you can prepare by doing mock interviews with them and hearing about their experiences going through the same thing.

The only way to get better at something is to practice, and a mentor can help you run through everything until you’ve got it down.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be on the right track to submit your best application to a business school where you feel motivated and inspired.


Haley Whitlock Gyory is Director of Admissions at the Darden School of Business. She enjoys serving as Darden’s liaison to the Forté Foundation and leading the evaluation team. She formerly worked in undergraduate admissions at the University of Virginia and Georgetown University, as well as in career services at the University of Virginia. She holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Virginia and a M.Ed. in College Student Personnel from the University of Maryland.

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