Five New Year’s Resolutions to Improve Your MBA Candidacy

As we welcome 2016, most of us will also welcome a new list of hopes, plans, or goals for the year ahead. For you, that could mean a highly anticipated admissions decision from the MBA program that topped your list, or it could mean the early stages of the MBA application. Wherever you are in the process, these five resolutions will help improve your candidacy now and well into your MBA journey.

1. Focus on skill building. Even before applying for an MBA program, challenge yourself to analyze business problems you face in the workplace, integrate these problems into plans of action, and communicate problems and solutions effectively. The right MBA program will help you master these skills, but training yourself to think strategically early on can enhance your resume and capabilities as an MBA student. At BC, MBAs are introduced to Structure, Analysis, and Integration, and are taught to think as business leaders as early as orientation.

2. Revisit your quantitative skills. If your undergraduate coursework was light on math, or a number of years have passed since you last used quantitative skills, brush up on the concepts you’ll see throughout your MBA curriculum, such as finance and statistics. And by dedicating more time to the quant sections of GMAT practice tests or enrolling in prep courses, you’ll be in a better position as you apply for, and begin, your MBA program.

3. Network. A huge part of your success in any MBA program will depend on your ability to network effectively with community members, alumni, business leaders, and more. To gain confidence in networking settings and to form a foundation of contacts to build from, make a conscious effort to network whenever and wherever possible—at your spouse’s office party, at your town’s next board meeting, or on your upcoming business trip.

4. Schedule meetings with your supervisor. Although admissions requirements vary across programs, most require at least one letter of recommendation from an individual who can attest to your capacity for rigorous graduate study and potential for leadership. (See requirements for the BC MBA here.) For most applicants, this means a reference from an immediate supervisor. Through weekly, or even monthly, meetings with your supervisor, you can build the kind of rapport that leads to thoughtful and powerful recommendations. If you’re considering a part-time MBA program, these meetings can establish a flow of communication between you and your supervisor that will continue to be helpful once you’re enrolled.

5. Get involved. Involvement in your community or organizations can improve your MBA candidacy across the board—by strengthening your resume, building your network, demonstrating time management, and highlighting the responsibilities you’ve developed over time. If you’re already involved in a number of organizations, make it your goal to deepen your involvement in one and strive for a new leadership role.