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Concerned about the time you will be spending on your MBA application essays? Although the time business school candidates take to write their applications varies greatly depending on ability, work efficiency, and other factors, in general an applicant should plan on spending 40 to 60 hours working on a collection of four to eight applications.
This time will cover the writing, revising, editing, proofing, and formatting of the essays. As a note, for someone currently immersed in writing as a part of his or her career, the amount of time will most likely be less than someone whose sole job is to work with excel. Non-native English speakers will also need to plan on spending more time on their applications.
In addition to the essays on the application, applications will need to set aside the time to prep recommenders and continue with the other activities that enhance their candidacy. In case you forgot, a candidate will also need to spend time preparing for the GMAT. We normally recommend 2-3 months of prep, although this time will vary based on the individual.
The Best Ways to Structure Your Work Sessions
Different candidates do their best work in distinctive ways. Some applicants are most efficient when they can break up tasks into manageable pieces, while others work best in long uninterrupted periods. Applicants should be aware of the way they work the most effectively and efficiently and structure their time accordingly.
I recommend to most of my clients that they allocate two to three hours each time they sit down to work on their essays. In my opinion, shorter sessions do not allow enough time for people to get into a “writing mode”. Essays should be handled in a holistic manner, particularly in the first two drafts. You should not believe that you will have a strong application if you only spend a few minutes here and there on your essays. Essays composed in pieces often read as disjointed, unpolished tracts.
I believe that most applicants should also avoid the long, uninterrupted marathon sessions. It is the rare individual who is as sharp or creative eight hours into a writing and editing session as he was at the beginning. If you limited in time, you can try breaking it up with a session in the morning and another in the evening.
For more robust guidance on your MBA application essays, check out the Stacy Blackman Consulting Essay Guide Series – school specific guides with essay tips, sample essays, information on what your target schools value and more.