From Sharon Barrett, Director of Working Professional and Executive MBA Admissions

Update 5/18/16: The May 17th final deadline has lapsed but the application remains open for the programs below through June on a space-available basis. The information below still applies to this application cycle, until closed.

Hopefully you’re reading this before May 17th, the final application deadline for the Texas MBA’s Executive, Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth programs. I get so many frantic calls from people who, around this time of year, are finally getting around to making an MBA a part of their reality. And while applying to an MBA program should not be treated in any way like an impulse purchase – here are some ways to put together a solid application, even if it is late in the cycle. Start or submit today!

Spend 10 minutes reviewing requirements. You’ll need to have your ducks in a row to pull together an MBA application quickly. This means reviewing everything the committee needs to evaluate your candidacy. We happen to have a simple outline of our process online:

Texas Executive MBA

Texas MBA at Houston

Texas MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth

Order transcripts TODAY. Request official transcripts for all of your undergrad and graduate coursework undertaken at colleges or universities (junior and community colleges aren’t necessary) and have them sent directly to you. You’ll scan and upload these in your MBA application – yes, you can break the seal if there is one. Hold on to these after you apply because if you’re offered admission and intend to enroll, the UT Austin Graduate and International Admissions Center will need to validate these originals.

Select your recommender TODAY, be choosy, and launch the notification. The Texas MBA application requires one recommendation, so make sure it’s someone who can speak to your professional character. Usually a current or recent manager provides the best content in a recommendation. The recommendation section of the application should be the first section you complete because notifications are launched as soon as you save the information.

If you’re taking an exam, start prepping TODAY. Please note the Texas Executive MBA accepts expired scores, as well as the option to petition to waive the exam. The Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth programs require a valid GMAT or GRE  taken within the last five years. According to the test creators, 200 hours are recommended to adequately prepare, and preparation should be done in an environment as similar to the actual testing environment as possible (i.e. no TV, coffee shops, distractions). You can submit the application with the score components you receive on the day of the test, and we’ll sync that up with official scores before making a final decision on your file.

Avoid pitfalls of last-minute essays. This is the one part of the submitted application where the committee hears your voice. Especially if you’re late in the cycle and haven’t interacted with the program through admissions events, the essays give us personal insight into your candidacy and what type of classmate you’ll be for all the students currently enrolled. This is the one aspect of your application that you have total control over, so please give it the time, attention and authenticity it deserves.

Don’t worry, there is and will be room in the class. If you’re thinking you’ve missed the boat for 2016, think again. We purposefully do not maximize facility capacity for a couple of reasons: McCombs prefers intimate cohorts of around 65-75 students and we allow for open seats so that prospective students can visit classes. In addition, there’s always a circumstance that prevents a few incoming students from enrolling (i.e. a new baby, job change, relocation), which opens up seats for other candidates. All of these factors give the committee the flexibility to consider candidates all the way up to the final deadline and in some instances, beyond.

The committee realizes that applicants for working professional and executive MBA programs, by nature, procrastinate during the MBA application process. We fully understand and expect that your professional life is a priority, otherwise why would you be seeking an MBA in the first place? Hopefully these tips give you the confidence you need to move forward and submit a quality application in the final round. We look forward to receiving your application in the near future!