I spent 13 years preparing for and trying to get into the the MBA program at the Harvard Business School. I may very well be their most well-known reject, but that’s neither here nor there. The point is that when I was finally convinced I should pursue a doctoral degree instead, I had to review my plans. Was I still set on going to HBS, or would I consider other schools, and if so, which? Who would write my recommendation letters? How did I know if I would like doing research? Should I retake the GMAT? What would my focus of study be? What did I need to get in order in my life prior to going, or even applying, such as finances, my business, etc.?
My wife and I decided our goal would be for me to apply Fall of 2011, meaning I would start classes mid-2012. But what exactly was the plan going to be between now and then? Of course as soon as you mention the word “plan” the next word should be “spreadsheet” so yes, I have a spreadsheet. These are the items on that spreadsheet in order of what needs to happen first, although many items overlap.
- Create debt payoff plan (business debt, in case you haven’t been following this blog for the past few years, no, I don’t have a bunch of expensive cars and flat screens I racked up the credit cards to get)
- Choose area(s) of study
- Contact BYU/U of U professors about doing research
- Download 2010 applications and review application process for top schools
- Start doing research
- Study for GMAT
- Take GMAT
- Pay off debt, start saving up
- Complete and submit applications
- Sell business(es) or have rock-solid arrangements for other people to run it/them
- Wrap up volunteer activities in the community
- Leave for school
There are all sorts of sub-items and supporting tasks I’ve removed, so this is just a simplified overview. Most of the posts I’ll be making during the next year will fit into one or more of these to-do items.
Now, what if I’m not ready a year from now? No biggie, we’ll just work on getting ready for the next year. The two largest issues are finances, and my business, which I’m currently quite involved in. But on both counts, things seem to be moving in the right direction to facilitate the plan.Liked it? Share it!
Trying not to be offended that #3 doesn’t include UVU. Not like you know anybody there or anything…
Are you thinking PhD in straight-up business? Emphasis in IS? Entrepreneurship?
Happy to help you in any capacity that I can.
Well, I’ve decided to apply to 10 schools, and UVU was my 11th pick, so it just barely missed being in the running 🙂
Stay tuned, I’ll have a post dedicated to choosing my area of study, maybe tomorrow. I can tell you this–I won’t be focusing on accounting, finance, or economics.
Ahh. I thought you were just picking brains at the U and BYU. I didn’t realize you were applying there.
If your discipline is something out of left field, I’m going to guess something cool like a phd in instructional psychology and technology. That is pretty random.
Oh, gotcha, no, I misunderstood you. I thought you were asking why I wasn’t applying to a PhD program at UVU. No, I won’t be applying to either BYU (they don’t have a business PhD program) nor the U of U. But it does look like I will probably only do research with professors from BYU, merely because that’s where I actually know people, and the results there have been positive enough that I don’t need to go up to the U of U. That could change in the future, but that’s how things are looking right now.