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Betsy Massar, founder of Master Admissions, a Harvard MBA from the 1980′s, spent years in the investment banking and financial markets industry before deciding to help prospective MBA students master the admissions process through consulting.

Her philosophy with her consultants is simple: plan in advance.

“Applying to business school has so many different moving parts,” said Massar, advising students to give the business school decision its proper due. “There’s a lot of different pieces; there’s a lot going on and it should not a small decision.”

Here are her three tips on weighing the decision to earn a MBA in business school:

  1. Get the GMAT/GRE out of the way. “There’s a scientific correlation between the amount of time you study, and the length of time over which you study,” said Massar. “Students that study for shorter periods of time but over a longer period perform better.” Massar admits she wasn’t a natural test taker and she personally studied for the GMAT for two years.

    “It was about finding a way to teach my brain,” said Massar. “Know how you learn.”

  2. Take inventory. Massar suggests for people that don’t have a strong undergraduate GPA, take some classes and create an alternate transcript.

    “People should do the real work,” said Massar. “Raise the C’s to A’s.” Massar added that many of her clients felt more confident in quantitative areas and more prepared for business school after re-taking courses.

  3. Allow time. Reaching out to admissions offices, alumni of the school you’re interested in, asking for letters of recommendation – all this takes a long time. Understand that people are busy and it may take a long time, but stick with it.

Related: More MBA Admissions Tips | Schools: Online MBA Profiles | Guide: Getting Started With Your MBA | Database: Search Top Online MBA Programs | Research: MBA Concentrations | Video: One Minute MBA

–Alanna Stage, @AlannaTweets