IF you want to be a successful MBA candidate, then you should make sure that the people who run the course know you even before you send in your application. When your CV drops on the doorman, that shouldn’t be the first time it has heard from you.

Most schools have online application forms, but you can aid your process by putting in “face time” first. Where possible, visit the school, talk to admissions advisers, meet some students and arrange to sit in on a lecture. This will help you decide whether it’s a suitable learning environment for you – which is pretty essential anyway – but it will also show that you are proactive and interested when it comes to the interview.

If you can’t visit the school, speak to alumni – schools themselves or AMBA (the Association of MBAs) can put you in touch – and attend the seminars, dinners and other events the schools organise.

Then there are the MBA fairs, which are no longer just about schools selling themselves to candidates – they are networking events where candidates can make sure they loom large on an admissions tutor’s radar.

Some fairs will arrange one-on-one meetings with school representatives in advance. Go along with good questions and well-informed discussion points prepared.