According to the Graduate Management Admissions Council, most prospective MBAs spend a year to eighteen months on the application process. Of course this varies. I’ve met people whose MBAs were last minute decisions 3 months before the course. I’ve also met people who have worked on getting ready for business school for ages. Having selected a school, or opted not to take a standardised test will make the process much shorter.
The process starts with initial research. Here you get an overview of the whole admissions process. This will will help guide the next stages. Be aware that the stages often overlap, and may follow a different order. Everyone’s application process will be different. Here’s a general outline of the process:
Ideally, you need 100-120 hours of GMAT prep to get your best score. Try to build momentum without stopping and starting. I found 4 months worked well, but everyone is different.
Try to get your application in, in round one or two to give your application the best chance. This will also increase your chances of getting scholarships.
You can use this general outline to make your own MBA timeline.