MBA applicants, start your engines. A handful of the top U.S. business schools have already released their application essays and admissions deadlines, it’s that time of year when we start digging into them for you. Today, we’re going to start with the business school with the biggest name and the earliest Round 1 deadline: Harvard Business School.
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The National Black MBA Conference (NBMBAA), or as it’s better known “National Black,” is a yearly conference and expo, held every September in a different city, that targets past, current, and future black MBAs. This September, the conference will take place in Orlando, FL. It is the preeminent national event for black MBAs, but in recent years the attendance at the event has become even more diverse with students from all backgrounds attending the event to take advantage of all the offerings.
Hiring an admissions consultant is a great way to make sure you produce the best possible business school application possible, leveraging the inside knowledge and experience from someone who has been through the process successfully many, many times. Yet, working with an expert does not mean that you can take a back seat and put things on cruise control.
After months of anticipation you’ve finally arrived on-campus to begin your 1st year of business school. As the anticipation starts to subside and you’re excitement levels return to normal, it’s time to turn your attention towards recruiting. Many 1st year MBAs are anxious to get this part of the business school experience kicked off as soon as possible. For their benefit most schools have in place restrictions that delay contact with recruiters for 1st year MBAs.
Coffee chats are one of the best ways to stand out during the on-campus recruiting process. Your ability to connect one on one with an employee at your dream company is a great way to earn kudos with your target employer. However, many other aspects of the recruiting process are covered in great detail elsewhere, but for some reason coffee chats don’t get the same level of attention.
One of the great aspects of the MBA recruiting experiences is the 360-degree approach many employers utilize to get to know candidates. Recruiting events like the 1st year presentation and interview tend to get more attention from interested candidates, but coffee chats are also an important way for recruits and recruiters to learn about each other.
This is a common question we get as head consultants. At what point is your GMAT good enough that you can move to the next stage? If you read my previous post on timelines and milestones, I recommend getting the GMAT out of the way first as it serves to guide your school selection, and, frankly, is pretty stressful – having to take the GMAT close to a school deadline will only add to that stress.
One of the most important portions of a business school interview (or any interview really) is the time they give you, usually at the end, to ask any questions you may have. Of course you should be prepared by then with thoughtful queries about the program, including specifics on specialty academic areas of interest (think: healthcare or energy tracks, etc.), activities and clubs, ratings, rankings, professors, etc., but in order to differentiate yourself and avoid asking the same exact questions everyone else does, it makes sense to tilt these questions towards your personal needs.
As we are putting final touches on R3 applications, it is already time to start thinking about the next application cycle for many of you. This is especially true if you want to apply in R1. Deadlines that seem distant always have a way to sneak up on those who are unprepared. To help you in the planning process, we thought it would be useful to outline what a well thought-out timeline for a successful business school application might look like. This is written for the average applicant; some might be able to pull it off in a much shorter period (not recommended), others, such as non-traditional applicants, might need a lot more time.
Management consulting is one of the most popular career tracks for enterprising MBA students. In fact at some top feeder schools, this career track can represent upwards of 40% of accepted job offers. Consulting recruiting in business school is one of the most competitive and hotly contested industries for summer internships. Firms tend to only test drive a fraction of their full time hires during summer internship programs, so limited spots exist for 1st year students.
You’ve survived the 1st year of business school – congrats! Memories of those challenging core classes, long nights preparing for case interviews and student led conference feel distant in your mind. You didn’t think you would make it through that summer internship from hell but you managed and now return to campus with an offer in hand and your entire 2nd year in front of you.
You survived the perilous and anxiety ridden seven-month journey that is internship recruiting. After enjoying a few months of post-recruiting relaxation it’s time to wrap up your 1st year of business school and start your internship. Many students think once they receive their summer internship offer the hard part is over. That could not be further from the truth. Securing a full time job offer after your summer internship can be just as difficult as it was to initially get your internship offer.
Finding out you got rejected from your dream school often raises interesting questions. Should you settle for your second or third choice, or should you hold fast to your MBA dream and re-apply to the same school(s) again next season? High achievers often try to go for their target school again. Recognizing you are likely more knowledgeable about the process by now, there are still a few things you should know before diving in with a reapplication.
Leadership skills are one of the top skills students hope to develop while in business school. However, what few students consider is how they will develop these very important skills. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t just gain leadership skills by showing up to campus on your first day of business school. Focusing on a few key areas during your business school experience will allow you to reach your goals as a future business leader.
Teamwork skills are a crucial element of conducting modern business today, and business schools are increasingly placing a major emphasis on identifying applicants with these skills. Although this skill can be an area of development for an applicant prior to starting business school, it is important to highlight past examples of teamwork in order to stand out from the masses.
A key reason why many applicants decide to pursue an MBA is the tremendous network available from some of the world’s top programs. Networking opportunities that exist with current students, and in particular the thousands of alums working at top companies around the world, represent a strong incentive for many to pursue an MBA. Once on campus, it can often take a little bit of legwork to put your alumni network to work for you.
MBA programs are often seen as a place where the world’s top young business professionals go to finish their academic training in subjects like finance, marketing, and operations. However, business school is not only for the young; many more seasoned students can extract a tremendous amount of value from the experience. The approach for every applicant should be unique, but this is even more so the case for older applicants.
Choosing which type of MBA program to apply to is a big decision. There are a variety of options available for candidates who are interested in pursuing a graduate education in business. One common set of choices comes down to pursuing a full-time MBA vs. an Executive MBA. Both programs offer different things and cater to different audiences so it is important to enter this decision with all of the information.
Of all the power grad degrees (law school, medical school, etc.) business school tends to put the biggest focus on analytical skills. These skills tend to be focused on numbers, and in particular the ability to manipulate and make numbers tell a story. The MBA has historically been known to place a high percentage of graduates in analytical careers like finance and consulting, operating as a feeder system for these industries.
Most MBA programs offer multiple options for business students to pursue a graduate education in business. For many people, the full-time, all-encompassing two-year commitment does not fit into current personal and professional realities. If you are interested in pursuing an MBA, one of the most efficient ways to balance out your professional career goals with the realities of life can be to pursue admission at a part-time program.
The most common apprehension many candidates have during the application process concerns the GMAT. For many applicants the GMAT can be a serious roadblock to reaching their dreams of admission to their target programs. It can be downright confusing to determine if you can stop taking the GMAT and move on to other equally important aspects of the application process. Of course the highest score possible is what most candidates strive for but with considerations like time and resources, decisions have to be made. Now there is no real science behind determining if your GMAT is high enough but there are a few considerations when making the final decision.
Congratulations! You have received an interview invitation at the school of your dreams. You’ve conducted tons of research to prepare yourself for the big day. You know the ins and outs of the school’s academic programs, have a good handle of the recruiting advantages, and even have a comprehensive list of the top extra-curricular activities you’d like to lead. Interview day comes and you’ve breezed through all of the questions…except one, “What questions do you have?” The complexity of this very simple question is a common source of anxiety for many applicants.
There are plenty of applicants who either had to put off applying to b-school because they were too busy, or perhaps didn’t decide to apply until later in the season, but with only one more round left in this year’s application season, you simply can’t decide whether you should apply now or wait until the fall.
So you’ve narrowed down your list of target schools and now it’s time to get real. You’ve made the decision to apply to the school of your dreams but you’re worried that your low GPA may prevent you from real consideration. Many candidates feel as though there is nothing they can do about their GPA since they have already graduated from college. They believe that their dream school will remain just that, a dream.
Most MBA programs have three rounds for candidates to apply for a reason. Admissions teams take round 3 very seriously and admit candidates from this pool every year. Let’s start by understanding how admissions committees utilize round 3. Admissions teams primarily use this round to balance out their class to create the right mix for the entering crop of students. Candidates from underrepresented groups in particular can help fill holes within admitted class pools for schools. Keep in mind by this point admissions has a very solid wait list with a lot of top admits already locked in so the onus is on the candidate to make a compelling case for admission.
You’ve invested months of prep and countless hours of hard work into your business school applications. You’re optimistic, but when the decision comes in you are left wondering why you have you been denied from your dream school. So why were you dinged after all of your hard work? Here are five reasons that may shed some light on why you did not make the cut.
The most challenging part of the Booth application for many is simply getting started. Should you write an essay? Or should you build a PowerPoint presentation? If you write an essay, what do you write about? How long should it be? If you build a presentation, where do you even begin?
First it was the GMAT, then it was the essays and finally the interviews and after months and months of hard work you’ve received admission to the school of your dreams. Now what do you do? I’m sure you thought the hard part was done, but not so fast, there are a few things you should do once school decisions start flowing in.
Round 2 deadlines are closing in and you do not feel ready. Your GMAT score may not be where you had hoped. Your essays feel rushed and not like an accurate representation of your story. But what do you do? Of course you want to apply by round 2 like the majority of MBA applicants, but you know doing so will put you at a disadvantage. The consensus is that the prime application periods are round 1 and round 2. You have had it in your head that you were applying this year though. So what do you do? Should you really consider applying in round 3?
I’m biased, but the Booth application is my favorite out of all of them. I love the question – it’s simple, but not easy, and it forces applicants to do something that all of us should at some point in our lives: introspect. The possibilities are endless. The question not only challenges each applicant, but provides them with a great opportunity to stand out if answered well.
The first year in business school is an often overwhelming time for most students There is so much that is new about this setting from what most admits have ever experienced. The biggest challenge most students suffer from is FOMO. What is FOMO you ask? It stands for Fear Of Missing Out and when you consider all of the social, academic, professional, and cultural options students are tempted with during year one of business school the phrase makes a lot of sense.
Location, location, location! We’re not talking about beachfront property here. We are talking about the location of your target business school and why it should matter to you. What may seem as an innocuous aspect of a school to some, location can play a pretty big part in a candidate’s overall experience in business school and the perception of value of their MBA afterwards.
Many students enter business school with plans to make major career transitions post-MBA. Traditional recruiting can do a lot to help students career switch into target industries, but many recruiters remain focused on specific functional experience. For students that are making bigger career changes, creating an alternative resume is a great option to increase your competiveness in tough industries.
An MBA can open tons of doors for students who are looking to break into careers they never thought possible. The opportunities, the networking, and the access can offer unparalleled career choices to budding MBAs in some of the most exclusive industries in the world. Many applicants struggle to find the balance in deciding which careers they think they should list in their application as opposed to those they truly wish to pursue.
You’ve taken the GMAT, polished up your essays, and secured that final recommendation and finally submitted what you thought was the perfect application. Unfortunately when decision day came around you did not receive that highly coveted “ADMITTED” message or even the dreaded “DENIED” message. So did the admissions team forget to give you a decision? No, you are in the b-school applicant’s version of purgatory, you’ve been WAITLISTED.