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Obtaining an MBA degree is one of the most transformative experiences that a businessperson can undertake. Many articles are written that tout the value of this degree, with current MBA students and alums reflecting on the beneficial impact business school has had on both their professional and personal lives and all of the good reasons one should pursue an MBA. But is this degree for everyone?
I currently work at a top business school and am therefore able to keep my finger right on the pulse of b-school trends. Earlier this week, I had a discussion with our Director of Admissions about the GRE. It seems that over the past several years, there has been a subtle migration away from GMAT exclusivity among the top b-schools for several reasons.
In many of the great business school application essays, candidates who are able to leverage creative writing tactics as the baseline for their essay responses create breakthrough essays. Now business school essays should remain polished and professional, but breakthrough essays tend to create a compelling and visual portrait of the situation and circumstances addressed with a response to an essay prompt.
Before you start, take a look at Part I of this series.
When reapplying, one of the most valuable things you can utilize is feedback on why you didn’t make the cut last time. Some schools will actually provide this information if you ask for it, so don’t be shy about reaching back to them. If you are applying to a school in the top 10, you may not be able to get specifics from the admissions teams on why you didn’t get in due simply to the number of applications they receive, but you can still seek this information from outside sources by confiding in a colleague or contact who has their MBA or perhaps some insight into the process.
So, you got dinged last year from your dream school(s) and instead of settling for your second or third choice (or fourth or fifth as may be the case), you have decided to hold fast to your MBA dream and re-apply to the same school(s) again this year. Recognizing you are likely scarred, but smarter, there are still a few things you should know before diving in.
Applying to business school is one of the most involved application processes in graduate education. Other programs focus on standardized tests, or your academic record and others your professional accomplishments but business schools evaluate all aspects of a candidate’s profile. With so much on the table for evaluation it can be easy for an applicant to come up short in one or more different areas.
Application season at the Kellogg School of Management is officially underway with the release of the school’s 2015-2016 essay questions. Let’s discuss from a high level some early thoughts on how best to approach these new essay prompts.
Application season at MIT Sloan is officially underway with the release of the school’s 2015-2016 essay question. Let’s discuss from a high level some early thoughts on how best to approach these new essay prompts.
There is only one essay question for MIT Sloan so it is critical that applicants make the most of the limited real estate available here.
Application season at Harvard Business School is officially underway with the release of the school’s 2015-2016 essay questions. Let’s discuss from a high level some early thoughts on how best to approach these new essay prompts.
There is only one essay question for HBS so it is critical that applicants make the most of the limited real estate available here.
Lots of folks ask about quitting their jobs when applying to business school. I understand the desire to do so, since there are many reasons people take off from work, including taking some time off for travel, pursuing something new professionally, and preparing for the GMAT or other academic endeavors to get you ready for the b-school plunge. Whether or not this will affect how the admissions committees look at your application depends on many factors, the most important of which are what specifically you are doing and why you are doing it.
Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business recently released its application deadlines and essays for the Class of 2018. Tuck stuck with two required essays this year, and the questions are substantially the same, although both of them have been reworded a bit for this year’s application. These small changes suggest that the Tuck admissions team was mostly happy with the responses they saw from last year’s applicant pool.
Application season at Columbia Business School is officially underway with the release of the school’s 2015-2016 essay questions. Let’s discuss from a high level some early thoughts on how best to approach these new essay prompts.
The Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago recently released its MBA application deadlines and essay for the Class of 2018. After years of whittling down its essay count to just one single essay last year, Booth returns with one essay this year, although it’s a new one. Booth has always been one of the pioneers in using unusual essay prompts, and it’s good to see that continue. The way they go about it this year is a little different (and perhaps not ideal), but we dig into that in much more detail below.
The Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley recently published its MBA admissions deadlines and essays for the coming application season. After chopping away at its essay count in the recent past, Haas has held steady this year, keeping the required essay count at three. But, interestingly, the school has made some changes that make this year’s application look more like the application that Haas used two years ago. We’ll dig in and tell you everything you need to know below.
This is a question we get every year, as candidates walk away from their GMAT test date wide-eyed and shocked that their score came in 50 points under all their practice exams.
You will surely hear over and over, that the GMAT is only a portion of your application, albeit a fairly important one. We have seen firsthand that top schools are not always lenient on incoming scores because the average GMAT has a big impact on the schools’ rankings and they can’t afford to slip from the coveted top 10 or 20 slots they so desperately try to hold. Even lower tiered schools are beginning to see their GMAT scores climb, and every school likes to see their average score go up each year. Last year, Stanford’s average topped 729!
Essays are one of the most important aspects of the MBA application process. They are also one of the most challenging for many applicants to excel at. The essays are a critical opportunity for candidates to distinguish themselves from the hordes of similar applicants in the process. Admissions committees are looking for a surprisingly small list of things in these essays and executing on these elements is a step in the right direction for breakthrough candidates.
Networking your way into business school can be a tricky road. Recognize that in the corporate world, it’s all about who you know. When it comes to acceptance into an academic program, there are some dos and don’ts. If you are friendly with the Dean, it is certainly fine to meet with them to explore what they think are good qualities to highlight, what they see as desirable traits for successful applicants, etc., but I would stop way short of asking for a favor specifically regarding your admission.
Management consulting is one of the most revered, sought-after, and difficult to crack industries in the world. Prestigious firms like Bain & Co, McKinsey, and the Boston Consulting Group commonly rank at the top of many Vault employer lists of top companies to work for.
Candidates applying to business school and entering students alike have made management consulting one of the most popular post-MBA industries. At top schools like Kellogg, Wharton, and Booth, upwards of 40% of the graduating class have been known to join the ranks of the consulting elite in a given year. With numbers this high why do students still continually gravitate to this mysterious industry in droves? The answer is as multi-faceted as the industry itself.
The Kellogg School of Management recently released its essay questions and deadlines for the 2015-2016 admissions season. After doing a lot of essay trimming over the past several years, Kellogg has decided to stay the course this year and stick with two required written essays. However, the essay prompts are new this year. And, the school’s “video essay” remains. Kellogg has a decent FAQ for its video essay on its website.
One of the most anxious days for many candidates is the release of applications for their target schools. Candidates nervously obsess over all aspects of what to expect from a school’s yearly changes in the application process. So when the new applications are released it is an exciting day and signals the official start of a school’s application season.
Pursuing an MBA can be one of the toughest decisions a young professional has to make, some rush the decision and realize they are not quite ready for showtime come application season or even worse during their time in b-school.
Self-assessment is the key when it comes to making this decision.
MIT Sloan recently released its admissions essay and deadlines for the Class of 2018. While hardly any top business schools have cut essays this year (after several years of doing so), Sloan actually did cut an essay, going down to just one required essay this year. But, here’s a twist: The Sloan admissions team has added a second essay just for those who are invited to interview. So, you’re still going to need to write two strong essays to get into Sloan, and we break down the essay prompts below.
“I want to go to HBS…” I want to go to Stanford…” “I want to go to Wharton…” These are the cries of MBA candidates around the world when contemplating what business schools they want to attend. But these venerable institutions and others like them can’t possibly accept all interested students for a variety of reasons that include space, qualifications, and fit. Every year many students are forced to reevaluate their target school list.
Over the past five years or so, more business schools have been jumping on the GRE bandwagon by accepting either a GMAT or a GRE score. The percentage of candidates to top MBA programs who apply with only a GRE score is growing, but it’s still very small — less than 5% at most schools.
This leads many candidates to wonder how applying with a GRE score may be viewed by MBA admissions committees.
So you’ve decided to try the presentation for the Booth MBA application. Now what?
A simple question accompanied by a blank canvas to start with can be daunting. It helps to have a structured process in place to put your ideas together, while still leaving plenty of room for creativity. When I work with my clients, I take them through a very simple process to help them think about the content for the pages that will ultimately answer the question “Who are you?”
One of the more commonly overlooked aspects by candidates during the school selection process is teaching methods at their target schools. Given that business school is in fact “school” and students spend a lot of time in the classroom, this area should warrant a lot more attention.
Teaching methods at certain schools like Harvard Business School and UVA’s Darden School, where the case method dominates, are core to the entire MBA experience for students, so it is important to know what you may be opting into. Most schools do not take as homogenous of an approach to teaching methods as these programs, so expect more of a mix from the majority of other schools.
As with most things in life, preparation is key. The more time you have to prepare for something the better the result tends to be. Applying to business school is no different. The majority of candidates will wait to the last month before the deadlines to begin preparing to complete their applications.
Selecting the right schools for you can appear to be a simple and straightforward task. Pick among the top ranked schools and choose 4, 5 or 6. Add some online research, maybe attend an information session and you think you might have enough material to convincingly explain why school X is a great fit for your career goals.
So you’ve finally made it on-campus and after all of those strenuous and nerve-wracking months applying to the MBA program of your dreams it’s time for you to kick up your feet and enjoy the two-year vacation that is business school. Since grades don’t matter you have nothing to worry about, right?
Application season begins in earnest after each year’s applications are processed, and admissions offers are made and filled. While schools continue to tweak their student body starting in the fall, filling gaps and chasing yield, for the most part, by early summer, they are busy getting ready to launch the next season’s application information. Generally, most schools release their applications in July, so until the new admissions essay questions are announced and any changes in application instructions are rolled out, applicants often find themselves playing the waiting game.
So you want to go to business school? Unlike many other graduate level degrees business schools scrutinize applicants across a wide array of criteria. Scoring high on an exam or even applying with a high GPA will not guarantee an applicant admission. The assessment process can be very complicated and involved and often leaves applicants confused when trying to determine how best to position their candidacy for target programs. Admissions teams will assess candidates across seven areas using data from within these categories to create a holistic perspective of an applicant. The seven key assessment areas are listed below:
Stanford GSB has released its MBA application essays and deadlines for the 2015-2016 admissions season. After making some pretty significant changes to the essay prompts last year, the Stanford admissions team has only made one minor word count tweak (actually adding 50 words!) this year. As a result, our advice mostly remains the same. Keep reading to see Stanford’s relatively unique questions, and how we recommend that you go about answering them.
So you finally got those pesky business school applications out of the way and after a few weeks of waiting, you receive the great news that you’ve been invited to interview with your dream school. Now, on the prep side you have it all together, you are ready to ace your interview but with one not so minor question. What to wear!
The first year on campus at business school can be a very challenging time for many students. For some, this brings about a new city, new friends, and a return to the classroom after years away. There is very little that can prepare many students for all of this change. Who else could understand what a 1st year student is going through in this very specific circumstance? 2nd year students, that’s who! The proverbial upper classmen of the business school world are a 1st year student’s best bet on navigating life as an MBA.
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.