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How to Build Strong Relationships with Your Recommenders

How to Build Strong Relationships with Your Recommenders

An often overlooked area of the application package is the recommendation letter. Many applicants take this very important component for granted when allocating time spent on their application. The recommendation process in its most optimal scenario should start months if not years in advance of an eventual submission. This is true because the quality of your recommendation like your resume is not earned during the time it takes to type it up but instead in the months and years you spend cultivating the experiences within the document.

How to Write Breakthrough Application Essays for Kellogg

How to Write Breakthrough Application Essays for Kellogg

The Kellogg School of Management has always been known to be as innovative in the design of their unique academic community as they have been in the construction of their application. This year is no different as the school returns for the 2014-2015 application season with a stark departure from last year’s set of essays. Kellogg’s change has resulted in the school having some of the most introspective essay topics amongst top business schools. A school like Kellogg that has such a clear sense of the type of candidates they are looking for is looking for candidates to really open up in these essays.

How to Prepare for Your Business School Interview

How to Prepare for Your Business School Interview

For many applicants the notification of an interview invite from your dream school is an exciting next step after an arduous application process. All of your hard work has finally boiled down to some initial success. However, typically the excitement soon turns to anxiety as candidates begin to realize they have no idea how to prepare for an admissions interview for business school. “Is it just like a regular job interview?” “What type of questions do they ask?” are just some of the common initial questions that can arise once an interview invitation is received.

3 Ways to Make Your MBA Application Essays More Interesting

3 Ways to Make Your MBA Application Essays More Interesting

This essay is about how to make your essays for admission to graduate school in business more interesting. Oh wait, that opener didn’t catch your attention? Well that is exactly what admissions officers think when they read the majority of business school essays.

Admissions officers read thousands and thousands of essays a year and for lack of a better term the majority are boring. Now the term boring in a vacuum may not be perceived as necessarily a bad thing, when considering these essays are in fact for professional school, but the similar feel of most essays can clump most candidates together. With so much competition at top schools around the world it is important for candidates to utilize their essays to stand out from the pack.

7 Must-Have Items for Your Business School Recommenders

7 Must-Have Items for Your Business School Recommenders

A lot of time and effort for candidates is spent on areas like the GMAT, essays, and the resume. However, an equally important component of the MBA application is consistently overlooked. Business school recommendations are an integral part of any successful candidate’s application because they give the only external evaluation of an applicant’s work experience and career progression. This component of the application tends not to get as much focus from prospective MBAs, which can be a grave mistake come decision day. As applications become more detailed and specific, so do recommendation forms so the days of blanket recommendations are long gone.

How Good Is Your GMAT Score, Really?

How Good Is Your GMAT Score, Really?

There was an article in the Wall Street Journal recently about how the GMAT is slowly but authoritatively being dominated by international applicants.  Not only is there an increasing number of international hopefuls taking the test, they are also performing remarkably better than US test-takers.  The numbers are staggering.  Test takers from America, in fact, now only make up about 36% of all GMAT hopefuls, which is down considerably over the past several years.  As a comparison, Asia-Pacific students now make up 44% of total test takers.

Filed in: Business School, GMAT
6 Things to Consider When Making Your List of Target Business Schools

6 Things to Consider When Making Your List of Target Business Schools

You’ve talked to friends, family, and colleagues and made the big decision that you want an MBA. Now, the hard part is determining where you should apply. Some candidates already have their dream school in mind when they begin the application journey and others simply copy and past a list of the top 10 programs. However the majority of applicants have no clue how to get started when it comes to deciding where to apply. Since b-school is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life, the target school selection process should be treated with a similar level of importance.

Filed in: Business School
How to Identify Leadership in Your MBA Applications

How to Identify Leadership in Your MBA Applications

Leadership is the most valued of MBA interpersonal skills. Sure teamwork, maturity and the million other skills admissions committees are looking for you to showcase are all important, but nothing signals MBA like those vaunted leadership skills. Everybody wants to highlight those pesky leadership skills, but does everybody have the ammunition to pull this off? The quick answer is, YES! Whether you know it or not every candidate from the most qualified to the least qualified usually has some leadership examples that can be crafted into a compelling essay.

True or False: Do You Need to Take Calculus Prior to Business School?

True or False: Do You Need to Take Calculus Prior to Business School?

For a good number of years, Calculus was a prerequisite to joining any decent MBA program.  There were several good reasons for this, including the fact that rate of change (computed using Calculus from the first derivative of an equation), is a very useful concept and commonly seen not only in finance coursework, but also in other classes where time is a factor (arguably almost any business concept has some component of time).  But over the years, we have seen an increasing number of schools drop Calculus from the required list (cue the cheering crowd of poets!).

6 Reasons You Need at Least 6 Weeks to Finish Your MBA Applications

6 Reasons You Need at Least 6 Weeks to Finish Your MBA Applications

It’s almost December, and in just a few weeks we will begin hearing from applicants with only a week or two ahead of their deadlines looking for last-minute consulting services.

Often, they’re too late to make significant improvements.  If you haven’t already started on your Round 2 applications, here are 6 reasons why it’s crucial to stop shaking it off to Taylor Swift’s new album and begin working on your applications today:

How Will You Pay for Business School?

How Will You Pay for Business School?

Business school is one of the most lucrative of all graduate degrees in its potential and proven history for embellishing salary.  It’s not just in dollars and cents, either, but manifests itself in sheer employment statistics as well.  During the great recession which started in 2008, for example, the general unemployment rate was almost triple what it was for those holding an MBA degree.  It was also impossible to ignore the continuance of hiring freshly minted MBA graduates throughout this devastating period of economic turmoil.  While the percentage of graduating MBAs with jobs did fall slightly, overall there was a negligible number of MBAs who could not find the job they wanted after graduation.   Of course if you found yourself among these “negligible numbers,” I am sure it felt like you may have made the wrong $100,000 decision.

Understanding the Bloomberg Businessweek Business School Rankings for 2014

Understanding the Bloomberg Businessweek Business School Rankings for 2014

Well, it’s that time of year again…rankings season.  Actually, the mother-ship of b-school rankings, the Bloomberg BusinessWeek rankings, only comes out every two years, but since the last one was in 2012, we find ourselves once again pouring over the latest chips and where they fell this time around.   Of course the usual suspects are all packed into the top 10-15, but there were a few upsets this year, some more surprising than others.  But first, let’s discuss how BusinessWeek ranks these schools in the first place.

Bloomberg Businessweek Business School Rankings for 2014

Bloomberg Businessweek Business School Rankings for 2014

Bloomberg Businessweek has just announced the 2014 edition of its influential biennial MBA rankings, and boy are there changes afoot! Business school rankings are normally only interesting when there are big changes, and the folks at Businessweek did not disappoint this year.

How to Get Started on Your Business School Application Essays

How to Get Started on Your Business School Application Essays

You’ve made the decision to apply to business school and you begin sorting through a virtual pile of applications essay topics. You’ve written essays throughout high school and college, and for some candidates even other graduate programs like law school, but these business school essays are different. The schools seem to want something a bit different from you this time around.

The #1 Avoidable Mistake in MBA Applications

The #1 Avoidable Mistake in MBA Applications

As application deadlines loom ever nearer, the cutting realization that you’re running out of time to submit can set in.  If you find your anxiety level rising, it may be because you have put things off along the way and they are now stacking up on you, causing stress.  Classic procrastination is a dangerous enemy to business school applications in particular, since the assignment is pass/fail.  It’s not like in college, where you would receive a letter grade or score from your efforts.  Maybe you didn’t get that ‘A’ grade you would have liked, but your ‘C’ got you through without much damage.

How to Utilize the Re-Applicant Essay

How to Utilize the Re-Applicant Essay

A year ago you put together what you thought was the perfect application at your dream school and when the smoke cleared things did not quite work out as you expected. So you’re back at it again, a year has past since your last application, and you’re ready for another shot at admissions glory at your dream school. Of course you spent the year wisely improving your profile and now its time to tackle the re-applicant essay, but what should you include?

5 Common Misperceptions About Military Applicants and How to Overcome Them

5 Common Misperceptions About Military Applicants and How to Overcome Them

Military applicants to business school represent a non-traditional applicant pool but nonetheless a demographic that is consistently represented each year in the application process.  That said, it is no secret that many of the gatekeepers at top MBA programs most often have very little real world experience with the military.

What to Expect with the Video MBA Essay Questions

What to Expect with the Video MBA Essay Questions

Written essay questions have been the foundation of MBA applications for as long as we can remember but some leading graduate business schools have introduced a new wrinkle over the last few years. Recent technological advances have made video essays a reality within the admissions process at top b-schools around the world. However, there’s no need to worry, this new addition at schools like Kellogg, Yale and Rotman are not meant to stump you.

Don't Be Redundant and Don't Repeat Yourself in MBA Applications

Don't Be Redundant and Don't Repeat Yourself in MBA Applications

See what I did there?  With the trend towards shorter essays, I have noticed a phenomenon in the applications which I can only describe as “redundancy.”

Shortening the essays has resulted in more questions and even mini-essays or micro-essays within the application itself, where often applicants end up repeating information about themselves that is found elsewhere in the application.

The Best Strategy for Completing Your MBA Applications

The Best Strategy for Completing Your MBA Applications

The stress of any approaching deadline causes some degree of anxiety, but if the task is something of monumental importance such as your application to business school, the anxiety can be downright debilitating.  Managing your schedule in a way which leaves you not only enough time to create a fantastic application but also enough time to do your day job can be tough.

Prospective Student Days for MBA-Bound Military Veterans

Prospective Student Days for MBA-Bound Military Veterans

Each year military veterans typically make up around 5% of the incoming classes as top MBA programs in the U.S., making veterans an important demographic for business schools. Prospective military applicants have a secret weapon for business school applications not available to applicants from other industries:  armed forces clubs. These clubs are a great way to learn more about individual programs in addition to providing a wealth of insider information. Whether you are just beginning your b-school research or planning on submitting applications this season, one of the first things I recommend to all military applicants is to reach out to these clubs.

Get to Know Your MBA Professors

Get to Know Your MBA Professors

Over the summer, one of my Veritas Prep clients from last year asked me if I had any advice for him before school started. Offering advice is what I do for a living, so it’s a safe bet that I did, but he probably knew that before he asked. This 3-part blog series grew out of that initial off-the-cuff email response and is designed for anyone in any stage of business school, whether you’re still researching schools, walking onto campus for the first time, or have graduation in the near future. Your two years will fly by, and you want to make sure you graduate without saying “If only I had ….”

How to Succeed as a Young MBA Applicant

How to Succeed as a Young MBA Applicant

Age is nothing but a number, is how the old saying goes, but when it comes to the world of business school admissions, this particular number can negatively signal much, much more. “Immature”, “not ready”, “lack of work experience”, “no leadership” are some of the thoughts admissions officers toss around when discussing the applications of young candidates.

What Should I Do After I Submit My MBA Applications?

What Should I Do After I Submit My MBA Applications?

Congratulations! You have submitted your MBA applications! But, just because you have hit the submit button does not necessarily mean you have reached the end of the business school application process. This assumes of course that you have put your best foot forward in the process and followed all of my helpful advice!  The first thing to do, after the celebratory beer or soda of course, is to sit down and make an assessment of your plans.

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone in Business School and Learn Something New

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone in Business School and Learn Something New

Over the summer, one of my Veritas Prep clients from last year asked me if I had any advice for him before school started. Offering advice is what I do for a living, so it’s a safe bet that I did, but he probably knew that before he asked. This 3-part blog series grew out of that initial off-the-cuff email response and is designed for anyone in any stage of business school, whether you’re still researching schools, walking onto campus for the first time, or have graduation in the near future. Your two years will fly by, and you want to make sure you graduate without saying “If only I had ….”

Filed in: Business School
When Should I Submit My Finished MBA Application?

When Should I Submit My Finished MBA Application?

With deadlines approaching rapidly and everyone’s inbox at work piling up in concert, applicants this time of year from all over the world are beginning to face the reality of whether or not they will make it in time to submit for round one.  Still others have the opposite problem.  These are the folks you love to hate, the overachievers, who have worked diligently all summer on their applications and have now been sitting on it for several days while they spend some reflective,  contemplative time mulling over its nuances, just in case they think of that last little insight to make it even better before they turn it in.  Like a pastry chef putting the last ribbon of icing on a perfectly crafted wedding cake, these sure-fire seat stealers are asking themselves an entirely different question:

3 Reasons That Extracurricular Activities Are Essential For Your Business School Applications

3 Reasons That Extracurricular Activities Are Essential For Your Business School Applications

Do I need to re-take my GMAT? Is my GPA high enough? Do I have enough years of work experience? These are just a slew of the questions we receive from MBA applicants every year.

One question that is rarely asked and often overlooked is “Have I done enough outside of the office and classroom?” Business schools are looking in-depth at all aspects of the application process from the essays to the GMAT score to the resume. One area that candidates either forget or neglect to highlight in their application or cultivate throughout their academic and professional careers is extra-curricular activities. Admissions officers at MBA programs around the world take this aspect very seriously, and here are three reasons why you should do the same.

4 Ways to Make the Most of Your Business School Experience

4 Ways to Make the Most of Your Business School Experience

Over the summer, one of my Veritas Prep clients from last year asked me if I had any advice for him before school started. Offering advice is what I do for a living, so it’s a safe bet that I did, but he probably knew that before he asked. This 3-part blog series grew out of that initial off-the-cuff email response and is designed for anyone in any stage of business school, whether you’re still researching schools, walking onto campus for the first time, or have graduation in the near future. Your two years will fly by, and you want to make sure you graduate without saying “If only I had ….”

Veritas Prep Consultant Spotlight: Get to know Kenyata, Chicago Booth MBA

Veritas Prep Consultant Spotlight: Get to know Kenyata, Chicago Booth MBA

Applying to the world’s most elite business schools requires much more than a high GMAT score and strong resume.  Self refection, creating your personal brand, understanding school fit, addressing profile weaknesses and capitalizing on your unique strengths are essential in crafting a successful application.  Don’t go at this alone – we can help!  Veritas Prep has the most stellar MBA admissions consulting team in the industry and we can help you achieve your MBA goals!

UCLA Anderson Application Essays and Deadlines for 2014-2015

UCLA Anderson Application Essays and Deadlines for 2014-2015

Today we take a look at UCLA Anderson’s admissions essays and deadlines for the Class of 2017. Last year Anderson was on the vanguard of the effort across MBA programs to reduce essay count, dropping down to just one required essay, and for the 2014-2015 admissions season the school’s application returns with just one required essay once again. However, that one essay is all-new this year.

How Many Times Should I Take the GMAT?

How Many Times Should I Take the GMAT?

The GMAT is of course one of the most important components of the application process, so there is little else more devastating than not doing well on it.  Often, applicants find their actual performance is below their practice exams, leaving them not only bewildered and shocked, but also desperate with anxiety.  Schools know how tough the test is, and expect to see applicants who have taken it more than once, but a common question always seems to be:  how many times is too many?  It might help to first discuss how schools look at the test overall.

Yale SOM Application Essay and Deadlines for 2014-2015

Yale SOM Application Essay and Deadlines for 2014-2015

Today we dig into the Yale School of Management’s admissions essays and application deadlines for the Class of 2017. Last year, Yale was one of the most aggressive movers in reducing its essay count, dropping from four required essays down to two. This year, the Yale admissions team has gone even further, announcing just one required essay for the 2014-2015 admissions season. Note that Yale has kept its video questions, which the school added last year.

UC Berkeley (Haas) Application Essays and Deadlines for 2014-2015

UC Berkeley (Haas) Application Essays and Deadlines for 2014-2015

Earlier this summer UC Berkeley’s Haas School of business released its MBA admissions essays and deadlines for the Class of 2017. Like other business schools, Haas has chopped an essay yet again, dropping down to three required essays (although we should note that the school’s word limit for each essay actually increased). The Haas MBA admissions team has also made significant changes to the questions that it asks in its essay prompts, so we have plenty of new advice for applicants this year.

This Kind of Leadership Will Get You into Business School

This Kind of Leadership Will Get You into Business School

One of the most stressful moments in an applicant’s trek through the business school due diligence process is when they realize they have done very little engaging with anyone or anything outside of work.  Let’s face it—life gets busy, and while you may have been in every club and organization you could get your hands on in college, once out in the real world, you may have found it very easy to simply go to work and come home at night without doing much else.

You Should Apply for Early Action to Business School If...

You Should Apply for Early Action to Business School If...

Here’s a good, basic rule of thumb for when during the application season you should apply to b-school:  go for round one if you can, but only if your application is at its best.  This rule will serve you well, particularly if you fall into either one of two categories:  you have several different schools you would be thrilled to get into, and you consider yourself to be a fairly competitive candidate.

Top MBA Programs with Application Deadlines and Essays for the 2014-2015 Application Season

Top MBA Programs with Application Deadlines and Essays for the 2014-2015 Application Season

Business school application season is among us. You are working hard to find the right references for letters of recommendation, get GMAT scores up, and finalize your essays.

Determine Which Business School Has the Right Culture for You

Determine Which Business School Has the Right Culture for You

When applying to business school, one of the most reliable questions you will get from just about any institution deals with how you feel you will fit within that school’s culture.  While it’s fairly easy to see if you have an academic fit or a professional fit at a school (by researching their curriculum and statistics for admitted students), it’s far more difficult sometimes to ascertain the “culture” of a school.

3 Benefits of Applying in Round 2 for your MBA

3 Benefits of Applying in Round 2 for your MBA

In my last post, I wrote about the virtues of applying in round one, but there are a few reasons why you might want to consider applying in round two instead.

NYU Stern Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2014-2015

NYU Stern Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2014-2015

NYU Stern has released its MBA application deadlines and essays for the 2014-2015 admissions season. Among top MBA programs, Stern has perhaps made the fewest changes of any school. But, Stern’s famous “Personal Expression” prompt — for which you can submit almost anything at all — remains, which we like. Overall, our advice has changed very little since last year. Read on….

Round 1 vs. Round 2: When Is It Best for You to Apply to Business School?

Round 1 vs. Round 2: When Is It Best for You to Apply to Business School?

There is little more debated in the b-school application world than whether it’s better to apply in round one or round two.  Most can agree that the third round is the most challenging, but late night discussions have endured and fights started over the topic of whether to submit for the first or second deadline.  For those of you with a short attention span, I will go ahead and cut to the chase by quoting Bruce DelMonico, assistant dean and director of admissions at Yale SOM, who says: We definitely advise people to avoid the third round if possible, because space can become an issue by the time the third round rolls around. But we do view the first two rounds as roughly equivalent.”