Important Admissions Insights from the 2016 AIGAC MBA Applicant Survey

AIGACAIGAC (the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants) presented insights from its survey of recent MBA applicants and graduates at their annual conference last month. On your own business school application journey, knowing the trends below may help you know what your peers are thinking and better inform your choices:

Let’s look at some of the most interesting findings this study presented:

School Selections Impacted by Cost-Consciousness
41% of MBA applicants in this study indicated that affordability affected their final school choices, while 21% factored program cost and access to financial aid into creating their lists of target schools.

Related to this, applicants this year showed more of an openness to business school options other than the traditional two-year MBA program than they had in the past. This could be because these options reduce opportunity costs of the time away from employment prospects. The study also showed applicants’ interest in shorter full-time MBA programs (less than 2 years) jumped significantly from 33% in 2015 to 40% in 2016.

Reputation (Ranking) Still Matters Most
Although affordability has become an increasingly considered factor in the application process – with 30% of survey respondents including net costs in their school evaluations – an MBA program’s ranking is still the most influential aspect in deciding where to apply, with 74% of respondents factoring this into their school choice.

Other major school factors applicants considered in the application process were impact on career (48%), city/geographic location of the program (46%), and school culture (38%).

Optimism on Post-MBA Career
MBA applicants remained optimistic with their post-MBA prospects this year, with 41% of respondents expecting salary increases of greater than 50% within 6 months after completing their business school education.

The most popular post-MBA target career paths for applicants remain Consulting, Finance/Accounting, and Technology. The AIGAC report also shared actual post-MBA career trends, which showed a declining number of graduates going into Finance (from 43% in 2007 to 29% in 2013), while those going into Technology more than doubled (from 8% in 2007 to 17% in 2013).

Engaging Help for the Competitive Application Process
Realizing how competitive the MBA application process is, many applicants are tapping multiple sources of support. Top support systems are friends (44%), professional admissions consultants (39%), and family (30%). Only 17% of applicants reported going through the entire process with help from “no one”.

These findings show that applicants are realizing the benefits of gaining additional business school insights and wider perspectives as they compete for the coveted spots at the top MBA programs. Although the decision of where to ultimately pursue your MBA should, of course, be your own, hopefully this information can better inform your application process and help you determine some factors to consider when choosing a business school.

For more details about the 2016 AIGAC MBA Applicant Survey, please see AIGAC’s White Paper or slide presentation.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! And as always, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter.

Written by Edison Cu, a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for INSEAD. 

Take the 2016 MBA Applicant Survey and Win $500!

AIGACSince 2009, the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC) has regularly conducted a large survey to study trends among business school applicants. The results are shared with AIGAC member consultants and with MBA programs to help them better anticipate the needs of those who will soon apply to business school. Over the past few years, there have even been changes made to some business schools’ applications as a result of AIGAC survey findings!

This online survey should take just a few minutes to complete. We would love to receive as many responses as possible before the survey closes in early April – and we would like to see one of our readers win the $500 cash prize!

Simply click here to begin the survey.

More about the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants: AIGAC promotes high ethical standards and professional development among graduate admissions consultants, increases public understanding of graduate admissions consulting, and enhances channels of communication with complementary organizations and entities.

Thanks in advance for your participation, and good luck with the drawing!

Haven’t applied to business school yet? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 to speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! As always, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter.

Breaking Down the 2017 U.S. News Ranking of Top Business Schools: Part 2

US News College Rankings

Make sure you check out Part 1 of this article before you begin reading more of our thoughts on the recently released U.S. News and World Report‘s 2017 ranking of Best Business Schools. Now let’s take a deeper look at some of the surprises this year’s rankings presented:

 

Ranking surprises 
We were quite surprised to see Columbia (#10) come behind Tuck and Yale this year (ranked #8 and #9 respectively). Columbia has a very high yield of admitted applicants who choose to attend the school, and it has been working hard to foster a more collaborative culture. However, Tuck’s employment statistics and remarkably high percentage of graduates receiving a signing bonus (87%!) play well to the U.S. News methodology. We shouldn’t sell Tuck short, though, as other intangibles at Tuck not included in this ranking — such as student satisfaction, alumni network, and tight-knit culture — also rate among the highest of any MBA program.

Yale snagged Dean Ted Snyder from Chicago Booth back in 2011 after he presided over its precipitous rise in the rankings. His magic potion seems to be working at Yale as well, and we’ve dubbed him the “Rankings Whisperer.” He thoroughly understands the drivers of rankings and pushes all levers to the max to improve the standings of his schools. Yale has begun to move away from its ties to the social and nonprofit sectors, driving up average starting salaries and recruitment percentages, but perhaps distancing the program from its roots.

University of Virginia’s Darden School always seems to be the sleeper success story, and this year is no exception. With its best placement in more than a decade, Darden came in at #11. Darden’s reputation amongst peer schools and recruiters is not as strong as most other programs ranked in the top 15, but it has a very strong starting salary/bonus and other statistics.

Be wary of average salary numbers
The U.S. News ranking incorporates average salary plus signing bonus in its rankings, which in theory, is not a bad thing. After all, many applicants desire to gain an MBA, at least in part, to improve their salary potential. However, we recommend that you look at salaries just like the rankings themselves—by using the numbers in a broader context. After all, the difference in average salary and bonus between Harvard (ranked #1 overall) and Cornell (ranked #14 overall), is less than $5,000 per year.

If you analyze the data industry-by-industry (as we have), you’ll find that there’s little difference in salaries coming out of the top 10 to 15 programs. The biggest difference is the percentage of graduates who are able to land positions in highly selective industries, such as private equity. But here’s the rub: most of these highly selective industries are looking for extremely qualified candidates who have pre-MBA experience that fits their needs. So even if you manage to squeeze into Harvard or Stanford, if you don’t have the pre-MBA experience that these firms are looking for, then you’re going to have a tough time getting an interview, much less landing a job, in the highest paying private equity or venture capital positions.

Also, some roles, such as in investment banking, do not have as high of base salaries or signing bonuses, but a high percentage of your income will come from performance-based quarterly and annual bonuses. Other roles simply pay less, such as marketing and product management, but remain very attractive to a significant number of MBA graduates. Schools with a higher percentage of graduates taking these roles, such as Kellogg, can have lower overall salary averages, when their graduates make as much or more than peers within their chosen industry. None of this information can be captured in the U.S. News ranking.

Bottom line: Are you likely to make more money coming out of a program ranked #5 than ranked #20? Yes. But should you let this number dictate your decision between #7 and #12? Not necessarily. There are many other factors to consider, such as whether your target companies, industries, and so forth.

A holistic approach
We’ve provided a bit of context and analysis around this year’s ranking, and we encourage you to use these lists as merely a starting point in your research process. We encourage you to take advantage of our Veritas Prep Essential Guide to Top Business Schools to assist in your process, as it’s now available for free on our website!

In addition, if you’re interested in finding out your chances of admission to the top schools, you can sign up for a free profile evaluation to explore your individual strengths and weaknesses. Veritas Prep has worked with thousands of successful applicants to the top business schools, and we look forward to assisting you on your own journey!

Travis Morgan is the Director of Admissions Consulting for Veritas Prep and earned his MBA with distinction from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He served in the Kellogg Student Admissions Office, Alumni Admissions Organization and Diversity & Inclusion Council, among several other posts. Travis joined Veritas Prep as an admissions consultant and GMAT instructor, and he was named Worldwide Instructor of the Year in 2011. 

Breaking Down the 2017 U.S. News Ranking of Top Business Schools: Let the Games Begin!

US News College RankingsJust three and a half months into 2016, U.S. News & World Report has already released its 2017 ranking of Top Business Schools, and there’s quite a bit to talk about. The U.S. News ranking is arguably the most influential among U.S. business schools, and for good reason.

Various stakeholders can (and do) haggle over percentages of weight given to this statistic or that, but we at Veritas Prep think it does a good job at quantifying broad characteristics that a typical business school applicant would care about, namely the school’s overall reputation (40% weight), the ability to place you in a good-paying job (35%), and the capabilities of your fellow students (25%). We won’t get into the nitty-gritty here, but you’re more than welcome to read about the rankings methodology on the U.S. News website.

Now, let’s get into the juicy stuff!

Chicago Booth moves to #2
For the first time in the poll’s history, Chicago Booth has entered the #2 spot, tied with Stanford Graduate School of Business. There’s a lot to talk about here. How can Booth, which admits one in every four applicants (24.4%), possibly rank equally to Stanford, which admits only 6.1%? The key is that Stanford graduates are pickier.

Let me explain: Stanford exceeds Booth (and pretty much every other program) in every category except job placement. In fact, on the surface, Stanford’s job placement numbers look absolutely abysmal: It ranks #52 in percentage of graduates employed at graduation (71.7%) and #74 in percentage of grads employed three months after graduation (86.2%).

But wait, shouldn’t recruiters be pounding down the door to hire Stanford grads? Indeed, they do. However, Stanford MBAs are known for being exceptionally picky, and they’re willing to wait to get the jobs they want. This year, 92% of Stanford MBAs had received a job offer within 3 months of graduation, but several of them chose not to accept those offers. MBAs from most other schools have a lower tolerance for risk, so once they near the three-month mark after graduation, few offers go unanswered.

In addition, far fewer Stanford graduates go into traditional MBA recruiting industries such as management, consulting and finance. These industries will hire whole classes of MBA recruits many months before graduation, so the schools that send more graduates into those industries tend to have stronger recruitment statistics than the programs that send more graduates into non-traditional positions. Remember, most companies will only hire someone when a position becomes available (just-in-time hiring), rather than hiring a whole slew of graduates at once.

Many Stanford grads tend to gravitate toward venture capital, private equity, or Bay Area startups, which are far smaller than the enormous banks and management consulting firms that many traditional MBAs are hired to. This depresses their statistics, but is also a key reason to attend Stanford GSB. Based on all other criteria, Stanford would be the clear #1 ranked program.

This isn’t to say that Chicago Booth isn’t deserving. The school has invested significantly in its career services resources and recruiting apparatus to ensure its graduates have stellar jobs upon graduation. Fully 95% of Booth graduates had accepted a job offer within three months of graduation, leading every school in the top-10 except the (much smaller) class at Tuck, which edged them out at 95.1%.

NYU Stern drops to #20, but ignore it
The biggest loser — by far — in this year’s ranking is NYU Stern, dropping from #11 last year to #20 this year. The school is furious, and we can’t blame them. Dean Peter Henry released a press release explaining the drop in ranking, which was due to inadvertently leaving one answer blank on a survey of 300 questions. The question asked for the number of admits that had submitted a GMAT score, which was not dramatically different from the previous year.

However, rather than simply reaching out and asking NYU Stern – perennially ranked in the top 10-12 programs – what the number should be, the ranking “estimated” the number, resulting in a drop of nine places. Clearly, their estimate was nowhere near realistic, and we at Veritas Prep believe this action by U.S. News to be in egregiously bad taste and downright punitive. We encourage all of our clients and readers to ignore this year’s ranking of NYU Stern, to not incorporate it into their school-selection decisions, and assume that had the data been reported correctly, the school would have remained in approximately the same rank.

Check out Part 2 of this article, in which we’ll take a deeper look at these rankings and what they might mean for you.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! As always, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter.

Travis Morgan is the Director of Admissions Consulting for Veritas Prep and earned his MBA with distinction from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He served in the Kellogg Student Admissions Office, Alumni Admissions Organization and Diversity & Inclusion Council, among several other posts. Travis joined Veritas Prep as an admissions consultant and GMAT instructor, and he was named Worldwide Instructor of the Year in 2011. 

Financial Times Ranks INSEAD as the #1 MBA Program in the World

INSEADThe Financial Times recently released their Global MBA Rankings for 2016, and this year, INSEAD topped the list. This is the first time a “one-year MBA program” has ranked #1 in the Financial Times‘ rankings.

With this honor, INSEAD also becomes only the fifth school to ever assume the top spot in the Financial Times‘ 18-year history of publishing their rankings – the only schools to reach #1 thus far have been Harvard Business School, the Stanford Graduate School of Business, London Business School, and the Wharton School of Business, all of which occupy the rest of the top five slots for this year’s rankings.

INSEAD prides itself on being the “business school of the world,” and boasts of an international faculty and student body of over 80 different nationalities that enriches classroom discussions and creates life changing experiences for its students through its cultural diversity and views. INSEAD’s campuses in France and Singapore further add to the student experience with opportunities to travel across Europe and Asia with fellow MBA participants during the program.

In his letter to INSEAD alumni, Dean Ilian Mihov attributes the school’s #1 ranking to what INSEAD values: “diversity, academic excellence, entrepreneurial culture and extensive global alumni network.” The school’s international faculty also works together to continuously improve its curriculum and deliver exceptional educational experiences to all its students in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Mihov also shared that this marked a “triple first” for INSEAD, becoming the first and only school to have all three of its MBA programs ranked #1 by the FT in their respective categories: INSEAD MBA ranked #1 for MBA programs, the Tsinghua INSEAD EMBA ranked #1 for EMBA programs, and the INSEAD Global EMBA was honored as the highest ranked single school program.

In a separate letter, the INSEAD MBA Admissions team shared the profile of its latest intake of 514 students, with 75 nationalities represented – 30% of them women – including students from Indian, American, Chinese, French, British, and Canadian nationalities. The average age of INSEAD’s incoming class is 29 and its average GMAT score is 702.

INSEAD has also continued its “Conditional Acceptance Offer” of offering a place to candidates who have the potential and quality to be admitted, but need one more year of professional experience. Introduced in 2014, the school has found this offer to be a good way to retain young, bright candidates for future MBA classes. 15 students received such an offer for their latest intake.

Surely this remarkable achievement will be something to consider when determining whether INSEAD is the right business school for you.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! As always, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter.

Written by Edison Cu, a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for INSEAD.

Wharton Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2011-2012

Wharton Admissions GuideWharton has released its MBA application deadlines and admissions essays for the coming year. Last year Wharton really stirred the pot by introducing radically different essays. Let’s dig into this year’s application and see how much things have changed this year.

Here are Wharton’s deadlines and essays for the Class of 2014, followed by our comments in italics:
Continue reading “Wharton Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2011-2012”

Tuck Is a Good Fit for You If…

We love to work with applicants who want to apply to the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. The school’s close-knit culture and rigorous curriculum make it a school that everyone should look at closely, particularly those who are interested in pursuing careers in the Northeast. But, besides knowing that it’s a top-ranked school with a strong community, how well do you really know Tuck? How do you know if it’s a good fit for you? And, perhaps more importantly, how do you know if the admissions committee will decide you’re a good fit for Tuck?

Today we look at six reasons why Tuck may be a good fit for you:
Continue reading “Tuck Is a Good Fit for You If…”

Five Things That Make Haas Different

Business School Admissions GuidesUC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business needs no introduction. In fact, only Stanford GSB and Harvard Business School had lower acceptance rates than Haas did last year. Given the school’s intimate learning environment and strong ties to Silicon Valley, it’s no surprise that so many applicants apply to Haas every year. What does surprise us, though, is that so few of those applicants really know the school beyond its obvious strengths. We always urge these applicants to go back and do their homework a bit more before they start crafting their Haas applications.

If you’re considering applying to Haas, ask yourself: How do you know if Haas really is a good fit for you? And, perhaps more importantly, how do you know if the Haas admissions committee will decide that you’re a good fit for the school? Today we look at five things that set Haas apart from other top-tier MBA programs:
Continue reading “Five Things That Make Haas Different”

MIT Sloan Is a Good Fit for You If…

We get no shortage if inquiries about MIT Sloan, and for good reason. Its rigorous curriculum and terrific faculty make it one of the first schools that many MBA applicants consider, particularly those who are interested in pursuing careers in operations or supply chain management. If you’re gunning for a top-tier MBA, chances are that MIT Sloan is on your radar. But, besides knowing that it’s a top-ranked school with an analytical bent and a brand new campus, how well do you really know Sloan? How do you know if it’s a good fit for you? And, perhaps more importantly, how do you know if the admissions committee will decide you’re a good fit for Sloan?

Today we look at six things that might make MIT Sloan a perfect fit for you:
Continue reading “MIT Sloan Is a Good Fit for You If…”

Six Common Myths and Misconceptions About INSEAD

Every year countless applicants ask us about INSEAD. Given the school’s high profile around the globe, it’s not surprising that so many applicants think about spending time in Fontainebleau and Singapore. What does surprise us, though, is how common some misconceptions are among even those applicants who have extensively studied the school. We always urge these applicants to go back and do their homework a bit more before they start working on their INSEAD applications.

If you’re considering applying to INSEAD, ask yourself: How do you know if the school really is a good fit for you? And, perhaps more importantly, how do you know if the INSEAD admissions committee will decide that you’re a good fit for the school? Today we look at six things that applicants think they know about INSEAD:
Continue reading “Six Common Myths and Misconceptions About INSEAD”

NYU Stern Is a Good Fit for You If…

NYU Stern is one of the premier MBA programs in the country, and for good reason. Its innovative curriculum and terrific location make it one of the first schools that many MBA applicants consider, particularly those who are interested in pursuing careers on Wall Street. If you’re gunning for a top-tier MBA, chances are that you’ve at least considered sending an application to Stern. But, besides knowing that it’s a top-ranked school with strong ties to the banking sector, how well do you really know Stern? How do you know if it’s a good fit for you? And, perhaps more importantly, how do you know if the admissions committee will decide you’re a good fit for Stern?

Today we look at six things that might make NYU Stern a perfect fit for you:
Continue reading “NYU Stern Is a Good Fit for You If…”

Four Things That Make Fuqua Different

Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business gets its fair share if applicants every year. In fact, not a week goes by when we don’t see Fuqua on an applicant’s short list of MBA programs to consider. Given the school’s tight-knit community and knack for producing good grads, it’s not surprising that so many applicants think about spending two years there. What does surprise us, though, is that so few of those applicants really know the school beyond its obvious strengths. We always urge these applicants to go back and do their homework a bit more before they start crafting their Fuqua applications.

If you’re considering applying to Fuqua, ask yourself: How do you know if Fuqua really is a good fit for you? And, perhaps more importantly, how do you know if the Fuqua admissions committee will decide that you’re a good fit for the school? Today we look at four things that set Fuqua apart from other top-tier business schools:
Continue reading “Four Things That Make Fuqua Different”

Stanford GSB Is a Good Fit for You If…

Stanford GSBStanford GSB sits at the top or right near the top of most major publications’ business school rankings. If you’re gunning for a top-tier MBA, chances are that you’ve at least considered sending an application to Stanford. But, besides knowing that it’s a small, top-ranked school with strong ties to Silicon Valley, how well do you really know Stanford? How do you know if it’s a good fit for you? And, perhaps more importantly, how do you know if the admissions committee will decide you’re a good fit for Stanford?

Today we look at six things that might make the Stanford Graduate School of Business a perfect fit for you:
Continue reading “Stanford GSB Is a Good Fit for You If…”

Four Things That Make Chicago Booth Different

Chicago Booth Admissions GuideEvery week we hear from applicants who are considering Chicago Booth. Given its reputation in finance and as an overall program that turns out analytically superior grads, it’s no wonder. What does surprise us, though, is that so few of those applicants really know the school beyond its strong rankings and location in Chicago. We always urge these applicants to go back and do their homework a bit more before they start crafting their Booth applications.

If you’re considering applying to Chicago Booth, ask yourself: How do you know if Booth really is a good fit for you? And, perhaps more importantly, how do you know if the Booth admissions committee will decide that you’re a good fit for the school? Today we look at four things that set Booth apart from other top-tier business schools:
Continue reading “Four Things That Make Chicago Booth Different”

Yale SOM Is a Good Fit for You If…

Yale School of ManagementIf you’re researching top MBA programs, chances are that the Yale School of Management is on your radar. We get countless inquires about the school every year. But, besides knowing that it’s a top-ranked school that is especially known for attracting civic-minded applicants, how well do you really know Yale? How do you know if Yale really is a good fit for you? And, perhaps more importantly, how do you know if the Yale admissions committee will decide that you’re a good fit for the school?

Today we look at five things that might make Yale your first choice among MBA programs:
Continue reading “Yale SOM Is a Good Fit for You If…”

Five Things that Make UCLA Anderson Different

UCLA Anderson Admissions GuideVeritas Prep has a special affinity for UCLA Anderson, given that the school is near our headquarters and we have had a number of Anderson alumni as employees (and friends) through the years. In our years of offering GMAT prep and MBA admissions consulting, we are frequently surprised by the degree to which candidates underestimate Anderson. For some reason — perhaps because it is “just” a state school — many of our clients consider UCLA Anderson their second or third choice — and that they don’t need to put much effort into an application if their GMAT score is high enough.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Anderson is a competitive program, and getting in requires a great deal of effort (and some luck). Today we present five things that make the school unique:
Continue reading “Five Things that Make UCLA Anderson Different”

Ross Is a Good Fit for You If…

Michigan Ross MBA Admissions GuideIf you’re researching top MBA programs, chances are that the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business is on your radar. Besides knowing that it’s a top-ranked school, though, how well do you really know Ross? How do you know if Ross really is a good fit for you? More to the point, how do you know if the Ross admissions committee will decide that you’re a good fit for the school?

Today we look at four things that might make Ross your first choice among MBA programs:
Continue reading “Ross Is a Good Fit for You If…”

Five Things That Make Columbia Business School Different

We get no shortage of inquiries about Columbia Business School from applicants. It’s no wonder, given the school’s strong ties to the banking sector and its Ivy League heritage. You would be surprised, however, by how many applicants don’t really know the school before they apply. We always urge these applicants to go back and do their homework a bit more before they start crafting their Columbia applications.

Are you thinking about applying to Columbia Business School? How do you know if Columbia really is a good fit for you? And, perhaps more importantly, how do you know if the Columbia admissions committee will decide that you’re a good fit for the school? Today we look at five things that set Columbia apart from other top-ranked MBA programs:
Continue reading “Five Things That Make Columbia Business School Different”

Kellogg Is a Good Fit for You If…

Kellogg Admissions GuideEvery year we get countless inquiries from applicants who are certain they want to go to Kellogg. Once we dig a little deeper to get at their reasons, though, many of them realize they still have a lot more homework to do. Kellogg is one of the most highly regarded MBA programs in the world, and for good reason: Its reputation in marketing is virtually unmatched, and its ability to produce strong grads of all types makes it a popular place for blue-chip firms such as McKinsey and Goldman Sachs.

But how do you know if Kellogg really is a good fit for you? More to the point, how do you know if the Kellogg admissions committee will decide that you’re a good fit for Kellogg? Today we look at five things that might make Kellogg your first choice among MBA programs:
Continue reading “Kellogg Is a Good Fit for You If…”

Know These 4 Things Before You Apply to HBS

HBSHarvard Business School doesn’t need to do much to market itself to applicants. Outside of the extensive work the HBS admissions team has done in recent years to spread the word about its relatively new HBS 2+2 Program, Harvard is more concerned with identifying which applicants fit the school best than with encouraging applicants to apply.

Here at Veritas Prep, we have no shortage of inquiries from clients who are certain they want to go to HBS. Once we dig a little deeper to get at their reasons, though, many of them realize they still have a lot more homework to do. Without a doubt, it doesn’t get more prestigious than HBS. But, before you apply, you really need to understand a few important things about the HBS experience.
Continue reading “Know These 4 Things Before You Apply to HBS”

Wharton Is a Good Fit for You If…

Wharton Admissions GuideEvery year we get countless inquiries from applicants who are certain they want to go to Wharton. Once we dig a little deeper to get at their reasons, though, many of them realize they still have a lot more homework to do. Without a doubt, Wharton is one of the top business schools in the world, and for good reason: Very few schools can match its reputation in finance, and in recent years Wharton’s pace of curriculum innovation actually seems to be accelerating.

But how do you know if Wharton really is a good fit for you? More to the point, how do you know if Wharton’s admissions committee will decide that you’re a good fit for Wharton? Today we look at five things that might make Wharton you’re first choice among MBA programs:
Continue reading “Wharton Is a Good Fit for You If…”

Four Things that Make the Yale MBA Program Unique

Business School GuidesContinuing our series of admissions insights clipped from Veritas Prep’s Annual Reports, our in-depth insider’s guides to 15 of the world’s top business schools, this week we look at four traits that make the Yale School of Management unique among top business schools. (Our Annual reports are absolutely free with registration, but we thought we’d share some snippets here to help get you started in your Yale SOM research.)

The Yale School of Management discovered that the “silo” approach to teaching –

Six Terrific Professors at Michigan (Ross)

Business School GuidesContinuing our series of admissions insights clipped from Veritas Prep’s Annual Reports, our in-depth insider’s guides to 15 of the world’s top business schools, this week we look at six of the Ross School of Business’ most popular professors. (Our Annual reports are absolutely free with registration, but we thought we’d share some snippets here to help get you started in your Ross research.)

The Ross faculty is populated with many prominent business leaders, researchers, and teachers. Among Ross students, there are a handful of professors who are considered a “must” to have for a class, due to their reputation both as educators and as experts. This list isn

Chicago Booth to Eliminate PowerPoint Essay Question

MBA AdmissionsA new BusinessWeek article titled Business Schools Revamp the Application investigates how some schools are breaking with tradition and exploring new approaches to the MBA admissions process. In some cases it’s a matter of moving deadlines earlier or accepting the GRE in addition to the GMAT, while in others cases some schools are replacing traditional written essays with audio and video responses.

All interesting stuff, but what we actually found most intriguing was the fact that Chicago Booth will drop its PowerPoint question this coming admission season (2010-2011). This questions had been a staple of Booth’s application for the past couple of years, but apparently it wasn’t doing what the school had intended, so they put it out to pasture.


According to the article:

For the past few years, Booth has asked candidates to provide a PowerPoint presentation to show another side of themselves to the admissions committee. Although the committee has decided to eliminate the PowerPoint presentations starting with applications for the 2010-11 academic year, a new component — as yet undisclosed — will likely be in place this summer, says Rosemaria Martinelli, associate dean of student recruitment and admissions at Booth. The new addition to the admissions process may be something that MBA applicants will have to do after they get through an initial screening process, says Martinelli.

The PowerPoint slides didn’t work, Martinelli says, because they became rote and entirely too easy to predict, They didn’t showcase the applicant’s personality and help the admissions committee determine who is and isn’t a good fit, she said, adding that she hopes the new application procedure will do just that. “It’s hard for us, especially when so much of the applicant pool is admissible,” says Martinelli. “It comes down to who fits the life, spirit, and culture of an institution.”

When a school adds or changes or deletes an essay question, it’s a sign that the admissions office isn’t quite getting what it needs. When reviewing every application, two main questions that goes through an admissions officer’s mind are, “How well does this applicant fit with the school?” and “What about this applicant makes me want to choose him over other, similar applicants?” If a question generates similar answers from hundreds of applicants, or doesn’t add anything new to most applicants’ stories, then it’s not getting the job done.

We suspect that many applicants’ PowerPoint slides were nothing more than recaps of the rest of their applications, offering not much in the way of personality or useful information. This definitely wasn’t the case for everyone — some of our clients got into Chicago Booth this year with terrific PowerPoint slides — but odds are that not enough applicants took full advantage of the medium, so Booth will move on.

Still, kudos to the school for trying something new. Also, we’re very intrigued by the “may be something that MBA applicants will have to do after they get through an initial screening process” comment… The natural move would be for Booth to follow schools such as UCLA Anderson and offer a video or audio component. But, maybe it will be something else entirely, and maybe it will be something used as the admissions interview is used — to get to know an applicant better after the school likes what it initially sees. We’ll find out this summer, when Chicago Booth releases its application for the 2010-2011 admissions season.

For more advice on getting into Chicago Booth and other top business schools, download our Annual Reports, 15 guides to the world’s top MAB programs, available for purchase on our site. And, as always, be sure to subscribe to this blog and to follow us on Twitter!

Four Important Characteristics of the Duke MBA Program

Business School Application Guides
Continuing our series of admissions insights clipped from Veritas Prep’s Annual Reports, our in-depth insider’s guides to 15 of the world’s top MBA programs, this week we investigate a few things that make Duke’s approach to graduate management education unique. (Our Annual reports are absolutely free with registration, but we thought we’d share some snippets here to help get you started in your Fuqua School of Business research.)

Like most elite business schools, Duke is focused on providing hands-on learning opportunities, global perspective, and a flexible curriculum. What makes Duke somewhat different is that the school is focused most of all on collaborative leadership. Other than Kellogg and perhaps UCLA Anderson, few business schools can cite that as the program’s most distinguishing feature to the degree that Fuqua can.


With that in mind, the following are the key elements of the Duke Approach:
  • Collaborative Leadership. Teamwork and leadership are common in every aspect of the Duke MBA experience from inside the classroom to clubs and activities. Each class includes group projects as a learning tool, so the ability to lead and work in a group environment is essential for success at Fuqua. Outside of the classroom, students are encouraged and almost expected to assume a leadership role in a club, activity, or Fuqua-related event. Fuqua is truly a student run program, which generates numerous opportunities to lead projects or even create new ones.
  • Global Perspective. “Global” is a major MBA buzzword in this day and age, but few schools boast an international emphasis and flavor that rivals that of Fuqua. Each incoming MBA class begins with “Global Institute,” a one-of-a-kind program that runs for three weeks prior to the first term and introduces students to the global business environment and the world economy structure. Students discuss current global business issues and are exposed to diverse backgrounds and perspectives while also gaining exposure to more traditional “orientation” concepts such as leadership and team building. Fuqua also offers study abroad programs and the increasingly popular “Global Academic Travel Experience,” a course where students study international business trends from select regions and then travel to designated locations for hands-on experience.
  • Diversity of Instruction. As has become increasingly common among innovative business schools, Duke’s courses feature a blended teaching approach that includes an almost equal distribution of case studies, lectures, and team projects. Each class is typically two hours and fifteen minutes long, allowing ample time for a highly interactive case discussion, followed by a course lecture. Duke professors conduct leading research and are adept at integrating relevant and topical business issues into every class. Team projects are absolutely an integral part of each course, and select groups are called upon to present insights and strategic recommendations as a way to launch a class discussion. Class participation is expected and is a prominent grading criterion.
  • Experiential Learning. While Duke does not boast of an experiential learning program as robust as that of Ross or Tuck, Fuqua does offer numerous courses which help students convert theory into application. These classes provide knowledge and experience by assisting real-world businesses in such areas as consulting, strategic planning, marketing strategy and business plan development. Faculty members guide and participate in strategy sessions with the students to reinforce the translation of academic concepts to real world solutions.

Today’s installment was clipped from our Duke (Fuqua) Annual Report, one of 15 guides to the world’s top business schools, available for purchase on our site. If you’re ready to start building your own application for Fuqua or other top MBA programs, call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today!

INSEAD’s Two-Campus Approach to Business Education


The final deadline for INSEAD’s September, 2010, intake is still is still a month away, and there’s still plenty of time for you to craft a successful INSEAD application. Continuing our series of admissions insights clipped from Veritas Prep’s Annual Reports, our in-depth guides to 15 of the world’s top business schools, this week we take a closer look at life on each of INSEAD’s two main campuses. (Our Annual reports are absolutely free — all you have to do is register to access all of them — but we thought we’d share some snippets here to help get you started in your INSEAD research.)

As part of INSEAD’s commitment to providing an MBA education with a truly international perspective, the 10-month MBA program is run concurrently on two campuses, located in Europe and Asia:

  • European Campus: Fontainebleau. The town of Fontainebleau — referred to by INSEAD students as “Fonty” — has been a fashionable weekend getaway for the French aristocracy since the 16th Century due the town’s location in the middle of one of Western Europe’s largest forests. The forest provides extensive opportunities for walks, running, biking and rock climbing. The INSEAD campus contains 28 lecture halls, two restaurants, a bar, a bookshop, a gym, squash courts and extensive library resources. Additionally, INSEAD is just a ten-minute walk from the center of town. Fontainebleau itself is dominated by the massive Chateau de Fontainebleau, which served as a “hunting lodge” for French rulers from Francois I to Napoleon, who was escorted from the Chateau’s grand horseshoe staircase into exile on Elba (from which he would eventually return).

    MBA students in Fontainebleau must make their own arrangements for accommodation, which range from apartments in the town itself to rented country houses and private chateaux that dot the surrounding countryside. Most INSEAD students rent a car during their stay, which is virtually a necessity. When you tire of French country living, Paris is only 40 miles away to the North and provides everything you would expect from one of the world’s global capitals. If you have never visited, prepare to be dazzled. Given the amount of traffic, the trip typically takes about 90 minutes.

    Paris can be difficult to navigate by car unless you are a native, so don’t forget your GPS. Train service to Paris is available from the neighboring town of Avon. During breaks, MBA participants in Fontainebleau explore France’s wine regions, lay on the beach in St. Tropez, ski at Courchevel or go on shopping trips to Milan, where there are many bargains to be had. Barcelona and London are also popular weekend and holiday destinations.

  • Asian Campus: Singapore. In contrast to INSEAD’s European campus, the Asian campus in Singapore is located in one of the world’s most highly urban settings. The campus accommodates 950 students and includes lecture halls, a library, meeting rooms, extensive workspaces and a fully equipped fitness center. As in Europe, MBA students in Singapore make their own accommodation arrangements, which range from modern condominiums with swimming pools and tennis courts, to government-subsidized apartments. The MBA office has a listing of local real estate agents and landlords who can assist with the housing search.

    Singapore is a bustling, modern city-state that combines Chinese, Indian, Malay and British culture. It is known for its fantastic shopping, a wide array of culinary experiences and an impressive selection of cultural events. Sentosa Island is a popular island resort that includes a dizzying selection of recreational facilities including volleyball, inline skating, cycling, canoeing, miles of tropical beaches, two golf courses, a butterfly park and an oceanarium, to name just a few. After dark, Singapore has a lively nightlife. Fortunately it is all a breeze to explore

Six Must-Have Professors at Chicago Booth

Chicago Booth Admissions GuideContinuing our series of admissions insights clipped from Veritas Prep’s Annual Reports, our in-depth insider’s guides to 15 of the world’s top business schools, this week we take a look at six professors who have earned Chicago Booth students’ love. (Our Annual reports are absolutely free with registration, but we thought we’d share some snippets here to help get you started in your Booth research.)

Among Chicago Booth students, there are a handful of professors who are considered “must-haves” during one’s time in Hyde Park. Note that, while Booth is best known for finance, some of the school’s most popular professors come from other departments:

  • Sanjay Dhar – Professor Dhar primarily teaches the basic marketing strategy class and is very active in all Chicago Booth MBA programs. Professor Dhar makes this list because his passion in teaching is infectious. He makes the effort to truly know his students and it is not uncommon for Professor Dhar to have all 65 (or more) students in his class remove their name cards so he may recite their names back on the first day of class. Dhar is the recipient of several awards such as the McKinsey Award for Teaching Excellence in 2000, and was cited among the outstanding faculty in BusinessWeek’s Guide to the Best Business Schools.
  • Steven Kaplan – Professor Kaplan primarily teaches entrepreneurial finance and private equity. A quarter does not go by without students complaining that they were unable to get into his class prior to graduation. His courses are highly completive choices during the bidding process and students are only able to take his courses late in their program, when they have accumulated enough point “wealth.” Professor Kaplan consistently attains top scores in Chicago Booth’s internal faculty rankings by students over the last decade.
  • Eugene Fama – The percentage of students who take Professor Fama’s class is relatively small, but the reason for this is that his course content is highly specific, highly rigorous, and has a scope that may go beyond the average Booth student’s interest. Professor Fama has been called the “father of modern finance.” Professor Fama is highly respected both in academic circles and in the outside investment community. Taking a “Fama course” and doing well does wonders for the credibility of a Booth graduate in the field of finance, but truth be told, only highly skilled Booth students with an interest in analytical finance tend to enjoy his classes.
  • Art Middlebrooks – Art Middlebrooks is a prime example of a great adjunct faculty member. His teaching method of “learning by doing” is appropriate in his services marketing and product marketing classes. As a Booth alumnus, he really connects well with his students and continually gets top marks in faculty evaluations. Mr. Middlebrooks is also the current Executive Director of the Kilts Center for Marketing and is the coauthor of Innovating the Corporation and Market Leadership Strategies for Service Companies.
  • Harry Davis – Harry Davis is the type of professor who brings balance and perspective to the MBA experience. His Business Policy course is not at all the typical Chicago Booth fare.
    While most courses at Booth tend to dominate the left brain, Professor Davis focuses more on right brain activity: being intuitive, holistic, and metaphorical. Part of the Chicago Booth faculty since the mid-1960s, Professor Davis was once co-dean of the program and was integral to Booth’s push to establish campuses in other countries. Booth is not really known for emphasizing leadership topics, yet Professor Davis does just that.
  • James Schrager – James E. Schrager’s New Venture Strategy is another highly sought-after course at Chicago Booth. His credibility in the business community equals his reputation as
    a faculty member at Booth and his expertise is on display in multiple mainstream media formats, such as the Wall Street Journal and various major television networks. Booth students across the board absolutely love taking his class.

Today’s blog post was clipped from our Chicago Booth Annual Report, one of 15 guides to the world’s top business schools, available for purchase on our site. If you’re ready to start building your own application for Chicago, Harvard, Kellogg, or any other top MBA programs, call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions consultant today!

Five Things That Make UCLA Anderson Unique

Business School GuidesContinuing our series of admissions insights clipped from Veritas Prep’s Annual Reports, our in-depth insider’s guides to 15 of the world’s top MBA programs, this week we investigate a few things that make UCLA Anderson’s approach to graduate management education unique. (Our Annual reports are absolutely free with registration, but we thought we’d share some snippets here to help get you started in your Anderson research.)

UCLA Anderson’s methodology is composed of a multi-faceted approach primarily delivered through lectures. The following are five key aspects of a UCLA Anderson education that comprise the framework of the MBA experience:

  • The UCLA Anderson Culture. The emphasis on teamwork inside and outside of the classroom is the hallmark of the UCLA Anderson experience and the foundation for the rest of the school’s approach. Student collaboration and leadership within teams is the attribute that ties everything together at UCLA Anderson. There are several schools with great student cultures

A Closer Look at Tuck’s Academics

Dartmouth Tuck GuideContinuing our series of admissions insights clipped from Veritas Prep’s Annual Reports, our in-depth insider’s guides to 15 of the world’s top business schools, this week we look at a few of the distinguishing characteristics of academic life at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business. (Our Annual reports are absolutely free with registration, but we thought we’d share some snippets here to help get you started in your Tuck research.)

The Tuck School combines theoretical and experiential learning with a focus on leadership, teamwork and globalization. These elements inform each and every aspect of the Tuck academic experience as well as the type of recruitment that occurs on campus. Many come to visit the school or even begin the program expecting to find a laid back “summer camp” atmosphere, but while the culture is uniquely close-knit, the academic workload is actually very intense and focused.


Below are a few things that you should know about Dartmouth’s academics before applying:

Teaching Philosophy

Tuck is one of the few business schools (along with HBS and Darden) that uses the case method teaching style as the predominate method, especially for core courses during the first year. Sixty percent of the core is taught via the case method, with the balance of the classes featuring the usual business school alchemy of straight forward lectures, experiential learning, and group projects.

One of the most interesting things about Tuck is that while it is a fairly case method-heavy school, it is also at the forefront of experiential learning, as discussed in the Tuck approach. An entire term of the first year is devoted to the First Year Project, which is experiential learning at its finest.

Class Organization
Each incoming class at Tuck is divided into four sections of approximately 60 students each. These sections are randomly assigned, although Tuck makes sure that each section has a balanced mix of backgrounds. Every term, the sections are reassigned so that at the end of the first year, students have worked closely with everyone in their class. Study groups in the first year are also assigned by the MBA Program Office to ensure a balance of professional expertise and background diversity. One twist on the typical section model is that during first year, study groups change each term. In the second year, students can pick their elective courses and their study groups.

Core Classes

Tuck provides a solid general management curriculum in the first year to prepare its students for any role in business. Recognized for its academic rigor, Tuck’s 32-week first year core is longer than at other schools. In addition to the core classes below, first year students participate in the aforementioned group project and can select two elective courses in the Spring Term.

In some instances, students who can prove a level of proficiency in a specific subject may receive an exemption from a core class. These waivers are granted on a case-by-case basis by the Tuck faculty after review of any relevant certificates of proficiency (e.g., a CPA can opt out of accounting) or tests administered by the faculty and discussion.

Course Enrollment
At the end of the first year, Tuck distributes a list of upcoming electives for the second year. Students can rank courses in which they are interested. Based on interest levels, Tuck will sometimes provide a second section of a popular course. While Tuck can guarantee that students will get to take the courses that interest them the most, they cannot guarantee a specific professor. This is one of the huge benefits to Tuck’s small size and personalized approach, as students are not forced to run through the bidding gauntlet or lottery systems present at so many other top schools.

Today’s installment was clipped from our Tuck Annual Report, one of 15 guides to the world’s top business schools, available for purchase on our site. If you’re ready to start building your own application for Tuck or other top MBA programs, call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions consultant today!

Six Must-Have Classes at Stanford GSB

Stanford GSB GuideContinuing our series of admissions insights clipped from Veritas Prep’s Annual Reports, our in-depth insider’s guides to 15 of the world’s top business schools, this week we take a look at six classes that are universally popular among Stanford GSB students. (Our Annual reports are absolutely free with registration, but we thought we’d share some snippets here to help get you started in your Stanford research.)

Among Stanford GSB students, there are a handful of courses that are considered a “must” in order to have the full GSB experience. Not surprisingly, many of the top courses are related to entrepreneurship and venture capital, although there are a few that fall outside of that scope:

  • Entrepreneurship and Venture Capitalwith Peter Wendell, Andrew Rachleff, and Eric Schmidt. Peter C. Wendell is the founder and a Managing Director of Sierra Ventures and has been recognized by Forbes magazine as one of the top 100 technology venture investors in the United States. The class is co-taught by Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Andy Rachleff, founding General Partner of Benchmark Capital. This is one of the top classes at the GSB and provides an opportunity for second-year MBAs to learn about all aspects of the venture capital business from industry giants. This is a class known for its strong guest speakers and engaging class discussion. Also, the all-star faculty of entrepreneurship and Venture Capital is often willing to go to lunch with students after class.
  • Managing Growing Enterprises with Professor Harold Grousebeck. Professor Grousebeck founded Continental Cablevision, where he served as Chairman until 1985, has served on numbers nonprofit and corporate boards, and is a principal owner of the Boston Celtics. His course places MBA students in the role of CEO and challenges them to deal with difficult managerial situations through a process assessment, prescription, and execution, including frequent role-playing. He brings a mixture of industry credibility and an engaging teaching style to the class, which sets the tone and brings out the best in his students. Grousebeck is well-known for coldcalling in almost every class. This course is a common “Round Zero” pick for Stanford students.
  • Entrepreneurship and the Formation of New Ventures with Professor Garth Saloner and Professor Jim Phills. Professor Saloner is one of only two faculty members to twice win the Distinguished Teaching Award at the GSB, first in 1993 and again in 2008. He was recently named as the GSB’s new Dean and was instrumental in designing the new curriculum. His focus is e-commerce, entrepreneurship, strategy and strategic management. He teaches the Entrepreneurship course with Jim Phills, who is the Director of the Center for Social Innovation at the GSB. There is another section of this course taught by Andrew Rachleff (another GSB favorite) which is more “tech heavy,” but Garth Saloner is one of the best teachers at Stanford. Professors Saloner and Ellis are known to bring in a formidable line-up of speakers, many of whom are “GSB traditions” who visit year after year.
  • Investment Management and Entrepreneurial Finance with Professor John McDonald. Professor McDonald is known internationally for his work on investment in the context of global equity markets. He is one of the first professors to serve as vice chairman of NASDAQ, and also represented the public’s interest on the Board of Governors of the National Association of Securities Dealers in Washington, D.C. His private equity, venture capital and principal investing courses are some of the best at the GSB and provide insight into the grown of Silicon Valley and other venture capital hotbeds. This is not a technical finance course, but an opportunity for students to listen some of the best financial minds in the industry. It has been described by some students as one of the best finance speaker series in the world.
  • Entrepreneurial Design for Extreme Affordability with Professor James Patell, Professor David Beach, and Professor David Kelly. This relatively new course, offered in conjunction with the Stanford School of Design (“d.school”), is quickly becoming one of the top course offerings at the GSB. It is difficult to get into and requires an application. However, the professors teaching the course are very enthusiastic and this helps create a great classroom atmosphere. Professor Patell is one of the seven core founding faculty of the d.school. He also served as the GSB’s Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 1985 through 1991, and was Director of the MBA program from 1986 through 1988. The class takes place over two quarters. While the coursework is exceptionally demanding, it is known to be one of the most rewarding classes at the GSB because the work results in a tangible output and
    students get the experience of working on a project with a multidisciplinary team. Each year, several class projects are taken forward and have real-world impact. In 2006, a team won the Draper Fisher Jurvetson Venture Challenge and $250,000. They launched their company, d.light designs, in June
  • Interpersonal Dynamics. While its name marks it as one of the “softer” classes at the GSB, Interpersonal Dynamics (aka “Touchy-Feely”) is a perennial favorite of GSB students. Almost all MBAs take this course at some point during their second year, with most taking it during the spring. If you have ever heard a GSB alumnus talking about their “t-group”, then you know it is a not-to-be-missed part of the Stanford GSB experience. Interpersonal Dynamics is offered as part of the Stanford GSB’s leadership curriculum and is focused on improving the way managers and individuals communicate.

Today’s blog post was clipped from our Stanford GSB Annual Report, one of 15 guides to the world’s top business schools, available for purchase on our site. If you’re ready to start building your own application for Stanford, Harvard, Wharton, or any other top MBA programs, call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions consultant today!

Four Things That Set MIT Sloan Apart

Business School GuidesContinuing our series of admissions insights clipped from Veritas Prep’s Annual Reports, our in-depth insider’s guides to 15 of the world’s top business schools, this week we look at four things that make MIT Sloan’s MBA program unique among top business schools. (Our Annual reports are absolutely free with registration, but we thought we’d share some snippets here to help get you started in your MIT Sloan research.)

To help you get started with your Sloan application strategy, our MBA admissions consultants have pulled together five things you really should know about the school before you apply. Take these all into account when you start planning your Sloan application:


The MIT Sloan approach to the business school education can be summarized with the Institute’s motto, “mens et manus”, or “mind and hand.” Both in and out of the classroom, it is very much a part of Sloan culture to learn by doing. MIT Sloan wants its students to not only possess a deep understanding of business management theories, but to also be well equipped to execute the practical application of these concepts. Below are some of the key elements of the MIT Sloan experience:
  • Action-based Learning: While case studies and lectures have their place in the Sloan curriculum, there is an emphasis on action-based learning (commonly referred to at other programs as “experiential learning”) as being one of the best ways to learn important business management lessons. Sloan offers a host of project based “lab” classes focused on global entrepreneurship, innovation, and sustainability, which pair student teams with companies and organizations around the world. The faculty also embraces the idea of learning by doing, whether piloting experimental classes to share their ground-breaking research, or making significant adjustments to flagship courses based on student and partner feedback. Going beyond theoretical discussion to take action is a deeply engrained aspect of the MIT Sloan culture.
  • Collaboration: A lesser-known fact among many potential applicants is that MIT Sloan enjoys a deeply collaborative culture. From the first moments of the intense “Core Semester” experience, to the launch of fledgling start-ups upon graduation, the desire to work with and help out fellow students is shared by most Sloan students throughout their MBA experience. Sloan views the art of developing high-performing teams as crucial to addressing today’s business challenges, and strives to cultivate effective teams and leaders through action-based learning in the field.
  • Entrepreneurship and Self-direction: The MIT Sloan MBA program is customizable, allowing for each student to focus on developing specific leadership and analytical skill sets, while pursuing unique set of interests. Following the rigorous and intense experience of the first-semester Core, students are given the remaining 75 percent of their time at Sloan to craft their own curriculum. Sloan students tend to be proactive, creative, and comfortable with ambiguity. These entrepreneurial traits are all helpful in this environment, where each individual student has a higher degree of responsibility of making the most of their time at Sloan.
  • Global Focus: The school boasts a well-respected global curriculum and actively seeks to further expand the MIT Sloan name and network around the world. Over the course of the two-year MBA program, most students will travel internationally as part of a Sloan sponsored project or trip, or on a student-organized event.

Today’s installment was clipped from our MIT Sloan Annual Report, one of 15 guides to the world’s top business schools, available for purchase on our site. If you’re ready to start building your own application for MIT Sloan or other top MBA programs, call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today!

Five Things that Make Haas Unique

Business School GuidesThe third round deadline for UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business is still a few weeks away, but there’s still plenty of time for you to craft a winning application. Continuing our series of admissions insights clipped from Veritas Prep’s Annual Reports, our in-depth guides to 15 of the world’s top business schools, this week we look at a few of Haas’s distinguishing characteristics. (Our Annual reports are absolutely free — all you have to do is register to access all of them — but we thought we’d share some snippets here to help get you started in your Haas research.)

  • The Haas Culture: An emphasis on collaboration inside and outside of the classroom is the cornerstone of the Haas experience. Small groups are formed in practically all classes, allowing students to exercise different team roles based on their interests and areas of expertise. Versatility is often a prized attribute of Haas students in the eyes of employers, and is one reason why the school tends to enjoy such success placing graduates into a broad range of industries and functions.
  • Technology: One of Haas’ truly distinctive elements is the school’s focus on technology and its ability to place students into the tech industry. Haas sends 30% of each graduating class into the tech sector, which is not only the highest percentage among elite business schools, but is also twice that of the next closest programs (Ross and MIT Sloan). This emphasis, combined with Berkeley’s tradition for innovation, leads to truly unique programs such as the school’s latest push for the commercialization of clean technology. Student members of the Berkeley Energy and Resources Collaborative have teamed up with scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) to create a program called Cleantech to Market (C2M) which sends five student teams out each year to study the commercial opportunities that might arise out of the various clean energy technologies under development at LBNL.
  • Leading Through Innovation: One of the principles that a visiting student is likely to encounter at Haas is the idea of “Leading Through Innovation.” Born out of current dean Rich Lyon’s time as the Chief Learning Officer at Goldman Sachs, the Haas approach to developing leadership is to establish confidence without breeding attitude. The school accomplishes this by providing a combination of theoretical and experiential learning opportunities that develops strong confidence and judgment for real-life situations. The experiential learning offerings at Haas range from the “Haas@Work” program, which puts student groups into actual company projects, to the International Business Development (IBD) program, a global management consulting initiative. Overall, Haas provides students with two overlapping skill sets: an ongoing emphasis on leadership and a toolkit of knowledge and relationships that provide the foundation for effective decision making.
  • Social Responsibility: Haas prides itself on being the preeminent educational institution for research, teaching, experiential learning, and community outreach in areas of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Woven into the core curriculum, Haas offers more than a dozen different programs and initiatives around social responsibility and business sustainability.
  • Global Reach: Nearly every business school currently espouses a “global perspective,” but Haas is one of the few that combines its international focus with its emphasis on experiential learning. IBD places students (the number of spaces in the program is set to double, from 80 to 160 per year) in all corners of the world for a three-week consulting project. This program allows students to confront and solve business challenges in unknown business settings, forcing the students to apply innovative thinking and problem solving skills while developing a global business mindset.

This advice was clipped from our Haas Annual Report, one of 15 guides to the world’s top business schools, available for purchase on our site. If you’re ready to start building your own application for Haas or other top MBA programs, call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today!

A Closer Look at Wharton’s First-Year Core Classes

Wharton MBA Guide
Continuing our series of admissions insights clipped from Veritas Prep’s Annual Reports, our in-depth insider’s guides to 15 of the world’s top business schools, this week we take a closer look at Wharton’s first-year core MBA curriculum. (Our Annual reports are absolutely free with registration, but we thought we’d share some snippets here to help get you started in your Wharton research.)

Like most top business schools, The Wharton School aims to lay a strong foundation in general management that will prepare students to face a range of business issues throughout their careers. First-year students are required to attend a one-month “Pre-Term” session prior to the official start of the school year. Pre-Term, which begins in late-July or early-August each year, features several introductory and review courses in financial accounting, microeconomics, statistics, and financial analysis. There is also an optional math review course offered to those students whose math skills are rusty or who never took a college level calculus or statistics course.


The idea of Pre-Term is to level the playing field and ensure that there is a common knowledge base on which to build over the course of the program. In addition to the academic elements of Pre-Term, there is also a two-day, off-campus retreat designed to introduce students to members of their learning team and to begin the practice of leading in a peer environment.

Beyond Pre-Term, The first year is defined by the core curriculum, which all students are required to take. Wharton operates on a quarter system, with most courses lasting only a quarter and some the full semester (combination of quarter one and quarter two, or Q1 and Q2). The core-curriculum is divided into three areas: Leadership Essentials, Analytical Foundations, and Core Business Fundamentals.

Earning a Wharton MBA requires a minimum of 19 credit units (referred to as “cu’s” around Wharton) of graduate-level courses. There is flexibility within that requirement to take up to 4 cu outside of the Wharton program and students may also waive out of most (although not all) of the core courses on the basis of prior coursework or experience in a given subject. Students can waive course in one of two ways: by waiver application and through the waiver exam process. All waived credits, however, must be replaced by electives to meet the minimum 19cu requirement. Roughly 65 percent of first-year students waive out of at least one core course, which allows them to take advantage of one of over 200 electives offered.

In addition to the core courses, first year students can also pursue the optional Global Immersion elective, which is a four-week immersion experience in one of several different regions of the world immediately following the spring semester of the first year. Once all core course requirements have been satisfied, students can begin to explore the roughly 200 elective offerings across 19 different majors. This typically begins in the second year, but should a student waive out of courses in the first year, those credit units can be satisfied with electives.

Today’s blog post was clipped from our Wharton Annual Report, one of 15 guides to the world’s top business schools, available for purchase on our site. If you’re ready to start building your own application for Wharton or other top MBA programs, call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today!

Six Professors You Should Know at Columbia Business School

Business School Guides
Continuing our series of admissions insights clipped from Veritas Prep’s Annual Reports, our in-depth insider’s guides to 15 of the world’s top business schools, this week we look at six of Columbia Business School’s most popular professors. (Our Annual reports are absolutely free with registration, but we thought we’d share some snippets here to help get you started in your Columbia research.)

Every top-tier business school has its list of star faculty whom the students adore. The Columbia faculty is populated with many prominent business leaders, researchers, and teachers. Among Columbia students, there are a handful of professors who are considered a “must” to have for a class, due to their reputation both as educators and as experts:


Must-Have Professors at Columbia Business School
  • Bruce Greenwald, Robert Heilbrunn Professor of Finance and Asset Management. Among Columbia’s luminaries, few professors have reached the rock star or guru level of Finance Professor Bruce Greenwald. In addition to being the leading authority on value investing — or, as the New York Times put it, “the guru to the wall street gurus” –

Five Things You Should Know When Applying to the Kellogg School of Management

Business School Guides
The Kellogg School of Management’s Round 2 deadline is a little more than a month away, but there’s still plenty of time for you to craft a winning application. Continuing our series of admissions insights clipped from Veritas Prep’s Annual Reports, our in-depth insider’s guides to 15 of the world’s top business schools, this week we look at a few factors that make Kellogg unique among top business schools. (Our Annual reports are absolutely free — all you have to do is register to access all of them — but we thought we’d share some snippets here to help get you started in your Kellogg research.)

To help you with your planning, our MBA admissions consultants have pulled together five things you really should know about Kellogg before you apply. Some are more obvious than others, but all are important things that mark the Kellogg experience:

  • The Kellogg Culture. The emphasis on teamwork inside and outside of the classroom is the hallmark of the Kellogg experience, and is the foundation for the rest of the school

Three Things that Harvard Business School Looks For

Harvard Business School GuideHarvard Business School’s Round 2 deadline is still almost two months away, but we know that thousands of applicants are already gearing up for their Round 2 HBS applications. We thought this would be a good time to share some snippets from Veritas Prep’s Annual Reports, our in-depth insider’s guides to 15 of the world’s top business schools. Our Annual reports are absolutely free — all you have to do is register to access all of them — but we thought we’d share some snippets here to help get you started in your HBS research.

Today we break down the main characteristics that HBS looks for in its applicants. Obviously, HBS is highly selective and can afford to look for “perfect” candidates. In addition to the common metrics such as GPA and GMAT score, the school specifies a handful of qualities and traits that it seeks in an applicant.

Three things that HBS looks for may seem obvious, but are all extremely important in successfully applying to the school:

  • Habit of Leadership. As mentioned in the HBS Approach, the business school is highly focused on leadership. Professional leadership experience is the most common and transferable, but extracurricular, personal, and community leadership accomplishments and qualities are recognized as well.
  • Capacity for Intellectual Growth. This is the portion of the HBS admissions process that puts a candidate’s undergraduate performance (reputation of institution, major, course work, GPA, trends, and so on) and GMAT scores under a microscope, to ensure that the candidate can thrive in the demanding case method-based courses. While HBS does not state a preferred major or career path, it demands a comfort with and aptitude for quantitative, analytical, and communication skills.
  • Engaged Community Citizenship. This element is as simple as it sounds: HBS is looking for people who have shown the ability to impact their communities and who will continue to do so both as a student and an alumnus. While this can be demonstrated in a host of settings and ways, paramount is a sincere commitment to helping others, viewed as an integral component of the responsibilities of leadership.

While demonstrating all three of these attributes won’t guarantee that you’ll earn a spot at Harvard Business School, NOT demonstrating these traits is a sure way not to gain admission. Think carefully about how persuasively you can demonstrate all of these attributes when you build your HBS application.

Today’s installment was clipped from our HBS Annual Report, one of 15 guides to the world’s top business schools, available for purchase on our site. If you’re ready to start building your own candidacy, call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today!

HBS Dean Jay Light on Harvard's Class Size


On Monday The Harbus ran an interview with HBS Dean Jay Light, covering a variety of important topics ranging from the school’s push abroad to Harvard’s reaction to the recent financial crisis. Most interesting for business school applicants, though, was Light’s answer to a question about whether or not HBS plans to increase its class size any time soon.

A question about rumors that HBS will add another section and expand to 1,000 students per class seemed to touch a nerve with Light:


So facts-so let’s talk some facts. Typically, we target 900 to 910 students. I don’t see the class size increasing to anywhere near 1,000. This year the target was 2% higher, and we have about 937, for a few reasons:

First of all, the number of applications we had was up, with great quality applicants. The first round last year was up 25%. So we said wow, our admit rate is going to be one of the lowest we’ve had; does that make sense?

Secondly, we needed to because of what was going on in the financial markets and the endowment, to cut back on expenditures in the budget. So the question is, how do you reduce the net expenses of the MBA program while still holding fellowships steady? And our solution was to admit a few more students, and that allows you to keep the fellowships. In fact, we increased fellowships by $1 million last year. It was not necessarily an easy thing to do.

We appreciate the fact that he acknowledged that increasing the class size (and bringing in more tuition-paying students) helped HBS cover some budget issues. This is something that was widely assumed, and even given Harvard’s financial might, there’s no shame in admitting that the school needed to make some moves to improve its financial situation, as long as the product doesn’t suffer.

Light went on to say that it’s unlikely that HBS will add an 11th section any time soon, but he acknowledged that it’s something they “talk about all the time.” He even added that they in fact did consider adding a section, but decided against it this year.

Light explained that a classroom with 80-100 students is in fact more ideal than one containing 60 students. While Harvard Business School certainly knows the case study method better than anyone, this argument does seem a bit self-serving… If the school ever were to drop its class size, we could see them easily rolling out a new argument that they’ve found that 60 students is in fact the ideal size for a case-oriented classroom.

Ultimately, given the addition of the HBS 2+2 Program students and the continued growth in applicants to all top business schools, we expect that HBS will eventually add an additional section. 1,000 students is probably a mark that HBS will reach sooner rather than later.

For more information on applying to Harvard Business School, download Veritas Prep’s free HBS Annual Report, which gives you in-depth information on life at HBS. And, be sure to follow us on Twitter!

Five New Annual Reports Available!


Two weeks ago we introduced Veritas Prep Annual Reports, in-depth insider’s guides to the world’s most competitive MBA programs. We started out with ten Annual Reports, and at the time we said that there were five more on the way. Those five are now available for free download!

The new reports cover:

  • Duke (Fuqua)
  • Berkeley (Haas)
  • INSEAD
  • Dartmouth (Tuck)
  • Yale


To purchase all 15 reports, just visit the Veritas Prep Annual Reports page. You’ll receive an email including your download link, which you can use to access the reports.

For more help in the MBA admissions process, visit veritasprep.com or call us at 800-925-7737 and speak with an admissions expert today!

Why We Created Veritas Prep Annual Reports


This past Friday we announced the launch of the best resource that we’ve ever created for business school applicants: Veritas Prep Annual Reports, in-depth guides to ten of the world’s top business (with five more soon to follow).

Response has been phenomenal so far, with hundreds and hundreds of reports already downloaded. While we thrilled with (and humbled by) how quickly they’ve taken off, we’ve received these questions a few times already: Why did we create our Annual Reports? How are these different from what’s already “out there,” on school web sites, in brochures, etc.? The answer is simple: When you research multiple top schools, pretty quickly they all start to sound the same. And, believe it or not, the schools themselves often unwittingly contribute to this problem!

In the MBA admissions process, a lot of emphasis is placed on knowing yourself — your personal beliefs, your philosophy in how you approach your work, and your post-MBA plans and dreams all contribute to the case that you build in your MBA applications. This emphasis is well placed, since there’s no way to truly show admissions officers who you are (and make them want to admit you) without first understanding what makes you tick.

While many applicants fail to demonstrate enough self-awareness, the challenge that you’re even more likely underestimate is building a deep enough understanding of each of the business schools in which you are interested. Think about it: You have had more than 20 years to get to know yourself, and although self-reflection is challenging and sometimes uncomfortable exercise, you have plenty of material to work with. When researching business schools, though, you’re probably starting from scratch.

Perhaps you start your research by looking at U.S. News & World Report’s or BusinessWeek’s business school rankings. Then maybe you ask around and see what your friends and family members think about the schools

Introducing Veritas Prep Annual Reports!


Today we introduce an important new resource for business school applicants: Veritas Prep Annual Reports, in-depth insider’s guides to the world’s top MBA programs, available for purchase immediately.

While there’s no shortage of available information about the most competitive business schools, what we’ve found is that most of these schools tend to talk about the exact same things: “A global perspective… An integrated curriculum… Leadership… Hands-on learning…” Read any school web site or brochure, and you’re sure to come away with at least two or three of the same traits or features. But they can’t all really be the same, right?

That’s where our new Annual Reports come in.


We’ve put our entire admissions consulting team to work to dig deep and find what makes each school unique: What are the school’s strongest academic programs? What kind of student tends to thrive there? Who are some of the program’s most popular courses and professors? And, maybe most importantly if you’re an applicant trying to get into one of these schools: What qualities does the admissions office look for in its applicants?

Each report contains the combined knowledge of multiple admissions experts, current students, and recent alumni from a top business school. We’ve named them “Annual Reports” to demonstrate their timeliness — every year we will update each report to reflect the latest news and trends at each school.

Today we launch our Annual Reports for ten top MBA programs:

  • Chicago Booth
  • Columbia
  • Harvard
  • Kellogg
  • MIT Sloan
  • NYU Stern
  • Michigan (Ross)
  • Stanford
  • Wharton
  • UCLA Anderson

… And five more will soon follow!

All you need to do is visit the Veritas Prep Annual Reports page and chosoe which reports you want to purchase. You’ll receive an email including your download link, which you can use to access the reports. As we add more reports, check back and you will be able to access all of them.

For more help in the MBA admissions process, visit veritasprep.com or call us at 800-925-7737 and speak with an admissions expert today!