With the recent release of 2015 MBA applications, you may be considering trying again at a school where you were rejected last year. Schools are generally encouraging with re-applicants, but it’s a good idea to also come up with a plan B for this go-round. It’s fine to re-apply to your dream school, but you if you happen to get rejected again, you need to have a fallback this time — a program you’d be satisfied attending even if it’s not your top choice.
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One thing we generally recommend to clients is to use a matrix to ensure you are communicating a balance of core essentials to the admissions committees. If you use this approach, you will be much more organized as you apply and will also be able to quickly ascertain where you may be coming up short. How does this work? We view the four core essentials of a perfect application as the following: Leadership, Innovation, Maturity, and Teamwork. These are the four critical areas that all business schools desire to see in their applicants.
The process of applying to business school involves several steps: filling out an admissions application, writing an essay, and submitting GMAT or GRE scores are just a few of them. Another important step is the admissions interview. An interview allows business school admissions officials to get a look at the student behind the application. It also gives students the chance to ask the admissions officials a few questions about the school and it’s MBA program.
With the recent changes in the 2015 Harvard Business School application, it is clear that shortening the number of essays is a trend that is here to stay. With only one essay again on the HBS application this year, it is becoming more important than ever to not only communicate effectively and concisely, but also to leverage the balance of the application (and of course the interview) to stand out from the crowd.
Collectively, you and everyone you graduated with from your institution are alumni. Alumni is the latin plural form of a word that originally meant foster son or pupil. Everyone who graduated from your school is a former pupil or “foster son” (or daughter) of that institution. You might even have a sticker on your car that says “State U Alumni,” which is a nod to everyone who graduated as an entire group, male and female alike.
Deciding when to apply to business school can often get applicants twisted up, as they attempt to inject strategy into the process. We can speak more specifically to this strategy in another post, but it also makes sense to talk about early action. It seems more and more schools have an early action option which throws yet another wrench in the round one vs. round two vs. round three discussion.
This time of year, the biggest question I get from clients seems to be which business schools they should be targeting for application. We understand that with so many choices out there, both domestically (in the US) and internationally, it can be a bit overwhelming. Time and time again, we find ourselves having to remind everyone of the one key word to focus on when choosing schools: FIT.
Application season at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business is officially underway with the release of the school’s 2015-2016 essay questions. Let’s discuss from a high level some early thoughts on how best to approach these new essay prompts. With all of your essays for Fuqua, treat your responses holistically and try to paint a complete picture of your candidacy. This post will focus on the actual required essay prompts but keep in mind, Fuqua does also have three required short answers focused on career goals, so it makes sense to limit those discussions to that that section.
With a fairly consistent test format for more than fifty years, the Graduate Management Admissions Council revamped the test a couple of years ago with new assessments. Most recently, the Integrated Reasoning Section, a 30-minute portion of the GMAT made up of 12 questions, was designed to measure one’s ability to discern patterns and combine verbal and quantitative reasoning so solve problems.
So many applicants these days look alike on paper in terms of experience, education, test scores and outside involvement, that even highly qualified candidates get lost in the shuffle. We all think we’re pretty unique until we find out that the next guy also volunteered at a similar NGO, or was promoted to VP before his colleagues. Particularly if you come from a feeder industry such as banking, finance or technology/engineering, it gets harder every year to stand out.
Applying to business school can be a very daunting experience for the uninitiated. With so many different programs, specialties, and teaching styles, knowing how to get started in the process is an area that many applicants struggle with. Should you start with school research or extra coursework? Ordering your transcripts from your undergrad institution or reaching out to current students for a chat?
Application season at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business is officially underway with the release of the school’s 2015-2016 MBA admission essay questions. Let’s discuss from a high level some early thoughts on how best to approach these new essay prompts. There is only one required essay question this year, but an additional “optional” essay that candidates should strongly consider addressing is also presented.
Application season at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business is officially underway with the release of the school’s 2015-2016 essay questions. Let’s discuss from a high level some early thoughts on how best to approach these new essay prompts. With all of your essays for Tuck, treat your responses holistically and try to paint a complete picture of your candidacy within the school-specific suite of essay questions.
One of the biggest complaints admissions committees have with submitted packages is the lack of school-specific references within an application. MBA programs are looking for applicants to showcase why their school is uniquely tailored to help the applicant reach their development goals – what schools receive instead are ill-tailored, non-customized packages that don’t distinguish one candidate from the next.
Schools have gotten increasingly stingy over the years on how much information they are willing to accept from applicants. Partly due to the increase in applications to top schools (making it onerous to review everyone’s application in full), and partly due to the wide range of responses schools were receiving (making it difficult to compare applicants), the overall application, including the essay word counts, has been trimmed.
Application season at the Haas School of Business is officially underway with the release of the school’s 2015-2016 essay questions. Let’s discuss from a high level some early thoughts on how best to approach these new essay prompts. Haas has three required essays, so keep in mind how you plan to balance out your narratives across them all.
Application season at the Yale School of Management is officially underway with the release of the school’s 2015-2016 essay question. Let’s discuss from a high level some early thoughts on how best to approach this year’s single essay prompt from Yale:
The Yale School of Management educates individuals who will have deep and lasting impacts on the organizations they lead. Describe how you have positively influenced an organization as an employee, a member, or an outside constituent (500 words maximum).
Obtaining an MBA degree is one of the most transformative experiences that a businessperson can undertake. Many articles are written that tout the value of this degree, with current MBA students and alums reflecting on the beneficial impact business school has had on both their professional and personal lives and all of the good reasons one should pursue an MBA. But is this degree for everyone?
I currently work at a top business school and am therefore able to keep my finger right on the pulse of b-school trends. Earlier this week, I had a discussion with our Director of Admissions about the GRE. It seems that over the past several years, there has been a subtle migration away from GMAT exclusivity among the top b-schools for several reasons.
In many of the great business school application essays, candidates who are able to leverage creative writing tactics as the baseline for their essay responses create breakthrough essays. Now business school essays should remain polished and professional, but breakthrough essays tend to create a compelling and visual portrait of the situation and circumstances addressed with a response to an essay prompt.
Before you start, take a look at Part I of this series.
When reapplying, one of the most valuable things you can utilize is feedback on why you didn’t make the cut last time. Some schools will actually provide this information if you ask for it, so don’t be shy about reaching back to them. If you are applying to a school in the top 10, you may not be able to get specifics from the admissions teams on why you didn’t get in due simply to the number of applications they receive, but you can still seek this information from outside sources by confiding in a colleague or contact who has their MBA or perhaps some insight into the process.
So, you got dinged last year from your dream school(s) and instead of settling for your second or third choice (or fourth or fifth as may be the case), you have decided to hold fast to your MBA dream and re-apply to the same school(s) again this year. Recognizing you are likely scarred, but smarter, there are still a few things you should know before diving in.
Applying to business school is one of the most involved application processes in graduate education. Other programs focus on standardized tests, or your academic record and others your professional accomplishments but business schools evaluate all aspects of a candidate’s profile. With so much on the table for evaluation it can be easy for an applicant to come up short in one or more different areas.
Application season at the Kellogg School of Management is officially underway with the release of the school’s 2015-2016 essay questions. Let’s discuss from a high level some early thoughts on how best to approach these new essay prompts.
Application season at MIT Sloan is officially underway with the release of the school’s 2015-2016 essay question. Let’s discuss from a high level some early thoughts on how best to approach these new essay prompts.
There is only one essay question for MIT Sloan so it is critical that applicants make the most of the limited real estate available here.
Lots of folks ask about quitting their jobs when applying to business school. I understand the desire to do so, since there are many reasons people take off from work, including taking some time off for travel, pursuing something new professionally, and preparing for the GMAT or other academic endeavors to get you ready for the b-school plunge. Whether or not this will affect how the admissions committees look at your application depends on many factors, the most important of which are what specifically you are doing and why you are doing it.
Application season at Columbia Business School is officially underway with the release of the school’s 2015-2016 essay questions. Let’s discuss from a high level some early thoughts on how best to approach these new essay prompts.
This is a question we get every year, as candidates walk away from their GMAT test date wide-eyed and shocked that their score came in 50 points under all their practice exams.
You will surely hear over and over, that the GMAT is only a portion of your application, albeit a fairly important one. We have seen firsthand that top schools are not always lenient on incoming scores because the average GMAT has a big impact on the schools’ rankings and they can’t afford to slip from the coveted top 10 or 20 slots they so desperately try to hold. Even lower tiered schools are beginning to see their GMAT scores climb, and every school likes to see their average score go up each year. Last year, Stanford’s average topped 729!
Networking your way into business school can be a tricky road. Recognize that in the corporate world, it’s all about who you know. When it comes to acceptance into an academic program, there are some dos and don’ts. If you are friendly with the Dean, it is certainly fine to meet with them to explore what they think are good qualities to highlight, what they see as desirable traits for successful applicants, etc., but I would stop way short of asking for a favor specifically regarding your admission.
Over the past five years or so, more business schools have been jumping on the GRE bandwagon by accepting either a GMAT or a GRE score. The percentage of candidates to top MBA programs who apply with only a GRE score is growing, but it’s still very small — less than 5% at most schools.
This leads many candidates to wonder how applying with a GRE score may be viewed by MBA admissions committees.
So you’ve decided to try the presentation for the Booth MBA application. Now what?
A simple question accompanied by a blank canvas to start with can be daunting. It helps to have a structured process in place to put your ideas together, while still leaving plenty of room for creativity. When I work with my clients, I take them through a very simple process to help them think about the content for the pages that will ultimately answer the question “Who are you?”
As with most things in life, preparation is key. The more time you have to prepare for something the better the result tends to be. Applying to business school is no different. The majority of candidates will wait to the last month before the deadlines to begin preparing to complete their applications.
Application season begins in earnest after each year’s applications are processed, and admissions offers are made and filled. While schools continue to tweak their student body starting in the fall, filling gaps and chasing yield, for the most part, by early summer, they are busy getting ready to launch the next season’s application information. Generally, most schools release their applications in July, so until the new admissions essay questions are announced and any changes in application instructions are rolled out, applicants often find themselves playing the waiting game.
So you want to go to business school? Unlike many other graduate level degrees business schools scrutinize applicants across a wide array of criteria. Scoring high on an exam or even applying with a high GPA will not guarantee an applicant admission. The assessment process can be very complicated and involved and often leaves applicants confused when trying to determine how best to position their candidacy for target programs. Admissions teams will assess candidates across seven areas using data from within these categories to create a holistic perspective of an applicant. The seven key assessment areas are listed below:
So you finally got those pesky business school applications out of the way and after a few weeks of waiting, you receive the great news that you’ve been invited to interview with your dream school. Now, on the prep side you have it all together, you are ready to ace your interview but with one not so minor question. What to wear!
Hiring an admissions consultant is a great way to make sure you produce the best possible business school application possible, leveraging the inside knowledge and experience from someone who has been through the process successfully many, many times. Yet, working with an expert does not mean that you can take a back seat and put things on cruise control.