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Is a 650 GMAT Score Good Enough for a Top 10 MBA Program?

Is a 650 GMAT Score Good Enough for a Top 10 MBA Program?

It goes without saying that the GMAT is a challenging test.  Weeks of preparation boils down to just a few hours sitting in front of a glowing screen, attempting to demonstrate your aptitude for business school, which is supposedly what the test is designed to measure.  Despite your best efforts to get a seven-handle on your score, however, you end up in the mid sixes. Will this be good enough to get into your dream school?

Filed in: GMAT, MBA Admissions
INSEAD Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2013-2014

INSEAD Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2013-2014

Rounding out our look at applications at the top business schools this year, today we break down INSEAD’s application deadlines and essays for the 2013-2014 admissions season. INSEAD has made only very subtle tweaks to its essays this year, and the school has decided buck the trend and not to go the route of significantly cutting down its number of required essays. When a business school only makes subtle changes to its essays, that usually means that the admissions office likes what it’s been getting from applicants.

13 Dos and Don'ts for your MBA Application Essay

13 Dos and Don'ts for your MBA Application Essay

Got Writer’s Block?  We are here to help! It can be hard to tell your story in 500 words or less, but we are here to provide a few tips to help get you started in tackling your admissions essays.

Take a look at the Dos and the Don’ts of essay writing and let us know if you have any questions.

How Many Schools Should You Apply To?

How Many Schools Should You Apply To?

Deciding how many applications to submit is something everyone must do, but what are the criteria you are using to make this decision?  Despite a decrease in applications in 2011 and 2012 due to the bad economy, early signs are pointing to a rebound in applications this year, which means the competition will be tough.  Yes, even Harvard Business School saw a drop in applications in 2012 (about 4% fewer) but they do not expect this to be a lasting trend.  With a couple of years of down applications comes pent-up demand for an MBA,  so it is expected that applications will trend upwards for the next several years.  The MBA is more valuable than ever, with recent statistics showing only 4.3 percent of people with graduate degrees being unemployed.

How Much Time Should You Budget for Your MBA Applications?

How Much Time Should You Budget for Your MBA Applications?

Applying to business school can sometimes seem overwhelming.  In addition to working your full time job at a high level, impressing your boss and seeking challenges, you also must be involved in your community and simultaneously prepare for the GMAT as well as write several application essays—not even to mention tracking down the obscure summer semester transcript from that class you took away from your primary institution and also meeting with potential recommenders.   For this reason, it makes sense to get started on the process as soon as possible.

How to Ask a Professor for a Letter of Recommendation

How to Ask a Professor for a Letter of Recommendation

We frequently receive questions about recommendations, one of the most common of which is “should I use a professor as a recommender?”  The answer to this is not straightforward, and can be best encapsulated with “it depends.”

Most schools require two recommendations, and the typical approach is to use a current and former supervisor to do them.  But sometimes this is either not practical or not ideal, in which case it might make sense to approach a former professor.  After all, you did well in college and made a good impression.  In fact, you recall taking a couple of classes in your major from your favorite professor, who seemed to look favorably on you compared to your classmates.  But what if it’s been several years and despite your best intentions, you have not maintained contact with the professor?  This is not unusual, and don’t fret.   For tenure track faculty, it is likely they are still there, doing their thing, so tracking them down is usually not difficult.  Since professors see a lot of students come and go, despite your high performance in their class, it’s best to go visit in person.  Make an appointment via phone or email and get back to campus.

Smile! Another Business School Adds Video to the Application Process

Smile! Another Business School Adds Video to the Application Process

In the cinematic achievement Legally Blonde, loved by all millennials with a pulse, ditsy main character Elle Woods submits a provocative yet clever video as part of her application to Harvard.  Elle creatively demonstrates her achievements, her lifestyle and provides the admissions officers with a sense of her personality and potential.  The video certainly sets her apart from the other more muted and “stuffy” applicants and earns her a spot in the world’s most coveted university.  Ten years ago the idea of submitting a video to admissions officers certainly seemed daring, unconventional and bold.  But now, top MBA programs are actually requiring their applicants to do just that as part of the application process, including Yale School of Management and Kellogg School of Management.

5 Tips for Veterans Applying to Business School

5 Tips for Veterans Applying to Business School

So, you are looking to go back to school to earn your MBA and either plan for or facilitate your transition into a civilian role.   Here are a few tips on how to leverage your military experience into a successful business school application.

1)      Leadership, leadership, leadership

Should You Re-apply to Business School?

Should You Re-apply to Business School?

With the pending release of 2014 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.  Life is too short to spend three years trying to get into grad school, and if you haven’t been able to impress the committee for two years in a row, it may simply not be in the cards for you to go there.   Often we see clients becoming enamored with a particular school, when in reality, they could receive the same or very similar education and tools (and networks and contacts and jobs) from another school.  We are very much in favor of dogged determination, but at the end of the day, we want to see you get your MBA and not spend half your career applying to school.

The Secret of Applying to Business School Straight from Undergrad

The Secret of Applying to Business School Straight from Undergrad

This time of year is replete with many young candidates who want to apply to business school directly out of undergrad.  Is this possible?  In some cases, it is. But it depends on a few factors.

First, you must recognize that business schools are unique compared to other graduate schools mostly in that they generally require real world experience prior to matriculation.   If you think about Law School, Medical school or just about any other occupational education, it is most common to simply take on the degree as a continuation of your current academic career.  As a potential applicant to business school, however, you likely have noticed most schools have an average work experience figure approaching 5 years. 

4 Dimensions of a Perfect Applicant

4 Dimensions of a Perfect Applicant

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 it work?  We view the four core essentials of a perfect application as: Leadership, Innovation, Maturity, and Teamwork.  These are the four critical areas that all business schools desire to see in their applicants.

How to Decide if Early Action is Right for You

How to Decide if Early Action is Right for You

Deciding when to apply to 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.  More and more schools it seems have an early action option which throws yet another wrench in the round one vs. round two vs. round three discussion.

The 5 Minute Guide to Branding Yourself in MBA Applications

The 5 Minute Guide to Branding Yourself in MBA Applications

In business school we take classes called “marketing & brand management.”  In this class we learn how to create and sell a brand.  One of the most important things to do as we manage a brand is to create a unique selling proposition for the consumer which differentiates the brand from the competition by providing evidence of what makes the brand special and necessary.

How to Decide Which Business Schools to Target for Application

How to Decide Which Business Schools to Target for Application

This time of year, the biggest question from clients seems to be which MBA programs should they 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.

Kellogg Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2013-2014

Kellogg Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2013-2014

Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management has released its MBA application essays and deadlines for the 2013-2104 admissions season. To no one’s surprise, Kellogg is the latest top-ranked MBA program to drop a required essay from its application this year — the school now requires just three essays of first-time applicants. Kellogg has also reduced how many word limits in some cases. What is most interesting is that the essay that Kellogg dropped was a mere 25-word question that appeared on last year’s application. We liked that one, but apparently the Kellogg admissions team didn’t.

The Importance of Short Answer Questions in MBA Applications

The Importance of Short Answer Questions in MBA Applications

With the recent release of the 2014 HBS application, it is clear that shortening the number of essays is a trend that is here to stay for now. With only one essay 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.

The Winning Formula: MBA Applications

The Winning Formula: MBA Applications

As an MBA Admissions Consultant, an Adjunct Instructor at UCLA teaching MBA Admissions, and a college Professor, I am surprised that more MBA candidates applying to the top 20 business schools have not figured out the simple formula I followed when applying to business school 20 years ago:

MBA ACCEPTANCE = STRATEGY & PLANNING.

How Many Times Should You Take the GMAT?

How Many Times Should You Take the GMAT?

We often get asked by clients how many times they should take the GMAT before they move on to other components of the application.  Of course this largely depends on your score, but if you find yourself disappointed with your initial test results, you will generally want to try again.

Broadly speaking, schools don’t really care how many times you take the test, and will only consider your highest score.  Know that they won’t combine separate components into one score, but will consider your best overall score from one sitting as your “application score.”   Having said that, it is also generally agreed upon that schools don’t want to see applicants taking the exam a dozen times.  This can communicate negative qualities to the admission’s committee such as poor time management skills, slow learner syndrome, or good old fashioned poor judgment or misalignment of priorities.

What to Do with a Low GMAT Score

What to Do with a Low GMAT Score

One question we see from business school applicants every year is “My GMAT score was lower than I expected… What should I do now?” 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!

New Releases: Yale SOM, Duke Fuqua, & NYU Stern Admissions Preview 2013-2014

New Releases: Yale SOM, Duke Fuqua, & NYU Stern Admissions Preview 2013-2014

As schools continue to release admissions deadlines and essays for the 2013-2014 application season, Veritas Prep will periodically bring you a preview of what’s to come. Already, Yale SOM, Duke Fuqua, and NYU Stern have released their new application deadlines for the upcoming season, with Stern also releasing its application essay questions. Look below for the new deadlines and check back for more commentary next week!

I'm Waitlisted... Now What?

I'm Waitlisted... Now What?

Click here to read the intro to this blog series! Send your admissions questions to timeout[at]veritasprep[dot]com.

Dear Trav,
I was waitlisted to my top choice schools. What should I do, if anything, to follow up with these schools?
– 

Getting Letters of Recommendation from Your Current Supervisor

Getting Letters of Recommendation from Your Current Supervisor

Click here to read the intro to this blog series! Send your admissions questions to timeout[at]veritasprep[dot]com.

Dear Trav,
I want to change careers so my employer can’t know I’m applying to b-school. How should I navigate letters of recommendation if I can’t ask my direct supervisor for help?

3 Tips to Make Your Admissions Essay Stand Out

3 Tips to Make Your Admissions Essay Stand Out

Click here to read the intro to this blog series! Send your admissions questions to timeout[at]veritasprep[dot]com!

Dear Trav,
Do you have any tips for writing admissions essays about myself?

Application Tips from Harvard, Stanford, and More!

Application Tips from Harvard, Stanford, and More!

Click here to read the intro to this blog series! Send your admissions questions to timeout[at]veritasprep[dot]com!

Dear Trav,
I want to run my family’s business once I finish school. Is this a good story for my future goals?

Business School Applicants: Take the 2013 AIGAC Survey and Win $100!

Business School Applicants: Take the 2013 AIGAC Survey and Win $100!

Every other year, the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC) conducts 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.

Differentiating Finance Candidates

Differentiating Finance Candidates

Click here to read the intro to this blog series! Send your admissions questions to timeout[at]veritasprep.com!

Dear Trav,
I am a traditional finance guy. How can I best differentiate myself from everyone else who looks and sounds like me in an application?

The Reputation of Berkeley Haas

The Reputation of Berkeley Haas

Click here to read the intro to this blog series! Send your admissions questions to timeout@veritasprep.com!

Dear Trav,
What is the reputation of Berkeley Haas?
– 

The Game of MBA Admissions

The Game of MBA Admissions

That’s right.  I just called the MBA admissions process a Game.  And like all games, there are winners and there are losers.   Baseball Hall of Famers with the highest batting averages still strike out sometimes, and MVP Quarterbacks do fumble the ball and throw pick sixes now and again.   But they are experienced, they are trusted, and they are generally really darn good at what they do.

Timeout with Trav: Bombed HBS Interview

Timeout with Trav: Bombed HBS Interview

Click here to read the intro to this blog series! Send your admissions questions to timeout@veritasprep.com!

Dear Trav,
What happens if I bombed my HBS interview?
– 

How to Prepare for a Virtual Interview

How to Prepare for a Virtual Interview

Can’t make it to campus?  No time, no money, no problem!   While it’s not an ideal situation to be in, some people have virtual interviews instead of meeting with their admissions committee face to face. Here are some tips on making the virtual (Skype) interview work for you.

Timeout with Trav: Selecting the Right Program

Timeout with Trav: Selecting the Right Program

Send your admissions questions to timeout@veritasprep.com!

Dear Trav,
How can you best determine which school or program is right for you?

While we provide services on everything from resume reviews to essay feedback to mock interviews, perhaps the most important thing you can do to improve your chances of being admitted to your target MBA program is to select the right schools. This is probably the most valuable advice we can provide, and yet most candidates completely ignore it and simply apply to the top 5 schools of their rating publication of choice. This is a huge mistake!

Take a Close Look at Your Round 3 MBA Applications

Take a Close Look at Your Round 3 MBA Applications

So you are late in the game, and you want to apply for Round 3 deadlines….   What have you got to lose other than a couple hundred dollars and some hours of your time, right?  WRONG.   Think carefully before applying and this doesn’t just apply to the last round, but all rounds of application deadlines.

Now, Every Veritas Prep Student Gets a Free Myers-Briggs Assessment!

Now, Every Veritas Prep Student Gets a Free Myers-Briggs Assessment!

Here at Veritas Prep we never stop investing in making our GMAT prep courses and MBA admissions consulting services better. And, there’s nothing more rewarding than helping someone achieve a high score on the GMAT, and then also helping them perfect their applications and get into an MBA program they thought was only a dream. Today, we make all of our services even better. We’re excited to announce a new resource available to everyone in the Veritas Prep family.

Timeout with Trav: No Time for Extracurricular Activities

Timeout with Trav: No Time for Extracurricular Activities

Send your admissions questions to timeout@veritasprep.com!

Dear Trav,

My job requires me to work 80 hours a week so I have no time for extracurricular activities. How will that affect my candidacy?
– 

With so many candidates coming from Investment Banking and other industries that are notorious for long working hours, you’re certainly not alone. It’s important to understand why top-tier MBA admissions committees (Adcoms) look for extracurricular activities to know how to address a lack of them in your application.

Timeout with Trav: Starting a Business in College

Timeout with Trav: Starting a Business in College

Send your admissions questions to timeout@veritasprep.com!

Dear Trav,

I started my own business in college, but it didn’t pan out.  Should I mention this  in my application?

Timeout with Trav: Getting Laid Off

Timeout with Trav: Getting Laid Off

Send your admissions questions to timeout@veritasprep.com!

Dear Trav, 

I was laid off during the recession and out of work for about a year. How will that affect my candidacy?

Clearly, this would have been a huge challenge for you and I applaud your diligence in working to overcome it!  The global financial crisis affected millions of people—both well qualified and poorly qualified. Some industries were affected more than others, and if you were in an industry such as Finance or Real Estate, this may be fairly common. However, you will need to explain any gap in employment in the optional essay in your MBA application, and a yearlong gap will need a particularly thoughtful explanation.

Timeout with Trav: Retaking the GMAT

Timeout with Trav: Retaking the GMAT

Send your admissions questions to timeout@veritasprep.com!

Dear Trav,

My GMAT score was 700 (with a 99th percentile in quant, and a 60th percentile in verbal). Should I retake the exam?
– 

Congratulations on your 700 GMAT score!  I think people tend to think that getting a 700 is a piece of cake, but remember that only 1 in 10 test takers gets a 700+, and the population of GMAT takers is primarily college-educated, ambitious, smart people.  Top 10% is a tough crowd!

Filed in: GMAT, MBA Admissions
Timeout with Trav: Letters of Rec for MBA Applications

Timeout with Trav: Letters of Rec for MBA Applications

Send your admissions questions to timeout@veritasprep.com!

Dear Trav,
I run my own business and don’t have any managers. Who should I go to for letters of rec?
– 

We often hear that b-schools want a letter of recommendation from your current supervisor, period.  There are a number of circumstances where this is not possible, and running your own business is certainly one of them.  Fear not!  Admissions officers completely understand that you don’t have a direct supervisor, and they will not hold this against you.  Instead, you should be congratulated on starting and running your own business!  This shows a great deal of leadership ability, calculated risk taking and professional maturity, all of which are highly valued by MBA programs!

Timeout with Trav: An Older Candidate

Timeout with Trav: An Older Candidate

Send your admissions questions to timeout@veritasprep.com.

Dear Trav,

I want to apply for a full time MBA program, but I am 32 years old. Am I too old for this type of program?

Deciding whether your age will be a damaging factor to your b-school application is an important question!

Timeout with Trav: GMAT or GRE for Business School?

Timeout with Trav: GMAT or GRE for Business School?

Click here to read the intro to this new blog series! Send your admissions questions to timeout@veritasprep.com.

Dear Trav,