Archive : MBA Admissions

RSS feed
How to Connect with Your MBA Admissions Interviewer

How to Connect with Your MBA Admissions Interviewer

Interview season is well underway for Round 2 business school applicants, which means this is the time of year when we give our MBA admissions consulting clients a great deal of interview coaching. No amount of preparation will guarantee that your interview will go well, but there is plenty that you can do to improve your chances of success.

For one, it helps to know who will conduct your interview. As we have written before, interview styles tend to vary by interviewer type, with admissions officers conducting the most formal, directed interviews and alumni tending to be the most casual. However, no matter who interviews you, a few basic rules of engagement always apply.

Admissions 101: Getting Enthusiastic Letters of Recommendation (Part I)

Admissions 101: Getting Enthusiastic Letters of Recommendation (Part I)

Last week we wrote about how great letters of recommendation contain “Pound the Table!” levels of enthusiasm. It’s nice for your recommenders to write, “He’s a strong employee who will do well in the future,” but that doesn’t grab an MBA admissions officer by the collar and shout, “This person has ‘it,’ and you would be a fool not to admit him!” And that difference easily makes the difference between an admit and a rejection, or an admit and eternal waitlist purgatory.

“That’s all well and good,” you’re saying, “but how do I actually get my recommenders to convey this kind of enthusiasm in what they write?” There are a couple of things to ask yourself, and a couple of key steps to take to make sure that your recommenders understand the game, and do their utmost to help you get admitted. Today we’ll look at who in your life will be most likely to produce the kind of enthusiastic letters you need to get into a top-ten MBA program.

Admissions 101: Do Your Letters of  Recommendation Have This?

Admissions 101: Do Your Letters of Recommendation Have This?

When working with admissions consulting clients, we coach them on how to select the best people to write their letters of recommendation. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, hopefully by now you know that they need to know you well, more than just as a friend, and must be able to provide specific stories that support the main themes that you want to highlight in your application. That’s “Page One” as we say around Veritas Prep headquarters — those are all of the basic requirements that you need to cover with your recommendation writers, no matter what. If someone doesn’t even meet those criteria, then he or she definitely should not be on your short list of potential recommenders.

But there’s one other rule that you should apply to all of your recommenders, no matter where you know them from or what your relationship is with each of them. This is one thing that MBA admissions officers rarely mention, but not because they want to trick you or hide their intentions. Rather, it’s so blindingly obvious that they normally don’t even bother mentioning it.

Admissions 101: Time to Obsess Over Round 3 Again

Admissions 101: Time to Obsess Over Round 3 Again

It must be that time of year again… Ahh, yes, early February. The phone is ringing right now, and there’s a decent chance it’s an applicant calling to ask if he should apply to business school in Round 3, or if he should wait until next year. (Okay, I was wrong… That client called for help in resetting his password for our website. But it will ring again shortly!)

At this time of year, we have the “Round 3 or wait?” discussion with applicants multiple times per day. As usual, the answer we give them is, “It depends,” although we do have some very strong opinions on the matter. Applying in Round 3 is not automatically a bad idea (if it were, then why would schools have a Round 3 deadline at all?), but there is definitely a “buyer beware” aspect that you should consider. In this case, what you’re buying is a few minutes of an admissions officer’s time, and the price you pay is the application fee plus all of the blood, sweat, and tears that will go into your application.

Don't Walk Into an MBA Admissions Event Unprepared

Don't Walk Into an MBA Admissions Event Unprepared

Are you planning to attend an MBA Admissions event? If you are planning to attend one of The MBA Tour’s upcoming conferences in Washington DC (Feb 2), New York City (Feb 4), San Francisco (Feb 6) or another admissions event in the near future, here’s some advice from The MBA Tour’s CEO, Peter von Loesecke on how to prepare for meeting with Admissions Directors in person:

“The best thing applicants can do is research the schools that are participating in the event and their admissions statistics. I would also recommend coming with a resume to share with admissions representative during the event. Ask pertinent information about the school as it relates to your post MBA goals, be sure to articulate your goals clearly and, finally, I suggest attending in business attire to help make a great first impression.”

The iPad and MBA Admissions: What You Need to Know

The iPad and MBA Admissions: What You Need to Know

It’s already been almost a year since we wrote about MIT Sloan’s announcement that the admissions office would move to an entirely paper-free, all-iPad system for reviewing applications. Now, more is being written about this as the company that makes the iPad app makes a publicity push and announces that the UCLA Anderson admissions team has also signed on to use the app.

The key takeaway that we wrote in January still holds: While the fact that admissions officers will read your application on an iPad is interesting, the real fuss should be about what this could mean for the future. It’s not hard to imagine video and audio responses becoming a much more common part of business school applications, as admissions officers can move from your written app to a video to something else all with the click of an icon. We think this is inevitable.

Your MBA Admissions Interview Is Just One Piece of the Puzzle!

Your MBA Admissions Interview Is Just One Piece of the Puzzle!

Admissions interviews are underway for Round 1 applicants at the top American business schools. If you were lucky enough to receive an invitation to interview with a top-ranked MBA program, this thought has almost certainly gone through your head recently:

“Great! I made the first cut! Now, I wonder what my chances are?”

This thinking is correct. You did make the first cut. And by “cut,” we mean that admissions officers looked at the whole applicant pool and, seeing that some applications were just too weak for those people to stand any chance of getting in, let those people that they were no longer being considered. No reason to interview those applicants if they’re clearly not getting in, right? So, yes, you did make the first cut. The admissions committee at least thinks there’s a decent chance that you’ll be admitted. Congratulations!

When It Makes Sense to Wait and Apply to Business School in Round 3

When It Makes Sense to Wait and Apply to Business School in Round 3

Here at Veritas Prep we’re approaching that time of year when MBA applicants start to ask us, “Should I apply in Round 2 with what I’ve got, or should I work on [fill in the blank] and apply later?” Or, the other way the conversation happens is that an applicant comes to us with grand plans for applying in Round 2, but with a profile that contains at least one thing that really concerns us. In these cases, we often bring up the idea that the applicant should take a step back and work on improving his profile before charging ahead with his applications.

Before you read any further, let’s get one thing out of the way: Applying to business school in Round 3 is NOT automatically a bad idea. MBA programs always go to great lengths to let applicants know that they have three rounds for a reason, and that they do indeed accept people in Round 3. Yes, the numbers do support the argument that, all things being equal (which they never are), you’re better off applying earlier, but GREAT applicants always get in to every top business school every year. And if you’re not a GREAT applicant, then should you apply? Or keep working at it until you are one?

Register Now for Our Next Live Online Applicant Candidacy Evaluation Workshop!

Register Now for Our Next Live Online Applicant Candidacy Evaluation Workshop!

Last month we introduced a new service for our blog readers and Facebook fans: Live online profile evaluations of MBA applicants’ profiles, done in real time in front of an online audience. Over the course of an hour we did a deep dive into three applicants’ profiles, uncovering their strengths and weaknesses and giving them an honest assessment of their chances of gaining admission to a top MBA program. The event was such as success that we’re announcing our second one, which will run on Wednesday, November 16! This event will be accessible to everyone, no matter where you live.

If you’ve spent any time in online forums (including ours), you’ve seen discussion threads in which applicants post their “stats” and admissions experts comment on their chances of success. This is the same thing, but done live online in real time, with the applicant being able to ask followup questions, and the admissions officer digging far deeper than she normally can in a static online setting.

Yeah, David Beat Goliath... Once!

Yeah, David Beat Goliath... Once!

It’s one the the more frustrating conversations an MBA admissions consultant can have with his or her client, but it’s one that takes place regularly. It goes something like this:

“I plan on applying to Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton. And for my safety schools, I’ll add Columbia and MIT Sloan.”

“Okay, that’s an ambitious list for any applicant. Tell me where you are in the process. What do you do for work now?”

“For the past three years I’ve been part of an engineering team. I haven’t managed anyone, but I presented to our direct of product management once. He said I did a good job. In another year I may get promoted to team lead.”

“I see. Well, how about your undergraduate experience?”

Admissions 101: Don't Let the Numbers Fool You

Admissions 101: Don't Let the Numbers Fool You

With some popular outlets recently reporting that your odds of getting into a top-ranked MBA program have improved since last year, we want to revisit an idea that we wrote about more than a year ago. In a nutshell, whether application numbers are up or down barely affects your chances of admission.

Yes, most top-ranked business schools reported that their application numbers were down in the 2010-2011 admissions season when compared to the previous year. This certainly isn’t bad news if you hope to get into one of these MBA programs this year (assuming that the trend continues; this is a reasonable assumption, but not a trivial one), but the problem with all of this is that statistics are very useful in the aggregate, but using them to judge an individual case can lead to some off-base conclusions.

Who Will Conduct My MBA Admissions Interview?

Who Will Conduct My MBA Admissions Interview?

Who conducts your business school admissions interview depends on a few things. Where you’re applying obviously matters a lot: Some schools only have admissions personnel conduct interviews, while others rely on a mix of admissions officers, students, and alumni. Where you live also impacts how you’re interviewed — if you’re applying to a school on another continent, that school will normally be more willing do your interview by phone or by Skype.

Every school’s policy is different, and MBA programs’ policies can change over time. For instance, earlier this year Wharton announced that its alumni will no longer conduct interviews, and that all interviews will instead be conducted by admissions representatives or students (“Admissions Fellows,” in Wharton parlance). So, as you research your target business schools, make sure you’re preparing with the latest information.

Admissions 101: Necessary vs. Sufficient

Admissions 101: Necessary vs. Sufficient

In Veritas Prep’s GMAT prep courses, we teach students the difference between a piece of information being a necessary condition and it being a sufficient one, to support an argument. A fact may be necessary (e.g., X > 0), but it may not be sufficient (e.g., If the question is whether or not X is greater than 10, we don’t yet have sufficient information).

That lesson, as abstract as it may seem, can also be applied to the letters of recommendation you submit in your business school applications. While some things are necessary ingredients in your recommendations, they are not necessarily sufficient by themselves. Taken together, they can all help you get into a top-ranked business school, but each one by itself is not enough to get you in. Here’s an example:

I Can't Get a Recommendation from My Boss. Now What?

I Can't Get a Recommendation from My Boss. Now What?

Every business school application requires you to submit at least one letter of recommendation, and usually more than one. These letters corroborate your admissions story, providing additional evidence of the leadership skills, analytical abilities, teamwork skills, and maturity that you have highlighted in the rest of your application. The best person to do this is normally your direct supervisor, but what if you can’t (or don’t want to) tell your boss yet that you’re applying to business school?

Don’t despair. MBA admissions officers know that many applicants face this situation, and they won’t penalize you for it. Particularly in a rough economy, when job security seems to matter even more than usual, they know that you may take a serious risk by telling your boss, “If all goes according to plan, in a year I won’t be here anymore.” So, they’re willing to accept recommendations from other sources, as long as they give admissions officers what they need.

Admissions 101: The Rest of the Story

Admissions 101: The Rest of the Story

Last week the Chicago Booth MBA admissions team posted helpful advice for applicants who are rushing to meet the school’s Round 1 deadlines, on October 12. They present some very helpful tips, but — as is often the case — many of the the tips they share can be misconstrued or taken too far. It’s just like dieting: Make sure you don’t overdo it with the fats… but cutting fat out of your diet completely isn’t a good idea. Or investing: Stocks historically have represented your best chance for long-term gains that outpace inflation… But you don’t necessarily want a portfolio that only contains stocks.

With that in mind, we dig into a few of Booth’s tips and present the rest of the story where it’s appropriate. Again, we think the advice they provided is quite helpful, but here’s more for you to chew on before you click the “submit” button on your application:

2011 MBA Applicant Research Results Revealed!

2011 MBA Applicant Research Results Revealed!

Veritas Prep has just released the results of its 2011 MBA applicant survey! Part of the work we do in monitoring admissions trends is staying current on what applicants are thinking, which is why we call call our new white paper, “Inside the Minds of MBA Applicants.” Some of the results this year are very interesting!

The survey of prospective and current business school students was conducted in June and July of 2011 and included responses from 867 individuals. One quarter of participants are currently enrolled in an MBA program; the rest plan to apply to business school in the future. A breakout of select findings:

What Every MBA Applicant Can Learn from Politicians

What Every MBA Applicant Can Learn from Politicians

Today’s post is a guest feature by Darren Kowitt, one of Veritas Prep’s most experienced MBA admissions consultants and essay editors.

New York Times Columnist Frank Bruni wrote in his August 20th 2011 piece “Humble Service with a Side of Swag”a bout the disingenuous arguments that politicians use in public about their ambitions for office. His arrows are spot on about the credibility problems faced by adults when there is a gap between their actions and their utterances. It’s a great read — if perhaps at first glance seemingly partisan. But move beyond that and you’ll observe that he’s criticizing methods & modes of argument. (Side note: This is why the GMAT tested your comprehension and reasoning skills. GMAC responds to the expectations of the schools, and the schools expect you to be able to evaluate what you read.)

He ends the article with a withering conclusion, which I’ve quoted with a modified ending to demonstrate its relevance to the MBA admissions process:

MBA Application Volume Down, Quality Up

MBA Application Volume Down, Quality Up

The Graduate Management Admission Council has just released new survey data showing that business school application volume declined yet again this past year. As the worldwide economic malaise drags on, it seems as though more applicants are holding back, being unsure about what kind of job prospects will await them when they complete their degrees. According to the new survey results, more than two-thirds of responding MBA programs reported a decline in applications in 2011 compared with 2010.

Interestingly, as application volume declined, applicants’ academic quality actually improved over the past year. In fact, 91% of full-time two-year MBA programs reported seeing equally or better qualified applicants in the past year. So, with quantity down a bit but quality improving a little, which macro trend should you focus on more, as an applicant?

Business School Group Interviews: How Badly Will This Go?

Business School Group Interviews: How Badly Will This Go?

Last week the Wall Street Journal published an interesting piece about some new methods top MBA programs are using to evaluate applicants. Over the past few years we’ve seen business schools introduce PowerPoint “essay” questions and invite video responses, but now schools are stretching even farther outside the traditional boundaries of the MBA application.

Not surprisingly, a lot of chatter has been devoted to Columbia Business School’s introduction of a question (“What is your post-MBA professional goal?”) that must be answered in no more than 200 characters. As Columbia and other schools try to get a handle on Twitter, Facebook, etc., it’s only natural that they experiment with question formats like this one. Plus, 200 characters don’t leave much room for fluff, so they may end up getting some useful responses.

While we consider that an idea worth trying, we’re far more skeptical of another idea mentioned in the WSJ piece: group interviews.

HBS to Open Second-Year Classes to Visitors

HBS to Open Second-Year Classes to Visitors

We always tell applicants to visit their target business schools before applying. After all, how can you claim to really know an MBA program well — and be certain that you want to go there — when you’ve never even visited the school? This is especially true for the most competitive programs, where being an informed applicant may make the difference between an acceptance letter and heartbreak.

Harvard Business School has always presented a bit of a problem for applicants, particularly over the past few years, when its Round 1 application deadlines has crept up to the beginning of October. Harvard’s famous case-study method makes for a unique classroom experience, and the school does open some first-year classes to applicant visitors, but Harvard doesn’t do this until after its Round 1 deadline has already passed. Unless they visit the HBS the previous academic year, Round 1 applicants have to submit their applications before they ever set foot in a classroom and see the case-study method for themselves.

Kellogg MBA Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2011-2012

Kellogg MBA Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2011-2012

Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management recently released its admissions essays and application deadlines for the Class of 2014. We dig into them below.

Note that Kellogg has an unusual two-part application process: Part I includes your data sheets, resume, self-reported GMAT and TOEFL scores, and stated preference for whether you would like an on-campus or off-campus interview. (They also ask for your $250 application fee in Part I!) Part II includes your letters of recommendation, your essays, and your official GMAT and TOEFL scores. For each admissions round, be sure that you hit both deadlines!

Tuck Is a Good Fit for You If...

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?

Prices Are Going Up on July 1!

Prices Are Going Up on July 1!

If you plan on enrolling in a Veritas Prep GMAT course or MBA admissions consulting service, there are only a couple of days left to lock in our old prices! This Friday (July 1), prices will go up on most GMAT prep classes and on all admissions consulting packages.

Summer is always the most popular time of year for our GMAT prep and admissions consulting services. Starting now puts you in a great position to apply in the fall. Now, as if you didn’t need more reason to get started now, enrolling in June will save you some money!

Networking Your Way into a Job in Business School and Beyond

Networking Your Way into a Job in Business School and Beyond

Wondering how you can maximize the benefit of your MBA investment? Prospective and current MBA students are increasingly concerned with how they can distinguish themselves among their peers in an increasingly competitive post-MBA job market. According to a recent survey of over 250 current MBA students and graduates, the overwhelming majority of respondents noted that “networking” was the number one way that they could improve their job prospects and career search success. While it is certainly important for prospective MBAs to choose a program that fits their learning objectives and professional interests, current MBAs advise prospective students to take into consideration the strength of each program’s networking opportunities.

Stanford MBA Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2011-2012

Stanford MBA Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2011-2012

Stanford GSB recently released its MBA admissions essays and deadlines for the 2011-2012 application season. You may notice some changes to the essays since last year; we’ll dig into those changes below.

Note that, as it has done for the past several years, Stanford’s admissions committee provides some high-level advice right on its own website. While we think this advice is generally good, we do think that most applicants can benefit from a more in-depth look at these essays. But, of course, any advice that comes straight from the horse’s mouth deserves your attention!

Four Things That Make Fuqua Different

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.

Seeking a sunny disposition in sunny Malibu, California

Seeking a sunny disposition in sunny Malibu, California

Enjoy making people happy? We do, too, and we’re looking for someone to brighten our students’ days as a Client Experience Coordinator.  Veritas Prep is a global leader in graduate admissions preparation, which means that we work with hundreds of anxious graduate school applicants each day.  With the knowledge that smiling relieves anxiety and promotes a successful, proactive mindset, we aim to put smiles on our students’ faces as often as possible as we guide them through the admissions process.

Filed in: GMAT, MBA Admissions
Admissions 101: Who Should Write Your Letters of Recommendation?

Admissions 101: Who Should Write Your Letters of Recommendation?

You know yourself better than anyone, but in the eyes of MBA admissions officers, the best experts on you are often those who have worked with you. Every one of your business school applications will contain at least one letter of recommendation, and most top schools ask for at least two. These letters build on your admissions story, providing additional evidence of the leadership skills, analytical abilities, teamwork skills, and maturity that you have highlighted in the rest of your application.

Ideally your direct supervisor will provide at least one of your recommendations, but what if you can’t (or don’t want to) tell your boss yet that you’re applying to business school?

HBS 2+2 Program Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2011-2012

HBS 2+2 Program Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2011-2012

The Harvard Business School admissions committee has just released its admissions essays for the HBS 2+2 Program for the coming year. Today we’ll dig into the program’s application deadlines and those essays.

Regarding deadlines, note that the big change since last year is that there are now four deadlines, vs. one single summer deadline for the program. Even though the window in which you can apply is now more wide open, note that the program is still designed with current college juniors in mind. (HBS phrases it as anyone who will “be graduating from your college or university between October 1, 2011 and September 30, 2012,” which mostly applies to those who are just wrapping up their junior year in college.)

A Proposed Alternate Path for Would-Be MBAs, Part II

A Proposed Alternate Path for Would-Be MBAs, Part II

Can enough applicants be persuaded to skip b-school?

Last week we introduced our idea for how traditional hiring firms at top business schools could upend the whole system and recruit those high-potential young professionals directly. In Part I, we raised the idea of these firms could go so far as to create their own admissions offices, which would screen applicants in much the same way that MBA admissions officers do today. Why let these young superstars spend two years out of the workforce?

In that piece, we discussed some of the pros and cons for the hiring companies. Today we look at pros and cons for the other big constituency that would need to buy into this idea: Those young professionals who normally apply to the world’s top MBA programs two to five years after graduating from college.
Now You Can Connect with Veritas Prep GMAT & Admissions Experts on Evisors!

Now You Can Connect with Veritas Prep GMAT & Admissions Experts on Evisors!

At Veritas Prep, we’re always on the lookout for new ways to connect with applicants and help them succeed. Evisors can connect you with savvy former employees and interviewers at top firms who will help you land your dream job. If you are still planning on applying to graduate school, you can also find Veritas Prep admissions consultants on Evisors who will help you gain acceptance to the world’s top graduate programs.

Evisors was created to provide a menu of the best career and admissions consultants out there (they’re called “evisors”) and let the customer pick and choose who they want to talk to. Veritas Prep and Evisors have teamed up to make some of our best GMAT and MBA admissions experts available through the Evisors website. These experts can easily be identified by the “Veritas Prep Certified” seal next to their profiles.

A Proposed Alternate Path for Would-Be MBAs, Part I

A Proposed Alternate Path for Would-Be MBAs, Part I

Leapfrog the competition and hire great talent directly!

With higher-education costs continuing to climb as fast as a barrel of crude oil, some have rightly begun to question how much a college education is worth. Just this past week Peter Thiel of PayPal fame made waves when he was quoted in TechCrunch saying that an Ivy League degree shouldn’t necessarily be the aim for all of our nation’s best and brightest high school students. What those students get from such a degree isn’t necessarily what every one of them needs, and Thiel has proposed an alternate path that may be better suited to the nest Bill Gates or Steve Jobs coming up through today’s high schools.

This reminded us of an idea that has been discussed around Veritas Prep HQ before. What if blue-chip firms such as McKinsey and Goldman Sachs opened their own admissions departments, admitted a select number of young men and women into their associate programs each year? What if those young professionals could skip MBA programs entirely, and jump right into the jobs that they hope to get after two years of business school? Why not just cut business schools out of the equation and go get the talent directly?
Take the MBA Search Survey and Win an iPod!

Take the MBA Search Survey and Win an iPod!

Veritas Prep is proud to be a member of the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC), a non-profit organization dedicated to upholding the highest ethical standards for grad school admissions consultants. Each year AIGAC conducts a survey to help it better understand applicant’s goals and needs, and the 2011 survey is already upon us! We’d like to invite you to share you school selection priorities and views on the MBA application process.

Last Chance to Meet MBA Admissions Officers!

Last Chance to Meet MBA Admissions Officers!

Before you know it the 2011-2012 MBA admissions season will be upon us, meaning that you should already start thinking about what schools you’re targeting. The QS World MBA Tour is coming to North America, bringing representatives from the world’s top business schools to a city near you. There are only a few days left to register for your chance to meet with admissions officers, apply for over $1.6 million worth of exclusive scholarships, attend an open GMAT Seminar, and take part in alumni panel discussions with representatives from Harvard, Wharton, Columbia and Stanford.

No matter where you are in your research of MBA programs, we always strongly recommend that you visit the schools you’re considering. If you can’t do that (or simply haven’t done it yet), meeting with admissions officers in your own home town is the next best thing!

Here's Your Chance to Meet MBA Admissions Officers in a City Near You

Here's Your Chance to Meet MBA Admissions Officers in a City Near You

The QS World MBA Tour is coming to North America, bringing representatives from the world’s top business schools to a city near you. You’ll have the opportunity to meet with admissions officers, apply for over $1.6 million worth of exclusive scholarships, attend an open GMAT Seminar, and take part in alumni panel discussions with representatives from Harvard, Wharton, Columbia and Stanford.

Put your questions directly to admissions staff, alumni and members of the world’s leading MBA programs and get your questions answered at the world’s biggest MBA fairs!

Admissions 101: It's Not You, It's Me

Admissions 101: It's Not You, It's Me

Getting rejected is hard stuff. What makes it even more painful is that few MBA programs (or law schools or medical schools) give rejected applicants specific feedback on why they didn’t get in. Applicants just want to know what they “did wrong” to not get in, but, even when schools do provide feedback, the applicants normally end up confused and still guessing about what to do next.

What’s the deal? Are admissions officers trying to obfuscate the process, keeping you in the dark so that you can’t “game” the system? Are they just cold hearted, not caring about you, especially once they’ve decided they don’t want you? No and no. The truth is that, when someone gets rejected, it’s often because the school just couldn’t find any great reason to admit them over thousands of other applicants.

MBA Applications: The Importance of Being Earnest

MBA Applications: The Importance of Being Earnest

MBA admissions committees seem difficult to read.  Applicants agonize over their essays and dread their interviews, all the while wondering what the committee wants to hear.  At Veritas Prep headquarters, we regularly receive calls and emails with questions such as:

Filed in: MBA Admissions
Admissions 101: Focus on Your Decisions, Not the Outcomes

Admissions 101: Focus on Your Decisions, Not the Outcomes

Perhaps the most typical mistake applicants make on their early drafts is polishing their achievements so that the link between their decisions and the successful results fits like a custom made glove. Dan Ariely wrote a great piece in December 2010′s HBS called “Good Decisions. Bad Outcomes.” The article is worth reading but essentially boils down to this: you should be more concerned with explaining your decision process than with the results — because results may have many contributing causes over which you have no control. This applies equally to success and to failure. You may have had a great idea for a viable restaurant concept — and opened your first few outlets on the Louisiana & Mississippi in spring 2010. The BP spill was bad luck — you still might make a good MBA candidate.

The wisdom in Ariely’s argument is that causality is tricky stuff.

Admissions 101: What Admissions Essays and Wedding Speeches Have in Common

Admissions 101: What Admissions Essays and Wedding Speeches Have in Common

Who's the lucky guy?

Next week yours truly will deliver a speech at a wedding. I have known the groom for nearly two decades, and I consider him to be one of my closest friends, even though distance unfortunately keeps us apart most of the time (I live in California and he lives in Beijing). While I don’t consider myself to be an expert toastmaster, I’m not too worried, since I know that what makes for a great admissions essay or personal statement also makes for a terrific wedding speech.

Think back for a minute and consider the last few weddings you’ve been to. If you’re lucky, you only have witnessed great wedding speeches and toasts, but odds are that you’ve sat through at least one or two bombs. What accounts for the difference?
MIT Sloan to Begin Using iPads to Review Applications

MIT Sloan to Begin Using iPads to Review Applications

Rod Garcia reviews your application on his iPad

Today the Wall Street Journal reported that the MIT Sloan admissions office has purchased 15 iPads, which its admissions officers will use to review applications in a 100% paper-free environment. Sloan, which was one of the first business schools to require applicants to submit their applications online back in the 1990s, estimates that the move will save the school $10,000 per year in paper costs.

The way many schools work now is fairly inefficient. Virtually every school now accepts (or even requires) online applications, but often the first thing that admissions officers do with a newly received application is print it out. From there, the paper application goes through a process that has barely changed in decades: It moves from one pile to the next, from one admissions officers’ hands to the next, until it has been reviewed at least a couple of times. While the online application systems make for better tracking, today schools rarely take advantage of this. Now, however, if Sloan can keep every application entirely online, it can make for much more efficient reviewing and tracking of each application.