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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.

The Importance of Integrated Reasoning

The Importance of Integrated Reasoning

With a fairly consistent test format for more than fifty years, the Graduate Management Admissions Council has revamped the test with a couple of assessment changes in the past few years.  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.  While the admissions committees at top schools seem to continue focusing on the traditional verbal and quantitative score combination (out of a possible 800), we will likely see an emphasis shift towards these new sections in the future (which also include a 30-minute writing analysis of a topic), since the skills they measure are critical to today’s business leaders.

Filed in: Business School, GMAT
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.

UC Berkeley (Haas) Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2013-2014

UC Berkeley (Haas) Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2013-2014

UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business has released its MBA application essays and deadlines for the Class of 2016. Haas has not only dropped an essay this year (as many other top-ranked MBA programs have done), but it has also dropped a whole admissions round! Beyond that, the content of Haas’s application has actually changed very little this year, at least compared to the more radical changes we have seen in other business schools’ applications.

Chicago Booth Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2013-2014

Chicago Booth Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2013-2014

Chicago Booth has released its application essays and deadlines for the 2013-2014 admissions season. The Great Essay Reduction continues… Consistent with what we have seen many other top-ranked business schools, Booth has dropped an essay this year. The school has, however, kept its more unique “PowerPoint” question, suggesting that the admissions committee likes what it sees with the responses it gets from this prompt.

MIT Sloan Application Essays and Deadlines for 2013-2014

MIT Sloan Application Essays and Deadlines for 2013-2014

MIT’s Sloan School of Management has released its admissions essays and deadlines for the Class of 2016. There are a few big changes this year, including Sloan’s removal of the cover letter that had famously accompanied its more traditional MBA admissions essays over the years. Sloan’s application is now down to just two essays, and they’re both new this year, continuing the trend that we have seen at most of the top-ranked MBA programs.

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!

Yale SOM Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2013-2014

Yale SOM Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2013-2014

The Yale School of Management has released its MBA application essays and deadlines for the 2013-2014 admissions season. Building on the trend that we have seen at other prominent MBA programs so far this year, Yale has reduced its essay count, going from four last year to just two this year. Yale did beef up the word limits on the individual essays, though, so your total recommended word count wasn’t cut in half — it drops from 1,050 to 750.

Wharton Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2013-2014

Wharton Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2013-2014

Wharton has released its admissions essays and application deadlines for the 2013-2014 admissions season. Following the trend that we have seen at other top MBA programs this year, Wharton has cut its required essay count from three to two, although you will actually have more words to work with for the first essay this year.

NYU Stern Application Essays and Deadlines for 2013-2014

NYU Stern Application Essays and Deadlines for 2013-2014

NYU’s Stern School of Business recently released its admissions essays and deadlines for the full-time MBA Class of 2016. NYU’s application essays haven’t changed at all since last year, so our advice mostly remains the same. However, the admissions committee now lets you choose between two prompts (including Stern’s famous “Creative Expression” submission) that both used to be required, reducing the total amount of “stuff” that you will submit to the school.

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!

Harvard Business School Application Essays and Deadlines for 2013-2014

Harvard Business School Application Essays and Deadlines for 2013-2014

Last week Harvard Business School released the details of its application for the 2013-2014 admissions season. While there was some moderately interesting news around Harvard’s admissions deadlines, much of the chatter has been about Harvard’s drastically revised essays. Make no mistake — this is a very different application than what HBS has used in the past, but keep in mind that Harvard still wants to see the same qualities (across your entire application) that it has been looking for in applicants for years. Harvard still wants to find bright budding leaders who are ready to undergo a transformational experience. The admissions committee is just going about finding those applicants a little differently this year.

Stanford GSB Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2013-2014

Stanford GSB Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2013-2014

The Stanford Graduate School of Business has released its admissions essays and deadlines for the 2013-2014 application season. Stanford has actually made no changes to its admissions essays this year, which suggests that the admissions committee liked what it saw in the applications that it reviewed last year. Accordingly, our advice hasn’t changed much, although it has evolved subtly since last year. Let’s dig in.

Columbia Business School Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2013-2014

Columbia Business School Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2013-2014

This year Columbia Business School leads the charge, releasing its MBA application essay prompts before any other top business school. The school has also released the admissions deadlines for its two intakes in 2014.

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?

U.S. News Business School Rankings for 2014

U.S. News Business School Rankings for 2014

U.S. News & World Report has just announced its 2014 business school rankings. While we never like to see applicants put too much emphasis on the rankings, it’s always a little exciting when U.S. News refreshes its rankings of the nation’s top MBA programs. Don’t solely decide to apply based on whether an editor at a magazine moved your target school down from 8th to 9th this year, but do take a look at the rankings — and, especially, the data associated with the rankings — to help you start to narrow down your list and get a feel for what kind of MBA program you have a shot of getting into.
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
How the GMAT Prepares You for Business School

How the GMAT Prepares You for Business School

So, does the GMAT really have anything to do with Business School, let alone business? When I took the GMAT over 5 years ago, I thought it was the stupidest, weirdest test in the world.  I’d already taken my fair share of multiple choice tests – from SATs and multiple SAT IIs, to AP exams and college-level final exams – but I’d never seen anything as odd as the GMAT.  From the adaptive nature to the specific range of questions, I really couldn’t understand why the entrance exam for business school included this particular range of questions.

Filed in: Business School, GMAT
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,

Timeout with Trav: Exploring a low GPA

Timeout with Trav: Exploring a low GPA

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

Dear Trav,

I had a 2.9 GPA in undergrad, although I had some extenuating circumstances. Do you think I have any chance of getting into a top-10 school?