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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?

Harvard, Wharton, Yale: What an Interview Can Show

Harvard, Wharton, Yale: What an Interview Can Show

My Harvard Business School interview was one of the most challenging obstacles I’ve ever faced in my life.  Perhaps more challenging than attending HBS itself.  It was by phone (very unusual) because I was based in Mexico and was frequently traveling to rural parts of the country.  It was timed – exactly the 30 minutes that was allotted to me.  My interviewer must have cut me off 4 or 5 times – she’d ask me a question and if she felt that she had either gotten the sufficient information or I was going in the wrong direction, she’d just stop me.  But by the end of it, I felt I’d made a good impression.  Not too good, but hopefully good enough.  There’s no way to know for sure, but it must not have gone too badly, as I was accepted first round to HBS.

Financial Times Business School Rankings for 2013

Financial Times Business School Rankings for 2013

Earlier this week The Financial Times released its new global MBA rankings for 2013. For the first time in eight years, Harvard Business School sits atop FT’s rankings, ousting last year’s #1, Stanford GSB. Harvard’s return to #1 marks the fourth time the school has topped the FT rankings since they were first launched in 1999. In fact only three other schools have ever topped the Financial Times rankings: Stanford, Wharton, and London Business School.

One driver of Harvard’s rise is its improvement in FT’s diversity measure, which rewards schools for having a greater percentage of female and international students. While 34% of Harvard’s Class of 2013 comes from overseas, 43% of the Class of 2014 are international. This surely is a reflection of Dean Nitin Nohria’s goal to boost Harvard’s international influence and outlook.

An Entrepreneur at HBS

An Entrepreneur at HBS

“What do you mean you didn’t even apply to Stanford?” folks would ask me when I told them I was going to business school to learn about technology, start-ups  and entrepreneurship.  It’s a fair question – in 2012, Stanford graduated 13% entrepreneurs versus HBS’s 7%. And this doesn’t even take into account the Stanford MBA’s who drop out to start business.  So why didn’t I apply to Stanford?  Wasn’t that the clear choice for tech entrepreneurship?  What was I thinking, going to HBS to start a company?

Timeout with Trav: Applying Round 1

Timeout with Trav: Applying Round 1

Click here to read last week’s intro to this new MBA admissions series! Send your admissions questions to timeout@veritasprep.com.

Dear Trav,

I’m thinking about applying to B-schools in the fall of 2013, but most deadlines are 9 or 10 months away. What should I be doing between now and then?

INSEAD Dean Dipak Jain to Step Down

INSEAD Dean Dipak Jain to Step Down

New INSEAD Dean Dipak Jain

Yesterday the Financial Times reported that Dipak Jain will step down as dean of INSEAD effective March 1, ending a two-year tenure as the school’s leader. INSEAD announced that Jain will stay with the school as a marketing professor. This news comes after Jain took an extended medical leave in 2012 to undergo extensive testing after complaining of exhaustion.

Filed in: Business School
Timeout with Trav: Exploring MBA Admissions

Timeout with Trav: Exploring MBA Admissions

Hello aspiring MBA friends! Trav here. I’m the Director of Admissions Consulting for Veritas Prep and I’m excited to launch this new series on the Veritas Prep blog called “Timeout with Trav.”  Each week, I’ll take time out to answer your questions about MBA admissions, B-school life, and any other fun topics you may decide to throw my way! (Feel free to be creative!)  To ask me a question, simply email it to timeout@veritasprep.com.

Four Predictions for 2013

Four Predictions for 2013

There is no shortage of opinion and points of view here at Veritas Prep. We’re an opinionated lot, and we’re also not afraid to stick out our necks and make a few predictions about how we see the worlds of test prep and admissions evolving in the coming year. The following are four trends and news items we expect to see emerge at some point in 2013:

At least one Top 20 MBA program will introduce an all-online MBA program.
Right now, Kenan-Flagler’s MBA@UNC is still the only game in town when it comes to top-tier business schools offering real, full-blown MBAs available online. The segment certainly still has a ways to go in terms of burnishing online education’s reputation, and UNC has tried to tackle this problem head-on with ads that go as far as to warn that you probably can’t get into its program. With most of the elite American universities making much more aggressive strides into online education (most frequently with MIT & Harvard’s edX or Stanford’s Coursera), it’s not hard to imagine that another top-ranked business school will soon move to offer a full MBA over the Internet in 2013.

MBA Admissions Reality Check: There's Only One Dilfer

MBA Admissions Reality Check: There's Only One Dilfer

Every January, two seemingly-different sets of lofty goals converge around the tale of one man; whether you’re applying to a top ten business school or trying to win the NFL’s Super Bowl, you need to remember that there’s only one Trent Dilfer.

Trent Dilfer, of course, is widely accepted as the (and we say this with admiration) worst (or maybe “least best”?) quarterback to win a modern Super Bowl, the most glaring exception to the commonly-held notion that a team needs an elite quarterback to win the NFL’s championship. Sure, teams with marginal quarterbacks say, most Super Bowls have been won by Montana, Brady, Elway, Aikman, Manning, Bradshaw, etc., but Trent Dilfer did win a Super Bowl, so we have a chance with our guy. But here’s the flaw in that reasoning — it’s easy to remember Dilfer’s name because he’s really the only one who fits that category. He’s surrounded in history by the all-time greats at the position, quarterbacks who won multiple Super Bowls and in other years nearly always had their teams in the hunt. Dilfer is the glaring exception, so we remember his name because he was so rare. There’s only one Trent Dilfer, so if he’s your guiding hope that your team can win with a lackluster quarterback, you’re grasping at incredibly thin odds.

Are You Thinking About Retaking the GMAT?

Are You Thinking About Retaking the GMAT?

Maybe some of you have been there: You didn’t quite break the score you were hoping to break; your quant or verbal is lower than you expected, or maybe your composite score falls below your target school’s range. Should you retake the GMAT?

For some, it may not be a tough decision. If your score is dramatically lower than you expected, and you’re very confident that you can do better, do not hesitate to take the test again. Schools commend applicants who boost their scores, and admissions officers do not penalize candidates who have taken the test more than once. They do, however, always prefer to see improvement. Think of your GMAT score as a data point. If there are two data points, and your second test score is higher than your first, admissions will conclude that you’re capable of that higher score. If they see two data points in descending order, then they may conclude that the first test score is a good indication of your best effort.

What Everybody Ought to Know About Our 2012 Predictions

What Everybody Ought to Know About Our 2012 Predictions

And just like that, another year has already come and gone. It’s time to check in and see how we did with the six predictions we made 12 months ago. We love sticking out our necks and putting forward an opinion in this space; it’s even better when we can back up what we write with accountability. Fortunately, the world didn’t end in December, affording us the opportunity to look back and see just how well our crystal ball worked last January.

Filed in: Business School, GMAT
Struggling to Meet Essay Word Counts? Try These 3 Editing Tips

Struggling to Meet Essay Word Counts? Try These 3 Editing Tips

If you’re hurrying to finish your MBA admissions essays before the Round 2 application deadlines, chances are that at least one essay is giving you trouble when it comes to meeting word length requirements. While MBA admissions officers are fairly understanding and are not out to penalize you for going over a word limit by a couple of extra sentences, adhering to word limits as closely as possible is a strong signal that you can communicate clearly and succinctly.

My Parent, the Boss

My Parent, the Boss

Today’s post comes from Nita Losoponkul, a Veritas Prep head consultant for UCLA. She received her undergraduate degree in Engineering from Caltech and went from engineering to operations to global marketing to education management/non-profit. Her non-traditional background allows her to advise students from many areas of study. She has successfully helped low GPA students get admitted into UCLA. 

How to Prep Your Recommenders

How to Prep Your Recommenders

Every component of your business school application is important, however, the recommender portion is a unique opportunity for the admissions committee to see how others perceive and evaluate you.

First, let’s cover the basics. While there is no right or wrong way to choose recommenders, most schools request at least one current or recent direct manager. Additionally, we strongly recommend that you waive your rights to read your recommenders’ submissions. This act demonstrates that you are confident in your recommenders’ abilities to advocate for your candidacy.

Distinguishing Yourself in Your MBA Applications

Distinguishing Yourself in Your MBA Applications

This Veritas Prep Head Consultant received a BA in Economics and Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia and went on to The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts. Eventually, she received her MBA from The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, and is now a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for Tuck. She has experience in environmental consulting, urban education, and finance.

Dear Professor...

Dear Professor...

Today’s post comes from Nita Losoponkul, a Veritas Prep head consultant for UCLA. She received her undergraduate degree in Engineering from Caltech and went from engineering to operations to global marketing to education management/non-profit. Her non-traditional background allows her to advise students from many areas of study. She has successfully helped low GPA students get admitted into UCLA. 

Why I Chose UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business

Why I Chose UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business

Today’s guest post comes from Aaron Schwartz. Aaron is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. Upon graduating he co-founded Modify Watches (www.modifywatches.com), a place where you can mix and match fun and customizable watches. Aaron previously worked for Deloitte Consulting both in NY and London as a Strategy and Operations Consultant.

Filed in: Business School
The Mistake Question

The Mistake Question

Many business schools ask variations on the theme of making mistakes. Describe a time that you failed; what did you learn from a mistake; tell us about a time when you should have done things differently, etc. These are all possible, if not likely, essay questions that you’ll confront during the application process, either during the interview or while writing your essays. Every applicant’s background is different and arguably you are really the only one who knows about your past mistakes. However, we’re here to share some guidelines about “the mistake question” that will help you select the right kind of mistake. For the purposes of this post, we’ll discuss the mistake essay question and how you can write about it in a way that actually sheds light on your strengths.

Why I Chose to Attend Chicago Booth

Why I Chose to Attend Chicago Booth

Today’s guest post features Jessica Wood. She has been a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for Chicago’s Booth School of Business since 2008. Previously, Jessica worked in Strategy Consulting and Business Development. Now, she spends her time raising a family in Houston, and working as a Head Consultant and School Specialist for Chicago Booth.

Filed in: Business School
What Life Is Like at the Tuck School of Business

What Life Is Like at the Tuck School of Business

Today’s guest post is from Courtney Jane, a Veritas Prep Admissions Consultant who focuses on the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. When she’s not consulting, she works as a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch, helping clients protect and grow their assets. Before going to Dartmouth to study business, Courtney graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics, Political Science, and Communications.

The Tuck School at Dartmouth is a magical place. It is the quintessential college campus, and to me the most beautiful of all the Ivy’s – not a bad place to spend two years. I think the picture attached to this post sums it up as to why I chose to attend Tuck after also being accepted to Columbia, Wharton, and Cornell, among many others.

Filed in: Business School
More Thoughts on Wharton's Team-Based Discussions

More Thoughts on Wharton's Team-Based Discussions

Last week Wharton Admissions Director Ankur Kumar posted an update on how Wharton’s team-based discussions went during Round 1. It sounds as though the experience has been very positive so far, both for the school and for applicants. While we were quite skeptical when Wharton officially rolled out the team-based discussions, and still wonder how authentic the setting truly can be, it’s worth revisiting now that we have some real data coming in.

The feedback we have been hearing from students is that the discussions haven’t turned out to be the shark tanks — with applicants elbowing each other for air time — that some had feared. (We will put ourselves in this group.) If anything, the opposite has occurred, with applicants going out of their way to show how courteous they can be. Multiple outlets and our own clients have reported seeing this effect in action as the discussions have taken place.

Why I Chose Harvard Business School

Why I Chose Harvard Business School

Today we feature a guest post from Veritas Prep MBA admissions consultant Tiffany Singleton. Tiffany currently serves as the Senior Director of National Campaign at Year up, a nonprofit organization. She has served as an alumni interviewer for Management Leadership for Tomorrow, and has recruited undergraduates and MBA candidates for JP Morgan. Tiffany has also represented HBS at various admissions events. Before receiving her MBA from Harvard Business School, she went to Dillard University and received a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Finance.

The experience as a prospective student – in addition to the interview! (see more below) — most memorable to me was the HBS Immersion Program (aka IXP), specifically the New Orleans trek. I had the incredible opportunity to attend a seminar held in early December 2006 because of my collaboration with the Dillard team and Tim Butler, Director of Career Development Programs.

Filed in: Business School
6 Reasons You Need at Least 6 Weeks to Finish Your MBA Applications (i.e., Start Now!)

6 Reasons You Need at Least 6 Weeks to Finish Your MBA Applications (i.e., Start Now!)

Each December, we hear from dozens of applicants just a week or two ahead of Round 2 deadlines who are seeking last-minute admissions consulting services. Often, they’re too late to make significant improvements, so we’re offering up to $1000 off admissions consulting services this week to get you started earlier! Here’s why it is so important to start now:

1. You can recycle surprisingly little among different schools’ essay questions.
Every year, we see clients who expect that they can simply do a “Find & Replace” function on their MBA applications, strip out the name of one school and insert the name of another. MBA applicants do this at their peril! Don’t wait until just a couple of weeks ahead of the Round 2 deadlines to start writing your essays for additional schools! Even questions that essentially ask for the exact same information (for example, “Why MBA, why now and why XYZ school,” will ask them in slightly different ways that require significant reworking. Admissions officers see thousands of essays every year, and they can spot a repurposed essay from a mile away. Applying to multiple schools takes time!

2012 Businessweek MBA Rankings

2012 Businessweek MBA Rankings

Bloomberg Businessweek has just released its business school rankings for 2012. Businessweek’s rankings aren’t the only game in town — the U.S. News business school rankings are also very influential, and others such as The Financial Times carry more clout in Europe — but the fact that Businessweek’s rankings only come out every two years always creates a little more buildup for this moment.

A word of caution before we proceed: When you look at any ranking system, remember that there’s no single “right” way to rank the schools. Each of the popular business school ranking systems below rely on a different set of criteria, including acceptance rates, average GMAT scores, and post-graduation salaries. Some also use more subjective criteria, such as peer ratings by administrators at other business schools, and how each school is rated by its current and former students. It’s therefore no surprise that no two ranking systems will completely agree with one another.

Full-Time or Part-Time MBA, That Is the Question

Full-Time or Part-Time MBA, That Is the Question

Today we feature a guest post from Veritas Prep MBA admissions consultant Nita Losoponkul. Nita is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant and UCLA Anderson MBA graduate. She received her undergraduate degree in Engineering from Caltech and went from engineering to operations to global marketing to education management/non-profit. Her non-traditional background allows her to advise students from many areas of study.

Full-time or part-time… That is often a question that many business school applicants gloss over and don’t even consider asking. Many MBA candidates automatically exclude part-time MBA programs assuming that the programs are either less rigorous (a check box for executive resumes), impossible to balance with work, too expensive, only for older candidates, or less beneficial for networking. While the part-time MBA program is not for everyone (and I am slightly biased as an alumna of the Fully-Employed MBA program at UCLA Anderson), here are some reasons you, a non-traditional part-time MBA candidate, might want to at least explore this possibility as you begin your business school search:

Regarding Tuck

Regarding Tuck

Today’s post comes from a Veritas Prep MBA admissions consultant and Tuck alumna. She shares a recent conversation with a client about Tuck and what students can expect if they spend two years in Hanover.

Earlier this spring, I received the following inquiry:

“I think I would like to seriously consider Tuck as an option. Obviously the academics are wonderful, it is well known in general management, it is extremely well established, and it is not so far from my home. I visited Dartmouth when I was applying to undergrad, and Hanover seemed small, without much to offer. Can you tell me a little bit about your experience there?”

This was my reply:

How to Make the Most Out of a Business School Visit

How to Make the Most Out of a Business School Visit

If you can swing it, we highly recommend visiting the schools you are applying to before you submit your applications. Websites and school brochures are great for basic research purposes, but there’s no comparison to experiencing an MBA program in person. Your day on campus will inform your essays and help you craft authentic responses to interview questions. Therefore, when you’re on campus, make the most of your visit!

When you arrive, or at some point before you leave the school, visit the admissions office. Typically, the admissions department will ask you to sign in when you arrive. However, if you’re on a more informal visit, one that you didn’t schedule through the admissions office, make sure you remember to do this. Admissions officers like to see who has visited. While they don’t penalize students for not coming to the school, it never hurts to show your interest and dedication by visiting, so make sure you get credit for your visit! Additionally, the school may offer special activities or events for prospective students. You may only be able to learn about these opportunities through the admissions office. Make sure your visit includes a stop here for this reason.

3 Ways to Prepare for Your MBA Admissions Interview

3 Ways to Prepare for Your MBA Admissions Interview

Now that top-ranked business schools have started to send interview invitations to Round 1 applicants, the conversation has turned to exactly how applicants can prepare themselves for this rite of passage. While business schools rarely try to make the interview a stressful process, applicants can’t help but worry about the pressure they will face in the 30 to 60 minutes they spend face-to-face with tan interviewer.

If you’re one of these folks, or if you simply want to prepare now for an interview invite that will hopefully be coming soon, we bring you the top three ways you can best prep for the business school interview:

The Accidental Bruin Lands at UCLA Anderson

The Accidental Bruin Lands at UCLA Anderson

Today we feature a guest post from Veritas Prep MBA admissions consultant Nita Losoponkul. Nita is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant who attended UCLA Anderson. She received her undergraduate degree in Engineering from Caltech and went from engineering to operations to global marketing to education management/non-profit. Her non-traditional background allows her to advise students from many areas of study. She has successfully helped low GPA students get admitted into UCLA, and today Nita shares what went into her decision to earn an MBA from UCLA Anderson.

Do as I say (well, write), not as I do. That’s the truth. I’m proud to be an alumna of UCLA Anderson’s Fully Employed MBA (FEMBA) program, but I took the unlikeliest path to get there, one I don’t recommend anyone else pursuing. I still joke to this day that the Admissions Committee must have had a few too many drinks when they reviewed my application, but knowing the team now, I know they saw something in me that even I didn’t see in myself at the time, and I am truly grateful they did.