Archives For MBA

Everything you want to know about applying to business school as well as what to expect once you get to business school.

Five-Steps-Email-croppedAre you ready for the 2014–2015 MBA application season?

Join Manhattan Prep, mbaMission, and Poets & Quants for a free, five-part webinar series to help you prepare!

Three leaders in the MBA admissions space—Poets & QuantsmbaMission and Manhattan Prep—are banding together to ensure that you will be ready for the 2014–2015 MBA admissions season. Together, we are launching a free, five-part webinar series entitled “Five Steps to Business School Acceptance”! In each of the first four sessions, a senior consultant from mbaMission will address and explain a different significant admissions issue, while Poets & Quants’ John Byrne serves as host, moderating any questions and answers. Then, an expert from Manhattan Prep will present a challenging GMAT issue, offering insight, advice and more. The fifth and final session consists of a discussion panel with current admissions officers, sharing their thoughts and answering questions about the upcoming admissions season.

We hope you will join us for this special series. Please sign up for each session separately via the links below—space is limited.

Session 1: March 19, 2014 - Watch the recording of our first session here to see what all of the buzz is about! 

Session 2: April 2, 2014 - Click Here to watch the recording of Choosing the Right B-School and Advanced Quant

Session 3: April 16, 2014 - What Can I Do with My MBA? and Getting the Most Out of Your Practice GMAT Exams

Session 4: April 30, 2014 - Essay Writing Workshop and Advanced Sentence Correction

Session 5: May 14, 2014 - Questions and Answers with MBA Admissions Officers

Do you have questions for our GMAT and MBA admissions experts? Ask them in the comments below, and we will do our best to answer them in the Q&A sessions following each presentation, or reach out to use on social using the hashtag #fivesteps.

round-1-mba-application-deadlines-gmat(This is a guest post from our friends at mbaMission)

Round 1 MBA application deadlines are not until late September or early October, and although that may seem far away, those submission dates actually come around a lot sooner than you think. How can that be? Well, many candidates start working on their applications in May (which, by the way, is only two months from now!), when the schools start releasing their essay questions. However, the well-prepared applicant starts taking steps now (or even started long ago) to make sure that he/she has the strongest application possible when those deadlines arrive. You may not realize it, but you can take advantage of a variety of short-term wins that could help you improve your candidacy for next year. Let’s take a look at just a few of the steps you can take…

1. Visit Schools: Visiting schools is a smart move for you as a potential consumer of a $100K+ education (not including living expenses and lost salary during your two years of study). It is also a smart move for you as an applicant, because traveling to a school serves as a strong indicator that you truly do want to attend that target program. Sure, some schools’ admissions offices state that the class visit is not overly important (notably, Harvard Business School), but most programs appreciate the gesture, because it demonstrates your level of interest and shows that you are not just selecting the school on the basis of rankings—you have “kicked the tires” and decided to proceed.

Many applicants will not think about making a class visit until too late. Class visit programs typically wrap up in April/May and do not open up until after Round 1 applications are due. So, if you have not yet visited your target school, your time is running out, and this might prevent you from learning more about the program and making an important positive impression. Schedule a visit now!

2. Take a Class: Was your GPA an afterthought when you were in college? Did you bomb some tough math classes or management classes? Did you do really well academically but take no classes that indicate your management aptitude? Did the Quant side of the GMAT not go as planned for you? The admissions committee needs to know that you can manage a rigorous analytical curriculum, so you must provide them with evidence that you are capable of doing so. If you do not yet have that evidence, consider taking one—or preferably two—of the following classes: calculus, statistics, economics, finance or accounting. You should do everything you can to earn an A in the class(es) to demonstrate that you have the intellectual horsepower to succeed in your first year. Remember that applications are due in October and that you will need to spend significant time after work perfecting them—and this process starts in May! So, your best move is to find a class that starts soon. Begin looking for options now!  (Note: You do not need to go to Harvard to take these classes. Any accredited university will do!)
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mba-access-mba-rankingsThere’s hardly anything more talked about in the MBA world than rankings. They generate hype, debate, sometimes even controversy, and are one of the important criteria on which prospective MBA candidates base their school selection.

Academia has a vested interest in rankings, which serve to determine the popularity and appeal of particular business schools. The media, on the other hand, are highly motivated to play an important role in the rankings, and their stamp of approval for various institutions and programs has made them key players in the MBA world.

Each one of the reputable rankings contains an enormous amount of useful information that can guide you towards the right B-schools. Having doubts whether you would be able to pay back your student loans? Just check the ROI of the ranked schools in your preferred region of study. Not sure if prospective employers prefer a certain school over its competitors? Check the corporate recruiters’ statistics that indicate the most desired MBA degrees.

Once you start to research potential MBA programs, you can find respected sources on literally every topic relating to business education. These include but are not limited to classic rankings, statistical data, and interpretative articles on current affairs in the business education world. However, keep in mind that your MBA program selection should not only be based on these factors. Take into consideration the specifics of your own profile, application package and post-graduation expectations. Meeting an Admissions Director to get first-hand information about the personality of their B-school and how it matches with your own is always a good idea. Organizations such as Access MBA provide that opportunity during their One-to-One MBA events (soon to take place in New York, Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver).
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Below is an excerpt from Andrew Yang‘s new book, Smart People Should Build Things: How to Restore Our Culture of Achievement, Build a Path for Entrepreneurs, and Create New Jobs in America, which comes out in February 2014. Andrew was named Managing Director of Manhattan GMAT in 2006, Chief Executive Officer in 2007, and President in 2010. He left Manhattan GMAT in 2010 to start Venture for America, where he now serves as Founder and CEO. 

smart peopleThe Prestige Pathways Part II.  

You could ask, so what if our talented young people all march off to become lawyers, doctors, bankers, and consultants? Isn’t that what smart people are supposed to do?\

There are a few problems with this stance. First, the degree to which the recruitment infrastructure exists is a relatively recent phenomenon. Bain and Company, a premier management consulting firm, wasn’t founded until 1973—now it employs over 5,000 talented people and recruits hundreds per year. The financial services industry has mushroomed in size, with Wall Street firms employing 191,800 at their peak in 2008, up from only 65,300 in 1975. The growth in professional services has given rise to an accompanying set of recruitment pipelines only in the past several decades.

Yet the allocation of talent is a zero-sum game. If the academically gifted are funneled in higher numbers toward finance and consulting, then lesser numbers are going into other areas, such as the operation of companies, startups, and early-stage enterprises. In the United States, companies with fewer than 500 employees account for almost two-thirds of net new jobs and generate thirteen times more new patents per employee than do large firms. If the US economy had generated as many startups each year for 2009–12 as it had in 2007, the country would have produced almost 2.5 million new jobs by 2013. If we’re interested in spurring long-term job growth, we want as much talent as possible heading to new firms so that more of them can succeed, expand, and hire more people.
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We’ve invited mbaMission: MBA Admissions Consulting to share their Business School Charts of the Week. Here is their Chart for November 2013 Social Currency Ranking. 

Rankings come in all shapes and sizes, but can any ranking truly capture social cachet? For a different perspective on the value of an MBA, we turn to the New York Times society pages, where the editors select and profile promising couples. Each month, we dedicate one B-School Chart of the Week to tallying how alumni from top-ranked business schools are advancing their social currency ranking.

Colder weather and holiday travel seem to have brought about a lull in the New York Times wedding announcements for November. Still, of the 124 total announcements last month, 19 included a business school mention.

Several weddings featured MBA students specifically. For example, Nicholas Tangney, who is a managing director for Lorentzen & Stemoco and is studying for his MBA at New York University’s Stern School of Business, was married to Samantha Lee, a vice president and account manager for consumer products clients at DeVries Global. Similarly,Tracy Massel, a student at Harvard Business School, married Steven Melzer, the director of finance and operations strategy at Expeditionary Learning. Morgan Fauth, a first year at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business who married research analyst Kevin Patrick Coleman, Jr., was also featured among the wedding announcements.
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We’ve invited mbaMission to share their Business School Essays Analyses as they’re released for the 2013-2014 application season. Here is their analysis for Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper).

To us at mbaMission, one of the most notable things about the essay questions Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business is posing this application season is that the program has changed its approach to length guidelines by shifting from “double-spaced page” requirements to specific word counts. Candidates who have surveyed the school’s past questions may notice that Tepper has reframed several of its queries. The short- and long-term goals prompts are separated both from one another and from the “why Tepper” query, and the previous question about an obstacle or ethical dilemma has been replaced by one with a more internal focus, asking candidates to share an instance that fundamentally influenced who they are today. And rather than requesting that applicants pinpoint something surprising about themselves or that makes them proud, the school wants a more general exploration of what the candidate might contribute to the Tepper community in the long and short term alike. We feel these broader prompts may allow you to provide a more rounded and personal picture of yourself to the admissions committee, so let us examine each one a little more closely…CMU

Short Answer 1 (Maximum 250 words):  What is your professional goal immediately following graduation from the Tepper School?

Short Answer 2 (Maximum 250 words):  What are your long term career goals?

These two short answer questions cover the basic short- and long-term goals elements of a traditional personal statement. To help applicants write this style of essay for any school, we have produced the mbaMission Personal Statement Guide, which we offer to candidates free of charge, via our online store. Please feel free to download your copy today.

Essay 1 (Maximum 500 words): What transferrable skills have you developed that are related to your professional goals outlined in Short Answer 1?  Additionally, identify the skills that you will need to develop or enhance. Specifically, how will the Tepper MBA help you develop these skills?

With this question, the school takes a slightly unique approach to the usual “why an MBA” and “why our school” questions that most programs pose in one format or another. In addition to asking candidates to outline which skills they believe they will need to succeed after graduation, Tepper wants applicants to specify which ones they already possess. Essentially, to get from Point A to Point B, you will need to obtain/master certain abilities, and the school is interested in learning how far along this trajectory you have already progressed. This will allow the admissions committee to better evaluate how qualified you are (and may eventually be) for your chosen path and how effective the school may be in helping you move forward. By explaining how and why you see Tepper as the right program to provide the training you need, you will demonstrate how well you understand your current level of preparedness and how familiar you are with what Tepper has to offer. As always, framing this information using a narrative approach will make your essay more interesting to read, and likely more memorable as well.

Note that the school is focused specifically on skills. In similar questions from other programs (i.e. “why our school?”), candidates are typically asked to discuss which of the schools’ resources are expected to be valuable, in which case you could note that a particular club could provide you with a lifelong network or a speaker series could give you access to experts in your chosen field. These are not options for this Tepper essay, however. Clubs and speaker series are still valid resources to discuss, but you will need to pinpoint how these offerings will improve or impart skillsrather than provide external assets like a peer network or access to experts. Identify which capabilities you feel you will absolutely need, as well as ones that may just be beneficial and ease your path, and then research the school thoroughly to uncover which resources align directly with what you seek. For example, a certain class could teach you to prepare intricate financial models that will help you better predict certain outcomes, while the school’s Public Speaking Club would allow to you practice and improve your oral presentation skills, and participating in one of Tepper’s exchange programs could help you improve your foreign language capabilities. If you have targeted Tepper because you feel it is the right program for you, you likely already have an idea of what it offers that appeals to you and fits your goals—this essay is where you get specific about what these aspects of the program are.
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We’ve invited mbaMission to share their Business School Essays Analyses as they’re released for the 2013-2014 application season. Here is their analysis for Indian School of Business.

The Indian School of Business (ISB) appears to have somewhat narrowed the focus of its essay questions since last season. It again asks candidates to explain what differentiates them from others, but this year, it specifically requests two examples and characterizes what kinds of qualities it seeks, rather than leaving the query more open-ended. The ISB has also shifted its question about applicants’ post-MBA goals to focus less on the goals themselves and more on why its program is the right one to prepare candidates to achieve their ambitions. Applicants are no longer required to submit a video essay about what they believe “life” to be (we imagine a large number of candidates were relieved to see that prompt dropped), and a request for additional information that was mandatory last year is now optional. Overall, the ISB seems to want to get at the heart of who its applicants are—not just what they know and have accomplished—and to be able to evaluate “fit” with what it has to offer.ISB

Essay 1: Attitude, skills and knowledge differentiate people. Elaborate with two examples on how you would differentiate yourself from other applicants to the PGP. (300 words max)

This straightforward prompt is really rather self-explanatory. The ISB is basically asking what attitude, skill or knowledge (experience) you possess that makes you stand out. If you can readily claim some unquestionably unique qualities—a rare skill, an unusual upbringing, an uncommon perspective—deciding on your content will be easy. From there, just focus on presenting your differentiating factors in a narrative format (avoid direct declarations like “What makes me different is X and Y…”) and providing brief but sufficient context as to how you gained or developed these traits.

If you view yourself as a more “typical” applicant, however, you may have difficulty deciding what to spotlight in this essay. Just remember that, as the saying goes, “the devil is in the details.” You do not need to reveal that you have experienced something totally unique, but you do need to show that you truly understand and “own” your experiences. For example, if you are a consultant, you are like many other candidates out there—you cannot differentiate yourself by saying, “I am a consultant.” But if you think carefully about each consulting project you were staffed on, you will perhaps recall a unique client interaction, moment with your team, situation with your senior manager, dynamic with a trainee, etc. that reveals your attitude, skill or knowledge in an interesting manner.

Hypothetically, if you, as a consultant, found a way to implement a new training module, this is not earth-shatteringly different, but it gives you the granular experience upon which to build a discussion of initiative, commitment and developing others around you. You may not be the only individual who can lay claim to possessing these traits, but the details of your experience creating and implementing that module will ensure that you are able to differentiate yourself sufficiently.

The school asks for two examples, which means you could offer one from your personal life and one from your professional life to present a balanced view of yourself. However, we would encourage you to honestly evaluate what you believe are the two characteristics that truly distinguish you most, and if they are both personal in scope—or both professional—use them. The ISB wants to know what makes you you and who you will be as a student in its program, so being honest and enthusiastic in your essay will serve you best. Forcing the issue and choosing one quality to highlight from each realm just to be safe, rather than offering what genuinely is the most special about you, would unnecessarily weaken your submission.

Essay 2: How does the ISB PGP tie-in with your career goals? (300 words max)
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We’ve invited mbaMission to share their Business School Essays Analyses as they’re released for the 2013-2014 application season. Here is their analysis for Yale School of Management. 

As we have seen several top MBA programs do this year, the Yale School of Management (SOM) has reduced its essay requirements for the current round of applicants. During the 2011–2012 application season, the school asked candidates to respond to six questions using 1,600 words; in 2012–2013, this was condensed to four questions and 1,050 words; this season, the SOM poses just two questions, for which it allots only 750 words (300 for Essay 1 and 450 for Essay 2). This reduction should not be taken as an indication that the admissions committee is less interested in what applicants have to say, however. Instead, the school is in the process of incorporating a video component into its application in which candidates will respond orally to typical essay-style questions in a spontaneous manner, without knowing the questions in advance. We therefore encourage you to make the most of your essays, for which you will be able to take your time and carefully plan and craft your responses.

Yale School of ManagementEssay 1: What motivates your decision to pursue an MBA? (300 words maximum)

Yale’s first essay question for this season is very similar to the one it posed last year, but the school has doubled the word count and removed the query “When did you realize that this was a step you wanted—or needed—to take?” The focus and tone have also changed, in that the SOM had previously asked candidates what “prompted [their] decision to get an MBA,” which essentially emphasized a past event—in other words, what happened in the past to make you realize your need for this degree. This year, however, the school’s use of the word “motivates” carries with it a sense of positive, forward momentum and progression toward a goal—people are motivated to accomplish or attain things. You should therefore keep your focus forward as well and center your response on what you hope to gain from the MBA experience/education and what you plan to pursue after graduation. Identify the skills, guidance, experience and/or other factors that are key to enabling you to achieve your goals and that business school can provide. Then explain how gaining these will prepare you to succeed in your desired post-MBA position and industry.
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