Archives For Apps and Admissions

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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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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Note: The following is a guest post by Liza Weale, Senior Consultant for mbaMission.

mbamissionThe numbers from GMAC’s 2013 Corporate Recruiters Survey are in, and the MBA continues to gain ground with employers. Of the companies surveyed, 75% plan to hire MBAs in 2013 versus the 71% that hired business school graduates in 2012. The median starting salary for MBAs at U.S. companies is also on the rise: up from $90K in 2012 to $95K in 2013. And companies in the classic fields of consulting and finance are not the only ones expecting to add MBAs to their work force (79% in 2013 over 69% in 2012 and 75% in 2013 over 70% in 2012, respectively): 86% of energy and utility companies (up 17% over 2012) and 89% of health care and pharma companies (up 12% over 2012) report plans to do so as well.

Undoubtedly, the outlook for MBAs is rosy, but being aware of this promising forecast is not enough to help an applicant gain a spot at a top program. Some deep soul searching is needed, and resources such as GMAC’s 2013 Corporate Recruiters Survey can be excellent sources of inspiration”especially as candidates contemplate what next after business school.

The following are a few things that might be helpful to consider as you think about your goals:

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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 first analysis, for Columbia Business School.

Introductory Note: Typically, Harvard Business School launches the MBA application season and then other business schools quickly follow suit. Earlier this week, HBS admissions director, Dee Leopold, announced that HBS would be releasing its essays during the final week of May. Meanwhile, Columbia Business School’s Admissions Director, Amanda Carlson, sent a message that she waits for no one. CBS officially released its essay questions today “ you will find the questions and our analysis below.

This year, Columbia Business School (CBS) continues a trend that has developed over the past three seasons, once again reducing the number of words applicants can use to tell their story. Last year, CBS allowed applicants 200 characters with which to respond to its short-answer question and 1,250 words total for its three essays”not much room to showcase one’s strongest attributes and set oneself apart from the pack. Now, CBS candidates have a mere 100 characters for the short-answer question and 1,000 words for the three essays.

Unfortunately, this reduced word count does not make your task as an applicant any easier”especially when you have only one essay (Essay 3) in which to discuss something outside the professional/academic realm and reveal your more personal side. Hopefully, our essay analysis can help you strategize

Columbia Business SchoolShort Answer Question: What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (100 characters maximum)

Do not pretend to be anything you are not. Reveal honest, ambitious goals that are also realistic.

These two sentences are 98 characters long. You can now see just how brief you need to be with CBS’s short-answer question. Yet you must still demonstrate that you can convey a point within such strict limits. So, we are sticking with the advice in our example. Do not misguidedly believe that admissions officers have a preference for specific professions or industries”they do not. Think about what you truly want to do with your career and state it directly. Then, be sure that the rest of your application provides evidence that this goal connects to your existing skills and profound interests, making your professed goal achievable and lending credibility to your statement here. If you can do this in 100 characters”and remember that we are talking about characters, not words”you will have answered this question quite well.

Essay 1: Given your individual background, why are you pursuing a Columbia MBA at this time? (Maximum 500 words)

Because the CBS admissions committee is asking why you have chosen to pursue an MBA, you can justifiably delve into your professional career and explain how you identified your need for this particular advanced degree. However, take care not to overwhelm the admissions committee with an unnecessary level of detail about your career history. We cannot emphasize this strongly enough”the admissions committee does not want a recap of your entire resume”moreover, such detail would use up valuable word count. Approximately 100“150 words on your past should be enough to provide appropriate context.

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I’ve been speaking with a lot of students in this position recently “ welcome to December. Most second round deadlines are rapidly approaching and some students, unfortunately, don’t yet have the score they want in order to apply. What to do?

What you CAN’T do

gmat deadlineThere are some things you can do “ but we can’t expect miracles either. If you tell me that your test is in less than 2 weeks and you need to improve your score by 100 or more points, I’m going to (gently) tell you that such a goal is unrealistic. I’m not going to discourage you from going for it (it doesn’t hurt to try), but you should also start examining your other options are. These could include accepting your lower score, changing the schools to which you apply, or postponing your candidacy to a later round or a later year. Some people, thinking through this, actually end up deciding that they’d rather wait a year anyway and take their time with the whole application process.
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Note We at Manhattan GMAT are very excited to welcome mbaMission Founder/President Jeremy Shinewald to our blog to offer his analysis on some recent MBA application news. Here’s what he has to say.

mbaMissionLast week, Bloomberg Businessweek published two articles on declining MBA application volumes, going so far as to call the current application environment a drought. In its first article (Columbia, NYU MBA Applications Plummet), Bloomberg Businessweek noted that Columbia Business School (CBS) and New York University’s Stern School of Business (NYU Stern) saw declines in the number of applications last year of 19% and 12%, respectively, from the previous year. Meanwhile, the number of applicants to Harvard Business School (HBS) declined by 2% and to Wharton by less than 1%. In a separate article (At Top Business Schools, an MBA Application Drought), Bloomberg Businessweek revealed that the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and the Yale School of Management (SOM) saw drops of 3.5% and 9.5%, respectively. So, is this truly a drought or is this just a blip”and what does it all mean for you?

Let’s start by taking a look at some incomplete numbers (some schools do not release data on application volumes) for a few schools mentioned in the articles:

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mbamissionOur partners and friends over at mbaMission have posted their annual Harvard Business School Essay Analysis. Here is is what they had to say…

Harvard Business School (HBS) kicks off the MBA application season again, and this time it is doing so with a significant overhaul of its entire application. HBS has shrunk its written requirements from four mandatory essays of 400 to 600 words to two essays of 400 words each, but has added a new post-interview 400-word write-up (for the approximately 25% of applicants who are selected to interview), giving interviewees a mere 24 hours to submit their last word to the school.

Managing Director of MBA Admissions Dee Leopold has long held that essays play too prominent a role in the business school admissions process, but does giving candidates just two essays (analyzed later in this post) truly reduce the emphasis? We suspect that having only 800 words with which to make a lasting impression on the admissions committee, candidates will worry that they do not have enough space to successfully convey a full picture of themselves. We therefore expect that applicants will fret even more than usual over their essays, debating whether the two stories they have chosen to share will be sufficiently powerful and compelling, and giving their essays an incredible amount of attention. Meanwhile, to make up for this lack of space”and thus allay their fears that they have not shared enough information about themselves in their essays to persuade the admissions committee to admit them”they will likely stuff their resumes, interview sessions and recommendations with as much crucial information as they can squeeze in. In some ways, then, HBS is just forcing candidates to play a game of whack-a-mole”the school is trying to push information out of the essays, but the information will undoubtedly pop up elsewhere!  As long as the admissions process is competitive and requires that applicants submit qualitative data, candidates will seek to gain an edge any way they can.

Here is our analysis of HBS’s essay questions for this year”we hope it will give you that edge.

To read the complete analysis, please visit mbaMission’s blog.