Archives For admissions

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 to share their Business School Essays Analyses as they’re released for the 2013-2014 application season. Here is their analysis for Stanford Graduate School of Business.

The Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) is apparently content with its essay questions, because it has made no changes to them or to the allowed word count this season. Having made slight tweaks to its prompts in recent years, the GSB’s MBA admissions committee seems to have found an approach that elicits the information it wants.

With respect to word count, Stanford is unique in that it asks you to limit yourself to 1,600 words total but allows you to determine how you would like to distribute them among the various questions. Stanford does offer some guidance”recommending 750 words for Essay 1, 450 words for Essay 2 and 400 words for Essay 3”but you can take the school at its word (small pun intended!) and use a different distribution if you feel that you can better reveal yourself through, for example, a 650-word Essay 1 and 500-word Essay 3.

Stanford’s admissions committee offers some great advice on how to write its application essays here:http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/mba/admission/dir_essays-p.html. We feel that the committee’s most important guidance is the following:

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Because we want to discover who you are, resist the urge to package yourself in order to come across in a way you think Stanford wants. Such attempts simply blur our understanding of who you are and what you can accomplish. We want to hear your genuine voice throughout the essays that you write and this is the time to think carefully about your values, your passions, your hopes and dreams.

In truth, this is good advice not just for Stanford’s essays, but for all business schools’ essays. Rather than trying to portray yourself as something in particular (which you may or may not in fact be), focus on showcasing who you actually are and give the admissions committee the information and picture of you it needs to make its decision. Stanford is not interested in classifying its applicants as certain types but in discovering individuals and what they have to offer.  And now, on to the essays

Essay 1: What matters most to you, and why?

When candidates ask us, What should I write for what matters most to me?, we offer a pretty simple tip”start brainstorming for this essay by asking yourself that very question: What matters most to me? This might seem like obvious advice, of course, but many applicants get flustered by the question, often believing that an actual right answer exists that they must identify, and never pause to actually consider their sincere responses, which are typically the most compelling.

So, we advise that you brainstorm in depth and push yourself to explore the psychological and philosophical motivations behind your goals and achievements”behind who you are today. We cannot emphasize this enough: do not make a snap decision about the content of this essay. Once you have identified what you believe is an appropriate theme, discuss your idea(s) with those with whom you are closest and whose input you respect. Doing so can help validate deeply personal and authentic themes, leading to an essay that truly stands out.

Once you have fully examined your options and identified your main themes, do not simply provide a handful of supporting anecdotes”or worse, recycle the stories you used in a similar essay for another school. A strong essay response to this question will involve a true exploration of the themes you have chosen and reveal a thorough analysis of decisions, motives and successes/failures, with a constant emphasis on how you conduct yourself. If you are merely telling stories and trying to tie in your preconceived conclusions, you are most likely forcing a theme on your reader rather than analyzing your experiences, and this will be transparent to any experienced admissions reader. In short, be sure to fully consider and develop your most sincere answer(s), outline your essay accordingly and then infuse your writing with your personality, thoughts, feelings and experiences.
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Patty at WhartonThis is part 8 of a series featuring b-school advice gleaned from one of Manhattan GMAT’s own. Until recently, Patty managed marketing and student services for our sister company, Manhattan LSAT. But she chose to return to business school and started at Wharton last fall. She has agreed to share her application experiences with us in a series called, “Patty’s Path to Wharton.” Read Part 7 here.

Today, we talk to Patty about the dreaded waiting period. The process was agonizing, because you have nothing else to do, she says.

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Jeremy Shinewald, the founder and president of our partners over at mbaMission, was recently interviewed by the Wall Street Journal about the MBA application process. In this interview, he talks about the value of the application essay, what is so special about those top few schools, and why the GMAT is only one important part of the whole application process.

mbaMission offers free half hour consultations. You can sign up for one here.

Ankur Kumar, Wharton Director of AdmissionsThis post appears in its entirety on the mbaMission blog.

Recently,  mbaMission was fortunate enough to speak with Ankur Kumar, the new director of admissions at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Here are some highlights from our conversation, followed by the full transcript below.

  • During the upcoming admissions cycle, Wharton plans to pilot a group interview exercise, which could become a mandatory application component in the future.
  • Students often see class profiles as a set of preferences, but they only reveal the industries that students came from immediately prior to business school; industry experience is much deeper than it may appear.
  • Wharton is seeking quality experience, not a target age or number of years of work experience.

mbaMission: So my first question is, Wharton kind of caused a stir when it switched to behavioral interviews last year, and I was curious why the change was made and what Wharton was trying to learn that it maybe couldn’t learn from its previous process.

Read the rest of the interview here.

Our friends at mbaMission have interviewed the University of Chicago Booth School of Business Associate Dean for Student Recruitment and Admissions Kurt Ahlm. Read the highlights below and find the full post here.

Here are some highlights from the interview:

  • Chicago Booth does not employ any quotas in its application review process but looks to enroll a diverse, smart group of students who fit well with the school’s values and culture.
  • Ahlm discusses how an application is reviewed at Chicago Booth.
  • Chicago Booth interviews 40%“50% of applicants, though depending on the strength of the applicant pool, the percentage can vary from year to year.

You can find the full interview transcript here.

Our partners over at mbaMission recently wrote a post about what it takes – and doesn’t take – to get into a good business school.  Based on data released by top business schools like HBS and Stanford, many would be surprised to find that graduating from a non-Ivy school  does not decrease their chances of acceptance.  As Jeremy Shinewald puts it:

The admissions committees are more interested in your performance “ academic, professional, volunteer, personal “ than your pedigree. Further, the admissions committee is interested in diversity. We don’t feel that we are going out on a limb stating that Wharton does not want and cannot have a class of 850 UPenn undergrads, because they simply want the best potential business leaders out there and thus must jump into a much deeper pool.

You can read the full post here.