MBA admissions: Backing up a Strong GMAT with the Personal Touch

August 20th, 2014

[Today's guest blog is provided courtesy of QS.com]
The GMAT is often seen as the ‘gatekeeper’ for top-tier business schools around the world – such is its importance to the MBA admissions process.
Nine million tests have now been sat since GMAC, the Graduate Management Admissions Council, introduced the paper as a standardizing force for fairness in business school admissions some 60 years ago.
In taxing candidates’ reasoning, analytical writing and ability to use and interpret data to solve business problems, the GMAT is seldom taken lightly by applicants. In fact, it has a reputation for difficulty that certainly seems deserved – but …

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The Questions Asked Of EMBA Applicants

July 30th, 2014

This article was originally featured on Poets & Quants for Executives.
Size does matter, and at top full-time MBA programs the size that matters most for application essays is small–as in Wharton’s single 500-word essay or Kellogg’s two 450-word essays for the 2014-15 cycle.
Compare this with the three to five and seven pages that Wharton and Stanford, respectively, allowed for their goals essay in the late 1990s, and you see how far we’ve come. The factors driving this trend range from skepticism over written essays’ capacity to capture applicants authentically to rising application volumes colliding with top schools’ limited admissions budgets …

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What Matters Most to You: Stanford MBA Essay Tips

July 29th, 2014

This article was originally featured on TopMBA.com
When someone asks you what really matters most to you – for what or whom you would gleefully walk over hot coals – they are more or less putting a gun to your head and saying, “Tell us the truth”. It’s baked into the very question. Sincerity, honesty, authenticity, genuineness – these are the unspoken synonyms behind Stanford GSB’s now iconic MBA essay question: “What matters most to you, and why?” There’s only one small problem with responding as expected to that gun at your head: banality often ensues.
When I ask clients, “What matters …

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Deconstructing Harvard Business School’s MBA Essay Topic

July 16th, 2014

This article was originally featured on TopMBA.com
When is an MBA essay not what it seems? When it’s Harvard Business School’s deceptively simple, deceptively welcoming, deceptively optional prompt of the past two years: “You’re applying to Harvard Business School. We can see your résumé, academic transcripts, extracurricular activities, awards, post-MBA career goals, test scores, and what your recommenders have to say about you. What else would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy?”
Yes, it looks clear enough. By explicitly telling you what they don’t want to hear about – your accomplishments, grades, extracurricular activities, and goals – they’re …

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Today Is Tuck Summer Visit Day

June 20th, 2014

Today, in lovely Hanover, New Hampshire, MBA aspirants are enjoying a curated exploration of the Tuck experience, presided over by Tuck’s admissions staff. The day’s schedule is as follows:
9:30 Arrival and Check-in
10:15-11:15 Mock Class
11:20-12:00 Get to Know Tuck’s Research Centers and Initiatives
12:00 -12:50 Lunch
1:00 -1:45 Student Life Panel
2:00-2:45 Members of the Admissions Committee: How to set you up for success for your MBA application
3:00-3:45 Career Development Panel and Discussion
Wish I could be there.
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Yale SOM Releases 2014-15 Essay Question and Deadlines

June 20th, 2014

Deadlines
Round 1: Sept. 18; Decision: Dec. 8.
Round 2: Jan. 8, 2015; Decision: Mar. 27, 2015
Round 3: Apr. 23, 2015; Decision: May 25, 2015
The Essay Question
“The Yale School of Management educates individuals who will have deep and lasting impact on the organizations they lead. Describe how you have positively influenced an organization—as an employee, a member, or an outside constituent.” (500 words maximum)
We chose to require a single, longer essay, rather than two shorter essays, in order to give you more space to address this question—which is at the core of what an MBA education at the Yale School of Management …

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Texas McCombs Releases 2014-15 Essays and Deadlines

June 19th, 2014

2014-15 Deadlines
Round 1: Oct. 14; Notification: Dec. 18
Round 2: Jan. 6, 2015; Notification: Mar. 26, 2015
Round 3: Mar. 24, 2015; Notification: May 21, 2015
2014-2015 Application Essay Topics
1. Imagine that you are at the Texas MBA Orientation for the Class of 2017. Please introduce yourself to your new classmates, and include information you feel relevant to both your personal and professional life. Select only onecommunication method that you would like to use for your response.
o Write an essay (250 words)
o Share a video introduction (one minute)
o Share your about.me profile
2. In the Texas MBA program, we promote a diverse and collaborative community by providing opportunities …

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Duke Fuqua Releases 2014-15 Essays and Deadlines

June 19th, 2014

2014-15 Deadlines
Early Action: Sept. 17; Interview Invites Sent by: Oct. 7; Decision Notification: Oct. 29
Round 1: Oct. 20; Interview Invites Sent by: Nov. 20; Decision Notification: Dec. 19
Round 2: Jan. 5, 2015; Interview Invites Sent by: Feb. 4; Decision Notification: Mar. 13, 2015
Round 3: Mar. 19, 2015; Interview Invites Sent by: Apr. 7; Decision Notification: May 6, 2015
2014 – 2015 Essays (for students who will start the program in 2015)
Three short answer questions and 2 essays are required from all applicants.
* Responses should use 1.5 line spacing and a font size no smaller than 10-point.
* Respond fully and concisely.
* Responses …

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Brand-New Printing of ‘Great Apps for B-School’: Almost a New Edition

June 15th, 2014

McGraw-Hill Professional has just done a brand-new printing of the second edition of my best-selling book, Great Applications for Business School, which has more positive reviews (55 and counting) on Amazon than any other book in its category and is currently ranked numbers 1 and 2 (the Kindle edition) in the “Graduate School Preparation Test Guides” category. The new printing doesn’t amount to a new edition, but it does contain an awful lot of changes: 136 to be exact. These changes encompass every chapter and section of the book, from front to back cover, and represent a significant refreshing of …

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Berkeley Haas Releases 2014-15 Essay Questions

June 14th, 2014

Finally, a top business school that seems to still believe that admissions committees should try to learn something about their applicants:
Essays
At Berkeley-Haas, our distinctive culture is defined by four key principles — Question the Status Quo; Confidence Without Attitude; Students Always; and Beyond yourself. We seek candidates from a broad range of cultures, backgrounds, and industries who demonstrate a strong cultural fit with our program and defining principles. Please use the following essays as an opportunity to reflect on and share with us the values, experiences, and accomplishments that have helped shape who you are.(Learn more about Berkeley-Haas’ Defining Principles).
Describe …

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MBA Applicants: Does Your Social Media Matter?

June 11th, 2014

Remember those photos you posted on Facebook of you dancing in drag at Marquee? How would you feel if Harvard Business School’s admissions team saw them? Think they’re safe just because you shared them only with friends? Think again. If you think admissions officers aren’t looking at your online life, consider this a wake-up call.
According to Kaplan, the test prep company, 32% of admissions officers undertake internet search on applicants; 27% admit to visiting the Facebook page of a potential student. Worse, 10% of these admissions officers found something online that negatively impacted applications. Across universities in …

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Michigan Ross Reduces Essays

June 4th, 2014

Michigan Ross has joined the business school essay-shortening bandwagon by announcing that it will cutting its essays this year from three to two, for a total of 800 words instead of last year’s total of 950. The essay topics are:
–”What are you most proud of professionally and why? What did you learn from that experience?” (400 words)
–”What are you most proud of personally and and why? How does it shape who you are today?” (400 words)
Clearly, they are interested in how you act in the world, both in your career and outside of work. They are using these two essays …

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Wharton Reduces Essay and Reco Letter Count

June 3rd, 2014

Wharton has joined the crowd of top MBA programs that are slashing the number of essay and reco letter prompts. This year’s Wharton application, which goes online in August, invites responses to only two essays, one of them optional:
“What do you hope to gain both personally and professionally from the Wharton MBA?” (500 word limit)
“Please use the space below to highlight any additional information that you would like the Admissions Committee to know about your candidacy.” (400 word limit)
Wharton’s recommendation letters are also less demanding:
1. How do the candidate’s performance, potential, or personal qualities compare to those of other well-qualified …

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Tuck Releases 2014-15 Essay Prompts

May 22nd, 2014

From Tuck 360: MBA Blog:
The Tuck application will go live later this summer, but you can get a head start in preparing to tell us your story. I’ll point out the obvious: we have two required essays instead of three. Otherwise, the changes are limited.
Remember, the essays are your opportunity to share with us who you are beyond the numbers and the resume, so reflect, take your time, and be genuine. You want to think carefully about your content as well as delivery; you need to communicate clearly and in your voice, not who you think we want you to …

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Wharton Announces 2014-15 Deadlines

May 17th, 2014

MBA Program
Application Deadline Decision Release Date
Round 1 October 1, 2014 December 16, 2014
Round 2 January 5, 2015 March 24, 2015
Round 3 March 26, 2015 May 5, 2015
MBA/MA–Lauder and JD/MBA
Application Deadline Decision Release Date
Round 1 October 1, 2014 December 16, 2014
Round 2 January 5, 2015 March 24, 2015
Source: Wharton MBA.
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