MBA Application

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Applying to Business Schools is a long and tedious process. Here’s some advice from the pros:

Start early. One year before classes begin is a good time, but as an international student, you better start even before. Be aware that the process is slightly longer for non-US citizens (because of the TOEFL, translations, earlier admission deadlines, etc).

Apply early. Usually Business School’s have some sort of limit or pre-set number of students accepted from each country. Applying early, then, has an even better impact for foreigners than for Americans.

Choose a manageable number of schools. Applying to more than 5 or 6 schools not only costs a lot of money, but will decrease the quality of your application and preparation. Assess your background (GPA, GMAT, quantity and quality of work experience) and choose a couple of schools that seem within your range. Then you can add a couple of schools with harder criteria, and a couple with easier criteria (you never know).

Aim high. It is said tWhat it is easier for foreign students to get in than it is for Americans (you are competing with fewer people). The chances improve when economic crises strike your region. So, even if you do not think you can get in a top school, you might be wrong.

3 tips for acing a Wharton MBA interview

Every year, top business schools receive thousands of applications for admission, but they only admit an average of 25% of those who apply. The story is no different at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, where approximately half of all applicants are interviewed, but less than one in 10 are ultimately granted admission — and no student is admitted without an interview. As a consultant who helps clients earn admission to top MBA programs, I know first-hand how important interviews are. They’re a key component of how the admissions committee gets a full picture of you as an applicant, and evaluates whether you’ll fit into the Wharton community. Here are three tips for ensuring your Wharton interview strategy shows your assets and skills off to their best advantage: 1. Be prepared for the team-based discussion. Wharton was among the first business schools in the US to implement a team-based discussion component as part of the interview process, in which five to six applicants discuss a topic while being observed by admissions committee members. This new aspect of the application is designed to get a sense of who you are outside of a well-written essay or even a well-rehearsed interview. Wharton is looking for team players and people who can be analytical while working well with others. Keep in mind that observers want to see candidates contributing without dominating the discussion; the idea is to see how you might engage in a productive conversation with a group of future classmates. To make a positive impression, be sure to share your point of view, but also listen thoughtfully; respect differing points of view; and bring others into the conversation. 2. Emphasize your experience as an innovator. Innovation is integral to Wharton’s...

Tips to Maximize Your MBA Application Feedback Session...

All MBA hopefuls fear getting denied, but if there’s any silver lining to rejection, it’s that many business schools now offer feedback sessions to help unsuccessful candidates figure out where they might have gone wrong. This availability of application feedback confirms that the schools really do welcome and encourage re-applicants, who often find success the second time around. In fact, in the past, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School has shared with us anecdotally​ that applicants who reapplied often have a slight edge in the applicant pool. Find out the policy of your school of choice and get in touch with the admissions office right away, making it clear that you will use the feedback to reapply next year, if that’s the case. These meetings usually take place on a first-come, first-served basis in the spring, at the end of the admissions season. Due to the brevity of these sessions, it’s important to prepare in advance. Write down a few pointed questions that will help you make the most of your meeting. If you questioned anything during the application process, you now have the opportunity to clear things up. In order to gather actionable information, your questions should sound something like this: • Was there any concern about my quantitative abilities? If so, what can I do to demonstrate my capabilities? • Were my career goals clear? • Are my reasons for wanting an MBA sound? • What were some of the biggest weaknesses in my application? Do you have any suggestions for how I can ease your concerns in those areas? Have a plan to make sure the session stays on pace, because you’ll usually have a maximum of 15 minutes. Keep track of the time and strive...

Tips for Applying to B-School After Years in the Workforce...

The average age of business school applicants has been trending downward for the past decade, and with that, work experience expectations have shifted as well. But not everyone is ready or in a position to take the business school plunge at 26 years old. If you want to pursue an MBA in your early-30s and beyond, consider these specific tips as you put together your application package. 1. Show career progression:​ When applying to a top-tier business school, you’ll need to show the admissions committee a clear path of professional growth. Avoid looking stagnant, as the admissions team wants to admit students who continually seek to learn and advance their skills and leadership abilities. Even if you have held the same job for several years, you should demonstrate career progression either in the formal sense, with increasingly higher-level job titles, or by pointing out how you have gradually taken on greater responsibilities. Coach your recommenders to specifically address this upward trajectory in their letters of support, as this will help convey your dedication to your professional development. Make sure to ask a current or recent manager for that recommendation, as a letter from a supervisor who worked with you eight years ago might raise a red flag. If you do select a recommender from the more distant past, make sure that you have really kept in touch and they can speak to your professional progression and work habits now. Also, if you have had several jobs, don’t worry about squeezing all of them on to the MBA resume. Highlight only the most important positions and responsibilities. 2. Show strong leadership: It’s understandable that younger applicants won’t have many examples of leadership one year out of school, but as time...

Perfect GMAT won’t help you get into this B school...

It’s not even November and Harvard has already denied students acceptance to its MBA program. While it comes as no surprise that about 89 out of every 100 applicants are turned down for admission to Harvard Business School, the true shock is that many of the first round “dings” made by HBS happen to impressive candidates. According to the business education website, Poets & Quants, around 60 out of those 89 candidates refused admission are highly qualified students who have stellar GMAT scores and extracurricular activities. The site revealed the profiles of candidates who were rejected before the notoriously competitive, first round of admission interviews. Three out of the applicants who submitted their profiles have “nosebleed-territory” GMAT scores of 780, which would put them in the 99th percentile of test takers in the world. They also boast near-perfect GPAs with extensive accomplishments and professional experience. One of the candidates rejected without an interview listed that he is a Stanford University graduate who manages a strategy team for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “This case surprises me because not only are the statistics for this person very high, but he is also a rare case of a candidate in the aerospace industry,” said Sanford Kreisberg, founder of HBSGuru.com and an admissions consultant who specializes in Harvard MBA applications. “Aerospace is a recognized, if not beloved, industry at Harvard Business School.” In this instance, Kreisberg speculated that there are several reasons the student was eliminated from the first round of interviews such as a poor written application or an admissions board mistake. Still, Kreisberg explained that with an admissions rate of about 11 percent, Harvard rejects a lot of candidates with high test scores because HBS is looking to build a class...

20 interview questions Harvard asks MBA candidates...

Being among the small percentage of applicants admitted to the No. 1 business school in the world immediately puts you in some seriously good company. Of the nearly 10,000 applicants to Harvard Business School’s class of 2017, only 11% were admitted. What made them stand out? As with any interview or exam, preparation is key. And when applying to Harvard, it’s vital. Stacy Blackman, founder of Stacy Blackman Consulting, helps clients earn admission to top MBA programs. She has an undergraduate degree from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Over the past decade, Blackman has studied successful Harvard interview transcripts. She put together an interview guide featuring sample questions, which are broken into three categories: past experiences, present attributes, and future goals. We’ve selected interview questions in each category from Blackman’s Harvard interview guide. Past experiences Your past experiences can tell a lot about how you’ve dealt with success and failure. When interviewing with Harvard, “expect to be asked a number of questions that will help interviewers gauge how life has tested you and how you responded to that test,” Blackman writes. Sample questions include: Why did you choose to work for your current company? Many people go straight from investment banking to a private equity firm. Why do you feel you need the MBA in between? Describe a situation where you successfully responded to change. Describe a time when you helped someone at work. Describe a mistake you’ve made within the past three years. Describe your greatest accomplishment. How would you describe your style for teaching peers? Tell me about a time you failed. The interviewer wants to know the rationale behind all...

How to Use Social Media to Boost Your MBA Application...

Your online presence can affect your MBA application. Everyday, social media is integrated more and more into our lives. We must be cognizant of our actions and apply them in ways that help us reach our goals and not hinder them. For many students receiving their MBA is more than a goal, it is a life-long dream. As universities begin to scale back on essays and increase the research they do online, potential students must have a strategy for how they approach their online presence. Consider Your Privacy Settings Yes, if you apply to an MBA program or a job, chances are that they will be looking at your social-media profiles. Do yourself a favor and check your privacy settings. For Facebook, hide images and posts that you don’t wish to be shown. Set personal information to private and set your positive information, such as past jobs, to public. For LinkedIn, make sure that your profile is visible. Make sure that you created your vanity URL, check the profile for grammar and spelling, and be as thorough as possible when completing your profile. For other social-media profiles, use your discretion. Search Yourself This is important. Be sure that you know of anything an admissions staff member could potentially see online.Search your name, your email and your name against other companies and organizations that you have ever been associated with. For most of us, there won’t be many incriminating results, but we cannot know if we do not look. Follow Admissions Staff As anyone who has ever had to do a background check can attest, it can be time consuming and tiring. Make it easy for admissions people to find you. Following admissions staff can be helpful to them and...

How To Score MBA Admission By Retaking The GMAT...

You have finally completed the GMAT and your scores lie before you. With so many important numbers on one page, how do you decide where to begin? Review Total, Verbal, Quantitative Scores Begin by reviewing these three measures. Your total GMAT score falls on a scale from 200 to 800, and the current mean result is 547. Quantitative scores range from 0 to 60, with an average mark of 38. Your Verbal score utilizes the same range. The current mean is 27. What does this mean for you? The average scores for all test-takers will not necessarily match the mean scores at your prospective schools. One strategy is to find the 80th percentile for those MBA programs that interest you. If your total GMAT score falls in or above that percentile, your chances of acceptance are likely to be higher. However, if your total GMAT score falls below that range and you believe you can improve the result, you should think about retaking the exam. Speak with the admissions counsellors at your business schools about how score will factor into their decision. Assess Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) scores Your AWA response is scored from zero to six, and the current mean result is 4.34. Integrated Reasoning is a relatively new GMAT section and as such, it has the least historical data to analyse. Your Integrated Reasoning score can range from one to eight and the current mean score is 4.33. These portions of the GMAT tend to speak more to specific skill sets than the Total, Verbal and Quantitative sections do. For example: if you are a seasoned journalist, with numerous published works to your name, an admissions committee may not look at the AWA as the...

Prepare Now for 2015 Round 1: Six Steps to Achieve Your Strongest MBA application...

Many business school candidates make the decision to apply to business school years in advance, while others decide that business school is the route to achieve their professional goals only a few months before applications are due. No matter when an applicant determines that business school is right for them, the most common question I receive is, “When should I start preparing?” My answer is always: now. As the founder and CEO of Stratus Prep, I’ve helped thousands of MBA applicants maximize their chances of admission to top business schools. Over the last ten years, I have found that while there are official deadlines and barometers for progress, the secret to reaching admission to one’s target MBA program is developing and executing a strategically sound long-term strategy. In short: for many of the most competitive candidates, building a strong profile and completing your application is a marathon, not a sprint. For applicants planning on applying in Round 1 of 2015, now is the time to develop and strengthen your candidacy by identifying weaknesses and taking action to close gaps in your profile. Here are six practicable steps you can begin today. 670px-Students_in_a_Harvard_Business_School_classroom1. Community Service/Extracurricular Leadership – Due to the time and energy poured into careers, I see many applicants with insufficient community service or extracurricular leadership. If you start to work now to obtain leadership roles then you will be in them for almost one year before Round 1. Assuming a leadership role in an organization that you care about demonstrates the authenticity of your interest as compared to someone getting involved in these roles a couple months before applying. When choosing the appropriate community service/extracurricular leadership activities, make sure you choose an activity that connects with your background...

Why Applying To Business School Should Be Easier, But Not Easy...

There are no shortcuts to any place worth going. Securing a place in one of the world’s top MBA programs is not easy. Nor should it be. To stand out in such a highly competitive applicant pool you have to demonstrate a level of intellectual vitality, personal character, professional competence, and thoughtful self-awareness to convince the admissions office that you will thrive and contribute to the business school community. In the process you have a wonderful opportunity to learn a lot about yourself, and the confidence that your future classmates have risen to the same challenge. In recent years many of the schools have moved towards a shorter, easier application form. The Harvard Business School is now down to just one optional essay versus eight essays a decade ago, while many others have reduced the number of essays required, or drastically shortened the word length. Columbia now asks you to define your post-MBA professional goals in 75 characters – a ‘tweetette’ if you will. Here’s why applying to Harvard Business School has never been easier What would Duke Fuqua MBA Tim Cook have shared for the school’s MBA admissions essay that asks for ’25 Random Things’ about you? Stanford GSB now only requires two letters of recommendation, while other top schools have adopted a common recommendation form. The latter is a welcome change, acknowledging that your recommenders, though supportive of your b-school application, have limited time to craft 4 or 5 different recommendations on your behalf. What matters most to you, and why? The Stanford MBA wants to know, and so should you But aren’t both business schools and candidates losing something along the way? Unlike many other graduate programs, the MBA typically attracts individuals who have 3 or...

Why the interview is the most important part of an MBA application...

Sitting across from one or two people knowing your future is on the line can be a nerve-racking experience. For those interested in earning an MBA at nearly all the business schools across Canada, an interview is a vital part of the selection process. “It terrifies people. The tone of the interview makes them feel pressure,” explains Shai Dubey, director of the MBA program at Queen’s University in Kingston. But it’s not meant to be that way. It’s supposed to be a part of the grander selection process to determine whether a prospect makes a good candidate for an MBA program. “It’s not an interview, really,” Prof. Dubey says. “It’s a conversation. If it is a conversation, then we’ve done a good job.” For many schools, the interview completes a prospect’s application – along with his or her transcript, graduate management admission test (GMAT) scores and usually a personal essay or résumé, and Prof. Dubey says it’s a crucial process. “When you think about getting a résumé from someone, it’s a high-level sketch that they want to tell you. Résumés are usually polished, while an interview is raw,” he says. “There’s no voice for them [résumés] – it’s black ink on white paper. We still don’t know the personality of that person. So the interview answers questions that you can’t find out about by looking at numbers.” The MBA interview isn’t meant to trick anyone, contrary to popular belief. A story from Business Insider reports that people who interviewed with Google were once asked, “Why are manhole covers round?” MBA hopefuls might think these are the kind of questions they’ll be greeted with, but it isn’t true. “There are a lot of behavioural questions that are asked – ‘Talk...

On B-School Test, Americans Fail to Measure Up...

New waves of Indians and Chinese are taking America’s business-school entrance exam, and that’s causing a big problem for America’s prospective M.B.A.s. Why? The foreign students are much better at the test. Asia-Pacific students have shown a mastery of the quantitative portion of the four-part Graduate Management Admission Test. That has skewed mean test scores upward, and vexed U.S. students, whose results are looking increasingly poor in comparison. In response, admissions officers at U.S. schools are seeking new ways of measurement, to make U.S. students look better. Domestic candidates are “banging their heads against the wall,” said Jeremy Shinewald, founder and president of mbaMission, a New York-based M.B.A. admissions-consulting company. While U.S. scores have remained consistent over the past several years, the falling percentiles are “causing a ton of student anxiety,” he said. Since people with near-perfect scores on the test’s math section now make up a significant percentage of all GMAT takers, “the higher you go, the harder it is to get to the next percentile or score,” said 22-year-old Natalie Miller, who eventually plans to apply to the University of Indianapolis School of Business. ENLARGE The GMAT, administered by the Graduate Management Admission Council, is typically required to apply to M.B.A. programs, along with undergraduate transcripts, essay responses and letters of recommendation. Students at top programs like Harvard Business School and Stanford Graduate School of Business have mean GMAT rankings around the 96th percentile. Of the test’s four sections—writing, integrated reasoning, quantitative and verbal—admissions officers view results from the quantitative section as a key predictor of business school success. Percentile rankings are calculated using a raw score—for the quantitative section, typically between 0 and 51. In 2004, a raw score of 48 in the quantitative section yielded...

How To Hack The GMAT: Get Into Your Dream MBA Program Cheaply...

I’ve never liked paying others to do something I believe I can accomplish myself (I’m kind of cheap). So when I decided to apply to business school, I was pretty shocked by how expensive the whole process could be. I was especially surprised at the costs for preparing for the GMAT, the standardized test required by virtually all MBA programs. I was determined to spend as little money as possible on GMAT prep – and you can too. Here are my top tips to keep your costs down, and to help you ace the exam. 1. Join a free resource hub and forum. I found the answers to all of my questions on the BeatTheGMAT website and forums. There you’ll find study plans and well thought-out explanations for pretty much any practice question you’ll come across. Cost: $0 Perhaps more importantly, you’ll discover a positive and supportive community where you can commiserate and celebrate. Studying for the GMAT can be a lonely road, so being able to talk to people who know exactly what you’re going through is invaluable. 2. Sign up for daily emails. BeatTheGMAT and other forums like GMAT Club let you sign up for daily emails with math and verbal questions – and links to the forum threads where you can debate the answers – which help keep you in GMAT mode. Cost: $0 3. Get by with a little help from your friends. A couple of weeks into my GMAT prep, I fortuitously ran into a friend at a party who had just finished taking the GMAT. We got to talking, and I found out that he had amassed a treasure trove of GMAT prep materials that he then gave me. While there are mountains...