How Important is the Integrated Reasoning Section of the GMAT

How Important is the Integrated Reasoning Section of the GMAT

This is the time of year when many b-school hopefuls are taking the GMAT test in anticipation of nailing down a great score before application season begins in earnest.

 After all, your score wil help determine where you wil be a competitive applicant and can also help you narrow down your school selections. It is essentially everyone's jumping off point in the application process, and one that gets most people feeling anxious.  A common point of stress is often over which sections of the GMAT are most important.

Can I Quit My Job to Get Ready for B-school?

Can I Quit My Job to Get Ready for B-school?

Lots of folks ask about quitting their jobs when applying to business school, but are there reasons for doing so that will not put off the admissions committees?  Perhaps.

Applying to B-school Straight out of Undergrad

Applying to B-school Straight out of Undergrad

This time of year is replete with many young candidates who want to apply to business school directly out of undergrad.  Is this possible?  In some cases, yes it is. 

How to prepare for Application Season

How to prepare for Application Season

While for those who just finished off their third round b-school applications, it’s already time for others to begin thinking about “next season.”  Application season begins in earnest after all of last year’s applications are processed, and every final offer of admission is made and filled. 

Path-Bending Leadership at Haas: a de facto 5th Defining Principle

Path-Bending Leadership at Haas: a de facto 5th Defining Principle

We have all known about Berkeley-Haas' 4 "Defining Principles" for a while now.  Personally, I consider Haas' emphasis on "Path-bending leadership" to be a de facto "5th principle" that builds upon the Defining Principles. Most significantly and over the past year, I have seen path-bending leadership take on a greater significance with faculty, alumni and student discussions alike. This trend has implications for your essays and "why Haas?"

How to Personalize Your Interest in an MBA Program

How to Personalize Your Interest in an MBA Program

The simplest and most important thing you can do to improve your Why School X portion of career goals essay is to personalize any and all content.  

What do I mean by "personalize?"  Simple: make anything you write about the school specific to you, your experience, your desires, or what you require from a program.  Never just state absolutes, generalities, or even known truths and facts - always make them personally-held viewpoints. Examples are the best way to understand this (after the jump): 

Tips for Getting Off the Waitlist and into B-school (Updated)

Tips for Getting Off the Waitlist and into B-school (Updated)

Waitlist season is in full bloom and with R3 notification deadlines wrapping up the countdown clock is ticking for those still waiting in line.  Of course it’s inevitable that most of you will be waitlisted at some of your top school choices - after all, getting waitlisted at a stretch school means that you hedged effectively.  (Note - my opinion is that an effective hedging strategy should include a stretch, safe-stretch and backup school selections.)

So what can you do at this point in the game?

MBA Candidates: Your Audience is not "the Adcom"

MBA Candidates: Your Audience is not "the Adcom"

One question that we get a lot from clients is "what does the adcom want to hear?"  Not only is this the wrong way to approach the process in terms of being an authentic, introspective, and interesting candidate, but it also completely misunderstands who is reading your file.  We don't believe in trying to play pin-the-tail-on-the-admissions-officer when it comes to your essays, but we do believe to writing to your audience.

What is your MBA reapplication strategy?

What is your MBA reapplication strategy?

Many schools show favor to re-applicants.  Some say your odds go up 30% when you reapply.  

Advice on re-applying to b-school

Advice on re-applying to b-school

Finding out you got rejected from your dream school often raises interesting questions. Should you settle for your second or third choice, or should you hold fast to your MBA dream and re-apply to the same school(s) again next season?

Stephen Covey's 4 Pillars of Leadership: The Definition of Leadership You Want in B-school

Stephen Covey's 4 Pillars of Leadership: The Definition of Leadership You Want in B-school

Business school applications are all about laying out how you have exhibited the qualities of a leader.  After all, this is the quality that b-schools, in general, desire the most in their applicants.   A lot of my admissions consulting clients struggle with a succinct definition of leadership.  That is, one that they as the applicant can use as a succinct model.

How to Apply to Accelerated "1-Year" MBA Programs

How to Apply to Accelerated "1-Year" MBA Programs

One trend we're seeing these days is the desire of some candidates to dispense with the frills and just hammer out their MBA in the quickest time possible.  Obviously, this means that we're talking "1-year" programs a lot.  As is so often the case, we figure we'll bring part of that conversation online. 

Here are some of the things we're sharing with clients: 

Why You Just Got Dinged (Probably)

Why You Just Got Dinged (Probably)

These days, in addition to helping our clients get ready for interviews we also meet a lot of new folks who didn't use admissions consulting services to apply - but now are wondering if perhaps they should have.  Most often, they are asking for "ding analysis," which is basically "please tell me if I did something wrong and whether I can fix it for next time."  We are happy to oblige, of course, and so we see a lot (we mean A LOT) of rejected applications, to a lot of schools. 

Advice on How to Navigate the MBA Waitlist

Advice on How to Navigate the MBA Waitlist

Despite the name “waitlist,” there are several things you can do besides simply wait for your dream school to call.  From a strategic standpoint, sitting in a state of limbo gives you the opportunity to improve your profile or status as a candidate, and such improvements can and should be communicated to the admissions committees. 

How the Waitlist Works

How the Waitlist Works

This time of year, many applicants find themselves stuck in the waitlist process at one or more schools, which can be a very slow and painful waiting period.   Not only are you competing for fewer and fewer seats, you are doing so against everyone on the waitlist all the way back from round one as well as any fresh, new applicants from the final rounds. 

5 Steps for Negotiating Your Offer of MBA Admission (Updated)

5 Steps for Negotiating Your Offer of MBA Admission (Updated)

Today's blog post builds on a post I've been working on for years, where I continue to add thought about the art of negotiating your MBA offer of admission.  I've long said that "negotiation" is not what you do when it comes to securing more financial aid from a business school.  The term of art for what you are going to be doing is "asking."  Let me explain and try to add clarity around questions that often come up.

Getting an MBA While the World Falls Apart

Getting an MBA While the World Falls Apart

There are times when things feel so crazy, out of control, and even hopeless that our own individual pursuits start to feel trivial, selfish, and even misguided.  

I can remember vivid moments over the past 10 years where I had a distinct feeling of living the wrong life, given what was going on around me.  When the financial collapse took hold in 2009, I thought to myself "why did I leave corporate law - where I could be part of the solution - to instead help people apply to business school right in the teeth of a recession?"  Just this past winter I watched "Making a Murderer" on Netflix and kicked myself for not remaining a lawyer ... but this time not a corporate lawyer, but instead a constitutional attorney like the individuals portrayed early in that documentary series.  And now, as police/citizen animus and race problems in America reach a peak, as the EU teeters, as [seriously, enter any of a dozen paralyzing issues] I sometimes am not even sure what I should be doing.  But I do know it doesn't feel like enough; it feels to insular and self-absorbed and small.  But then it occurred to me: I bet a lot of people feel that way, including my past and present clients pursuing an MBA.  So let's talk about that.  

Advice on How to Handle the HBS Waitlist

Advice on How to Handle the HBS Waitlist

Going quick and nothing fancy here, just looking to get the word out on "HBS Waitlist Day" as it will likely become known in the future.  

I stunning number of candidates appear to have been WL'd today, just based on what I'm seeing stream across my inbox.  The biggest group looking for answers are candidates I've never heard of, who are seeking answers and asking what to do.  This is when I know I have to go to the blog.  Let's work through this.  

The Chicago Booth Waitlist Video Assignment

The Chicago Booth Waitlist Video Assignment

Let's get into this Chicago Booth waitlist video a bit.  It always causes people to feel tremendous stress when they see this option because they immediately think "how can I create an amazing video that will blow away the admissions committee?"

This is especially stressful when there are caveats like not having strong skills in areas like shooting film or editing or things of that nature.  So the first ting to do is stop, take a breath, and reframe the entire operation. 

Round Three is History--Or Is It?

Round Three is History--Or Is It?

As of this week, most round three application windows are closed across the top MBA programs, but don't think this means you can't still apply.