It is not often that we make any major strategic adjustments from Rd 1 to Rd 2 with any of the schools, because once we have them pegged, they don't tend to move around that much. However, we are issuing a Public Service Announcement today to Wharton Round 2 applicants: proceed with caution when it comes to laying out your post-MBA plans. If your goal is even remotely hard to achieve, we strongly advise reconsidering that goal as it relates to your Wharton application. Let us explain.Read More
Today is one of those days on the calendar that tend to stop everyone in their tracks and dominate the headlines. Nevermind that the Kellogg Round 1 deadline is tomorrow or that some people found out today that they were admitted to MIT - no, it's all about the HBS Round 1 notification deadline. Interview or ding? Rather, interview or ding or deferral, as that appears to be a popular option this year as well. Let's make sense of things and offer some advice on how to respond from here. We'll group it result-by-result.Read More
Paul Lanzillotti, founder of the Amerasia Consulting Group, walks you through how to handle your MBA interview. Learn how to answer representative questions; structuring your thoughts using "stories" versus the "pyramid principle" and connecting all aspects of your MBA application for your interviewer.
This in-depth video is approximately 1 hour and 20 mins in duration.Read More
For those of you that saw my Columbia Business School mind map post from earlier this week, I wanted to also simplify MIT Sloan's retro website for any applicants currently working on their Sloan MBA essays and application. The following MIT Sloan mind map should quickly give you a lay of the land. Hopefully this will allow you to see where you fit into Sloan's clubs, curriculum and student culture.
If you find it useful, feel free to download a copy of this mind map or create your own online copy and edit as you please.Read More
I wanted to see if I could simplify it for those applicants currently working on their essays and application, while trying to figure out "Why Columbia?" I created a visual representation (mindmap) of the site, which ended up looking like the New York subway system, and I wanted to share it with you. Hopefully this will allow you to see where you fit into CBS' clubs, curriculum and student culture.Read More
(Note: This post is a guest feature from Cathryn Sloane of Varsity Tutors.)
The road to beating the GMAT can be a daunting one, but with the right tools, tips, and habits, you can reach your ultimate potential with confidence and poise. In fact, a well-structured preparation strategy is equally (if not more) important than your IQ. Here are some proven tactics of 700+ scorers.
Let's talk about Career Goals for a minute. This is always a good topic, honestly, because whatever time of year it is and whatever stage of the application process we are all encountering, the narrative of a candidate's career goals will always be paramount. Therefore, in order to create something we can one day send to our own clients with a simple link, as well as something that will help those of you who do not become our clients, we want to present a crystal clear five-step process for how to handle the Career Goals aspect of your MBA pursuit.Read More
Today we are going to talk about the new HBS application and what it means for applicants. We've already gone on record with our thoughts on how something like "this" (a school eliminating required essays) might impact our work as consultants, so this post is going to break down what this means for applicants. First though, we are going to provide some context, to properly frame expectations.Read More
We all know that these jobs are hard to get no matter what school you go to. For any "career switcher" out there, you are going to face the challenges anyone with a more finance-oriented background would have - except that a career switcher is going to face these issues on some order of magnitude that is higher and harder. The factors below already take that into consideration.
Kellogg vs. Tuck for PE/VC - it's a toss up.Read More
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.)
But what can you do at this point in the game?Read More
Today we are going to take the term "Safety School" and put it through the shredder. Reasonable minds can probably disagree on what the term should mean, but what I want to do is explain why I personally do not believe that "Safety School" should be part of an MBA applicant's lexicon.
First, the term is used incorrectly about 90% of the time. When applicants say "safety school," what they often mean is "a school that is really good but that hopefully I have a better chance to get into." If you are using the term this way, just as a shorthand, that is fine but make sure that it's clarified with anyone you are working with, such as your consultant. The real use for "safety school" should probably translate more or less to "a sure bet." With college applicants - due to the pressure to be enrolled on an exact timeline (following high school graduation, of course) - a "safety school" is a very real thing; you simply have to pick some programs that you are sure to get into. Often this means a program from that student's home state, sometimes with sheer numerical thresholds (lacking holistic admissions processes). If you go to school in California and have a certain matrix of GPA and test scores, you can feel "safe" about getting into certain Cal-State programs. That's a safety school. Ross and Duke Fuqua are not safety schools. Now, what if you are using the term in the right way?Read More
Today, we are going to be breaking down the failure essay and the biggest reasons why everyone blows it. This is particularly relevant to the season, as we begin to take on our usual batch of 2+2 candidates, which means we are about to do the HBS accomplishment-failure two-step that is a tradition as old as time (or maybe it just feels that way). We have a very specific approach to the accomplishment essay that transforms run-of-the-mill answers into HBS-worthy submissions, but we're going to keep that locked in the vault. The failure essay though ... we owe some thoughts to the masses, just as a public service.
We have a phrase for what we see over and over and over again on failure essays ... it's called "failure." Yes, people are "failing the failure essay," and they are doing it across the board, regardless of how awesome they otherwise are as candidates. In fact, I anecdotal evidence would suggest that the top of the heap - the "elite" applicants - are blowing this worst of all.
We are going to walk through the five biggest reasons why people fail on this essay.
Just yesterday, Paul linked to some fantastic, in-depth Haas stuff that will help any applicant craft their Why Haas answers within a career goals essay. It's the kind of detailed research that allows someone to really shine, so definitely check it out.
HOWEVER. 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):Read More
This time of year, we get a huge number of inquiries from students gearing up for the reapplication process. This makes sense, as this subset of students is often driven to succeed, still hurting from the sting of getting rejection letters, and aware that going at it alone all over again might not make much sense. And truth be told, hiring a vetted admissions consultant is rarely a better investment than when you are reapplying to business school. However, there are a few techniques and things we have discovered that can help all reapplicants, not just those who become our clients:Read More
With respect to visiting the programs to which you are applying:
- Make sure you schedule a classroom visit through the admissions office. A student will lead you around and make introductions for you.
- Make sure you stop by the admissions office to introduce yourself.
- Have a couple of canned questions ready.
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?"Read More
A significant portion of my MBA admissions consulting applicants come to be with little to no extracurricular experience since their undergraduate days. While this is a problem that can be addressed, it can show a lack of proper planning over the long term. A lot of applicants don't think about the impact of their actions on their applicant competitiveness when the graduate from undergrad. To a certain extent, even I was the same way. What I like most about some of my clients is the the way some of them are way ahead of the game we call the MBA application process. Those that have been planning since day 1 to go back to b-school tend to be distinguishing yourself from your peers out of the gate and these habits show when constructing the business school application.
When you charge people thousands of dollars to help them with their MBA applications, you had better be sure to look in every nook and cranny for an advantage. We pride ourselves on doing just that and that mentality has allowed us to come up with incredibly helpful strategies for our clients. Everything from "structure your essays like a Hollywood screenwriter" to "finish your energy strong with a simple shift in body language" to "add an alternate short-term career goal to your first paragraph on your first Columbia essay" has come from a dogged determination and willingness to constantly find advantages. Obviously, most of those advantages are not for public consumption as it would neither be fair to our clients or terribly bright to reveal every "state secret" we have. That said, there are some tricks and methods that we find ourselves talking about so often on initial consultation calls that we figure no harm can come from letting the whole world know about it.
Today we've got one of those tricks, which we fondly call "demo-lition derby."Read More
Déjà vu all over again. HBS' announced its R1 deadine for the Class of 2016 - and just like last year (2012) - this year submission day falls on September 16 (2013).
Not to be outdone, MIT Sloan announced ...Read More