Key Thoughts

One Click Up

One Click Up

This time of year there’s plenty of occasions to present yourself well.  As an MBA applicant, not only will you be going to interviews, but you will also be invited to various social events throughout the holiday season.  Practice the one-click up technique to always make a great impression.

Harvard and Kellogg: a tale of two business schools?

Harvard and Kellogg: a tale of two business schools?

Very rarely do we get caught up in trying to spot trends in terms of which schools are "hot" at any given moment.

This is mainly because narratives tend to overreact in the moment, only to fade over time ("Wharton is going off the rails" - 2013 .. "Stanford is mired in sexual harassment scandal!" - 2015), but also because so much of trying to spot these trends is about reacting to anecdotal evidence from a small sample size.  Put another way: you are just hearing your clients buzz about schools and express their opinions.  Is that enough to go all-in on?  No, definitely not.  But can you sometimes spot an interesting new trend or pattern?  I think yes, sometimes you can. 

Act Like a Leader and You Might Become One

Act Like a Leader and You Might Become One

Business schools are looking for leaders and expect applicants to have demonstrated leadership in their work and school history.  Being a leader is so much a part of the MBA framework, in fact that you might be putting too much thought into what you have done and not enough into what you are doing.

A Tip for Writing Harvard Business School Essays - "don't overthink, overcraft and overwrite"

A Tip for Writing Harvard Business School Essays - "don't overthink, overcraft and overwrite"

I wanted to get ahead of something - a problem I see with my clients to Harvard Business School (and Stanford GSB.) HBS calls it out as "overthinking, overcrafting and overwriting." I call it "overselling" yourself when writing.

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.

MBA Application Advice: Demonstrating Leadership

MBA Application Advice: Demonstrating Leadership

Out of all the profile characteristics of business school candidates, there is one which seems to consistently rise above the rest as something admissions committees look for in an ideal candidate, and no, it’s not a 750 GMAT score.

It’s leadership.

Applying Round 1? This Year's MBA Deadlines Are Earlier Than You Think.

Applying Round 1? This Year's MBA Deadlines Are Earlier Than You Think.

Normally, once the fireworks go off on the 4th of July, that's our signal to start digging into the apps in earnest, as "October" Round 1 deadlines are a few months away.  However, in recent years, the deadlines keep getting earlier and earlier.  I know I had to really reset my own calendar given these changes, so I figured I'd do a public service and list them out here, calling special attention to the front-loaded nature of the deadlines. 

What the Stanford GSB Wants - a True Moral Compass

What the Stanford GSB Wants - a True Moral Compass

If you read our editions of our “How to Apply to Harvard Business School” and "How to Apply to Stanford GSB" guides, you already know that cultivating a real reason for applying to an elite MBA goes week beyond the school's name, rank, and prestige.  But more than any other MBA program in the world (yes, even HBS), GSB looks beyond having a great GMAT score, a summa cum laude GPA and a blue chip name as your employer.  While these are respectable measures of a person’s perceived worth, they are not good enough reasons to apply to GSB. 

Why is this?

Simply put, you could someone with a mis-calibrated moral compass or worse, what your colleagues might call an "asshole" (more on the asshole test here and the true cost of being an asshole here).  That's right - more than any other school in the world, Stanford has a visceral aversion to those who define themselves by their accomplishments, as opposed to the innate values and beliefs that drive those accolades. Apparently, Stanford has their pick of the litter and they can afford to stand absolutely resolute in their aversion to those whose moral compass points true south.

3 Key Thoughts About Columbia Business School's 2016 Essays

3 Key Thoughts About Columbia Business School's 2016 Essays

Like last year, we are going to use a little running device of "three key thoughts" for each essay release.  If you want to get a deep dive into these essay sets, of course, the answer is probably obvious: sign up for our services and become a client, at which point we can guide you every step of the way.  

Now, on to some thoughts from the new Columbia essays! 

Why You Just Got Dinged (Probably) from Business School

Why You Just Got Dinged (Probably) from Business School

Other than "bad luck" or "well, this school is one of the hardest in the world to get into" or "you never should have applied to this school," these are the three most common reasons that people get dinged.  Put differently, they are the three reasons you could have avoided:

Should You "Think Bravely" on Your Kellogg Application?

Should You "Think Bravely" on Your Kellogg Application?

We just finished the Round 1 gauntlet (for the most part - yes, we're talking to you, NYU Stern applicants!)  We noticed in the October flurry that many of our clients were concerned about Kellogg's new marketing slogan.  In case you haven't noticed, Kellogg recently launched a new "motto" that reads: "Think Bravely: we believe that business can be bravely led, passionately collaborative, and world changing."

The introduction of this laboratory-cooked slogan caused much hand-wringing among Round 1 applicants, so now that we have a moment, we wanted to address it and help out those of you applying to Kellogg in Round 2.  So, should you focus your applications on "Thinking Bravely"?  Let's break it down.

5 Tips for Applying to MIT Sloan

5 Tips for Applying to MIT Sloan

MIT Sloan is one of "those" schools - the ones that seem to slip into the nooks and crannies of the admissions process. People don't talk about Sloan as much as its elite counterparts. Nobody immediately thinks about it in terms of being a top 5 program until you start digging and realize, wow, this program is insanely good.

Most importantly, because of its unique end-of-October deadline and equally unique two-round admissions process, we would wager that application quality on Sloan apps is far lower than on other top programs (which is a massive problem if you want to be admitted there). Candidates often don't even start on their Sloan apps until after the October 3-12 gauntlet of deadlines and then they race to finish because they fear waiting until the "last" round. 

With those things in mind, we are breaking out another of our 5 Tips posts, with an eye toward improving the quality of Sloan applications.