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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.