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5 Reasons Elite MBA Applicants Fail the Failure Essay

5 Reasons Elite MBA Applicants Fail the Failure Essay

Today, we are going to be breaking down the failure essay and the biggest reasons why everyone blows it.  

We are going to walk through the 5 biggest reasons why people fail on this essay. 

How to Finish Selecting the MBA Programs to Which You Will Apply

How to Finish Selecting the MBA Programs to Which You Will Apply

Today's post is one that can be used by just about any MBA applicant, as it has to do with rounding out your list of schools to which you are applying. So let's dive into how to finalize selecting what MBA programs to which you should apply.

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.

Columbia Business School Strategy Memo Excerpt: How to Write Essay Question 2

Columbia Business School Strategy Memo Excerpt: How to Write Essay Question 2

Every so often, we like to put an excerpt out there from one of our school-specific Strategy Memos.  Full disclosure, the main reason to do this is to show off how we approach the process and to give potential clients a sense of what they might get (across the board, with all their schools and all the questions) if they become clients.  But we also try to coordinate these with moments where we can get some really helpful strategy out there - basic, core ideas that will help people avoid pitfalls, even if they don't have help in executing perfectly.  In this instance, Columbia Business School's Essay Question 2 is a nice overlap that allows us to do both.  So let's dive in.  

Advice On Scheduling an MBA Visiting Tour

Advice On Scheduling an MBA Visiting Tour

As the 2017 academic year winds to a close, students all over the world are preparing themselves for final exams.  With a similar amount of angst and tension, hopeful business school applicants are beginning to prepare as well, but instead of taking tests, they will be writing applications. 

One of the most important things you can do to prepare for this, is to visit each of your target schools in person.

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 - Be a Community Leader

MBA Application Advice - Be a Community Leader

One of the most stressful moments in an applicant’s trek through the business school due diligence process is when they realize they have done very little engaging with anyone or anything outside of work.  Let’s face it—life gets busy, and while you may have been in every club and organization you could get your hands on in college, once out in the real world, you may have found it very easy to simply go to work and come home at night without doing much else.  

Applying Round 1 vs. Round 2 — Why You Might Want to Wait.

Applying Round 1 vs. Round 2 — Why You Might Want to Wait.

In the last post, we discussed the virtues of applying in round one, but there are a few reasons why you might want to consider applying in round two instead. Firstly, you should be considering your personal readiness to submit an application no matter what strategy you employ for timing.

Applying Round 1 vs. Round 2 — The Epic Battle of Choices.

Applying Round 1 vs. Round 2 — The Epic Battle of Choices.

There is little more debated in the b-school application world than whether it’s better to apply in round one or round two. Most can agree that the third round is the most challenging, but late night discussions have endured and fights started over the topic of whether to submit for the first or second deadline. 

Are You "Unique" ?

Are You "Unique" ?

It's getting hard to stand out these days. It sometimes seems as if everyone meanders through life with the same or similar routine, all doing the same or similar thing - so when it comes time to differentiate yourself in your b-school application, how do you pull it off?

Tips for reapplying to business school: Getting feedback, determining why you got dinged

Tips for reapplying to business school: Getting feedback, determining why you got dinged

If you have decided to give another attempt at a school where you were rejected, one of the most valuable things you can seek is feedback on why you didn’t make the cut last time.

Some schools will actually provide this information if you ask for it, so don’t be shy about reaching back to them.

5 Pieces of Advice for MBA Reapplicants

5 Pieces of Advice for MBA Reapplicants

The following are 5 pieces of advice that can help anyone who is going through the MBA application process for a second time.  Finding the energy, passion, and confidence to embark upon any kind of repeat journey can be tough, so we hope this proves helpful and gives you a little wind at your back. 

How to (Actually) Differentiate Yourself on your MBA Applications

How to (Actually) Differentiate Yourself on your MBA Applications

Time to break out an annual PSA here.  I'm talking all alarms ringing, sirens, whatever it takes to get your attention.  By "you" I mean: anyone applying to business school.  You need to stop doing something immediately.  

Here it is: STOP TRYING TO "DIFFERENTIATE" YOURSELF.  

Or at least, stop doing it without a professional by your side.  Let's dive into the 4 Rules of Differentiation before someone gets hurt. 

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:

A Decision Tree for Michigan Ross Essay 1

A Decision Tree for Michigan Ross Essay 1

We did this last year when breaking down the new Ross essays, so let's run it back.  We thought it would be helpful to post the decision tree I am going to be asking my clients to use this year.

Why would I just share this with the public, you might ask?  In part because the real value of our services with Ross (unlike with some other schools) is going to be in implementation rather than in the setting of strategy - so I don't feel I am cheating my clients at all.  Further, we just don't have that many clients select Ross, to be honest.  This is confusing to me, as Ross is an amazing school and a true value pick ... but that's a column for a different time.  Today, I want to present a really simple way to work through Ross' seemingly wide open "what are you proud of" essay.  I'll be using one part common sense and one part program knowledge, but both are born out of lots of experience just being someone in this world (by "in this world" I mean working in "higher education" and with "people trying to maximize their lives and abilities").  Let's get into it. 

MBA Candidates: Knives Down!

MBA Candidates: Knives Down!

PSA time. 

To all MBA Candidates out there, especially those of you racing to hit the HBS deadline on September 9th ... please, for the love, know when to set your essay down, put your hands in the air, and say "time."  I borrow from Top Chef and call it "put your knives down!"  It's that moment in the show when the buzzer has sounded and they have no choice but to put the chef's knife down, put their hands in the air, and accept that their dish is finished.  In our situation, there isn't a buzzer (yet), but we can still use the principle.  In fact, one of the great ironies of the Top Chef "quick fire" challenge that gave me this expression is that some of the best dishes on that show come because there IS a buzzer - it keeps the contestants from noodling and tweaking and, basically, ruining a great plate of food.  So ... how can we use this for our MBA apps?