These days, in addition to helping our clients navigate financial aid decisions and a few waitlist scenarios, 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. In giving feedback time and again, we naturally are starting to see some of the same issues cropping up.
This article is a bit of a repeat from one we wrote last year, but it's key this time of year, when it seems like every day a client is getting ready to take on an MBA interview.
This particular piece is about a harsh reality of that process, which is that every interview is going to take a dip, or hit a rough patch, at some point ... through no fault of anyone involved. Why is this? And how can you address it? Let's dive into it.
It's the time of year where I start having the "Round 2 conversation" a lot with individual clients. Basically, the idea is that Round 2 might be offering a slight advantage, based on theories of market inefficiencies and so forth. For years, the prevailing belief is that Round 1 is the best round to apply to business school. While there is no hard-core evidence to suggest otherwise, some common sense may point to a different result.
I was working on our Michigan Ross Strategy Memo over the weekend, when it occurred to me just how overlooked a "unique perspective" is when it comes to MBA applications. Even here at Amerasia, where we work hard to push our clients away from thinking in terms of "impress the reader" and towards "connect with the reader," we sometimes lose sight of how just what an easy and effective way that can be to frame introspective writing. Because Michigan Ross has the MAP program and everything funnels towards what perspective you bring to the class, it became a good reminder and something that felt worthy of passing along.
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.
I have been getting a lot of emails lately that center on the same basic idea: "I got feedback directly from the admissions office and they told me X." Sometimes the feedback is ultra specific ("you should seriously consider retaking your GMAT") and other times it is extremely vague ("there were elements of your application that just weren't quite where they needed to be"), usually somewhere in between. The question is: should you put stock in what they are saying?
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.
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.
Time for another edition of Monday MBA Resource, where we share the things we are reading, watching, and listening to that might be helpful to people in the MBA community. Some are more focused on applicants, others are better for students, some for both - but all of them offer great insights that are worth soaking up. Two weeks we broke down the Knowledge @Wharton podcast and people seem to really be enjoying it. Last week it was one of my favorite articles in years: "Happy Ambition: Striving for Success, Avoiding Status Cocaine, and Prioritizing Happiness" by Ben Casnocha. Let's hope we can keep it up with this next entry, which is the book:
The latest MBA rankings from The Economist are out and people are understandably freaking out about some of the odd placements that you can find in their list. Poets and Quants has already done an impeccable job running all this down, so I am not going to try to repeat all the great work John Byrne already did. But you should definitely check out the P&Q piece on it. What I want to talk about is why I am happy P&Q ran that extensive post on those rankings (rather than dismissing them) and, indeed, why I am happy these Economist rankings even exist.
Interview invites are starting to pour out and driving a lot of questions. The HBS three-wave process finally concluded and left a few people happy, a few people (deferred) confused, and a lot of people sad, given the sheer numbers at play. Less heralded, but still incredibly newsworthy, is the fact that Booth is already sending out interview invites as well. Given the school's meteoric and ongoing rise up all the rankings and its ability to elbow into the "best of the best" conversation, it's crucial to give the Booth questions that come up just as much airtime as mighty HBS. And today's question - and the most common question related to Booth interviews - is:
Should I interview with a second year student on campus or with an alumni member off campus?
This Wednesday (October 12) is one of those days on the calendar that tend to stop everyone in their tracks and dominate the headlines. Nevermind that the Duke Fuqua or Dartmouth Tuck deadlines are right around the corner - no, it's all about the final 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.
Time for another edition of Monday MBA Resource, where we share the things we are reading, watching, and listening to that might be helpful to people in the MBA community. Some are more focused on applicants, others are better for students, some for both - but all of them offer great insights that are worth soaking up. Last week we broke down the Knowledge @Wharton podcast and people seem to really be enjoying it. Let's hope we can keep it up with this next entry, which is the article:
Trying something new for Mondays, which is to pass along my favorite MBA resource that I found that weekend. It's a good way to start the week, a way to get great tools out into the MBA community, and, quite frankly, a good for me to remember these items myself so I can show them to future candidates and corporate clients.
Today's Resource is the Knowledge@Wharton podcast.
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!
I have received the following question a lot lately: "Should my presentation reflect the ideas that Booth espouses when introducing the presentation question?" The short answer is "yes," but the long answer is more complicated than that and is worthy of discussion here in this space. Not just for the way it will help Booth applicants, but because of the way it speaks to the whole idea of "School DNA" and how to assess fit with a program.
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.