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.
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.
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.
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.
I just saw a whole lot of MBA essays over the past few months and now that Round 1 is (mostly) finished, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to jot down the most common mistake I saw for each of the most common essays I worked on with clients. Round 2 clients can get a leg up by simply avoiding these traps.
With the release of the 2016 HBS application, it is clear that shortening the number of essays is a trend that is here to stay for now. With only one essay on the HBS application again this year, it is becoming more important than ever to not only communicate effectively and concisely, but also to leverage the balance of the application (and of course the interview) to stand out from the crowd.
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.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Despite HBS featuring the most publicized changing of the guard in admissions that I can remember, they are basically keeping their "open-ended" question style intact. In fact, more than keeping it intact, they have reverted to the more straight forward version they used in 2013 and 2014, rather than the more clever (but probably ultimately less effective) "introduction" prompt from last year.
And because they are staying in this lane, it means that my three thoughts need to stay in the same lane they have been in for years - because understanding the psychology behind this essay goes a long way to explaining how you might solve it.
Time for a quick blog post in the wake of HBS sending out its three waves of decisions (October 6, 8, and 14). You can read the whole thing or you can just read this line, probably: don't take this stuff personally, understand there are a ton of great schools out there, and keep moving forward. Need more? Okay, let's break it down, with three Golden Rules for receiving a decision of this magnitude.
As a follow up to my earlier post today (regarding the video HBS references in their essay prompt), I wanted to unleash a marathon of HBS Case Method videos that I found during my research. So grab some popcorn and sit back - this is sure to beat the Game of Thrones marathon you had planned for tonight (but not really.) Ha.
Unlike Columbia and Stanford, HBS did not make any changes to its essay from last year. As explained by Dee Leopold in her blog, they were quite simply happy with the content that this prompted generated. Those handful of people who have spoken to me on consult calls this year know that I predicted HBS would keep this essay and that it would be for this reason - I had a feeling this experiment worked well. This is because I watched the MASSIVE (all caps are necessary here) gulf between good and bad use of this space, among candidates.
The common myth surrounding Round 3 of the MBA application process is that you can't, or shouldn't, apply late in the admission cycle. "The class is pretty much full" is one refrain. "You have to be a truly unique applicant" is another. "Only European programs admit people that late" is yet another. As with anything, there are bits of truth in these sound bites ... but only bits.
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.