admissions advice

Getting an MBA While the World Falls Apart (2018)

Getting an MBA While the World Falls Apart (2018)

There are times when things feel so crazy, out of control, and even hopeless that our own individual pursuits start to feel trivial, selfish, and even misguided.

I can remember vivid moments over the past 10+ years where I had a distinct feeling of living the wrong life, given what was going on around me.  When the financial collapse took hold in 2009, I thought to myself "why did I leave corporate law - where I could be part of the solution - to instead help people apply to business school right in the teeth of a recession?"  I watched "Making a Murderer" on Netflix and kicked myself for not remaining a lawyer ... but this time not a corporate lawyer, but instead a constitutional attorney like the individuals portrayed early in that documentary series. And now, as police/citizen animus and race problems in America reach new heights, as the EU teeters, as a sitting US President remains clouded in controversy, and as [seriously, enter any of a dozen paralyzing issues] I sometimes am not even sure what I should be doing.  But I do know it doesn't feel like enough; it feels to insular and self-absorbed and small.  But then it occurred to me: I bet a lot of people feel that way, including my past and present clients pursuing an MBA.  So let's talk about that.

Why You Just Got Dinged (Probably)

Why You Just Got Dinged (Probably)

These days, in addition to helping our clients get ready for interviews 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. 

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.  

How to prepare for Application Season

How to prepare for Application Season

While for those who just finished off their third round b-school applications, it’s already time for others to begin thinking about “next season.”  Application season begins in earnest after all of last year’s applications are processed, and every final offer of admission is made and filled. 

MBA Application Advice: Procrastination is the Enemy

MBA Application Advice: Procrastination is the Enemy

Although it seems as though application deadlines are an eternity away, the cutting realization that you’re running out of time will inevitably set in if you are a procrastinator. 

MBA Application Advice: Time Management

MBA Application Advice: Time Management

The stress of any approaching deadline causes some degree of anxiety, but if the task is something of monumental importance such as your application to business school, the anxiety can be downright debilitating. 

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.

MBA Application Advice: Quantitative vs. Qualitative Impact

MBA Application Advice: Quantitative vs. Qualitative Impact

When it comes to conveying your marketing message to the admissions committees at top business schools, it is important to relate your various profile characteristics in a meaningful way.Often, applicants are naturally very good at doing this in either a quantitative or qualitative way, but it’s actually important to do both.

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.  

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:

Why do an MBA? Is it right for me?

Why do an MBA?  Is it right for me?

I detailed a list in another entry that I laid out.  And it rattled off a number of items that are notable about top MBA programs.

But instead of diving into each one separately, I’m going to discuss the primary answer that you hear on actual business school campuses, from students, faculty, and alumni alike.

What is it that makes this place so special?

The answer is…. You guessed it.  The people.

Should I write my own recommendations?

Should I write my own recommendations?

OK.  I get this question all the time.

And it’s an important one.  When it comes to the app, you’ve got a few essential components, and the recommendations are one of them.

So.  How much should you help with your recommendations? 

There are two fundamental levels to this...

Quick & Dirty Tips for Maximizing your Business School Visits

Quick & Dirty Tips for Maximizing your Business School Visits

Here are some quick tips for maximizing your business school visit: