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# Advice for Class of 2013 Applicants

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Advice for Class of 2013 Applicants [#permalink]

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21 Sep 2009, 07:44
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Hey guys, I like many other class of 2013 hopefuls have been stalking the gmatclub boards seeking advice on what us aspiring bschool applicants should do to best strengthen our application. Of course by now I understand to get into a top 10 program we'll need a good GMAT score, some meaningful EC activities, an alternate transcript if college didn't go so well, and an interesting job.

But beyond the obvious, with one year left before we apply, what should we do to strengthen our applications? Some ideas I've thought about include starting on my essays and joining networking clubs. I understand that essays sometimes change from year to year but usually encompass the same general topics (ie, what do you want to do with your MBA, greatest failure, teamwork, why xyz school). Networking might be helpful because by speaking to alums you will gain a better understanding of the schools and post-grad career choices and you can potentially meet people who hold influential positions at the schools you'd like to go to. Are these two ideas completely wrong? What else can be done?
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Re: Advice for Class of 2013 Applicants [#permalink]

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21 Sep 2009, 08:38
I think the two most important things you can do are excel in your job (and cultivate some great recommendations along the way) and be very active in the community. With a year or more to go before you apply, you still have time to really shape your performance in both of those areas and meaningfully impact your applications.

Sure, you can start your essays, but I don't think it's necessary to go that far. It wouldn't hurt to review the questions though and think about how you'd answer them - if there are questions you don't have a great answer for, or you're finding you don't have enough fodder for essays, that may direct how you think about your activities over the next year.

Two other things I'd mention:
1) If you haven't taken the GMAT yet, I would strongly encourage you to start thinking about that now. If you can get it out of the way early, it will make your life MUCH easier come application time. Applications are painful enough without having to deal with the stress of a standardized test as well.
2) Visit schools this year, in the spring. I am incredibly happy that I did this and got it out of the way. If you're thinking about R1 apps next year, you either won't be able to visit between the start of classes and application deadlines, or you will have only a few weeks to do so but won't want to because you'll be hustling on your applications. I found school visits to be much more helpful than I expected in shaping my understanding of the school's culture and thus my ability to write good, tailored essays.

I commend you on starting to think about this early. The process is a long and painful one, so the earlier you start, the better position you will be in. Good luck!
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Re: Advice for Class of 2013 Applicants [#permalink]

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21 Sep 2009, 09:55
lets get a good conversation going here - clearly from my username i fall into the target audience for this thread :D

working on strengthening my job, but as far as extracurriculars go, i'm afraid that getting involved in a new one this year will look like im just trying to pad my resume (since i'll only have been involved for a year by the time apps go out). so my conclusion was that i can only reinforce activities i'm already involved in or have been doing for the past several years. what do yall think? too late to start a "new" activity?
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Re: Advice for Class of 2013 Applicants [#permalink]

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21 Sep 2009, 10:09
Well personally I think if you do something for a year and show committment to the activity it's not too late to start. Keep in mind that it's one more year before you apply but if you show that you're committed to participating even after you get into bschool then you'd be involved for 2 years and perhaps even beyond. However, I do think you'll have to dedicate considerable time to the activity so signing up for multiple clubs or volunteering events isn't the best idea.
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Re: Advice for Class of 2013 Applicants [#permalink]

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21 Sep 2009, 10:18
I agree with 11MBA. Though I've had a fair amount of extracurricular involvement since undergrad, some of the most significant things I have done (and thus those that got the most attention in my essays) were in the last year. It's plenty of time to do something that will help your application provided that it is meaningful. If it's something that ties into your goals or interests in a logical manner, I think it makes all the more sense. Something is better than nothing!
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Re: Advice for Class of 2013 Applicants [#permalink]

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21 Sep 2009, 18:17
what about the numerous info sessions and campus visits occurring right now? Would it be beneficial to attend or would it be better to attend these functions in the spring or next fall? it seems like the majority of people attending info sessions and such are Fall 2010 prospects. thanks
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Re: Advice for Class of 2013 Applicants [#permalink]

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21 Sep 2009, 18:28
mba2013 wrote:
what about the numerous info sessions and campus visits occurring right now? Would it be beneficial to attend or would it be better to attend these functions in the spring or next fall? it seems like the majority of people attending info sessions and such are Fall 2010 prospects. thanks

I was in the same situation last year, students told me to wait until the spring to visit because there would be less people there and current students would be for the most part finished with recruiting. The places that I did visit in the fall were because I was there anyway and could cross them off the list without an extra trip.
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Re: Advice for Class of 2013 Applicants [#permalink]

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21 Sep 2009, 18:31
I started looking at essays around the March time frame. I started making lists of things that I thought would work well with my essays and I drafted my goals essay for each school. This helped me do a lot of research on the schools and got some essays out of the way at the same time. It was pretty helpful for me, because it's allowed me to relax a little bit this fall.

It's fine if you want to pick up an EC, just make sure it's something you can enjoy and talk passionately about if you're planning to make it a big part of your application.
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Re: Advice for Class of 2013 Applicants [#permalink]

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22 Sep 2009, 14:04
I cannot re-emphasize how important it is to start early. Big error for me---not laying out my career goals strongly enough. I wish I had done that earlier. Big plus---getting my GMAT done, starting the essays ASAP, getting involved in ECs, talking to alumni within company A lot of these alumni were very helpful and gave me some great advice. I had one guy who I had never met who worked at the same company I did spend TWO hours with me talking about my career goals. I'm eternally grateful---because he forced me to rethink a lot of what I was writing in my essays.

Also, DO NOT waste your time retaking the GMAT if you have a 700+ Focus on other parts of your application like essays (here's hoping I made the right decision in this at least )
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Re: Advice for Class of 2013 Applicants [#permalink]

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22 Sep 2009, 18:33
mba2013 wrote:
what about the numerous info sessions and campus visits occurring right now? Would it be beneficial to attend or would it be better to attend these functions in the spring or next fall? it seems like the majority of people attending info sessions and such are Fall 2010 prospects. thanks

I'd attend as earlier as possible, especially these events if they're near you. These can be a great opportunity for you to widdle your list of possible schools that you'd consider applying to. In that same regard it gives you an opportunity to widdle the number of schools that you'll physically go visit, saving you money and prescious time that you'll need to actually put your apps together. Furthermore, they do give you a good sense of the students (many of them have students or RECENT alumni there to talk to you) and also a broad overview of what they specialize in and what they value. All in all an opportunity that shouldn't be passed up and a cheap way to gather valuable personal informaiton and feelings on the school. Plus, if you can talk to an adcom and stress that you're not applying until 2011 it might show that you're extremely proactive and interested in their program, couldn't hurt.

Good luck, and congrats on getting on this so early. I agree with the sentiments of the earlier posters, get your GMAT done EARLY. Take it this winter if you're ready and cross that time consuming part off your list. The more time you have to research schools, work on essays, visit schools, etc. after your GMAT, the better. It also gives you a good idea of schools that you MIGHT qualify for. Good luck!
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Re: Advice for Class of 2013 Applicants [#permalink]

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23 Sep 2009, 06:21
i did just take the gmat a week ago (will update profile) so that's whats gotten me shifting gears and thinking about bschool so much, although ive been questioning whether my early start is too eager or not. i have my school selection narrowed down to about 10 schools (which i know i can narrow down further come application time) and so my biggest concern is the ROI or value of attending these info sessions early on. as in, should i be focusing on something else instead? whats the point when fall 2010 apps havn't come out yet? is there a reason to talk to students when none of them will even be there when i plan on attending (fall 2011)?

Thanks
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Re: Advice for Class of 2013 Applicants [#permalink]

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23 Sep 2009, 06:26
mba2013 wrote:
i did just take the gmat a week ago (will update profile) so that's whats gotten me shifting gears and thinking about bschool so much, although ive been questioning whether my early start is too eager or not. i have my school selection narrowed down to about 10 schools (which i know i can narrow down further come application time) and so my biggest concern is the ROI or value of attending these info sessions early on. as in, should i be focusing on something else instead? whats the point when fall 2010 apps havn't come out yet? is there a reason to talk to students when none of them will even be there when i plan on attending (fall 2011)?

Thanks

Definitely talk to students now. They will still be representative of the type of people that will be there when you show up in Fall of 2011. The point of talking to current students isn't to develop life long friendships, its to determine whether or not those type of people are the type of people you want to spend the next two years with. Also go to Info Sessions, what's the harm in doing so? It's 2 hours on a Wednesday night or something where they'll have some interesting info and you'll have the chance to talk to some very knowledgeable people. I think you're looking into this as a networking opportunity, which it really isn't. These activities are much more closely related to information gathering, not networking. Don't go into these interactions with the expecation that you'll become best friends or co-workers or that you'll be able to call on them for a favor in 20 years.
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Re: Advice for Class of 2013 Applicants [#permalink]

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08 Dec 2009, 17:11
I am too one of the 2011 prospectives...

I actually just visited a school today - sat in on a class, had an info session, lunch with students, and a tour, also met with a couple prof's, and I will say that even though the visits are loaded with 2010 applicants, they loved having someone there seeking 2011 enrollment.

My biggest challenge now, is keeping connected with the university and trying to find more contacts to gain further perspectives. Everyone's advice on campus for me today was:
- talk to as many people (students, alums, faculty) as you can
- get gmat done ASAP
- visit schools early/chance you can narrow your list and learn where to start focussing more energy
- sign up for any email listings to help stay connected
- make sure you are "familiar/fresh" with accounting, stats and micro (helps lessen the shock a bit)
- start thinking about your future and where you want to be 5-10 years down the road (generally, they will help you narrow the focus)

Those are the key highlights I took away from today. Finals are here for most all schools I imagine, so we wont be able to visit again until Jan/Feb roll around.

Unlike most of you, I am JUST starting my GMAT studies..... I've been removed from anything/everything quant since 2001 ... I have a very long road ahead....
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Re: Advice for Class of 2013 Applicants [#permalink]

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13 Jan 2010, 05:28
Any other class of 2013 folk out there? This should be a very busy year for us application-wise. Would be good to get some discussions going

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Re: Advice for Class of 2013 Applicants [#permalink]

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13 Jan 2010, 06:55
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Hi,

Let me just say a little about B-school selection strategy. Quite a long post so bear with me.

I think applicants fall into two major categories:

1) Those who are still young, few years of exp and who havent yet stuck a wall in their present career path.
2) Those who are older, who have achieved or experienced what they want in their respective career paths and feel that this is the time to get an MBA. It has to be " Now" to go back to school.

For those who fall in pool 1) i would say 'go for it'. Apply to the best schools out there who you feel are the best fit for you, both culture-wise and also for your future career path. Take your chances since the worst thing that can happen is that you would need to apply again a year later. But at the same time, don't have more than 3-4 schools in any one Round. Don't underestimate the time and the effort required for the application process. Beyond 3-4 schools, the applications would start to have lesser quality, since you would need to spread out your limited time over more schools. Some top schools are more friendly to younger applicants, Do check them out.

For those in pool 2), would have to take a more strategic approach with some risk management. You would need to apply to top-ranked schools as well as some safety schools. Safety is a relative word here. It doesn't necessarily mean lower ranked( but most cases it is). It means a school where you have a higher chance of getting in and still can get the chance to pursue his desired career.

Take an example of a finance guy in pool 2. Obviously the top choices would be LBS, Wharton, Columbia, Chicago. ( H & S are top choices for every profession)
So he starts to apply to some of these three top schools. But he falls into a very competitive applicant pool. Most finance guys would apply and its harder for him to differentiate himself. So the next bunch of schools which he should choose should be the ones where he can differentiate himself better than his fellow applicants. i.e schools where less number of finance folks apply. So if you consider the top schools they would be either from Kellogg, IMD, Tuck etc. Now the applicant has to ask himself is whether these schools would get him into the profession he wants, and i think in most cases the answer is yes. Now the advantage he faces is that most finance applicants wouldn't apply to them stating that they wouldn't get the best finance education or the best finance career opportunities ( which is not entirely true). So if suppose the applicant applies to these schools in R1, he stands a pretty good chance of getting in.

The reasoning to follow here is that all top schools want a diverse pool of students in their class. They would want some consultants, some finance, some engineers, some marketing folks etc. So a very good finance applicants may have a 20% chance of getting in Chicago, but maybe a 50% chance at Kellogg. Likewise a Tech Engineer with good profile may have 20% chance at MIT but a better chance at Columbia. Of course this is mostly true for R1. In R2, this advantage starts to slip.

Another thing to note is that going to a top school like Kellogg doesn't mean you are sacrificing your career opportunities in finance. Infact it might help you in recruiting since you have less competition when all those top finance firms come on campus , since less people are interested in your particular career. Something think about.

Next do try to have atleast one of the Top 10-15 schools in R1 which you would be thrilled to go to, even if its lower ranked. So if you get in, it would soothe your nerves, if by any chance you get rejected in everywhere else. And this would let you take more risk in R2.

Sorry for the long post.
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Re: Advice for Class of 2013 Applicants [#permalink]

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13 Jan 2010, 07:00
My advice in general is: DO EVERYTHING AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE.

TAKE THE GMAT NOW
Write your Why MBA/Leadership experience/failure essays NOW
Make a spreadsheet and start downselecting your possible schools NOW

Each task you do now, is one less task you do later... and somehow, even though I started essay writing back in August, it just never seemed to be quite enough time.
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Re: Advice for Class of 2013 Applicants [#permalink]

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13 Jan 2010, 07:43
xpiano1978 wrote:
My advice in general is: DO EVERYTHING AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE.

TAKE THE GMAT NOW
Write your Why MBA/Leadership experience/failure essays NOW
Make a spreadsheet and start downselecting your possible schools NOW

Each task you do now, is one less task you do later... and somehow, even though I started essay writing back in August, it just never seemed to be quite enough time.

Update your resume now. Even if you need to add or change a few points later on down the road--having the majority of the content there and "approved" by yourself will definitely help.

Apply Round 1 to as many schools as you can manage--I am mostly doing R2 and while I have zero idea whether it will actually have impact on whether I get in or not, applying R1 will just give you more time to figure out which school to go to if you have a choice, as well as to start thinking about moving, housing, etc.
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Re: Advice for Class of 2013 Applicants [#permalink]

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13 Jan 2010, 08:16
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Haha, I can't believe it's a year since I started my B-school campaign! Get ready for 2010 to completely pass you by, 2011ers!

I started studying in Jan for a June GMAT exam, then got to work on my essays. Here's what I could have done better:

- don't underestimate the GMAT difficulty. high school maths was easy and you already speak english right? how hard can it be? I used a prep class at the last minute to drag my score past 700 but life would have been much easier if I'd taken the class earlier.

- don't get carried away with a 700+ GMAT. it just means you're average! I had my carefully constructed list of target schools which were the best fit for my personality and career goals. This was promptly thrown out of the window when I discovered I was a "genius" with a 730 score. So I rattled off apps to H, S, W, Chi and Columbia (Columbia was my safety - seriously!) In the end, I made it into Chicago (the only one of these schools on my original list, and therefore the one I felt most comfortable explaining my affinity for in the essays and interview - not a coincidence!)

- in your R1 batch, make sure there's 1 or 2 rock star schools, 1 or 2 solid mid-table programs and 1 or 2 genuine safeties (ranked 15+ at least). if you apply just to rock start schools in R1 then things will be very stressful and you'll be forced to prepare loads of R2 apps to cover your ass while you wait for the results.

- don't apply to your number 1 school first because your early applications will suck. my first three applications literally make me cringe!

Hope you all appreciate my honesty here! Best
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Re: Advice for Class of 2013 Applicants [#permalink]

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13 Jan 2010, 18:15
britguy wrote:
- in your R1 batch, make sure there's 1 or 2 rock star schools, 1 or 2 solid mid-table programs and 1 or 2 genuine safeties (ranked 15+ at least). if you apply just to rock start schools in R1 then things will be very stressful and you'll be forced to prepare loads of R2 apps to cover your ass while you wait for the results.

- don't apply to your number 1 school first because your early applications will suck. my first three applications literally make me cringe!

Hope you all appreciate my honesty here! Best

I agree with the above on these two points.

I was literally freaking out in December b/c I didn't have a true safety that I applied to.

Also, I worked on the "rock star" school apps first (Wharton/Kellogg) and when looking them now, they definitely seem less polished than my latter onesl
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Re: Advice for Class of 2013 Applicants [#permalink]

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14 Jan 2010, 10:14
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I would:

* Work on the resume, get it to one page, get it polished, get numbers on it (\$XX million)
* If you are in tech, de-techify your resume. No mention of java, c++, UNIX, posix, little endian or whatever
* If you are not in tech, de-acronym your resume. No mention of the "GDS Launch" or other crap people wont understand
* Work on listing out / writing down ideas related to
teamwork
ethics
challenges
strengths
* Write down your top 5 achievements in the last X years
* Find all your old salaries and company addresses, phone numbers - -you'll need them for the applications (its a pain)
* Think back to your college days, write down all your extracurriculars somewhere. Prioritize which ones you actually did a fair amount in and try to estimate what dates you actually were a member (some schools ask)
* Look at schools you might not think to look at, you might find surprises
* Order transcripts now (no point in waiting)
* Transfer those transcripts to an excel file (again, no point in waiting)
* Order nice resume paper and a folio if you dont have one (again no point in waiting)
* Dont buy a suit yet, you might gain or lose weight
* Identify your top 3 or 4 recommenders if you can, think about who they will be
* Buy a calendar or print one out online
* Map out the deadlines you know (if you dont know it, use this years dates as a guideline) on that calendar
* Work backwards from that timeline
* If you havent taken a practice GMAT take one beginning to end, no cheating, no pausing, no skipping the AWA.
* If you do 'poorly' given your target schools, start looking at manhattan gmat, princeton, etc (personally, I recommend Manhattan)
* If you have a weak undergrad GPA, consider signing up for a stats or accounting class through your local (accredited) university or through the UCLA online program. Make sure you get an A.
* Check half.com and ebay for your gmat books, this is a good time to buy them as people start to dump them post-admission. Used is much cheaper than new.

Thats all i can think of right now
Re: Advice for Class of 2013 Applicants   [#permalink] 14 Jan 2010, 10:14

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# Advice for Class of 2013 Applicants

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