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What is up guys. Jon Frank here, your friendly neighborhood CEO of Precision Essay.
I just got off the phone with someone who had worked with a "new" consulting company last year, and it was...eye opening. She hadnt been accepted, and one of her buddies recommended her to us. One aspect of the conversation tho was suuuper interesting. And I wanted to share. : )
This girl explained that she'd been taught that the key to bschool apps was "the essays;" that is, how good her writing is. In fact folks, you are of course not being graded on your writing. If you are a foreign candidate especially, you are certainly not being graded on your grammar, or whether or not you can "pass for a native speaker." In fact, some of our friends in adcoms (as I have posted previously) have become VERY wise to the phenomenon of "foreign candidates hiring Americans to write essays for them." Oh no! A recipe for disaster, more and more every day.
So what is the take-home message?
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN A BUSINESS SCHOOL APPLICATION IS YOUR WORK EXPERIENCE. What have you achieved? What skills do you have? Have you been successful? Do you have a good plan for the future, that ties to your past? That is the most important thing. Period.
So THEREFORE, the essays ARE important. Not because you are being graded on "how good a writer you are," but because the essays are the only chance you have to explain your WORK EXPERIENCE. Get it?
Phew. Hope this makes sense folks. Chatting with this girl made me sad. Hopefully, we can spare other folks the same fate...
What is up gang. I was asked a question on a different (Asia-based) forum, and I thought it would be useful for everyone to read. Some details have been changed to protect the innocent...
Hey Jon, I am wondering abt my low gpa. I recieved a big operation in my third year of uni, so my acedemic performance was effected a lot. I am soooooo worried about my GPA. I will definitely write the optional essay when Im applying for MBA, but my frds who are studying in the States told me this wont help that much. That makes me very panic.......
Another questions is which job offers I should take. Im graduating from uni. in about one month. Im currently having 2 job offers. One offers me a position in marketing, the other one offers a position in finance. Which job offer is better for my future application to MBA, marketing or finance? btw, I am a math student in the uni.
I will really appreciate ur help! Thx!
***************** Hey there—yes, the Optional Essay is very tricky to write. If you don’t do it right (if it is too long, too apologetic, making excuses, etc etc.) then it wont help you at all! But if you handle the thing correctly, it is the best (and only) way to make red flags in your application…go away entirely!
Now, in terms of which job to take…either can be just fine. Marketing is a bit “softer,” so if you are sure that you will be applying to bschool you will have to prove a bit more carefully that you have some strong financial, business skills. But it could also work in your favor—fewer marketing folks are applying than finance folks—especially from China.
I would look at it this way—which job would give you more responsibility? Which would give you a greater chance to show your skills, and achievements in your essays? THAT is the one to take, the one where you will take on greater responsibility, and where you will thrive. Good luck my friend! _________________
What is up folks. I figured, it's time to...STIR THE POT just a bit.
Here is question we were just asked on a different Forum--and I thought everyone might be able to benefit from the response:
======================== Hi, Jon!
I want to move to commodity trading after mba, does there any good program meet this requirement? I cant seem to find any schools with this specialty in my online research...
Thanks in advance !
Hello there. Yes, certain programs are more known for trading than others. And to be sure, since so much commodity trading in the US happens in NYC, and some in Chicago, CBS, Stern, and Booth are logical choices for you. But.
In terms of selecting programs, there are countless considerations. If I had to generalize though, I would say the following: GO TO THE BEST SCHOOL YOU CAN GET INTO. You can drive yourself batty researching who has the best commodities program, who has the best X program, where Professor Y teaches etc--at the end of the day, go to the best school you can get into. If you can get into Harvard, go there. Stanford? Go there. Columbia? Go there. All schools have strong financial presences (especially Columbia and Wharton) but all that doesn't really matter.
Go to the best school you can get into. Period. Niiiice and simple for ya. : ) Make sense? From the best school, you will have the best contacts to go…pretty much wherever you want.
Hope this helps gang, and good luck! _________________
I am Jhonny from India. Could you please take a look at my profile. I am aiming for HBS 2+2.
Background Age: 22 Sex: Male Nationality: Indian UG: Major in Civil Engineering and Minor in Electrical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. Pursuing Masters in Structural Engineering. GMAT: 700 (Q 50, V 34) GPA: 9.34/10
3 months Internship at Deutsche Bank, Mumbai related to Exchange Traded funds. 2 months internship at Indian institute of Management Bangalore, India on Operations management 3 months social internship at Rakshak Foundation based in Santa Clara, USA dealing with Police reforms.
Extracurricular Activities/Leadership Experience
-Project manager of Institute's student satellite initiative. --The largest technical project undertaken by the institute. Have led a team of 60 students over the past 4 years and managed funds to the tune of 0.75 million USD. --The project has obtained launch clearance from Indian Space Research Organisation. -- Have attended the International Astronautical congress held in Pargue and published 4 conference papers as part of the Project. -- Have developed a social goal, with the help of my team,for the project wherein 11 other universities including a french university are collaborating with us.
-Head of the Institute Student Mentorship Program -- Leading a team of 80 "mentors" (selected from around 1000 students) who are responsible for the overall development of the freshman of the institute -- Head of the Department Academic Mentor Program that helps the academically weak students -- Introduced a system of honour code in the institute and centralised the working of the Academic Rehabilitation program.
- Senior Member of the Tower of babylon project by the Global Technical Alliance of Universities --Senior member of the team Nirmaan which is building a sustainable structure, representing the ethos of sustainability in the Indian context, as part of the Tower of Babylon competition organised by the Global technical alliance of 7 universities around the globe. -- The team is representing India at the competition
-Chief Editor of Yellow, magazine for Civil Engineering Department -- Was responsible for overall management of the magazine. Published an issue focusing on the transportation problems facing India. --Was able to circulate the magazine to over 80 NGO's and universities during my stint as the editor.
-Student Advisory Body member for Civil Engineering Department -- Responsible for implementing academic reforms in the department -- Was felicitated by the Senate (the highest administrative body of the institute) for exemplary work
-Debating Secretary for the Hostel -- Won the Institute Debating league during my tenure as the Debating Secretary -- Was the editor of Expressions, the Hostel Valedictory Magazine
-Class representative of my batch for a year
-Coordinator of Techfest, Asia's largest technical festival -- Organised an event called Astronight which attracted a crowd of more than 1000 people -- Delivered a popular lecture on Astronomy in the event
- Was part of Group Rural Activities group in freshmen year as part of national Social Service
- Volunteer at Abhiyashika, an organisation which teaches poor slum kids
Awards and Distinctions
- Was awarded the Narottam Seksharia Merit cum means scholarship by the Gujarat Ambuja Group for academic excellence for 2 consecutive years - Was awarded the Institute Scholarship twice for being the Department Rank 1. Currently ranked 7th in the institute and 1st in the department. - Awarded the Institute Technical Color for the year 2009-10 for extraordinary performance in technical activities. It is the highest technical award for a student. - Won the First place at National Level Technical paper Presentation held at COEP, Pune in 2008-2009 on the topic Self- Healing Anti Corrosion Nanofilms - Won the First place at National Level Technical paper Presentation held at COEP,Pune and at VJTI, Mumbai in 2007-2008 on the topic Use of Nanorobots in Drug Delivery - Won the First place at Technical paper Presentation held at National College , Mumbai in 2004-2005 on the topic Global Warming and Greenhouse Effect : Causes and Solutions - Participated in the National Level project design competition organized by Du – Pont in 05’ – 06’ on Designer Genes- - Awarded Hostel Cultural Color for 2 consecutive years in ‘09-‘10 and ‘10-‘11 for outstanding contribution in cultural domain - Was part of the IITB contingent in Rostrum Spectrum, national level debating competition, organized by Poddar College and the Times Of India in 2008 and qualified into the Semi-finals of the Group Discussion - Was awarded the Best Country Profile at the first INDIAN MODEL UNITED NATIONS, an international level event organized by Xavier’s group of schools at Delhi in 2003 and having participants from over 5 countries and about 80 schools and colleges - Won the 3rd place, amongst the country’s top 8 teams in Hindi literary and debating competition at Mood Indigo ’09, Asia’s largest college cultural festival - Won the Hindi debate in Institute Debating League General Championship for three consecutive years - Won 2nd place in KavyaSandhya, an original poem composition and recitation event, organised as part of Institute Debating League - Was awarded the best student in Science award in Junior College - Was awarded the best boy award for 5 consecutive years in School - Awarded the ‘Best Camper Boy ’ at the NSS camp in 2004
-Was Tutor for Calculus for the freshman batch of 2010 at IIT Bombay -Won numerous Extempore, Debates, Quizzes at school level & different clubs/organizations -Featured on NDTV in an interview with Mr. Nandan Nilekani on UID as representative of IIT Bombay - Completed basic course in French offered by the French Embassy
Questions 1.Can you please comment on whether my GMAT score will be a deterrent for schools to select me ? I am really scared because of this. 2. Is my GPA good enough to apply to Harvard ? 3. Is there something specific in my application that you think I should focus more on ? 4. Do you think that my leadership experience with the satellite project and Mentorship program can offset my low work experience ? 5. Finally, do you think I can make the cut to HBS 2+2 ?
Hey gang--a neat question from one of our friends in Asia. Thought I'd share it for the benefit of the team...
=================== Hi Jon, thanks for your continue support for all of us in China! I got an admit to Wharton, Columbia and LBS and struggling among three. All are great programs but as an international student, which one would you suggest me to enrol? I 'd want to have career switch to Finance upon graduation am wanna to work in Wall Street/UK Finance hub for few years before heading to Hong Kong. Thanks a lot fr your kind advice. ===================
Hey there! I love questions like this…mostly because they are eeeeasy to answer. So conventional wisdom of course is that youre gonna wanna go to Wharton--it has the best reputation of the bunch. Some might argue that LBS has as good a rep...but most wouldnt. Now, there is ONE exception here, which might actually pertain to you dude. If you are 100% positive that you wanna stay in London when you graduate, go to LBS. Their network is second to none (even Wharton's) if you wanna be in the UK. And in today's economy especially, the network is more important than ever before. However, if you 100% wanna stay in the US--or even China, or any country outside Europe for that matter, go to Wharton. An amazing program, for sure.
Easy. That’s it my friend. CBS is a great school, but the others are better given your goals… GOOD LUCK AND CONGRATS! _________________
Hello my friend. Thanks for the kind note. Itd be my pleasure to offer up some thoughts for you. We know the HBS 2+2 program well--so lets get into it.
First of all, congrats on that AMAZING GPA...especially at IIT. Yes, to your question about GPA--your academics are impeccable. Dont give them a second thought. Had you not been at IIT that might not be the case. But you are juuust fine. : )
You also have some great work experiences, and leadership experiences. Love that youre leading the team of 60 students through the satellite initiative, student mentorship, the work at the paper, helping w your department--all of it. GREAT stuff. Congrats my friend, and with all those great awards to boot!
Dont worry about your work experience--HBS and GSB especially love candidates who are young as you are. The one trick, in your essays, will be to somehow describe the fact that while you are a bit "green" so to speak, you are VERY mature. Explain in your essays that you may be young, but your experiences, tho short, have been RICH. And you have worked closely with people older than you are. Dont let them assume that you are too immature to make it--that will be what they want to do. Dont let them dude. If you do that, you are 1/2 way there.
Now, here is the "Second" half. Your GMAT dude is a bit low. : ( If you were in at 740, I would say that you will get into at least one of these programs. But at 700, you are just a shade low. Is there any chance that you could retake the test? If yes, I like your chances. If no, it will be a stretch dude. Again we can get around it--we will simply need to focus on the academic/intellectual achievements youve had (and there have clearly been many). But it will be a bit of a red flag, to be overcome. An optional essay by the way, even just 50-75 words talking about the issue, could also solve it...
Hope this helps bro, let me know what more we can do to help! _________________
Thanks a lot for the reply. I am thinking of applying in the first round for Harvard and still have a few days to actually give the GMAT again. Assuming that I score better than 700, will my old GMAT score not reflect anything on my application.
And come see us in person. We promise you, you wont regret it.
About the Seminars Hosted by our founder and HBS MBA, Jon Frank, the seminars will address the ins-and-outs of the business school application process, dispell certain myths, provide insight into the MBA experience, offer sage advice on application strategy, and of course, answer all of your questions in person. If you are thinking about applying to business schools, this will be a rare chance to meet with one of the leading experts in the field.
Who Should Attend Anyone applying to MBA programs either for 2012, or beyond.
Locations & Dates
Shanghai Host: Jon Frank, Founder/CEO Precision Essay Date: Saturday, June 25 Venue: Hyatt on the Bund Room: Glass House Time: 1:00 PM Address (Chinese): 上海外滩茂悦大酒店琉璃厅中国上海黄浦路199号 Address (English): Hyatt on the Bund Glass House 199 Huang Pu Road, Shanghai, People's Republic of China
Hi, Please evaluate my profile and suitable schools to apply to. I am intending to attend only 1 of the top 20 B Schools in the world. Would be great help if you can provide me with some schools to target (realistic target, stretch). • Indian/IT/Male/25 (Yeah, I belong to the most competitive pool of applicants !!!) • GMAT – 740 (Q51, V39) – Am contemplating a retake of GMAT as my prep was solid (easily above 760), but screwed up on the exam day due to some unforeseen circumstances in work place. How good Is a 740 from an Indian/IT/Male category? My view is that is just average. • Education (Consistently solid) : B.Tech : CGPA – 8.4 ( in computer science engineering) from a top 15 college in India (Non-IIT) . Xth – 85% XIIth – 85% • Work Experience : I believe my work experience is very much different from the normal IT job that people do and this is the area am banking on. 3 years today, 4 at matriculation Got into the Biggest and the Best Software maker(worldwide) in the world straight out of college (Not the indian companies). Fantastic career progression till date – Rated among top 20% of the employees. Recruited into the Talent cum Leadership Development Program. Highest leadership position in the Talent Development program at the company. Leading a team of 80 people in designing and executing the program to develop leaders at the company : Social initiatives, training initiatives, morale initiatives etc. Organized plethora of events in the company. Have gone to multiple teams over the last 3 years with varied roles in the Software cycle. Currently a Program manager. • Awards at workplace : Highest Leadership position in the Talent Development Program. Awarded Outstanding Contribution Award (Individual Award) for Leadership in FY11. Awarded Star award for Leadership (Individual Award) during Q4 FY11. Awarded Pro award for Execution (Individual Award) during Q3 FY10. Awarded Pro award for Excellence (Individual Award) during Q4 FY09. Awarded Team Award during Q4 FY09.
• Community Services : Teaching every week at underprivileged government school over the last 1 year. Worked with Help Age India organization a lot during school days. Worked for National Student Services during College. Organized fund raising events for an NGO. • Extra curriculars(not much) : Learnt French basic level and cleared DELF 1 Learnt German basic level– no certification yet. Took part in national level Quiz Competition (Qualified till Quarter finals) Won some jamming contests and essay writing contests. Senior executive of the Computer Society of India • International experience : Negligible, although have a few stories of what I learnt from these to talk about. Just few training events in Beijing, Hong Kong and New York.
Any suggestions on which all areas to apply will be highly appreciated. I have about 3 months for R1 and 6 months for R2 applications.
What is up my friend. Id be more than happy to offer up some thoughts here. Now as you know, you come from the "tough demographic" of Indian IT males. And you didnt go to IIT. BUT.
You have some GREAT stuff to show for it man. If you can improve your GMAT to 760 for example, that would be fabulous! Even at 740, your chances are great. Of course HBS and Stanford are always challenging, but provided that you put forth some solid essays (tying together your work experiences especially) you should be in great shape.
Now. Here is the trick my man. LEADERSHIP. SOFT SKILLS. That is like the holy grail in cases such as yours--there are so many SMART Indian candidates with IT background. But most of them dont have leadership. Most of em btw also dont have truly international experiences--if you can work this into the essence of EVERY essay you write, then you should be juuust fine. So you have the tools to make it happen--now, all thats left is to execute dude! : ) Hope this helps, and good luck! _________________
I have one question for you : Do schools take it negatively if you improve marginally from 740 to say a 760? Lotsa people on the forum(on other threads) as well as other sites say that sometimes they take it negatively i.e. the candidate is running after score and not trying to put up stellar essays. My belief is that since am from the uber competitive pool of Indian/IT/Male, almost all parts of the application have to be perfect. There will definitely be many indians with stellar profile with a 760/770 in GMAT.
I have already scheduled a retake in July, but would still want some guidance from an expert in admissions.
PS: I have got your PM, shall schedule the free consultation soon with you.