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Best MBA application tips?

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Best MBA application tips? [#permalink] New post 15 Apr 2009, 11:49
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Collection of best Business School (MBA) application tips, recommendations, and advice from currently admitted students. Find out what application strategies worked and paid of and what did not. Have you been admitted to an MBA Program? Great! tell us what worked for your application process:

  • What are your top three app tips for new applicants?
  • What school are you in?
  • This could be for essays/the application/the interview/etc.


Edit: This discussion has been retired.
You can find the latest and updated thread here: best-mba-application-tips-from-elite-alumni-and-students-133967.html
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Re: Best app tips? [#permalink] New post 15 Apr 2009, 14:09
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1. Be as specific as possible when it comes to career goals in your essays. Show the adcom that you have done a ton of research on the firms you want to work for and the industry you want to work in. My early apps said 'I want to do investment banking', while my later apps (i.e. the ones I got in with) said 'I want to do technology investment banking focused on SaaS companies because this is an emerging area of technology. I want to work at Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, or Thomas Wiesel due to their immense domain expertise and market leading position in this area...". The second sentance got me into Texas and Kellogg, while the first one got me dinged from UCLA and Chicago w/o interview. You do the math.

2. Your 2nd app will be better than your 1st, your 3rd better than your 2nd, etc. Don't do your dream school first. Maybe even wait for the 2nd round for your dream school. I know that requires some serious patience, but it may be worth waiting. At some point you'll see diminishing returns, but until you reach that point put off your all-star schools.

3. This may not be a universal opinion, but i say interview on campus whenever possible because if you really knock the interview out of the park, then you have a real live person sitting there in meetings pulling for you. If you interview with an alum, this excitement may not be as evident and could get lost in translation. It's always a good thing to have an AdCom on your side in admission decision meetings saying, "yup, this guy/gal was a pleasure and a joy to meet with. They certainly have my vote. I think we should definitely admit them." That can only work in your favor.
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Re: Best app tips? [#permalink] New post 16 Apr 2009, 09:21
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It's all about the essays.

My R1 was a disaster. I got an interview invite to Chicago, and nothing from Stanford and Berkeley. R2 was the exact opposite. Admits to Kellogg, UCLA and my safety school, Wisconsin, gave me full ride plus huge stipend.

This is what I figured out given my analysis of my essays combined with the results of my apps.

1. Have a story
-My Chicago story was about critical thinking and self-growth
-My UCLA story was about pursuing your dreams instead of doing what you should
-My Kellogg story was about self-discovery and redemption
-Stanford and Haas had no unifying theme, even though some of the individual essays were among my best ones (especially Stanford's what is important to you and why)

2. Have clear goals
-Chicago, Stanford, and Berkeley all fell short in this regard - my goals were totally abstract and unachievable
-UCLA had clear goals which fit my story
-Kellogg had clear goals that completed my story

3. Personalize your weaknesses and illustrate your strengths
-in my case, my greatest strength was also my greatest weakness (international experience, but no conventional business experience)
-For Stanford and Haas, I didn't really talk about the dark side at all, and simply listed my strengths
-While Chicago also did not address my weaknesses, it was also by far the most explicit of my round 1 apps in highlighting my strengths (in part thanks to the Powerpoint). That said, I fell apart at this point during the interview
-My UCLA's essays failed to address my weaknesses, but I covered it during my interview (which was after I figured it all out while doing my Kellogg app). UCLA's essays were also explicit in addressing my strengths (again I was helped by the audio recording)
-Kellogg is where it all came together. I illustrated my strengths in my best essay of the season, and also acknowledged the dark side in one of the most personal essays I have ever written. I was literally in tears when I proofread it. The only reason I did it - and the reason I'm writing this to save you from my struggles - is because I was desperate. I was dinged or on the verge of being dinged from all my R1 schools, my proofreader told me (accurately) that my essays sucked, and I had no choice but to write from the heart.

So I guess that's the biggest thing. Be honest. First and foremost, be honest with yourself. Don't dwell on your weaknesses, but do address them, preferably as personally as possible. Be proud of your strengths, but don't write about them, ILLUSTRATE them. And tie them all together with goals that address your weaknesses and are tailored to your strengths. I am fully confident I would get an interview to every school I applied to next year if I did it again. That's how much better my R2 essays were...

So to sum up:
Chicago - 1.5 out of 3 - dinged with interview
Berkeley and Stanford - 0 out of 3 - no interview
UCLA - 2 out of 3 - admitted
Kellogg - 3 out of 3 - admitted
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Last edited by monkbent on 16 Apr 2009, 09:26, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Best MBA application tips? [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2011, 09:07
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I wanted to document and share my lessons learned over the course of this process, for whatever benefit it can have for future applicants. I'm no expert and don't have any inside information. I don't have a comprehensive system, just some tips. But if I could travel back in time nine months and give myself advice, it would be this:

1) MBA admissions is a subjective process. To the extent there are "rules" or a "checklist" they are minimum necessary requirements, not sufficient reason for admission. You have to accept this and embrace it. Get used to living with uncertainty and don't let it consume you. Know what your backup plan is if you get rejected everywhere - your mind will run there during the darker moments in the process. (Mine was to stay on at current job and reapply next year.) If you don't have a backup plan, apply to multiple safeties, as that is the only way to ensure admissions. And define safety very conservatively.

2) Start early. Researching schools takes time. Essay writing takes time. A lot of time. And by time, I don't mean number of hours spent in front of a computer. By time, I mean number of days where you are thinking about essays. Good essays take time to marinate in your subconscious over several weeks. The more weeks you spend thinking about essays, the more good ideas will pop into your head. You can't compress that process of good idea generation into a few months of hectic essay writing. Spread it out over as long a period as you can. Start brainstorming before essay topics even come out. Now (March 2011) is a good time to start brainstorming and planning for class of 2014 admissions. Start now and make a little progress each week. It will save you time, and stress, over the long run.

3) Be clearly unique. Formulate a clear brand about who you are, why you're unique, and what unique value you would bring to an MBA class. It should be multifaceted but coherent. Build your application around that brand. Give your draft essay to a confidante and ask them to "reverse engineer" what your brand is - ie, ask them to write the 3 bullet summary of what comes across in your essays. You'll be surprised at how unclear and opaque you're actually being in communicating your brand. Themes that seem obvious to you are likely to be completely missed or at least misinterpreted by the uninitiated reader. Keep clarifying until you pass this "reverse engineering" test. If you're friends and family can't do it, a total stranger on the admissions committee definitely can't.

4) Be authentically unique. Never, ever, ever write what you think they want to hear, or what other people have successfully written in the past. Admissions directors love to be surprised. They love to see something they've never seen before. And you can only find that uniqueness inside yourself. As you read these forums and other sources of information, you will be pulled towards the seductive false logic of copying other models that have proven successful. It's only natural, but it's still a losing strategy. Everyone is unique, so don't despair, even if you think you're the most boring person on earth. If you get stuck, look at the full range of your experiences, and synthesize a few key themes. There are certainly other people who have each of your individual experiences, but no one else has your exact portfolio of experiences. It's the connections and interactions between your experiences that make you unique.

5) Keep your writing simple. Write like you're writing for the AP, not for the Economist. Use short, simple sentences. Don't use fancy vocabulary or jargon. If the average man on the street won't immediately grasp a concept, you have to explain it or, better yet, not use it. You want to be remembered for the content of your ideas, not the fanciness of your communication. If they're focusing on the medium they're not focusing on the message.

6) Use stories to convey leadership. A very large percentage of your word count should be spent telling vivid, moment-in-time stories. Stories should be your primary venue for communicating information whenever possible. Why MBA? Tell the story of when you realized you needed an MBA. etc. Stories are powerful. Stories are primal - they play a central role in pretty much every human culture that has evolved. When we hear a story, we project ourselves into the protagonist's role. We feel what they feel. And, we fill in the gaps with our own imagination, turning a two dimensional anecdote into a three dimensional shared experience. That is why admissions readers like stories. It lets them make the "blink" (as in Malcolm Gladwell) style assessments it takes to evaluate something subjective like leadership. Some schools explicitly ask for stories, but I think it's a pretty surefire approach for most any school. Stories are the only way for admissions readers to put themselves in your shoes and understand your leadership. So use plenty of stories to give them plenty of evidence about your leadership.

7) Practice. Don't write your dream school's essay first. You WILL get better at essay writing with each essay you write. You should go sequentially, finishing one school before moving on to the next, so you can focus on giving each school a logically coherent package. But, I'm telling you right now, your first application will be pretty bad, no matter how much time you spend on it. You might even consider doing a dummy "practice" application to get that first bad one out of your system. What the heck, here's a set of dummy essay topics for you: A) Assume you are admitted, and are attending your 5 year MBA reunion. Describe what you have accomplished since graduating, how your MBA helped you achieve it, and what your plans for the future are. B) Write a leadership autobiography, describing the key moments in your life that shaped your leadership style. C) Assume that, once admitted, you will have to "apply" to a learning team. What would you say to your fellow classmates to convince them that you would be a valuable addition to their learning team?

Try to enjoy the process. Treat it like a fun autobiographical exercise. It'll help you do better, and help maintain your sanity.

Best of luck everyone! Work hard, be passionate, do well.
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Re: Best app tips? [#permalink] New post 24 Apr 2009, 09:20
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Summary:
1) Take the GMAT early
2) Trust your writing/creative/brag-about-yourself style
3) Don't pretend. You are who you are.
4) Accept the randomness!

Details for the masochists:
1) Take the GMAT early. My best decision was to get it over with well before applications were released with enough time for at least one retake (luckily not necessary). This will help you focus on applications.

2) Trust your writing/creative/brag-about-yourself style. I spent a lot of time writing for Booth and did Wharton's last minute. Result: admit at Wharton and double-waitlisted at Booth. I have to go back to high-school for validation on essay writing since I studied and worked as an engineer, but I never started one essay earlier than the day before it was due and I usually got good grades. That is just how I work. (That doesn't mean I wasn't thinking about what to write, just didn't put it on paper) I don't recommend this, but don't change your style just for b-school apps. Also, I am self-deprecating and have trouble bragging about myself when there are many others out there who seem much "better" than me. So that's how I wrote. Threw in a few jokes, talked about what was fun for me, and showed this during my interviews as well.

3) Don't be afraid to admit who you are and what you do in your applications. I wasn't a "save the world" kind of guy and it wasn't worth trying to force it (aka no volunteer work). I didn't think I had a great chance at the top schools, so I figured I'd admit to what I really like to do. I may be one of the few who left "social chair" on their resume and included my eagerness to organize tailgates. I can't say for sure that these things helped, but these schools know they need people who can handle the academics and contribute to the fun factor. Also, no special gift or quality is too aged or small to mention if it may excite an app reader. They get bored.

4) Accept the randomness! Unless you are the ultimate bada$$, then it will require luck to get in to many top schools. Who interviews you, the mood of essay readers, the landscape of other applicants, and the strategy of the school all contribute and are out of your control. This is true in your career, search for a mate, and pretty much most of life. Don't be too hard on yourself.

Wow. This post got long. If you got this far, then congratulate yourself and go do something fun or interesting.
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Re: Best MBA application tips? [#permalink] New post 18 Aug 2010, 09:28
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I have two application tips which I doubt anyone else would say:

1. Don't think the current step is the hardest, the next one is harder. I thought my GMAT class was hard, then studying was worse, then the test day itself was terrible to anticipate. After that, picking a school to send scores to, actually applying to schools, telling your boss you need a reference because "you think you might like to go to B-School" in the fall was worse. The post-application process of interviews, letters of decline, and acceptance letters was even more difficult, then choosing among the schools that accepted you was ever harder then all that. And it doesn't get easier when you finally have registered and decided on a school - quitting your job, the months between giving notice and your actual end-date are awkward, finding an apartment, moving, finding loans, applying for scholarships, saying goodbye to life pre-MBA... I'm waiting for classes to start on September 7 so I can finally take a breather (lord knows it's probably even harder)!

2. Don't get psyched by the prodigies on this board. I found this board while preparing for my GMAT exam, and there is a wealth of info, but take it with a grain of salt. In every aspect of life, there are worry-warts who are over-concerned with their future. If they don't get into Harvard, Stanford, or Oxford, life is over! In life, when you hear it, it's ephemeral and easy to ignore, but seeing it in writing weighs on you more and you begin to wonder if your choice of b-school or where you actually end up is worth all the work, or if your behind the game because your applying to the same schools and not doing as much preparatory work. When reading about all-stars who are preparing for the GMAT two years in advance, only applying to LBS, Wharton, HBS, and Stanford, and taking classes they will be taking during their MBA before they actually go to b-school, you can't let it phase you. My GMAT instructor said this on our first day: "To get accepted to undergrad university, you had to be an elite high school student and to graduate from that you had to be an elite university pupil. Now that you're taking the GMAT and applying for b-school, you are the cream of the crop in the workforce. But the rest of the people are also the cream of the crop, so don't get a big head but don't lose confidence in yourself either." Remember that - you're doing great, and some people just like to prepare and plan WAY more than you.
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Re: Best app tips? [#permalink] New post 15 Apr 2009, 17:39
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Great thread isa.

1. Think long and hard about yourself beyond the numbers. What makes you different from the thousands of others applying? Forget your GMAT and GPA - they can't be changed. What is your best face, and how do you show that face to the adcoms on every single page of your application?

1a. Print a PDF of all your applications before you submit. Refer back to this PDF before your interviews to make sure your message is consistent.

2. Be humble and acknowledge your weaknesses directly in your essays (no one is perfect after all), and also why you think you can overcome your weaknesses to be a leader at b-school.

3. Show off a little bit in your essays - it's ok to be proud of what you've accomplished!

(at first glance, 2 and 3 seem to contradict each other, but I think the best essays show (a) pride in past accomplishments and (b) honest reflections about past mistakes/weaknesses)
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Re: Best app tips? [#permalink] New post 15 Apr 2009, 11:58
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The three general tips I have:

1) Don't apply to 10 schools in one round. Or even 8. In theory, this sounds doable. In reality, you end up rushing a couple of apps and really killing any hope of any free time during those 3 months. It's better to split them between rounds.

2) Pick your schools carefully. Someone told me when I was making the school list to only apply to schools that I'd actually attend. As in, make sure you answer yes to "if you only got into school x, would you go to x?". That'll help you save time and money in the app process.

3) Save vacation time. You'll need it to visit campus, do interviews. In my case, I also took a couple of sick days to finish my essays in time for the app deadlines.
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Re: Best app tips? [#permalink] New post 11 May 2009, 18:40
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pmenon wrote:
1. When you're told to be specific in your career goals, how specific did you really get ?


I didn't identify specific job titles I wanted but did describe the type of short and long term functions I wanted, at specific types of firms. In my case, it was something like "lead strategic planning and business development at firms that specialize in xyz".

pmenon wrote:
2. To what extent did you go to explain WHY you had the career goals you do, if at all ? Not sure if this is even necessary, but I read somewhere that it was a good idea to let adcoms in on this information


I explained the "why" behind my career goals. Depending on the essay length, I used anywhere between one and three sentences to show that it was a long term interest (ie not a goal that sounded good on apps), show why I'd been passionate about my field (healthcare) for a long period of time. I also thought it would be a good way to distinguish myself from other applicants interested in the same field.

pmenon wrote:
3. How much did you discuss WHAT you wanted to do in your position(s) post-MBA ?


So the Duke "leader of consequence" essay was mostly around What I wanted to do. For other essays, I spent maybe 1-2 paragraphs discussing long term career goals. The "what" discussion was part of that.

pmenon wrote:
4. When you tie school resources into your essays (i.e. to answer the 'why our school' question), how did you go about doing that ? Did you simply mention a few clubs and classes, mention your discussions with alumni/current students ?


Nearly every essay had an element of "why x" in it. In reviewing each school's essay set (that is all the essays pulled together for that school), across the essays, I covered: professors + specific classes, clubs I'd want to lead, clubs I'd want to start, relevant alumni, misc other benefits of the school (e.g. "tight-knit community" for Tuck). I hadn't spoken with too many current students, so I didn't mention them in essays. I did bring them up in the interviews though. (That also helped ensure that my interviews weren't a rehash of my essays but instead contributed new information to my application)

pmenon wrote:
5. How much did you get into your past work experience ? I know that youre supposed to do this and draw a clear line between what you have, and what you want, in terms of goals, but some questions, like LBS's essay 1 question, dont give you too much room to really get into it, given the question:

In what role do you see yourself working immediately after graduation? Why? How will your past and present experiences help you achieve this? How will the London Business School MBA Programme contribute to this goal? Why is this the right time for you to pursue an MBA? (600 words)


A LOT. By the end, I had paragraphs that gave the 45-second view of my career path and key accomplishments, as well as longer anecdotal ones that went into specific examples of leadership/mentoring/obstacles/etc. In the LBS essay, I'd spend something like 150 words on post-graduation goals, 200 words on past/present WE, 200 on why LBS.

hope this helps!
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Re: Best app tips? [#permalink] New post 15 Apr 2009, 12:12
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In no particular order:

1) Don't apply to your favorite school first. As doubtful as I was about this, my applications did in fact get better as I applied to more schools. And not only for the essays...the biggest difference was with the interviews. I had learned to better position myself in a face-to-face setting after some interview experience and my last interview as my best because of it.

2) Decide early on which schools you MIGHT apply to and visit/research them early on. I thought I would shoot for only my round 1 reach schools, but then decided to diversify going into round 2 (thank God). But when I decided to pull the trigger on that it was too late to visit Dartmouth, which I knew I liked before then. Living close by and not visiting would have really hurt my chances of getting in and I decided not to apply.

3) If you are interested in Kellogg, do those essays first (unless maybe it's your top choice as per #1). Kellogg's essays were tough (I prefer word limits) but I found their structured nature to be helpful for completing other essays and I wish I had done them before doing my round 1 essays.
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Re: Best app tips? [#permalink] New post 15 Apr 2009, 13:44
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One thing that kept coming up over and over during this long app season, with friends, on forums, even for myself, is CAREER GOALS. Very very important! Only when I updated my career goals did I get accepted from the waitlist.

It seems many applicants spend most of their time and energy on explaining who they are and their past and why this school, but overlook the future and making meaningful and realistic career goals, which may be the most important part. When I updated my goals, they went from being very general and rather broad, to being very very specific, I'm talking specific to the point of company names, programs, and positions.

To get even just a few sentences of detailed career goals required weeks of research, maybe why many overlook it. I read hundreds of pages about my target industry and target specializations within it, I had to speak to many current MBA students in that track, and even spoke to successful executives in that field, etc, etc. Very time-consuming, but VERY important.

By pinning you down to very specific goals, the school can insure that you are a planned person on the path to success. Also, they can lump you into a demographic for their class diversity. So be careful about choosing a goal that is common, as you may place yourself into the most oversubscribed demographic, as a friend who went 0-for-5 did. I have very non-traditional goals (that fit my past and present), but now that I'm in I can take a well-traveled route if I choose.

Last edited by decemberblues on 20 Apr 2009, 16:40, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Best app tips? [#permalink] New post 15 Apr 2009, 20:06
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I will give a similar seemingly contradictory advice.

1) You are better than you think you are.
2) You are worse than you think you are.

On your worse days, when everything you write seems to come out like gibberish, or every GMAT question seem insolvable, etc., keep in mind the first piece of advice. There's a lot to tell from even the smallest accomplishments, encounters, and experiences.

On your best days, when you feel you're not just writing the best application essay, but you think you'll become the next great author, keep in mind the second piece of advice. Many people with amazing achievements have applied to business schools, so don't even think about impressing the AdCom with achievements alone. The only way you can wow the AdCom is write from your own unique perspective, which can only be achieved by being completely honest.
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Re: Best app tips? [#permalink] New post 16 Apr 2009, 04:09
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I'd agree pretty much with all the other advice offered by the other posters, especially about knowing yourself and your goals.

Beyond that, my advice would be to try to avoid getting totally absorbed by the process mentally and emotionally. I know I was partially guilty of this myself, and waiting sucks, but life goes on. It's a long process from start to finish, and you should try to make sure you take the time to step away now and then and enjoy it. Also, getting dinged isn't the end of the world, even if you get dinged everywhere you apply. The 2008 Zero Admits Revisited thread is full of examples of people who struck out last year, and got into some pretty incredible schools this year.
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Re: Best app tips? [#permalink] New post 15 Apr 2009, 12:35
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If applying to more than one school make a "master app" in word. Your master app should contain:
Your address
Work experiences + descriptions, addresses, contacts
Undergrad info + gpa/rank/ etc
extracuriculars, hours you participated etc

as you go through your apps keep adding to your master app so yoiu can just cut and paste.

Also before yoiur write really think about your experiences and how they will contribute to your future goals

most importantly MAKE SURE YOU ACTUALLY ANSWER THE QUESTION ASKED.

Have your friends look over your essays - this is key

will add if I can think of more
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Re: Best app tips? [#permalink] New post 15 Apr 2009, 20:45
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I have some insight into R1, R2, R3 and so on

The best advice I can give from my experience which I did not know beforehand is that there is no difference between R1 and R2.

In fact, considering that you are highly likely to write better essays in R2, it might even be easier, in real world terms.

I made a huge mistake by "putting all my marbles" in R1, thinking it would help me very marginally to be early. It didn't. My R2 apps were better and I knew what the hell I was doing.

I say you should have 3 groups scheduled:

In R1 you should choose that one lowest safety which you would attend if you got all dings, one from the top tier (but NOT your top), and one you think you would get into but aren't sure.

R2 should be your dream school, plus 2-3 from from your middle tier

I don't recommend R3 except for those schools which have 4 rounds like Carnegie Mellon. CMU is the perfect elite school to be applying to in March if you still aren't satisfied with your propects. You are certain to have very sharp essays and self-presentation by that time.
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Re: Best app tips? [#permalink] New post 22 Apr 2009, 21:21
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My best advice is...

1. Write in your own voice (except for situations like the MIT cover letter where you should write business formal). Use humor, dialogue, an occasional colloquialism. You can get away with it as long as your grammar and spelling are perfect.
2. This sounds cheesy, but figure out what makes you unique. Whatever you're passionate about (yes, outside of your career) should be one of your main themes. During interviews you might want to talk about intellectual interests too. Art, feminism, and online privacy were all topics I explored in my essays and interviews.
3. Don't bore the adcom. I fell asleep trying to read the essays in Montauk's book. I'm sure the adcom is 100x more bored by that kind of essay because they see so many.
4. Be confident; don't be arrogant.
5. Ladies, it's good to be a bit stylish for your interviews. I think we feel more confident as young, hip professionals than we do when trying to dress like men in stiff, button-down shirts.
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Re: Best app tips? [#permalink] New post 12 May 2009, 03:23
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pmenon wrote:
Hey guys, great tips ! Did have a couple of questions though:

1. When you're told to be specific in your career goals, how specific did you really get ?


I was very specific, down to the functions and specific companies I wanted to work for (as well as a brief explanation why those companies).

pmenon wrote:
2. To what extent did you go to explain WHY you had the career goals you do, if at all ? Not sure if this is even necessary, but I read somewhere that it was a good idea to let adcoms in on this information


Because I was switching careers I thought it was important to explain both a) why I didn't want to continue in my current career path, and b) why I was interested in my proposed new career path. I think the 'why' element gives the adcom a much deeper insight into who you are and what makes you tick, and makes for much more interesting essays.

pmenon wrote:
3. How much did you discuss WHAT you wanted to do in your position(s) post-MBA ?


As isa said, the Duke leader of consequence essay was 2 pages of what I wanted to achieve post-MBA. For the other essays, I used 2-3 sentences to explain both WHAT I wanted to accomplish over the course of my post-MBA career, and WHY this is important to me.

pmenon wrote:
4. When you tie school resources into your essays (i.e. to answer the 'why our school' question), how did you go about doing that ? Did you simply mention a few clubs and classes, mention your discussions with alumni/current students ?


In my 'why our school' section, I discussed specific clubs and classes and how the knowledge/skills/experience I gained from them would help me achieve my career goals. I didn't mention too much about specific professors or alumni more because I was running out of room in my essay and couldn't get it to sound like much more than name dropping. Outside the 'why our school' section, when I talked about some of my current extracurricular activities, I talked about wanting to continue similar activities in the X Club at the school, or if the school didn't have a relevant club I said I'd be interested in starting a club that focused on X.

pmenon wrote:
5. How much did you get into your past work experience ? I know that youre supposed to do this and draw a clear line between what you have, and what you want, in terms of goals, but some questions, like LBS's essay 1 question, dont give you too much room to really get into it, given the question:

In what role do you see yourself working immediately after graduation? Why? How will your past and present experiences help you achieve this? How will the London Business School MBA Programme contribute to this goal? Why is this the right time for you to pursue an MBA? (600 words)

Thanks for all your replies in advance :). Im sure I'll be back with more questions eventually :-D


In all my career goals essays I talked about prior work experience, what skills it has provided me with and how those skills will help me achieve my career goals. Because I was proposing to switch careers, I thought showing this link was pretty important. Also, since the LBS question specifically asks about how your experience will help you achieve your goals, I think you have to address it. In some of my essays where space was a concern, I used 3-4 sentences to talk very succinctly about my experience and the linkage. However, I also used space in other essays to give more detailed examples and anecdotes to tell stories about leadership, teamwork, innovation, etc.
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Re: Best app tips? [#permalink] New post 15 Apr 2009, 12:13
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1) For international students: choose off-campus interview in your country instead of on-campus one. It will be much easier to explain all your achievements and motives.

2) think a lot then write and show your package (all essays + resume) to friends.

3) don't give up.
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Re: Best app tips? [#permalink] New post 16 Apr 2009, 10:32
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One thing that hasn't been mentioned is don't just apply to the top schools, even if you think you'll get into one. I figured I would only go and take on the debt if I got into a M7 school, so I applied to four of them and nothing else (1 admit/1 waitlist). Now I wish I had applied to some lower ranked schools and maybe gotten a scholarship. I would definitely give up M7 for a full ride to another top 15 school without hesitation, I can't see why some people on here give up that money. $100k to me is a big deal, a bigger deal than a few places in the rankings...

Another thing that has been mentioned, but I'll say again, don't apply to more than 3 schools in one round. It sucks big time and makes the quality of each app suffer. Stick to 2-3 schools in rounds 1 and 2, and you should get into at least 1. Of course many people apply to more with success, but I just think life is too short to be writing essays for 8 schools in the same round!!
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Re: Best app tips? [#permalink] New post 22 Apr 2009, 17:10
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I agree with what has been said - I've got one tip that really helped me.

1. Talk it out!

Tell your friends, family, coworkers, you want to get an MBA. This will spark a lot of natural questions - why? what schools are you applying to? what do you want to do after?

At the begining of my applications I sat down with jb32 over lunch to talk schools, goals, and application strategy. He brought up a bunch of questions I hadn't thought of. Point being by the time you talk to a bunch of people you will really have your story down. You will be ready for your applications and interviews. You need to know your "story" forwards and backwards.

The other thing I got better at is what jb talked about in his post being more specific (this came with refining my story) - when I got to Ross I had gone from "I want to do consulting" to "I want to do strategy consulting for a top firm focusing on the energy industry so that I can expand on my core skills and make a move into energy venture capital and clean energy."
Re: Best app tips?   [#permalink] 22 Apr 2009, 17:10
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