Best MBA Books - overview, recommendations, and comments Your MBA Game Plan - 3rd Edition - The Best Book on Applications & Essays (11/20/2011) New edition released 11/20/2011Essays:
Provides 34 sample essays (unknown freshness - I need to buy a previous version of the book to compare) Pros:
- Fairly concise and can be read/covered pretty quickly (the fact that the book is well written helps)
- I like very much the suggestions for the 4 key dimensions of an applicant (Leadership, innovation, teamwork, and maturity). The book then creates a table with these as column headings and numerous parts of the application as the rows (such as transcript, work experience, resume, LOR, essays, GMAT, extracurricular activities) and allows you to tick off each element that contributes to any of the 4
- Chart of GMAT 80% distribution scores for the top 20 programs and a few other stats/charts
- Applicant profiles - the book splits up the application tips/strategy based on the applicant profiles
- Typical backgrounds of students at the MBA programs and also their career backgrounds. (Consulting is 25%)
- Interview tips (good but not very exhaustive prep)
- Information about each of the top 30 programs with details on application strategy (what the school focuses on, what they are looking for, who is a good fit, and also some additional unofficial insights that Vertas saw from the years of work with applications to each of the schools)
- Real sample Essay Analysis (34 total essays)
- Sevearal in-depth profile examples
- Sample Resumes (5)Cons:
- Though laid out fine, I am having a hard time finding information I have read previously. The markers on some of the essays and sections could be identified better or have some standard icons/symbols and Table of contents should be really expanded to include subsections. Right now it is not useful.
- Would be great to see things not to do/disaster stories/examples of poor fit (there are several essays at the back that are not stellar and are illustrations of exactly that) but would love to see more as well as common weaknesses and approaches to address/eliminate
- Add strategies for re-applicants
- Would benefit the most applicants who have 9 months for the entire process
Great Application Essays for Business School - 2nd Edition - The Best Book for Essays (12/20/2010) New edition released 12/20/2010Essays:
Covers 8 most common essay questions; Includes
44 real essays (22 new essays)
This is by far the best book on MBA Essays I have reviewed. It is motivating to read and contains nuggets of value on every page. Even the obvious points in the "what not to do" section are strong Pros:
+ Fresh content - updated with latest questions, essays, themes, mistakes, figures, etc
+ Great self-diagnostic/reflection methodology
+ Real essays and real examples
+ What not-to-do section with every chapter
+ Practical - it is not a bunch of tricks or gimmicks but solid value
+ Numerous quotes from admissions officers
+ Section on Letters of Recommendation (LOR)
+ New section for Waitlist strategies with 2 case studies about successful converts from WL into Admits (Michigan Ross and Chicago Booth) - 20 pages of content following these 2 applicantsCons:
- Essays are getting a bit dated in this edition, so awaiting the second edition
- None really Bottom line:
taking into consideration that an Admissions consultant could cost $2-4K per school, this is a great guide. I wish this book was out when I was applying.
65 Successful Harvard Business School Application Essays, 2nd EditionNumber of Essays:
65 (41 recent essays and 24 essays that are 5+ years old)Schools:
Covers 1 schoolPros:
- The main value: you can read the essays of the applicants who got into the HBS
- 41 recent essays; this is the new edition of the book and has been updated with 41 new essays (24 are carried over from the old edition)
- There is only one essay per person (both good and bad); you get more variety but at the same time only a fraction of the picture
- The only book with recent essays (all others have 5, 7, and 10+ year old essays)Cons:
- The main disadvantage: you see only a small piece of the puzzle and may potentially change your application for worse
- Analysis of each essay is very minimal and is not "official" per se
- Absolutely Zero advice/strategies/recommendations. The book starts off with essays
BOTTOM LINE: If you are going to a top 10 school, it is a $10 well spent. However, this book is only valuable as a reference/secondary guide. Find a good general book on essays such as Paul Bodine's Great Applications for Business School or How to get into the Top MBA programs by Richard Montauk and use them as the base and this book to compare your style, story, etc. HBS
MBA Admissions Strategy: From profile building to essay writing Review by VorsklPros:
- excellent overview of all speps of the admission process
- it's important Avi starts with description of tools and techniques to extract your own stories, goals, value, failures etc - all the valuable material needed for high-quality essays. Follow these steps and don't skip them. 1 hour of data mining = 5 hours saved in essay writing.
- great breakdown of typical essay questions, their true meaning and trapsCons:
- too few practical examples! Sometimes it's hard to understand what Avi means or how to implement his ideas in practice
- the book is all about profile building and essays. There is not that much info about recommendations, interviews etc.
Value for money: 4.5/5
The Precision Essay Guide to Elite MBA Admissions Review by VorsklPros:
- very practical. There are no filling words in the guide, all text is there for a reason
- live and funny language, yet intelligent and smart. I truly enjoyed reading it!
- precise, actionable advices (step 1-2...5 instead of vague 'get to know your goals' you can find in many other sources)
- fresh material. There are no references to topics that were popular in Clinton's times.
- authors' advices closely follow examples they included into the book, there is no mismatch.Cons:
- the books feels too thin..
- Chapter 5 - Major essay types - contains too few examples
Great value for little money. Adding extra examples (into Chapter 5) would make the book one of the best essay guides on the market.
MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools Review by bbPros:
Section on setting goals
Good self-assessment section
Research (how and where to learn about schools)
Addresses the common questions such as School Visit, R1 vs. R2, How many schools to apply to, etc
Each chapter has a good summary at the end
Goes into how AdCom's evaluate applicants
15 essay examples that seem current
Very good LOR advice
Good bschool resume tipsCons:
Overview of what schools are looking for is a bit weak and the intro is slow.
Specific essay topics section is short
Name - it is hard to take the book seriously
I would love to see more essay examples, esp specific ones or full packages How to Apply for an MBA
- MBA Prep SchoolPros:
- Good content and practical tips; no fluff. 209 pages get to the point, though the font is too big at times (could have made it shorter)
- Good points about how not to get dinged (I really liked this section - it is pretty good). You can almost call this book, how not to get dinged
- Chapter review sections are helpful
- Good layout and formatting (well done ebook with good illustrations, not just a bunch of text)Cons:
- eBook only format
Outdated! Business School Essays that Made a Difference, 3rd EditionNumber of Essays:
61 Outdated Essays: from 2002Schools:
Covers 15 schools Babson, Case, Claremont, Tuck, Gozueta, Sloan, Rutgers, Tulane, Booth, Tippie, Ross, Montana, Kenan-Flagler, Simon, McCombs
Each essay comes along with comments and critique from the author and admissions professionals (they give their perspective/feedback). In addition, the first third of the book has great general admissions/essays overview. It covers a general strategy "How to craft your essays", Common essay questions (what they are really asking), English grammar check list, interviews with students and also admissions directors from a number of the top 20 schools. Gives you an idea/perspective into what they are looking for in the essays and how decisions are made.
Outdated! Essays That Will Get You into Business School 3rd EditionNumber of Essays:
56 Warning: 5 Essays are from 2001 and 51 are from 1996Schools:
Covers 16 schools Wharton, Darden, Tuck, Kellogg, HBS, Stanford, Wharton WEMBA, Yale, Columbia, Ross, UCLA, Booth, Sloan, Haas, Lauder, Fuqua
General MBA Application Strategy How to Get into the Top MBA Programs, 5th EditionPros:
- All-in-one book (covers every stage of the application process)
- Includes 67 Real Essays covering 31 specific Topics (however, there are some really old ones)
- Great sections on Recommendations (do's and dont's as well as what is appropriate), also good section on interviews.
- Has helpful insights (framed sections) that provide additional insight from admissions officers of schools on various topics such as gmat score split, recommendations, retaking gmat, etc
- Sets the proper expectation in terms of time needed for the process. Most people underestimate the time needed to take the gmat, write essays, proofread them, and then have time for a job/family.
- I found insights from admissions to be very valuable (in many sections of the book). Most of the time, they don't tell you some big secret, but get a confirmation about a certain process (waitlist for example or application review) is very helpful and comforting that you are on the right track Cons:
- Does not provide any information about schools specifics (???). It is called how to get into the top business schools but actually does not cover the top schools in detail
- Extra stuff (starts from Why MBA & types of MBA programs and ends with post-acceptance information, though frankly, for most, it will be the substance in between that will matter the most). Only about 400 pages out of 600 are the meat, which is plenty actually
- Some outdated parts that have changed since
- Some Essays are outdated (some are 10 years old - ouch). They are also really long. In the past 5 years the length has been cut down to just a page or even less.
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