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# Most important aspect of application

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### Most important aspect of application

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Re: Most important aspect of application [#permalink]  07 Feb 2013, 10:20
lb2015 wrote:
Good question and discussion! And a tough one, for sure.

I voted essays. I definitely see the point about the importance of solid work experience, but I would argue that many (if not most) people applying to top business school have solid, above-average work experience for their age. There may be some spectacular outliers where the work experience just speaks volumes for itself, regardless of essays. But I'd be willing to bet that this isn't the case for the majority of applicants. For most of us, we really need to communicate how our accomplishments show leadership through the esssays in order to demonstrate fit and ultimately get that interview invite, and hopefully, acceptance.

As for stats, GMAT/GPA are also important, but I think the key distinction is this: you can definitely get into school with low stats if you have other impressive qualities, but I doubt you could if your essays really suck.

In my case, my essays from my last application were so much better than the ones in some of my initial applications that my boyfriend (who had been my go-to reviewer throughout the process) actually thought my work experience seemed much more impressive. It wasn't that I had some new, over-the-top accomplishment in those two months, but that I was able to better articulate my success.

Before I started this process, I really thought work experience and other leadership accomplishments just spoke for themselves (duh, isn't that what the resume is for?!). And if you started the next Facebook or found a cure for the common cold, maybe it does. But for me, at least, this process of defining success at work was much more tricky than it seemed at the outset. I used completely different, and much better, examples for my last application that in hindsight were more interesting and resonated better with my stated career goals. But for whatever reason, it didn't even occur to me that these examples were all that special when I began the whole rigmarole of MBA applications.

Totally agree to whatever u said.. I think u may have spectacular gmat, work ex and what not, but if u don't have great essay highlighting everything it's of no use. Essays are most important component of application.
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Re: Most important aspect of application [#permalink]  07 Feb 2013, 16:10
I think it's helpful to think in terms of the way MIT Sloan does it. All schools say it's a holistic process, whose underlying approach takes into account all these items with varied weights. MIT assigns point values to each item out of certain score. While each school will vary somewhat, here's what I might say:

GMAT: 25%
Work Experience: 25%
Essays: 25%
Extras: 10%
Interviews & Recs: 5%

I put Recs and interviews together because they seem more about confirming things they already see in other parts of your application. You can immediately be dinged if things don't match up, but mostly it's a wash.

For tier 2 schools, a high GMAT can overcome pretty much anything. Though as I've heard said: they admissions committee will blink once, don't ask them to blink twice.
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Re: Most important aspect of application [#permalink]  07 Feb 2013, 20:39
machichi wrote:
I think it's helpful to think in terms of the way MIT Sloan does it. All schools say it's a holistic process, whose underlying approach takes into account all these items with varied weights. MIT assigns point values to each item out of certain score. While each school will vary somewhat, here's what I might say:

GMAT: 25%
Work Experience: 25%
Essays: 25%
Extras: 10%
Interviews & Recs: 5%

I put Recs and interviews together because they seem more about confirming things they already see in other parts of your application. You can immediately be dinged if things don't match up, but mostly it's a wash.

For tier 2 schools, a high GMAT can overcome pretty much anything. Though as I've heard said: they admissions committee will blink once, don't ask them to blink twice.

I think essays are the most important aspect. I'm disappointed to not get even an interview call from Ross and duke, two colleges I spent most time on. I think 720 GMAT, first class with distinction in undergrad, 8 yrs work ex including 3 yrs international in 2 countries, awards and out of turn promotion should've covered all other areas.
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Re: Most important aspect of application [#permalink]  08 Feb 2013, 02:36
Vips0000 wrote:
machichi wrote:
I think it's helpful to think in terms of the way MIT Sloan does it. All schools say it's a holistic process, whose underlying approach takes into account all these items with varied weights. MIT assigns point values to each item out of certain score. While each school will vary somewhat, here's what I might say:

GMAT: 25%
Work Experience: 25%
Essays: 25%
Extras: 10%
Interviews & Recs: 5%

I put Recs and interviews together because they seem more about confirming things they already see in other parts of your application. You can immediately be dinged if things don't match up, but mostly it's a wash.

For tier 2 schools, a high GMAT can overcome pretty much anything. Though as I've heard said: they admissions committee will blink once, don't ask them to blink twice.

I think essays are the most important aspect. I'm disappointed to not get even an interview call from Ross and duke, two colleges I spent most time on. I think 720 GMAT, first class with distinction in undergrad, 8 yrs work ex including 3 yrs international in 2 countries, awards and out of turn promotion should've covered all other areas.

The thing is that talented people get good jobs from lower ranked schools as companies do not stress about diversity and so called other intangibles. For example, know someone from similar ranked schools you mentioned landed a job as a Database Administrator whereas people from 40 ranking schools got jobs at Amazon and Top 5 Consulting firm.
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Re: Most important aspect of application [#permalink]  08 Feb 2013, 03:24
AbhiJ wrote:
Work/Ex > Nationality/Gender (Diversity) > GMAT > Essays > Interviews > Extra- Curricular > Recommendation

GMAT can make up for weakness in the first 2 points.

Gotta disagree with the GMAT being able to make up for work experience. If a high GMAT score is the best thing about your profile, you're in trouble. Lack of leadership and promotions at work is not going to be masked by acing a standardized test.
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Re: Most important aspect of application [#permalink]  08 Feb 2013, 04:30
AbhiJ wrote:
The thing is that talented people get good jobs from lower ranked schools as companies do not stress about diversity and so called other intangibles. For example, know someone from similar ranked schools you mentioned landed a job as a Database Administrator whereas people from 40 ranking schools got jobs at Amazon and Top 5 Consulting firm.

Exceptions are always there but usually most of the top companies don't even recruit at lower ranked colleges...
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Re: Most important aspect of application [#permalink]  08 Feb 2013, 05:16
DELETED

Last edited by skbhagra on 16 Mar 2013, 22:09, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Most important aspect of application [#permalink]  08 Feb 2013, 07:21
CobraKai wrote:
AbhiJ wrote:
Work/Ex > Nationality/Gender (Diversity) > GMAT > Essays > Interviews > Extra- Curricular > Recommendation

GMAT can make up for weakness in the first 2 points.

Gotta disagree with the GMAT being able to make up for work experience. If a high GMAT score is the best thing about your profile, you're in trouble. Lack of leadership and promotions at work is not going to be masked by acing a standardized test.

Agreed. By weakness meant in relative terms not absolute . As someone else pointed out people applying to B Schools will have above average work experience.
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Re: Most important aspect of application [#permalink]  10 Feb 2013, 02:08
Vips0000 wrote:
AbhiJ wrote:
The thing is that talented people get good jobs from lower ranked schools as companies do not stress about diversity and so called other intangibles. For example, know someone from similar ranked schools you mentioned landed a job as a Database Administrator whereas people from 40 ranking schools got jobs at Amazon and Top 5 Consulting firm.

Exceptions are always there but usually most of the top companies don't even recruit at lower ranked colleges...

The point is you will be an exception as well going to a mid ranked school. If you have set your eyes on McKinsey/ Booz then sure going to a Top 7 MBA will enhance your chances. However I feel that the charm of Top 10-25 schools have decreased quite a bit for Internationals. The reason being high cost and fewer opportunities. Indian Grads from a top 15 school are working in Hong Kong/Middle east. I need to find out the reason. I think the reason being high cost of MBA. A cheaper MBA will not force you to take a high paying job outside North America. Just trying to offer a different perspective.
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Re: Most important aspect of application [#permalink]  10 Feb 2013, 10:44
Jumsumtak
Incase you are working at a Top Consulting firm, with a 770 you are M7 material, no need to be skeptical. The only reason you were denied this year was probably because of less than the average length of work experience.
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Location: India
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Re: Most important aspect of application [#permalink]  10 Feb 2013, 13:31
So far essays, GMAT and work ex are competing for top place with 14, 15 and 16 votes respectively.

Well, you got some interesting conclusions presented out there. I am thinking on these lines:

60-70% of class is formed by US nationals while rest includes internationals including people already living in US. This imbalance creates a situation where the parameters for US and for international applicants are entirely different. While applicants from US(citizens and residents) have better probability of getting in with lower gmat or not-so-stellar work ex, the international applicants must cover the ground very well to sneak into that 30-40% of the class.

I guess then there isn't one component that can be compensated by others for internationals at least in top colleges.
Thus importance of essays increases a bit, considering that you need to highlight your achievements in a way that they appear bigger than similar achievements by the next applicant. Someone with better work ex may not be able to showcase it as beautifully as another candidate with slightly weaker work ex may. Essays are the only part of ur application that speaks for itself and for rest of your application.

Probably someone or AbhiJ, who seem to have very good contacts, can chime in with some example,if any, wherein any Indian applicant got into a top college with sub 700 score or with less than 3 yrs work ex or with not-so-carefully crafted essays.
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Re: Most important aspect of application [#permalink]  11 Feb 2013, 03:29
Vips,

The closest thing to the profile you mentioned was a girl with 700 GMAT and 3 years of IT Consulting experience(requirements gathering etc) who was admitted to Darden. Some schools weigh GMAT heavily. Couple of Indians with 710 were told (by 2 Top 10 schools) that their profile was otherwise good but they need to improve their GMAT.

Another problem with Indians is that every profile looks same. Hence some guys lie through their teeth in essays/work experience. An example of an accepted candidate:

Saved 60 million $for IT Services company (this guy had overall 4-5 years of experience). Partners at these firms hardly save that much money, whereas a developer can. _________________ The question is not can you rise up to iconic! The real question is will you ? Current Student Status: Disbelief! The Countdown Begins Affiliations: CFA Joined: 29 Jul 2011 Posts: 221 Concentration: Finance, Economics Schools: Johnson '15 (M) GMAT 1: 600 Q45 V28 GMAT 2: 670 Q44 V39 GMAT 3: 750 Q49 V42 GPA: 3.5 WE: Accounting (Insurance) Followers: 9 Kudos [?]: 80 [0], given: 7 Re: Most important aspect of application [#permalink] 11 Feb 2013, 09:00 The lying referenced above doesn't take guts but a lack of morals and ethics. Play the game the right way and let's hope there arent too many people lying through their teeth taking our spots. I love how this vote has gone though. The people who argue for one category say you cant get in with a 400 gmat are right. And people who argue you cant get in with a job at a conveinence store as a clerk are pretty right as well. You arent getting in with an awful rec, or awful job/gmat, if you choose not to write the essays well and fill them with grammar errors, or act like a jackass in the interview. The truth is it is holistic for the most part. There are a few exceptions to every rule, sure. If you are an exception to the rule though, you probably know that your work experience as the Presidents right hand man is going to hook you up and arent coming to this forum. For the record, my vote was for work experience. Personally I felt my lack of managing people in work experience hurt me. But no one to blame but myself. I wasnt the holistic candidate the top schools were looking for. There are so many great candidates, you simply have to be great in all of the areas in this poll. You can get away with being good or slightly above average in 1 or 2 criteria, but if you are truly awful in any, you arent gettin in. Current Student Joined: 14 Jul 2010 Posts: 129 Concentration: Healthcare Followers: 7 Kudos [?]: 29 [0], given: 0 Re: Most important aspect of application [#permalink] 11 Feb 2013, 11:33 If you have good/interesting work experience you will be able to write good essays fairly easily and get good recommendations. I think the importance of essays has been blown way out of proportion thanks to the number of admissions consultants out there. Current Student Status: Done with formalities.. and back.. Joined: 15 Sep 2012 Posts: 647 Location: India Concentration: Strategy, General Management Schools: Olin - Wash U - Class of 2015 WE: Information Technology (Computer Software) Followers: 41 Kudos [?]: 444 [0], given: 23 Re: Most important aspect of application [#permalink] 12 Feb 2013, 08:23 scleraxis wrote: If you have good/interesting work experience you will be able to write good essays fairly easily and get good recommendations. I think the importance of essays has been blown way out of proportion thanks to the number of admissions consultants out there. Congrats for dream admits..HBS and Wharton! True, one may have lot to write about but picking right things and covering everything in 300-400 words make essays more important than the overall work ex. _________________ Lets Kudos!!! Black Friday Debrief Current Student Joined: 14 Jul 2010 Posts: 129 Concentration: Healthcare Followers: 7 Kudos [?]: 29 [0], given: 0 Re: Most important aspect of application [#permalink] 12 Feb 2013, 12:23 Vips0000 wrote: scleraxis wrote: If you have good/interesting work experience you will be able to write good essays fairly easily and get good recommendations. I think the importance of essays has been blown way out of proportion thanks to the number of admissions consultants out there. Congrats for dream admits..HBS and Wharton! True, one may have lot to write about but picking right things and covering everything in 300-400 words make essays more important than the overall work ex. A guy from an elite PE/VC firm could write basically anything and get into HBS. It's all interconnected but if you could be the absolute best at one thing, I think work experience trumps essays by a long shot. Derrick Bolton even said he could admit candidates without essays, but not without letters of rec (source: An old chat on stacyblackman.com). Current Student Status: Nothing comes easy: neither do I want. Joined: 12 Oct 2009 Posts: 2797 Location: Malaysia Concentration: Technology, Entrepreneurship Schools: ISB '15 (M) GMAT 1: 670 Q49 V31 GMAT 2: 710 Q50 V35 Followers: 204 Kudos [?]: 1285 [0], given: 235 Re: Most important aspect of application [#permalink] 14 Feb 2013, 17:47 When Adcoms say all parameters of the profile are equally important, they are actually telling the truth. But this generic statement has lot of exceptions and adcoms have to dig down into all the factors. A good gmat can compensate lower GPA and good leadership work outside workspace can do the same for the average workex. No single factor is important for the admission, but it could be for the ding. Eg. If essays are poorly written, no matter how many accompanishments you have, you will be dinged. If essays are superb and interesting, and you show how well you fit into Why MBA, why This school, why now questions then 20-30 gmat difference won't ding you. If essays are superb and accompanishments are great but your recommendor wrote out of the box and did not highlight good points about you or the LOR is not in sync with the applications, the chances are very high you will get dinged. Diversity is also an important consideration. You can not expect adcoms to admit you when they already have 20 similar profiles and some of the key factors for other profiles are better than yours. Adcoms have responsibility to create a diversified class and it is a rule of the game. So I will not argue or show anger if adcom ding me for being an Indian IT Male. Yes I m at dis advantage but it does not mean I do not have chances. My first step should be to compete against my fellow Indians and try to portrait how well I fit into the school and how different myprofile is from the others. If you can not differentiate on professional attributes, you can do so on personal qualities. So basically our strategy should be to look into the options that can improve our chances. Gmat, Essays, Extra curricular activities, and recommendations are some of the parameters that we can improve now. So if you are from an overly representated profile, look into the options that can improve your chances. I strongly believe if the Gmat is in a respectable range, then scoring 20-30 more will not guarantee the admission. Eg 700 is a good base point for all schools, so if you are dinged with 700 gmat, then having 750 will not let you in. You must dig deeper into the application to analyze what went wrong and how to reduce the odds. _________________ Fight for your dreams :For all those who fear from Verbal- lets give it a fight Money Saved is the Money Earned Jo Bole So Nihaal , Sat Shri Akaal Support GMAT Club by putting a GMAT Club badge on your blog/Facebook GMAT Club Premium Membership - big benefits and savings Gmat test review : 670-to-710-a-long-journey-without-destination-still-happy-141642.html Current Student Status: Done with formalities.. and back.. Joined: 15 Sep 2012 Posts: 647 Location: India Concentration: Strategy, General Management Schools: Olin - Wash U - Class of 2015 WE: Information Technology (Computer Software) Followers: 41 Kudos [?]: 444 [0], given: 23 Re: Most important aspect of application [#permalink] 15 Feb 2013, 10:05 gurpreetsingh wrote: Lot of stuff.. Hey dude. That's a bit off the topic.. My question is, is there a component of application that is most important or that can't be compensated by other factors...not on how to improve chances... _________________ Lets Kudos!!! Black Friday Debrief Current Student Status: Done with formalities.. and back.. Joined: 15 Sep 2012 Posts: 647 Location: India Concentration: Strategy, General Management Schools: Olin - Wash U - Class of 2015 WE: Information Technology (Computer Software) Followers: 41 Kudos [?]: 444 [0], given: 23 Re: Most important aspect of application [#permalink] 15 Feb 2013, 10:10 AbhiJ wrote: Vips0000 wrote: AbhiJ wrote: Vips, The closest thing to the profile you mentioned was a girl with 700 GMAT and 3 years of IT Consulting experience(requirements gathering etc) who was admitted to Darden. Some schools weigh GMAT heavily. Couple of Indians with 710 were told (by 2 Top 10 schools) that their profile was otherwise good but they need to improve their GMAT. Another problem with Indians is that every profile looks same. Hence some guys lie through their teeth in essays/work experience. An example of an accepted candidate: Saved 60 million$ for IT Services company (this guy had overall 4-5 years of experience). Partners at these firms hardly save that much money, whereas a developer can.

Totally agree.. One of my senior.. From same college.. From same company and even from same project got through tuck while I dint even get an invite for interview for ross and duke.. The fact is that he got the first promotion after 5 yrs when I got in 2.5 yrs.. But when I see his LinkedIn profile I know what kind of lies he had put in his application.. Sad that I don't have guts to lie through my teeth...

Such behavior is at par with score-top cheating (others may disagree). Its true that you can not possibly verify all the details of an applicant, but come on with years of experience if admission committee cannot smell a rat then what's the point of having a holistic approach. In a telephonic interview an imposter was acting for the candidate. This happened with HBS no less. The accepted person was caught when he could not contribute in Case Discussion at HBS, flunked and was eased out after a semester. At the end of the day "Nice guys do finish first". I also agree with Dbalks that people are lying not because they have guts but because they lack self-confidence which they seem to overcompensate with fake achievements.

Great input..that HBS dude must have really been a dud..I hope people watch out before they talk through their a. And adcoms smell the rat for everyone's good
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Re: Most important aspect of application [#permalink]  15 Feb 2013, 12:15
machichi wrote:
I think it's helpful to think in terms of the way MIT Sloan does it. All schools say it's a holistic process, whose underlying approach takes into account all these items with varied weights. MIT assigns point values to each item out of certain score. While each school will vary somewhat, here's what I might say:

GMAT: 25%
Work Experience: 25%
Essays: 25%
Extras: 10%
Interviews & Recs: 5%

I put Recs and interviews together because they seem more about confirming things they already see in other parts of your application. You can immediately be dinged if things don't match up, but mostly it's a wash.

For tier 2 schools, a high GMAT can overcome pretty much anything. Though as I've heard said: they admissions committee will blink once, don't ask them to blink twice.

I guess I'd like to think that interviews matter more than this, but you very well may be right. And I have no sense of how much recs matter. I feel like they're less important, but that could be because I never saw them.
Re: Most important aspect of application   [#permalink] 15 Feb 2013, 12:15

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