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"Why This School?"

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"Why This School?" [#permalink] New post 10 Jul 2007, 16:02
As I was thinking through the "Why this school" questions that almost all MBA essays will ask, I wanted to throw this out there and see what people think.

Is it good or bad (or neutral) to mention that ONE of the reasons (not the only, but just one) for going to the school is because you had a previous degree at the school, thus you know the culture, the location, and the general "high quality" of the academic institution?

I'm asking this not because I just want to score "brownie" points with the adcom, but I truly feel strongly about picking the school because I've been there.

What do you all think about having that as one of the reasons on the application essays?

Thanks a bunch!
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Re: "Why This School?" [#permalink] New post 10 Jul 2007, 16:09
I would spend more time focusing on why this "business school" rather than why this university or area. Looking at your academic record, they will assume that you are already intimately familiar with the university and the surroundings. It will be better if you also show that you know the program really well.

BTW, all tops schools know that they are really good. Try to emphasize what aspects of the b-school make it the best program from you. Your essay will sound more personal and convincing that way.
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 [#permalink] New post 10 Jul 2007, 16:11
Thank you for the reply lhotseface!

I fully agree that one needs to research the business school and see how it fits with the candidate. I really like your advice on emphasizing the "aspects" of the b-school and how it fits.
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Passion for the school [#permalink] New post 10 Jul 2007, 17:18
So how can one show his passion for that school. One way to do it is visit the school but for international students because of economic reasons its not feasible to visit all schools.
Could someone elaborate on how one can show passion for a school.
Few things that I think..

- Mention courses and programs that interest you in that school
- Go through club activities for each school and mention those that u would like to be a part of.
- Also mention some tiny tit-bits that you would collect from current MBA students.

Kindly add points to this and lets make a summary which will help each one of us here.
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 [#permalink] New post 10 Jul 2007, 17:24
personally, I plan on doing the following for my top 2 schools:

- Do the infosession
- Attend classes
- Talk to current students, current admits, and alumni
- Talk to professors if they're willing
- Talk to the clubs that relate to my stated goal in the essays and learn what they do, so you can better incorporate them into your "Why MBA?" essay.
- Look through the class list and pick some good ones to attend
- Generally be as specific as possible and make the school feel like they're the only school you ever wanted to go to.
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 [#permalink] New post 10 Jul 2007, 17:26
kryzak wrote:
personally, I plan on doing the following for my top 2 schools:

- Do the infosession
- Attend classes
- Talk to current students, current admits, and alumni
- Talk to professors if they're willing
- Talk to the clubs that relate to my stated goal in the essays and learn what they do, so you can better incorporate them into your "Why MBA?" essay.
- Look through the class list and pick some good ones to attend
- Generally be as specific as possible and make the school feel like they're the only school you ever wanted to go to.

:lol: :lol: :lol:
Almost all applicants do that!! :lol: :lol:
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 [#permalink] New post 10 Jul 2007, 17:33
haha, that's how I got the list of stuff to do ;) Thanks to everyone here in GMAT Club! :-D
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 [#permalink] New post 10 Jul 2007, 17:45
Ozmba2006 wrote:
kryzak wrote:
personally, I plan on doing the following for my top 2 schools:

- Do the infosession
- Attend classes
- Talk to current students, current admits, and alumni
- Talk to professors if they're willing
- Talk to the clubs that relate to my stated goal in the essays and learn what they do, so you can better incorporate them into your "Why MBA?" essay.
- Look through the class list and pick some good ones to attend
- Generally be as specific as possible and make the school feel like they're the only school you ever wanted to go to.

:lol: :lol: :lol:
Almost all applicants do that!! :lol: :lol:


Precisely my point almost everyone does it.. is anything special that one can do
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 [#permalink] New post 10 Jul 2007, 17:48
yogeshsheth wrote:
Ozmba2006 wrote:
kryzak wrote:
personally, I plan on doing the following for my top 2 schools:

- Do the infosession
- Attend classes
- Talk to current students, current admits, and alumni
- Talk to professors if they're willing
- Talk to the clubs that relate to my stated goal in the essays and learn what they do, so you can better incorporate them into your "Why MBA?" essay.
- Look through the class list and pick some good ones to attend
- Generally be as specific as possible and make the school feel like they're the only school you ever wanted to go to.

:lol: :lol: :lol:
Almost all applicants do that!! :lol: :lol:


Precisely my point almost everyone does it.. is anything special that one can do


Actually I bet most people dont do this stuff.

- Do the infosession - maybe 75% of applicants?
- Attend classes - maybe 15% of applicants?
- Talk to current students, current admits, and alumni - maybe 10% of applicants?
- Talk to professors if they're willing - maybe 5% of applicants?
- Talk to the clubs that relate to my stated goal in the essays and learn what they do, so you can better incorporate them into your "Why MBA?" essay - maybe 10% of applicants?
- Look through the class list and pick some good ones to attend - maybe 60% of applicants?
- Generally be as specific as possible and make the school feel like they're the only school you ever wanted to go to - maybe 5% of applicants?
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 [#permalink] New post 10 Jul 2007, 18:03
First, you need to...

1. Articulate a good summary about your career progression so far.
2. Craft realistic post-mba long term and short term goals.
3. How are you going to go from (1) to (2)? Why do you need an MBA for that?

Once you have ironed out solid answers to these questions, start thinking what aspects of a particular program can help you achieve these goals. Why this program and not some other program?

Once you take this approach, you will find many things to talk about which will uniquely "tie" you to a particular program. Does this make sense?

This will also help you ask relevant questions to current students and/or alumni. B-school-09 says, "Hey, I want to manage reptiles in the San Francisco zoo. How can XYZ school help me achieve this? Is there a reptile club ? Are there socials where everyone drinks snake venom ? Did any faculty member recently research the dietary patterns of crocodiles ?".

The over-eager current student replies, "Oh yeah, man! We are totally in to reptiles. Jack and Jane here have been living with reptiles all summer. Let me introduce you to them". And so it begins...
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 [#permalink] New post 10 Jul 2007, 18:11
One thing that I forgot to mention was that the school newsletter is usually an amazing resource which can help you undertand the student culture, current school issues and various activities that don't make it to the website. For example, you can google Fuqua Times for Duke.
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 [#permalink] New post 10 Jul 2007, 18:20
So I think I might have come up with a new way of defining the "why this mba" question.

This question isn't really about the school - it's about you. It's how you relate to the school. What do you like and why? And the better it ties in with your positioning effort, the stronger case you'll make.

If you think of it this way, you won't be tempted to say, "School X is a top-ranking finance school." Well, duh. The whole world knows that, and what does it have to do with you?

Instead, talk about the school's trading simulation thing and joining that club will help you reach goal Y. Or talk about some class and how it precisely fits a need that you recognized through your recent work.

Does that make sense?
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 [#permalink] New post 10 Jul 2007, 22:06
GREAT advice everyone! I think it has helped me understand *how* to write the "Why" essays much better! It seems that if you follow the advice given here, and do all the visits and interviews (which only 5-10% of the applicants bother to do - probably because they're either too far from the school or they're applying to too many for them to have the time), one should be able to have a good shot at getting in the dream school of their choice. This is assuming good GMAT, GPA, Work Exp, and Recs, of course. ;)

This thread is awesome, and thank you all for the advice again!
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 [#permalink] New post 11 Jul 2007, 00:46
As usual excellent piece of advice from fellow gmatclubbers!!
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 [#permalink] New post 11 Jul 2007, 01:09
aaudetat wrote:
So I think I might have come up with a new way of defining the "why this mba" question.

This question isn't really about the school - it's about you. It's how you relate to the school. What do you like and why? And the better it ties in with your positioning effort, the stronger case you'll make.

If you think of it this way, you won't be tempted to say, "School X is a top-ranking finance school." Well, duh. The whole world knows that, and what does it have to do with you?

Instead, talk about the school's trading simulation thing and joining that club will help you reach goal Y. Or talk about some class and how it precisely fits a need that you recognized through your recent work.

Does that make sense?


Much sense.

My situation is a good example, I think :roll:. No matter how "gorges" Ithaca is and how much I like Cornell's everything, my wife would simply "kill me" after some time if we go to a small town. We talked a lot about my MBA whish and I think it is not fair for here to spend almost 2 years where she wouldn't be entirely happy.

Should I stress that out in my essays? I mean, as I am going to apply only to schools in big cities and some schools even ask if the family of the applicant knows how much effort would be put into during the course, I think that by pointing out this "family issue" would directly answer, wouldn't it?
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 [#permalink] New post 11 Jul 2007, 02:52
kwam wrote:
Much sense.

My situation is a good example, I think :roll:. No matter how "gorges" Ithaca is and how much I like Cornell's everything, my wife would simply "kill me" after some time if we go to a small town. We talked a lot about my MBA whish and I think it is not fair for here to spend almost 2 years where she wouldn't be entirely happy.

Should I stress that out in my essays? I mean, as I am going to apply only to schools in big cities and some schools even ask if the family of the applicant knows how much effort would be put into during the course, I think that by pointing out this "family issue" would directly answer, wouldn't it?


I think that at some schools it would help to write about your wife as part of your choosing a school. Some schools really pride themselves on being family friendly. Look at the class profile and see if a high percent are married. If you have heard that school X has a strong family support group and really involves everyone not just the student then feel free to say that is a factor in your choosing them.

I am in the same situation as you, I grew up in New England and have friends and family who went to Dartmouth and live in the area...I love the area and the climate. However, job opportunities for the Mrs. are rather limitted and outside of the school there isn't much else. I think our dog would prefer it over a city since she could still go outside and run around but I am positive that its definitely towards the bottom of places my wife would want to go. She said she is willing to move anywhere but I know she has her preferences for location.

Though I am pretty sure she would rather I pick Tuck over any of the schools down south...her bias against southern vs northern culture and its also to damn hot.
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 [#permalink] New post 11 Jul 2007, 06:10
rhyme wrote:
Actually I bet most people dont do this stuff.

- Do the infosession - maybe 75% of applicants?
- Attend classes - maybe 15% of applicants?
- Talk to current students, current admits, and alumni - maybe 10% of applicants?
- Talk to professors if they're willing - maybe 5% of applicants?
- Talk to the clubs that relate to my stated goal in the essays and learn what they do, so you can better incorporate them into your "Why MBA?" essay - maybe 10% of applicants?
- Look through the class list and pick some good ones to attend - maybe 60% of applicants?
- Generally be as specific as possible and make the school feel like they're the only school you ever wanted to go to - maybe 5% of applicants?


I've had months to do the above and I haven't. So I agree with rhyme's figures above.
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 [#permalink] New post 11 Jul 2007, 06:50
I thought about the significant other issue myself. The advice I got -- and which I used -- was that the essays should be about you, you, you. You migth make a quick mention ("when the Mrs. and I visited your school, we were both struck by the kindness of the students and the beauty of the area") but don't make it about his/her opinions.

Instead, I saved the bits about my partner for the actual interview. This more personal stuff makes more sense when you're face-to-face with someone. So when I got the "why duke?" question, I gave them all of my reasons, as written in my essay. And then I added that I was so happy that Duke was such a good fit for me AND for my partner as there are so many fantastic job opportunities for him in the area.

My feeling is that some schools have lower yields than they would like, in part because of the student's SO. I think Cornell almost definitely deals with that. Assuring the school that you're both on board - subtly and at the right moment - will help. That's just my opinion.
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 [#permalink] New post 11 Jul 2007, 07:47
Quote:
Actually I bet most people dont do this stuff.
- Talk to current students, current admits, and alumni - maybe 10% of applicants?



Talking to current students was my best resource. You can find their email addresses on the websites for the various student clubs. Most of the time the club president is more than willing to talk to you.
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 [#permalink] New post 11 Jul 2007, 08:00
Ozmba2006 wrote:
kryzak wrote:
personally, I plan on doing the following for my top 2 schools:

- Do the infosession
- Attend classes
- Talk to current students, current admits, and alumni
- Talk to professors if they're willing
- Talk to the clubs that relate to my stated goal in the essays and learn what they do, so you can better incorporate them into your "Why MBA?" essay.
- Look through the class list and pick some good ones to attend
- Generally be as specific as possible and make the school feel like they're the only school you ever wanted to go to.

:lol: :lol: :lol:
Almost all applicants do that!! :lol: :lol:


Hmm...you'd be surprised at how many applicants are too shy, too lazy or too uninterested on a certain school to talk to students, admits and alumni at all. Maybe they do attend an info session and mingle for about an hour, but that's it.

And about talking to professors, don´t count on it. It's quite tough to make it through to any of them, unless introduced.

L.
  [#permalink] 11 Jul 2007, 08:00
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