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Amerasia MBA Blog

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Are You "Unique" ? [#permalink]

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New post 05 Nov 2016, 19:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Are You "Unique" ?
It's getting hard to stand out these days. It sometimes seems as if everyone meanders through life with the same or similar routine, all doing the same or similar thing - so when it comes time to differentiate yourself in your b-school application, how do you pull it off?Schools are actually very enamored with the achievements of their incoming class, and for good reason. Having a diverse class increases the innovation that happens when solving problems or tackling business cases and sends smart, high achieving MBAs out into the workplace to do the same. Our global marketplace demands the perspective of a wide variety of individuals to produce products and services which appeal to everyone and consider all angles. This all adds up to profitability. Admissions directors talk about their students like so many grandchildren, listing accomplishments and bragging on talent like an aging foster parent.
But what does it really mean to be unique?The best way to give you an idea of what schools like to brag about, is to look at a list from a top tier b-school of things they tout about their most recent incoming class, which apparently contained:
•    A Wheel of Fortune winner and a Jeopardy contestant
•    The inventor of The Keg Koozy
•    A novelist
•    An engineer who holds 6 lighting patents in China
•    A forensic consultant
•    The only female competitor of the National Championship Sailing Team
•    A professional lacrosse player
•    A student whose grandfather founded the Grammy Awards
•    A White House Intern
•    An activist who raised over $200,000 for cancer research by biking from Austin to Anchorage
•    A Silver Military Science Award winner for developing the image navigation system on the M14 missile
•    A welterweight silver medal winner of the Indian National Boxing Championships
•    A pilot
•    An environmentalist who lived in a rainforest for 5 years
•    A calligrapher whose work is on display in the Louvre
•    A trapeze circus performer who trained at the Circus School of Moscow
•    A yacht builder
•    A bowling medalist in the Junior Olympics
•    A baseball player from the Mexican National Team
•    A country music DJ from the Middle East
•    An elite army sniper who served in the Second Lebanon War
So you can see that schools are impressed with a wide variety of achievements, and it's not always just about what they have done personally.Perhaps you have a unique cultural history or a family tradition which is unusual? While it's certainly helpful if you met an impressive goal or participated in a crazy adventure, know that you don't have to have cured cancer or saved a village from burning down to get attention. Revisit your past in your mind and think about the one or two stories you always seem to mention when the opportunity arises to toot your own horn. We are all unique in some way…perhaps you simply need to take a fresh look at your past to remind yourself of something impressive!
If you would like to discuss the unique nuances of your individual background one a one-hour complimentary consultation, please contact us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contact.

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Are you a unique applicant to business school? One of these is not like the others.

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Monday MBA Resource: Behavioral Interview Questions [#permalink]

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New post 07 Nov 2016, 11:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Monday MBA Resource: Behavioral Interview Questions
Time for another edition of Monday MBA Resource, where we share the things we are reading, watching, and listening to that might be helpful to people in the MBA community.  Some are more focused on applicants, others are better for students, some for both - but all of them offer great insights that are worth soaking up.  Three weeks ago we broke down the Knowledge @Wharton podcast and people seem to really be enjoying it.  Two weeks ago it was one of my favorite articles in years: "Happy Ambition: Striving for Success, Avoiding Status Cocaine, and Prioritizing Happiness" by Ben Casnocha.  Last week was The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox. Let's hope we can keep it up with this next entry, which is this blog post:How to Prepare for and Rock a Behavioral Job Interview by Brett and Kate McKay.  
WHO WROTE IT:Brett and Kate McKay started the "Art of Manliness" blog back in 2008, which has turned into a full-scale industry with over 6 million hits a month on their website, a popular podcast, and more.  They created the site as a response to what they felt was a lack of information about how to "grow up" and become a well-rounded person.  The site may feel aimed at men (given the title), but there is great advice all over the place and I would recommend at least giving the podcast a listen.  
Link to the podcast.  
Article about Brett and Kate McKay. 
 WHAT IT'S ABOUT: This particular post is about a "behavioral interview" in the job space.  Brett talks about the first time he faced down such a task and how different it was from the usual fluff interviews.  He talks about why companies use them, the myriad questions you might face (his piece includes a link to over 100 behavioral questions), and how to structure a response.  A lot of what he suggests mirrors the exact advice I give my MBA clients to prep them for their own behavioral interviews and I somehow found this more interesting and helpful because it was about job interviews (where the stakes usually feel even higher because there is often just one position), rather than the same tired info about MBA interviews that I see out there.  
WHO IT BENEFITS: Anyone doing a behavioral interview, obviously.  As for the MBA crowd, it is going to be especially helpful to people going through their b-school interviews right now.  Specifically: 
[*]MIT Sloan candidates - MIT famously uses a behavioral approach to interviewing and this blog post is probably the best prep you could do for it. [/*][*]Other b-school candidates - Even schools that don't focus on behavioral will almost always get a few questions into the mix.  Some do it on purpose, for the theoretical reasons covered in the post and some do it on accident, just seeing that those are "good interview questions."  Either way, you are sure to see a few of these as you embark upon the MBA interview circuit. [/*][/list]If you are looking help with your applications, please email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com.  We have seen what the competition is doing and we can say without a doubt that we go deeper, more strategic, and generate better results with our methods.  Line up a call and find out for yourself.  

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Paul Lanzillotti | Founder| About | mba@amerasiaconsulting.com | 877.866.9251

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Do I need to take Calculus prior to business school? [#permalink]

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New post 27 Feb 2017, 17:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Do I need to take Calculus prior to business school?
For a good number of years, Calculus was a prerequisite to joining any decent MBA program.  There were several good reasons for this, including the fact that rate of change (computed using Calculus from the first derivative of an equation), is a very useful concept and commonly seen not only in finance coursework, but also in other classes where time is a factor (arguably almost any business concept has some component of time).  But over the years, we have seen an increasing number of schools drop Calculus from the required list (cue the cheering crowd of “poets!”)
As a matter of fact, Duke and Cornell, two of the last bastions of this onerous prerequisite, both recently abandoned the requirement for new applicants (cue more cheers).  Why?  It’s hard to say exactly, and there are some who would argue it’s to the detriment of the MBA.  Are they dumbing down the degree?  Likely not, but the simple matter of fact is that calculus was actually never used extensively in any MBA curriculum beyond what a very cursory understanding of the basic concepts would provide.  Those who lament its uneventful killing perhaps feel in doing so, schools have invited a shallower understanding of math in general from the student body.  I mean, if you made it all the way through calculus with decent grades, it implies you not only understand Newton’s glorious invention itself, but also all of the prior mathematical disciplines which came before it.  After all, you can’t just jump into calculus—you must take algebra, geometry and trigonometry first.  This makes Calculus a bit of a calling card or club.  Simply put: it tells folks you’re smart.
What schools are doing now is explaining the basic concepts needed for understanding the calculus behind certain formulas on the fly (example: Black Scholes Model), and then leaving it up to students if they want to go deeper on their own.  Because very few careers will require you to use it, it’s not something they are making you demonstrate prior to b-school.  This makes MBA programs a bit more accessible for the folks who are brilliant in other ways.  Business schools pride themselves on a diverse, high achieving body of students, and if everyone is a math whiz, it’s likely they are leaving other perspectives out of the proverbial equation (see what I did there?)  So the real question now becomes not whether you need calculus, but whether you want calculus.  Before you celebrate too loudly the fact you will not have to spend this winter or next summer cranking through calculus at your local night school, know that if you actually take the course, you will likely enter your program more fully prepared and with more confidence—and who in the world would be opposed to that?
If you are in the midst of this process, congrats and good luck!   If you are just starting out on your admissions journey, contact us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contact for a free consultation. 
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_________________


Paul Lanzillotti | Founder| About | mba@amerasiaconsulting.com | 877.866.9251

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Download "How To Apply" Guides | INSEAD | Columbia | Harvard | Wharton

Kudos [?]: 221 [0], given: 220

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Advice for Applying to MBA Programs in Round 3 [#permalink]

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New post 27 Feb 2017, 18:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Advice for Applying to MBA Programs in Round 3
The common myth surrounding Round 3 of the MBA application process is that you can't, or shouldn't, apply late in the admission cycle. "The class is pretty much full" is one refrain.  "You have to be a truly unique applicant" is another.  "Only European programs admit people that late" is yet another. As with anything, there are bits of truth in these sound bites ... but only bits.Let's work through those three statements:1. The class is pretty much full.  There are a few ways to look at this.  The first is to say that Round 1 and Round 2 make up the biggest segment of an incoming class.  That is definitely true.  However, the other way to examine the timing of all this is to note that in many cases, Round 3 applicants arrive before Round 2 admissions decisions are made.  This is done for an obvious reason, which is to generate enough wiggle room in case Rd 3 applicants come in and trump the people who are about to be admitted.  So the class is probably just about full ... but a lot of decisions are pending, in case some great people flood in late.  Which leads us to...
2. You have to be unique to get in. This is not true at all.  Or, to put it another way, you only have to be as unique as you would have had to be in a previous round.  It's not an exotic species contest.  What IS relevant is whether you are A) qualified, and B) what the class mix needs.  There is no way to predict the second part, of course, but you can certainly take stock of the first bit.  A flier in Round 3 is probably not a great way to work through a low GMAT score, but if you have a good profile, you may be exactly what an MBA program needs.  Maybe School X is light on females, or marketers, or Canadians.  You never know.  So you don't have to be "unique" so much as qualified and something they might need more of in the class.
3. Only European programs admit this late.This one is a bit of a trick statement, because programs in Europe DO tend to admit quite late.  But we throw in the "only" to once again state that many U.S. programs keep a sharp eye and/or hold back spots for the later rounds.
Okay, so now that we know there is actually a chance, what do you need to do?  Four critical things:1. Consider the reapplication process. Even with our rose-colored glasses, we still admit that the odds are longer for late rounds, which means you want to be thinking of the reapplication process for those schools.  Because the time frame will be shortened between Rd 3 of this year and Rd 1 of next year, you have to really think about what you are doing.  Does the school in question let you submit a new application or just a reapplicant question?  If it is the latter, you want to make sure that enough "stuff" can happen over the next seven months for you to write about in a "what have you done since your last application" question.  If you won't have the ammo there, you may want to hold off on that program.  If they do accept new applications though, you can fire away for Round 3 and even strengthen your stated interest in the program.
2. Submit perfection. If you are eyeing reapplication, you still have to nail the essays and the entire application this time around.  Why?  Because you are creating a permanent record and file at that school.  Even if it is unlikely that your admissions officer will pull up both applications on the first lap around, there is a good chance that at some point, they will want to see how your goals evolved, if you have learned more about the program, are more self aware, etc.  So if you are going to seek help from an expert, do it now, before you leave one of this smeared hand prints in the concrete and live to regret it. (Note: we minimize the risk for our Round 3 clients, which you can read about below.)
3. Explain yourself. If you are applying late, explain why.  You should be hitting "why now for an MBA" anyway, so really nail it here.  Tell the reader why this is coming in the door now instead of five months ago.  Put them at ease.  Don't let them think you are firing off a panic application just because you got dinged at six other schools.  Speaking of...
4. Figure out amenable schools by looking downstream. You can sometimes guess which schools are most open to Round 3 applicants by looking for "downstream" programs.  What we mean by that is a school that might get some great late arriving candidates who were dinged or waitlisted at higher ranked programs.  Many candidates are either short on time or overly ambitious and so they might only apply to a few schools in Rd 1 or Rd 2, leaving them with no options and a last-minute game plan for Round 3.  Examples include UCLA Anderson (downstream from Stanford GSB), Darden (downstream from Harvard), Texas (downstream from MIT and Haas for tech), Duke (downstream from Kellogg), and Cornell (downstream from a lot of schools).  These programs may be sensitive about this, so make sure to have really excellent reasons for applying late (beyond, "I got dinged at GSB") and make sure to nail school fit, but you are going to find that these programs probably have a few more slots saved than a place like HBS.
If you need help with Round 3 - either comprehensively or just stress testing your essays to make sure they hit the mark - email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com
The arms race for consulting help usually starts in April for Round 1 of the next year, but the best value is probably right now.  You can get more distance from the field in Round 3 than at any other time and the quality of your work will make a huge difference. 
To demonstrate our commitment to doing Round 3 right, we have a very unique policy: work with us on a comprehensive package for the late round and we will help you reapply to the same schools free of charge in the fall, should it come to that.
View our "Round 3 Guarantee" for complete details.
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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________


Paul Lanzillotti | Founder| About | mba@amerasiaconsulting.com | 877.866.9251

Schedule a Consultation | Twitter | Blog

Download "How To Apply" Guides | INSEAD | Columbia | Harvard | Wharton

Kudos [?]: 221 [0], given: 220

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Owning Your MBA Career Goals in 5 Easy Steps [#permalink]

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New post 27 Feb 2017, 19:02
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Owning Your MBA Career Goals in 5 Easy Steps
Let's talk about Career Goals for a minute. This is always a good topic, honestly, because whatever time of year it is and whatever stage of the application process we are all encountering, the narrative of a candidate's career goals will always be paramount.  Therefore, in order to create something we can one day send to our own clients with a simple link, as well as something that will help those of you who do not become our clients, we want to present a crystal clear five-step process for how to handle the Career Goals aspect of your MBA pursuit. 
STEP 1 - HAVE GOALS. Who knew?  Call us naive, but we assumed that everyone applying to a top 10 business school would actually have, you know, goals for the process.  Apparently not.  The sheer number of people who have come to us this year with no idea what they want to do post-MBA has been staggering.  Remember, this is not a degree designed for 22-year old applicants, nor does it punt away the responsibility of asking the question (yes, Law School, we are talking to you).  The MBA is a career-focused degree and in almost every instance, the schools ask you what your goals are.  To embark on such a life-altering process (to say nothing of expensive and time-consuming) without possessing goals is bizarre.  Now, maybe your goals need some refining - particularly in presentation - but if you can't at least decide for yourself what you want to do with your life and why you want to spend $150,000 and two years to get there, you should not be applying to top 10 MBA programs.  
STEP 2 - REFINE YOUR SHORT-TERM GOAL TO MAKE SURE IT CAN BE ACHIEVED. Okay, now we are talking to the 95% of you who at least know you need to have goals to start the process.  We know that just as important as setting goals is the idea of setting realistic goals.  If you want to get in shape and you set a goal of running a marathon, great, you are on your way.  However, if you set the goal of winning Olympic gold in the marathon, you are probably setting yourself up for failure.  Therefore, it's not a good goal.  This is especially true when someone else shares in the responsibility for whether you achieve it.  Schools share the responsibility for helping you achieve your short-term goal.   Nobody bears any responsibility for the achievement of a long-term goal.  Nobody is tracking, measuring, or even checking.  Too much life is going to happen between now and 10-20 years from now.  So when you hear about making goals realistic or having them "make sense," it's almost always about the short-term goal, because that is what shows up on an employment report, what impacts career services, and generally has enough immediacy that everyone feels responsible for outcomes. 
Some ways to check your short-term goal: [*]Look at the employment reports of the school to see if they place people into the role and firm of your choice[/*][*]Consider whether your previous experiences put you in position - with an added MBA - to impress recruiters for this job[/*][*]Contact someone in career services (usually at your alma mater) to quickly check your path[/*][*]Ask your admissions consulting to give you a reality check on your goals (important point: don't try to "brainstorm" your goals and certainly never ask your consultant to "give you" goals - you should have goals in place that this person can look at and either approve or poke holes in)[/*][/list]The main thing is you want to be sure that the following equation checks out: YOU (and what you have done so far) + MBA (at this school) = ST GOAL.  
If it does not, you will get dinged basically every time. 
STEP 3 - SELL YOUR ABILITY TO ACHIEVE THE SHORT-TERM GOAL. Normally we talk next about long-term goals, but we are going to stick with short-term goals for a minute.  Just because you figure out a short-term goal that can work does not mean your job is done. 
Here is a quick case study of a client who received an interview at a top 10 school despite aiming for a difficult transition.  He was a task-oriented professional with little outside experience and little by way of management responsibilities (this describes a lot of people, so we are not worried about "outing" this person).  This presents a limited platform from which to work, but that doesn't mean his only short-term goal had to be something connected to his trade.  Indeed, if he were to pick a short-term goal in that area, he might fail the "why do you even need an MBA?" part of this whole test.  Remember, it's not just whether the MBA is enough to get you to your goal, it's also whether the goal is enough to warrant investing in an MBA (rather than just walking down the street for an interview).  For this individual, his long-term goals were entrepreneurial, so in the short term, he needed more exposure to business practices and frameworks.  He needed to take his upcoming MBA experience and expand on it, in order to continue broadening out and to see what works and what does not in new situations.  To gain those 360 degree skills that would enable him to be a successful large-scale entrepreneur down the road, two paths made the most sense: management consulting and brand management.  The former would expose him to lots and lots of scenarios in different industries, different geographies, and on different scales.  The latter would give him experience with all aspects of bringing something to market.  Either would allow him to broaden out the MBA experience of expanding frameworks, widening knowledge basis, and building up his network and pedigree.  All good things, to quote the old Martha Stewart Saturday Night Live sketches.  So, his work was done, right?  Of course not!  Just because he thought this was a good idea (or that we think it's a good idea), does not mean a recruiter or - by proxy - an admissions officer will see it the same way. 
He had to: 
  • First, explain the connection.  He had to say everything we just wrote above, about continuing to acquire experiences and skills so that he will be in the best position to achieve his eventual goals. 
  • Second, highlight the transferable skills that make him a desirable candidate.  We wrote an entire blog post about this once (http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/blog/2012/04/16/the-art-of-transferability), but one of the most common mistakes we see among applicants is that they don't fill in the missing link and explain the skill set that will allow them to 1) get the job, and 2) thrive once they get it.  You can't assume the reader will know what someone in your exact job does and see the connection between projects within your trade and being a consultant or a brand manager.  You have to identify the skills critical to the ST job and then show that you have them.  It's very simple, yet we would wager to guess that 75% of applicants don't do this.  They never say "here is what I will need to be a good brand manager and here is how and when I developed those skills in my current job, through examples A, B, and C."  You MUST do this, whether you are young or old, American or International, a banker or a beekeeper.  You can't assume that the reader will do this extracting and matching for you.  
STEP 4 - PUT "YOU" INTO YOUR LONG-TERM GOALS. Unlike with short-term goals, the challenge with long-term goals is not to map out a perfect plan that everyone can achieve collectively.  Here, you want to dream big and put as much of you - your passions, your inspirations, and what you care about - into the answer as possible.  Think about goals the way Stanford GSB used to ask applicants to think about them: "What do you REALLY want to do?"  If you say that your short-term goal is consulting, you are creating the foundation for just about any long-term goal.  You might think it wise to say "I want to then climb the ranks to become a managing partner" and feel like that is a smart, safe play.  Well, it's boring.  Worse, it is impersonal.  Literally anyone on earth could write that.  What do you want to do?  Really?  If the real answer is to rise through the ranks and become a managing partner, well, why is that?  There must be some greater good you want to serve or some burning desire that drives that aim, right?  If it is just financial security, is there something in your past that makes that paramount, above all else?  There is always a way to make your long-term goals about you and that is what you have to do.  You do not have to make your long-term goals 100% achievable.  You do not have to make your long-term goals about connecting back to previous areas of expertise.  You just have to pick goals that are personal and that require this MBA path you are on, at least on some level.  There is an incredible amount of freedom in shaping your long-term goals, so be yourself, be interesting, and pick a path that you can truly own. 
STEP 5 - OWN THE GOALS. This is the part where perhaps we have come to assume too much over the years and where our case study client seemed to run into trouble.  Once he had a path that made sense, ensured that he had achievable short-term goals (complete with highlighted transferable skill sets), had a long-term goal that was interesting and personal, and all of that was wrapped up with a bow in his essays, the mission had been accomplished.  When he received an interview invite at a top 10 school, we prepped him for the interview and showed him how to bring that goal narrative through to the interview setting.  However, here is where it fell apart.  How and why?  As best we can tell, he got unlucky with his alumni interviewer.  Instead of hosting a friendly interview, this person demeaned the applicant and tried to poke holes in his resume and aspirations.  This is a tough break, for sure, but something that future applicants can deal with.  First, if this happens, call the school and ask for another interview.  The schools know that there is some risk inherent with a heavy reliance on alumni interviewers, so they won't be surprised nor will they likely refuse your request.  Second though, you have to ditch that experience and approach the new opportunity with the same level of confidence you had before.  This is where our case study client failed.  He got rattled by the first interview and lost confidence in his whole narrative.  Now, this is partly because he had bad luck but in equal part because he never truly owned his own goals.  He was too reliant on his consultant to formulate a plan and he was never strong in what he wanted from an MBA and his life.  When you don't own your story (the first piece of advice we give for interview prep, by the way), you can too easily be bowled over by the first raised eyebrow or harsh word.  And if you start scrambling to explain yourself or start getting wishy-washy with your goals, it is game over.  After all, if you can't sit there proud and strong and say "this is what I want" with conviction, what can you stand strong for?  So this is Step 5 and one we never realized we needed to hammer home: own your goals.  It's your story, not the interviewer's.  It's your life, not anyone else's.  If you can't get comfortable with the goals in the essay, rethink your goals until you do.    
If you follow the above five steps, you will never fall victim to the pitfalls that have taken down thousands before you.  You won't be rejected for asking too much (or not enough) of the school in the short term, you won't lose the reader's interest with impersonal long-term goals, and you won't blow your interview by losing conviction in your own path.  Remember that if everything makes sense and follows these steps, nobody can tell you what to think about your life and path.  
For an overview of our MBA admissions consulting services, visit http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/mba_admissions_consulting_services/
If you are interested in the MBA Admissions Consulting services offered by Amerasia, please contact us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.comor to set up a free consultation.
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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________


Paul Lanzillotti | Founder| About | mba@amerasiaconsulting.com | 877.866.9251

Schedule a Consultation | Twitter | Blog

Download "How To Apply" Guides | INSEAD | Columbia | Harvard | Wharton

Kudos [?]: 221 [0], given: 220

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What should I do during the “in between?” [#permalink]

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New post 03 Mar 2017, 16:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: What should I do during the “in between?”
As we bask in the post final round lull of MBA application season, the lovely “between seasons” part of the year, we know it won’t be long before this fall’s applications will be open once again.  Even with several months of prep time ahead, however, applicants this time of year from all over the world will soon face the reality of whether or not they will make it in time to submit for early rounds or regular round one.  Still others have the opposite problem.  These are the folks you love to hate, the overachievers, who will work diligently all spring and summer on their applications and be in the enviable position to sit on their application packages for several days while they spend some reflective, contemplative time mulling over its nuances--just in case they think of that last little insight to make it even better before they turn it in.  Like a pastry chef putting the last ribbon of icing on a perfectly crafted wedding cake, these sure-fire seat-stealers are asking themselves an entirely different question:  when should I submit my finished application?
Ultimately, when the time comes, however, there is probably no more heart-pounding moment in the application process than clicking that little “submit now” button on your computer.  On the one hand, it’s thrilling to be finished, but on the other hand, you’re asking yourself if it’s good enough?  Isn’t it nice to be thinking about being done before you even get started?  Hopefully by the end of summer, you will have had the help of a qualified professional like Amerasia to guide you along the way and to look over everything, but if you do find yourself in the coveted position of being done well before the actual deadline, do you submit at that time or wait?
For those wondering if there is some sort of strategic advantage to getting it in early, you should know that for schools with a hard deadline (as opposed to a rolling deadline), this doesn’t exist.  Schools do not begin their process of vetting out applications until after they are all in the door.  This of course makes for a very busy week following the admission deadline, especially since most people wait until the last minute anyway (thanks to human nature), but for those who are up at 11:59 desperately hoping their computer doesn’t crash so they can avoid missing the cutoff, rest assured, you will not be penalized.  There is, however some advantages to submitting early for schools with a rolling deadline.  These admissions committees actually fill seats as applications come it, so the earlier you are in the door, the more seats are available and the more likely it will be to get one of them since you are not being compared to the entire application pool.  In short, if they like you, you get an offer.  Keep this in mind as you are pulling your application together.
One reason you might want to put off submitting to hard-deadline schools (non-rolling admissions) is because you might just think of that one extra bit of information you could add to make your application better.   I always recommend putting finished applications “on the shelf” at least while you work on your other schools, just in case those schools draw out something you might have regretted not putting into another application.  This is particularly good advice if you are ahead of the game and getting started early.   Just be sure you don’t literally wait until the last minute, as there have been nightmare scenarios of server crashes and overloading, which is stress you simply do not need.  A good rule of thumb is to submit when you feel the application is at its best, and hopefully at least a day or two before the actual deadline!  In the meantime, relax and enjoy the long ramp ahead.  Good luck!
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Common interview questions asked after the Wharton Team Based Discussi [#permalink]

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New post 03 Mar 2017, 19:02
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Common interview questions asked after the Wharton Team Based Discussion
In this video, Paul Lanzillotti of the Amerasia Consulting Group discusses the most common interview questions applicants will be asked immediately following the Wharton Team-based Discussion (and during the one-on-one portion of the interview.)
[*]Did your behavior reflect how you normally are? Did the discussion reflect your usual role on a team?[/*][*]What did I think about the group discussion?[/*][*]What did you like about the group interview?[/*][*]What is something that your group could have done better?[/*][*]What do you want to say to the admissions committee based on this experience?[/*][*]Is there anyone in the TBD that you would not like to have on your team?[/*][*]Goals? Why Wharton?[/*][*]Do you have any updates to your application?[/*][*]Any questions you’d like to ask to ask the interviewer?[/*][/list]Video length is approximately 19 mins.
Preparing for your Wharton MBA Interview: Common interview questions asked after the Wharton Team Based Discussion and during the one-on-one.
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Business School Culture, School Fit, and Your MBA Experience [#permalink]

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New post 04 Mar 2017, 07:02
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Business School Culture, School Fit, and Your MBA Experience
When applying to business school, one of the most reliable questions you will get from just about any institution deals with how you feel you will fit within that school’s culture.  While it’s fairly easy to see if you have an academic fit or a professional fit at a school (by researching their curriculum and statistics for admitted students), it’s far more difficult sometimes to ascertain the “culture” of a school.
Assessing business school culture is akin to assessing someone’s personality.  What does the school “feel” like to you?  Does it have a reputation for being competitive or collaborative among its students?  Does it have a proud history of traditions?  What are its customs both inside and outside the classroom?  What is the collective spirit of the school as embodied by the staff, faculty and students?
A school’s culture will manifest itself both inside and outside of the core learning environment.Inside the classroom, culture is driven by the curriculum, so make sure you know how classes are conducted.  Many schools give grades for classroom participation, but some do not, so make sure you sit in on a class to observe the engagement of the students.  Do you appreciate an environment of rigorous debate and challenge, or do you prefer a quieter learning environment where the professor does most of the talking?   
One of the best ways to observe a school’s culture, however is outside the classroom.  When the bell rings, do the students scatter, or do they hang around and engage in conversation?  Do they conglomerate in common areas to work on projects or discuss business and social topics or do they move rapidly through the buildings to keep up with their busy schedules.  As for clubs, are they popular and well attended?   Are they making an impact, or are they having trouble getting attendance?   
One of the big drivers of school culture is the demographic makeup of the student body.  What is the international student population vs. the domestic student population?  Do these groups mix, or do they run together in homogeneous groups?   How many married students are there?   Married students are less likely to have the same amount of time outside the classroom as unmarried students, so a school with a large number of married students may have a social culture that is less vibrant on the surface.  Then again, if there are enough married students, there can often be a very tight “club” of students who gather together as couples and bond closely over the two year period.   Some students will even have children.  Nothing changes the dynamic of a social situation like children.  Because of the average age of b-school students being in the late 20’s, you encounter many who are just starting their families.  All these things play into how a school’s inhabitants interact with each other, and you are well served to try it before you buy it by touring the school and participating in their official visit offerings.  In the end, all schools are going to want to know how you see yourself in their environment and demonstrating why you think you would fit in well.  One size does not fit all.

To find out more about your options and how we can help you with your business school application, email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or contact us viahttp://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contact.Permalink
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Applying Round 1 vs. Round 2 — The Epic Battle of Choices. [#permalink]

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New post 05 Mar 2017, 06:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Applying Round 1 vs. Round 2 — The Epic Battle of Choices.
There is little more debated in the b-school application world than whether it’s better to apply in round one or round two.  Most can agree that the third round is the most challenging, but late night discussions have endured and fights started over the topic of whether to submit for the first or second deadline.  For those of you with a short attention span, I will go ahead and cut to the chase by quoting Bruce DelMonico, Assistant Dean and Director of Admissions at Yale SOM, who says:
We definitely advise people to avoid the third round if possible, because space can become an issue by the time the third round rolls around. But we do view the first two rounds as roughly equivalent.If you care to hear more strategy about round one vs. round two, however, read on…There are theories out there which propose skipping round one in favor of round two because you not only gain more time to work on your application, but you also circumnavigate all those super-organized, b-school robot applicants who had every T crossed way back in the spring, and waited patiently to pounce on the application process when the packages were first released in July.  Not many people know, however, that only about 30% of applicants to b-school apply in the first round.  With all the hoops you must jump through, including tracking down obscure transcripts from that one summer you took calculus at the local community college, to finding supervisors who have the time to sit down and put real thought into your recommendations, not even to mention studying for and taking the GMAT, it’s no small feat to pull off a complete application by October.  The numbers certainly indicate that most people do not, so being afraid of the “throngs” of applicants in round one is largely an unfounded fear.  About 55% of applicants apply in round two, leaving the balance of around 15% applying in the dreaded third and final round in the Spring, so you are actually competing for seats against far more applicants by waiting.  In a nutshell, don’t delay your application for strategic reasons.
As for fearing the quality or caliber of your competition in the first round, there has never been a study done on this to substantiate it.  B-schools have access to plenty of good candidates in all three rounds, so trying to avoid competing against the “best” is a losing strategy.  Remember that in round one, all the seats are unfilled, and schools, knowing they want every seat filled in the end, are generally more inclined to nail down good applicants as they come across them, rather than wait to see what may or may not come down the pipeline in round two.  While some schools hold out a specific number of seats in round one to make sure they don’t miss out on good round two applicants, there are generally no hard and fast rules about this, which means if you are qualified and they like your story, you should try to catch the adcom at their freshest, and grab a seat in round one.  In the next post, we will however, discuss the merits of applying in round two.  Stay tuned.
No matter the round, we have helped more than 1000 clients successfully apply to top business schools worldwide since 2008. Let us help you figure out your next step.
Schedule a complimentary, one-hour consultation with a member of our expert admissions team. Email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or visit us online at www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contact.
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Applying Round 1 vs. Round 2 — Why You Might Want to Wait. [#permalink]

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New post 06 Mar 2017, 01:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Applying Round 1 vs. Round 2 — Why You Might Want to Wait.
In the last post, we discussed the virtues of applying in round one, but there are a few reasons why you might want to consider applying in round two instead.  Firstly, you should be considering your personal readiness to submit an application no matter what strategy you employ for timing.[*]Do you have the best GMAT score you can achieve?[/*][*]Do you have the appropriate amount of progressively responsible work experience logged[/*][*]What if there is a pending promotion in your near future, and by delaying your application a few months, you will be able to experience something extraordinary which could impress the admissions committees?  [/*][/list]I know of an applicant who was on the verge of receiving a new international assignment and decided to wait until round two so they could add it to their resume where before they had no international experience at all.  These kinds of opportunities are not only good for the resume, but can also provide great fodder for the essays themselves and will position you as a more mature, seasoned employee.
Another reason to wait until round two might be to give you more time to visit individual schools.  The personal visit is one of the most important components of the due diligence process, as there is simply no substitution for sitting in an actual class and meeting real, live students in your target program when it comes to deciding where you fit in.  Some schools will even give you brownie points in the admissions process for visiting in person.  Look for schools with a historically low yield number (yield being the number of students who actually accept an offer of admission), which assume that an in person visit indicates you are truly serious about coming there.
Finally, the most important reason you might want to delay your application is because it is simply not its best yet.  If you feel you are rushing things and not spending an appropriate amount of time on introspection, you shouldn’t submit in round one.   Submitting an application that is incomplete or sub-standard, especially one that has not been vetted by either a consultant or confidant who perhaps went through the process themselves, you should delay.  Statistically, your chances of admission in either round is similar, so don’t let application strategy tempt you to submit an application that is not fully ready.  
Here’s a good, basic rule of thumb for when during the application season you should apply to b-school:  go for round one if you can, but only if your application is at its best.  This rule will serve you well, particularly if you fall into either one of two categories:  you have several different schools you would be thrilled to get into, and you consider yourself to be a fairly competitive candidate.  
If, however, you have one school you favor very strongly and/or if you feel you have weaknesses in your application which could potentially hinder your chances, you should take a serious look at a third option which often flies under the radar for many applicants:  the early action deadline.  What is early action?  Not every school offers it, but those that do, provide “extra consideration” for candidates who 1) apply early in the process (typically a few weeks before round one), and 2) can commit to attending their program if they are offered admission.  The rules are different for various schools who offer this option, ranging from a requirement that all other applications be withdrawn upon an offer of admission, to simply posting a tuition deposit to reserve your spot, which would be forfeited if you change your mind.  Checking with each school individually about this is important, since you definitely don’t want to hinder your chances at other schools, particularly if you ended up getting into your reach school.  But if you would be happy attending University X and you feel you could benefit from some of this “extra consideration” for making a commitment up front, you could really be pleasantly surprised by leveraging early action.  The bonus upshot?  You find out far before your friends whether or not you are admitted, which makes for a much more relaxing holiday season at year-end.  
So let’s summarize the "when to apply" strategy.[*]Go for round one if your application is ready and you want to take a chance on your dream school,[/*][*]Go for round two if you feel delaying your application will make it better,[/*][*]And go for early action if you can muster a firm commitment to your chosen school and you could also use a bit of special attention in the process due to a weakness.  [/*][/list]One final note:  Early action is definitely not a way for under-qualified candidates to gain admission to schools for which they would normally not have a chance.  It’s simply a way to tease out an offer from a school which prefers to book applicants early and therefore avoid the dreaded waiting game for folks to make up their minds on which school to pledge before the normal spring deposit deadline.
No matter the round, we have helped more than 1000 clients successfully apply to top business schools worldwide since 2008. Let us help you figure out your next step. Schedule a complimentary, one-hour consultation with a member of our expert admissions team. Email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or visit us online at www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contact.Permalink
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MBA Application Advice - Be a Community Leader [#permalink]

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New post 06 Mar 2017, 07:02
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: MBA Application Advice - Be a Community Leader
One of the most stressful moments in an applicant’s trek through the business school due diligence process is when they realize they have done very little engaging with anyone or anything outside of work.  Let’s face it—life gets busy, and while you may have been in every club and organization you could get your hands on in college, once out in the real world, you may have found it very easy to simply go to work and come home at night without doing much else.  
Needless to say, this is not the kind of “next generation of leadership” the top schools are seeking to fill their seats. Business schools desire to build a body of students who are able to make an impact both at work and in their community.  In fact, it’s not even really enough to be a volunteer anymore.  Business schools ideally will see strategic leadership outside of your day job where you have demonstrated a high level of impact and a lasting mark on someone, something or someplace.  
This doesn’t necessarily mean you must be Chairman of the Board in a local non-profit, or a city councilman, although those things can sometimes give you an edge, by proving that you not only take the time, but are also recognized by others in the community as a leader.  MBA programs know it’s all too easy to run out and volunteer at a soup kitchen or hand out cups of water in the local 5K race.  What they are looking for is your being involved, deeply involved in some area you care about and in the process, have influenced or impacted an organization.
If you think about it, it’s actually easier sometimes to do this than it is to lead in the workplace.  Volunteer or community organizations are hungry for people who are willing to devote time, energy and ideas.  If you do this, you will likely find yourself quickly rising and perhaps even being given an actual leadership role.  At work, promotions are fewer and farther between.
If you find yourself in a place in your career where you have not been engaged in anything but the job, you need to work quickly to plug in somewhere.  Perhaps you should spend some time reflecting on what you really care about and see if there are any opportunities to engage locally.   If you get stuck, you can always think back to things you did in college as a volunteer and see if you can reinvent or re-engage the same or similar activities now.  This has the added benefit of appearing more like a long-term commitment or passion than something you ran out and did for application purposes.  In the end, business schools want to be bringing in future business leaders of tomorrow — people who are passionate, engaging and care about their broader community.   Sometimes even postponing your application window is necessary to make sure you can do enough soul-searching to ensure you are the kind of person who will give back.  But it’s never too soon to start doing so.
To find out more about your options and how we can help you with your business school application, email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or contact us via http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contact.

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The train is leaving the station, get on board with community leadership before your MBA app is due.

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MBA Application Advice: Quantitative vs. Qualitative Impact [#permalink]

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New post 07 Mar 2017, 06:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: MBA Application Advice: Quantitative vs. Qualitative Impact
When it comes to conveying your marketing message to the admissions committees at top business schools, it is important to relate your various profile characteristics in a meaningful way.Often, applicants are naturally very good at doing this in either a quantitative or qualitative way, but it’s actually important to do both.
Providing a quantitative view of your impact at an organization can be tedious, but it allows the admissions committee to gain true perspective on what you have done by giving them the ability to compare in a very tactile way the results you have achieved to those of other applicants.  Even the most seemingly insignificant detail can provide this perspective.  For example, if you say you worked on a team, tell the admissions committee how many others were on the team as well.  So, don’t just say you “led a team,” but rather say you “led a team of six professionals.”  If you “successfully completed a project,” tell them how big the budget was or the percentage increase of profits generated.  The scope and size of projects or deals is what enables someone to gauge your level of responsibility and also see how much you understand about how a business runs.  If you are allowed to work on a project with a half million dollar budget, you will be perceived not only as responsible, but also as someone who has grasped the bigger picture vs. someone who has no idea about the numbers behind the project.   Show them you are not a mere participant in the workplace, but the kind of person who digs deeper and can analyze the top and bottom line.   If you are someone who has no idea about these numbers, it’s never too late to befriend someone in your accounting department, or even your supervisor, to extract the data necessary to quantify your resume and application.  Measurable impact is a great way to demonstrate readiness for b-school in two ways:  it shows them you have achieved something tangible, and it shows them you know exactly what it was.
Conveying the qualitative impact of your work experience is just as important, and while usually not difficult for applicants, it bears going over some tips.  Describing your impact using the classic interrogatives: who, what, where, when, why and how will get to the real meat of the story.  Perhaps one of the most overlooked of these is the why—in fact, it’s so important to answer why you did something that I will devote an entire blog to that one question.  Use descriptive words to narrate your story, but don’t over-dramatize.  Your overall mission is to describe your work in a way which demonstrates leadership, influence, and an overall perspective on the landscape in your job that goes beyond the typical, average employee.  Remember, you are looking to rise in the ranks and lead others with the MBA degree, so showing them you have logged the kind of quality work experience worthy of such a business leader is paramount.  How you altered the fabric of your firm’s or company’s culture or outlook through your input and performance is going to be of keen interest to any top school.  Whether large or small, your influence and what you did to have that influence on others at your company is important to detail in your application.
We have helped more than 1000 clients successfully apply to top business schools worldwide since 2008. Let us help you figure out your next step. Schedule a complimentary, one-hour consultation with a member of our expert admissions team. Email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or visit us online at www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contact.
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MBA Application Advice: Demonstrating Leadership [#permalink]

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New post 08 Mar 2017, 06:02
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: MBA Application Advice: Demonstrating Leadership
Out of all the profile characteristics of business school candidates, there is one which seems to consistently rise above the rest as something admissions committees look for in an ideal candidate, and no, it’s not a 750 GMAT score.It’s leadership.Unfortunately, leadership is not only difficult to precisely define (after all, you can ask 100 different people and get 100 differing opinions of what leadership means), but it is also difficult to demonstrate in the application or on the resume, particularly if you are fairly early in your career when you apply to business school.
One easy way out of course, is when you are fortunate to have a position at work where you are in charge of others.Having direct reports or subordinates is a very straightforward way to show you have leadership ability; after all, if you had not demonstrated to your boss you could lead others, then why would you now have people reporting to you in the company (aside from the dreaded Peter Principle of course, where you are promoted to the level of incompetence, which hopefully does not apply to you). Make sure you speak to your personal view of leadership and how you lead others, not just that you lead them.
But what about those of us who are not in charge?What if you are a mere analyst or engineer, slugging away at your spreadsheets and working on a team where your superior is several years your senior? Or perhaps you are working on projects which draw from a broad and diverse set of responsibilities, but don’t actually have any one who officially calls you “boss.” How then do you demonstrate leadership? It might be easier than you think, if you frame it correctly. Leadership doesn’t mean bossing someone around or checking over their shoulder. What about thought leadership? Do your ideas and influence seem to catch on around the office? Do you consistently show talent to build consensus on your team? Tell the admissions committee how you lead when you are not in charge—that could possibly even mean more to them than being randomly assigned by your boss to “lead” a team officially. How about leading upwards? Are you able to convince your managers of new and better ways to achieve results? Have they started to ask your opinion on projects? All these things demonstrate leadership and leadership potential. If you think like an admissions committee person who is looking every day in the applicant pool for these kinds of attributes, you may just be able to come up with several examples that put you on the top of the pile. And that’s far better than wallowing in what you may have thought was a weakness.
Whatever you come up with, know that true leadership in the workplace makes a very strong impression on admissions committees and indicates your future potential and employability is a good bet for most top schools.
This is how we think about the process - from every angle. It's not enough to know yourself and the story you want to tell, you have to understand the challenges, obligations, and desires of your audience as well. We're here to help with all that and we do it at a higher level than anyone out there. 
If you are interested in our consulting services, please email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or visit www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contact
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5 Reasons Elite MBA Applicants Fail the Failure Essay [#permalink]

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New post 08 Mar 2017, 19:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: 5 Reasons Elite MBA Applicants Fail the Failure Essay
Today, we are going to be breaking down the failure essay and the biggest reasons why everyone blows it.  This is particularly relevant to the season, as we begin to take on our usual batch of 2+2 candidates, which means we are about to do the HBS accomplishment-failure two-step that is a tradition as old as time (or maybe it just feels that way).  We have a very specific approach to the accomplishment essay that transforms run-of-the-mill answers into HBS-worthy submissions, but we're going to keep that locked in the vault.  The failure essay though ... we owe some thoughts to the masses, just as a public service. 
We have a phrase for what we see over and over and over again on failure essays ... it's called "failure."  Yes, people are "failing the failure essay," and they are doing it across the board, regardless of how awesome they otherwise are as candidates.  In fact, anecdotal evidence would suggest that the top of the heap - the "elite" applicants - are blowing this worst of all.  
We are going to walk through the five biggest reasons why people fail on this essay. 
1. Lack of a Thesis Statement.  To be fair, this is item #1 for every essay.  It's mind-blowing how many essays are written, composed, edited (I'm looking at you, fellow consultants), and then submitted without ever once having a thesis.  Please, everyone, go back to third grade for a minute and re-learn how to write a five-paragraph essay.  It always, always, always starts with a thesis statement. If the question is: "What is something you did not do well?," then the answer should be: "Something I did not do well was X."  Overly simplistic?  Sure.  Unoriginal?  Of course.  EASY TO READ AND UNDERSTAND?  YES!!!!  Admissions officers have to read hundreds - even thousands - of files.  Make their lives easier, not harder.  If they ask you a question, answer it.  Even better, show them that you are answering it by composing a thesis statement that puts them at ease, right from the start.  Further, having a thesis will ensure that your essay is focused on telling one singular story or constructing one idea - preventing you from straying all over the place.  You will have plenty of time to be original and interesting in every sentence that follows; just keep things simple to get it started.  
2. Lack of a True Failure.  This is probably the biggest issue, to be honest, especially when a school is trying to measure maturity and self-possession.  Do you have the confidence and the guts to "be real" with what you write about?  That's half the test here.  I honestly don't believe people understand this basic idea.  If you aren't able to stand up and say, "yeah, I screwed up in this case," you aren't really going to be of interest to a reader.  95% of the failure essays we see are soft-shoeing it; leaning on tiny errors or totally forgivable sins.  The goal of this essay is not for your to prove how close to perfect you are by summoning up the lamest possible mistake ever.  It's not even *really* about your ability to learn lessons and make changes in your own life.  That's part of it, sure, but the real core thing being measured here is how mature you are and how willing you are to account for everything; success and failure alike.  What's something that makes your stomach turn, even now?  What name or place evokes feelings of shame for you?  I'm not asking you to admit crimes here, but it should be something you wouldn't talk about at a cocktail party.  If you wimp out on choice of content, you've already punted the question and wasted precious real estate on your application.  
(Note: there is no person on this earth who has never made a mistake, in some aspect of his or her life.  It's taken me some digging and some prodding at times, but every client I've ever worked with has "gotten there" eventually.  If you are reading this thinking "but I really don't have anything bad to write about!" you are not being honest with yourself, or you are falling victim to the next item on this list...)
3. Fixation on External Measures for Failure.  This ties in with Item #2, but is a more understandable mistake that people make.  It's hard to have sympathy for someone who gets denied to an elite MBA program because they write, "My biggest failure was sitting in my boss' chair in a meeting" or "my biggest failure was not understanding that this guy from this other country was going to be unethical and rip me off."  Come on.  However, we can sympathize with people who drop the ball simply because they confuse an external measure for being an appropriate gauge for failure.  Here's the rule of thumb: a failure should be measured by the weight of your guilt and shame, not by the ramifications felt by others.  Here are two examples to illustrate this: 
Example 1 - "My greatest failure was the time I worked 72 straight hours and, in a state of total exhaustion, put the decimal in the wrong place on page 120 of the report, costing the company $100 million." 
Example 2 - "My greatest failure was the time I ruined a relationship with my best friend because I valued short-term thinking and convenience, rather than doing the right thing." 
In the first example, a company lost $100 million.  In the second example, a friendship was broken up.  Obviously, if we are going by external stakes, the first one sounds like a much bigger deal.  However, external stakes don't dictate the magnitude of the failure.  Being a selfish friend because you are too absorbed in your own life is a much bigger personal mistake than putting the decimal point in the wrong place simply because no human being can work for 72 hours straight.  
4. Improper Focus on Lessons Learned.This error goes both ways: some essays transition way too fast to lessons learned (basically skirting right past the mistake) and others never make the transition.  You must have proper tone and balance in this essay.  Stand on your own two feet rand be honest about making a mistake, but don't forget to explain how you learned from it.  From the "best friend" example above, that essay has to transition to "I learned to prioritize people over my schedule and to make decisions with a long-term view."  If you don't eventually say what the crushing failure taught you, why are you writing about it?  If the growth isn't on display, we can (must?) assume that it either didn't make an impact (meaning the internal stakes weren't high enough) or you are still doing the same things (obviously disastrous).  
(Bonus: Lessons Learned is also a great test on whether you are picking a true failure.  Take our decimal point example: what lesson could you even learn?  "I learned not to let my boss make me work 72 straight hours anymore"?  "I learned that when I am so tired that I can't keep my eyes open I need to have someone else do my work for me?"  I have no idea how someone would even "learn" from a story like that.  Which means that while it sucks your company lost $100 million, it's a bad story for an essay.)
5. Poor Structure.  As with Item #1, this could really be a flaw with any bad essay.  Structure is so incredibly important in essay writing and yet from what I see (largely judging from the ding analysis type work I do), structure is just horrid, across the board.  Having good structure makes it easy for the reader to follow along, it ensures proper balance in what you write about, and it just generally is the only way to write a good essay.  Put it this way: I've never seen a quality failure essay written as a haiku, starting with a quote, or consisting of either one or nine paragraphs.  A good failure essay is going to feature four parts, almost every time, and be either two, three, or four paragraphs - depending on word count.  You must have a thesis and then a statement of what the mistake was (Part 1), typically followed by an explanation of why you made that mistake (Part II), then how and what you learned from the experience (Part III), then, finally, how you adopted those lessons (Part IV).  There are different wrinkles to this - some ask you hypotheticals or for evidence of adopting those lessons or even how you will continue to grow at School X - but thats the basic flow.  It requires having a plan and sticking to it.  Obviously, this is a self-serving observation (a whole bunch of people reading this will turn to use for help with doing just this), but it's not somehow less true just because it helps our business. 
Overall, our challenge to the applicant pool is to treat this essay with respect.  Respect the question, respect the reader, and respect yourself.  If you are hedging or trying to use external consequences to prop up something weak, take the essay and crush it into a ball and throw it away.  Go deeper and be a real person who has had real failings and isn't afraid to talk about them.  
If you are in need of help - and willing to "go there" - we can definitely assist you in crafting a failure essay that vaults past the submission of your peers.  The one good news is everyone is botching this is that you can shine by comparison.  Obviously, that is where we come in, so email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com.Permalink
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MBA Application Strategy & Business School Demographics - What We Call [#permalink]

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New post 08 Mar 2017, 19:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: MBA Application Strategy & Business School Demographics - What We Call "Demo-lition Derby"
When you charge people thousands of dollars to help them with their MBA applications, you had better be sure to look in every nook and cranny for an advantage.We pride ourselves on doing just that and that mentality has allowed us to come up with incredibly helpful strategies for our clients.  Everything from "structure your essays like a Hollywood screenwriter" to "finish your energy strong with a simple shift in body language" to "add an alternate short-term career goal to your first paragraph on your first Columbia essay" has come from a dogged determination and willingness to constantly find advantages. Obviously, most of those advantages are not for public consumption as it would neither be fair to our clients or terribly bright to reveal every "state secret" we have.  That said, there are some tricks and methods that we find ourselves talking about so often on initial consultation calls that we figure no harm can come from letting the whole world know about it.
Today we've got one of those tricks, which we fondly call "demo-lition derby." What this means is taking an extra step in your school selection process to understand the program's demographics and then respond accordingly.  Put simply: understand where you are part of a thundering herd and where you might be more of a lone wolf and then use those realities to your advantage.
This concept is best served with an example, so here is one:
  • An applicant is an Indian male with a background in IT.  Say, 29 years old.  730 GMAT score.  Lots of volunteerism and extra-curricular activities.  A bit of formal management experience on select projects.  Not much experience outside of his home countryA career goal of going into consulting.  Long-term aims of bringing enterprise back to India.
  • You don't have to be an MBA admissions expert to know that this individual is from a highly represented group of students.
What can he do to stand out?
  • Obviously, the best step is to cultivate a highly individualized and personal narrative, complete with robust personality, unique interests, and impeccable polish. However, the first step is to be smart about where he applies. 
Specifically: he should apply somewhere besides the schools were every other person in his demo is applying.
  • Most international students are drawn to schools in huge, renowned U.S. cities.  This is natural as students assume they will find people and cultural markers that allow for an easier integration.
  • The downside is that everyone is thinking this way, so as a result, programs in New York and Los Angeles and Boston and Chicago and the Bay Area are oversubscribed with international students - and particularly Indian males from an IT background.
The counter to that is to look at schools in smaller cities and even small towns.
  • They might make someone from India squirm, but they present a huge opportunity because a fraction of the applicants from that demo are applying there.  Rough estimate here, but I would venture to guess that about a third as many Indian males apply to Ross as they do to NYU, despite the fact that the schools are roughly the same size and have similar admissions profiles.  I would say Tuck gets half as many as Haas.  Duke half as many as Kellogg.  The list goes on.  Schools that are "out of the way" often have a harder time generating a rich and deep pool of students outside of the U.S., making it a prime opportunity for international students - particularly our Indian male test case - to stand out more easily.
Now, this is just one of MANY ways you can play demo-lition derby. It works for gender, race, industry, function, academic profile, age, and a variety of other factors.  It should not be the only guiding factor (I helped a client with a profile similar to the one above decide on his list of Rd 1 schools today and while it did include Ross, Tuck, and Texas, it also included MIT, Kellogg, and Haas), but it's just one more way to create the smallest of advantages for yourself in the process.  It's all about putting yourself in the shoes of the admissions officer and understanding what it is like on that side of the desk.  What are their realities, challenges, and desires as they shape a class?  One thing you can do to make their job easier - and yours, in the process - is to make yourself more visible, more diverse, and more desirable ... simply by applying to schools where this is possible.
Don't just follow the crowds and become a small fish in the biggest pond - think creatively and give yourself the best chance possible.If you want to find out more about how we work and what we can do to help you as an MBA applicant, email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com for a free consultation.
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Avoid the Biggest MBA App Mistake: Market Your Transferable Skills! [#permalink]

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New post 08 Mar 2017, 23:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Avoid the Biggest MBA App Mistake: Market Your Transferable Skills!
Today we want to talk about arguably the biggest and most common mistake we see on MBA applications, which is failing to market transferable skills.  More importantly, we want to talk about how to fix that problem. In working with clients of all age, gender, nationality, and industry, one thing we're always trying to do is identify things that connect everyone - common elements that become and remain true, regardless of differences. To be honest, there aren't many such elements. Almost everything about the MBA admissions process is a contextual exercise. You can almost never divorce a unique applicant or a specific school from your analysis. It's part of the reason this is such a difficult endeavor for people, part of the reason why so many admissions consultants do a horribly incomplete job of advising candidates, and a huge part of the reason why admissions consulting even exists. You have to do a lot of things right and you have to do them with great contextual specificity.  If you confront "one size fits all" advice, typically you can sprint away from that as fast as possible.
That said, there is one universal truth that we have uncovered that seems largely overlooked by the rest of the MBA admissions landscape and that is how enormously important it is to abide by what we call the Art of Transferability.What does that mean? Quite simply, it means finding the experiences and skills you *already possess* and highlighting them as the proof that you will succeed in business school and beyond. Most people either intuit or they learn that work experience is important in an MBA candidacy and many others grasp the concept that certain trademark themes (leadership, teamwork, maturity, motivation, intellect, etc.) are critical as well. What few seem to understand, however, is that this whole ballgame comes down to how well you EXTRACT from those experience and then PRESENT evidence of your relevant ability. And this is true of literally any candidate.
Consider:If you are "young," then the pressure is on to show that you are mature and ready for an MBA and what comes next.The way to do that is to comb through your personal background and work experience to show off your early acceleration - that you've been challenged early in life and you've stepped up and met those challenges. You prove your credentials as a young applicant by highlighting specific skills and experiences - by zeroing in on that which is transferable to an MBA and to your relevant career goals.
If you are an "older" applicant, your goal is the same.Rather than overwhelm a reader with 10+ years of seemingly unguided career wandering, zoom in on the specific experience and traits that will add value. There's nothing wrong with having a little moss on you so long as you can boil things down to the essential ingredients.  As long as you can say "look, to be good at X, I need A, B, C, and I have those skills," you can be highly competitive, even if you are older than 30.
If you are a traditional applicant (banking, consulting, etc.) and you are looking to stand out, you do it by highlighting specifics and not banking (pun intended) on assumed, general characteristics of those industries.Focus on specific value you will bring to the class and then to hiring companies (and their clients) later on.
If you are a non-traditional applicant, it is the same exact exercise.Don't worry that you were an actor and not a banker or a restaurant manager and not a consultant; simply comb through your life and work history and find the building blocks that will make you successful in your line of work. As a restaurant manager, you worked on tough timelines, managed difficult personalities, thought critically, came up with innovative and creative methods, got a chance to try your hand in everything from marketing to accounting, and generally grew up faster than someone would in an analyst position ... and now you are ready to bring all those critical and mandatory skills to strategy consulting.
On and on it goes. No matter what background you are coming from you, the burden is on YOU, the applicant. to show what transferable skills you bring to the table and that will impress recruiters during on campus interviewing. The admissions office will never assume you have them.  Put another way, if you don't display them, they will assume you DON'T have them.
Obviously, this is something a vetted admissions consultant can help you with a great deal.  Starting with the career goals, we can help you move backward toward the transferable skills that need to be on display, and then help you research your own past to find those skills.  As long as there is a straight line running through everything, you can clear this hurdle and move on to showcasing fit with each unique program (a much harder exercise, to be honest).
If you need help with this - or any other - aspect of your candidacy, email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com.  
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MBA Application Advice: Time Management [#permalink]

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New post 09 Mar 2017, 00:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: MBA Application Advice: Time Management
The stress of any approaching deadline causes some degree of anxiety, but if the task is something of monumental importance such as your application to business school, the anxiety can be downright debilitating. Managing your schedule in a way which leaves you not only enough time to create a fantastic application but also enough time to do your day job can be tough.  Even with the recent trend of shorter essays for schools, it still takes quite a bit of thoughtfulness to craft a compelling case for admission, and this thoughtfulness takes time—plain and simple.  Essays are not going to write themselves, not to mention all the ancillary items you must also complete such as obtaining your transcripts, sitting down with recommenders and going on school visits. 
This time of year offers a great opportunity to begin thinking about time management and how you will be attacking your b-school applications.  Schools are releasing their applications earlier every year, and before you know it, spring and summer will be gone and you will be facing deadlines.It’s probably not too much trouble to pull everything off if you are applying to only one or two schools, but if you decide to cast a wider net in order to boost your odds, you might find yourself with five or six applications to knock out.   So what is the strategy?  Since every school wants to know some version of three basic questions, a good way to get the process rolling is to think about why you want an MBA at all, why now is the right time, and why your specific target schools appeal to you (hint: don’t mention the rankings).  Organizing yourself is also important. 
Make sure you set aside time specifically for application work, or else you might fall into the procrastination trap. Unfortunately, trying to do things piecemeal is typically a recipe for disaster, so plan to work in at least half-hour to one hour chunks if you want to make meaningful process. Another tip is to try and work on only one school at a time.  This achieves two things; firstly, it prevents you from getting confused about the reasons for going to each school and helps you focus on the details of individual school requirements.  Secondly, it gives you a nice feeling of achievement when you are able to complete a school in its entirety, which can provide critical momentum (especially if you are running out of time).  Of course some of the heavy lifting you must do on b-school applications is completely transferable, such as getting copies of transcripts, sending your GMAT scores, and lining up recommenders, but the school specific list is something that is best accomplished if you focus on that school only until you are finished. One last piece of advice is to make sure you create the best application you can before you hit the submit button. 
Even though the process can be arduous at times, don’t succumb to the pressure of a deadline to potentially put you in a situation to submit something that could be better if you only had more time. Better to bump into a subsequent round with an improved package, than to hit an earlier deadline having left things on the table.  And don't forget: it's never too early to begin thinking about your application strategy.

No matter the round, we have helped more than 1000 clients successfully apply to top business schools worldwide since 2008. Let us help you figure out your next step. Schedule a complimentary, one-hour consultation with a member of our expert admissions team. Email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or visit us online at www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contact.
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MBA Application Advice: Procrastination is the Enemy [#permalink]

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New post 09 Mar 2017, 00:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: MBA Application Advice: Procrastination is the Enemy
Although it seems as though application deadlines are an eternity away, the cutting realization that you’re running out of time will inevitably set in if you are a procrastinator. Don't put things off along the way, or else they will ultimately stack up on you, causing stress--something you definitely do not need to add to the already hectic process of MBA applications.  Classic procrastination is a dangerous enemy to business school applications in particular, since the assignment is pass/fail.  It’s not like in college, where you would receive a letter grade or score from your efforts.  Maybe you didn’t get that ‘A’ grade you would have liked, but your ‘C’ got you through without much damage.  With b-school applications, it’s all or nothing, and watching your seat go to someone else is a cold reminder that you “shoulda-coulda-woulda,” had you only stayed on top of the process.One particularly devastating effect of waiting around comes in the form of quality degradation of your application materials.  
Sixty percent of admissions officers cite careless mistakes as a reason for an applicant’s rejection, and careless mistakes are far more likely when rushing to put final touches on an application. The reason is simple and it ties into the classic Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.  Psychology actually dictates that the more anxiety behind a process, the more focused you will be on the “big” stuff—did you answer all the questions?, are all the required materials included?, did you arrange to have your transcript and GMAT score sent?, etc.  What gets lost are the finer points- the details- and to paraphrase another idiom, that’s where they devil is.  Admissions committees are very adept at spotting a comma splice or a misspelled word. 
Keep in mind that spell check will not point out the problem with your having said “conversation” instead of “conservation” or vice versa, as long as they are spelled correctly. This is why having an objective third party evaluate your essays and materials prior to submission is so important.  When you hurriedly look over your own essay for the 1000th time in the waning hours until the cutoff, your brain ceases to see errors that will jump off the page at someone who reads it for the first time.  The problem with procrastination is, your carefully selected third party evaluator may or may not be at your beck and call at 1 a.m. Eastern Standard Time when the deadline is midnight Pacific and the clock is ticking away.
We always recommend clients finish essays at least a week or two before they are due.  Ideally, you can have all your schools done early, since working on subsequent schools can often help identify ways you can go back and improve the earlier apps. If you put your applications “on ice” and then go back to revisit them before submission, you will not only see them with fresh eyes and potentially improve them, but you will also eliminate the stress which comes with an 11th hour submission.  Plus don’t forget about Murphy’s law.   Schools are very unsympathetic to missing deadlines due to server crashes, slow computer uploads or power outages.   Even when things are out of your control, there’s always the fact that you could have avoided problems if you’d only submitted earlier. This is exactly why now is the best time of the year to do some planning and to set some personal deadlines.  
And don't use the school's submission deadlines as your own.  Make your own deadline schedule to allow for some wiggle room. Schedule those campus visits before the Spring semester is done (schools are ghost towns in the summer---you want to go when classes are in session).  Start reaching out to recommenders.  Request those random transcripts.  Take the math refresher course you have been thinking about.  All these things will give you a jump on the process and be fuel in your tank when things get tighter later this summer.  Remember--- it's never too early to get help.

If you are looking help with your applications, please contact us via mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or at www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contact. We have seen what the competition is doing and we can say without a doubt that we go deeper, more strategic, and generate better results with our methods.  Line up a call and find out for yourself.  
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MBA Application Advice: Innovation is more than launching products [#permalink]

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New post 09 Mar 2017, 07:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: MBA Application Advice: Innovation is more than launching products
In addition to being a strong leader, a team player and an all-around impressive contributor to the workplace, business schools are looking for innovative thinkers.When you hear the word innovation, many think of filing patents or launching products, both of which would certainly go a long way towards demonstrating innovative thinking to be sure, but innovation can be so much more. What business schools really like to see is creativity, even in roles where you wouldn’t think there’s much room for it. Perhaps you work in a bank and came up with a new and clever way to process the loan paperwork—something which cut down not only the processing time, but perhaps also the number of people required in the process? The accounting field is another one where you might not think a lot of innovation is going on, but there’s actually a goodly amount of creativity in managing the numbers, and showing the adcom how you have done so with passion can be just the right recipe for a winning application. After all, no two tax returns are alike!
Of course, entrepreneurs have a fairly easy time convincing the adcoms they are innovative, after all, starting up a company, especially one which has shown some success, takes a lot of ingenuity.But what about intra-preneurship?That is, taking processes and procedures within the rank and file of the everyday, established job and turning it upside down in a way which improves something for everyone involved? Even seemingly small, but creative contributions to your office can be presented in a way which shows the admissions committees you are unafraid to color outside the lines a bit and take a calculated risk in order to make things better. You might have even demonstrated innovation as a student, for example, by pulling off a high GPA in an engineering program when high engineering GPAs are difficult to come by. In fact, being creative in how you think of creativity at the workplace can show innovation itself! Don’t be afraid to make novel connections between what you have done both in and out of work and how you are a unique thinker. Business schools love to imagine their graduates will go on to lead the next generation of outside the box thinkers, so spend some quality time really asking yourself how you can demonstrate innovation in your own career and you will be on your way to impressing your target schools.
This is how we think about the process - from every angle. It's not enough to know yourself and the story you want to tell, you have to understand the challenges, obligations, and desires of your audience as well. We're here to help with all that and we do it at a higher level than anyone out there. 
If you are interested in our consulting services, please email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or visit www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contact.

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MBA Application Advice: How to Build a Compelling Work History [#permalink]

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New post 10 Mar 2017, 06:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: MBA Application Advice: How to Build a Compelling Work History
One of the most important profile characteristics for any b-school applicant is their work history.Unlike Law School, Medical School and just about every other terminal degree or master’s level program, business school requires students to come with some kind of work experience under their belts in order to “qualify.” In addition to being unique, therefore it’s also very important to have this credential, since much of what you learn in business school ends up coming from your classmates, and in turn, they learn from your perspective and experience. This all comes in handy when using the case method, because pulling from the collective experience of your classmates proves invaluable in seeing problems in a variety of ways. Hopefully you considered all this in the years leading up to your application, since it’s very difficult to build a compelling work history in a small amount of time.
The ideal candidate arrives at application season with a well-rounded and impressive professional experience.While colleges will certainly consider internships and other “alternative” work experiences, these will generally be discounted vs. full time, professional work that was logged after you graduated from college. Ideally, you have some international experience, or even multi-national experience to tout, which will make you more competitive to be sure especially when you are compared against the “average” applicants, who have only some international personal travel to reference. Clearly having worked internationally or with international teams will have provided you with a much deeper understanding and more valuable perspective.
Additionally, you will need to show how your role has been progressively responsible and impactful to your employer.Both quantitative and qualitative impact is useful to demonstrate and if you can measure your impact, even better. Some examples of measurable impact might include an increase in growth or revenue statistics, sales, turnover or other hard numbers to which you can associate your contributions. As you have advanced in your role, how have your responsibilities increased? More importantly, have you been asked to lead others? Leadership is one of the most important traits to show the admissions committees. Past and present leaders usually make good future leaders. Don’t forget about peer leadership either—it’s not only managing others which can show you have strong leader potential. Thought leadership, persuasive skills, leading from below, and servant leadership are all great examples of how you have what it takes to leverage an MBA to be a thoughtful leader going forward. Giving specific examples in your essays or on the application goes a long way. Tell them about how you got your coworkers on board with one of your ideas or how you took the initiative to make a change which resulted in a more efficient operation. Finally, don’t forget to paint a picture of teamwork and collaboration in your work history. Team work is a huge component of business school and those who have done this in their careers will appear more prepared for the b-school experience.
No matter the round, we have helped more than 1000 clients successfully apply to top business schools worldwide since 2008. Let us help you figure out your next step.Schedule a complimentary, one-hour consultation with a member of our expert admissions team. Email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or visit us online at www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contact.Permalink
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________


Paul Lanzillotti | Founder| About | mba@amerasiaconsulting.com | 877.866.9251

Schedule a Consultation | Twitter | Blog

Download "How To Apply" Guides | INSEAD | Columbia | Harvard | Wharton

Kudos [?]: 221 [0], given: 220

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