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Best MBA Books

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Best MBA Books  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 09 Jul 2019, 04:57
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Best MBA Books - overview, recommendations, and comments



One of the members asked me to update this old discussion with new books and to my surprised very little has been done in the last 3 years in terms of publishing new books and new guides. I am thrilled to see Admissionado releasing a new Essay Guide in 2019! This list does recommend some recent and some older (and very economical) books but be assured - they still work. :cool:


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MBA Admissions Strategy: From profile building to essay writing
Published May 1, 2017 | 232 Pages

Pros:
- excellent overview of all speps of the admission process
- it's important Avi starts with description of tools and techniques to extract your own stories, goals, value, failures etc - all the valuable material needed for high-quality essays. Follow these steps and don't skip them. 1 hour of data mining = 5 hours saved in essay writing.
- great breakdown of typical essay questions, their true meaning and traps

Cons:
- too few practical examples! Sometimes it's hard to understand what Avi means or how to implement his ideas in practice
- the book is all about profile building and essays. There is not that much info about recommendations, interviews etc.
Value for money: 4.5/5



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The Admissionado Guide to Elite MBA Admission
Updated: July 2019 | 92 Pages
Pros:
- very practical. There are no filling words in the guide, all text is there for a reason
- live and funny language, yet intelligent and smart. I truly enjoyed reading it!
- precise, actionable advices (step 1-2...5 instead of vague 'get to know your goals' you can find in many other sources)
- fresh material. There are no references to topics that were popular in Clinton's times.
- authors' advices closely follow examples they included into the book, there is no mismatch.

Cons:
- the books feels too thin..
- Chapter 5 - Major essay types - contains too few examples

Grading: 4.5/5
Great value for little money. Adding extra examples (into Chapter 5) would make the book one of the best essay guides on the market.
Preview of the 92 Page Guide
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The Admissionado Guide to Elite MBA Admissions (Preview).pdf [1.31 MiB]
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50 Essays That Worked - 4th Volume
Published Feb 2019 | 304 Pages

Pros:
- You get to see the first draft and the final draft, understanding what was improved
- The guide also provides the tips and feedback that the applicant received for the follow up draft
- Then you see their final draft (this is fast forward as I don't think it is draft #2). There are some tips and notes about what goal the essay attempted to achieve.
- Schools & Essays Covered:
    - Stanford
    - HBS
    - Career Essays
    - Why This School Essays
    - Personal Essays
    - Achievement Essays
    - Teamwork Essays
    - Optional Essays
    - Fancy Essays
    - EMBA Essays
    - Waitlist Essays
P.S. This is what it is - it is an essay collection so don't expect a whole lot of strategy, etc





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ApplicantLab - "Robo Admissions Consulting"

Pros:
- Step-by-step guidance through the application process
- 100's of videos sharing admissions consulting advice and tips, mimicking a live consultant
- Single place to store all brainstorming notes, essays, applications, resumes, etc
- School-specific tailored help for each program
- $269 for 1-year access and unlimited schools. Very affordable compared to traditional admissions consulting

82 Reviews: ranking 5/5 by verified GMAT Club members & moderators including Souvik (at Ross) and Rohit6 (at Kellogg)








SPECIALTY BOOKS
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Your MBA Game Plan
Published: 2011
Great book for veterans transitioning to the civilian life and looking to enter one of the Top MBA programs. This guide breaks the transition into three phases teaching you how to: Convince Yourself; Assess your strengths to highlight the transferable skills you have that matter for your next career and Select Programs.A great guide (done very much in a style of a comic book, and takes on more of a European flair, such as the Valerian. It is definitely a different book; not a typical guide...This is probably the longest-running and most popular MBA Admissions book - 3rd edition was released in 2011 and it's long overdue for an update but that has not happened yet. Nevertheless, still I'd like to recommend this oldie to anyone interested in a self-admissions consulting strategy.







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Originally posted by bb on 15 Aug 2010, 16:56.
Last edited by bb on 09 Jul 2019, 04:57, edited 81 times in total.
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Re: Best MBA Books  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Aug 2010, 19:29
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Just my $0.02 -- I wasn't a big fan of Montauk's book.

The stats for MBA programs are completely off (due to GMAT inflation over the last ten years), and the some of the sample essays are atrocious -- I'm shocked some of these people got into B-school, they couldn't tell a story with a coherent point. Additionally, he quotes a lot of B-school AdCom members and most of the advice is either really trite, ("Be Yourself. We want to get to know you as a person.") or it directly contradicts other advice in the book.

I bought the book in the summer of 2007 and applied in Fall 2008, so its possible there is a new edition that is better. In general though, I would recommend getting it from your local library and seeing how useful you think it is.
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New post 15 Aug 2010, 20:03
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Hi bb,

I found, 'The best business schools admissions secrets' by Chioma Isiadinso, very good. Easy read, covers all main application topics thoroughly and focuses on the applicant developing and highlighting a 'personal brand'. The writer does this in a non-gimmicky way, which I liked. I thought it was great for my first MBA application book.
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New post Updated on: 26 Aug 2010, 23:09
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Thank you!
I just purchased How To Get Into the Top MBA Programs... waiting for that in the mail.

Interested in the Princton Review @ Isiadinso book as well

Update: I just finished the Great Application Essays for Business School book and found it very informative. The book does mainly focus on just applications but gives some pointers for the letters of rec part too. Easy and quick read ~ 168 pages.

I think if you're having some trouble with the creativity or the themes of your essays, this is a great book to read, sleep on what you read and tackle them the next days.

Originally posted by thisguy310 on 15 Aug 2010, 22:34.
Last edited by thisguy310 on 26 Aug 2010, 23:09, edited 1 time in total.
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New post 15 Aug 2010, 22:47
balki1867 wrote:
Just my $0.02 -- I wasn't a big fan of Montauk's book.

The stats for MBA programs are completely off (due to GMAT inflation over the last ten years), and the some of the sample essays are atrocious -- I'm shocked some of these people got into B-school, they couldn't tell a story with a coherent point. Additionally, he quotes a lot of B-school AdCom members and most of the advice is either really trite, ("Be Yourself. We want to get to know you as a person.") or it directly contradicts other advice in the book.

I bought the book in the summer of 2007 and applied in Fall 2008, so its possible there is a new edition that is better. In general though, I would recommend getting it from your local library and seeing how useful you think it is.


Thanks for the feedback - I thought it was the best MBA Applications book I have found so far, at least for starters. (I have the 2010 edition). I liked the Princeton Book but it was 50 pages vs 500, so does not come in comparison. With that, I am fully in agreement with you - the essays are really old and it has a few other issues - for sure. Any other book you would recommend instead? I am very open to recommendations!!!

P.S. Also, I am trying to look at these books from a perspective of an applicant and somebody who does not have my or possibly your knowledge from hanging out on GC (for years in my case), so take some of my thoughts with a grain of salt since they may not be written for you per se, but this is also why I would love feedback, since I am trying to think like a newbie and that may not work very well.
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New post 15 Aug 2010, 22:50
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Rux10 wrote:
Hi bb,

I found, 'The best business schools admissions secrets' by Chioma Isiadinso, very good. Easy read, covers all main application topics thoroughly and focuses on the applicant developing and highlighting a 'personal brand'. The writer does this in a non-gimmicky way, which I liked. I thought it was great for my first MBA application book.


Thank you for the thoughts. I am actually not very impressed with the book. I have read/skimmed through about a third of it and put it down. I have also read through Amazon reviews and found many rave reviews written by single posters, and that turned me off. I also think the whole concept of writing a book titled "Best Business Schools Admissions Secrets" and not actually including any in the book was lame.

On the positive side, the "personal brand" theme is very very good - I liked that concept very much and esp that it goes through the entire book and ties it together.

(The author even puts gmatclub as a resource at the back of the book, which I appreciate)

If anybody else feels that it is a worthy book, please let me know, or perhaps could you post your review here? Also would love to hear how it compares to other admissions books, esp any ones listed here. The goal is to have the best of the best!

Thank you!
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New post 15 Aug 2010, 22:59
Paul Bodine's book is popular on the forums (currently out of print; used copies available on amazon; new edition coming in Dec/Jan 2011).

I also recently obtained a copy of Alex Chu's book, which I found very comprehensive (PDF only version); Kindle version available as well for $50.
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New post 16 Aug 2010, 05:31
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As a current applicant in the middle of the application process, I've found Paul Bodine's book to be the best resource when it comes to essay brainstorming/writing. I agree that the essays in Montauk's book seemed boring and didn't really tell a story. Bodine's book is a great starting point and is an easy and logical read. It really addresses how to look at the essay sets as a whole and prepare your stories using a holisitic approach.
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New post 16 Aug 2010, 08:25
Thank you everyone for the comments. I have added a Star-Rating system underneath the books, please feel free to provide your feedback/rating about each of the books.
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New post 16 Aug 2010, 11:35
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''I also think the whole concept of writing a book titled "Best Business Schools Admissions Secrets" and not actually including any in the book was lame''

Haha, excellent point. I hadn't really thought of how badly matched the title and actual content of the book were. There were very few actual 'secrets'. You may have a lot of trouble thinking like a newbie because you can't really ignore all of the lessons you've learned throughout the years! For me, as a first book, I was just looking for one source of factual information regarding the whole application process. From essay brainstorming to what to do if waitlisted etc. In a broader sense the book was indeed sub par but I had nothing to compare it to! Do you think Montauks book is the way foward for me at this stage? It seems like Bodines wouldnt be that far off the book I read as Bodine seems to be a good 'starter' book. Cheers!!
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New post 16 Aug 2010, 18:55
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I found Avi Gordon’s MBA Admissions Strategy to be very useful. It clearly explains the need to have a theme/message underlying all aspects of your application, and it categorises the pool of possible essay titles well. Good emphasis was also put on the planning process which helps you understand your own profile and makes essay writing much smoother. I guess none of that is groundbreaking, but I liked his style nonetheless. Without it, my app would have been a mish mash of unrelated anecdotes.

I picked up Montauk’s book too, don’t think it was any more useful that Gordon’s despite being several times larger.
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New post 17 Aug 2010, 01:41
Rux10 wrote:
''I also think the whole concept of writing a book titled "Best Business Schools Admissions Secrets" and not actually including any in the book was lame''

Haha, excellent point. I hadn't really thought of how badly matched the title and actual content of the book were. There were very few actual 'secrets'. You may have a lot of trouble thinking like a newbie because you can't really ignore all of the lessons you've learned throughout the years! For me, as a first book, I was just looking for one source of factual information regarding the whole application process. From essay brainstorming to what to do if waitlisted etc. In a broader sense the book was indeed sub par but I had nothing to compare it to! Do you think Montauks book is the way foward for me at this stage? It seems like Bodines wouldnt be that far off the book I read as Bodine seems to be a good 'starter' book. Cheers!!



I have heard good things about Paul's book (from reviewers on Amazon and people here). However, it is a book focusing mostly on Essays rather than an application progress. Once I get a copy (in a few days). I will share my thoughts and whether It is the best overall book or if Montauk is still at the top. One thing I have against Montauk's book is that he wrote same books on Law Schools and Colleges, but i am not sure how damaging it is to quality.

The other thing I am realizing (I have ordered previous editions of his book) is that some of this material may be very OLD, and I am trying to verify.
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New post 17 Aug 2010, 01:43
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planettelex wrote:
I found Avi Gordon’s MBA Admissions Strategy to be very useful. It clearly explains the need to have a theme/message underlying all aspects of your application, and it categorises the pool of possible essay titles well. Good emphasis was also put on the planning process which helps you understand your own profile and makes essay writing much smoother. I guess none of that is groundbreaking, but I liked his style nonetheless. Without it, my app would have been a mish mash of unrelated anecdotes.

I picked up Montauk’s book too, don’t think it was any more useful that Gordon’s despite being several times larger.



Thank you. I have pre-ordered the latest edition but it is still not out yet :(
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/033524 ... 0335241174
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New post 17 Aug 2010, 08:36
bb wrote:
Rux10 wrote:
''I also think the whole concept of writing a book titled "Best Business Schools Admissions Secrets" and not actually including any in the book was lame''

Haha, excellent point. I hadn't really thought of how badly matched the title and actual content of the book were. There were very few actual 'secrets'. You may have a lot of trouble thinking like a newbie because you can't really ignore all of the lessons you've learned throughout the years! For me, as a first book, I was just looking for one source of factual information regarding the whole application process. From essay brainstorming to what to do if waitlisted etc. In a broader sense the book was indeed sub par but I had nothing to compare it to! Do you think Montauks book is the way foward for me at this stage? It seems like Bodines wouldnt be that far off the book I read as Bodine seems to be a good 'starter' book. Cheers!!



I have heard good things about Paul's book (from reviewers on Amazon and people here). However, it is a book focusing mostly on Essays rather than an application progress. Once I get a copy (in a few days). I will share my thoughts and whether It is the best overall book or if Montauk is still at the top. One thing I have against Montauk's book is that he wrote same books on Law Schools and Colleges, but i am not sure how damaging it is to quality.

The other thing I am realizing (I have ordered previous editions of his book) is that some of this material may be very OLD, and I am trying to verify.



Great thanks bb!
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New post 18 Aug 2010, 12:41
Updated the description of the
65 Successful Harvard Business School Application Essays, 2nd Edition Book
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New post 19 Aug 2010, 18:30
I always look at the credibility of the people writing these books. I think that the Princeton Review is a credible source composed of people that know what they are talking about so I would give this book a far better rating. Much better than a book with a single author that may only have an mfa.
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New post 19 Aug 2010, 18:44
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matthewf2u wrote:
I always look at the credibility of the people writing these books. I think that the Princeton Review is a credible source composed of people that know what they are talking about so I would give this book a far better rating. Much better than a book with a single author that may only have an mfa.


I have to strongly disagree with this. As far as the GMAT and bschool goes, Princeton Review is at the bottom of the 'knowledge' list. The name 'Princeton Review' raises insignificant credibility in the bschool universe. Also, b/c of the apparent multiple authors, who really knows who is writing the chapters of the book? A book with a single author such as Paul Bodine (in the business of bschool consulting for a number of years) is a far more credible source IMO.
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New post 21 Aug 2010, 01:47
I found "Great application essays" useful for me.
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New post 22 Aug 2010, 07:37
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bb, could you add "Your MBA Game Plan" to the list?
http://www.amazon.com/Your-MBA-Game-Pla ... 1564149684

Thanks.
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New post 22 Aug 2010, 21:57
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In regards to the response of the Princeton Review I can see where you are coming from. I enjoyed this book for essay writing purposes mainly and not for an overall sense of what the MBA process is like.

In the back end of the Princeton Review Essay book there are some profiles of past MBA applicants which were very interesting to me considering that my scores and career achievements were very comparable.
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Re: Best MBA Books   [#permalink] 22 Aug 2010, 21:57

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