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Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs

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Status: R1 was all I needed :D
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Location: United States (CA)
GPA: 3.33 (UG), 3.61 (Grad)
Concentration: Technology, Healthcare
GMAT 1: 640 Q42 V36
GMAT 2: 710 Q48 V39
WE: Engineering (Pharmaceuticals and Biotech)
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FROM DLo's BSchool Debrief: b-school debrief: the GMAT – part 2
Part 2 of the GMAT: How I tackled the GMAT and improved a disappointing score



Apologies for the month gap. I went on vacation and had to finish up a good deal of prep work for Anderson. But this will continue with far more frequency! In this entry I’ll go over the general strategy I used to study for the GMAT, how I rebounded from a bad first test, and what I think was most effective in improving my score.

Just a note, since I had most trouble with quant, most of what I write here will reflect my experience improving my quant score; however, in general these tips should apply to both verbal and quant.

Effective Studying

Best utilizing your resources in order to understand your weaknesses is one of the core differences between a 650 and a 700. Manhattan had a great method to examine my CAT performance through the types of problems, and break down each category and subcategory (Geometry > Triangles, Word Problems > Statistics, Sentence Correction > Parallelism, etc). To that end, effectively using the Manhattan GMAT CAT tests and the Assessment Reports that they give are what gave me an edge. Combine that with excessive problem drilling based on those reports, and I had a decent recipe for success.

Drill, Baby, Drill!

The key to keeping your attack fresh and efficient on any of these subjects is drilling. That doesn’t mean to just do problems and spend hours trying to figure them out, though. You need to use the repetition of drills effectively as well. This is where it is essential to learn and understand the problem strategies that your resources put forth. Each category of GMAT problems defined by Manhattan (and all other test prep programs) has a general strategy developed by common knowledge, patterns and Manhattan’s curriculum to use. Go through these back and forth, do the practice problems given to solidify them, and know how to use them without looking them up. Once you get comfortable using these, then it’s time to drill! Attack the OG problem sets with a timer – give yourself two or three minutes max, and eventually try to do 60 seconds for quant problems and 90 seconds for verbal problems (you’ll inevitably spend more on harder problems, but trying to push yourself to think faster is best while drilling). This method forced me to recognize the type of problem in front of me and immediately pull up the right strategy to tackle it, saving precious seconds. If you have to sit and think about the math for more than 20 seconds, it may be worth it to move on. Don’t look up the answers until you’ve done 10-15 problems in a row in under 15 minutes.

The second part of this process is to assess how you did, which is always the hardest. I remember breezing through 30 or so problems, and then afterwards going down my list of answers with the answer key and marking O (sweet!), O (nice.), O (damn, I’m good), X (crap), O (better), X (another one?), X (AGH), etc. Coming to terms with my initial perception of how I felt I did, compared to how I actually did, took a little while because I kept giving myself a pass by saying:

-        I was just making careless mistakes

-        I really knew what the right method/answer was

-        I’d definitely figure it out better during the real test, I was too relaxed

-        It was an anomaly

In reality, it’s not excusable or an anomaly; if you got it wrong in this environment, you’re not going to magically figure it out and correctly answer it during test day. Pressure is not going to drive you to do better on these. You really need to understand fundamentally why you made a mistake, and how to correct your thinking. Look at your weak problem types, go back to the strategies on how to tackle them, find a better way to quickly solve these problems, and drill some more.

First Failure

The first time I took the test, I got the “drill!” part down, but didn’t put much weight into truly understanding the minutiae of problems that I got wrong. As a result, I kept doing broad ranges of problem types, over and over, and unbeknownst to me my stronger categories stayed strong and kept my score afloat while my weaknesses stayed weak and never let me truly improve. My CAT diagnostics stayed near the 670 range, and I kept reasoning with myself that I’d do better on test day, and that Manhattan CATs were notoriously more difficult than the actual test. I had the general strategies down in my head, I had a decent pace at attacking problems, and I figured I was ready.

Test day came and I was nervous. To understand how I operate, I’ll give some info. I’m a night owl; I stay up until 1-2am every night and struggle in the mornings to get my day started. I’m a caffeine fiend but by the time the sun sets I’m usually my most productive with or without it. All of my GMAT studying was done after work, and all my CAT tests were done in the evenings after I had a full day of work.

With that said, when I scheduled my first test I set it at 8AM on a Wednesday. Given my profile above, this was not my optimal time for brain function. I slept early, woke up early, had a cup of coffee, took BART to Oakland’s test center and got started. I was tired, wired on coffee and clearly not in my zone. I had several moments during quant where I struggled to remember the correct approach for a problem, felt jittery, or got so lost in my thought process that I had to clear my test board and start a problem over. I rushed through the last few problems as a result. When I hit “FINISH”, I already knew I wasn’t going to do well. The number came up. 640. My heart dropped. I couldn’t even crack close to my diagnostic scores. What do I do?

Re-approaching Studying: CAT test strategies

I wasn’t crushed, because I knew I could have done better if I had been in a far better state of mind, so that was the first factor to eliminate. I re-scheduled another exam 2 months later. This time I set the test at 4:30PM on Thursday, because I realized I was at peak brain function during the latter part of my days. Then I set out to figure out my actual weaknesses on the exam.

The first thing I did was go back to my CAT exams on the Manhattan site and use the Assessment Reports. These allow you to select one or more of your previous tests and get a full breakdown of your performance, sorted by problem category, subcategory, and difficulty, as well as evaluate your timing on each problem. With the assessment reports, I was able to see that I spent way too much time on certain problem types, and the time I spent on problems I got wrong were considerably longer in many cases. This is a fact of the test, though, so I decided to concentrate on two things:

1)     Singling out my weakest problem types and concentrating my studying on them

2)     Recognizing when to blow off a problem I’m stuck on and move on

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Take the chart above, for example. in Fractions, Decimals and Percents, I did horribly in Ratios and FDPs. My average times for wrong problems in those two subcats were around 3 minutes or more; moreover, the difficulty level for my wrong answers in the whole category were relatively low – 700 or below. I spent a few days poring over the strategies for these two subcats, and drilled myself on these types of problems until I felt I had a far more intuitive mental response when they popped up in front of me. I also kept a mental count in my head of how long I was spending on a problem; if I hadn’t skipped or guessed in a while, I would decide to just pick an answer and move on. The hit from a wrong answer is always better than the hit from missing questions when the test ends. I did this over two rounds of CATs, in every subcat that I felt was weak, and was able to increase the difficulty level of problems that I got right and wrong. I didn’t always get them at a better right-to-wrong ratio, but since the problem difficulties were higher, and I was spending less time on wrong problems, it was a better indicator for me that I was in a better place.

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You can see from the table above the improvements in time spent as well as average difficulty on wrong answers. I concentrated on wrong answers because I felt better getting answers wrong in the 720-750 range than getting them right in the 650 – 700 range; they indicated that I was at a higher overall problem difficulty throughout the test.

So just in general, you can see how targeted evaluation of your CAT performance can help push you above where you were on a baseline or first-run of the GMAT. This is probably what all the thousand-dollar courses work with you on, but since I was running at this on my own, this is what I learned was the difference between mediocre studying and truly effective studying.

CAT test types

Just a quick note on these practice tests – I have heard consistently around the web and on GMAT club that the Manhattan CATs are a tick harder than the actual GMAT or its official diagnostics. While my highest score on a Manhattan CAT was 700, my scores on the two free GMAT tests from the official GMAC application were 720 and 740. So take your results from these practice tests with the caveat that none are truly representative of how you’ll truly do on the test, but will give you a decent figure as to what shape you’re in.

Extra Resources

In addition to all this studying, I used a few Android GMAT apps to do on-the-fly GMAT problems while I commuted since I took the train to work. These were questions that I did purely in my head and helped to sharpen my response time and approach. At publication time of this article I can’t remember which ones I used (I’ll need to dig up my old phone to find them), but I’ll update this section later with what I used. In general you should be conditioning your brain to recognize and solve these problems, as well as memorizing common patterns of numbers and rules that are laid out in most test prep programs / books, anytime that you’re not actually studying or working. Get your mind into the GMAT zone and approach everything with some type of logistical, problem-solving methodology to keep your brain fresh.

Redemption Test Mode

2 months later, and my chance at redemption came. After feeling far more prepared, confident and ready to go, I went about my week and days as normal. I planned a celebratory (or consolation) dinner with a friend immediately after the test to have something to look forward to. I gave myself one day of complete brain rest on Wednesday; went to work, came home, watched some TV, went to sleep a little earlier. On Thursday I woke up, went to work, and had a normal day. I left an hour early and got to the test center and jumped right into the exam, no caffeine (except my morning coffee at work), calm and alert. My mindset going in was far better than the first time. I got through IR and Verbal just fine, and then came quant. I took a deep breath, yawned to slow my heart down Apolo Ohno style, and went to task. 75 minutes later, I came out feeling far better. I hit “FINISH” and saw the screen: 710. I almost screamed out in joy at that moment, but realizing Pearson VUE would have probably kicked me out, I simply threw a silent fist in the air and called the proctor to pull me out, grinning ear to ear.

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If at first you don’t succeed…

Try again! And again! Really, one bad first experience should not discourage you from your true abilities. Perhaps it’s your study approach. It could be the circumstances of when you took the test. It could just be that you weren’t quite ready. But my experience showed me that a targeted study approach, calm nerves and possibly the familiarity of the process and test center that comes with a 2nd try can give you quite the bump up to what you wanted – 70 points in my case.

As a side note, I had a few stumbles during the 2nd exam still, and I knew in my heart I could probably have done 10-20 points better. But I didn’t want to touch this damn test again and wanted to move on with my life and app process, so I trusted the rest of my application to carry me after this point. The GMAT is getting more and more competitive, so recognize where you feel your cut-off point is and don’t get too obsessed with your score on this exam. You have a whole application for bschool, and this is just a portion of it.

Good luck!

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Celebration beer, whiskey, and fried chicken
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

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my MBA blog: b-school debrief: an engineer’s (multi)year-long journey from GMAT to admission

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Re: Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jun 2016, 23:23
Congrats mate!! :)
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Re: Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs [#permalink]

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FROM MBAble: Lessons my MBA Taught Me — Part 1: Research Phase
Call this a Wayback Wednesday post, but I want to post a little something from my old blog (now defunct) about what I learned from the MBA application process…granted that was from last year and I hadn’t actually applied yet — being in the research phase was more like it.

I plan on making this a periodic series in which I reflect on what I’ve learned throughout the MBA application process and, later, my experience in the MBA program into which I will soon be matriculating. That said, get ready for some seriously painful introspection in the coming months!

Anyway, here goes Part 1, republished from this post of mine:

Thursday, April 9, 2015
What Can an MBA Application Teach You About Yourself?
Maybe the sheer act of getting into B-School shouldn’t be what we consider the biggest win in the application process for an MBA. Perhaps, it should be the exercise of fully fleshing out what you want in life and getting to know just who you really are.

I had an extremely eye-opening lunch conversation last Friday with a woman I had heard speak last year as a panelist at an MBA conference geared toward women.

We got off to a running start for lunch, simulating an alumni interview for an MBA program. Not long after diving into a lively discussion, she dropped a bomb of a question on me: “why do you want an MBA?”

I gave my usual response: I work in online advertising now but would like to get into product management—a role that usually requires an MBA. Ultimately, I want to build a robust tool kit to prepare me for that kind of thing since it’s an intuitive career move for someone in my position, etc.

Needless to say, she saw right through my scripted response.

“What makes you happy? Why do you really want an MBA?”

Well, if this blog makes anything clear, it should be that one of my major personal gripes is that I don’t invest enough in myself.

Truthfully, I’ve zipped through the last 10-or-some-odd years of my life without ever having done an honest evaluation of what my passions are and spending hardly any time (or money) on self-improvement and personal well-being. The products of that way of life are summarily the following:

  • A burgeoning corporate career that many people I’ve spoken with envy—for a kid who almost didn’t graduate from high school, I worked at a couple of Fortune 100 companies by age 20 (yes, I did miss some company parties because I couldn’t legally drink yet).
  • A college diploma by age 21 (could’ve been 20 if I didn’t concentrate on working beginning in my sophomore year to help me pay my way through my education)…and a college life virtually devoid of the partying, travel, and self-discovery that was prevalent in the lives of many of my collegiate peers.
  • An inability to pivot when I desperately needed to. Long story short: my questioning of authority in a previous job caused me to bump heads the most senior leader on my team, and I had basically no choice but to leave. However, since I was so immersed and invested in my work there, I never thought to advance my knowledge and skills in areas of interest that would also have allowed me to be more nimble in times of trouble.
  • A number of neglected relationships and lost friendships that I’m now examining to see what can be salvaged.
  • An almost complete absence of a sense of purpose. I’ve been going through most of my adult life so far moving at the speed of light, and until recently, I never took a moment to stop and think about my reasons for doing what I’ve been doing. In fact, having recently taken a step back, I’ve learned that the personal value proposition I’ve been pushing onto prospective employers (as a self-starting digital marketing whiz) isn’t who I really want to be or what I want to be thought of as.
I made a list of goals not long after I started my post-grad corporate career…and now I want to scrap it.

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I had a solid plan for myself back in 2013, just months after graduating from undergrad…?
At the time I made that list, all I was concerned about was whether I was putting myself in a good position to take “the next logical step” for a marketing career that more or less started (and maintained) itself. As I reflect more on my career so far, I primarily did what I did to make others proud, to get a prestigious line on my resume—all reasons outside of personal motivation.  I spun myself into a vicious cycle; the problem was that I wasn’t aware because I never made a conscious effort to ensure that I was fully present in living my own life.

Now that I have allowed myself to think further about what I’ve genuinely enjoyed in my life, I think I’m better equipped to answer the question of why I want to get an MBA.

At the end of the day, admissions committees can easily call your bluff if you’re being disingenuous.

The woman I met with candidly shared with me that at the end of the day, top B-Schools want to admit the best students in order to help sustain the institution and even to grow the high profile. These top-tier B-School want to matriculate high profile alumni who can inspire future generations of students, and eventually haul in the huge naming gifts.

In reflecting on my life and what made my happy, I told her that about when I motivated my disenchanted colleagues and took strides to change our company culture in addition to how I mentored students to guide them in using writing as a means to express themselves. She said it was only then that she saw the certain sparkle in my eye that she was looking for with the big question of “why” that she had posed early on.

Although I’m not 100 percent sure that the field of human capital is what I want to focus on long term should I return to the corporate world, I know mentoring and motivating people in addition to using creative means to shape corporate culture are things that make me happy now—things that are worth highlighting in my personal statement for B-School.

But even more importantly, they are good things to know about myself as I continue to get deeper into the process of finding out what it really is that I’m after in my life.

Cheers,

Durian

 

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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

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"I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination encircles the world." -Albert Einstein

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New post 11 Jul 2016, 06:01
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FROM The MBA Manual: Use the Right Application Perspective
One thing that I always felt was daunting about applying to B-schools was the selectivity of the programs.  I would read the stats on Poets & Quants and feel overwhelmed–selection rates of 7%, 11% and 13% were common and slightly disheartening.  I didn’t want myself to get bogged down in self-assessing and questioning, so I decided to change the way that I thought about the admissions.  The simple change was to think in terms of raw numbers rather than percentages. 

For example, let’s look at the top 10 business school programs, as ranked by StartClass.

  • Harvard Business School
  • Stanford Graduate School of Business
  • University of Chicago Booth School of Business
  • MIT Sloan Business School
  • UC Berkeley Haas School of Business
  • Columbia Business School
  • Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management
  • University of Pennsylvania Wharton Business School
  • Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business
  • Yale School of Management
It’s a solid list.  More likely than not, there are a few schools on the list that are on your list, as well.  However, the list is also a little intimidating.  Even looking at it is enough to make your palms start to sweat.  This is only furthered when you add in the admission rates of each school.

  • Harvard Business School – 11%
  • Stanford Graduate School of Business – 7%
  • University of Chicago Booth School of Business – 24%
  • MIT Sloan Business School – 14%
  • UC Berkeley Haas School of Business – 13%
  • Columbia Business School – 18%
  • Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management – 23%
  • University of Pennsylvania Wharton Business School –21%
  • Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business – 22%
  • Yale School of Management – 24%
Yikes.  At any given school in the top 10, there’s less than a 1/4 chance that any given applicant will be admitted.  Now, I know every applicant is not created equal, and some people have much better odds than others, but still.  This looks pretty darn tough.

This is where a re-frame helped me, and hopefully can help you, too.  The thing about some of these schools is that they have massive class sizes, so even an admittance rate of 11% equates to nearly 1,000 people.  So, instead of thinking about admissions in terms of percentages, I opted to think about it in terms of raw numbers.  Let’s look at the top ten again, but by raw admits this time.

  • Harvard Business School – 935
  • Stanford Graduate School of Business – 410
  • University of Chicago Booth School of Business – 583
  • MIT Sloan Business School – 406
  • UC Berkeley Haas School of Business – 241
  • Columbia Business School – 743
  • Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management – 691
  • University of Pennsylvania Wharton Business School – 859
  • Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business – 281
  • Yale School of Management – 323
For me at least, this started to put things into perspective.  So, instead of thinking, I have an 11% chance of getting into HBS, I would think 935 people are going to get into HBS, and I’m going to do my best to be one of them.  There was just something about picturing a roomful of 935 people that felt better to me than thinking of the percentage that get in, especially given that it was so low.

I took this a step further and rationalized to myself that, Hey, these numbers all have to be mutually exclusive.  It’s not like someone can occupy a seat in two different programs.  So, I added the admits from all of the top schools together.

935 + 410 + 583 + 406 + 241 + 743 + 691 + 859 + 281 + 323 = 5,472

Now, this number made me feel a ton better.  There were going to be 5,472 people who got a spot at a top 10 business school each year.  I asked myself if I thought I was in the top 5,472 applicants, and I felt I was.  That’s the kind of thinking that you need to approach the application process with.  It’ll keep you motivated and hopeful rather than nervous and pessimistic.

 

 

 

 

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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

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GPA: 3.33 (UG), 3.61 (Grad)
Concentration: Technology, Healthcare
GMAT 1: 640 Q42 V36
GMAT 2: 710 Q48 V39
WE: Engineering (Pharmaceuticals and Biotech)
Re: Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs [#permalink]

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FROM DLo's BSchool Debrief: b-school debrief: costs of the application process
So Much $$$

Business school costs a lot. This is obvious, whether you are a full-ride scholarship student or are paying fully out-of-pocket. Aside from the (constantly rising) tuition costs, you have the cost of living, external costs of the program, the utility cost for losing 2 years of income, and before everything, the cost of applying. In the grand scheme of things, the cost of applying may seem like a small, tiny teardrop in the bucket of the overall financial toll of an MBA. But for those who are still prospecting schools, still working on their GMAT, or even considering if they want to get an MBA, the costs of each part of the application process can be a large concern.

Trying to be Cheap

As I laid out before, my approach to the application process was to spend as minimally as possible. This wasn’t a reflection of my indecision on the MBA, but more that I have always had an internal conflict on spending money to get ahead when applying for things – I’m very stubborn about it, and always opted to self-study for the SATs and GREs instead of plunking down thousands for classes. The results, I will say, were mixed. I took the SATs 4 times before I got a great score, and the GRE was just enough to get me into grad school for my MS.  For b-school, the application process was far more grueling, and it made me reconsider this mantra. If you read around or ask around these days, there are two main sources of application support people willingly drop wads of cash into for assistance and advantage: GMAT classes and, more recently, admissions consultants.

GMAT Classes

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I touched on the GMAT course issue a bit in the previous posts on the GMAT, but I’ll lay out how it went for me. I started studying half-heartedly with a set of Manhattan GMAT books, and found that I really enjoyed their approach. After my first diagnostics, I was dismayed at just how bad I was, not really taking into consideration the specialized approach you need to learn to master the GMAT. I saw an offer to attend the first session of a Manhattan in-person course, so I checked it out. After going through the session and seeing how structured they were in teaching + drilling their strategies, I definitely considered the course. But at $1,600 or so, I was very hesitant. I ended up not going with it and believing I could conquer it through self-study as usual.

Again as I detailed in the GMAT posts, I had a great deal of luck in that a friend who had taken the course ended up with a full year extra of access to their online materials – including video lectures. I jumped on it and this definitely helped in my study process, as well as the syllabus they gave to lay out a study strategy for their 9 books. The online-only course was around $900 or so at the time, so in all honesty I might have given that more consideration if I didn’t have free access, and had known how useful it was. So for your consideration, if you’re really struggling or even moderately struggling with the GMAT, I do believe some assistance helps, but again from a budgetary perspective I found myself very much not wanting to drop so much money on a course. Keep in mind as well that each run-through of the test is $250, so if you don’t want to take my multiple-effort approach and keep spending more on re-takes, perhaps a course may work for you as well.

Admissions Consultants

Now we come to the truly divergent path of the application process – whether or not use an admissions consultant.

A friend who had been applying to Top 10 schools had told me a few years before about admissions consultants – and I was surprised at the concept. You pay people thousands of dollars to tell you how to apply to school? Doesn’t that dilute the purpose of the application? But she was aiming for Stanford – her dream school – and was thus prepared to spare no expense. As the pressure and stress mounted on me 5-6 months before it was my turn to submit my apps, I took a good hard look at just what a consultant provided and if it was worth my consideration. Nothing about my budgetary mindfulness changed, but I knew for sure I was going to do this b-school thing, and the more real the applications got, the more uncertain it felt my future was. What if I didn’t get in to where I wanted – or worse, came out completely empty handed? I looked at the price points of some of these services – Admissionado, MBA Prep School, etc. Prices ranged from $2,500 – 5,000 per school. This was insane to me, to spend so much money to re-tool a story that I had to build myself. It appeared to just be a magic wand that people were looking for, that would give them the golden ticket to the b-school of their choice.

I dove in and did my research on what exactly I could get out of a consultant, and the answers varied greatly. Some promised to get you into a Top 10 school; some were far more pragmatic and their claims were simply to build the best story you can by helping you mine yourself, and to write more pointedly. I got a quote from one of the larger consultancies for my application list – Columbia, NYU, Stanford, Wharton, UCLA, Haas and Cornell. They offered me help on one, Columbia, for a single-school fee of $4000 with additional schools at $2000 a pop.

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Holy. Crap. I saw those numbers and ran away. The biggest takeaway I got from consultant research was that nothing was guaranteed (of course), and there were no sure things. If my profile was weak, the “best” consultants in the world couldn’t help me. I felt I had a strong profile, and was confident in my writing abilities, so I decided to go it on my own, with some budget help.

Budget Admissions Tools

There are far cheaper options to help you through the admissions process and submitting a strong application without dropping thousands on a consultant. I searched around for some, and found some by chance, but eventually settled on two resources which I came to really love. (Note: I am neither affiliated with nor am I working in conjunction with either of these two. These are the two resources I personally came to love during my application process.)

Touch MBA Podcasts – This was my first discovery. I had a long commute to work, and started listening to GMAT podcasts; once that nonsense was over, I checked out admissions podcasts and stumbled upon Darren Joe’s podcasts. He touches on a variety of topics, from interviews and Q&As with admissions officers at a huge list of schools (including many in the Top 10), as well as general admissions advice on writing, story building, defining your goals, success stories, and more. These were in convenient less-than-an-hour-long slices that I could listen to and repeat if I wanted to absorb his strategies better. He also provides a free profile evaluation and school selection advice, which helped me to discover Cornell Tech’s MBA, a program I had previously not known of.

Touch MBA’s topics and overall enthusiastic approach to his podcasts kept me calm and steady whenever I was thinking about the daunting task of applying. Being a previous admissions officer at a top MBA program in Asia, I felt his perspective was sharp, but he also always had a genuine feel to his advice – he really just wanted to help people out. When I first started listening, everything was a free podcast; as he gained a larger following, he has started to create purchasable resources including more in-depth videos and tools that I didn’t personally use, but are affordable as well.

Essay Snark – I absolutely love, love, LOVE this site. These guys (one person? I can’t tell) are the opposite of Touch MBA in personality – no sugar coating, blunt advice, and unapologetic topics. While still maintaining the same goal of helping you guide yourself through the b-school application, they take a tough-love approach. This is highlighted in the most part by their “blahg,” which is a daily-updated blog covering topics that are pertinent to the current position of the admissions cycle, along with countdowns and advice for each school in the Top 15. The blahg is $9.99 per month to read, which is well worth it in my opinion.

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Essay Snark offers more conventional consultant packages – still a few grand – for those that opt for it, but they also provide a plethora of resources and a la carte feedback options. I used their individual strategy guides and a few other products and only spent about $250 total on help from here – WELL worth it from my perspective. I will detail Essay Snark’s guides and how I used them in future blog posts, but the three products I did pay for through them were 15 weeks of Blahg access + Weekly Countdown e-mails for $35, the strategy guide 6-pack for $99, and the customized recommender’s instructions sets for $99. I kept a Blahg subscription for a few months after apps were turned in because they were still compelling reads.

These two resources made a true difference in my application quality, and I was able to do so by only spending a few hundred dollars – about the same cost as one run at the GMAT. While I set out initially thinking I’d need no external service help, I felt that there were just enough for me. EXCEPT!:

Friends and Peers – This is the unspoken budget application tool. When it comes to your essays, you can do without the pricey admissions consultants by simply consulting a large range of your friends – ones who know how to write, ones who’ve gone to b-school, ones that know you as a person, and even ones you’ve just met, aka current students at the schools you’re applying to. Networking and utilizing your network is one of the most crucial skills you’ll need during b-school, so you may as well start now!

Additional Costs

So aside from the costs of the GMAT, GMAT resources / courses, and application resources / consultants, there’s still that last costly part of the process that people forget – the applications! When you set out to determine your school list, don’t forget that each application you’re submitting is going to cost between $200-250. If you’re peppering the entire field and trying for 10+ schools, that’s already $2500+ right there (we’ll talk about school research and choice, as well as quality over quantity, in the next entry). Don’t forget to keep this in mind too, especially if you’re still on the fence of either your chances or if you really want that MBA.

Final Thoughts

Like I said before, the costs of applying are small change compared to the overall cost of getting your MBA. But the amount you can spend in this process can balloon very quickly if you go resource-hungry, and can bite you back if you for some reason decide not to pursue in the end, or fail to realize just how awesome you are without the help of someone whispering it in your ear. If you’re like me and find dropping stacks of cash on external assistance a little off-putting, there are plenty of options for you to get similar ‘advantages’ while still having money to buy dinner at the end of the day. Good luck!
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New post 22 Jul 2016, 15:00
Excellent posts dLo
saw your blog too..!!
Man .. you have got some writing skills.
And Just to make an argument => You had such an amazing resume ; i am glad you didn't use any ad. Consultancy service.
I am an engineer too..!


Have a great time at UCLA


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New post 08 Aug 2016, 10:02
FROM MBAble: The Application Grind is Never Over for this MBA Candidate
So I’ve come to realize that applications don’t end with admission into your desired MBA program.

I have been working my tail off for about the past month (that’s my excuse for not posting on this blog in as much time, by the way? ), working on applications for selective Booth and non-Booth classes that I plan to take in the Autumn 2016 quarter. Beyond that, I have also been tailoring my plan of attack for other application-gated classes offered in later quarters.

Highly regarded classes at Booth (based on what I’ve gathered from current student and alumni testimonies), such as Entrepreneurial Discovery with Mark Tebbe, Lab in Developing New Products and Services with Arthur Middlebrooks, and Strategy Lab with Harry Davis call for students to provide applications to those courses that include short essay responses to specific questions.

As far as the instructional/institutional motivations to include the intermediate step of applications for these courses, I suppose there are a few main reasons for this, drawing on my experience applying for Entrepreneurial Discovery:

  • Striving toward diversity of perspectives in the classroom (e.g. full-time/part-time, varying professional experience levels, different industry backgrounds, goals for after the course, etc.).
  • Ensuring that students who enroll have the ability to meet time commitments and other unique demands of the course.
  • Verifying that students possess prerequisite knowledge and competencies to be successful in the course based on prior coursework, personal interests, work experience, and other criteria.
With regard to the non-Booth courses I mentioned earlier, I have also applied to workshop classes within the Creative Writing program at the University of Chicago. As someone with limited experience in formal creative writing coursework, I applied for a Fundamentals class in addition to an intermediate Special Topics course. Adding to that application fun, businessperson that I am, I could not help but feel compelled to ensure that my writing sample would be at least peripherally relevant to the course subject and the instructor teaching. That said, I made some serious revisions to an existing piece and even wrote a new piece of flash fiction just for my applications—moves that I hope will help me make my case to be able to sign up for at least one of those classes in the fall.

Although I am confident in my ability to be accepted into at least one of the classes I applied for, I have found myself stressing out about Plan A-to-Z for my schedule in case I don’t get into a desired section. It doesn’t help that final decisions aren’t released until very close to the start of the quarter when bidding for general admission classes has generally ended, making it harder to pivot to alternatives. Oh, well. I’ll live either way.

Now that the bulk of my application grind for the coming quarter is done, I am focusing on calming down and detaching from the whole business school thing until orientation (a.k.a. LAUNCH) in a couple of weeks. During this time, I’m also thinking about writing some new short stories and revising some old ones to help me meet my goal of becoming eligible for membership into Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

 

Until next time!

Durian

P.S. Hopefully I can be more consistent with my posting, moving forward.

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New post 09 Aug 2016, 10:01
FROM MBA Reapplicant: MIA
I have been out of the blogging game for a bit, but I promise that won't be a regular thing.  With classes and recruiting in full swing, I have had little time for anything else.  That being said, I have had the chance to blog a couple of times for the Anderson MBA Student Voice.  Check it our here!
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New post 09 Aug 2016, 10:01
FROM MBA Reapplicant: Great Article about Anderson
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Check out this awesome article about Anderson on Poets & Quants, http://poetsandquants.com/2015/01/02/uclas-anderson-school-morphs-into-a-friendly-tech-hub/.  Anderson is a great place!  Sorry for the lack of updates recently.  I promise there is a new post coming soon!
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

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FROM FINAL HOUR MBA: The Value of a Vision
This is the kickoff for my 2016-2017 application season.

After a summer of introspect and debate I have decided to relaunch my b-school application journey. Why would anyone want to go through the “Doldrums” and the pain of rejection all over again? It comes down to one word: vision.

vision:  noun, vi·sion, \ˈvi-zhən\

a thought, concept, or object formed by the imagination

Application consultants will talk about selling your story to the adcom. I’ve worked in sales and have seen all sorts of techniques. As the biggest customer or stories in the b-school world, adcoms have developed an ability to sniff out garbage. Your story is typically crap. Words you think they want to hear just so you can get in to their prestigious school, have a good brand on your resume, and get more money at some large company. If this sounds like you then your vision is the same as thousands of other applicants. That is to say, while your goals are clear, your vision is empty. It reads loud and clear in your application and typically ends up in the rejection pile.

How do we fight this? The answer again is vision. If your goals are similar to those stated above, there’s nothing wrong with that. Most people enjoy more money and titles at work. If they don’t, an MBA is usually far from their mind. Developing a vision is probably the most time-consuming task in your MBA journey. GMAT and GPA are great but your essays, interviews, and 2 years of school will be driven by a few very simple themes. Planning up front will maximize the value of your effort. I’ll attempt to break down my approach to developing a vision and then how to use it in the following steps.

Step 1 – Escape
Get out of your office. Get out of your house. Get out of your city. Close the laptop. Put down the phone. Get away from everything familiar. This step is about clarity. You’re taking a major step in your life. Don’t let the barista who made your latte with whole milk instead of coconut milk influence your outlook on school.

Now that you’re settled in, find something that can settle your mind. I use music. Dave Matthews Band (early) or this song usually get me in the right frame of mind:

 



Step 2 – Introspection
I’ll let you guys look that one up. In essence you want to develop an idea of what is most important to you. Write it down if you need to. But the list is just the start. Next to each item dig a little deeper. Think why that item is important. Where did it come from? How can you achieve it? Is it yours or someone else’s? Don’t be afraid to go deep*. This the rest of your life we’re talking about here.

*one caveat, don’t start assigning blame or have negative thoughts about each item. This clouds your mental clarity you achieved in Step 1

Step 3 – Let Go
Now you have a great list of what makes you, well, you. You have a better understanding of how you got there. At this point you can probably see where this exercise is heading. Time for a changeup. Drop the list. The list was to define where you are. It puts you in the frame of mind to create a solid vision for the future.

Step 4 – Back to The Future
This is the core of the exercise. Close your eyes and see yourself 5 after graduation. We live in fast times. There’s no need for 3, 10, 30-year plans. 5 years will do the trick. When you see yourself in the future take some time to immerse yourself in the vision. Where are you sitting? In an office? On a beach? What are you driving? A bike, a car, a horse? Where and what do you do for work? Take in the entire vision, don’t just pick a job, house, etc…these are still generic goals. See deep into non-professional goals as well. Do you volunteer? Are you an avid traveler? Most importantly, what is the most exciting part of your day and week?

If you are having trouble with this step take the “legacy” route. When you die, what are the 5 things you want to be remembered for? This approach is rather depressing though.

Step 5 – Repeat, then Work Backwards
OK, now you’ve taken the time to really see where you want to be. Repeat this exercise a few times. You’ve tuned out external pressures to clearly find your true vision. Embrace it. Webster’s defines passion as an intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction. Vision = Passion.

Finally, work backwards and think hard about what steps need to be taken to get to the vision of your future. Research the career steps or skills needed to get to the job in your vision. Use specific examples from your future to plan out what you need to do. For example, if you want to help technology entrepreneurs in Malaysia you might want to go to a school on the West Coast or Pacific Rim.

Consider events in your past that influenced your vision. Use these examples in your essays and to explain your career/academic choices to this point. Most schools why them and how they will help you in your future. Don’t be generic, you already see the future. Find relative examples. You may even realize, for example, that Booth or Cornell don’t have a lot to offer for your specific goals. Don’t apply to schools that don’t fit your plan. Rankings are external pressures.

If you are looking for a tool to help define the path to your future, I recommend mind mapping. There’s a lot of software for this but nothing beats plain paper and colored pencils.

El Fin
So now you have a clear vision of where you want to be and you are developing your path and what b-school really means. This is finally YOUR STORY. Not the generic one that every half-hearted applicant submits. When you start preparing essays, interviews, and school visits you will notice a better reaction. Your passion about the what and why of your MBA will come through clearly.

This is just a first step in developing a vision, applying it to applications, and delivering on it throughout business school. This is also my process. Add to it. Enhance it.

Please feel free to share if any of this is useful and how your journey is going.

 

 

 

 

 

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FROM TopDogMBA - A Reapplicant's Tail: Hello, goodbye
This week saw TopDogMBA clear the 15,000 unique visitor milestone – thanks! Before I get very much older – and since I don’t expect to publish (m)any more posts on this blog – I wanted to introduce myself as David C. Rolls. Here’s my polished, official MIT Sloan photo, and you can read all about […]Image
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FROM TopDogMBA - A Reapplicant's Tail: The long and winding road
It’s been 28 months since I started this blog – and over a year since my last post – so I thought it was time to update y’all. Fortunately, I’ve had time to introduce my faithful Beagle pup, Beatrice, to classmates and arrange a photo shoot on campus. Sorry for the delay! With such a long […]Image
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New post 07 Sep 2016, 10:01
FROM The MBA Manual: I’ll edit your essay for free
Hey, guys,

So, I’ve decided to run a contest in hopes of getting the word about the site out to as many applicants as possible this application season.

Entry:  Share your favorite MBAManual post on Facebook (with a blurb or two about why you like it)and you’re entered.  Just send a screen shot of your post to info@mbamanual.com and you’re in.  I’ll respond with a verification email.

The winner:  The winner will be selected randomly by me (using MBA Excel magic) on September 25th at 1 PM EST.  If the post is still on Facebook, I’ll email the winner directly and post their name here at that time. 

The Prize:  I will personally edit one essay of the winning applicant.  I’ll do both a content edit (fit with the school, coherence of your story, etc.) and a line edit (grammar, spelling, etc.).  I’ll get it back to the winner by September 27th so that they’ll make the October 1st deadlines of some schools.

That’s it!  Best of luck to you all, and I look forward to crafting an application masterpiece with the winner.

Best,

Ryan

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New post 10 Oct 2016, 01:55
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FROM Oh Kay MBA: The sweet waiting begins
It’s done: all my applications are submitted. Wharton was the last one. So, now, the -not so- sweet waiting begins. Next week, I will start to prepare for the interviews even if I don’t know whether I would get the invitations. However, I don’t want to think about the application right now.

During the next months, even though preparing the interviews will demand great dedication, I will still have more time to spare without studying for the GMAT or writing essays. Therefore, I want to focus in other activities, some of which will indirectly help strengthen a potential interview.

  • Work twice as hard: Mainly, because work will be the perfect place to occupy my mind. Besides, I could always find an opportunity to decrease costs, increase efficiency, reduce production time or anything that would make a good story for the interview.
  • Focus on my dancing: I have missed many dance lessons in the last three months because of my full dedication to the application, so now I want to focus on improving my moves! Moreover, the physical activity helps relax my mind and as I don’t really enjoy going to the gym that often, dancing is the perfect alternative.
  • Practice English: This one is important for international students like me. I don’t really have the chance to speak English every day and I will definitely need to sound fluent in the interview. Therefore, I will start going to some language exchange events or even recording myself speaking.
  • Use my leadership skills: At work or at the organization where I volunteer. It is always a good moment to start an initiative or make a difference. Besides, it will be great material for the interview.
  • Visualize my life at B-school: I love visualizing; it really helps me stay positive about a situation. So, I would just picture myself already at B-school, choosing classes, participating in activities and more. Doing this will help me have good vibes and survive the drama of waiting.
I guess, I will just have to keep myself occupied while waiting. To be honest, patience has never been my strong point.

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New post 10 Oct 2016, 01:55
FROM Oh Kay MBA: What Columbus Day will bring
I was totally freaking out. Apparently, most of the HBS invites were already sent and I didn’t get one. However, there are still some to come out on the 12th, so I’m trying to keep my hopes intact.

Most people are saying to keep low expectations for the 12th, but I won’t do that. I refuse to think it is over until it is. As any other applicant, I really put my heart and soul into all my essays, but given how open the HBS question was, I had the chance to make it the most personal and honest of all my essays.

Now, I’m trying to see the situation from a different perspective. I am sure everyone who applies to this program is a highly capable candidate and will be successful no matter what MBA program they end up enrolling or whether they enroll at all. The MBA is only a means to an end. What drives us a keeps us going is our passion. I am positive all applicants are passionate about what they do, as they had the guts to go through this stressful process. And, surely, a ding can’t and won’t take away our passion.

Therefore, relax, take it easy. I am still keeping my expectations high for the 12th and hoping to hearing from Booth soon. All the same, no matter the result, the show must go on!

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FROM Oh Kay MBA: Keep moving forward
After days of waiting, sharing the tension with other applicants in forums, coming up with different theories about invites patterns, and, overall, refreshing my inbox every five minutes to see if the so awaited mail was already there, I finally have my first 2 answers from B-schools.

HBS: Dinged

Booth: Invited to Interview

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The HBS ding

I finally got a mail from HBS – “Your application status has changed”. No warm greetings, and to make it worse everyone at the gmatclub forum was reporting dings. Therefore, when I logged into my application page I did not have my hopes up anymore. Indeed, I found the dreaded message – “Thank you very much for your interest”. The next minutes were a mix of emotions: sadness, anger, fear. But then came acceptance, as I said “well, game over, maybe it wasn’t the best place for me”. I am sure I can take a big step in my career path with any MBA. However, HBS will always be the golden brand, the one that makes a resume shine. In the end, I guess I just wanted the validation.

To be honest, what I am most worried about is what this rejection could mean regarding my GSB application. Stanford is my dream school. I love the culture, the methodology, the small class, the great entrepreneurship spirit, and besides many other things, of course, California! If it really is all about the fit, I think my fit with HBS was only good enough, but I am positive I fit in Stanford in every sense. However, I know how low the odds are.

Invited to interview with Booth!

I was so excited to get my first interview invite that I contacted my interviewer in the blink of an eye. I will have my interview off-campus as I don’t have the time nor the means to go to Chicago at the moment – I live in South America. So, as my interview is only a little more than a week away, right now I am 100% focused on killing it.

Soon, I will be sharing my progress and ramblings on my interview planning.

 

 

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FROM The adventures of a (provisional) MBA student: Wrapping Up (Part 1) – Academics at HBS
What’s Coming Up

It’s been common refrain at HBS that we do a lot of ‘reflections’ – on our personal lives, careers, future direction in life, etc. But as a line in the HBS show said “now you must reflect deeply… within the next 10 seconds“.

It’s a whirlwind experience, and you hardly have time to breathe – especially in the RC (first) year.

Now, I’ve had almost 6 months since graduating and I truly have a chance to reflect on the last two years, and have the opportunity to try and provide an objective assessment on my experience at HBS – did it live up to my expectations? Did I wish I’d chosen differently? How cold is it REALLY on the bridge across the Charles river in January (answer: very).

A few requests I’ve had for topics revolve around three areas, but in general most people wanted an overview of the experience from someone who’s been there. So I’ll cover the HBS triangle: Academics, extracurricular activities, and career opportunities.

“You can only choose one to excel at, perhaps two without sleep. HBS is all about forcing you to make choices” – Anonymous Student

This is the first post covering the academic experience, and I aim to follow up before the year is up with the other two sections. I’ll be back before the end of the year to finish this off, I promise dear reader!

Starting Out in the Classroom: Cold Calls & The Case Experience

I was a recipient of my section’s first cold call in class, on the very first day. It’s a strange experience. By this point you’ll have heard a little about how the classroom format works (if not, check youtube here), maybe visited or even had a practice run at an admit weekend.

But there’s little that can compare to being asked to critically analyze a case in front of 90+ of your newest friends. This is an quintessentially HBS moment – and utterly brutal.

First, after a brief introduction, for me the professor started with “I always like to begin a new year with the person who is now sitting in my old seat”. His head turns to look me directly in the eyes… immediately my peripheral perception shuts down, and all I can see through my tunnel vision is the professor looking straight at you. “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch all of that, could you repeat the second part of your question?”

During the brief respite comes the tightening in the chest. The voices in your head start early too: “Don’t say that, it’s a stupid thing to say”. “I hadn’t even considered that point of view”. “Oh dear..”.

Eventually, I begin with “Well, I can see both sides of the debate…” and is immediately met with the response “A CLASSIC HBS answer! Pick a side! You’re her, so what would you DO…?”. The class giggles slightly as a collective (translation: “thank the heavens that isn’t me”). And so it begins…

Workload

After two years, I’ll have read over 500 cases, at a rate of two to three a day. In the beginning, it’ll probably take well over two hours to prepare for each class. Each class is 80 minutes long, and the curriculum is front-loaded so 3 case days are the norm to begin with, which adds up to at least 12 hours just for academic work.

You can add to this the usual socializing activities, getting to know your classmates, or within the first two weeks information sessions on various career paths begin. It’s a punishing schedule from the outset and time is scarce.

After a while, perhaps halfway through the second semester, this reduces down to between an hour, and an hour and a half (or less, depending on your level of interest and attentiveness) in total prep per class. This means that time becomes more flexible, but by then you’ve been thrown into first year recruiting (most likely – for summer internships) which soaks up most of this time, and if anything is more intensive.

The Section Experience

It’s a massive buzz getting your name card at such a well-respected institution. It sits in front of you for the whole year, and I got strangely attached to mine. You don’t move seats at all in the first semester, so you get to know your amazing seatmates pretty well too. They’ll almost certainly become good friends.

Over time you’ll meet the rest of your section. I’ve been genuinely open mouthed at some of the stories that sneak out during classroom discussions (or even more often outside). Even with the typical MBA concentration of consulting and finance backgrounds, the range of expertise in an HBS classroom is staggering. I found that those with more traditional backgrounds had ‘something else’ about them that meant they really stood out. Without exception it’s an exceptional group of people. I’ll write more about this in a later post.

Knowing each other so well, even after a few weeks in such an intense environment means discussions become raw quickly and opinions are free-flowing. This is a great thing. The professors can often go 5 or 10 minutes without talking, only pointing to the next raised hand to continue the discussion (this is quite a skill to do well, do not think this is a free-ride compared to lecturing at the front of the class).

I found in my group there was a great respect for the opinions of others, there was also a healthy appetite for debate and frank discussion. My own stand out moments include a section mate bluntly calling out a guest on his slightly dubious attitude to his staff, leadership lessons ACTUALLY ‘from the front-line’ and ‘while under-fire’ in Iraq & Afghanistan, or being expertly coached on the finer points of diversifying your asset portfolio by a former high-flying hedge fund analyst who sat a few seats away to my right.

Teaching

I hesitate to definitively assess any aspect of HBS, as I lack a point of reference at some of the other top institutions that are undoubtedly also excellent. But if I had to, the level of teaching is one area I’d generally give full marks. Compared to my undergraduate experience, the care, attention to detail, and knowledge of the staff (I include all staff, not just professors) is exceptional.

Professors have to spend one of the two semesters each year dedicated to teaching and writing new cases and it shows. They know you, your name, your background, and what cases you may be able to bring unique outside knowledge into the classroom, even before they set foot in front of your section. At the beginning of the semester, the professors have a seating chart with handwritten notes all over it, hanging behind their desk in their office. The preparation is outstanding – apparently a single case takes around two days to prepare to teach.

This is a contrast to many other top schools, where star professors are left to their own research and rarely leave their office. Of course, it is a big school and they are in demand, internally as well as all over the world in many cases. But over two years you will get enough time to get a real taste for top class academic thought. I could cite many examples, such as listening to Clayton Christensen explain the original thinking behind ‘disruption’, as opposed to it’s highly corrupted recent definition, is a real thrill and added a huge amount to my own understanding.

I’ve been fortunate to meet and get to know some of my professors personally. At times their families, and outside the classroom. They’re passionate, warm people who want to learn from you and your experiences as much as you do from them.

Curriculum

An oft-cited cause of concern amongst aspiring MBA’s is the RC (‘Required Curriculum’) at HBS during the first year. In contrast to Wharton for example, the first year is fully prescribed. There are no electives – you get what you’re given. Courses range from Finance (1&2), to Marketing, to ‘Lead’ (Leadership and People Management) to BGIE (Business, Government, and the International Economy).

You don’t get to choose any of your courses in your first year… the horror of enduring FRC (Financial Reporting and Control)! But with hindsight there is a good reason for this: a standard base in the class’s knowledge is a) is useful to you, why learn what you already like and know, not something new from sometimes genuine experts in the room?

And it’s also b) useful to others: in the second (EC – ‘elective curriculum’) year discussions are much better with some shared knowledge and base level of understanding in some quite niche topics. You reach a greater level of depth, faster as a result. And FRC is actually quite interesting… sometimes!

Of course, you could go elsewhere and dedicate yourself to 20-odd courses in the detailed assessment of fast-growing startups (or similar). But don’t expect everyone a) to know exactly what they want to learn, and b) don’t expect yourself to be comprehensible to others afterwards anyway.

Personally I’ve enjoyed the ability to pick completely new topics to me in the second year, with the safety net of knowing I won’t be completely out of my depth basing myself on the much broader RC year. And I’ve benefited from it.

“So, to summarize…”

It’s said HBS students get great at picking a position, talking a lot and arguing strongly for it. But they may lack in execution, compared to thinking and speaking. But most people at HBS already ARE doers. It’s an incredibly action-orientated and self-starting community. So while I can see why people may see this highly negatively, I’m more inclined to see this as a way of rounding out some rough corners on some already pretty talented individuals.

HBS is smart too. You’re in the family now. They want you to engage, discuss, challenge, and argue at every opportunity. And that’s the best way to learn – this isn’t undergraduate level getting spoon fed content out of a book – and you get out what you put in. In an academic context, they understand that in future you will become their next case protagonists.

A hugely surprising proportion of cases are from the perspective of HBS alumni. And many of them come back to class, to share their experience first hand. And then listen to what we think. What an endorsement.

Thanks to all those at HBS (fellow students and the dedicated staff) who made sitting in the classroom such a phenomenal experience for me over the last two years.

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FROM Oh Kay MBA: My first interview: The details
Earlier this week, I had my interview with Booth. Given that this was my first one, I had a lot of doubts: from how to approach some of the questions to what to wear.

The day of my interview, I arrived 25 minutes before at the coffee shop where we had agreed to meet. The email from Booth said to arrive 15 minutes in advance but I did not want to take risks with the traffic, so I ended up arriving earlier than planned.

Exactly at the set hour, my interviewer showed. We greeted each other and he introduced himself. I already knew a good deal of details about him, as I had obviously stalked him a little before the interview. He is a recent graduate, class of 2016. My first impression was that he was a highly empathic person. I was a bit nervous, but this feeling lasted only for a few seconds as my interviewer made me feel at ease.

What did we talk about?

  • First, we went through the general questions: professional experience, goals and why MBA. I had no trouble with these questions, as they were the ones I had practiced the most.
  • After that, it was time for the behavioral questions. Some that I remember would be:
    • Tell me about a time when you had to sell an idea.
    • Tell me about a time when you demonstrated leadership in adversity.
    • Tell me about a time when you had a bad relation with a coworker.
    • Tell me about a time when you failed.
  • Later, we went a little deeper into interests and personal contribution. Some of the questions were:
    • What three words would your friends use to describe you?
    • What clubs are you planning to join?
    • What would be your contribution to campus?
  • Finally, I was asked if I had any questions. Luckily, my interviewer had similar goals to mines. He is working for MBB consulting post MBA. Therefore, I had a lot of questions about the recruitment process and the support you can get from the school and current students. We talked for about 20 minutes, mostly about his experiences.
Overall, we had a great conversation. I got the feeling that this guy was really interested in knowing about me, as he would not interrupt me or challenge my answers, but instead ask to know for more details of a story. I think that I could show my true self and was concise with my answers, so I am really expecting good news from this school.

Now, another long waiting begins to hear the final decision from Booth. December 10th seems so far away.

 

 

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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

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New post 21 Nov 2016, 10:01
FROM The MBA Manual: MBA vs. MiM [Guest Post]
Hey, guys!  

We have a great guest post by Abhyank Srinet of MiM-Essay.  In a quick post and an awesome infographic, Abhyank goes over the differences between a Msaster of Business Administration (MBA) and a Master in Management (MiM).

Enjoy!

MBA vs Masters in Management- The Ultimate Guide

Abhyank Srinet

The MBA has always been the go-to degree for anyone wanting to make a switch into management or someone who is looking for a way to take up increased responsibility at work, and it works pretty well with a high percentage of graduates meeting their goals.

But getting into a great B-school isn’t always easy, even if you meet the stringent GMAT regulations, maintain a great GPA, and write engaging essays, you still need to meet an important condition:  that of a significant amount of work experience.

 With B-schools averaging around 4-5 years of work experience, accumulating work experience poses a significant challenge for people who want to shift to a management career quickly, and such a group is increasingly abundant in this generation of millennials.  Maybe that is the reason why the Masters in Management is increasing rapidly in popularity as an alternative to the MBA.

So what exactly is a Masters in Management? 

It is a degree with origins in Europe which caters to a younger audience between the age of 21-24 who are recent graduates or have less than 2 years of work experience.  Lately, major schools all over the world have started offering it, from Duke Fuqua to Kellogg in the US, all the way to NUS in Singapore.

So is it giving the MBA a run for its money?  Well, not exactly.

Though the Masters in Management(MiM) has a course which is about 50-60% similar to that of an MBA, it caters to a different audience and a different age group than that targeted by a traditional MBA.

Here is an Infographic presenting the 11 differences between the MBA and the MiM: 

 Image
 

Interested in learning more? Check out this blog post by Abhyank, detailing more of what an MiM is and what it has to offer.

Image
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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

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Re: Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs [#permalink]

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New post 22 Nov 2016, 16:01
FROM The MBA Manual: MBA vs. MiM [Guest Post]
Hey, guys!  

We have a great guest post by Abhyank Srinet of MiM-Essay.  In a quick post and an awesome infographic, Abhyank goes over the differences between a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and a Master in Management (MiM).

Enjoy!

MBA vs Master in Management- The Ultimate Guide

Abhyank Srinet

The MBA has always been the go-to degree for anyone wanting to make a switch into management or someone who is looking for a way to take up increased responsibility at work, and it works pretty well with a high percentage of graduates meeting their goals.

But getting into a great B-school isn’t always easy, even if you meet the stringent GMAT regulations, maintain a great GPA, and write engaging essays, you still need to meet an important condition:  that of a significant amount of work experience.

 With B-schools averaging around 4-5 years of work experience, accumulating work experience poses a significant challenge for people who want to shift to a management career quickly, and such a group is increasingly abundant in this generation of millennials.  Maybe that is the reason why the Masters in Management is increasing rapidly in popularity as an alternative to the MBA.

So what exactly is a Masters in Management? 

It is a degree with origins in Europe which caters to a younger audience between the age of 21-24 who are recent graduates or have less than 2 years of work experience.  Lately, major schools all over the world have started offering it, from Duke Fuqua to Kellogg in the US, all the way to NUS in Singapore.

So is it giving the MBA a run for its money?  Well, not exactly.

Though the Masters in Management(MiM) has a course which is about 50-60% similar to that of an MBA, it caters to a different audience and a different age group than that targeted by a traditional MBA.

Here is an Infographic presenting the 11 differences between the MBA and the MiM: 

 Image
 

Interested in learning more? Check out this blog post by Abhyank, detailing more of what an MiM is and what it has to offer.

Image
Image
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

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Re: Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs   [#permalink] 22 Nov 2016, 16:01

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