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Expert advice for HBS from Admissions Consultant blogs

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Harvard MBA Essay Tips and Deadlines 2018-19!!  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Apr 2018, 06:59
From Dr. Shel (Shelly Watts), http://www.mbaadmit.com, email: info@mbaadmit.com

Interested in learning if we think you can be successful as an MBA applicant to a top business school? Feel free to sign up for a FREE Profile Evaluation directly from Dr. Shel Watts, a Harvard and Oxford graduate with Harvard admissions experience and over 25 years of work with MBA applicants. Fill out the profile evaluation form on our homepage at http://www.mbaadmit.com or send your resume to info@mbaadmit.com.

Ask about our current MBA application specials. Comprehensive packages beginning at $1795 (Compare with our competitors who charge $5,200!). Valid through May 5, 2018. Opt to work directly with Dr. Shel on your MBA applications!



Harvard MBA Essay Tips and Deadlines 2018-19



Deadlines

On 18 April 2018, the Harvard Business School (HBS) Admissions Director announced two of Harvard Business School’s deadlines for the 2018-2019 admissions season via the HBS admissions blog. Here they are:

Round 1: September 5, 2018
Round 2: January 3, 2019


Online Application

HBS will release the online application in early June 2018.


HBS Essay

Harvard has once again offered only one essay prompt as a part of its MBA application. The sole essay has no specific topic and no word limit! This year once again, Harvard’s MBA essay topic is:

“As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA Program?” No word limit.

If you are like many candidates in the last few years, this essay topic may have you very unnerved, uncertain about what material to present. After all, the rejection rate at Harvard Business School for applicants to the Class of 2018 was 89%. Approximately 9,759 candidates applied to Harvard’s MBA program and HBS admitted a mere 11%. Moreover, Harvard now boasts a 91% yield – that is, 91% of admitted candidates matriculated. Very impressive!

The take-away: Harvard is in great demand and those candidates who are admitted are more than happy to attend this prestigious and renowned institution. Competition is keen, and hence it is imperative that you prepare an outstanding application if you hope to gain an admissions interview. Here are some practices to observe and ideas to guide you as you assess how you should approach the one admissions essay topic that HBS is offering this year.

Review the Business School Materials Offered

In introducing their MBA programs, many business schools including Harvard provide links to information about the programs. For instance, there are HBS videos about the Harvard Business School experience and common qualities of current students. There are also other HBS videos that allow you to take a good look at the school’s culture. You can glean a strong understanding of what qualities HBS values in students. After reviewing materials like this, take a solid look at your credentials and experiences. Do you have some of the valued characteristics and experiences? How can you show that you can fit in and contribute at HBS? Consider including comments about these matters in your essay.

A Holistic Approach

Even with one single open-ended, no-word-limit essay to write, it is important that your entire application conveys the strengths of your candidacy and also addresses any weaknesses (indirectly or directly). All parts of your application must work wonderfully together to convey your message and story to the committee. The resume, recommendations and application form take on much more importance in this context. Indeed, the application form and resume are often “missed opportunities”, where candidates fail to showcase their greatest assets for admission. Remember, the admissions committee sees your application form and resume before the essays. These are your “first impression” – and first impressions last! Use this space well. It will free you to focus more deeply on important themes in your essay.

You should stand back, determine which of your achievements, experiences, skills, activities and credentials are most important for admissions success, and make certain that these are highlighted somewhere in your application. HBS, for instance, provides spaces for the applicant to mention very important parts of their portfolio. These spaces are divided mainly into three sections on the application form: employment, academics, and activities. Take the time to consider what you will highlight on your resume and application form. Try to communicate well with your recommendation writers, so that they can introduce useful information through their recommendations for you.

With such a holistic view of your application, you can be confident that if you have explained on the application form how you contributed excellently as you served as a board member of an important nonprofit, you may not need to elaborate on that also in the essay. Likewise, if you have clearly indicated the strength of your GPA and awards on your resume, you may not need to refer to this again in your essay.

Strategy is the Key

After reviewing your key strengths in the areas of your professional, academic, extracurricular and personal achievements, and after checking to make sure most of these are reflected somewhere in your application (resume, recommendations and application form), you are free to focus in on the essay. Make certain to shine a light on value-added information that can help get you to an “Admitted!” outcome. Taking the opportunity to shine a light on your winning attributes in your essay is what we at MBA Admit.com call “strategic content”. Whether you convey your unique strengths and attributes effectively can make all the difference between acceptance and rejection. You should strive to present a compelling blend of topics that highlight your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.

“Creative Strategy” for the Open-Ended Single Essay

Even though Harvard’s sole essay is open-ended, you are still seeking to paint a clear, well thought-out picture of who you are and your qualifications. With an open-ended, no-word-limit essay, you have ample space and creative freedom to implement your strategy. In addressing the no-word-limit essay, blend in references to the topics you have determined merit more space in your application and, in addition, think about these matters:

Length

Don’t submit a book-of-an-essay that is 3,000 words or longer. We are sure you have led an amazing life and have enough accomplishments to fill a 3,000 essay, but the admissions committee will not want to read something that long and may be left thinking your ego is a little too healthy in size.

In most cases, you also should not submit a hyper-short essay that is 100 words or less. To do this can be read as arrogant, even if your credentials are outstanding in every way (professional, academic, and extracurricular). Are there exceptions to this? Of course. If you are an under-represented candidate who graduated Summa Cum Laude from an Ivy League college, have had promotions at a prestigious company like Morgan Stanley, have always received the top performance ratings, scored a 770 GMAT score, were student government president for three years during college and are certain you will receive glowing recommendations, perhaps you can afford to submit the 100-word essay. The rest of your application will speak amazingly to your credentials! But, most candidates don’t fit this profile, so you should use the essay as premium space to “make your case” to the admission committee.

As you decide on the ideal length, bear in mind that in the past couple of years, a typical-length MBA admissions essay set allowed for approximately 1,000-1,600 words, so that can give you a sense of what might be considered appropriate and not excessive in terms of a word limit. You may be able to state your case in 600-1,100 words.

Tone

What about the tone of the essay? Is it okay to make the essay tone more casual? Yes. Is it okay to make the essay tone more formal? Yes. There is not necessarily a right or wrong choice; it is a matter of what is the best choice for the needs of your candidacy and application. That is, given your candidacy, what style would be effective? There are countless ways to compose a compelling essay. But remember, the ultimate purpose of the essay is to persuade the Harvard admissions committee to say “yes” to your candidacy. Adopt a style that can advance you toward that end.

Self-constructed prompt

When an essay topic is as open-ended as Harvard’s this year, some candidates make the mistake of constructing an essay that wanders in too many directions, rambles in parts and is not coherent. One way to help ensure you write a strong essay is to determine your own essay prompt. Thinking about what that prompt is can help you create a theme that permeates the whole essay. You may end up mentioning a mixture of professional, academic and extracurricular successes, and that is fine. But, they should not be clumped together in a scattered sort of way. Flesh out what your theme is. For instance, a successful essay might present topics that reflect the theme, “This is what has influenced me to be who I am today.” Alternatively, a successful essay might reflect themes such as, “These are the things that motivate my future goals,” or “This is who I intend to be in 10 years,” or “This is my personal story and why my passion for my profession is so deep.” The possibilities go on. With such a potentially long essay, make sure your essay holds together well.

Specific personal values

As you draft, also bear other matters in mind. Certain schools value specific personal values and characteristics. Schools like Harvard, for instance, value proven leadership, strong ethics, curiosity and innovation. Consider including topics that show you have these traits.

Why HBS? Long-term goal? What can you contribute?

It is okay to touch on more traditional topics also. For instance, what are your long-term goals? Why is Harvard right for you? What can you contribute to HBS and through your future career? But, try not to present a dry essay that simply answers the common MBA essay question, “What are your long-term goals and why our school?” If that was precisely what HBS wanted to hear about, it would have presented that as the essay prompt.

Other elements of style

Please also bear in mind that your style can vary greatly with an open-ended, no-word-limit essay. Even if you choose to write the essay as if the topic was about what has influenced you to be who you are today, you can do this by taking us back in time to a pivotal life event. Or you can take us forward in time to who you intend to be and reflect on the influences that have put you on a path to this vision. Or you can adopt a straight-forward style and simply recount your main messages. Don’t restrict yourself, but also don’t forget that your adopted style should be – above all else – effective. It is better to have a straight-forward style that got you an “Accepted” reply than a creative style that failed to convey the key attributes that would have elicited a positive response from the admissions committee.

The application is your very important “marketing package”, so use it well!

Good luck in your writing process and feel free to reach out to us at http://www.mbaadmit.com if you need some assistance!!



We welcome you to sign up for our FREE informative Newsletter, which provides useful tips, insider information and guidance for applying to top MBA programs. Sign up on the right hand side of our homepage at http://www.mbaadmit.com.

Best wishes,
Dr. Shel (Shelly Watts)
President, MBA Admit.com

Email: info@mbaadmit.com From Dr. Shel (Shelly Watts), http://www.mbaadmit.com, email: info@mbaadmit.com
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Dr. Shel Watts, the Founder of MBA Admit,.com, is a Harvard and Oxford graduate with Harvard admissions experience and over 26 years of work with MBA applicants. Clients can opt to work directly with Dr. Shel in the admissions process. http://www.mbaadmit.com

Direct email address: info@mbaadmit.com

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Re: Expert advice for HBS from Admissions Consultant blogs  [#permalink]

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Harvard Business School has confirmed that the essay question for the class of 2021 remains unchanged from last year.

The most challenging part of the HBS essay is remaining disciplined. With unlimited space to make your case, you may be tempted to compose a laundry list of everything interesting or impressive you have ever done.

That urge could backfire, as the essay is used to determine who isn’t a fit for HBS as much as those who will move into the interview round for a closer look.  Who is Harvard looking for? The admissions committee writes that “Habit of Leadership, Analytical Aptitude and Appetite, and Engaged Community Citizenship” are the common characteristics of a successful applicant.
Class of 2021 admissions essay question:
As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA Program? (no word count limit)

 A note on word count: HBS values brevity in essays. Do not be tempted to go overboard with a 2,000 word essay, rather focus on concise and clear writing and consider keeping this essay in the ~1,000 word range. Our clients have successfully composed essays anywhere from 500-1,300 words, though you should take a pass through your essay to cut any unnecessary words if you find yourself on the upper end of that range.

Because there is no stated word count you do have the flexibility to take extra space if you are telling a compelling story that needs it.

The goal of this essay is to know yourself, know HBS, and know how to match the two to demonstrate your fit for the school. Your first task should be to evaluate all of the other aspects of your candidacy – what is the story your resume tells? What do you think recommenders will say? How does your transcript communicate your skills, accomplishments and interests? Then you need to evaluate how to fill the gaps with the essay.

Check out the incoming class profile for some idea of what a “typical” HBS student is like. We have found that both personal and career-oriented topics can work, and most candidates tell more than one story in the essay. In the past, we have observed that successful HBS essays often demonstrate a core driving passion. HBS students are ambitious, motivated, and never boring.

As you consider possible stories to tell in this essay keep in mind that HBS has always been highly focused on leadership and really loves candidates with a track record of leadership impact and future potential. If you can demonstrate a success trajectory that indicates upper management potential and a passion for impact in both business and society, use that material.

Accomplishments have traditionally been a strong focus of HBS essays. If you have an interesting and revealing accomplishments story it may be a good topic for part of this essay, particularly if your key accomplishments are not obvious when reading your resume or transcripts.

All of that being said, the goal of this essay is to understand who you are. “Be genuine” advises the HBS admissions blog, and continues: “Yes, we want you to put your best foot forward, but be careful not to be so “polished” that we can’t get to know the real you.” Setbacks and lessons learned can be just as informative as success stories if the stories reveal more about what motivates and inspires you.

A note on what not to do: We see many applicants tempted to include “why HBS” type information in HBS essays. Unlike most MBA programs, HBS has never asked “why HBS” in an application essay question. Explaining why the case method, specifically, is a good fit for you and your learning style may be appropriate.

However, avoid lengthy explanations about how HBS is your top choice. Due to the level of competition for Harvard Business School, we believe it’s more effective for you to use the space to provide detailed information about you and your strong candidacy.

Looking for guidance on your HBS application? Contact us to learn more about Stacy Blackman Consulting.
Image credit: Chris Han (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
***

If you are looking for guidance on your MBA application, Stacy Blackman Consulting can help with hourly and comprehensive consulting services. Contact us to learn more. Visit the website for Stacy Blackman Reviews, and check out the company’s e-publications for more in depth school-by-school guidance.
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Re: Expert advice for HBS from Admissions Consultant blogs  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Apr 2018, 10:59
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For those looking to get a jump start on their application to Harvard Business School this upcoming admissions season, Chad Losee, director of MBA admissions and financial aid, recently previewed the following MBA application deadlines and essay question for the 2018-19 admissions season.
ROUND 1
Application due: September 5, 2018
Decision released: TBA
ROUND 2
Application due: January 3, 2019
Decision released: TBA
ROUND 3/2+2
Application due: Early April 2019
Decision released: TBA

Harvard Business School strongly encourages international applicants to apply in rounds one or two to allow sufficient time for visa processing, as well as additional time to work on English fluency.

All applications are due at 12 noon EST on the day of the deadline. If submitted after 12 noon, applications will be considered in the following round. We’ll update this post with Round 3 and decision release information as it becomes available.
ESSAY QUESTION
The essay question will remain the same as last year: As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA Program? (no word count limit)

In the past, the HBS admissions team has suggested that applicants watch this video about the Case Method before beginning to write. Note that there is no word limit for this question, but as always, the team stresses that the goal is not to overthink, overcraft, and overwrite. Just answer the question in clear language that anyone outside of your industry would understand.

Applicants will have to answer a written reflection within 24 hours of their interview with an admissions staffer.

On Wednesday, June 6th, the HBS admissions team will hold an optional webinar walking through each element of the application, which goes live in early June. For more information, please visit the HBS admissions website.
***

If you are looking for guidance on your MBA application, Stacy Blackman Consulting can help with hourly and comprehensive consulting services. Contact us to learn more. Visit the website for Stacy Blackman Reviews, and check out the company’s e-publications for more in depth school-by-school guidance.
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Re: Expert advice for HBS from Admissions Consultant blogs  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Apr 2018, 11:00
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Last night at Harvard Business School, 12 student and alumni finalist teams made their pitches for $315,000 in cash prizes, plus in-kind prizes, at the Finale of the 21st annual HBS New Venture Competition (NVC).

The top prize in the student business, student social enterprise, and alumni tracks was $75,000 each, and  the finalists advanced through several rounds of judging. More than 300 judges, many of them HBS graduates, from such fields as venture capital, private equity, law, accounting, philanthropy, impact investing, and social entrepreneurship vigorously reviewed the new ventures.

Hosted each year by the school’s Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship and its Social Enterprise Initiative, in partnership with HBS Alumni Clubs & Associations, the Harvard Business School New Venture Competition is open to all students and alumni interested in launching new business and social impact ventures.

This year, 360 teams entered the competition–127 in the Student Business Track, 69 in the Student Social Enterprise Track, and 164 Alumni track teams in 11 global regional competitions.

“The New Venture Competition is critical to entrepreneurship at HBS. Competition winners say it was the launching point of their businesses. The NVC Finale is the capstone event for HBS entrepreneurs,” said Jodi Gernon, Director of the Arthur Rock Center.
This year’s winners are:
Student Business Track

The Dubilier $75,000 Grand Prize: HOUR 72+
Insect-repelling tech that lasts three days (not hours) and will protect billions from insect-borne disease.
Team: Andrew Rothaus (MBA 2018), Abraar Karan

Student Social Enterprise Track

Peter M. Sacerdote $75,000 Grand Prize: Umbulizer
Umbulizer is developing a low-cost, portable ventilator for patients in resource-constrained markets.
Team: Hamza Khan (MBA 2019), Shaheer Piracha, Sanchay Gupta (Harvard Medical School 2021)

Alumni Track

$75,000 Grand Prize: DynamiCare Health
Digital platform for monitoring and rewarding recovery from addiction.
Alumnus: Eric Gastfriend (MBA 2015), CEO, Region: New England

“It is the culmination of a year-long journey that began last October for graduate students across the entire University and our global alumni,” added Matt Segneri, Director of the school’s Social Enterprise Initiative. “The NVC’s Social Enterprise Track has catalyzed the creation of cutting-edge social enterprises.”

Director of Alumni Clubs & Associations Mary-Helen Black noted, “Alumni find participating in the NVC pivotal, invaluable, and enlightening. It raises their profiles. In addition to the grand prizes from HBS, some of these startups receive funding from the chapters and from other investors after pitching in the regional local alumni competitions.”

In addition to the $315,000 in cash prizes, sponsors have donated in kind tools and services that will help the startups launch and grow. In-kind sponsors are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Baker Library/Bloomberg Center, The Bridgespan Group, Echoing Green, Foley Hoag LLP, Harvard i-labs, HubSpot, MassChallenge, Shoobx, and Sweeney Law Group LLC.

“Since its inception in 1997, 5,294 people have participated, and $2,340,000 in cash prizes has helped launch these student and alumni new ventures,” said Rock Center director Gernon. “We are grateful for the support of faculty, judges, regional alumni club leads, and sponsors who make the New Venture Competition a meaningful journey for HBS founders.”
***

If you are looking for guidance on your MBA application, Stacy Blackman Consulting can help with hourly and comprehensive consulting services. Contact us to learn more. Visit the website for Stacy Blackman Reviews, and check out the company’s e-publications for more in depth school-by-school guidance.
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Harvard Business School Eliminates Third Application Round  [#permalink]

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New post 30 May 2018, 01:20
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In keeping with the trend of more and more MBA candidates submitting their applications in the first and second rounds (September and January), Harvard Business School (HBS) recently announced that it will be eliminating its third and final application round. However, the third round will remain in place for its 2+2 program for college seniors seeking deferred admission.

Estimates are that less than 5% of Harvard’s incoming MBA classes apply in R3. Students who are rejected by HBS usually accept offers from other top MBA programs.

Harvard’s decision will definitely have an impact on other programs that leave spots open for those students not accepted to Harvard during R1 and R2. Additionally, candidates will not have to wait until the spring to be notified of their waitlist status. This will allow applicants to give earlier notice to these other programs.

HBS Admissions Director Views Change as Positive for Incoming Students
Chad Losee, HBS’s managing director of MBA admissions and financial aid, sees this decision as a positive one for incoming students. “Getting a decision earlier will give admitted students better access to on-campus housing, more cohort options for HBX CORe, and more time for visa processing,” he says. He also states that the decision was made to give the Class of 2021 a head start on the R1 and R2 deadlines, announcing that these deadlines will be September 5, 2018 and January 4, 2019. The application for R1 will open in early June 2018. Harvard is striving to make the admissions process as smooth as they can for incoming students.

According to Losee, when students interview on campus, a whole day of events is planned with students and faculty to give candidates a real feeling of attending HBS. But when applicants would come for R3 interviews, they wouldn’t get a complete picture of HBS since students and faculty were already well into the swing of final exams.

HBS acknowledges that timing has traditionally been a problem for students admitted in Round 3. They recognize that is takes a lot of time to finish up a job and move to a new city and feel that the extra time will be helpful in these and other areas.

MBA Admissions Consultants Share Their Perspective
Accepted’s MBA admissions consultants see the Harvard Business School application deadline change as a positive one, given the few non-2+2 students who were actually accepted during the third round. Accepted Senior Consultant Jennifer Bloom notes “Frankly, I appreciate the honesty. It’s nasty to make people think they have a real chance when there are so few (or no) spots left.”

Accepted consultant Karin Ash adds, “It also once again reveals how the elite schools are spoiled with an abundance of over-the-top applications.”

Linda Abraham, Accepted founder and CEO, believes “This change may actually slightly increase applications round 3 for other schools. “People rejected to HBS (and elsewhere) will apply to other programs round 3.”

Need help creating a strong, competitive application for Harvard Business School? Check out our MBA Admissions Consulting Services for more information on how we can help you get ACCEPTED.

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This article originally appeared on blog.accepted.com.

Applying to a top b-school? The talented folks at Accepted have helped hundreds of applicants get accepted to their dream programs. Whether you are figuring out where to apply, writing your application essays, or prepping for your interviews, we are just a call (or click) away.

Contact us, and get matched up with the consultant who will help you get accepted!
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Re: Expert advice for HBS from Admissions Consultant blogs  [#permalink]

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Today on the Direct from the Director blog, Harvard Business School admissions director Chad Losee dropped an MBA admissions bombshell: HBS will no longer have a third round as of the 2018-19 application cycle.

Admitted round three applicants have always faced a time crunch where finishing up work and moving to a new city is concerned, and this shift down to two rounds will allow both admitted (and rejected) applicants more time to better plan their next steps.

“Given that we’ve seen more applicants in Rounds 1 and 2 and fewer in Round 3 in recent years, this change feels consistent with the choices you are making about when to apply,” Losee explains, adding that, “getting a decision earlier will give admitted students better access to on-campus housing, more cohort options for HBX CORe, and more time for visa processing.”

For applicants hoping to join the Harvard Business School Class of 2021, you’ll need to apply in either Round 1 (September 5, 2018) or Round 2 (January 4, 2019). The admissions director assures they have no preference between the two rounds.

Come spring, the admissions team will focus solely on HBS’s 2+2 program for college seniors seeking deferred admission and the April deadline remains.

In an interview with Poets & Quants, Losee noted that the move was designed to give the Class of 2021 a jump on planning ahead for the September and January deadlines.

“When we bring students to interview on campus,” Losee tells P&Q, “we plan whole day of events for them with students and faculty to get a sense for what that’s like here. That has been harder to do in round three because since students and faculty are in finals and those types of things, so they won’t have as complete of a picture of what HBS is. We get to know the applicants and we hope the applicants get to know us as well as they can so they can make an informed decision.”
Image credit: Chris Han (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
***

If you are looking for guidance on your MBA application, Stacy Blackman Consulting can help with hourly and comprehensive consulting services. Contact us to learn more. Visit the website for Stacy Blackman Reviews, and check out the company’s e-publications for more in depth school-by-school guidance.
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Re: Expert advice for HBS from Admissions Consultant blogs  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jul 2018, 18:17
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The term safety school gets thrown around quite a bit in MBA admissions, and it’s important for applicants to have a clear understanding of what that term means before they start the business school selection process.

The rule when coming up with a list of business schools is that you must feel genuine enthusiasm about attending each and every one of them, regardless of whether they are dream schools or programs you might consider a safer bet. If you would feel disappointed rather than ecstatic about advancing your career by attending a school, then do not apply. That’s a waste of everyone’s time and your money.

A good way to determine whether your list should include one or more safety schools is by asking yourself how important it is for you to go to business school next year. If the need is immediate, then definitely include a range of schools of varying degrees of competitiveness. The application pool fluctuates each year, and all you need is one admit, so spread some risk around.

However, if you’ve zeroed in on a handful of highly competitive programs that you strongly feel are the best choices for advancing your professional goals, and you have some flexibility with the timing, it would be better to focus your energies on the GMAT and elevating your profile in line with your target programs’ characteristics.
What Exactly is a “Safety” School?
A safety school doesn’t mean you’d be guaranteed an offer of admission, though. It merely means your chances are far greater than at a program with an acceptance rate of 15 percent or lower.

So, in order to decide what qualifies as a safety school for you, start with the hard data points. As a general guideline, take a look at programs you like where your profile falls within the top 10 percent of admitted students.

Compare your undergraduate GPA, GMAT score, years of work experience and particular industry with those of accepted applicants reported by the school in their class profile page. If your industry is underrepresented, consider that an advantage for your application.

Everyone has different reasons for applying to business school. Your main focus may be on networking prospects, the educational experience, geographic location, culture, special programming or even family tradition. If you’re excited about any of those elements at a school and would be happy to attend for any of those reasons, then consider it, even if it’s a safe choice.

I had a client who applied to both University of California—Los Angeles Anderson School of Management and Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. Of the two, Stanford is obviously the more competitive “reach” school, but my client was from Los Angeles and would have been happy to go to Anderson, thus making it a great selection for a safety school.

Ultimately, he did get into Stanford and chose that school over the full scholarship offer he received from UCLA.

Another client faced the difficult decision of remaining on the waitlist at the University of California—Berkeley Haas School of Business, his dream choice, or accepting an offer of admission from the University of Texas—Austin McCombs School of Business, his safety school and one he would be thrilled to attend.

When the waitlist purgatory continued into summer, even after he’d submitted a deposit to hold his place at McCombs, he finally decided to withdraw from the Haas wait list and commit to a sure thing. He was increasingly happy with McCombs as he met his future classmates and weighed the significant financial benefits of in-state tuition.

If you do apply to a range of schools, make sure each is a good fit and that your excitement, level of research and passion for the program comes through in your application regardless of whether it’s a safety school or not. The folks in the admissions committee have typically been at it long enough and can tell when an applicant has lukewarm feelings for them – and that’s the surest way your safe bet will become a bust.
***

If you are looking for guidance on your MBA application, Stacy Blackman Consulting can help with hourly and comprehensive consulting services. Contact us to learn more. Visit the website for Stacy Blackman Reviews, and check out the company’s e-publications for more in depth school-by-school guidance.
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Re: Expert advice for HBS from Admissions Consultant blogs  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jul 2018, 18:18
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 The strong work ethic associated with investment bankers and money managers and the prestige that comes with working for a big brand are attributes that business schools such as Harvard, Wharton and Stanford covet, as they demonstrate readiness for the rigors of the MBA classroom. In my recent article for eFinancial Careers, I note that MBA admissions officers used to look more favorably upon applicants with financial services experience.

These days, finance candidates have to take a more critical approach to MBA application strategy, as they represent the largest pool of incoming students at top business schools. And while MBA admissions committees do accept applications from oversubscribed populations, they are now focusing more on diversity of profession, gender and nationality, because it enriches peer-to-peer learning and contributes to their success in the rankings. With finance an overwhelmingly male-dominated profession, men in particular have a higher bar to reach in the current MBA admissions climate.

So, how do you rise to the top of a competitive pool when you’re a common commodity? Every element of the MBA application should be optimized if you are to set yourself apart from the financial herd. Here’s how to leverage your banking resume to get an MBA at Harvard, Wharton or Stanford.
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If you are looking for guidance on your MBA application, Stacy Blackman Consulting can help with hourly and comprehensive consulting services. Contact us to learn more. Visit the website for Stacy Blackman Reviews, and check out the company’s e-publications for more in depth school-by-school guidance.
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Re: Expert advice for HBS from Admissions Consultant blogs  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jul 2018, 18:36
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After being rejected by six top schools, Ed Redden reapplied the following year and won acceptances to both Harvard and Stanford’s MBA programs.

Everyone hates rejection, but when it comes in the form of a ding from your dream business school, the disappointment is amplified. You’re already emotionally drained from the application experience, out hundreds or even thousands of dollars in MBA application fees, travel expenses to visit the schools, or wardrobe updates to impress your MBA interviewers. For many rejected MBA candidates, having to wait another year to start business school feels like pure agony.

Where did I go wrong? What could I have done differently? What does the admissions committee really want from applicants? These questions plague dinged candidates each season, because the schools rarely convey exactly what caused your application to land in the denied pile.

When we met Ed Redden last year, he had submitted six failed applications, but the rejections from Harvard Business School and Stanford Graduate School of Business in particular made him question whether he should even try to apply again.

Yet, he was a compelling candidate. He graduated with a degree in chemical engineering from Notre Dame University in 2013 and has spent the past five years working for General Electric Co. in a variety of roles with increasing responsibility. He leads a group of more than 55 employees across five manufacturing product lines for GE.
Doubts About Reapplying
“There was a lot of self-doubt and questioning about what my future would be,” he admits. “Should I re-apply or focus on the career I already had going? I knew I didn’t put my best application forward, but was it worth it to try again? Did I even have a chance as a reapplicant, or had I blown my chance?”

Many applicants face this crossroads—whether to forgo business school completely and focus on their current career path—at the end of an unsuccessful admissions cycle. No one can answer that question but you. However, the important takeaway is that one failed attempt does not mean you’ve blown your chance forever.

“During my first round of applications I remember feeling very confused about what it was the adcom was looking for in a good candidate,” Redden explains. “It often felt like admissions was a black box and I was hopelessly trying to crack the code. I knew deep inside that I was a good candidate for top MBA programs and had great experiences that would add value to the classroom. I just needed help telling my story.”
3 Common Mistakes in MBA Applications
Without direct feedback from the admissions committee, you must do some sleuthing yourself to determine what your weaknesses were. After a complete review, we uncovered three common mistakes Redden made during his first time applying that likely hindered his chances at these top MBA programs.

A successful application takes a lot of time and energy. Candidates must really do their homework about the schools they have targeted in order to create compelling essays that convince the adcom how a particular program will help them reach their career goals, and how they in turn will contribute to the school as students and eventual alumni.

Work and personal factors caused Redden to rush his applications, which translated into a generic approach rather than focusing on each school and tailoring the application to speak to that program’s unique culture and values. The third and most consequential weakness, we realized, was with his recommenders. “I didn’t give my recommenders much direction or background,” he admits. “They were not familiar with the MBA application process and had never written a letter of recommendation like that before.”
Guiding Your MBA Recommenders
To remedy this issue when he reapplied, we suggested Redden create a “recommender package,” which offers instruction on both process and content. Provide your recommenders with a list of your strengths and characteristics that you plan to highlight in the application, and since many schools ask recommenders about your weaknesses or areas of development, give the recommender a growth area for you as well as examples of how you’re working on it.

Then the recommender can speak to your maturity and awareness, showing schools you intend to hit the ground running and improve through their program. You want to make it as easy as possible for them to write glowing letters, so a recommender package is a win-win for all. Don’t leave it to your recommender to remember everything you’ve ever done, and definitely don’t leave this process to chance. Your recommenders will appreciate your assistance and thoroughness.

Redden says he devoted much more time and attention to his recommenders during the re-application process. “I chose each recommender for specific and different reasons and worked with them as opposed to throwing it over the fence and simply hoping they wrote a good letter.  I was intentional on what aspects of our relationship I wanted them to focus on and what achievements or experiences I wanted them to highlight. The letter they wrote was fully their own but it was much better aligned with my overall SBC strategy as a re-applicant,” he notes.
GMAT Score and Career Goals
Although his career path and goals, and GMAT score, didn’t change from one application cycle to the next, Redden says he adapted a much more honest and authentic approach to the essays, as well as better structure that reflected a strategic focus, the second time around. “Through conversations with my consultant and a lot of self-reflection, I came to better understand what unique experiences and perspectives I brought to the table, how that would best resonate with each school, and how best to highlight that in my application,” he explains.

On the surface, many applicants to elite MBA programs share similar backgrounds and traits. They’re ambitious, driven, accomplished, and have strong academic records and impressive test scores. But just because candidates share these characteristics doesn’t mean their MBA application essays have to beat the same drum.

When brainstorming stories from your background to share in your MBA essays, you should absolutely include some traditional work stuff. But also think about family, friendships, languages, interests, passions, dreams—categories that are not necessarily “business-y” but that reveal character traits you want to emphasize.
Why an MBA Resume Matters
Redden also created a better, stronger resume tailored specifically for his applications. Just from reading your resume, the admissions team should clearly understand what sort of work stories you’d be talking about in class, or what sorts of “lessons learned” you’ll speak to from either your professional or community-service experiences.

Adcom members have often told us that the resume is just as important as the essays, so the extra work you put into revising it could make the difference between a ding and an interview offer. To pick up some tips for your own resume, check out our resume guide here.

About his final decision, he says,  “I could not make a ‘wrong’ choice, and would have loved to attend either school (or both if I could!). After a lot of self-reflection it came down to who I wanted to be and the type of leader I wanted to become. Both schools would strengthen and develop different aspects of my leadership ability and it was ultimately a personal decision about what school I believed to be the right fit for me.” He chose Stanford and will start its MBA program this fall.

We are grateful to Ed for placing his trust in SBC and for agreeing to share his story. Our hope is that you are inspired to shoot for the stars even if you have failed. You don’t need a perfect 4.0 or an 800 test score. You don’t need to manage a team of 40 people. You do need focus, resilience and the proper strategy.
This article originally appeared as a guest post for our friends at the business school news website Poets & Quants.

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If you are looking for guidance on your MBA application, Stacy Blackman Consulting can help with hourly and comprehensive consulting services. Contact us to learn more. Visit the website for Stacy Blackman Reviews, and check out the company’s e-publications for more in depth school-by-school guidance.
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New post 31 Jul 2018, 18:41
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Have you ever heard of the term “double admits”? That’s what we in the MBA admissions consulting industry call those singular applicants who receive admissions offers from both Harvard Business School (HBS) and Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB). We’ve worked with many top applicants this MBA admissions season who achieved this impressive feat—some with scholarships to boot. Here we analyze eight cases—and we have eight specific takeaways to share.

Though not as rare as actual unicorns, these exceptional candidates and their unique admissions stories can offer some very clear lessons for prospective MBA applicants feeling daunted by the sterling reputations and competitive stats of these two elite business schools.

Lesson 1: You don’t need an undergraduate degree from an elite college, or come from a typical MBA-oriented firm or industry. None of the double admits we worked with graduated from an elite or Ivy League university. In fact, all of the U.S. students in this group came from schools ranked between 20-50. Only one of the admits came from a firm known as a heavy feeder and recruiter for elite MBA programs. None of the others even had MBA graduates as supervisors. Their backgrounds included education, family business, military, energy, and Fortune 500.

Lesson 2: GPA, test scores and demographics are not predictive of success. Our gang of eight included four U.S. citizens and four international applicants. Most were male, and only one is an underrepresented minority. Both GRE and GMAT takers were represented. Their stats generally fell within the 80 percent range but were not ultimately predictive of success. Scores ranged from a low 600 GRE to a 770 GMAT, with a median score of 710. Over the years, we’ve seen numerous double admits offset a low-ish GMAT or GRE score with a proven track record in a quantitative job and compelling leadership activities.

Lesson 3: You don’t need to have saved the world. Every double admit had modest extracurriculars, such as professional organization membership, music, sports, one-on-one mentoring, and basic volunteering. Your extracurricular activities should resonate with you, and any meaningful involvement can give you the opportunity to exercise leadership and management skills in a low-risk, high-impact situation.

Lesson 4: Age is just a number. We found that age skewed somewhat older in this year’s group of double admits, who had between four and seven years of post-college work experience. One successful candidate was over 30. Five-and-a-half years was the average work tenure upon applying. We regularly assure both older and younger applicants that it’s not about chronological age. It’s more about maturity, readiness, and where you are in your career.

Lesson 5: All applicants demonstrated true character and a desire plus a track record of helping others. When discussing their careers, each of these applicants veered away from sharing the typical workplace accomplishment stories and instead wove in anecdotes about helping others—mentoring, giving, or assisting in some way. This focus also informed future career and personal aspirations.

Lesson 6: They shared distinctive, personal stories and attainable goals. While their resumes may have said “5 years at Citibank,” their essays spoke much more personally, bringing their true natures and trajectories to life. They told micro-stories that filled in the blanks. Omitting generic themes like coding or crunching numbers, these applicants showed humanity, showcased what drives them toward future careers, and explained why they made certain decisions. Their stories told the “why” behind their prior actions but also developed an understanding of career aspirations.  Goals made sense and appeared attainable given prior experiences and the track record of consistent actions they had taken.

Lesson 7: They painted a “Big Picture” focus beyond just landing a job. None of these admits described their current careers or future aspirations in terms of a specific job. It was much more meaningful than that. They felt driven to make an impact on people and on their industries. They wanted to shift mindsets, behaviors, and ultimately change the world. Think big picture themes like globalizing the reach of an industry, providing life changing assistance to others, or easing political tensions.

Lesson 8: They were self-aware and likable, confident but also self-deprecating. No business school wants to admit even the most accomplished jerk. While these applicants struck us as self-assured, they also came off as likable, realistic about their shortcomings, and open about their need to try harder to compensate for various weaknesses.  The members of this group were people with whom you would want to work on a group project, organize a conference, or study for exams. In short, they are real people with both flaws and strengths, going to b-school in order to get better and achieve more.

While Stanford GSB and Harvard Business School are famously difficult to get into, don’t let fear or low acceptance rates keep you from applying. There is no magic formula that guarantees admissions success, but as these eight applicants demonstrate, personality, passion, and a sincere desire to make the world a better place can help tip the odds in your favor.
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If you are looking for guidance on your MBA application, Stacy Blackman Consulting can help with hourly and comprehensive consulting services. Contact us to learn more. Visit the website for Stacy Blackman Reviews, and check out the company’s e-publications for more in depth school-by-school guidance.
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New post 02 Oct 2018, 11:53
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Harvard Business School (HBS) is sending out the bulk of Round 1 MBA admissions  interview invitations today. The remainder is slated for release on Thursday, October 4th.  If you receive an invite—lucky you, as HBS interviews just 25% of applicants each season—make sure to avoid the following faux pas during your MBA admissions interview at this prestigious business school.
Don’t even think about winging your MBA admissions interview.
Harvard Business School interviewers love to throw off applicants with rapid-fire questions to test how well you know your resume and essays. If you don’t practice for this interview, you’ll really hurt your chances of admission.

Think of a few compelling anecdotes that you can adapt to fit the most common HBS interview questions. The anecdotes you share about your past experiences — both successes and failures — will give the interviewer some insight into your self-awareness and maturity. Make sure to practice in front of a friend, and consider recording yourself as you rehearse. That way, you can assess your body language and tone and make adjustments as needed.
Don’t try to be the “ideal” MBA candidate.
While it’s tempting to want to present yourself as the picture-perfect applicant, your interviewer is trying to suss out what exactly you, and nobody else but you, can bring to the program.

Speak candidly about your passions, interests, and professional goals. Your story should reveal how you confront life choices, the values and principles that help you negotiate complex situations, your beliefs, and your worldview. That way, you’ll come across as a fascinating person who has a lot to share with future classmates. In short, a great addition to the HBS MBA program.
Don’t bore your interviewer.
Another thing to keep in mind: Your interviewer may interview dozens of candidates. That means a lot of eager future-moguls talking about the same thing: themselves. So whenever possible, make the interview a conversation, not a monologue. By including the interviewer in the conversation, you’ll keep them interested and engaged in the most important topic of all: YOU.
Don’t forget to ask questions, too.
Come armed with a brief list of questions that highlight your knowledge of and interest in the school. If interviewing with an alum, it’s easy to engage in a comfortable conversation about their experience at the school. Not only will you learn more about HBS, but by asking thoughtful questions your interviewer will get another opportunity to see your insightful way of thinking.

Harvard Business School admits roughly half of all applicants they interview. Ultimately, your goal is to answer all questions in a clear, logical way. Also, maintain an open, friendly, and professional demeanor. And don’t forget to dress appropriately! Finally, show that you have an inquisitive attitude about the school and all that it has to offer students.

If you can master these tips, you stand a very good chance of coming out of the interview with flying colors.
Image credit: Michael A. Herzog (CC BY-ND 2.0)
The post How Not to Tank Your MBA Admissions Interview at HBS appeared first on Stacy Blackman Consulting - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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If you are looking for guidance on your MBA application, Stacy Blackman Consulting can help with hourly and comprehensive consulting services. Contact us to learn more. Visit the website for Stacy Blackman Reviews, and check out the company’s e-publications for more in depth school-by-school guidance.
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Re: Expert advice for HBS from Admissions Consultant blogs  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Oct 2018, 11:54
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Stephen Schwarzman, Chairman and CEO of Blackstone, donates $5M to fund new case studies in AI.

Earlier this week, Harvard Business School (HBS) announced it has received a substantial gift to help fund case studies on the uses and effect of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on the business landscape.

HBS alumnus Stephen Schwarzman, chairman and CEO of global private equity firm The Blackstone Group, donated $5 million to support the development of case studies and other programming that explore the implications of AI on industries, business, and markets.

In the not-too-distant future, AI could disrupt almost every industry. Potentially, it could create entirely new markets and business models, driving the need for new skills in the workforce. Additionally, AI raises organizational design, policy, and ethical considerations that future leaders must be prepared to navigate.

“Across Blackstone’s diverse portfolio, I have seen firsthand the impact that rapid technological change has on businesses and industries,” says Schwarzman, adding, “The disruptive implications and opportunities surrounding AI are far-reaching. Executives need to understand how to anticipate, act on, and manage these changes.”
HBS Explores AI’s Implications on the Business Landscape
The Schwarzman Research Fund will spur and extend the efforts of Harvard Business School faculty members across a range of disciplines who research and write case studies on the use of AI.

Especially relevant topics might include the impact of AI on new market creation, organizational structures, operating model design, innovation frameworks, worker productivity, and importantly, the long-term policy and ethical considerations related to AI.

“AI has profound implications for the future of work and for society more broadly,” says Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria.

Consequently, the dean says, “We believe it is imperative to provide our students with opportunities to explore how these changes will affect the role of managers. Steve’s generous gift will accelerate faculty research in this area, advancing understanding and exposing business leaders around the world to this increasingly important topic.”

HBS faculty members will use these new cases and other research materials across the school’s MBA and Executive Education programs, as well as in HBX, the school’s on-line educational platform. Also, Harvard Business Publishing will distribute the case studies globally.

To learn more about Schwarzman and his generous gift, please visit The Harvard Crimson.

The post $5M Gift Will Fund New HBS Case Studies on AI appeared first on Stacy Blackman Consulting - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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If you are looking for guidance on your MBA application, Stacy Blackman Consulting can help with hourly and comprehensive consulting services. Contact us to learn more. Visit the website for Stacy Blackman Reviews, and check out the company’s e-publications for more in depth school-by-school guidance.
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