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Stacy Blackman Consulting Representative
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USC Marshall School Fall 2019 MBA Essays [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: USC Marshall School Fall 2019 MBA Essays

The Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California has posted the following MBA essay questions for the 2018-19 admissions season.

Essay 1
What is your specific, immediate short-term career goal upon completion of your MBA? Please include an intended position, function, and industry in your response. (100 words)

Essay 2
Please respond to ONLY ONE of the following essay topics. (500 words)

  • If you could pack the story of your life in a briefcase with 10 items, what items would you pack and why? Respond in list form.
  • You are asked to design a course to be taught at the Marshall School of Business. Please provide a title and description for the course.
  • You have been hired by the Marshall MBA Admissions Committee to create an essay question for next year’s application. Please state the question and answer it.
Optional Essay
Please provide any additional information that will enhance our understanding of your candidacy for the program. (250 words)

For additional information on applying, please visit the Marshall School MBA admissions website.

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London Business School Fall 2019 Application Deadlines [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: London Business School Fall 2019 Application Deadlines

The London Business School has posted the  following MBA application deadlines for the 2018-19 admissions season.

Round 1
Application due: September 14, 2018

Decision released: November 21, 2018

Round 2
Application due: January 3, 2019

Decision released: March 28, 2019

Round 3
Application due: March 1, 2019

Decision released: May 22, 2019

Round 4
Application due: April 17, 2019

Decision released: June 19, 2019

***

All application deadlines are 17:00 UK time. All Admissions Committee decisions are communicated via email and will be sent on the relevant deadline day by 23:30pm UK time.

For more information about applying, please visit the LBS admissions website.

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CentreCourt MBA Admissions Events in September [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: CentreCourt MBA Admissions Events in September

For many who are just embarking on their B-school journey, attending an MBA admissions event like the upcoming CentreCourt MBA Festival is a stellar way to meet admissions representatives from several programs and impress them with your thoughtfulness and preparation…in other words, stand out from the crowd.

The festival has already made stops in London and Boston, and many US cities plus a stop in Toronto still await throughout the month of September.  This truly is a comprehensive event, with 35 of the top 40 ranked business schools participating in CentreCourt 2018.

CentreCourt San Francisco is coming up on September 6th, and will feature Stanford GSB, Berkeley-Haas, CMU Tepper and many more. The Los Angeles stop on September 8th, meanwhile,  will feature UCLA, Cornell, Darden, CMU Tepper plus the former AD for Wharton on a mock Committee panel. Find out your chances of getting into your dream schools.

This is a unique opportunity to hear from the deans, admissions directors and admissions officers of the world’s top MBA programs. CentreCourt is a free event and space is limited, so register today!

For advice on how applicants can make the most of MBA fairs, as well as general school research help, just follow one of the article links below to see SBC’s expert tips!

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Attention 2018 MBA Applicants: We Need Your Input! [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Attention 2018 MBA Applicants: We Need Your Input!

With Round One deadlines nearly upon us, Stacy Blackman Consulting wants to check the pulse of this year’s crop of b-school applicants by polling them about their MBA plans.

So, here’s the deal: we’re asking for a favor. Please fill out our one-minute surveyWe know how precious your time is—you’ll only have to “check the box” in response to a few simple MBA-related questions.

Then, keep an eye out for the survey results here on the blog, which will give you insight into how other prospective students are thinking about the application process.

Every participant has the opportunity to enter a sweepstakes to win a $100 Amazon gift card, or a $100 cash prize if preferred. The survey is live now and will close at 12 p.m. PST on Friday, September 7, 2018. So please, take a moment to share with us your thoughts and experiences related to the MBA application process.

Enter survey here.

Thanks so much for your participation!

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Tuesday Tips: INSEAD MBA Fall 2019 MBA Essay Tips [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: INSEAD MBA Fall 2019 MBA Essay Tips


INSEAD, “the business school of the world,” is a top ranked program by most of the major business publications. The school has managed to attract a diverse and highly international group of students through a manageable 12-month full time program, multiple campuses and practical business experiences. INSEAD has an active exchange program with Wharton in the US and campuses in France, Abu Dhabi and Singapore, providing further options for student experiences.

Along with this set of essays, INSEAD has a required video interview, which has to be completed within 48 hours after your intake deadline. INSEAD admissions tells candidates that “The video should be seen as a unique opportunity for you to share your passions, your motivations and who you truly are. “ Visit the INSEAD admissions overview for detailed instructions on the video essay and other components of the application.

JOB ESSAYS

All of the job essays are more short answer than meant to be full essays, and INSEAD advises they can be answered in as little as one line, or as much as twenty lines. Given that direction, you could think of the entire set as one narrative where you start with your current job, then discuss what you would do next in your role, and your background, culminating with a brief explanation of your goals and where an MBA fits.

Make sure you are efficient with your space and just answer the questions in a straightforward manner. INSEAD is not looking for extensive explanation or background beyond the specific questions answered.

Job Essay 1: Briefly summarize your current (or most recent) job, including the nature of work, major responsibilities, and where relevant, employees under your supervision, size of budget, clients/products and results achieved. (short answer)

This question focuses on your current (or most recent) work situation. Though you may want to provide relevant context for your current role, make sure you are devoting most of the space to describing the details of your day-to-day responsibilities and oversight. If you are lighter on supervising others or managing a budget, you have the opportunity to highlight some key responsibilities and results.

Job Essay 2: What would be your next step in terms of position if you were to remain in the same company? (short answer)

If your boss has already talked to you about the next step this is an easy question to answer. If you have not explicitly discussed promotion at work, what would be the next role you would ideally pursue?

If you are pursuing an MBA because you want to make a career change or because the next step at your current company is undesirable for other reasons, this may be a place to describe what that next step would be and why you do not wish to pursue it (with more context provided in the long term goal section).

Job Essay 3: Please give a full description of your career since graduating from university. Describe your career path with the rationale behind your choices. (short answer)

Even if you have a fairly straightforward career path you can take the opportunity to comment on some of the learnings from each position to create the story of your past, present and future plans and build an overall career narrative. This should be a short answer like the others, so you will want to focus only on the moves you have made in your career and the reasons behind them.

Job Essay 4: Discuss your short and long term career aspirations with or without an MBA from INSEAD. (short answer)

Typically a top tier program like INSEAD is an accelerator for your career – introducing you to a broader network than you would otherwise have, expanding your skillset into new functional areas and exposing you to people from around the world.

Think about how you plan to use your MBA to advance your current career (or change paths entirely). If you did not attend INSEAD, how would you achieve your goals otherwise? Think of this short answer essay as a thought experiment to show that you can plan two routes to one goal, while perhaps demonstrating the superiority of the MBA path.

Optional Job Essay: If you are currently not working or if you plan to leave your current employer more than 2 months before the programme starts, please explain your activities and occupations between leaving your job and the start of the programme.

If you are not employed at the moment, you will want to answer this question to show how you are utilizing your time without full time employment. Ideally you are currently involved in an activity that is going to further your career or personal goals at this time. The best answer is one that shows you are self-motivated and do not need paid work to continue developing yourself.

For example, perhaps you are volunteering in a non-profit that is related to your career goals. Maybe you are working with a friend on a start-up. Or you are consulting and building contacts in your industry.

If you are out of work only briefly or planning to take just a few months off before school starts, it’s also perfectly reasonable to be pursuing travel or other activities that develop your international awareness and perspective. However, make sure that your activities can tie back to your long-term goals or other key aspects of your application strategy.

MOTIVATION ESSAYS

Essay 1: Give a candid description of yourself (who are you as a person), stressing the personal characteristics you feel to be your strengths and weaknesses and the main factors which have influenced your personal development, giving examples when necessary. (approximately 500 words)

Strengths and weaknesses are a common topic for MBA applications. The purpose of a question about strengths and weaknesses is to evaluate your level of maturity and self-awareness. This is an opportunity to highlight leadership, teamwork or other qualities that will drive your future career success.

Examples aren’t explicitly required, but consider that the admissions committee is reading a large number of essays and concrete examples can help you stand out. When describing weaknesses, you will want to focus on those weaknesses that you have taken tangible steps to address, or that have been a route to learning more about yourself. Often strengths and weaknesses are two sides of the same coin, in which case you can even tie your key weaknesses to your key strengths.

Because it is difficult to write about weaknesses without sounding either overly self deprecating, or as if you are humble-bragging, this is an especially important essay to share with others to seek feedback on tone and impact.

Essay 2: Describe the achievement of which you are most proud and explain why. In addition, describe a situation where you failed. How did these experiences impact your relationships with others? Comment on what you learned. (approx. 400 words)

This essay is an opportunity to showcase one of your most important achievements. Impressive achievements that stand on their own are great fuel for this essay, and equally important is explaining why these accomplishments are valuable to you. If you concisely explain the accomplishment and how you were able to bring it to fruition, you will have room to provide the context for your personal pride in the accomplishment.

The flip side of achievement is failure, and INSEAD wants to understand how you view both. When approaching any failure essay it’s important to use a real failure that has emotional resonance for you. An accomplishment framed as a failure will be easy to see through and will not demonstrate anything about your maturity or ability to grow.

Your failure should be real, and also something that led you to grow or learn. If you can describe how you have changed your approach as a result of the failure that is an excellent outcome.

The third part of the essay deals with how these experiences impacted your relationships and what you learned. Whether you were part of a team or the main impact was on a loved one, this part of the essay encourages you to step outside your own narrative of success and failure and think about how other people felt about your actions.

Most obviously a success likely led to happiness from a team or a manager, while a failure was disappointing to those around you. However, your particular achievement or failure could have led to a learning experience for your team, an opportunity for someone else, or a chance for you to be closer to another person through a team challenge. Think creatively about this aspect.

Essay 3: Describe all types of extra-professional activities in which you have been or are still involved for a significant amount of time (clubs, sports, music, arts, politics, etc). How are you enriched by these activities? (approx. 300 words)

Nothing is more personal than what you choose to do outside of school or work. What are the most meaningful pursuits you have spent your time on? You should both describe the main interests you have outside of your professional pursuits and explain why they are meaningful to you and why you spend time on them.

Ideally you can also explain how you will continue your involvement while at INSEAD and cite some specific clubs or groups where you see your interests contributing to the community.

Optional Essay: Is there anything else that was not covered in your application that you would like to share with the Admissions Committee? (approx. 300 words)

This essay is 300 words you can use for anything you would like to showcase and that you were unable to work into the rest of your application. Because INSEAD’s questions are quite thorough you may have covered all aspects of your candidacy and personal qualities in the other essay questions, in which case you can feel comfortable skipping this question (it IS optional).

If you did not have a place for an interesting hobby, new aspect of your background to describe, or key accomplishment, it may be appropriate to use this space to tell that story.

It is far better to fully explain any issues in your application than to leave the admissions committee to guess what happened. If you have any challenging aspects to your candidacy like a low GPA or a failing grade in college, this is the correct place to address those concerns. Explain your issue clearly and focus most of the essay on the correction for the issue.

For example, if you had a disciplinary issue in college, spend most of the essay demonstrating that you learned from the experience and have been an ideal citizen ever since rather than focusing on the negative. Avoid blaming anyone else for your issue, and relentlessly show why this one incident is in your past and will stay there.

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Tuesday Tips: USC Marshall Fall 2019 MBA Essay Tips [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: USC Marshall Fall 2019 MBA Essay Tips

The Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California reflects the diversity and dynamism of the Los Angeles area.

According to Assistant Dean and Director, Evan Bouffides: “What matters most to us is our learning community and how, through collaboration, we grow and learn together to collectively strengthen the Trojan Family. Thus, we do not believe in the concept of the “perfect” or “ideal” candidate. In fact, there are more atypical candidates than typical ones, and everyone has a unique story.”

Though the USC Marshall school is a community of its own, the larger USC Trojan Family is an important part of the school’s identity and offers additional academic opportunities for MBA students.

ESSAY 1

What is your specific, immediate short-term career goal upon completion of your MBA? Please include an intended position, function, and industry in your response. (100 words)

With only 100 words to use here, stay brief and focused. What is your plan when you graduate from USC? Because you can add no context to your career plans, make sure your resume and other application materials support this next step. If you are career switching it will help to highlight any transferable skills in your resume or ask your recommenders to comment on your future plans and how you will use your MBA to reach your goals.

If your next job is a logical step from your prior experience to your MBA, it’s still important to be specific about the job you plan to pursue to add as much detail to your application as possible.

ESSAY 2

Please respond to ONLY ONE of the following essay topics. (500 words)

1. If you could pack the story of your life in a briefcase with 10 items, what items would you pack and why? Respond in list form.

2. You are asked to design a course to be taught at the Marshall School of Business. Please provide a title and description for the course.



3. You have been hired by the Marshall MBA Admissions Committee to create an essay question for next year’s application. Please state the question and answer it.

Two of the three essay questions require significant research into the Marshall MBA program. It will be important to know as much as possible about the academics at USC Marshall for option 2 and the admissions criteria and values of USC Marshall for option 3.

If you are someone who has a standard career background and competition that may be similar, you might consider using option 1 or option 3 to describe something interesting or diverse in your background. Perhaps you have an unusual hobby, have made an impact on the community in a special way, or have an interesting family heritage. Option 1 is also a tricky creative challenge that could create a fascinating and intriguing essay.

Option 2 is an excellent way for you to showcase intellectual curiosity and your knowledge of the academic curriculum at USC. If there is a professor you would want to work with, this question is an opportunity to discuss their work and your interest in it.

Option 3 is new this year and fascinating for all MBA applicants. You have been undergoing the process of evaluation by multiple schools, perhaps complete with school visits and discussions with alumni. This is your chance to show USC what you think is most important for them to know about applicants, and to answer the question yourself. Ideally you can demonstrate that you understand the USC culture and values with the question design.

ESSAY #3 (OPTIONAL)

Please provide any additional information that will enhance our understanding of your candidacy for the program. (250 words)

This essay is fairly open-ended and might provide an opportunity to add additional information or to discuss a gap in your application. If you have a low GPA, grade below a C in a quantitative subject, an employment gap or any other issue in your background, this is the place to explain. Focus on clearly explaining what happened, and what you have done to improve or address the issue.

Need help with your USC Marshall essays and application strategy? Contact us to learn more about what SBC can do for you.

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HEC Paris Fall 2019 MBA Application Deadlines [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: HEC Paris Fall 2019 MBA Application Deadlines

The following are the MBA application deadlines for the HEC Paris September 2019 intake (Class of July 2020).

Round 1
Application due: September 19, 2018

Decision released: November 23, 2018

Round 2
Application due: November 14, 2018

Decision released: January 25, 2019

Round 3
Application due: January 9, 2019

Decision released: March 15, 2019

Round 4
Application due: March 6, 2019

Decision released: May 10, 2019

Application deadlines are subject to change, and decision date may be affected by interviewer availability. For more information on applying, please visit the HEC Paris MBA admissions website.

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HEC Paris Fall 2019 MBA Essay Questions [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: HEC Paris Fall 2019 MBA Essay Questions

Applications for the HEC Paris MBA September 2019 intake are now open, and the following are the required essay questions found within the application.

Essay 1. Why are you applying to the HEC MBA Program now? What is the professional objective that will guide your career choice after your MBA, and how will the HEC MBA contribute to the achievement of this objective? (500 words max.)

Essay 2. What do you consider your most significant life achievement? (250 words max.)

Essay 3. Leadership and ethics are inevitably intertwined in the business world. Describe a situation in which you have dealt with these issues and how they have influenced you. (250 words max.)

Essay 4. Imagine a life entirely different from the one you now lead, what would it be? (250 words max.)

Essay 5. Please choose from one of the following essays, 250 words max.:

a) What monument or site would you advise a first-time visitor to your country or city to discover, and why?

b) Certain books, movies or plays have had an international success that you believe to be undeserved. Choose an example and analyse it.

c) What figure do you most admire and why? You may choose from any field (arts, literature, politics, business, etc)

Essay 6. Optional: Is there any additional information you would like to share with us? (900 words max.)

***

For additional information on applying, please visit the HEC Paris MBA admissions website.

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How Specific Should Post-MBA Career Goals Be? [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: How Specific Should Post-MBA Career Goals Be?
When you pull together your MBA application materials, you might find yourself stumped (in a few different ways) about how to explain your career goals. Thankfully, as we wrote about last month, the adcom isn’t going to hold you to what you write in your essay. But they do expect that you have given enough serious thought to your own future that you can clearly articulate your short- and long-term plans. More importantly, they want to hear about why you have those goals.

Totally Tailored, or Completely Candid Career Goals?
But sometimes this brings up another conundrum: should you be totally honest about your future career vision, or should you try to somewhat tailor it based on what each program you’re applying to is known for — or who the major recruiters are on campus?

We find it’s usually best to tell the adcom what you really want to do. They’re pretty good at sniffing out insincerity, and writing what you think they want to hear falls into that category. Plus, it will be harder for you to share a convincing “why” for your goals if they’re not really your goals! Then if you get to the interview stage, you’ll have to worry about continuing the act.

If you want to totally switch industries or are looking for a post-MBA role in a notoriously competitive field, then throw in a sentence about what else you might be open to doing on your way to your ultimate goal.

The good news is that while each program may have a reputation for strength in certain functional areas or industries, almost all of the top business schools still have plenty of courses, clubs, conference and other parts of their curriculum that cater to just about every type of career goal. So that’s how you customize your responses for each school: show them you’ve done your research and know exactly how they can help you.

Think of it this way:



 

 

 

 

 

 

Could you use some extra cash? Fill out our very short annual prospective MBA survey for a chance to win $100! Don’t delay — the survey closes on Friday, September 7, at noon PST.

Until next time,

The team at Stacy Blackman Consulting

***Do you want to stay on top of the application process with timely tips like these? Please subscribe to our weekly newsletter and you’ll receive our expert advice straight in your mailbox before it appears on the blog, plus special offers, promotions, discounts, invitations to events, and more.

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Last Call for SBC’s 2018 Survey, $100 Sweepstakes [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Last Call for SBC’s 2018 Survey, $100 Sweepstakes

With Round One deadlines nearly upon us, Stacy Blackman Consulting wants to check the pulse of this year’s crop of b-school applicants by polling them about their MBA plans.

So, here’s the deal: we’re asking for a favor. Please fill out our one-minute surveyWe know how precious your time is—you’ll only have to “check the box” in response to a few simple MBA-related questions.

Then, keep an eye out for the survey results here on the blog, which will give you insight into how other prospective students are thinking about the application process.

Every participant has the opportunity to enter a sweepstakes to win a $100 Amazon gift card, or a $100 cash prize paid through Venmo or PayPal if preferred. The survey is live now and will close at 12 p.m. PST tomorrow, Friday, September 7, 2018. So please, take a moment to share with us your thoughts and experiences related to the MBA application process.

Enter survey here.

Thanks so much for your participation!

The post Last Call for SBC’s 2018 Survey, $100 Sweepstakes appeared first on Stacy Blackman Consulting - MBA Admissions Consulting.

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Michigan Ross Debuts Part-Time MBA Program Delivered Online [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Michigan Ross Debuts Part-Time MBA Program Delivered Online


We’ve seen greater interest in online MBA programs of late as more business schools offer this option for students needing greater flexibility.  Thanks to a brand-new part-time online MBA format launching at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, working professionals will have another path toward earning an MBA degree simultaneously as of fall 2019.

“At Michigan Ross, we are deeply committed to preparing students for success in the ever-changing world of business,” said Scott DeRue, the Edward J. Frey Dean of the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, when introducing the new format. “We’re delivering the same high-quality Michigan Ross education using a flexible design that brings together innovations in digital education with our deep commitment to action-based learning.”

Above all, the mark of a high-quality online MBA program lies in who is providing the instruction. Current Ross professors will provide all instruction, guidance, and group activities, the school says.

And while experiential learning is now the norm at most traditional business school programs, online MBA programs also recognize the value of bringing real business courses to life and some have introduced similar opportunities for their students as well. Therefore, the Ross’s signature action-based learning experience, Multidisciplinary Action Project (MAP), will be required of online MBA students.

The school also states that admissions standards will be as rigorous as the other Ross Part-Time MBA programs.

A Mix of Learning Opportunities
The Ross School says it will feature a mix of learning opportunities to provide a holistic, thorough, and personalized business education experience, including:

  • Courses that include both self-guided study and live, online class sessions led by a Ross professor
  • Elective course options, allowing students to customize their studies based on professional goals
  • Three in-person residencies on the Ross campus focused on leadership, business transformation, and innovation
“We are dedicated to providing a broader base of working professionals with a high-quality Michigan Ross education, plus the flexibility, academic rigor, and support they need to succeed in business today and in the future,” said Wally Hopp, associate dean for Part-Time MBA. “With the addition of the Online MBA, Michigan Ross will continue to lead and define the future of business education.”

Ultimately, an online MBA program makes perfect sense for many busy professionals as a way to achieve their career goals through a flexible format that adapts to their schedule. Whichever program you choose in your MBA journey, a great fit with your goals and lifestyle will ensure the best results from application to graduation.

Visit michiganross.umich.edu/programs/online-mbafor more information.

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4 Cases Where MBA Applicants Should Write an Optional Essay [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: 4 Cases Where MBA Applicants Should Write an Optional Essay

To write or not to write an optional business school application essay…that is a question that concerns many MBA candidates each season. Some schools ask for you to address only extenuating circumstances in this section. Meanwhile, others take a broad approach and ask whether there’s anything else about  your candidacy you would like to share with the admissions committee.

Our advice? First, complete your entire application package, except for the optional essay. Don’t worry about that piece of the puzzle just yet. Then, review your application to see if there is something extra you would like to communicate that you cannot address elsewhere in the application.

The following advice should be considered within the context of your overall strategy and target business school(s), but these areas are prime material for the optional essay.

Use the Optional Essay to Address Academic Weaknesses
A grade of C or below on your undergraduate transcript will give the admissions committee pause. They will want to know why, and determine whether it’s an outlier in your overall academic record. Strike an upbeat tone here and avoid excuses. Make sure you emphasize your improved performance either later in your college career or in subsequent work or classes since college.

Explain your issue clearly and focus the balance of your essay on looking forward. Explain what have you done in the recent past to prove your skills and intelligence. If you have a new GMAT score or took classes in calculus or statistics, you have a solid case for improved academics.

Use the Optional Essay to Address Employment Gaps or Major Career Changes
You don’t have to explain a short gap between school and a secured job, but something like several months between two jobs should be addressed.

Did you use that time off to do volunteer work in Guatemala, or care for an ailing parent? Maybe you used the time away to focus on an entrepreneurial dream unencumbered by the 9-to-5 grind. Ideally you can point to additional education, training, volunteering or traveling that you engaged in while unemployed.

If you recently switched careers and feel concerned that the admissions committee may not see how you arrived at the conclusion that an MBA would help further your professional aspirations, use the optional essay space to make an airtight case for why you want to go into this new field and show that the decision was reasoned and well-thought-out.

Use the Optional Essay to Address  Choice of Recommender
Not every applicant feels comfortable asking their current employer for a recommendation letter. Perhaps they aren’t ready to let their boss know of their MBA plans, or maybe there is a personality conflict that might not lead to the most glowing recommendation. Sometimes, the issue is that the applicant hasn’t worked with the supervisor long enough for him or her to comment meaningfully on the candidate’s performance.

Whatever the reason, you should briefly address your decision not to seek a recommendation from your current supervisor in the optional essay space. The admissions committee understands the various circumstances which may prevent it, but you need to explain why anyway to eliminate any doubts or wrong assumptions about the quality of your working relationship with your employer.

Use the Optional Essay to Convey Information That Adds to Your Candidacy
This is where you can introduce information about yourself that you simply couldn’t find a way to incorporate elsewhere. If you are a re-applicant, the optional essay is the ideal place to explain what you have done since your last application to strengthen your case for admission – such as receiving a promotion – which would signal career development and leadership. Even if you don’t have a clear-cut development to describe, you can use this space to explain how you have improved your thinking, career goals or fit.

Finally, if you don’t have a weakness to address and the school has an open-ended optional essay question, this is opportunity to provide information you couldn’t work into the other required essays. For example, if you have an unusual background, hobby or extracurricular experience, this may be a chance to showcase your unique profile.

Yes, the optional essay truly is optional. So take advantage of it if necessary, but exercise good judgement and restraint.

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Tuesday Tips: Cambridge Judge Fall 2019 MBA Essay Tips [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: Cambridge Judge Fall 2019 MBA Essay Tips


As part of a world class campus and a location that is a center for technology and business, the University of Cambridge Judge School of Business is an excellent program for students interested in studying in the UK.  In fact, our post Getting a European MBA: A Unique Experience explains the many benefits of studying across the pond.

To learn more about the school you can research life at Cambridge through visiting campus, reading student blogs, or attending admissions events. Cambridge Judge is seeking ambitious, innovative and confident students with strong interpersonal skills.

Another extremely important attribute is to have international experience through your work and a global outlook. None of the essays specifically ask about international experience, so you can work your global outlook into one or more of the essay responses.

ESSAY 1
Please provide a personal statement. It should not exceed 500 words and must address the following questions:

– What are your short and long term career objectives and what skills/characteristics do you already have that will help you achieve them?

– What actions will you take before and during the MBA to contribute to your career outcome?

– If you are unsure of your post-MBA career path, how will the MBA equip you for the future?


This personal statement essay asks you to explain why you are pursuing an MBA. If you have a specific long- and short-term career objective in mind that is one way to structure the essay. If not, you will want to explain why an MBA is the right next step for you in your life. Either way, you will want to explain what skills and characteristics you have developed in your career thus far.

This essay will give you the space to talk about the career accomplishments that make you most proud, and to show that you are motivated, ambitious and ready for the challenge of an MBA at Cambridge. You will want to use an equal amount of space to talk about how you are going to enhance your career before and during your MBA in order to accomplish your goals.

What can you learn from your current job before you enroll at Judge? And what classes, professors and projects will you pursue to prepare yourself for your next career step?

As you formulate your essay topics, keep in mind that Cambridge Judge is seeking candidates who “are highly motivated and ambitious, thrive under pressure, and have already exhibited clear progression within their career.”

You will want to show that you have performed well and moved up within your jobs since you began working. You will also want to demonstrate what you have learned, and how your developing skills can be further honed through an MBA and a future career.

ESSAY 2
What did you learn from your most spectacular failure? (200 words)

Failures are challenging to work through, but can lead to breakthroughs in development and self-awareness. When you can look past the embarrassment and shame of a failure, what did the experience teach you? Did you take on too much, prepare too little or fail to ask for help when you needed it?

This essay is primarily about what you learned. Take a few sentences to explain the situation and the failure, then dive into what you learned and ideally how you have moderated your approach, improved yourself, or learned to recognize a situation that will lead to a poor outcome. Any topic can work here as long as you can show that you are self-aware and creative.

ESSAY 3
Describe a situation where you had to work jointly with others to achieve a common goal. What did you learn from the experience? (up to 200 words)

Judge is seeking students who are collaborative and innovative with strong interpersonal skills. This essay can show the admissions committee that you know how to work within a team and accomplish a shared goal.

As with the previous essay, take a few sentences to explain the situation, then focus on what you learned. Ideally you can describe your style when you work with a team, how you collaborate, help others bring their best work to the team, and manage challenges.

If you have a particular role or skill within a team, whether building consensus or take a devil’s advocate position, this is an ideal place to explain that approach.

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Which MBA Applicants ‘Should’ Apply in Round 1 [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Which MBA Applicants ‘Should’ Apply in Round 1


Round 1 deadlines at the world’s top business schools will hit over the next several weeks. This round typically sees the most driven, organized, and academically and professionally accomplished applicants.  These candidates beat the GMAT months ago and have been prepping their recommenders all summer.

If you can apply in Round 1 there are definitely advantages for you personally. You have more time to prepare for school. You have less uncertainty around winter vacation time. And you can start networking with your classmates early. If you have a solid application ready to submit in September or October, take a moment to review our last-minute Round 1 checklist before you hit submit.

While Round 2 historically receives a greater number of applications, here are three groups that should strongly consider applying in the first round, if possible.

Re-applicants
Re-applicants should aim to turn in their revised applications no later than the first round, when admissions committees are just beginning to assemble the next incoming class. If you fail a second time, you can realign your expectations and apply in round two to other more appropriate schools.

However, these candidates must show they’ve made a sincere effort to improve upon their previous application and strengthened their candidacy.

Most business schools will have your previous application in your file, so whatever you submit should demonstrate a fresh approach and show how you’ve grown academically and/or professionally.

Individuals from an Over-Represented Applicant Pool
Competition for a seat at the top programs is fierce, so candidates from an over-represented industry or geographic region need to think strategically about the timing of their application.

As MBA Data Guru points out in MBA Acceptance Rate by Country, applicants from India face a disadvantage at the highly-ranked schools, needing a much higher GMAT score to compete with applicants from other regions. While the elite business schools receive a high volume of qualified applicants from India, they want to maintain diversity in the class, and therefore need to cap acceptances from a single region.

Candidates from over-represented industries such as IT, consulting or finance should also consider submitting their application early. By the time Round 2 deadlines roll around, the admissions team may have already admitted many applicants with very similar profiles.

If you belong to an over-represented group, submitting your application before your peers are well represented in the class can be a wise strategy.

Non-Traditional Candidates with Low GMAT Scores
Applicants with unconventional or less traditional work or academic experience prior to business school often worry about how admissions committees will assess their record. However, it’s actually more than okay to be different, because no MBA program wants to fill an entire class solely with candidates from investment banking or consulting.

For entrepreneurs who may not have any traditional work experience, applicants from the military, or individuals coming from professions where an MBA is not typically a requirement, having a low GMAT score does not have to mean the kiss of death. Just aim for round 1 submission.

As we’ve discovered, later on in the admissions cycle there may be fewer spots available for low-scoring candidates as schools turn their thoughts toward driving their GMAT average higher for rankings purposes.

Finally, we would urge applicants to apply a few days ahead of the deadline just to ease some of the last-minute pressure, as well as congestion on the programs’ servers. Do a thorough review, hit submit, and take comfort in knowing that you did your very best.

Image by: Ink Media (CC BY 2.0)

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Oxford MBA Fall 2019 MBA Application Essays [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Oxford MBA Fall 2019 MBA Application Essays
Said Business School at the University of Oxford has published the following mandatory essays within the 2018-2019 Oxford MBA application.

Required Essay 1
  • Consider a statistic or trend that shocks you. Why it is important to you and how could it be changed for the better? (Maximum 500 words)
Required Essay 2
  • Is there anything not covered in the application form which you would like the Admissions Committee to know about you? (Maximum 250 words)
For additional information on applying, please visit the Oxford MBA admissions website.

Image credit: Flickr user Richard (CC BY 2.0)

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IESE Fall 2019 MBA Application Essays [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: IESE Fall 2019 MBA Application Essays
 


Spain’s highly-ranked IESE Business School, which is currently undergoing a complete facilities transformation, asks the following MBA essay questions within the online application for the 2018-2019 admissions season.

Required Essay 1
How do you expect to be changed by your experience at IESE and what impact you would like to make after your MBA? (word limit 300 max)

Required Essay 2
What are your short and medium term post MBA career goals and how will IESE help you achieve them? (word limit 300 max)

Optional Essay
I wish the admissions committee had asked me… (word limit 300 max)

For additional information on applying, please visit the IESE admissions website.

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SMU Cox Fall 2019 MBA Essay Questions [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: SMU Cox Fall 2019 MBA Essay Questions

The SMU Cox School of Business asks the following essay questions within the 2018-2019 application for the full-time, two-year MBA program.

Required Essay 1
What are your post-graduate degree goals upon graduation? Please be as specific as possible, which might include desired roles, target companies, and/or industry. (250 word limit).

Required Essay 2
Business is an ever changing and evolving entity. Individual’s plans and interests can change as a result of industry downturns and/or emergence of new opportunities. Keeping an open mind while navigating your career is an essential component of success. Should the short-term goals you provided above not materialize, what alternative directions would you explore? (250 word limit)

Required Essay 3
Think of an event that has changed your perspective in the last three years. Describe how this event has impacted your personal or professional outlook. (250 word limit).

Optional Essay
Please only use this space to address information not covered in the rest of your application package that may be helpful to the admissions committee as we make an assessment of your candidacy. (250 word limit)

For additional information on applying, please visit the SMU Cox MBA admissions website.

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