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Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog

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What to Do if You’re Light on Extracurriculars [#permalink]

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New post 08 Jun 2015, 06:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: What to Do if You’re Light on Extracurriculars
If you’re applying to business schools in Round 1, the process of pulling your materials together will consume much of your life in the coming months. Of particular focus will be planning how to best position yourself. If you’ve taken on leadership roles in volunteer organizations or have actively engaged with a nonprofit you’re passionate about, you’ll want to be sure you play up that angle in your materials.

But what if you’ve done nothing on that front? No volunteering, no extracurricular involvement—nada. Is your candidacy doomed?

No. Admissions committees understand that it’s extremely hard for some people to have meaningful involvement in an organization outside of work. This is often the case for those whose jobs constantly keep them on the road, or whose typical workday doesn’t even afford them the opportunity for a full night’s sleep. So the good news is that we have certainly seen compelling candidates be accepted to top programs even though they lack post-college extracurriculars.

However, if you weren’t involved in anything outside of class when you were an undergraduate, either, that might be a red flag. The MBA experience is about leveraging all facets of your life—not just what you’ve achieved on the job—to help your classmates learn.

So if you have no volunteer work or extracurricular activities to talk about, brainstorm what other relevant things you could share with fellow students in class. Think along the lines of travel or cultural experiences, or even a family situation. What else are you passionate about besides your job, and how has that passion manifested itself?

While it could look disingenuous to join a bunch of volunteer organizations in the months leading up to Round 1 deadlines, you could always see if your employer has any community-focused committees or sponsors any local events that you could get involved with in the near future.

Admissions committees are looking for well-rounded people. Remember:

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*** 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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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

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Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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5 Key Qualities of Successful MBA Applications [#permalink]

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New post 09 Jun 2015, 10:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: 5 Key Qualities of Successful MBA Applications
This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com
Every MBA candidate brings something unique to the table, but business schools are always on the lookout for specific qualities as they review the thousands of applications that cross their desks each season. If you can convince the admissions committee that you possess the following five qualities, you’ll put yourself leagues ahead of everyone else within your applicant pool.

1. A leadership track record: Business schools want to develop leaders who will contribute positively to society, and applicants should show how they have begun to lead others even before setting foot on campus. But this does not have to mean coming up with grand and sweeping examples that forever changed the course of history at your company.

Think about a time when you motivated others to do something, when you marshaled resources to solve a problem, when you brought a fresh idea or new way of thinking to your organization and most importantly, how you worked to inspire others and bring out the best in them. The aim is to show where you made an impact, no matter the size.

One former client, George, had participated in an annual charity bike ride for the past five years. He felt his application lacked compelling examples of leadership, so we suggested that he volunteer to lead the coordination of the next ride. His responsibilities included recruiting volunteers, coordinating vendors and collecting funds.

[Find out 3 Surprising Application Mistakes Prospective MBAs Make]

George’s leadership of the team ultimately helped to increase the amount raised in the ride by 14 percent. George used this experience to write a strong leadership essay for each of his target schools, and it ultimately helped him gain admission to MIT experience in quantitative subjects, it won’t be a hindrance once you hit those core courses.

If this is a problem area for you, tackle it head-on. Allow ample time for test prep, retake the test a few times, complement your score by acing a college-level quantitative course or point out any quantitative skills used on the job to support your ability to handle the material of the program.

[Learn how to Effective Ways to Address Academic Strengths On MBA Applications]

3. Exhibit excellent communication skills: The general principles of finance and accounting are easily learned at business school, but recruiters frequently gripe ?that even MBA graduates from the most elite institutions need to work harder at cultivating soft skills.

You’ll impress the admissions committee right out of the gate if you can demonstrate that you already possess strong communication skills. Highlight experiences that show you work well with others and that prove you can make a presentation in a persuasive, professional manner. Or, show how your effective communication skills have helped you land a client or seal a deal.

If this is an area you need to work on, reach out to mentors or supervisors whose communication skills you admire and ask for advice on how they read their audience, navigate meetings, and how they have cultivated their own interpersonal abilities for business success.

4. Set realistic post-MBA career plans: It’s not uncommon for MBA applicants to be uncertain about their career goals. Nevertheless, you need to be very concrete about short and long term goals in your application. Explaining why you chose your career path is crucial.

As you describe your career trajectory, make sure you explain what has led you to pursue it and why it resonates with you. The answer doesn’t need to be elaborate or dramatic, but it should be convincing and real.

[Get do’s and don’ts of convincing MBA programs you’re a fit.]

Whether they discuss it openly, business schools are very concerned with job placement statistics. If they can’t help their MBA graduates find jobs, the ripple effect leads to fewer applicants in the future and lower yield.

Are you sure that the industry you want to work in is one that typically hires MBAs? The admissions committee needs to know your career plans are achievable with an MBA degree.

5. Get enthusiastic recommenders: Letters of recommendation are one of the most compelling components of the application, and also the most unsettling for applicants since it’s the one aspect you cannot entirely control. Make sure your recommenders are close enough to provide specific and relevant examples of your work and, above all, make sure they share in your excitement about going to business school.

Whether the mistake is choosing someone who doesn’t know you well enough to provide a convincing recommendation, not adequately preparing your recommender, or unwittingly selecting a supervisor who is not 100 percent supportive of your MBA plans, there’s nothing worse than discovering your chances at admission were torpedoed by a lukewarm endorsement.

So there you have it – five essential details that can make or break your MBA application. Study them well and with any luck, you’ll sail through the admissions process and sidestep many of the common red flags plaguing lesser-prepared applicants.

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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Tuesday Tips: Yale School of Management MBA Essay Tips [#permalink]

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New post 09 Jun 2015, 19:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: Yale School of Management MBA Essay Tips
Yale SOM’s essay question has remained unchanged this year. Yale has found that the answers to the essay question are insightful and demonstrates whether a candidate fits with the Yale core mission.

With only one essay question, and no specific career goals essay, make sure your resume and recommendations showcase your key accomplishments. You may want to highlight specific projects at work that have most excited you and shaped your future goals and discuss why. Strategically designing additional application components can add some insight to your background and enhance your candidacy.

The Yale School of Management educates individuals who will have deep and lasting impact on the organizations they lead. Describe how you have positively influenced an organization as an employee, a member, or an outside constituent.

Impact and leadership are key components to this question. Impact could range from driving business results for your company to starting an affinity group for an underrepresented employee population. Overall the impact story should be one that you are proud of and that showcases both your values and your leadership traits. Remember the type of MBA student Yale is most interested in admitting. Ideally you are coming across as an intellectually curious student with a diverse background deeply interested in the integrated curriculum.

Behavioral questions like this one seek to understand how you actually operate in various situations. Try to be as specific as possible about how you positively influenced the organization. What did you think or say when you were determining what to do? What did you actually do? How did you feel about the result? Start by describing each step in detail in terms of what you did, the reaction of others and your own reaction. From there you can cut out anything that is too detailed or too superfluous to the story to maintain the 500 word maximum.

You may decide to focus on a key solo accomplishment at work, and that may be entirely appropriate since most MBA applicants are individual contributors. However, ideally you can demonstrate how you work with others as a leader. Regardless of whether you choose an individual or team accomplishment it should show a significant positive impact on the organization or people within the organization.

Contact us To learn more about designing the best Yale application possible with Stacy Blackman Consulting.

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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Tuck School of Business 2015-2016 MBA Essay Topics [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jun 2015, 10:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuck School of Business 2015-2016 MBA Essay Topics
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The Tuck 360: MBA Blog provided a preview yesterday of the updated MBA essay questions that will be a part of the Fall 2016 application to Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. While there are no major thematic changes over last year’s essay prompts, do pay close attention to the subtle shifts in nuance in these revised questions.

Essays
1. What are your short- and long-term goals? Why do you need an MBA to achieve those goals? Why are you interested in Tuck specifically?

2. Tell us about your most meaningful leadership experience and what role you played. How will that experience contribute to the learning environment at Tuck?

3. (Optional) Please provide any additional insight or information that you have not addressed elsewhere that may be helpful in reviewing your application (e.g., unusual choice of evaluators, weaknesses in academic performance, unexplained job gaps or changes, etc.). Complete this question only if you feel your candidacy is not fully represented by this application.

4. (To be completed by all reapplicants) How have you strengthened your candidacy since you last applied? Please reflect on how you have grown personally and professionally.

***

The Tuck admissions team encourages applicants to respond fully but concisely to these essay questions, and to limit the length of their responses to 500 words for each essay. The Dartmouth Tuck application will go live later this summer.

You may also be interested in:
The recently announced 2015-2016 MBA application deadlines at Tuck.

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

Interested in a free 30 minute consultation with the Stacy Blackman Team? Sign up here: http://stacyblackman.com/contact

Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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UC Berkeley Haas 2015-2016 MBA Essay Questions [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jun 2015, 11:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: UC Berkeley Haas 2015-2016 MBA Essay Questions
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The Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley has announced the updated MBA essay questions for the fall 2016 application. The culture of the school is governed by four defining principles: Question the Status Quo, Confidence Without Attitude, Students Always, and Beyond Yourself.  In answering these essay questions, candidates should reflect on the values, experiences, and accomplishments that have shaped them.

Essays

  • If you could choose one song that expresses who you are, what is it and why? (250 word maximum)
  • Please respond to one of the following prompts: (250 word maximum)
    • Describe an experience that has fundamentally changed the way you see the world and how it transformed you.
    • Describe a significant accomplishment and why it makes you proud.
    • Describe a difficult decision you have made and why it was challenging.
  • Tell us about your path to business school and your future plans. How will the Berkeley-Haas experience help you along this journey? (500 word maximum)
  • Optional: Is there any other information you would like to share that is not presented elsewhere in the application? You may also use this essay to provide further explanation of employment gaps or your quantitative abilities. (500 word maximum)
The Fall 2016 application deadlines will be posted in June, and the online application will be available in August.

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

Interested in a free 30 minute consultation with the Stacy Blackman Team? Sign up here: http://stacyblackman.com/contact

Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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UCLA Anderson 2015-2016 MBA Application Deadlines [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jun 2015, 11:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: UCLA Anderson 2015-2016 MBA Application Deadlines
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The UCLA Anderson School of Management has announced the following application deadlines for the 2015-2016 MBA admissions season.

Round 1
Application due: October 6, 2015

Decision released: December 15, 2015

Round 2
Application due: January 5, 2016

Decision released: March 29, 2016

Round 3
Application due: April 12, 2016

Decision released: May 24, 2016

Completed applications must be received by 11:59 p.m. PST on the day of the deadline. Rounds 1 and 2 are comparable in terms of your chances of admission, the school explains, adding that Round 3 is slightly more competitive, although there will be sufficient room for strong candidates. Apply at the time that is best for you.

For more information, please visit the UCLA Anderson School of Management admissions website.

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

Interested in a free 30 minute consultation with the Stacy Blackman Team? Sign up here: http://stacyblackman.com/contact

Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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NYU Stern 2015-2016 Deadlines, Essay Questions [#permalink]

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New post 11 Jun 2015, 11:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: NYU Stern 2015-2016 Deadlines, Essay Questions
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New York University’s Stern School of Business has announced the application deadlines and MBA essay questions for the 2015-2016 admissions season.

Round 1

Application due: October 15, 2015

Initial notification by: December 15, 2015

Round 2

Application due: November 15, 2015

Initial notification by: February 15, 2016

Round 3

Application due: January 15, 2016

Initial notification by: April 1, 2016

Round 4

Application due: March 15, 2016

Initial notification by: June 1, 2016

Online applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time on the day of the deadline. NYU Stern encourages international applicants to apply by the November 15 deadline to facilitate visa arrangements and to have priority consideration for off-site interviews, if desired.

Essay Questions
Essay 1:  Professional Aspirations

(750 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)

  • Why pursue an MBA (or dual degree) at this point in your life?
  • What actions have you taken to determine that Stern is the best fit for your MBA experience?
  • What do you see yourself doing professionally upon graduation?
Essay 2:  Personal Expression

Please describe yourself to your MBA classmates. You may use almost any method to convey your message (e.g. words, illustrations). Feel free to be creative.

If you submit a non-written piece for this essay (i.e., artwork or multimedia) or if you submit this essay via mail, please upload a brief description of your submission with your online application.

Please note the following guidelines and restrictions:

  • Your submission becomes the property of NYU Stern and cannot be returned for any reason.
  • If you submit a written essay, it should be 500 words maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font.
  • If you submit a video or audio file, it should be five minutes maximum. NYU Stern accepts most common video formats.mail and labeling instructions.
The online application is undergoing annual updates and will be available in August. For more information, please visit the NYU Stern admissions website.

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

Interested in a free 30 minute consultation with the Stacy Blackman Team? Sign up here: http://stacyblackman.com/contact

Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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Georgetown MBA Program 2015-2016 Deadlines [#permalink]

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New post 12 Jun 2015, 06:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Georgetown MBA Program 2015-2016 Deadlines
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The Georgetown MBA program at McDonough School of Business has announced the following application deadlines for the 2015-2016 admissions cycle.

Round 1

Application deadline: October 1, 2015

Decision notification: December 15, 2015

Round 2

Application deadline: January 5, 2016

Decision notification: March 20, 2016

Round 3

Application deadline: April 1, 2016

Decision notification: May 15, 2016

Round 4 (Evening MBA Program Only)

Application deadline: May 10, 2016

Decision notification: May 25, 2016

The online application must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on the deadline date. Applications that are received after the deadline will be considered for the next admissions round. If you have additional questions, contact the Georgetown MBA Admissions Office.

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

Interested in a free 30 minute consultation with the Stacy Blackman Team? Sign up here: http://stacyblackman.com/contact

Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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Advice for Your Time at B-School [#permalink]

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New post 15 Jun 2015, 07:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Advice for Your Time at B-School
If you’ll be earning your MBA as part of the Class of 2017, chances are that right now you’re either finishing up your last weeks at work or enjoying some much-needed downtime before heading to campus.

During the months you toiled over your applications and then waited to hear back from admissions committees, you probably spent a lot of time anticipating how you’d fill your days at business school. And once your acceptance letter was in hand, we’re sure you gave some thought to what you want to get out of your experience. But just because you’ve gotten in doesn’t mean we don’t still have a few last tips for you!

Here they are:

    • Leverage your student status as much as possible. We’re not just talking about things like student discounts. We’re talking about the fact that everyone loves students, and everyone loves giving advice to students. So if there’s an alum, a local businessperson, a politician or community leader you admire, use the fact that you’re a student to try and set up an “informational interview” or an informal meeting over coffee. You’ll be surprised at the kind of access you may be granted that you otherwise wouldn’t.
    • Listen to as many visiting speakers as you can. There will probably be at least a few big-name CEOs and public figures who give talks on campus, and everyone’s going to turn up for those. But we encourage you to also consider going to hear what lesser-known business and political leaders, entrepreneurs and nonprofit executives have to say—especially some of the younger ones. In a decade you just might be able to brag about how you rubbed elbows with someone who’s now internationally respected.
    • Choose your extracurriculars wisely. Repeat after us: it’s impossible to do everything. Don’t be the person who signs up for 20 clubs in the first week and then regrets not being able to be meaningfully involved in any of them. You will be totally overwhelmed by how many cool things you’ll have the opportunity to get involved with outside of class. So before you step foot on campus, think long and hard about what you really want to learn and what’s important to you so that you can focus your efforts accordingly.
    • Don’t forget that the “real world” still exists. Don’t get us wrong—being in the b-school bubble is a thing of beauty. Except for when you’re especially tired and stressed (think interview season, exam time, etc.). That’s when you need to reach out to your family and friends back home, talk a walk or drive into the nearest city, or do whatever else you can to put things back into perspective. The campus will still be there when you’re ready to resume Student Mode, and you’ll feel re-energized.
Remember:

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***

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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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

Interested in a free 30 minute consultation with the Stacy Blackman Team? Sign up here: http://stacyblackman.com/contact

Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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UV Darden School of Business Fall 2016 MBA Essay [#permalink]

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New post 16 Jun 2015, 11:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: UV Darden School of Business Fall 2016 MBA Essay
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The University of Virginia Darden School of Business has posted a brand-new essay question for the 2015-16 MBA application season.

Describe the most important professional feedback you have received and how you responded to it.  (500 words maximum)

Deadlines for the upcoming admissions cycle have yet to be announced, but Darden encourages applicants to get a head-start on writing the essay. The application will go live later this summer.

You may also be interested in:
UV Darden School Announces Enhancements to MBA Curriculum

UV Darden School Names Scott Beardsley as Dean

 image credit: Flickr user tldagny, CC 2.0

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

Interested in a free 30 minute consultation with the Stacy Blackman Team? Sign up here: http://stacyblackman.com/contact

Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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UV Darden School Announces Enhancements to MBA Curriculum [#permalink]

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New post 16 Jun 2015, 11:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: UV Darden School Announces Enhancements to MBA Curriculum
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The University of Virginia Darden School of Business has just announced several changes to its MBA program that will take effect beginning this fall, including a new, required experiential course as well as more opportunities for students to customize their learning experience.

Marc Lipson, associate dean for the MBA program, says “Each year, we enhance the program in small ways based on student feedback and innovations in business and higher education, but this past year has been a period of more substantial review and innovation.”

Incoming first-years will now take the required course,”Innovation, Design and Entrepreneurship in Action” or IDEA, designed to bolster students’ ability to work on real-world, global projects of consequence, which have a high degree of ambiguity and uncertainty. Students will be organized in teams and tackle live field projects over seven weeks. The challenges will be sponsored by corporations, government agencies or nonprofit organizations.

“Our goal here is to make Darden students the best prepared in the world to make effective decisions when facing real-world ambiguity. Our world needs innovative solutions to open-ended problems, and we want to equip our students with the tools they need to innovate the future,” says Mike Lenox, associate dean for innovation programs and academic director of Darden’s Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

The second enhancement will further customize the Darden First Year experience. In August, Darden will launch the Darden Academy, a learning enrichment program that will offer a changing, weekly suite of opportunities that — though not required — will explore topics of interest to students, faculty and the broader Darden community.

It will include meaningful analyses of global current events, reflections on our purpose as leaders, opportunities to build skills that enhance the ability of all students to engage meaningfully in class conversations, and events that explore the links between classroom learning and business practice.

Darden students hail from all over the world; the Class of 2016 alone represents 36 countries. “Each student brings a unique background and experience,” says Peter Rodriguez, senior associate dean for degree programs. “Our goal is to meet each individual student where they are — to help them obtain in their First Year at Darden the skills and knowledge they want to deepen, in distinct areas.”

“At the end of the day, we are here to present opportunities that help our students realize their full potential as responsible, entrepreneurial and global leaders and learners,” says Rodriguez.  “These two enhancements to the MBA experience were developed in collaboration with Darden students. We know that if we listen carefully to our students and co-create with them, we will deliver on our goal to continue delivering the most compelling graduate management education experience available today.”

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Tuesday Tips: UVA Darden MBA Essay Tips [#permalink]

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New post 16 Jun 2015, 19:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: UVA Darden MBA Essay Tips
While writing only 500 words for your Darden MBA application essay may seem simple, it requires discipline to highlight all of the important parts of your profile for the admissions committee in one short essay. Writing a successful essay with such limited space requires you to focus only on your most compelling attributes.

Leadership is crucial to future Darden MBAs. Personal qualities are also important to Darden, a school with a small, tight-knit community. Darden, similar to HBS, is devoted to the case method of teaching business subjects. Learn more about the school by visiting the Darden website, attending events and speaking with current students and alumni.

MBA Application Essay Question:

Describe the most important professional feedback you have received and how you responded to it. (500 words maximum)

In this question Darden is seeking to understand how you take feedback and how you process and learn from feedback. Feedback is often the first stage to grow and develop as a professional and as a leader. Learning to take all feedback – both positive and critical – and examining and incorporating the lessons from that feedback into your development is a sign of maturity.

As you describe the professional feedback you will want to set the stage for the feedback by describing your relationship with the person who gave you the feedback and any background facts. Take the time to describe how you felt while receiving the feedback, and don’t be afraid to talk about having uncomfortable feelings about it. It’s a normal reaction to feel threatened by criticism, which is often what professional feedback is perceived as. If the feedback was positive make sure you can use the story to demonstrate development and growth.

If you can’t think of the most important moment of feedback you have received, think about working backwards from a professional accomplishment you are proud of. As you think about the areas where you have excelled you may find that the trigger was a piece of important advice or feedback from a manager, peer or customer.

Make sure your feedback story enhances the overall package of your application. You have your career history submitted in your resume. Your GPA, transcript and GMAT will demonstrate academic ability. This essay is one of your few opportunities to show how you think, what your leadership approach is, and how you improve as a result of input from other people. Think about the situations that showcased your best performance at work, or that taught you something about your interests or future career goals.

Because you have only one essay question to present yourself, make sure you have a trusted reader to tell you if you are effectively communicating why you are going to be a strong leader who deserves a spot in the UVA Darden MBA class.

Looking for perspective in your approach to your Darden MBA application? Contact us to discuss how Stacy Blackman Consulting can help.

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Tuesday Tips: NYU Stern MBA Essay Tips [#permalink]

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New post 16 Jun 2015, 20:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: NYU Stern MBA Essay Tips
As the NYU Stern MBA website states, “Stern develops leaders who make an impact on business and beyond.” Evolving from a pure finance school into one that focuses on areas like entertainment and technology, Stern takes advantage of the vibrant and changing business opportunities in New York City.

The individual components of your application will be academic ability, professional achievements and career aspirations, and personal characteristics. Stern provides podcasts to describe each component on the admissions website, and it’s worth starting your research there. While your academics will be evaluated mainly through your GMAT and GPA, the essays are a crucial part of your application strategy.

After making the personal expression part of the application optional last year, NYU Stern has added it back as a required essay this year. The personal expression essay offers you the opportunity to present yourself creatively, but requires you to apply structure to a completely open-ended question. It’s a great test for a life solving business problems after your MBA.

Essay 1: Professional Aspirations

(750 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)

• Why pursue an MBA (or dual degree) at this point in your life?

• What actions have you taken to determine that Stern is the best fit for your MBA experience?

• What do you see yourself doing professionally upon graduation?

Why MBA, why now, is an important question to answer. While many people seek an MBA degree, NYU wants to invest in those who can use it most effectively. Perhaps you’re seeking an MBA for networking or professional credibility, or maybe you want an MBA to learn specific skills to change careers. Whatever your own personal reasons may be, make sure you can point to specific aspects of the MBA education both generally and specifically at Stern that are necessary to achieve your goals.

Note that this question specifically asks about your interest in pursuing an MBA at this point in your life. Why is now the right time for you, both personally and professionally? What will an MBA add to your already successful career trajectory to get you to the next level? If you are an older applicant you will need to spend time carefully communicating that you realize what an MBA can and can’t do for you at your professional level, and that you have a plan to leverage the MBA professionally in your next job.

This essay also offers an opportunity to demonstrate your fit with NYU Stern and describe why NYU Stern is the right place for you to spend the next two years of your life. Certainly personal experience of the campus through visits or student touch points would be ideal, but even if you are halfway around the world you can illustrate the many ways in which you learned about the NYU Stern experience.

Your post MBA goal should be both achievable and demonstrate the need for an MBA. An MBA from NYU Stern will open professional doors for you, and you should demonstrate that you are ready to take advantage of those opportunities. Think about a logical sequence that starts with your past work experience, then your MBA education and ends with your immediate post MBA goal. Ideally your goal pulls from both your current work experience and the skills you will gain in the NYU MBA program.

Essay 2: Personal Expression

Please describe yourself to your MBA classmates. You may use almost any method to convey your message (e.g. words, illustrations). Feel free to be creative.

If you submit a non-written piece for this essay (i.e., artwork or multimedia) or if you submit this essay via mail, please upload a brief description of your submission with your online application.

Open-ended essays like this one can be intimidating. You are allowed any method to introduce yourself to your classmates, and you’re probably wondering what the best medium for your message is.

However, your content is king in this essay. The best first step is to brainstorm the information you want to convey. Reflect upon your unique personal qualities and what is valued most by your friends and family. How would you want your classmates to see you? What are some of the personal stories you would share with a new friend?

Once you have established the content you want to use for the NYU Stern essay 3, it’s time to consider the medium. If you are a visual person you may chose a drawing, painting or photo series. If you are a creative writer perhaps it’s a poem or short story. If none of the “creative” approaches feel right to you, feel free to write a standard essay where you explain who you are and introduce yourself to your classmates. The medium is not the most important aspect of this essay. What is most important is the message and content of your composition to demonstrate your motivations and who you are to the admissions committee.

Stacy Blackman Consulting has helped countless aspiring NYU Stern MBA students to showcase personal and professional stories that cut through the clutter. Contact us to learn more.

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Emory MBA 2015-2016 Deadlines, Essay Questions [#permalink]

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New post 17 Jun 2015, 11:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Emory MBA 2015-2016 Deadlines, Essay Questions
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Emory University’s Goitzueta Business School has announced the following MBA application deadlines and essay questions for the 2015-2016 admissions season.

Deadlines
Round 1

Application due: October 1, 2015

Decision released: December 3, 2015

Round 2

Application due: November 13, 2015

Decision released: January 28, 2016

Round 3

Application due: January 8, 2016

Decision released: March 3, 2016 (domestic) March 11, 2016 (international)

Round 4

Application due: March 11, 2016

Decision released: April 29, 2016

Essay Questions
1. Define your short-term post-MBA career goals. How are your professional strengths, past experience and personal attributes aligned with these goals? (300 word limit)

2. The business school is named for Roberto C. Goizueta, former Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, who led the organization for 16 years, extending its global reach, quadrupling consumption, building brand responsibility, and creating unprecedented shareholder wealth. Mr. Goizueta’s core values guide us in educating Principled Leaders for Global Enterprise. Provide an example of your leadership – professional or personal – and explain what you learned about yourself through the experience. (300 word limit)

3. Complete one of the following statements. (250 word limit)

    • I am passionate about…
    • The best piece of advice I’ve received is…
    • The best day of my life was…
    • A personal goal I want to accomplish is…
4. Share with the committee and your future classmates a fun or noteworthy fact about you. (25 word limit)

Optional Essay: If you have additional information or feel there are extenuating circumstances which you would like to share with the MBA Admissions Committee (i.e. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, academic performance issues or areas of weakness in application). Please limit your response to 250 words.

For more information, please visit the Emory MBA admissions website.

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Duke Fuqua 2015-2016 Application Deadlines [#permalink]

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New post 18 Jun 2015, 12:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Duke Fuqua 2015-2016 Application Deadlines
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The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University has posted the following MBA application deadlines for the upcoming admissions season.

Early Action

Application deadline: September 15, 2015

Decision notification: October 26, 2015

Round 1

Application deadline: October 14, 2015

Decision notification: December 17, 2015

Round 2

Application deadline: January 5, 2016

Decision notification: March 15, 2016

Round 3

Application deadline: March 22, 2016

Decision notification: May 6, 2016

The new application to Duke Fuqua will be available online in mid-July. For more information, please visit theFuqua MBA admissions website.

You may also be interested in:
Duke Fuqua Tops Businessweek’s Biennial MBA Ranking

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UNC Kenan-Flagler Fall 2016 Application Deadlines [#permalink]

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New post 18 Jun 2015, 12:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: UNC Kenan-Flagler Fall 2016 Application Deadlines
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The Kenan-Flagler Business School at University of North Carolina has announced the following MBA application deadlines for the 2015-2016 admissions season.

Round 1 (Early Action)

Application due: October 16, 2015

Decision released: December 14, 2015

Round 2

Application due: December 4, 2015

Decision released: February 1, 2016

Round 3

Application due: January 15, 2016

Decision released: March 15, 2016

Round 4

Application due: March 11, 2016

Decision released: April 25, 2016

*If space is still available in the class, UNC Kenan-Flagler will accept applications after the Round 4 deadline. Decisions on applications submitted after the Round 4 deadline will be released on a rolling basis.

Applications must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on the application date.

For more information about UNC Kenan-Flagler’s MBA program, please visit the admissions website.

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Ready or Not, it’s GMAT Time [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jun 2015, 06:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Ready or Not, it’s GMAT Time
While many will be celebrating the official arrival of summer this weekend, MBA applicants are aware of yet another season that’s ramping up: GMAT preparation season. We’ve asked experts on the Economist GMAT Tutor team for tips to help you do your best. Here’s what they had to say:

  • Get a baseline. Before you do anything else, take a practice test to learn what your baseline score is. Why? Because you need to arm yourself with a full assessment of exactly how far you have to go to become a competitive candidate at your school of choice. (Economist GMAT Tutor offers a free practice test—take advantage of it!)
  • Know thyself. Connect with an expert about tackling your specific weaknesses. It takes more than mere repetition to ace a tough subject. An expert tutor can help you develop a plan to strengthen the areas you’re struggling to master. If you want to try this strategy out, the Economist GMAT Tutor offers a 7-day trial that includes a free session with one of their tutors.
  • RELAX! No really, relax. Anxiety will have a big effect on your test-day performance, so learn how to use that stress to your advantage (yes, this truly is possible). Learning what you need to know to conquer the GMAT is completely doable.
There’s no downside to taking a free test-drive of the Economist GMAT Tutor program, so why not give it a shot? On test day you’ll be glad you did everything in your power to achieve your highest possible score.

Think of it this way:

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$11M Gift to UCLA Anderson Launches New Technology Management Center [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jun 2015, 06:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: $11M Gift to UCLA Anderson Launches New Technology Management Center
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Earlier this month, Anderson School of Management announced it will broaden the base of technology opportunities across the UCLA campus with its new Easton Technology Management Center, made possible thanks to gifts totaling $11 million from James L. Easton.

The new center expands the Easton Technology Leadership Program, established in 2009 to develop strong business leadership skills in students with engineering and technical backgrounds.

With this launch, UCLA Anderson expands the scope of its programs and offers students with both technical and non-technical backgrounds, as well as faculty, alumni and industry professionals, access to the latest innovations in technology management. Currently the program includes nearly 430 participants with 30% of the 2016 class interning at technology firms this summer.

Guillaume Roels, UCLA Anderson associate professor and the new center’s faculty director, outlined the center’s strategic goals:

  • To create a hub for innovative research and scholarship in technology leadership
  • To increase program outreach and develop closer ties with UCLA’s engineering and medical schools as well as technology industry professionals
  • To foster curriculum innovation in technology leadership
As a CEO of one of the world’s largest sports equipment manufacturers, Easton Sports, Inc., it was Easton’s experiences designing and manufacturing high-performance sports equipment that first led him to recognize the need for business leadership education.

“I saw a need for leaders in technology, engineering and manufacturing, with knowledge and talent to create innovative products, who would benefit from UCLA Anderson by learning skills in management, communication and negotiation to run their companies,” says Easton.

UCLA Anderson Dean Judy Olian calls Easton a visionary when it comes to creating new approaches the school. “With the creation of the Easton Technology Management Center, Jim expands the impact of his vision by positioning our students to lead and drive change in the rapidly changing tech landscape of California and the world.”

You may also be interested in:
UCLA Anderson Receives $100M Gift from Namesake’s Widow

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Avoid Choosing the Wrong MBA Recommenders [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jun 2015, 11:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Avoid Choosing the Wrong MBA Recommenders
This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com
You probably already know not to ask the CEO of your company to write your business school letter of recommendation – unless of course he or she is  someone you work closely with and who knows you very well.

Below are three more potential pitfalls when it comes to selecting a recommender. Avoid these mistakes or you may find your chances of admission crushed despite having an overall compelling application.

• Don’t select someone who can’t answer the questions: In other words, you may feel tempted to choose someone who knows you inside and out, but not in a professional setting. He or she can speak to your love of soccer, your compassion and your integrity, which are all great attributes. But this person cannot answer the specific career questions recommenders must address.

Business schools typically ask recommenders to evaluate how the candidate’s potential, performance or personal qualities stack up against those of other individuals in a similar role.

We worked with one client, Mike, when he was applying straight out of college. He had done a few short internships during college, but had no full-time work experience to draw from or a supervisor to tap for a traditional recommendation.

Mike had a stellar academic record, but a choosing a professor is rarely a good choice for a business school reference, no matter how cordial the teacher-student relationship. However, once we learned that Mike had worked as a teaching assistant for one of his professors, we knew we’d found someone who could better speak to the types of questions asked. Though unconventional, the recommendation from a professor became the right choice for Mike.

• Don’t select someone who is not an advocate for you going to business school. This may sound strange, but plenty of successful and well-positioned professionals won’t understand why you would want to go to business school. They may even be actively against it. Maybe they don’t want to lose you as an employee for two years, or maybe they aren’t really your biggest fan.

Our client Todd worked in finance in an office that didn’t require the MBA degree for promotion, and many higher-ups scoffed at its value. While his boss agreed to write the recommendation and had plenty of good things to say about Todd, he sort of laughed it off and clearly would not act as a true advocate for him going to business school.

Todd worried about what might happen if one of his target schools called his boss to discuss the reference, and that uncertainty was just too stressful. He decided instead to choose his supervisor from a prior position, someone with whom he had kept in touch and discussed his graduate school plans with quite a bit.

Choose people who like you, who care about your success and who think you’re good at what you do. Choose capable writers who can express their opinions clearly. If a potential reference seems less than enthusiastic in any way, keep looking. That person’s ambivalence will likely come through in the letter.

• Don’t select a person who doesn’t know who you are and where you stand now: If you worked with someone four years ago and have not done a good job of staying in touch, that person really cannot comment on your progress and skills today.

We worked with one client, Guillaume, who was reapplying to business school after receiving a series of setbacks the previous season. Upon reviewing all of the components of his previous application, it quickly became apparent that a feeble recommendation letter had likely weakened his otherwise strong candidacy.

He had gone to a supervisor from a previous position, and while he left on good terms personally and professionally, Guillaume had never felt fully comfortable at the firm, which was why he resigned to find a job he felt more passionate about. Unfortunately, it appeared Guillaume’s supervisor had also perceived his lack of enthusiasm for his job.

Having few years of distance from Guillaume’s work, the former supervisor wrote a recommendation that would appear polite and generally positive upon hurried review, but a closer read revealed some deliberate omissions and even a few veiled criticisms. In this case, the recommender’s letter was actually damning with faint praise. 

When considering potential references, ask yourself whether the person has worked closely with you, thinks favorably of you, and will put in the time to write a thoughtful, detailed endorsement of your candidacy. If you can’t answer yes to these three requirements, move on until you find the person who fits the bill perfectly. Your chances of admission to the school of your dreams may well depend on it.

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Tuesday Tips: Dartmouth Tuck MBA Essay Tips [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jun 2015, 19:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: Dartmouth Tuck MBA Essay Tips
The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth has a small student body and a rural location, combined with world-class faculty and academic focus. As you approach your Dartmouth Tuck MBA application it will be important to consistently show how you will fit into the school values of leadership, teamwork and collaboration and bring your own unique qualities and experiences to the community.

Before you begin the essays think about the areas you want to communicate to the Tuck Business School admissions committee. As you consider each topic be sure to provide specific examples to illustrate your unique qualities. Real life experiences are your best evidence of leadership qualities, teamwork skills and management potential.

The Tuck admissions team encourages applicants to respond fully but concisely to these essay questions, and to limit the length of their responses to 500 words for each essay.

Stacy Blackman Consulting has worked with successful Tuck applicants for over a decade, contact us to learn more about the customized assistance we can provide for your application.

Essay One: What are your short- and long-term goals? Why do you need an MBA to achieve those goals? Why are you interested in Tuck specifically?

This standard career goals question requires you to clearly outline your short- and long-term career goals. Your short-term goals are the aspirations you have for your job immediately after graduation, while your long-term goals may be 10 or 20 years after you complete your MBA. In this relatively short essay you will need to explain what you have been pursuing in your career thus far, and why you need an MBA at this point in your life, along with your career goals.

“Why Tuck Business School” is an important element to this essay, and your opportunity to demonstrate fit. Make sure you have researched the school’s programs and determined your education will suit your plans. By reaching out to current students and alumni you will gain crucial insights that will provide a personal perspective on the culture of the school.

Essay Two: Tell us about your most meaningful leadership experience and what role you played. How will that experience contribute to the learning environment at Tuck?

As you consider topics for this essay reflect upon the situations that may have revealed your own strengths and weaknesses. Think back to Tuck Business School’s criteria, and possibly use this essay to either demonstrate your interpersonal leadership skills or to show something from your background or experience that is unique. Think about the leadership opportunities that led to a deeper understanding of yourself and others, and may have resulted in definition of your strengths or an improvement in your weaknesses. The example you choose can be from work or community involvement, as “great leadership can be accomplished in the pursuit or business and societal goals.”

One aspect to remember as you draft this essay is that the Tuck School of Business definition of leadership is inherently collaborative. Team based experiences may be preferable, and as you describe your leadership experience, make sure you explain how you were able to inspire and enable others to accomplish as well.

Essay Three: (Optional) Please provide any additional insight or information that you have not addressed elsewhere that may be helpful in reviewing your application (e.g., unusual choice of evaluators, weaknesses in academic performance, unexplained job gaps or changes, etc.). Complete this question only if you feel your candidacy is not fully represented by this application.

This is your opportunity to discuss any perceived weaknesses in your application such as low GPA or gaps in your work experience. When approaching a question of this nature, focus on explanations rather than excuses and explain what you have done since the event you are explaining to demonstrate your academic ability or management potential.

You could potentially use this space to add something new that was not covered in the previous essays or in the application, resume or recommendations, however use your judgment about the topics as Tuck asks that you only complete this question if you “feel your candidacy is not fully represented by this application.”

Essay Four: (To be completed by all reapplicants) How have you strengthened your candidacy since you last applied? Please reflect on how you have grown personally and professionally.

If you are re-applying to Tuck this essay is the place for you to showcase any developments since your last application. Ideally you have concrete improvements like a stronger GMAT score, grades from business classes, or a promotion. Even if nothing quantitative has changed in your profile you likely have developed more leadership activities or progressed in your job responsibilities. If you are struggling to think of any clear improvements you can describe refined goals or deeper thinking about your future that has led you to apply again to Tuck. Demonstrating growth in maturity or introspection can be a huge improvement to your application and absolutely should be highlighted.

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Tuesday Tips: Dartmouth Tuck MBA Essay Tips   [#permalink] 23 Jun 2015, 19:01

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