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Stacy Blackman Consulting Representative
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Prove You’re MBA Material [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Prove You’re MBA Material
Many business school applicants worry that they don’t have a strong enough quantitative background to be accepted into a top program. If your entire career has been spent in marketing, for example, how can you convince an admissions committee that you’ll be able to handle core classes like Finance and Accounting?

The good news is that business schools have no intention of putting together a graduating class made up of only bankers and accountants. They are well aware that a private equity analyst can learn a lot from a brand manager, and vice versa. So rest assured that AdComs are looking for qualified candidates from all industries and functions in order to make up a diverse classroom.

That being said, AdComs do not want to admit someone who gives them reason to believe they may struggle with an intense MBA curriculum. Thankfully, even if your day-to-day responsibilities don’t include building financial models or computing figures, there are still several other ways an AdCom member can assess your analytical skills.

We’d suggest asking your recommenders to highlight any analytical work you’ve done—they might even be willing to review your career to date and help you remember quantitative aspects of past projects you may have overlooked. Along those same lines, you should consider rewriting your resume so that quantifiable results of your work are included wherever possible.

AdComs will also be paying attention to your undergraduate grades (specifically courses like Statistics or Calculus) and your quantitative GMAT score. Clearly there’s nothing you can do about your college grades at this point, but you can (and should) take the GMAT a few times if you don’t do well initially. Invest a lot of time (we’re talking 100+ hours) in preparing and studying, as your score can help prove that you can handle the toughest MBA courses.

Remember:



 

 

 

 

 

 

***

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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Tuesday Tips: Harvard Business School Fall 2017 MBA Essay Tips [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: Harvard Business School Fall 2017 MBA Essay Tips
Harvard Business School continues to provide one open-ended essay question to applicants. This year the essay is required (unlike two years ago) but the essay question has changed from last year, and is instead much more flexible (like two years ago).

Last year the HBS admissions director blog noted that the “optional” element was dropped because: “this season, every applicant submitted a response. We get it. You want to tell us things.”

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

That urge could backfire, as the essay is used to determine who isn’t a fit for HBS as much as those who deserve the chance to move into the interview round. Maturity, accomplishment, and leadership are highly valued qualities and this essay is your chance to display those qualities through the stories you choose and the voice coming through your writing.

There is one question for the Class of 2019 application essay:

As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA program?

From HBS: There is no word limit for this question. We think you know what guidance we’re going to give here. Don’t overthink, overcraft and overwrite. Just answer the question in clear language that those of us who don’t know your world can understand.

A note on word count: HBS values brevity in essays. Do not be tempted to go overboard with a 2,000 word essay, rather focus on concise and clear writing and consider keeping this essay to 1,200 words or less. Our clients have successfully composed essays anywhere from 500-1,300 words, though you should take a pass through your essay to cut any unnecessary words if you find yourself on the upper end of that range.

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

Last year HBS recommended a video on the case method, which is worth watching now. The video clearly shows that diverse perspectives are valuable to the case method experience. Think about what diverse experience you bring. We have found that both personal and career oriented topics can work, and most candidates tell more than one story in the essay. In the past we have observed that successful HBS essays also demonstrate a core driving passion. HBS students are ambitious, motivated and never boring.

As you consider possible stories to tell in this essay keep in mind that HBS has always been highly focused on leadership and really loves candidates with a track record of leadership impact and a success trajectory that indicates upper management potential.

Accomplishments have traditionally been a strong focus of HBS essays, and using at least one accomplishment story in this essay may be a good strategy, particularly if your accomplishments are not obvious when reading your resume or transcripts.

A note on what not to do: We see many applicants tempted to include “why HBS” type information in HBS essays. Explaining why the case method specifically is a good fit for you and your learning style is absolutely appropriate, but more detailed “why HBS” content has never been asked for in an HBS application essay question. HBS admissions is quite clear on the value of an HBS degree, and they would rather see you use the space to provide more information about yourself and your candidacy.

Looking for guidance on your HBS application? Contact us to learn more about Stacy Blackman Consulting.

Image credit: Chris Han (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
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Tuesday Tips: Wharton School Fall 2017 MBA Essay Tips [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: Wharton School Fall 2017 MBA Essay Tips
The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania released the essay questions for the class of 2019 with the inclusion of a second required essay. This additional essay focuses on teamwork and complements the main essay question that asks candidates to reflect upon their fit with Wharton both personally and professionally.

As you consider how to approach this set of essays make sure you are conducting thorough school research. Getting to know the Wharton community through campus visits, online research and the many admissions events around the globe will help you understand the personality of the school and the alumni network to write an effective set of essays.

Essay 1: (Required) What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)

This is both a standard career goals question and an inquiry into your personality and potential success in the program.

Be careful to answer the specific question in this career goals essay. Notice that you are not asked about your professional background or your key accomplishments. To answer the question asked, you will want to focus mainly on the future and what you are planning to pursue with your MBA degree.

At the same time, there is certainly room to add color by using your background information where it is most relevant to your goals. Think about the key moments of your professional life that crystallized your goals for you, and focus on illuminating those decision points rather than reciting your entire resume.

Understanding exactly how you fit in will help you describe what Wharton will do for you, as well as navigate interviews and other interactions with the Wharton admissions committee. Consider including specific information from your Wharton research in this essay such as Wharton faculty you would like to study with or unique educational opportunities at Wharton.

When you address your personal goals for the MBA make sure you are making the case for Wharton specifically. Consider what living in Philadelphia might be like, the many clubs and student activities, and leadership development opportunities like traveling to Antarctica with your classmates that may address some of your personal life goals.

Essay 2: (Required) Teamwork is at the core of the Wharton MBA experience with each student contributing unique elements to our collaborative culture. How will you contribute to the Wharton community? (400 words)

Wharton is an intense environment, but also one that takes pride in collaboration and community. This question seeks to understand how you work with others and what your leadership style is. Collaboration and teamwork are important key concepts to illustrate in this essay.

Your contribution to Wharton could be in the classroom, clubs or within small group projects. You might bring your experiences launching a new product to your marketing case studies. Maybe you will lend creative ideas to your learning team as you prepare a research project.

Perhaps you will tutor your learning team mate in accounting principles because he has never done accounting at work. Or you might contribute to the Media and Entertainment Club by leading a career trek or bringing a new speaker to campus. Think about what you have learned in your career and in prior academics that may help those around you.

This essay does not explicitly require examples of teamwork or leadership from your past experiences, but it will be a stronger essay if you provide evidence. Think about a time you demonstrated your collaborative approach to team problem solving, and consider how you can prove what you contributed to your community in your workplace or extracurricular activities.

Essay 3: (Optional) Please use the space below to highlight any additional information that you would like the Admissions Committee to know about your candidacy. (400 words)

If you think that your application materials and the required essays are enough to provide a complete picture of your candidacy you may want to forgo this essay. There is no need to submit additional material just to submit something – consider whether the admissions committee will appreciate the information or think you are wasting their time.

If you do choose to answer this question note that the essay can be used for any topic that you would like. If there is something about your personal background you did not cover in the required essays and it is relevant and useful for your application, this is the place to cover it.

Perhaps you didn’t have room in the required essays to describe an important accomplishment or to tell a story about your life that is relevant to your pursuit of an MBA. Anything that you think will be an asset to your application is fair game as a topic for this essay.

All reapplicants to Wharton are required to complete this essay. Explain how you have reflected on the previous decision about your application, and discuss any updates to your candidacy (e.g., changes in your professional life, additional coursework, extracurricular/volunteer engagements). (250 words)

All applicants, including reapplicants can also use this section to address any extenuating circumstances. (250 words)

All reapplicants are required to provide information that supports your renewed candidacy. The most successful version of the reapplicant essay will provide tangible evidence that you have improved the overall package you are submitting this year.

Improvements like GMAT score or new quantitative classes are especially tangible and convincing, but a promotion, increase in responsibility at work, a job change or even a change of goals and mission can serve as reasonable updates.

A rejection or waitlist last year is a form of feedback, and may have led to soul searching for you. When you describe your changes make sure reflect your ability to take feedback and improve. Describe how you approached the reapplication process after assessing your own strengths and weaknesses as a candidate and making the appropriate efforts to improve.

If you are not a reapplicant this essay is a potential space to address any areas of concern in your application. If you have a low GPA or GMAT, gaps in your resume, disciplinary action in undergrad or anything else that you want to explain, this is where you would provide a brief explanation and any supporting evidence to show you have moved past the setback.

Contact Stacy Blackman Consulting for customized advice to give you that competitive edge in your Wharton application

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IESE Fall 2017 MBA Application Deadlines [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: IESE Fall 2017 MBA Application Deadlines


IESE Business School has posted the following application deadlines for the 2016-2017 admissions season.

Round 1

Application due: October 4, 2016

Decision released by: November 25, 2016

Round 2

Application due: January 5, 2017

Decision released by: March 10, 2017

Round 3

Application due: March 7, 2017

Decision released by: April 28, 2017

Round 4

Application due: April 18, 2017

Decision released by: June 1, 2017

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

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Wharton Debuts Interactive Budget Model Tool [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Wharton Debuts Interactive Budget Model Tool


The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School has announced the launch of the Penn Wharton Budget Model. The nonpartisan, interactive budget model is a tool available at no cost to users and is available online and from the tap of a tablet or smartphone.

The Model, a tool developed through the Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative, allows policymakers and the public to make more informed decisions and better understand the economic and fiscal implications of proposed policies.

Something as important as the federal budget – which impacts our ability as a country to create jobs and prosper – should be as accessible and transparent as the other important information we consume on a daily basis.

“At Wharton, we see an opportunity to make a difference at the intersection of business and policy – to help business, legislators and the public make crucial decisions based on rigorous data rather than ideological debate,” said Geoff Garrett, Dean of the Wharton School.

“With the accurate, accessible and transparent economic analysis of the Penn Wharton Budget Model, we’re harnessing the power of information for policy impact and using our analytics expertise to fuel data-driven decision making,” Garrett continued.

The first available modules of the Penn Wharton Budget Model allow users to test policies specific to immigration and Social Security. Additional modules in development include healthcare, criminal justice, education, retirement, housing and tax reform, which will follow.

Developed by a team of former Congressional Budget Office and Treasury Department economists and leading technologists, under the leadership of Wharton Boettner Professor and Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy Kent Smetters, the budget model uses macro assumptions that take into account constant changes over time, such as demographic and economic shifts, for more accurate long-range forecasting.

The model’s dial controls allow users to test a range of different forms of policies. For Social Security, the user can see the effects of 4,096 different policy combinations. For immigration policy, there are 125 policy combinations.

“Our goal in developing the Penn Wharton Budget Model is to provide a ‘sandbox’ to test the economic impact of different policy ideas,” said Smetters, who leads the Penn Wharton Budget Model team of more than a dozen researchers, analysts and economists. “Numerous policymakers have told us that they want reliable and speedy analysis, with transparent assumptions, while legislation is being drafted.”

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INSEAD Fall 2017 MBA Essay Questions [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: INSEAD Fall 2017 MBA Essay Questions

The INSEAD MBA application for the September 2017 intake is now open, which means we can preview this season’s essay questions for you here. This year, the number of motivation essays has been reduced from four to three, and INSEAD has also introduced a video component in this application cycle.

Once submitting their application, applicants will receive a link to a video interview. This video component is required to start the evaluation of your application. You will have until a week after the application deadline you are applying for to complete the video interview.

The INSEAD AdCom states: “We are keen on getting to know you better and believe that through a video you can come to life, so be spontaneous, be creative and be yourself! We look forward to virtually meeting you!”

Job Description Essays
Job Essay 1: Briefly summarise 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)

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

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)

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

Optional: 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.

Motivation Essays
Motivation 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).

Motivation 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(approximately 400 words).

Motivation 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? (approximately 300 words)

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

For more information, please visit the INSEAD Full-Time MBA admissions website.

You may also be interested in:
INSEAD Deadlines for September 2017, January 2018 Intakes

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Yale SOM Announces Fall 2017 Essay Topic [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Yale SOM Announces Fall 2017 Essay Topic

Bruce DelMonico, assistant dean for admissions at Yale School of Management, has previewed the new essay question that will be a part of the fall 2017 MBA application. The Yale SOM admissions committee would like you to:

Describe the biggest commitment you have ever made. (500 words maximum)

This seemingly simple and straightforward prompt, DelMonico says, was developed in collaboration with Yale SOM professor of organizational behavior Amy Wrzesniewski.

The SOM will continue using a slide-scale application fee, which ties your application fee to your total annual compensation, for the upcoming year, DelMonico adds.

“The sliding-scale fee helps us attract diverse applicants from all over the world, including those from countries where pay scales are different from the United States and from industries where compensation varies,” he writes.

The 2016-2017 application goes live in mid-July. For more information, please visit the Yale SOM admissions website.

You may also be interested in:
Yale SOM Fall 2017 MBA Application Deadlines

 

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Tuesday Tips: MIT Sloan Fall 2017 MBA Essay Tips [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: MIT Sloan Fall 2017 MBA Essay Tips
MIT Sloan School of Management has streamlined the application considerably this year, removing all but one optional open-ended essay from the application, and reviving the cover letter essay that was a staple of previous admissions cycles.

While the essay formats have changed, MIT Sloan continues to seek MBA candidates with integrity, passion, creativity, intellectual abilities, drive and determination. Consider how to communicate these attributes as you approach both the cover letter and possibly the optional creative essay.

“This year, instead of responding to an essay question, we are asking applicants to submit a cover letter along with their resume. Your cover letter is an opportunity to introduce yourself, describe your past successes, and explain why MIT Sloan’s MBA Program is the right place for you.”

Your letter should conform to a standard business correspondence and be addressed to Mr. Rod Garcia, Senior Director of Admissions. (250 words or fewer)

MIT Sloan has asked for a cover letter for many years in past admissions cycles, and now for the Fall 2017 intake application is asking for a cover letter again. The benefit of the cover letter format is that you must think about your application to Sloan as if you are applying for a new job.

Necessarily, that will require you to distill your most relevant and impressive experience and apply it to achieve your goal of a place in the class. With only 250 words to work with, you will need to have two or three concise and focused examples to introduce yourself and make your case.

The best cover letters will work cohesively with your resume. That means you should imagine that the admissions committee is reading the cover letter with your resume right there and repeating content will be redundant. For the cover letter focus on the stories that will illuminate who you are and why you should attend MIT Sloan, not every accomplishment at work.

Optional Essay:

The Admissions Committee invites you to share additional information about yourself, in any format. If you choose a multimedia format, please host the information on a website and provide us with the URL.

Suggested guidelines:

Please keep all videos and media limited to 2:00 minutes total in length.

Please keep all written essays to 500 words or less.

MIT Sloan’s entirely open-ended optional essay invites applicants to respond to the essay in any format desired. This allows you to do anything you need to with this space, including clarifying any concerns or highlighting interesting aspects of your background or profile. The format can be a creative way for you to showcase any technical or design skills you have, but the content should be your primary focus.

As you consider whether to answer this essay question and what content to include, think about how the rest of your application will communicate your background, goals and any unique experience you bring to the class.

You will be submitting a resume, the cover letter and your recommenders will write about you. What information, if any, do you think will fall through the cracks? If there is something additional you need or want to communicate, address it here.

Stacy Blackman Consulting has advised candidates on everything from photo journalism projects to customized multimedia presentations for this type of essay question. We treat the application as a holistic process and would advise you on which aspects of your background to consider revealing in this optional essay.

Stumped by your MIT Sloan MBA application? Contact Stacy Blackman Consulting to learn how we can help.

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Tuesday Tips: INSEAD 2017 Intake MBA Essay Tips [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: INSEAD 2017 Intake MBA Essay Tips
INSEAD, “the business school of the world,” is a dynamic, diverse and highly international MBA option. Along with the basic MBA questions most other schools ask, INSEAD is looking for significant exploration of your career goals and background. Along with career aspirations and leadership experience, an international focus is important to INSEAD.

This year INSEAD has added a required video interview component to the application process, which will be completed shortly after you submit your application. The video interview has become more common in MBA applications, and Stacy Blackman Consulting has extensive experience prepping candidates for video interviews. Contact us to learn more.

JOB DESCRIPTION ESSAYS

Job Essay 1: Briefly summarise 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 should focus entirely on your current (or most recent) work situation. Though you will want to provide relevant context for your current role, make sure you are devoting most of the essay 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.

When you are composing this essay make sure you focus on what you uniquely have contributed to the role, rather than reciting the job description. What have you done that is above and beyond?

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

Once you have described what you do at work currently, INSEAD asks for you to imagine what you will do in the future. Because you are ambitious enough to be applying to an MBA program like INSEAD, you are likely on a serious career track in your current company. 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)

With this essay INSEAD is seeking to understand your career trajectory and how you have grown and progressed through your career. Think about the choices you have made in your career, and how your past experiences have combined to provide you with your current skill set.

If you have a fairly straightforward career path you can take this opportunity to comment on some of the learnings from each position to create the story of your past, present and future plans.

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

Since you have covered your current role at work, your hypothetical next step at your company and how you arrived at this place, now you can bring the story together to explain what you are pursuing an MBA from INSEAD.

While the best candidates for an MBA might be able to succeed without one, typically a top tier MBA 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 accelerate your career (or change paths entirely). If you did not attend INSEAD, how would you achieve your goals otherwise? Think of this 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: 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, 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

Motivation 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 and seek to understand your level of maturity and self-awareness. This is a great opportunity to highlight some of your skills and attributes that demonstrate 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 vast number of essays and concrete examples are both easy to understand and can help you stand out.

When describing weaknesses you will want to focus on those weaknesses that you have taken concrete 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 often difficult to write about one’s weaknesses this is an especially important essay to share with others to seek feedback on tone and impact.

Motivation 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 (approximately 400 words).

This essay is an opportunity to showcase one of your most important achievements. Impressive achievements that stand on their own are great, but you will want to pay equal attention to 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.

If you don’t have an achievement that you think is incredibly impressive on its face, consider an example that demonstrates the activities you value. Remember, not everyone has sold a company or won an Olympic medal prior to business school!

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 the others around you 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 you have impacted other people through your actions.

Most obviously a success 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.

Note that your application to INSEAD ideally covers both the personal and professional. This essay could be an opportunity in this essay set to bring in a new angle on your profile through describing one of your most substantial accomplishments outside of work.

Motivation 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? (approximately 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 Motivation Essay: Is there anything else that was not covered in your application that you would like to share with the Admissions Committee? (approximately 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 five 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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UV Darden School Fall 2017 Application Deadlines, Essay Prompt [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: UV Darden School Fall 2017 Application Deadlines, Essay Prompt

The Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia has previewed the MBA application deadlines and new essay question for the 2016-2017 admissions cycle via the Darden MBA Blog.

Deadlines
Round 1: October 4, 2016

Round 2: January 9, 2017

Round 3: April 6, 2017

Essay Question
Describe the most important professional feedback you have received and how you responded to this feedback. (500 words)

In asking this question, the Admissions Committee invites you to reflect on your professional experience – both the lessons you learned and how you have used that information to move forward. Through your answer, Darden hopes to learn more about your background and about how you use feedback to better yourself, as well as how well you can articulate your learnings.

The application for the 2016-2017 Full-time Residential MBA is now live. For more information about the program, please visit the Darden MBA admissions website.

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Kellogg School Fall 2017 MBA Essay Questions [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Kellogg School Fall 2017 MBA Essay Questions


The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University has posted the MBA essay prompts for the 2016-2017 admissions season.

The two required essays are:

  • Leadership and teamwork are integral parts of the Kellogg experience. Describe a recent and meaningful time you were a leader. What challenges did you face, and what did you learn? (450 words)
  • Pursuing an MBA is a catalyst for personal and professional growth. How have you grown in the past? How do you intend to grow at Kellogg? (450 words)
Certain applicants will respond to additional questions:

  • Dual-degree applicants: For applicants to the MMM or JD-MBA dual degree programs, please explain why that program is right for you. (250 words)
  • Re-applicants: Since your previous application, what steps have you taken to strengthen your candidacy? (250 word limit)
All applicants have the opportunity to provide explanations or clarification in the section designated for additional information.

If needed, use this section to briefly describe any extenuating circumstances (e.g. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, etc.) (no word count)

For more information, please visit the Kellogg School MBA admissions website.

You may also be interested in:
Kellogg School of Management Fall 2017 MBA Application Deadlines

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Tips for Picking the Right MBA Recommenders [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tips for Picking the Right MBA Recommenders
Although most Round 1 applications aren’t due until the fall, it’s definitely not too early to start thinking about who’s going to support you as you pull together your materials. Your recommenders in particular will play a critical role in the process. So how do you ensure you ask the right people to write letters on your behalf?

The majority of programs require two recommendation letters and usually prefer one of those to be from a direct manager. However, almost all schools will waive that requirement if you think your position (or possible promotion or bonus) would be adversely affected by informing your employer of your intention to go back to school. If that’s the situation you’re in, simply note it in the “Additional Information” or “Optional Essay” space.

You also may be in a position where you don’t have just one direct manager. In that case you have an option of who to approach. In both this scenario and when considering who will write your second letter, you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of asking the most appropriate people.

Adcoms greatly prefer to hear from managers and co-workers who know you well, both personally and professionally. They’re looking for more insight into what makes you tick, how you perform in groups, and what your potential is for the future. They are rarely impressed or swayed by a recommender’s title or alumni status—what they care about is whether or not you will be an asset to the program because of what you’ve achieved to date.

One of the biggest mistakes we see applicants make is asking their company’s CEO—who they barely know or may have never even met in person—to write their recommendation letter. If your recommender cannot go into specifics about your accomplishments or provide detailed anecdotes that highlight your positive personality traits, you’ve just missed a huge opportunity to differentiate yourself from the competition.

We suggest taking some time to list out all of the people you could ask to write a letter of support for your MBA applications. Who are your biggest cheerleaders at work? Who would jump at the chance to help you get into your dream school? Who would feel like they, too, got in to Program X if you were accepted? Those are the people to focus in on, because they will go above and beyond to write a stellar—and most importantly, memorable—reference.

Remember:



 

 

 

 

 

***

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Tuck School Fall 2017 MBA Essay Questions [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuck School Fall 2017 MBA Essay Questions

Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business has previewed the updated MBA essay questions for the 2016-2017 admissions season this week on the Tuck 360 MBA Blog.  According to the school, these revised essays come in response to the increasingly dynamic and diverse global economy, which necessitates values-driven leadership.

Per the Tuck MBA admissions team: Please respond fully but concisely to the following essay questions. There are no right or wrong answers. We encourage applicants to limit the length of their responses to 500 words for each essay. Please double-space your responses.

Essays
  • (Required) 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?
  • (Required) As a diverse and global community, our students arrive at the same place from many different paths.  Tell us about an experience in which you have had to live, learn and/or work with other people very different from yourself.  What challenges and/or opportunities did you experience, how did you respond, and what did you learn about yourself as a result?
  • (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.
  • (Required from Reapplicants) How have you strengthened your candidacy since you last applied? Please reflect on how you have grown personally and professionally.
The Fall 2017 application will go live soon, so please check with the Tuck School MBA admissions website for more information and details about the program.

You may also be interested in:
Tuck School of Business Fall 2017 Application Deadlines

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Oxford Saïd Fall 2017 Application Deadlines [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Oxford Saïd Fall 2017 Application Deadlines

University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School has posted the following MBA application deadlines for the 2016-2017 application season:

Stage 1
Application due: September 9, 2016

Decision released: October 14, 2016

Stage 2
Application due: October 28, 2016

Decision released: December 9, 2016

Stage 3
Application due: January 6, 2017

Decision released: March 3, 2017

Stage 4
Application due: March 17, 2017

Decision released: April 28, 2017

Stage 5
Application due: May 5, 2017

Decision released: June 9, 2017

Stage 6
Application due: June 9, 2017

Decision released: July 7, 2017

Access to the online application form at Saïd will be open from August 1, 2016.  For more information, please visit the Oxford MBA admissions website.

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Cambridge Judge Fall 2017 Deadlines, Essays [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Cambridge Judge Fall 2017 Deadlines, Essays

The Judge Business School at Cambridge University has posted the MBA application deadlines and essay questions for the 2016-2017 admissions cycle.

Deadlines
Round 1

Application Deadline: September 9, 2016

Interview Date: October 24, 2016

Round 2

Application Deadline: October 21, 2016

Interview Date: December 5, 2016

Round 3

Application Deadline: January 6, 2017

Interview Dates: February 20, 2017 and February 27, 2017

Round 4

Application Deadline: March 10, 2017

Interview Date: April 24, 2017

Round 5

Application Deadline: May 5, 2017

Interview Date: June 12, 2017

Candidates should submit their application by 17:00 GMT on the day of their chosen deadline.

Essay Questions
  • What did you learn from your most spectacular failure? (200 words)
  • What are your short and long term career objectives? What skills/characteristics do you already have that will help you to achieve them? What do you hope to gain from the degree and how do you feel it will help you achieve the career objectives you have? (please do not exceed 500 words)
The application for entry in 2017 is now open. For more information, please visit the Judge Business School admissions website.

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Duke Fuqua Fall 2017 Deadlines, MBA Essay Topics [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Duke Fuqua Fall 2017 Deadlines, MBA Essay Topics

The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University has posted the application deadlines, three short-answer questions and two required essay questions for the 2016-2017 MBA admissions season.

Deadlines
Early Action

Deadline: September 13, 2016

Decision notification: October 20, 2016

Round 1

Deadline: October 13, 2016

Decision notification: December 16, 2016

Round 2

Deadline: January 4, 2017

Decision notification: March 15, 2017

Round 3

Deadline: March 20, 2017

Decision notification: April 17, 2017

The Early Action option is ideal for applicants who have completed their MBA research and have decided that this is the best program for them. Applicants admitted in Early Action must submit a tuition deposit along with official transcript(s) by December 9, 2016.

If your ability to enroll is dependent upon receiving merit-based scholarship assistance, you should apply during Early Action, Round 1, or Round 2.

International Applicants: you must apply during Early Action, Round 1, or Round 2 for visa processing.

Re-applicants: reapply for during Early Action or Round 1.

Required Short Answer Questions
Instructions: Answer all 3 of the following questions. For each question, respond in 500 characters only (the equivalent of about 100 words).

  • What are your short-term goals, post-MBA?

  • What are your long-term goals?

  • Life is full of uncertainties, and plans and circumstances can change. As a result, navigating a career requires you to be adaptable. Should the short-term goals that you provided above not materialize what alternative directions have you considered?

First Required Essay: 25 Random Things About Yourself
Instructions: Present your response in list form, numbered 1 to 25. Some points may be only a few words, while others may be longer. Your complete list should not exceed 2 pages.

The “Team Fuqua” spirit and community is one of the things that sets The Duke MBA experience apart, and it is a concept that extends beyond the student body to include faculty, staff, and administration. When a new person joins the Admissions team, we ask that person to share with everyone in the office a list of “25 Random Things About Yourself.” As an Admissions team, we already know the new hire’s professional and academic background, so learning these “25 Random Things” helps us get to know someone’s personality, background, special talents, and more.

In this spirit, the Admissions Committee also wants to get to know you–beyond the professional and academic achievements listed in your resume and transcript. You can share with us important life experiences, your likes/dislikes, hobbies, achievements, fun facts, or anything that helps us understand what makes you who you are. Share with us your list of “25 Random Things” about YOU.

Second Required Essay
Instructions: Your response should be no more than 2 pages in length.

Fuqua prides itself on cultivating a culture of engagement. Our students enjoy a wide range of student-led organizations that provide opportunities for leadership development and personal fulfillment, as well as an outlet for contributing to society. Our student-led government, clubs, centers, and events are an integral part of the student culture and are vital to providing you with a range of experiential learning and individual development experiences.

Based on your understanding of the Fuqua culture, how do you see yourself engaging in and contributing to our community, outside of the classroom?

Optional Essay
If you feel there are circumstances of which the Admissions Committee should be aware, please explain them in an optional essay (such as unexplained gaps in work, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance).

  • Do NOT upload additional essays nor additional recommendations in this area of the application.

  • The Optional Essay is intended to provide the Admissions Committee with insight into your circumstances only.

  • Limit your response to one page.

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

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What’s an MBA Resume? [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: What’s an MBA Resume?
First, the (kinda) bad news: it’s unlikely you’ll be able to use the current version of your resume for your business school applications. In fact, you’re probably going to want to spend a significant amount of time on a complete resume overhaul.

But the good news is that your resume is a very important part of your materials, and the extra work you put into revising it could be what makes the difference between a ding and an interview offer.

A resume gives you one whole page (and, in some special cases—mainly if you’re in your 30s or have military experience—two pages) to tell the adcom why you’d be an asset to their program.

From this document, they should be able to clearly understand what sort of work stories you’d be talking about in class, or what sorts of “lessons learned” you’ll be able to speak to from either your professional or community-service experiences.

We recommend:

  • Reworking your resume so that it functions more as a narrative about your career and outside interests (versus a dry list of responsibilities and achievements).
  • Getting rid of acronyms and industry jargon, and then rephrasing your accomplishments so that anyone could understand them.
  • Doing away with any bullet points (or sub-headlines) that only list general, vague or high-level responsibilities for a given role.
  • Deleting unnecessary company or casework/deal descriptions (which are especially popular on consultants’ and bankers’ resumes). You’ll be able to include this information on the school’s application, so no need to repeat it here.
  • Using the space you have to explain exactly what YOU did on a project, showcase specific achievements and results, and highlight your skill progression and increased responsibilities over time.
Since admissions committees and alumni interviewers are looking for people who others will enjoy being around both inside and outside of class, it’s also a great idea to include at least some brief mention of your interests and hobbies at the bottom of the document. A lot of times it’s this information that interviewers use to “break the ice” when they first meet you.

Here’s a little inspiration as you begin to revise your resume so that it will catch the adcom’s attention:



 

 

 

 

 

 

***

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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