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The mbaMission Blog

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University of Michigan (Ross) Essay Analysis, 2016–2017 [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jun 2016, 12:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: University of Michigan (Ross) Essay Analysis, 2016–2017
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In 2014, the admissions committee at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan asked applicants to share—in two separate essays—their greatest points of pride in their professional life and in their personal life. Last year, Ross left the decision of whether to focus on a professional theme or a personal one up to the candidate. And now this year, the school is requesting that applicants discuss their proudest moment exclusively in their personal life. This prompt is rather paradoxical in that it is simultaneously narrow and broad. How so? The narrowness is in the word count. You are limited to just 400 words, which is challenging. Writing something that is both concise and powerful is difficult, but the result often has a much stronger impact than if you had had no limits.  As the old saying goes, “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.” The broadness lies in the open-ended nature of the prompt, given that the only restriction on content is that you not discuss something from your career. Your professional aspirations are the focus of the school’s second essay question, though it allows you even less space in which to convey your points—only 250 words. If you are unsure about how to make the most of these limited opportunities to impress the Ross admissions committee, continue reading our essay analysis…

What are you most proud of outside of your professional life? How does it shape who you are today? (up to 400 words)

First, we should start with some semantics. We have already said that this essay is broad, but you may have read the prompt and thought, “Great, I can tell a single story using just 400 words. How broad is that?” Sure, if you are “most proud” of a stand-alone experience or accomplishment, you can definitely explore it in full in this essay, but you are not actually limited to one story. You might instead take a thematic approach, showing that you are most proud of a particular trait or value, which will enable you to present several anecdotes or experiences that relate to and illustrate that trait/value. So, maybe you are most proud of having had the audacity to put on a one-man play in a fringe festival, for example, or perhaps you are proud of your willingness to take personal risks, as indicated by your one-man play, your week-long solo camping excursion in the deep woods, and your many trips across the country to face off against other pit bosses in barbecue competitions. Either approach can work.

The specific example—or series of examples—you offer is not as important as truly owning the example(s) via your narrative. We strongly advise against starting your essay with a statement like “I am most proud of taking a week-long solo camping trip, because…” You must maintain some mystery to bring the reader into your experience and hold his or her attention. In this case, what spurred “you” to take this trip? How did you perceive the risks? How did the trip play out? Of course, this is a very specific example, but the point is that whatever your chosen story or theme, the admissions committee wants to learn about you through your actions and your thought process.

Remember, this question has two parts—the school also asks how what you are proud of shapes who you are today. To successfully discuss the “shaping” aspect of your selected topic, you need to show an element of before and after, illustrating the effect this part of your life has had on you. Do not merely throw out a hokey final line to summarize this element. You must truly explore the impact of the experience(s) and demonstrate that you can be thoughtful about your life and have a good sense of self-awareness. We recommend that you devote 75 words to this reflection, at a bare minimum.

If you are thinking of writing on a theme, you may be concerned about the originality of that theme, but as we always say, the admissions committee is not expecting you to have a fully unique angle that has never been conceived of before. Rather, the school wants you to share your authentic story of what you are “most proud” of in your own, individual way. Your words and your voice will imbue the essay with all the originality it needs.

What is your desired career path and why? (up to 250 words)

Because personal statements are similar from one business school application to the next, we have created the mbaMission Personal Statement Guide, which helps applicants write this style of essay for any school. We offer this guide to candidates free of charge. Download your copy today!

For a thorough exploration of Ross’s academic program/merits, defining characteristics, crucial statistics, social life, academic environment, and other valuable information, please check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

Optional Statement: This section should only be used to convey information not addressed elsewhere in your application, for example, completion of supplemental coursework, employment gaps, academic issues, etc. Feel free to use bullet points where appropriate.

The phrasing of this optional essay propmt is broader than most in that Ross does not specifically limit you to discussing problem areas in your candidacy. That said, in most cases, this is still your opportunity to address any lingering questions that an admissions officer might have about your profile—if you need to—such as a poor grade or overall GPA, a low GMAT score, a gap in your work experience, etc. In our mbaMission Optional Essays Guide, we offer detailed advice on when and how to take advantage of the optional essay, with multiple examples, to help you mitigate any problem areas in your application.

However, because the question can be interpreted rather broadly, it does open the door for you to discuss a strength or attribute that has not yet been highlighted elsewhere in your application and that you think may be pivotal or particularly compelling. We caution you about simply trying to fill this space because you fear that not doing so would somehow count against you. You must have a crucial aspect of your background/experience/profile that you would be bringing to light—remember, by submitting an additional essay, you are asking the admissions committee to do extra work on your behalf, so you need to make sure that time is warranted. If you are using the essay to emphasize something that if omitted would render your application incomplete, take this opportunity to write a very brief narrative that reveals this key new aspect of your profile.

The Next Step—Mastering Your Michigan Ross Interview: Many MBA candidates find admissions interviews stressful and intimidating, but mastering this important element of the application process is definitely possible—the key is informed preparation. We therefore offer our free Interview Primers to spur you along! Download your free copy of the Michigan Ross Interview Primer today.

 

The post University of Michigan (Ross) Essay Analysis, 2016–2017 appeared first on mbaMission - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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Beyond the MBA Classroom: Wharton’s MBA Pub [#permalink]

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New post 02 Jun 2016, 07:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Beyond the MBA Classroom: Wharton’s MBA Pub
When you select an MBA program, you are not just choosing your learning environment but are also committing to becoming part of a community. Each Thursday, we offer a window into life “beyond the MBA classroom” at a top business school.

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Every Thursday evening, a large proportion of students heads to Wharton’s MBA Pub, where they can enjoy unlimited free beer and pizza (with an annual membership). Formerly housed in its own designated space in Steinberg-Dietrich Hall, the school moved MBA Pub to a new off-campus facility at the historic Armory building in Center City in 2013, thus making the event more proximal to where the majority of Wharton students live. Because Wharton has no classes on Friday, Pub—as it is commonly called—serves as an ideal way for many students to mark the end of the academic week, kick off the weekend, and catch up with classmates and professors (who can be invited as guests).

Pub’s food offerings, drink selection, and decorations vary each week throughout the year, depending on which campus group is the week’s sponsor—though beer and pizza are staples. The event also features a variety of special events and social functions, which in 2015 included the Grand Bazaar, in which members were able to buy and sell furniture and other used goods as well as take part in a charity fundraiser. Pub is obviously separate from Wharton’s academic and recruiting offerings, but according to those with whom mbaMission spoke, many students and alumni consider it an emblematic experience of the program.

For in-depth descriptions of social and community activities at Wharton and 15 other top MBA programs, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.

The post Beyond the MBA Classroom: Wharton’s MBA Pub appeared first on mbaMission - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
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Diamonds in the Rough: Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business [#permalink]

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New post 02 Jun 2016, 11:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Diamonds in the Rough: Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business
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The Scheller College of Business at Georgia Tech

MBA applicants can get carried away with rankings. In this series, we profile amazing programs at business schools that are typically ranked outside the top 15.

 

The Scheller College of Business at Georgia Tech may rival MIT Sloan and Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business with respect to its focus on the direct application of Internet technology to global business problems. The school’s rather small (approximately 60–70 students each year) and innovation-focused program was nevertheless ranked 23rd among full-time MBA programs by Bloomberg Businessweek in 2015.

Situated in the heart of Technology Square in Midtown Atlanta, Scheller offers students numerous networking and innovation resources within the city’s high-tech business community, including the Advanced Technology Development Center business incubator. Billing itself as “the nation’s largest and most comprehensive university-based program of business and industry assistance, technology commercialization, and economic development” on its Web site, the Enterprise Innovation Institute, or EI2, also provides students with resources for career options at the intersection of business and technology. As an indicator of the school’s overall strengths in information technology and operations management, a large portion of Scheller’s student body tends to come from science, technology, engineering, and math backgrounds (50% of the Class of 2017).

The post Diamonds in the Rough: Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business appeared first on mbaMission - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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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Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
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Friday Factoid: The MIT Sloan Application Review Process [#permalink]

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New post 03 Jun 2016, 08:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Friday Factoid: The MIT Sloan Application Review Process
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What does the MIT Sloan application review process entail? True to the rigorous analytic nature of the program’s curriculum, MIT applications are reviewed in a rigorous analytic fashion! When the Admissions Office receives an application, the candidate’s information is loaded into a database and the application is printed. Rod Garcia, who has been MIT Sloan’s director of admissions for nearly 30 years, first reviews every application online and then distributes the applications randomly among the school’s admissions readers—all of whom are either internal admissions staff members or contract readers. After picking up a batch of applications, readers review, score, and then return them one week later. The scores are entered into the database, where Garcia reviews them to determine which candidates will be interviewed.

After the selected candidates have been interviewed, their applications are scored again, and the committee then decides which individuals to admit. Application scoring is based on nine attributes, which Sloan divides into two major groups: demonstrated success (e.g., GPA, GMAT, work accomplishments) and leadership (e.g., high competency in creativity, relationship building, goal setting, influencing). Each attribute group is scored separately, and the two scores are added together. At mbaMission, we always tell candidates that MBA admissions is not a science—yet at MIT Sloan, a little science comes into play after all.

For more information on MIT Sloan or 15 other leading MBA programs, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.

The post Friday Factoid: The MIT Sloan Application Review Process appeared first on mbaMission - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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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Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: The Admissions Committee Wants a “Type [#permalink]

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New post 04 Jun 2016, 07:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: The Admissions Committee Wants a “Type”
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Many MBA candidates believe that admissions committees have narrowed down their criteria for selecting applicants over the years and that each school has one distinct “type” that it seeks. So, in this world of stereotypes, Harvard Business School (HBS) is looking only for leaders, Kellogg is looking only for marketing students, Chicago Booth is looking only for finance students, and in some extreme cases, people actually believe that MIT Sloan is looking only for “eggheads.” Of course, these stereotypes—like most stereotypes—are inaccurate. Chicago Booth wants far more than one-dimensional finance students in its classes, and it provides far more than just finance to its MBA students (including, to the surprise of many, an excellent marketing program). HBS is not a school just for “generals”; among the approximately 950 students in each of its classes, HBS has a wide variety of personalities, including some excellent foot soldiers. So, at mbaMission, we constantly strive to educate MBA candidates about these misconceptions in hopes that they will eschew these stereotypes, which can sink applications if applicants pander to them.

By way of example, imagine that you have worked in operations at a widget manufacturer. You have profound experience managing and motivating dozens of different types of people, at different levels, throughout your career, in both good economic times and bad. Even though your exposure to finance has been minimal, you erroneously determine that you need to be a “finance guy” to get into NYU Stern. So you tell your best, but nonetheless weak, finance stories, and now you are competing against elite finance candidates who have far more impressive stories in comparison. What if you had told your unique operations/management stories instead and stood out from the other applicants, rather than trying to compete in the school’s most overrepresented pool?

We think that attempting to defy stereotypes and truly being yourself—to try to stand out from all others and not be easily categorized—is only natural. Of course, if you are still not convinced, you might ask Stanford’s director and assistant dean of MBA admissions, Derrick Bolton, who wrote on his admissions Web site, “Because we want to discover who you are, resist the urge to ‘package’ yourself in order to come across in a way you think Stanford wants. Such attempts simply blur our understanding of who you are and what you can accomplish. We want to hear your genuine voice throughout the essays that you write, and this is the time to think carefully about your values, your passions, your hopes and dreams.”

Makes sense, right?

The post MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: The Admissions Committee Wants a “Type” appeared first on mbaMission - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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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mbaMission

Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
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GMAT Impact: Help! The Deadline Is Approaching and I Do Not Have My Sc [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jun 2016, 08:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: GMAT Impact: Help! The Deadline Is Approaching and I Do Not Have My Score!
With regard to the GMAT, raw intellectual horsepower helps, but it is not everything. In this blog series, Manhattan Prep’s Stacey Koprince teaches you how to perform at your best on test day by using some common sense.

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It is that time of year again—business schools are announcing their application deadlines, and I am hearing from candidates who do not yet have the score they want. What to do?

First, do a little research. What kinds of scores are posted for the schools to which you plan to apply? Check their Web sites; most will publish scores for admitted students. If you cannot find scores for a certain program, you can try checking various MBA ranking reports (though many require you to buy the information). How far are you from the goal?

Next, consult the experts. First, talk to an admissions consultant (hint, hint, mbaMission) to gain help in deciding how far you really need to go with the GMAT. The general rule is that you would like to be at or above the average to be competitive for a certain school, but you may need to push higher (or you might get away with a lower score), depending on other aspects of your application profile. Be sure to discuss multiple scenarios: if I apply first round, can I get away with a slightly lower GMAT score? If I wait to apply second round, is the possibility of a higher GMAT score likely to make much of a difference? (Disclaimer: Of course, nobody can tell you whether you will definitely get into any particular school, just as nobody can tell you that taking the test again will definitely net you a higher score. As always, you take your chances!)

When you have an idea of your “ideal” goal score, talk to some GMAT experts to see whether your desired goal score and your time frame are reasonable, given your starting point. If someone tells me that she just scored a 600 and wants a 720 in 30 days, that person has an “expectation adjustment” conversation in her near future, because not many people would be able to raise their score by 120 points (particularly to such a high final score) in only one month.

Next, think about what resources would help you to learn better than you have in the past. Online forums? A friend who has already taken the test? A private tutor? A mix of all three? (I am not suggesting a course here, because I am assuming that we are talking about six weeks or fewer, in which case—if you are going to spend money—you might as well spend it on a tutor. That will give you much more targeted and customized help, which is crucial in such a short time frame. If you have more time, though, add “a course?” to the list of possibilities.)

You may have to make a tough choice between going for your goal score while postponing your application and lowering your goal score while sticking to your application time frame. Either way, take advantage of the expert advice out there to help you with this decision.

The post GMAT Impact: Help! The Deadline Is Approaching and I Do Not Have My Score! appeared first on mbaMission - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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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mbaMission

Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
mbaMission Insiders Guides: http://www.mbamission.com/guides.php?category=insiders
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Hear How Casper’s Co-Founder/CEO, Philip Krim, Became an Entrepreneur  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jun 2016, 11:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Hear How Casper’s Co-Founder/CEO, Philip Krim, Became an Entrepreneur in His Dorm Room
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Philip Krim, Co-Founder of Casper

Today, many aspiring MBAs and MBA graduates want to join start-ups or launch such companies themselves. Is entrepreneurship as exciting as it seems? Is it really for you? mbaMission Founder Jeremy Shinewald has teamed up with Venture for America and CBS Interactive to launch Smart People Should Build Things: The Venture for America Podcast. Each week, Shinewald interviews another entrepreneur so you can hear the gritty stories of their ups and downs on the road to success.

Philip Krim has been an entrepreneur for more than a decade. His first company was born during a summer break at the University of Texas, when he decided to avoid working a traditional summer job and instead founded e-commerce company The Merrick Group. By the time Krim graduated, the firm was listed among the 500 fastest growing in the country. Tune in to the podcast to hear what led Krim to co-found mattress company Casper, as he shares these stories and more:

  • How not one but three close family members ended up working at The Merrick Group
  • What it took to transform the company he built from his dorm room into a $9.7M success in only five years
  • Why Krim had “sworn off the mattress industry”—and how he ended up co-founding one of the most notable mattress companies today
Subscribe to the podcast series to hear more exciting entrepreneurial stories like Krim’s!

The post Hear How Casper’s Co-Founder/CEO, Philip Krim, Became an Entrepreneur in His Dorm Room appeared first on mbaMission - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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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Jen Kedrowski
mbaMission

Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
mbaMission Insiders Guides: http://www.mbamission.com/guides.php?category=insiders
Free Consultation: http://www.mbamission.com/consult.php

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Monday Morning Essay Tip: Use Past and Present Tense Judiciously [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jun 2016, 08:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Monday Morning Essay Tip: Use Past and Present Tense Judiciously
Virtually all MBA application essays are written in the past tense, which makes sense since candidates are most often discussing past experiences. Although the past tense is quite easy to work with, another option is to use the present tense to heighten the immediacy of the experience being presented and to draw the reader into the story. Consider the following examples:

Past tense: “I arrived at my supervisor’s office at 11 a.m.; we tabled the deal no less than 15 minutes later. Then, the two of us sat by the phone, casually chatting about baseball, and waited. When our CEO finally called two hours later, we discovered that we had indeed submitted the winning bid….”

Present tense: “I arrive at my supervisor’s office at 11 a.m. Fifteen minutes later, we table our deal. For the next two hours, as we casually chat about baseball, we wait by the phone. When it finally rings, our CEO is on the line, informing us that our offer has been accepted….”

These examples do not represent “right” and “wrong” options but instead illustrate two different styles a candidate might use, both of which can be equally effective; choosing which is the better fit for a particular essay depends entirely on the skill of the writer. Executing well in the present tense can sometimes be difficult, and we recommend that candidates undertake the task with caution. Further, this choice also depends significantly on the story’s content and context—the present tense is a good option when the experience recounted involves “high drama” but is not necessarily appropriate for every essay.

The post Monday Morning Essay Tip: Use Past and Present Tense Judiciously appeared first on mbaMission - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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

_________________

Jen Kedrowski
mbaMission

Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
mbaMission Insiders Guides: http://www.mbamission.com/guides.php?category=insiders
Free Consultation: http://www.mbamission.com/consult.php

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Mastering Your MBA Finances – The Real Cost of an MBA (Part 3) [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jun 2016, 12:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Mastering Your MBA Finances – The Real Cost of an MBA (Part 3)
Once you have been accepted to your target MBA program, things start to move very quickly, and you will need to begin planning for your transition to business school right away. Understanding the financial realities of your MBA education is an important first step, and we have created this comprehensive, five-part “Mastering Your MBA Finances” series to help you do so. In this third installment of the series, we examine the cost—the real cost—of a full-time MBA program. (Be sure to read Part 1 and Part 2 of this series if you have not done so already.)

For individualized advice, sign up for a free 30-minute budget planning session with an M7 Financial budgeting coach.

In the first two installments of this series, we explored the potential revenue sources/income you can expect during your MBA program. Although considering the revenue outlook is important, many applicants are accepted to business school before they ever contemplate the reality of the costs of their graduate education—a “first things first” approach that can lead to serious sticker shock later. We always advise our clients to enter the MBA admissions process with their eyes wide open and a full understanding of the overall expenses involved. So what does attending a typical full-time MBA program cost, anyway?

The schools usually state the average cost of attending their MBA program somewhere on their site, and at several top institutions, such as Wharton, Columbia Business School, and Harvard Business School, the grand total for a single person hovers at approximately $100,000 per nine-month academic year. Yes, that budget does not even cover a full calendar year. The following table presents several top schools’ projected costs for one academic year in their MBA program (in this case, 2015–2016). You will see that programs located in college towns tend to be less expensive than those in large cities.

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However, we have to question whether these numbers are even accurate. For example, take a look at the following budget for Wharton.

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Take a moment and consider some of the holes in this budget. Where does it go wrong? What has been overlooked? (We should note that we randomly picked Wharton for our example, but in fairness, virtually all schools propose budgets that are challenging to adhere to. And yes, that a business school would present a rather unrealistic budget for its prospective students is quite ironic.) Here we will break down some of the problems we see with Wharton’s suggested budget…

  • Nine-Month Time Frame (270 Days): The schools offer budgets that cover only a nine-month time period (270 days), because their academic year is just nine months long. However, your rent will very likely need to be paid for a 12-month term, not a nine-month one. And of course, you will also need to eat for all 12 months of the calendar year. This means you will have to make some adjustments to this budget immediately. Plus, if your internship is in a different city from your school, you may need to rent another apartment over the summer, so you should consider that in your budget as well.
  • Room and Board: At approximately $1,760 per month, the “rent” part of Wharton’s budget is fairly realistic (for just a nine-month period, however). It hews closely to the rents charged in Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square area, where many MBA students live (always check your target school’s rent projections against actual apartment listings in the area). However, most MBAs would have difficulty adhering to the “board” budget, which works out to just $17.69 per day  ($4,776/270 = $17.69). Maybe if you cooked all your meals at home, refrained from buying a cup of coffee each morning, and eschewed going out for drinks or meals with your new MBA friends (which is a big part of the business school experience), you could keep this expense in line with the projected budget—though we believe that less than $18 per day is probably still too conservative for the majority of MBA students.
  • Travel: You will likely encounter a number of different travel opportunities while you are in business school—to return home and see your family, with certain classes as part of the curriculum, around town or out of town for job interviews, and just plain for fun with friends as part of the MBA experience. Whatever your travel expenses may be, Wharton’s “transport” budget of $910—just $3.37 per day ($910/270 = $3.37)—seems too low to accommodate anything more than using public transportation within the city of Philadelphia. A single cab ride between Wharton and the airport, at approximately $40 with tip, would be enough to throw off this aspect of your budget considerably.
  • Moving: Do you already live in the same city or general area as your target MBA program? Although some MBA candidates do, many typically do not. You may therefore have to take moving expenses into account, and even if you plan to sell most or all of your existing furniture and possessions so that you will not have to move them with you, you will probably have to buy new items later to ensure you have everything you need for your time in business school. This Wharton budget does not even include a line for the costs associated with moving out or in.
  • “Capital Expenditures”: Has the time come to upgrade your computer? Do you need a new suit/outfit to ensure that you present yourself appropriately and professionally in interviews? None of these types of costs are included in the typical MBA student budget, and Wharton’s projected “personal” budget of just under $12.50 a day will not likely allow for much in this category. To get a truly accurate picture of the funds you will need to cover all aspects of your MBA experience, you will need to account for these sorts of purchases.
  • Loan Origination Fees: Many student loan companies charge loan origination fees—an extra cost you must pay for the “privilege” of taking out a loan from them. You will of course need to read the fine print on any loan(s) you consider for your MBA, but we cannot think of any reason to pursue a loan with such fees, which appear to currently range from 2.0% to more than 4.0%. One exception would be government loans, which can charge origination fees as high as 4.28% but come with the possibility of loan forgiveness in the future (if you are interested in less financially rewarding post-MBA work). Please note that the MBA student loans presented at M7 Financial (www.m7financial.com ) have no origination or other fees. As we continue to construct a sample MBA budget in this newsletter series, we will assume that you will not be taking out a loan with such fees.
We have just examined the major discrepancies between a typical projected budget provided by a school and the reality of MBA expenses. Make adjustments to accommodate a 12- or 21-month calendar, increase your allowance for travel, include some moving expenses, adjust the “board” budget for the occasional night out with your colleagues, and add some funds to cover necessary technical or wardrobe purchases, and you will soon see that a conservative budget can still be significantly off the mark. We feel a prudent increase for discretionary expenses only (no increases for tuition, books, etc.) would be approximately 10% over the school’s projections.

Let us reiterate that our intention with this series is not to frighten you but to give you a more accurate and workable picture of the financial life of a business school student. You are pursuing your MBA not to accumulate expenses, but to take control of your financial future, and that path starts here!

Check back next week, when we examine the opportunity cost of an MBA.  And if you are looking for even more strategies for funding your degree and minimizing your debt burden, download the free M7 Financial Student Loan (Reduction) Primer or sign up for a free, 30-minute, one-on-one budget planning session!

The post Mastering Your MBA Finances – The Real Cost of an MBA (Part 3) appeared first on mbaMission - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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mbaMission

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Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
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Mastering Your MBA Finances – The Real Cost of an MBA (Part 3) [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jun 2016, 13:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Mastering Your MBA Finances – The Real Cost of an MBA (Part 3)
Once you have been accepted to your target MBA program, things start to move very quickly, and you will need to begin planning for your transition to business school right away. Understanding the financial realities of your MBA education is an important first step, and we have created this comprehensive, five-part “Mastering Your MBA Finances” series to help you do so. In this third installment of the series, we examine the cost—the real cost—of a full-time MBA program. (Be sure to read Part 1 and Part 2 of this series if you have not done so already.)

For individualized advice, sign up for a free 30-minute budget planning session with an M7 Financial budgeting coach.

In the first two installments of this series, we explored the potential revenue sources/income you can expect during your MBA program. Although considering the revenue outlook is important, many applicants are accepted to business school before they ever contemplate the reality of the costs of their graduate education—a “first things first” approach that can lead to serious sticker shock later. We always advise our clients to enter the MBA admissions process with their eyes wide open and a full understanding of the overall expenses involved. So what does attending a typical full-time MBA program cost, anyway?

The schools usually state the average cost of attending their MBA program somewhere on their site, and at several top institutions, such as Wharton, Columbia Business School, and Harvard Business School, the grand total for a single person hovers at approximately $100,000 per nine-month academic year. Yes, that budget does not even cover a full calendar year. The following table presents several top schools’ projected costs for one academic year in their MBA program (in this case, 2015–2016). You will see that programs located in college towns tend to be less expensive than those in large cities.

Image

However, we have to question whether these numbers are even accurate. For example, take a look at the following budget for Wharton.

Image

Take a moment and consider some of the holes in this budget. Where does it go wrong? What has been overlooked? (We should note that we randomly picked Wharton for our example, but in fairness, virtually all schools propose budgets that are challenging to adhere to. And yes, that a business school would present a rather unrealistic budget for its prospective students is quite ironic.) Here we will break down some of the problems we see with Wharton’s suggested budget…

  • Nine-Month Time Frame (270 Days): The schools offer budgets that cover only a nine-month time period (270 days), because their academic year is just nine months long. However, your rent will very likely need to be paid for a 12-month term, not a nine-month one. And of course, you will also need to eat for all 12 months of the calendar year. This means you will have to make some adjustments to this budget immediately. Plus, if your internship is in a different city from your school, you may need to rent another apartment over the summer, so you should consider that in your budget as well.
  • Room and Board: At approximately $1,760 per month, the “rent” part of Wharton’s budget is fairly realistic (for just a nine-month period, however). It hews closely to the rents charged in Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square area, where many MBA students live (always check your target school’s rent projections against actual apartment listings in the area). However, most MBAs would have difficulty adhering to the “board” budget, which works out to just $17.69 per day  ($4,776/270 = $17.69). Maybe if you cooked all your meals at home, refrained from buying a cup of coffee each morning, and eschewed going out for drinks or meals with your new MBA friends (which is a big part of the business school experience), you could keep this expense in line with the projected budget—though we believe that less than $18 per day is probably still too conservative for the majority of MBA students.
  • Travel: You will likely encounter a number of different travel opportunities while you are in business school—to return home and see your family, with certain classes as part of the curriculum, around town or out of town for job interviews, and just plain for fun with friends as part of the MBA experience. Whatever your travel expenses may be, Wharton’s “transport” budget of $910—just $3.37 per day ($910/270 = $3.37)—seems too low to accommodate anything more than using public transportation within the city of Philadelphia. A single cab ride between Wharton and the airport, at approximately $40 with tip, would be enough to throw off this aspect of your budget considerably.
  • Moving: Do you already live in the same city or general area as your target MBA program? Although some MBA candidates do, many typically do not. You may therefore have to take moving expenses into account, and even if you plan to sell most or all of your existing furniture and possessions so that you will not have to move them with you, you will probably have to buy new items later to ensure you have everything you need for your time in business school. This Wharton budget does not even include a line for the costs associated with moving out or in.
  • “Capital Expenditures”: Has the time come to upgrade your computer? Do you need a new suit/outfit to ensure that you present yourself appropriately and professionally in interviews? None of these types of costs are included in the typical MBA student budget, and Wharton’s projected “personal” budget of just under $12.50 a day will not likely allow for much in this category. To get a truly accurate picture of the funds you will need to cover all aspects of your MBA experience, you will need to account for these sorts of purchases.
  • Loan Origination Fees: Many student loan companies charge loan origination fees—an extra cost you must pay for the “privilege” of taking out a loan from them. You will of course need to read the fine print on any loan(s) you consider for your MBA, but we cannot think of any reason to pursue a loan with such fees, which appear to currently range from 2.0% to more than 4.0%. One exception would be government loans, which can charge origination fees as high as 4.28% but come with the possibility of loan forgiveness in the future (if you are interested in less financially rewarding post-MBA work). Please note that the MBA student loans presented at M7 Financial (www.m7financial.com ) have no origination or other fees. As we continue to construct a sample MBA budget in this newsletter series, we will assume that you will not be taking out a loan with such fees.
We have just examined the major discrepancies between a typical projected budget provided by a school and the reality of MBA expenses. Make adjustments to accommodate a 12- or 21-month calendar, increase your allowance for travel, include some moving expenses, adjust the “board” budget for the occasional night out with your colleagues, and add some funds to cover necessary technical or wardrobe purchases, and you will soon see that a conservative budget can still be significantly off the mark. We feel a prudent increase for discretionary expenses only (no increases for tuition, books, etc.) would be approximately 10% over the school’s projections.

Let us reiterate that our intention with this series is not to frighten you but to give you a more accurate and workable picture of the financial life of a business school student. You are pursuing your MBA not to accumulate expenses, but to take control of your financial future, and that path starts here!

Check back next week, when we examine the opportunity cost of an MBA.  And if you are looking for even more strategies for funding your degree and minimizing your debt burden, download the free M7 Financial Student Loan (Reduction) Primer or sign up for a free, 30-minute, one-on-one budget planning session!

The post Mastering Your MBA Finances – The Real Cost of an MBA (Part 3) appeared first on mbaMission - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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

_________________

Jen Kedrowski
mbaMission

Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
mbaMission Insiders Guides: http://www.mbamission.com/guides.php?category=insiders
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Mission Admission: I Am a Freelancer—My Resume Looks Like I Cannot Hol [#permalink]

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New post 07 Jun 2016, 07:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Mission Admission: I Am a Freelancer—My Resume Looks Like I Cannot Hold a Job!
Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips; a new one is posted each Tuesday.

If you do mostly short-term, project-based work, you might struggle with how to structure your resume so that it does not give the impression that you switch jobs every few months. If you list each job separately, not only will your resume be too long, but you also run the risk that your reader will think you have not had a stable career—when in fact, if you are a successful freelancer or contractor, the opposite is the case. So how can you organize your resume so that it showcases the strength of your work and avoid having the variety and number of your work experiences come across as a weakness instead?

The key here is “clustering.” Rather than listing each short-term job separately, cluster them all under one heading, such as “independent contractor” or “freelance project manager.” Next to this heading, note the time range (i.e., start and end dates) during which you have worked for yourself. Then, using bullet points, list the individual projects you completed as a freelancer, noting your primary accomplishments for each one, followed by the related company/organization name and dates. The goal is to keep the focus on your accomplishments.

The post Mission Admission: I Am a Freelancer—My Resume Looks Like I Cannot Hold a Job! appeared first on mbaMission - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
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Professor Profiles: Dan Ariely, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Busi [#permalink]

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New post 08 Jun 2016, 08:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Dan Ariely, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business
Many MBA applicants feel that they are purchasing a brand when they choose a business school. However, the educational experience you will have is what is crucial to your future, and no one will affect your education more than your professors. Each Wednesday, we profile a standout professor as identified by students. Today, we focus on Dan Ariely from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

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Dan Ariely’s “Behavioral Economics” class (not offered during the 2015–2016 academic year) is reportedly a popular one at Fuqua—“It always has the longest waiting list,” remarked one second year we interviewed, and an alumna said of Ariely, “He was wonderful.” When mbaMission asked a first-year student about Ariely’s class, he said jokingly, “I’m pretty sure you have to snag that class within one or two seconds of it becoming available!” The course explores how people actually act in the marketplace, as opposed to how they might act if they were being completely rational. Ariely is also author of the books The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone—Especially Ourselves (HarperCollins, 2012), The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home (HarperCollins, 2010), and Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions (HarperCollins, 2008).

An alumna told mbaMission, “He got us to think about everyday things in a totally new way,” and a second-year student commented, “Everyone takes his course. Everyone. He’s our rock-star professor.” Another second year agreed, saying, “He is one of the superstar professors here. He explains more complex research in an easy-to-understand way.”

Ariely maintains a blog that can be found at http://danariely.com/. He also writes a weekly advice column for the Wall Street Journal titled “Ask Ariely,” bits of which were recently published in book form under the title Irrationally Yours: On Missing Socks, Pickup Lines, and Other Existential Puzzles (Harper Perennial, 2015).

For more information about Duke Fuqua and 15 other top-ranked business schools, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.

The post Professor Profiles: Dan Ariely, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business appeared first on mbaMission - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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UC Berkeley Haas Essay Analysis, 2016–2017 [#permalink]

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New post 08 Jun 2016, 09:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: UC Berkeley Haas Essay Analysis, 2016–2017
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Despite the trend in recent years of MBA programs streamlining the essay portion of their application down to just one question, the Haas School of Business at the University of California (UC), Berkeley, continues to present a more traditional suite of prompts. It has made some minor adjustments this year, however, by offering a new option for its second essay (trading its request for a “proud accomplishment” story for one about being challenged by and responding to a different perspective) and subtly rephrasing its career-related and option essay questions. What remains constant is that Haas gives its applicants the leeway to present a well-rounded picture of themselves and of their formative experiences to date. You must therefore ensure that as a whole, your essays touch on a range of stories and qualities that complement each other so as to provide an accurate representation of who you are today, the student you expect to be in business school, and the professional you will be for the rest of your career. Read our full analysis of Haas’s essay questions for this season to get a fuller understanding of what the school wants to learn from its applicants.

Essay 1: If you could choose one song that expresses who you are, what is it and why? (250 words maximum) Your song can be in any language, from any culture, and does not need to contain lyrics. The strongest responses will focus on answering why this song expresses who you are.

To start, we must make one thing very clear—the admissions committee is not using this question to judge your taste in music! If you like ’90s grunge, and your admissions reader enjoys Broadway standards, the difference in your musical preferences will be completely irrelevant. We should also note that the song or artist you choose does not need to be readily recognizable. The second part of the prompt even states directly that candidates may select freely from the world’s full canon of music—even instrumentals! What is important is that the song you select is truly meaningful to and representative of you.

By posing a creative question of this kind, the Haas admissions committee is giving you a wide open opportunity to offer an appealing, and perhaps even fun, metaphor. The school is not demanding to be impressed with your musical taste or knowledge. This means you should not dedicate too many words to discussing the song itself and should instead simply introduce the song, explain in a concise and straightforward manner why it is important to you, and then share several key experiences that relate to and support your musical choice.

Although the school allots merely 250 words for this essay, you do indeed have plenty of room to name a song and offer a few clear examples from your life as evidence that you embody the spirit of that song. That said, do not merely present a list of accomplishments or experiences, but rather strive to engage your reader in a brief narrative that validates the link between those stories and the piece you have selected.

Essay 2: Please respond to one of the following prompts (250 words maximum):

a. Describe an experience that has fundamentally changed the way you see the world and how it transformed you.

Several years ago, this directive was a standalone prompt for the school, but this season, it stands as just one choice for applicants’ second essay, as it also did last season. If you select this option, your essay needs to be about change. And to show how you have changed, you will need to offer not just the “after” but a clear “before and after” scenario. Do not assume that the admissions committee will automatically understand that you had a powerful experience. You will need to figuratively hold the admissions reader’s hand, lead him/her through the situation—being sure to explain how you originally perceived the world before the incident—and then describe the “transformative” moment when everything changed, leading to new and different behaviors and perceptions on your part.

Begin your essay by narratively building up to that pivotal moment or experience, showing how you previously viewed your world. Then, share the story of the deeply influential experience that sharply contrasted with your perceptions at the time, leaving you no choice but to change your views. The experience you describe can be professional or personal, and it can be something you did or that happened to or around you. Although the catalyst itself is important, the admissions committee is far more interested in your capacity for change. Take care not to focus exclusively on recounting the experience, and be sure to devote a good portion of your essay to responding to the second half of the prompt: how the experience transformed you. Haas is not expecting you to have become a completely new person, but the admissions committee does want to know that you are open to the world, critically evaluating your thoughts and adapting when necessary. Your narrative should demonstrate some or all of these traits!

b. Describe a time when you were challenged by perspectives different from your own and how you responded.

In business school—as in life in general, in fact—you will encounter people who think differently from you, operate according to different values, and react differently to the same stimuli. And success in an endeavor often involves evaluating and even incorporating the views of others in one’s efforts, but it can also result from resisting opposing perspectives. With this essay prompt, Haas is hoping to learn how you act when faced with such differences, using the principle that past behavior is a fairly reliable predictor of future behavior. In the Haas MBA program, you will definitely need to navigate and consider differing opinions in the course of analyzing case studies, completing group projects, and other activities both inside and outside the classroom. Do you tend to hold firmly to your convictions, debating divergent views and attempting to persuade others to your mind-set? Or do you readily receive contrasting opinions, taking time to weigh them and consider their applicability to the situation in question? We recommend using a narrative approach to share with the admissions committee a situation in which you faced a perspective that deviated from your own and how this difference influenced your subsequent thought processes and actions.  

Keep in mind that “challenging” here does not unequivocally imply a heated conflict or fight. It simply means that the perspective you encountered varied significantly from your own and therefore made an impression on you. As a result, you may have changed your decision on an issue or altered your course of action, or you may not have but were more cognizant of an alternative view that informed how you later approached a different situation. You do not need to paint yourself as a loud or aggressive individual who clashed with another but simply illustrate a situation in which you were presented with a conflicting point of view and gave it meaningful thought. Whether you were ultimately swayed by that view or not is not the issue, and neither response would be “right” or “wrong” in the admissions committee’s eyes.  

c. Describe a difficult decision you have made and why it was challenging.

To respond to this essay prompt, you will need to share an anecdote in which something was at stake—the reader must feel and understand that your decision involved some level of risk. If you faced no possibility of negative ramifications, reaching your decision could not have been very challenging, as the school’s question specifically stipulates. You can use a story from any facet of your life—professional, community, or personal—and once you have chosen an experience to explore, focus on the challenge involved. Reveal your thought process so that the admissions committee can understand how you made your decision. Also, know that your decision does not need to have been proven right. You could even show that all the options available to you at the time were less than ideal and explain how you optimized the imperfect outcomes. The key is that your reader understand your thought process and learning. If you consider an anecdote from your life and feel that it does not encompass a “sharp” enough set of conflicting options, definitely pick a different story to share. We suspect that few applicants will choose this essay prompt, but those who do should be able to hit a home run with it, if it is executed properly.

Essay 3: Tell us about your career plans. How have your past experiences prepared you to achieve these goals? How will Berkeley-Haas help you? (500 words maximum) You are encouraged to reflect on what it is you want to do after business school, including the types of roles, responsibilities, and organizations that are of interest. Through this essay we hope to learn about your professional journey to date and how an MBA will facilitate your success—broadly defined—in the future.

Haas has once again tweaked its career-focused essay prompt, which last year asked, Tell us about your path to business school and your future plans. How will the Berkeley-Haas experience help you along this journey?  This year’s question has flipped the order of the queries, focusing on candidates’ career goals first and then on their background and connection with the school. At their core, though, the two questions are largely the same. The school asks applicants to share their professional aspirations, address relevant aspects of their background, and explain why an MBA (and specifically, a Haas MBA) is critical to their success. We do not believe that the order in which these three issues are presented in the final essay matters, just that they are all fully and clearly conveyed.

Basically, Haas wants to know about your goals and why you need its MBA program in particular to facilitate or accelerate your career. The school suggests that you walk a few steps in your post-MBA shoes by considering the “types of roles, responsibilities, and organizations” you would enter rather than imagining a more general and perhaps nebulous ideal. Haas appears to be pushing candidates to really think about their long-term aspirations and consider the plausibility of their paths, possibly to lessen the chance of admitting those who do not have sufficient direction to succeed.

Be sure to relate your strengths to your stated targets, showing examples from your existing professional life and, in some rare cases, personal interests. Definitely take the time to research your desired path and potential firms, if you have not done so already, to understand what is involved and the skills and qualities required. Avoid clichés like “I am tech savvy and dynamic and would be a perfect fit for Google.” Such declarations are way too superficial—you must explain your aspirations on a much more profound level to demonstrate the “fit” that will impress the admissions committee.

This essay question ultimately reverts back to pretty typical personal statement phraseology. And because personal statements are similar from one application to the next, we have produced the mbaMission Personal Statement Guide, which helps applicants write this style of essay for any school. We offer this guide to candidates free of charge. Please feel free to download your copy today.

Optional Essay: Use this essay to share information that is not presented elsewhere in the application, for example:

  • Explanation of employment gaps or academic aberrations
  • Quantitative abilities
  • For re-applicants, improvements to your candidacy
Interestingly, Haas has slightly altered the presentation of its optional essay prompt for this application season, switching from a question to more of a directive, though the content requested is not that different from in previous years. The change may simply be an attempt on the school’s part to focus applicants more specifically on the information it deems most useful by offering examples in the form of bullet points. No word limit is offered for this essay, but do not interpret this as a blank-slate invitation to dump every bit of remaining information about yourself that you feel the school is lacking. And however difficult, avoid the temptation to simply reuse a strong essay you wrote for another school here or to offer a few anecdotes you were unable to incorporate into any of your other Haas essays. Be judicious in your use of this opportunity, and only submit an optional essay if you truly believe a key element of your story or profile is needed for Haas to have a complete and accurate understanding of you as a candidate. In our mbaMission Optional Statement Guide, available through our online store, we offer detailed advice on when and how to take advantage of the optional essay (including multiple sample essays) to help you mitigate any problem areas in your profile.

For a thorough exploration of the academic program, merits, defining characteristics, crucial statistics, social life, academic environment, and other key aspects of UC Berkeley Haas, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to the Haas School of Business.

The post UC Berkeley Haas Essay Analysis, 2016–2017 appeared first on mbaMission - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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

_________________

Jen Kedrowski
mbaMission

Website: http://www.mbamission.com
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UC Berkeley Haas Essay Analysis, 2016–2017 [#permalink]

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New post 08 Jun 2016, 10:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: UC Berkeley Haas Essay Analysis, 2016–2017
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Despite the trend in recent years of MBA programs streamlining the essay portion of their application down to just one question, the Haas School of Business at the University of California (UC), Berkeley, continues to present a more traditional suite of prompts. It has made some minor adjustments this year, however, by offering a new option for its second essay (trading its request for a “proud accomplishment” story for one about being challenged by and responding to a different perspective) and subtly rephrasing its career-related and optional essay questions. What remains constant is that Haas gives its applicants the leeway to present a well-rounded picture of themselves and of their formative experiences to date. You must therefore ensure that as a whole, your essays touch on a range of stories and qualities that complement each other so as to provide an accurate representation of who you are today, the student you expect to be in business school, and the professional you will be for the rest of your career. Read our full analysis of Haas’s essay questions for this season to get a fuller understanding of what the school wants to learn from its applicants.

Essay 1: If you could choose one song that expresses who you are, what is it and why? (250 words maximum) Your song can be in any language, from any culture, and does not need to contain lyrics. The strongest responses will focus on answering why this song expresses who you are.

To start, we must make one thing very clear—the admissions committee is not using this question to judge your taste in music! If you like ’90s grunge, and your admissions reader enjoys Broadway standards, the difference in your musical preferences will be completely irrelevant. We should also note that the song or artist you choose does not need to be readily recognizable. The second part of the prompt even states directly that candidates may select freely from the world’s full canon of music—even instrumentals! What is important is that the song you select is truly meaningful to and representative of you.

By posing a creative question of this kind, the Haas admissions committee is giving you a wide open opportunity to offer an appealing, and perhaps even fun, metaphor. The school is not demanding to be impressed with your musical taste or knowledge. This means you should not dedicate too many words to discussing the song itself and should instead simply introduce the song, explain in a concise and straightforward manner why it is important to you, and then share several key experiences that relate to and support your musical choice.

Although the school allots merely 250 words for this essay, you do indeed have plenty of room to name a song and offer a few clear examples from your life as evidence that you embody the spirit of that song. That said, do not merely present a list of accomplishments or experiences, but rather strive to engage your reader in a brief narrative that validates the link between those stories and the piece you have selected.

Essay 2: Please respond to one of the following prompts (250 words maximum):

a. Describe an experience that has fundamentally changed the way you see the world and how it transformed you.

Several years ago, this directive was a standalone prompt for the school, but this season, it stands as just one choice for applicants’ second essay, as it also did last season. If you select this option, your essay needs to be about change. And to show how you have changed, you will need to offer not just the “after” but a clear “before and after” scenario. Do not assume that the admissions committee will automatically understand that you had a powerful experience. You will need to figuratively hold the admissions reader’s hand, lead him/her through the situation—being sure to explain how you originally perceived the world before the incident—and then describe the “transformative” moment when everything changed, leading to new and different behaviors and perceptions on your part.

Begin your essay by narratively building up to that pivotal moment or experience, showing how you previously viewed your world. Then, share the story of the deeply influential experience that sharply contrasted with your perceptions at the time, leaving you no choice but to change your views. The experience you describe can be professional or personal, and it can be something you did or that happened to or around you. Although the catalyst itself is important, the admissions committee is far more interested in your capacity for change. Take care not to focus exclusively on recounting the experience, and be sure to devote a good portion of your essay to responding to the second half of the prompt: how the experience transformed you. Haas is not expecting you to have become a completely new person, but the admissions committee does want to know that you are open to the world, critically evaluating your thoughts and adapting when necessary. Your narrative should demonstrate some or all of these traits!

b. Describe a time when you were challenged by perspectives different from your own and how you responded.

In business school—as in life in general, in fact—you will encounter people who think differently from you, operate according to different values, and react differently to the same stimuli. And success in an endeavor often involves evaluating and even incorporating the views of others in one’s efforts, but it can also result from resisting opposing perspectives. With this essay prompt, Haas is hoping to learn how you act when faced with such differences, using the principle that past behavior is a fairly reliable predictor of future behavior. In the Haas MBA program, you will definitely need to navigate and consider differing opinions in the course of analyzing case studies, completing group projects, and other activities both inside and outside the classroom. Do you tend to hold firmly to your convictions, debating divergent views and attempting to persuade others to your mind-set? Or do you readily receive contrasting opinions, taking time to weigh them and consider their applicability to the situation in question? We recommend using a narrative approach to share with the admissions committee a situation in which you faced a perspective that deviated from your own and how this difference influenced your subsequent thought processes and actions.  

Keep in mind that “challenging” here does not unequivocally imply a heated conflict or fight. It simply means that the perspective you encountered varied significantly from your own and therefore made an impression on you. As a result, you may have changed your decision on an issue or altered your course of action, or you may not have but were more cognizant of an alternative view that informed how you later approached a different situation. You do not need to paint yourself as a loud or aggressive individual who clashed with another but simply illustrate a situation in which you were presented with a conflicting point of view and gave it meaningful thought. Whether you were ultimately swayed by that view or not is not the issue, and neither response would be “right” or “wrong” in the admissions committee’s eyes.  

c. Describe a difficult decision you have made and why it was challenging.

To respond to this essay prompt, you will need to share an anecdote in which something was at stake—the reader must feel and understand that your decision involved some level of risk. If you faced no possibility of negative ramifications, reaching your decision could not have been very challenging, as the school’s question specifically stipulates. You can use a story from any facet of your life—professional, community, or personal—and once you have chosen an experience to explore, focus on the challenge involved. Reveal your thought process so that the admissions committee can understand how you made your decision. Also, know that your decision does not need to have been proven right. You could even show that all the options available to you at the time were less than ideal and explain how you optimized the imperfect outcomes. The key is that your reader understand your thought process and learning. If you consider an anecdote from your life and feel that it does not encompass a “sharp” enough set of conflicting options, definitely pick a different story to share. We suspect that few applicants will choose this essay prompt, but those who do should be able to hit a home run with it, if it is executed properly.

Essay 3: Tell us about your career plans. How have your past experiences prepared you to achieve these goals? How will Berkeley-Haas help you? (500 words maximum) You are encouraged to reflect on what it is you want to do after business school, including the types of roles, responsibilities, and organizations that are of interest. Through this essay we hope to learn about your professional journey to date and how an MBA will facilitate your success—broadly defined—in the future.

Haas has once again tweaked its career-focused essay prompt, which last year asked, Tell us about your path to business school and your future plans. How will the Berkeley-Haas experience help you along this journey?  This year’s question has flipped the order of the queries, focusing on candidates’ career goals first and then on their background and connection with the school. At their core, though, the two questions are largely the same. The school asks applicants to share their professional aspirations, address relevant aspects of their background, and explain why an MBA (and specifically, a Haas MBA) is critical to their success. We do not believe that the order in which these three issues are presented in the final essay matters, just that they are all fully and clearly conveyed.

Basically, Haas wants to know about your goals and why you need its MBA program in particular to facilitate or accelerate your career. The school suggests that you walk a few steps in your post-MBA shoes by considering the “types of roles, responsibilities, and organizations” you would enter rather than imagining a more general and perhaps nebulous ideal. Haas appears to be pushing candidates to really think about their long-term aspirations and consider the plausibility of their paths, possibly to lessen the chance of admitting those who do not have sufficient direction to succeed.

Be sure to relate your strengths to your stated targets, showing examples from your existing professional life and, in some rare cases, personal interests. Definitely take the time to research your desired path and potential firms, if you have not done so already, to understand what is involved and the skills and qualities required. Avoid clichés like “I am tech savvy and dynamic and would be a perfect fit for Google.” Such declarations are way too superficial—you must explain your aspirations on a much more profound level to demonstrate the “fit” that will impress the admissions committee.

This essay question ultimately reverts back to pretty typical personal statement phraseology. And because personal statements are similar from one application to the next, we have produced the mbaMission Personal Statement Guide, which helps applicants write this style of essay for any school. We offer this guide to candidates free of charge. Please feel free to download your copy today.

Optional Essay: Use this essay to share information that is not presented elsewhere in the application, for example:

  • Explanation of employment gaps or academic aberrations
  • Quantitative abilities
  • For re-applicants, improvements to your candidacy
Interestingly, Haas has slightly altered the presentation of its optional essay prompt for this application season, switching from a question to more of a directive, though the content requested is not that different from in previous years. The change may simply be an attempt on the school’s part to focus applicants more specifically on the information it deems most useful by offering examples in the form of bullet points. No word limit is offered for this essay, but do not interpret this as a blank-slate invitation to dump every bit of remaining information about yourself that you feel the school is lacking. And however difficult, avoid the temptation to simply reuse a strong essay you wrote for another school here or to offer a few anecdotes you were unable to incorporate into any of your other Haas essays. Be judicious in your use of this opportunity, and only submit an optional essay if you truly believe a key element of your story or profile is needed for Haas to have a complete and accurate understanding of you as a candidate. In our mbaMission Optional Statement Guide, available through our online store, we offer detailed advice on when and how to take advantage of the optional essay (including multiple sample essays) to help you mitigate any problem areas in your profile.

For a thorough exploration of the academic program, merits, defining characteristics, crucial statistics, social life, academic environment, and other key aspects of UC Berkeley Haas, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to the Haas School of Business.

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Beyond the MBA Classroom: Perform at a UCLA Anderson Lit Club [#permalink]

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New post 09 Jun 2016, 07:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Beyond the MBA Classroom: Perform at a UCLA Anderson Lit Club
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When you select an MBA program, you are not just choosing your learning environment but are also committing to becoming part of a community. Each Thursday, we offer a window into life “beyond the MBA classroom” at a top business school.

Each week, students from the UCLA Anderson School of Management get together at a different bar near campus for drinks and student performances as part of “Lit Club,” short for “Literary Club.” The name is ironic, because the student performances are not actually literary but rather are short, tongue-in-cheek readings. According to an Anderson alumnus, the readings—written and delivered by students known as “librarians”—usually cover funny events that took place at Anderson during the week and are sometimes accompanied by a slide show.

For in-depth descriptions of social and community activities at UCLA Anderson and 15 other top MBA programs, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.

The post Beyond the MBA Classroom: Perform at a UCLA Anderson Lit Club appeared first on mbaMission - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
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Diamonds in the Rough: Entrepreneurship at Wake Forest [#permalink]

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New post 09 Jun 2016, 11:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Diamonds in the Rough: Entrepreneurship at Wake Forest
MBA applicants can get carried away with rankings. In this series, we profile amazing programs at business schools that are typically ranked outside the top 15.

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Wake Forest University’s School of Business prides itself on offering an integrated, leadership-focused curriculum. All students complete required first-year core course work, which establishes a foundation for Wake Forest’s entrepreneurial approach to business problem solving. During the second year, students choose a narrower career concentration, but entrepreneurship remains at the forefront. For students planning to start their own business, Wake Forest provides resources through its Angell Center for Entrepreneurship. Included among these are entrepreneurial internships, for which students receive credit for creating unique teaching cases with the knowledge they gathered via their internship.

The post Diamonds in the Rough: Entrepreneurship at Wake Forest appeared first on mbaMission - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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Friday Factoid: Faculty Mentoring and Development at HBS [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jun 2016, 08:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Friday Factoid: Faculty Mentoring and Development at HBS
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Inside a Harvard Business School classroom; Image via wikipedia.org

Harvard Business School (HBS) is well known for using the case method, through which virtually all the school’s classes are taught. Rather than resting on their laurels with regard to teaching the case method, however, HBS faculty members work hard to stay at the top of their game. Complementing the school’s tradition of faculty-to-faculty mentoring, HBS established the C. Roland Christensen Center for Teaching and Learning (named for the late HBS professor) in 2004 to promote and support teaching excellence and innovation. The center conducts research on pedagogical innovation and teaching effectiveness related to gender and diversity issues and helps faculty members refine their teaching styles and techniques. The center also offers professors classroom observations and the opportunity to do pre-class planning, receive within-term troubleshooting/post-term feedback, and conduct case and course development.

For more information on HBS or 15 other leading MBA programs, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.

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B-School Chart of the Week: May 2016 Social Currency Rankings [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jun 2016, 11:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: B-School Chart of the Week: May 2016 Social Currency Rankings
Rankings come in all shapes and sizes, but can any ranking truly capture social cachet? For a different perspective on the value of an MBA, we turn to the New York Times society pages, where the editors select and profile promising couples. Each month, we dedicate one B-School Chart of the Week to tallying how alumni from top-ranked business schools are advancing their social currency ranking.

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The prime wedding season is beginning to pick up steam, and business school graduates are certainly taking part in the flood of nuptials! In May, the New York Times (NYT) profiled 25 weddings involving one or two MBAs. Graduates of Columbia Business School’sMBA program were especially eager to walk down the aisle, with seven such weddings profiled in the NYT. Two brides—Komal Patel and Jessica Levine—just graduated from the school in May, while bride Melissa Danilow completed her first year in the school’s MBA program last month. Business school served as a matchmaker for one couple, Wesley Royce and Patrick Conlisk, who met at the Yale School of Management while both were pursuing their MBAs. We offer our congratulations to all, and we eagerly wait to see how many MBA weddings June brings!

The post B-School Chart of the Week: May 2016 Social Currency Rankings appeared first on mbaMission - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: They Will Not Notice My Weakness! [#permalink]

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New post 11 Jun 2016, 08:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: They Will Not Notice My Weakness!
Our clients frequently ask, “If I write the optional essay about my [low GMAT score, low GPA, bad semester in college, long stretch of unemployment, etc.], will it call attention to that weakness and overemphasize it?” In short, no. Writing the optional essay about a weakness will instead allow you to control the narrative and thereby better mitigate any negative effects of that weakness.

The admissions committee very likely will take note of a low GMAT score or a low GPA, and if you do not use the optional essay to address the issue, they will be left with unanswered questions about that weakness. Rather than putting the committee in the position of having to guess at an explanation, take control of the situation yourself and grab the opportunity to explain the details behind the weakness.

For example, let us say you have a weak GPA overall because you worked full time in your first two years of college, but your GPA from your last two years is much stronger. Not writing the optional essay means that you are hoping the admissions committee will take the time to search through your transcript, note the change in the GPA, and then examine your job history to learn that you worked full time during your first two years—then make the connection between your two years of full-time work and your subsequently lower grades during those years. On the other hand, if you use the optional essay to explain exactly what happened, you no longer have to simply hope that they will put in that extra effort and will know for sure that they are evaluating you using complete information. Likewise, they will not have to guess at the reason behind your low GPA, because you will have proactively filled in the story.

The bottom line is that the admissions committee is made up of professionals whose obligation is to examine all aspects of your profile. They are not punitive, but they are also not careless and will certainly note any weaknesses like those mentioned here. At the same time, they are only human and are dealing with thousands of applications. Any way that you can save them time and effort by guiding them through the story of your application can only work to your advantage.

The post MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: They Will Not Notice My Weakness! appeared first on mbaMission - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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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GMAT Impact: Getting the 80/80 [#permalink]

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New post 12 Jun 2016, 07:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: GMAT Impact: Getting the 80/80
With regard to the GMAT, raw intellectual horsepower helps, but it is not everything. In this blog series, Manhattan Prep’s Stacey Koprince teaches you how to perform at your best on test day by using some common sense.

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What is the “80/80”? All schools look at your overall three-digit GMAT score (the one given on the 200–800 scale). In addition, a few of the very top business schools, such as Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton, look for the 80/80: an 80th percentile score or higher on the individual quant and verbal subsections. Essentially, if someone hits a 700 but does so by scoring 99th percentile in one subsection and only 60-something in the other, the schools might be concerned about the lower-scoring area. From their point of view, an “80/80” minimum ensures that you have got a solid base in both quant and verbal.

What if I score in the 75th percentile?

The 80/80 guidelines are just that—guidelines. The schools do not use these parameters as a hard cutoff. In other words, a score in the 70s is generally fine, as long as the overall score is also within a school’s desired target range. If, on the other hand, the overall score is a bit low, the GPA is a bit low, and one or both of the GMAT subscores are low… Well, you still might get in, but your job just became a lot harder.

What if I score in the 60s?

Unless there is something else that is stellar in your profile and can therefore offset this lower score, the 80/80 schools will likely be concerned about a quant or verbal percentile in the 60s—particularly so for quant. For verbal, they have a whole host of other tools with which to assess your communication skills, starting with your essays. A 60s (or lower) quant score, though, could indicate that you will have trouble handling the quantitative portions of the MBA curriculum. You might be able to offset this concern if you can demonstrate that your current job involves significant quantitative components; make sure that your recommendations highlight your quant skills. Alternatively, perhaps you excelled in quant-focused classes in school (calculus, accounting, physics, statistics) and your transcripts show A grades.

If not, then something needs to be done. Two paths are possible here, and you can follow just one or both. First, the no-brainer: take the GMAT again and get a score in the 70s (or higher!). I call that a “no-brainer” in the sense that there is no question that you should try to do this. You might not succeed, though. An alternative, then, is to take a calculus or accounting class at a local university. If you do this, you must get an A; getting a B at this stage will not inspire confidence in the admissions staff. In addition, taking such a class will involve a decent amount of lead time; these classes often run over a period of two to four months, so this is not a last-minute solution.

The big picture? Ideally, get the GMAT done well in advance of admissions season so that you have ample time to address unexpected or unwelcome surprises during the process.

The post GMAT Impact: Getting the 80/80 appeared first on mbaMission - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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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mbaMission

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Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
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