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University of Virginia (Darden) Essay Analysis, 2016–2017 [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jul 2016, 11:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: University of Virginia (Darden) Essay Analysis, 2016–2017
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As we have seen for the past several years, the University of Virginia’s Darden School has released a single essay question for its application. However, the school has typically added a few—much shorter—prompts a little later in the season, so you will need to keep an eye out for those, in case Darden takes that approach again this year. In the meantime, focus your efforts on the program’s primary essay question, which prods applicants to share a career-related story about receiving some consequential feedback. At first glance, we assume that with this prompt, Darden’s admissions committee is hoping to gain insight into applicants’ professional experience and attitudes as well as their capacity for self-assessment and their openness to other viewpoints. You have only 500 words with which to convey all this, though, so you will need to be simultaneously thorough and concise. Our analysis should assist you in achieving this.

Essay 1: Describe the most important professional feedback you have received and how you responded to it. (500 words maximum)

Darden definitely wants to know more than just what others may think of your professional capabilities. The admissions committee also wants evidence that you are capable of reflecting, learning, and growing. If you are not able to do this, the school might assume that you simply do not have the necessary qualities to become a standout manager. To craft an effective essay response to this query, focus on describing a “before and after” situation in which the suggestion or input you received served as an inflection point that triggered a dramatic change in you. If you start your essay by simply leading with the feedback you received, you will kill any mystery in your story. Instead, consider relating a narrative that involves a lot of momentum in one direction that is suddenly derailed when you are disarmed by someone else’s input—input that leads to clear and tactical change.

One thing to keep in mind is that feedback is a response. Some applicants will likely mistake or interpret the word “feedback” in Darden’s query to mean “advice,” but these are two very different things. If your father always told you, for example, that “hard work is the most important thing in life,” that aphorism may have indeed shaped your professional career, but it would not necessarily be considered feedback offered in response to or in light of a specific effort on your part. Confusing advice with feedback will lead you down the wrong path and cause you to fail in answering the school’s question. Do not let this be you! So, ensure that the incident you choose to highlight in your essay involves that element of evaluative response and subsequent change, and your submission should be an effective one.

For a thorough exploration of the UVA Darden academic program/merits, defining characteristics, crucial statistics, social life, academic environment, and other key features, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to the UVA Darden School of Business Administration.

The Next Step—Mastering Your UVA Darden 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. To help you on your way to this high level of preparation, we offer our free Interview Primers. Download your free copy of the UVA Darden Interview Primer today.

 

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Beyond the MBA Classroom: Duke Fuqua’s MBA Games and Auction [#permalink]

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New post 07 Jul 2016, 08:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Beyond the MBA Classroom: Duke Fuqua’s MBA Games and Auction
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.

MBA Games is a collection of events that take place throughout the academic year and culminate in a weekend of competition each spring among MBA students from a dozen or more North American business schools. The purpose of MBA Games is to support Special Olympics North Carolina, which students do by volunteering for events each month with athletes from the organization (e.g., tailgating, skating, bowling) and by participating in various fundraising events (e.g., sports tournaments, organized races, parties) and auctions. The MBA Games site proclaims that since the event’s founding in 1989, it has helped raise more than $2M for Special Olympics North Carolina.

Each year, Fuqua students host a fundraising auction for the MBA Games—which is reportedly Fuqua’s largest annual philanthropy event. One alumnus recalled how he bid on and won the opportunity to sumo wrestle one of the core professors, with both of them wearing humongous padded suits. The auction takes place during a Fuqua Friday in mid-February. Students and professors bid on dozens of items donated by corporate sponsors and members of the Fuqua community. Donations in the past have been as varied as dinners/lunches with several professors and Duke University President Richard Brodhead, a VIP table at the Black Eyed Peas concert afterparty, a three-night golf vacation on South Carolina’s Kiawah Island, a UNC/Duke beer-pong table, and a one-on-one basketball game with former NBA player Pat Garrity. The auction has both a silent component and a live, called component.

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

The post Beyond the MBA Classroom: Duke Fuqua’s MBA Games and Auction 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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Diamonds in the Rough: Luxury Brand Management at the GCU British Scho [#permalink]

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New post 07 Jul 2016, 11:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Diamonds in the Rough: Luxury Brand Management at the GCU British School of Fashion
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.Image

In the fall of 2013, Scotland’s Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU)—known as a leader in fashion education since the 19th century—inaugurated a new fashion business school in London and soon after opened a satellite campus in New York City. Rather than focusing on the design aspect of fashion, however, the GCU British School of Fashion instead aims to offer a specialized business education with applications to the fashion industry, as the school’s director, Christopher Moore, explained in a FashionUnited article at the time the new campuses were being revealed: “The remit of the School is clear: we are about the business of fashion. While there are other great international design schools, we are quite different. Our aim is to be a leading School for the business of fashion.”

The British School of Fashion’s MBA in Luxury Brand Management program aims to impart industry tools and skills related to such topics as consumer behavior, globalization, and strategic management. The school also professes a commitment to social responsibility, sustainability, and fair trade as part of its core values. The MBA curriculum consists of eight core modules. With support from a number of British fashion brands, which in the past have included Marks & Spencer, House of Fraser, AllSaints, and the Arcadia Group, the school’s faculty also features a team of honorary professors and fashion industry leaders. Moore told the BBC, “Over the past decade, there has been a significant professionalization of the fashion sector, and there is now a need for high-quality fashion business graduates.”

The post Diamonds in the Rough: Luxury Brand Management at the GCU British School of Fashion appeared first on mbaMission - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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University of Pennsylvania Wharton School Essay Analysis, 2016–2017 [#permalink]

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New post 07 Jul 2016, 13:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: University of Pennsylvania Wharton School Essay Analysis, 2016–2017
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By today’s standards, the essay questions for the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania are remarkably vast. The school presents candidates with two mandatory essays and an optional essay that we feel everyone should take advantage of, plus an additional, conventional optional essay that applicants can use for extenuating circumstances on top of the first optional essay. Wharton thereby provides applicants with a fairly extensive opportunity to tell their whole story, which is quite rare these days. So take advantage of it! Brainstorm thoroughly before you start writing, and carefully consider how to optimize your best anecdotes to showcase yourself in full.

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

In many ways, this prompt is asking for a typical MBA personal statement. In a mere 500 words, you must discuss your career goals—giving very brief context for why they are realistic for you—and then reveal how Wharton will help you pursue these goals by demonstrating a thorough understanding of what the school offers and a well-thought-out game plan for immersing yourself in the Wharton experience. To effectively do this, you must first familiarize yourself with the school’s various resources and pinpoint those that truly pertain to you and the direction in which you hope to go. Simply presenting a list of classes that you think sound interesting is not sufficient. Likewise, avoid vague statements about how great the school is. Focus on showing a clear connection between your aspirations, what you need to achieve them, and what Wharton in particular offers that will enable you to fulfill those needs.

A subtle tweak to this essay prompt that distinguishes it from last year’s is that Wharton asks applicants to address only the professional aspect—no longer both the professional and personal aspect—of their business school aspirations. This will allow you to share your career-related stories and goals much more fully, which means you can and should use the other essays to discuss non-work aspects of your life and thereby provide a more complete and well-rounded picture of yourself for the admissions committee.

Because personal statements are generally 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.

Required Essay 2: 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)  

So, is this question about teamwork or about contribution? Although we see nothing wrong with relating some of your team-related experiences in your essay, what the admissions committee is really interested in learning is what you can contribute to a team—and these are not necessarily the same thing. You can contribute to the Wharton community and culture in many different ways. For example, perhaps you have specialized knowledge you could offer your Wharton Learning Team that would provide context in analyzing certain business problems and cases. Maybe you have a character trait that has enabled you to bring people together in past communities, such as a good sense of humor or even strong listening skills. You might even have specific experience that pertains directly to a club you would like to lead or join.

We can think of almost limitless examples, and the ones we have offered here are possibly even a bit banal, because the key to being effective with this essay is to really own your proffered contribution by sharing your unique personal stories and then relating them to specific resources at Wharton. We suspect that many applicants will discuss a certain trait or skill and then end their essay with a platitude like “And I will bring this skill to Wharton for the betterment of all.” To create a truly strong and compelling essay, you must convincingly show that you fully understand the Wharton experience and are prepared to make a distinct and personal contribution.

And for a thorough exploration of Wharton’s academic program/merits, defining characteristics, crucial statistics, social life, academic environment, and other key features, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

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

Despite what it looks like, we feel that this is not your typical optional essay prompt, for which you would address any problematic aspects of your candidacy. Instead, it is an opportunity to discuss important aspects of your profile that you have not yet been able to explore or include in your application. We have joked that this is actually a “non-optional optional essay,” because forgoing such a chance to flesh out and add color to your application by not writing it simply would not make sense (or be prudent).

Before you start writing, carefully consider what you shared in terms of your contribution to Wharton in Essay 2. With each essay, you must provide new information; you want the admissions reader to always be learning more about you. If you reiterate themes or repeat stories, you will bore your reader. So for this essay, you might showcase a single (and as-yet unrevealed!) accomplishment that is representative of your approach to life or your character. Or maybe you discuss a formative moment in your life or identify a time when your personal philosophy was challenged and changed—and probably countless other options. Just remember, you are trying to distinguish yourself from thousands of other eager candidates. To do this, again, you must own your story, and the best way to do this is to tell it, just as it happened and in your voice.

Even though this is essentially a “non-optional” essay, you should still be both mindful and respectful of the admissions committee’s time. Each additional file submitted requires more resources on behalf of the school’s admissions office, so you must be sure that what you write is truly worthwhile and clearly reveals that you made good use of this opportunity to provide further insight into your candidacy. You cannot merely copy and paste an essay you wrote for a different school into this space. The information you provide here needs to be very obviously crucial to understanding who you are as a person, not just a recounting of something particular you have achieved.

Reapplicant 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)

If you are a Wharton reapplicant, this essay is pretty straightforward. Whether you have improved your academic record, received a promotion, begun a new and exciting project, increased your community involvement, or taken on some sort of personal challenge, the key to success with this essay is conveying a very deliberate path of achievement. Wharton wants to know that you have been actively striving to improve yourself and your profile, and that you have seized opportunities during the previous year to do so, because a Wharton MBA is vital to you. The responses to this essay question will vary greatly from one candidate to the next, because each person’s needs and experiences differ. We are more than happy to provide one-on-one assistance with this highly personal essay to ensure that your efforts over the past year are presented in the best light possible.

However, if you are not a Wharton reapplicant, pay special attention to the last line of this prompt: All applicants, including reapplicants can also use this section to address any extenuating circumstances. We believe that this is Wharton’s true optional essay! Here is your opportunity—if needed—to address any lingering questions that an admissions officer might have about your candidacy, such as a poor grade or overall GPA, a low GMAT score, or a gap in your work experience. In our mbaMission Optional Essays Guide, available through our online store, we offer detailed advice on when and how to take advantage of the optional essay (along with multiple sample essays) to help you mitigate any problem areas in your profile.

The Next Step—Mastering Your Wharton 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. And to help you achieve this high level of preparation, we offer our free Interview Primers! Download your free copy of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania Interview Primer today and be sure to check out our one-of-a-kind Wharton Team-Based Discussion Simulation Sessions.

The post University of Pennsylvania Wharton School 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

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mbaMission

Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
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Friday Factoid: Darden Capital Management at UVA Darden [#permalink]

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New post 08 Jul 2016, 07:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Friday Factoid: Darden Capital Management at UVA Darden
Many think that because the University of Virginia (UVA) Darden School of Business casts itself as offering a general management program, the school has no specialties. General management, however, is a philosophy that suggests that no business problem can be viewed in isolation—for example, a finance problem relates to marketing, a marketing problem relates to operations, and so on. In the student club Darden Capital Management (DCM), students can apply general management principles in evaluating equities to understand the entire firm while also specializing in asset management to further their careers in this finance industry niche.

Through DCM, first-year students pitch long and short investment ideas to second-year student fund managers who oversee approximately $10M of Darden’s endowment, which is divided among five funds, each with its own focal area. Approximately 20 first years ultimately “graduate” and run these funds themselves for credit as second years, reporting on their investment decisions and performance to Darden’s finance board. Students who manage these funds report that they have had an advantage breaking into asset management, because this hands-on experience gives them plenty to discuss in interviews. Managing around $10M will do that…

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

The post Friday Factoid: Darden Capital Management at UVA Darden appeared first on mbaMission - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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Yale School of Management Essay Analysis, 2015–2016 [#permalink]

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New post 08 Jul 2016, 12:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Yale School of Management Essay Analysis, 2015–2016
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This year, the Yale School of Management (SOM) is as sparing as ever with its application essays… or shall we say essay. Yet again, the school poses just one prompt, and with a 500-word limit, you do not have a lot of room to make an impression on the admissions committee. Assistant Dean and Director of Admissions Bruce DelMonico noted in a Yale SOM blog post that “much thought went into this seemingly simple and straightforward question” and that it was composed with assistance from one of the business school’s organizational behavior professors. To us, this implies that the admissions committee has invested some truly purposeful effort into constructing an essay query that will reveal something specific from and about its applicants. Let us explore how you can maximize your opportunity to shine with this new prompt…

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

You may be thinking that this prompt is rather narrow in scope, allowing you space to share the story of just a single professional or community project and nothing more. Well, you can certainly discuss your dedication to a particular project or cause, but you are definitely not restricted to this approach. Consider this: you can also be committed to an idea (e.g., personal liberty) or a value (e.g., creating opportunity for others), and approaching your essay from this angle instead could enable you to share much more of and about yourself with the SOM admissions committee. For example, you might relate a few anecdotes that on the surface seem unrelated—drawing from different parts of your life—but that all support and illustrate how you are guided by a particular value. Or, to return to the example of personal liberty as a theme, you could show how you take control of your academic and professional paths, eschewing any advice that is inconsistent with your vision. Whatever you choose to feature as the focus of your commitment, your actions and decisions, manifest via a variety of experiences, must allow you to own it as a genuine part of who you are as an individual. Identifying a theme that you think no one else will ever use is not your goal here; presenting authentic anecdotes that powerfully support your selected theme is what is important.

However, if you prefer to focus on a single anecdote, the commitment you claim must be truly inordinate. Being particularly proud of an accomplishment is not enough to make it an effective topic for this essay. You need to demonstrate your constancy and dedication in the face of challenges or resistance, revealing that your connection to the experience was hard won. Strive to show that you have been resolute in following a sometimes difficult path and have doggedly stayed on course, citing clear examples to illustrate your steadfastness. Nothing commonplace will work here—you must make your reader truly understand your journey and leave him/her more impressed by your effort than the outcome.

The post Yale School of Management Essay Analysis, 2015–2016 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: It’s All About My Work Performance [#permalink]

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New post 09 Jul 2016, 07:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: It’s All About My Work Performance
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Because you spend so many of your waking hours at work, and the MBA is the vehicle you are choosing to use to drive your career forward, you may naturally believe that your professional experiences are all that matter to the admissions committees. Don’t get us wrong: you need to have strong professional stories to share, but top-tier business schools are looking for much more than just examples of professional excellence. If you discuss only your work experiences in your application, you will present yourself as a one-dimensional character, and today’s managers need to demonstrate that they can handle a multitude of tasks, situations, and personalities—both inside and outside the workplace.

Once a year, we at mbaMission typically post an offer on our blog to review 20 applications submitted by candidates who did not use our services and who did not receive an offer of admission from a single program of their choice. We find that the most common error committed by these applicants is that they discussed only their work accomplishments and gave no sense of who they truly are as well-rounded human beings. Although professional accomplishments definitely have a place in your applications, do not go overboard and focus on this one aspect of your candidacy to the exclusion of all else—balance is crucial. To the best of your ability, strive to offer a mix of accomplishments from the professional, community, and personal fields. Your goal is to keep the reader learning about you with each essay. A diversity of stories will reveal that you have the skills to accomplish a great deal in many different fields and circumstances, which is the hallmark of a modern general manager.

The post MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: It’s All About My Work Performance 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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Dartmouth College (Tuck) Essay Analysis, 2016–2017 [#permalink]

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New post 09 Jul 2016, 11:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Dartmouth College (Tuck) Essay Analysis, 2016–2017
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With its first required essay question for this season, the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College has remained constant, again requesting that candidates submit a rather conventional essay outlining their career goals and explaining their need for a Tuck MBA specifically. For its second required essay, however, the school has long been asking applicants to discuss leadership, but this year, it has pivoted away from that topic to focus on diversity instead. Thereafter, you have the opportunity to craft an optional essay to mitigate any weaknesses in your candidacy, if any such issues exist. We believe that with these options, applicants should be able to present a well-rounded picture of themselves to the admissions committee. Now we will delve more deeply into each of the individual prompts…

Essay 1: What are your short- and long-term goals? Why do you need an MBA to achieve those goals? Why are you interested in Tuck specifically? (500 words)

The school’s request here for applicants’ professional aspirations and the reasons behind their interest in the Tuck program basically call for a traditional personal statement essay. 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.

For a thorough exploration of Dartmouth Tuck’s academic program, merits, defining characteristics, crucial statistics, social life, academic environment, and other key features, please check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to the Tuck School of Business.

Essay 2: 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? (500 words)

The school says on its Web site that “truly understand[ing] how others live, work, and do business” is “a requirement for today’s leaders”—and Tuck is interested in creating and promoting effective leaders. Likewise, community and collaboration are important themes that appear often in Tuck’s descriptions of its MBA program. So naturally, the school wants to know that you are both open to and equipped for this kind of environment and will be able to not only constructively contribute to it but also extract the most from it personally. This will require demonstrating that you possess self-awareness in conjunction with a willingness to hear, consider, and even adopt the views and ideas of others.

One thing to recognize first is that “other people very different from yourself” is a descriptor that extends beyond the most obvious types of differences, such as race, gender, and citizenship. If the experience you ultimately choose to write about did indeed involve such clear-cut differentiators among the participants, that may make writing this essay a little easier for you. But perhaps your experiences to date have not exactly resembled a melting pot or the ones that have were not very influential or affecting. Consider, then, that you can be different from others based on religion (or lack thereof), political mind-set, age, educational background, professional experience, economic strata, familial situation (think only child versus someone with multiple siblings), working or leadership styles, morals, and almost countless other ways. The emphasis here is not on the kind of difference involved but on your interpretation of and response to it.

As you work to identify a story from your life—professional, personal, or community related—that involved some kind of meaningful interaction with others who were unlike you in some notable way, keep in mind that Tuck is not asking simply for a narrative that shows you have merely encountered or interacted with different kinds of people. The admissions committee wants to know that the incident you have chosen to showcase held some personal value for you. Ideally, your story will convey that you have the kind of emotional intelligence that Tuck would like to see.

Given that you have just 500 words with which to set the scene and discuss the three components the school requests—the challenges/opportunities you experienced, your response to these, and what you ultimately discovered about yourself—we suggest that you forego any kind of general introduction and launch directly into your story, immediately placing your reader in the middle of the action. From there, let the narrative unfold naturally, making sure that the nature of the difference between you and the other individual(s) involved is clearly presented, as is either the difficulty that arose from the dissimilarity or the opportunity it created. You must then explicitly address the feelings and thoughts you had as a result and any subsequent actions you took.

The other crucial element of this essay is demonstrating that you learned from the experience—do not gloss over this part or offer a trite or clichéd statement as a kind of afterthought. And specifically, you must share that you learned something about yourself. So, claiming that you gained a new skill, for example, would not constitute an appropriate response. You will need to delve more deeply into how your understanding of yourself differed after the situation and clearly explain what the experience brought out in you that you had not known about yourself before.

Optional Essay: 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.

Applicants may be tempted to take advantage of this optional essay, but we strongly encourage you to resist any such temptation and submit an optional essay only if your candidacy truly needs it. This is most certainly not the place to paste in a strong essay you wrote for another school or share an anecdote you were unable to incorporate into either of the primary essays. Again, only if your profile has a noticeable gap of some kind or would provoke any lingering questions on the part of an admissions officer—such as a poor grade or overall GPA, a low GMAT score, a gap in your work experience, etc.—should you take this opportunity to provide additional information. In our mbaMission Optional Essays Guide, available through our online store, we offer detailed advice on when and how to take advantage of the optional essay (as well as multiple sample essays) to help you mitigate any problem areas in your profile.

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

Whether you have improved your academic record, received a promotion, begun a new and exciting project, increased your community involvement, or taken on some sort of personal challenge, the key to success with this essay is conveying a very deliberate path of achievement. Tuck wants to know that you have been actively striving to improve yourself and your profile, and that you have seized opportunities during the previous year to do so, because a Tuck MBA is vital to you. The responses to this essay question will vary greatly from one candidate to the next, because each person’s needs and experiences differ. We are more than happy to provide one-on-one assistance with this highly personal essay to ensure that your efforts over the past year are presented in the best light possible.

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MBA News: Stanford Graduate School of Business Tops MBA Entrepreneur P [#permalink]

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New post 09 Jul 2016, 14:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA News: Stanford Graduate School of Business Tops MBA Entrepreneur Program Ranking
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Stanford GSB

The Financial Times Top MBAs for Entrepreneurship ranking has only existed for two years, but one thing seems clear: the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) reigns. The school recently claimed the top spot in the publication’s ranking for the second year in a row, leaving behind such renowned institutions as the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (seventh) and London Business School (ninth). The F.W. Olin Graduate School at Babson College, which is well known for its entrepreneurial offerings, came in second place, while the University of Virginia Darden School of Business took the third spot.

Perhaps due to their location near the Silicon Valley, California-based business schools were heavily represented in the top ten. In addition to the GSB at number one, the UCLA Anderson School of Management and the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, came in fifth and sixth, respectively. Although the top ten programs were largely based within the United States, three European schools were included. In addition to London Business School in ninth place, IE Business School and Iese Business School, both located in Spain, were ranked eighth and tenth, respectively.

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GMAT Impact: Quantitative Comparison? What Does That Mean? [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jul 2016, 08:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: GMAT Impact: Quantitative Comparison? What Does That Mean?
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.

If you are taking the GRE instead of the GMAT, you will have to deal with the GRE’s “weird” question type: Quantitative Comparison (QC). What are these questions, and how do we handle them?

What is Quantitative Comparison?

The GRE and the GMAT really are not math tests, all evidence to the contrary. These tests are actually trying to test us on our “executive reasoning” skills—that is, how well we make decisions and prioritize when faced with too many things to do in too little time.

So QC questions are really about quickly analyzing some information and figuring out a relationship between two quantities. If we label the two quantities A and B, we have four possibilities:

(A) Quantity A is always bigger than Quantity B.

(B) Quantity B is always bigger than Quantity A.

(C) The two quantities are always equal.

(D) I cannot tell, or there is not an “always” relationship; maybe sometimes A is bigger and sometimes B is bigger, or sometimes A is bigger and sometimes they are equal.

We do, of course, have to do some math—and sometimes that math is quite annoying. We usually do not, however, have to do as much as we usually do on regular “problem solving” questions (the normal Quant questions).

How does Quantitative Comparison work?

First, the question is always the same: figure out the “always” relationship, if there is one (in which case the answer is A, B, or C), or figure out that there is not an “always” relationship, in which case the answer is D.

Some QC questions will provide us with “givens”—information that must be true and that we will need to use when answering the question. For example, a problem might read as follows:

x > 0

So now I know that x is positive. Is it an integer? Maybe. But it could also be a fraction or decimal, as long as that value is positive.

Next, the problem will give us two columns with their own pieces of information. For example:

Quantity A                                          Quantity B

x = 3                                                      x2-9 = 0

 

We do not have to do anything with Quantity A; it already tells us what x is. What about Quantity B? Solve:

(x+3)(x-3) = 0

x = -3, x = 3

It seems like the answer should be D, right? Sometimes Quantity A is bigger and sometimes they are the same. Do not forget about our “given,” though! We are only supposed to use positive values for x, so we can ignore x = -3 for Quantity B. Both quantities are always equal, so the answer is C.

Okay, these are weird. How do I get better?

These are going to take some practice, yes. In addition, this was only a very short introduction; a ton of great strategies are out there that you can learn. Look for books, articles, classes, and other resources to help. (Here is one to get you started.)

You also, of course, have to learn a bunch of math. What we have presented here, though, should help you get started on this kind-of-bizarre question type in the first place!

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Northwestern University (Kellogg) Essay Analysis, 2016–2017 [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jul 2016, 12:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Northwestern University (Kellogg) Essay Analysis, 2016–2017
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After introducing two completely new essay questions last season, the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University has made no changes at all to its prompts this year—at least not for the written essays. Candidates who are already anxious about the school’s somewhat unique video essay component may not be too pleased to learn that Kellogg is now asking three video questions rather than two, having added a query about facing a challenge. However, as we discuss more fully later in our analysis, these questions have no wrong answers and are intended to help the admissions committee get a more authentic impression of your personality (not to intimidate you!), so we do not believe applicants should be too concerned by this part of the application. Perhaps Kellogg simply felt it needed a little extra time in the video essays to make more fully developed assessments of its candidates. Read on for our thoughts on how to address all the school’s prompts for this season.

Required Essay 1: 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)

This is a fairly straightforward essay prompt. You should launch directly into your narrative and detail the specific actions you took in leading your team. Although we imagine most candidates will write about a success, some may choose to recount a leadership experience that was particularly meaningful, even if the intended goals were not ultimately achieved. Indeed, the key here is not necessarily to show that you were a rousing leader who carried your team all the way to victory, but rather that you shared a valuable experience with others and extracted the most from your team members, regardless of the outcome. The school makes a point of acknowledging within this essay prompt that “leadership and teamwork are integral parts of Kellogg,” seeming to highlight the collaboration and cooperation ideally involved in such arrangements—and thereby implying that the spirit of teamwork should be somehow implicit in your essay.

A mistake applicants often make in writing this kind of essay is presenting a strong narrative wherein they are incredible leaders, and then near the end, making a brief (and typically disjointed) reference to a hardship or conflict encountered along the way, meant to fulfill the “challenges” element of the essay prompt. To be effective and believable, your ups and downs must be woven intrinsically into your narrative, rather than simply being acknowledged at the end.

Also, do not forget or neglect to explain what you learned from the experience—Kellogg specifically asks you to do so! And keep in mind that for your takeaways to be “meaningful,” they have to be profoundly connected to your narrative. The admissions reader should be able to easily understand the connection between the situation you describe and your subsequent learnings.

Required Essay 2: 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)

How have you grown in the past? The best way to answer this question is to really take the question at face value and think about… how you have grown in the past! Kellogg has no preconceived notions of what applicants should offer in response to this query; it simply wants to learn more about who you are now and how you came to be this person. Rather than pandering to what you think Kellogg wants to hear or trying to conceive of a storyline that seems like it would sound good, truly reflect on your growth to date and focus on analyzing one or two recent experiences that effectively reveal how you have developed and matured.

You might use the first 200–250 words of your essay to share a brief anecdote or two illustrating your growth. These stories can be thematically connected, or they can present two separate circumstances in which you grew in different ways. This portion of your essay will show that you possess the capacity to grow, so in the rest of your submission, you can outline your agenda for growth at Kellogg. You can focus on academic and/or professional needs or on broader personal needs (such as intellectual growth or global exposure)—either option is fine. What is important is that you clearly show a genuine understanding of how Kellogg is the right catalyst for your anticipated development. If your connection to the school is merely superficial—based just on rankings or reputation, for example—you will reveal only that you do not truly grasp the potential inherent in your time in the program. So do your research and really learn about Kellogg in depth, and then present clear links between the program and your developmental needs, going beyond a simple listing of courses or resources and illustrating a more thorough and personalized connection between the offerings and your specific needs and interests.

This question involves many of the elements of a traditional personal statement essay, and because personal statements are generally 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.

And for a thorough exploration of Kellogg’s academic program, merits, defining characteristics, crucial statistics, social life, academic environment, and other key features, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to the Kellogg School of Management.

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)

If you are applying to one of Kellogg’s dual degree programs, you should be ready to demonstrate a great deal of intentionality. After all, you are committing to a specialized path that requires additional time and cost. With a limit of just 250 words, you have no choice but to cut to the chase and specify how a dual degree is necessary for you to achieve your particular desired outcomes. After presenting your goals, you will need to tie these goals specifically to the Kellogg programs you are targeting and to their associated resources. This essay is essentially another opportunity (after Essay 2) to explain your distinct need to attend Kellogg, only here, you can focus on showcasing the non-MBA portion of your intended degree.

Re-applicants: Since your previous application, what steps have you taken to strengthen your candidacy? (250 word limit)

Whether you have improved your academic record, received a promotion, begun a new and exciting project, increased your community involvement, or taken on some sort of personal challenge, the key to success with this essay is conveying a very deliberate path of achievement. Kellogg wants to know that you have been actively striving to improve yourself and your profile, and that you have seized opportunities during the previous year to do so, because a Kellogg MBA is vital to you. The responses to this essay question will vary greatly from one candidate to the next, because each person’s needs and experiences differ. We are more than happy to provide one-on-one assistance with this highly personal essay to ensure that your efforts over the past year are presented in the best light possible.

All applicants have the opportunity to provide explanations or clarification in 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)

However tempted you might be, this is not the place to paste in a strong essay you wrote for another school or to offer a few anecdotes that you were unable to incorporate into any of your other essays. Instead, this is your opportunity, if needed, to address any lingering questions that an admissions officer may have about your candidacy, 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, along with multiple sample essays, to help you mitigate any problem areas in your profile.

Required Video Essays: The Video Essays provide applicants with an additional opportunity to demonstrate what they will bring to our vibrant Kellogg community – in an interactive way. Each applicant will complete three short video essay questions. The questions are designed to bring to life the person we have learned about on paper.

After submitting a completed application, each applicant will be asked to complete three Video Essay Questions. The first will be a “getting to know you” type of question, the second will be about the candidate’s interest in Kellogg, and the final question will ask about facing a challenge.

There are 10 practice questions which candidates can complete as many times as they like to get comfortable with the format and technology. The practice questions and experience will simulate the actual video essay experience, so this is meant to be a useful tool and help applicants feel prepared.

There is not an opportunity to re-do the answer to the official video essay questions. We encourage applicants to practice so they are comfortable with the format once it is time to complete the official questions.

Candidates will have 20 seconds to think about their question and up to 1 minute to give their response.

We estimate the Video Essays will take 20–25 minutes to complete—which includes time for set-up and answering all the practice questions.

Start by taking a deep breath. We understand that these video essays can make you feel like you are being put on the spot, but Kellogg is really not trying to scare you. The admissions committee simply wants a more dynamic representation of your personality than a written essay can provide. You cannot answer any of the school’s video questions incorrectly, so do not concern yourself with trying to give the “right” answer. Just respond to each query honestly, as smoothly as you can (despite any nervousness you may be feeling), and be yourself so the school can get a better sense of the unique individual you are. Thankfully, Kellogg provides some basic information about the nature of the questions you will encounter in the application’s video segment, so you will not be going in totally blind.

The “get to know you” question will be about a topic you know very well—you! Kellogg refers to this question as an “icebreaker,” so imagine meeting someone for the first time at a party or other event. Similar questions to what you might ask each other in the process of getting acquainted are what you can very likely expect from Kellogg. Examples we can imagine are “What is your favorite book and why?,” “If you unexpectedly had 24 work-free hours, how would you spend them?,” and (as Kellogg itself offers on its site) “If you could live anywhere in the world for a year, where would it be and why?” Although we are going to assume that you already know yourself pretty well, these types of queries sometimes require a moment or two of thought before a clear answer can be offered. So take some time to imagine these sorts of questions (you can even Google “icebreaker questions” to find lists of general examples) and practice delving into your personality in this way.  Who knows, you might even learn something new about yourself in the process!

Fortunately, Kellogg very kindly provides the school-specific question in advance: “What path are you interested in pursuing, how will you get there, and why is this program right for you?” With respect to your interest in Kellogg, you need to truly understand why you are choosing this specific program for your MBA. By that, we do not mean that you should create and memorize a laundry list of reasons. Instead, you must have a comprehensive understanding of the resources the school offers and be able to clearly and concisely express which ones are of particular importance and significance to you—and why. Then, when you are recording your video response, you will need to convey this information in a way that is sincere and compelling. That will not happen if you are listing facts you have simply committed to memory! Kellogg offers very clear advice on this: “We don’t want scripted answers—we want to get to know you and learn something new. … When you record your answer speak authentically—we can tell if you are reading notes! And, no need to memorize an answer to the Kellogg question… it might make you sound like a robot.” The research you do on the school for Essay 2 will of course be valuable here as well.

Kellogg’s new video question will ask you about a challenging experience you have had, and the school offers this example to help candidates better understand what that might look like: “Tell me about a time you were not going to be able to meet a deadline. How did you handle the situation? What was the outcome?” Few people could argue that the experience of earning an MBA is free of challenges. Kellogg knows that once you are in its program, you will be challenged in many different ways—by the differing viewpoints of your classmates, by the difficulty of some course work, by the struggle to efficiently manage your time, by the intensity of recruiting, by the business problems you will address, and by so many other people and issues. Naturally, the admissions committee wants to know that you can handle such challenges and get an idea of how you might do so with respect to your subsequent thoughts, decisions, and actions.

We suggest that to prepare for this question, identify three times when you encountered some sort of resistance or obstacle that stood between you and something you wanted to do or accomplish. Ideally, you should have one story each from your career, your personal life, and your community activities, and each anecdote should involve a different kind of challenge. For example, perhaps you ran up against a budget shortfall on a critical work project, clashed with a sibling over how to manage a parent’s health or estate, and had a volunteer event you organized be almost derailed by budget or weather issues. By having multiple stories that draw from the primary areas of your life and entail different types of obstacles or setbacks, you should be well equipped to respond to a challenge question. Keep in mind, however, that having an appropriate story to tell is only half the task. You must be sure to also share how you felt, your thought processes, and/or what you took away from the experience. Again, Kellogg does not want to know only that you have faced and overcome challenges in the past, but also how you behaved in the moment and any lessons you learned.

One minute is not very long, so definitely run through several practice sessions—perhaps in front of a mirror—to get a sense of how quickly those 60 seconds will pass when you are in front of the camera. Although you can prepare as much as you want (the school even provides practice questions to help you do so), you get only one chance at the recording. If you stumble while answering or ultimately are unhappy with your answer, unfortunately, you cannot do anything about it. You will not be able to rerecord your responses or try again another time. This may make you nervous, but we encourage you to view the situation a little differently. Kellogg wants to get to know the authentic you, not a scripted you, through these video essays. If you fumble for words or lose your train of thought, just laugh or shrug and continue with your response. Accepting a mistake with a sense of humor and grace will give the admissions committee a more positive and natural impression of your personality than rigid scripting and overpreparation ever could.

The Next Step—Mastering Your Kellogg 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. And, on your way to this high level of preparation, we offer our free Interview Primers to spur you along! Download your free copy of the Northwestern Kellogg Interview Primer today.

The post Northwestern University (Kellogg) Essay Analysis, 2016–2017 appeared first on mbaMission - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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Monday Morning Essay Tip: Do Your B-School Research [#permalink]

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New post 11 Jul 2016, 08:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Monday Morning Essay Tip: Do Your B-School Research
Many top business schools explicitly ask candidates about the steps they have taken to learn about their MBA program. The schools use such questions because they want to know that you have a sincere desire to gain a place in their next entering class specifically, and they want to be sure that you have made a concerted and genuine effort to learn about their program. So, when answering such questions, you absolutely must demonstrate your profound interest in and knowledge of the school.

Explaining that you have fully read the business school’s website will not suffice, considering that this resource is available to anyone—and frankly, the admissions committee expects you to do this anyway. Although you could mention your web research as a starting point if something very particular or unusual caught your attention, you are better off sharing your other—ideally firsthand/in-person—experiences with the school instead. By discussing the details of your class visit(s) and particularly of your interactions with admissions officers, students, professors, and/or alumni, you will demonstrate to the admissions committee that you have truly been striving to learn more and understand your fit with the school. In essence, if you are showing the committee that you have extended yourself to learn, you have surpassed a minimum requirement.

A great starting point for learning whether a particular business school is right for you is our mbaMission Insider’s Guides.

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MBA News: Impact Investing Gains Popularity at Business Schools [#permalink]

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New post 11 Jul 2016, 12:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA News: Impact Investing Gains Popularity at Business Schools
Trends come and go at business schools, with only a handful sticking around for the long term. One of the most popular trends at the moment is impact investing, which has the goal of creating positive environmental and social impact while generating financial return. Impact investing has fascinated MBA students for years—for example, Columbia Business School has offered courses on the subject for more than a decade—but a number of top-ranked schools have only recently taken steps toward making the field accessible to students. Harvard Business School (HBS), for example, will offer its first impact investing course this fall.

At Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, the school’s five-year-old CASE i3 Initiative on Impact Investing has gradually attracted interest, and now 10% to 30% of each class applies to take part in the initiative. Although HBS has not previously offered courses on the subject, curiosity around campus has been strong. “Relative to five years ago, we see a significant uptick in student, faculty, and alumni interest [in the subject],” Matt Segneri, director of the school’s Social Enterprise Initiative, commented to Fortune.

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Mission Admission: What If I Have No Supervisor? [#permalink]

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New post 12 Jul 2016, 08:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Mission Admission: What If I Have No Supervisor?
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Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips; a new one is posted each Tuesday.

“I am self-employed.”

“I am a vice president in my family’s business.”

“I am a freelancer.”

“I am a contract consultant.”

If you can describe your professional situation using any of these statements—or something very similar—you may very well be thinking, “I have no supervisor! Who is going to write my recommendations?”

Before we address this problem, let us first remind you that MBA admissions committees have seen it all. Your situation is most likely not unique, so you do not need to fret. Let us consider the example of the family business vice president and add a detail—that the family business is manufacturing. This hypothetical MBA candidate could contact one of the company’s long-standing clients or suppliers, who may be able to write about the applicant’s integrity, growth, sense of humor, determination, and more, all in relation to other comparable individuals.

If these constituents were not able to offer adequate feedback, however, the candidate might instead ask the head of a trade association or possibly even a respected competitor to write on his/her behalf. If the applicant really needed to get creative, he/she might even consider asking a service provider—for example, getting a letter of reference from an architectural firm that collaborated with the candidate to build a new manufacturing facility could be an interesting solution.

In short, most MBA candidates have more potential recommenders to choose among than they realize. Keep looking and try not to get discouraged—someone out there knows you well and can write objectively on your behalf.

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INSEAD Essay Analysis, 2016–2017 [#permalink]

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New post 12 Jul 2016, 12:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: INSEAD Essay Analysis, 2016–2017
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In recent years, we have seen more and more of the top business schools scaling back the number and/or length of their required application essays, yet INSEAD continues to stick with its longtime format of multiple short essays. The school did reduce the number of  motivation essays by one (from four to three) this year, but this may not do much to shorten the length of time candidates must dedicate to the school’s application, because INSEAD also added a brand new video component involving four additional questions. The program has not revealed what those four questions are or the topics they cover, though we feel that applicants should expect that one will be some variation of a “why INSEAD?” query.  Our thoughts on how to approach INSEAD’s multiple written essay prompts follow.

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)

For the school’s job essays, we encourage you to start by very carefully parsing exactly what data the school requests for each. Together, these four prompts cover many of the elements seen in a traditional personal statement essay, including info about one’s career to date, interest in the school, and professional goals. However, the topics are clearly separated among individual submissions rather than covered in a cohesive single essay, and INSEAD also asks applicants to comment on their expected progression within their current firm were they to remain there rather than entering business school.

The first job essay requires that you outline roughly six different aspects of your current or most recent position. Be sure that you address each of the elements the school lists, and do not skip any just because you would rather write more about some than others. You may also want to consider providing a very brief description of your company or industry, if the nature of either might not be readily clear to an admissions reader. For the second job essay, your response should be fairly straightforward. If your firm has a firmly defined management hierarchy in which one position leads directly to a higher one—and you would be interested in adhering to that system—you simply need to explain this and perhaps offer a short description of the new responsibilities your next position would entail. If your company does not have such an arrangement or you would want to move in a different direction, simply explain what your preferred next role would be and the duties involved.

For the fourth essay, in addition to presenting your professional goals, you will need to address both options with respect to earning an INSEAD MBA. Do your research on the school’s program to identify specific resources it offers that relate directly to the skills and experiences you need to be successful in your career, thereby illustrating how INSEAD would help you in achieving your aims. As for how you might pursue your goals without an INSEAD MBA, describe some other resources (such as courses, networks, or even volunteer opportunities) that could help you on your path instead. Above all, be sure to show determination and focus—that you are focused firmly on your intended end points and will not be easily deterred.

For all the job description essays, avoid using any acronyms or abbreviations that would not be easily recognizable to most people. Using shortcuts (in the form of abbreviations/acronyms) and skipping basic contextual information could make your essays less understandable and therefore less compelling and useful to an admissions reader, so do yourself a favor by more completely depicting your situation. Also, consider framing your responses to these rather straightforward queries in a narrative format to make them more interesting to the admissions reader, rather than simply outlining the basic information. Strive to incorporate a sense of your personality and individuality into your submissions.

As we have noted, these questions cover many of the same elements seen in a traditional personal statement essay, and because personal statements are generally 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 Job Essay: If you are currently not working or if you plan to leave your current employer more than 2 months before the programme starts, please explain your activities and occupations between leaving your job and the start of the programme.

With this essay, INSEAD hopes to see signs of the candidate’s interest in ongoing self-improvement, knowledge or experience collection, and/or giving back. Whether you are choosing to leave your job a few months before the beginning of the MBA program or are asked to do so by your employer, simply explain what you expect do and gain during the  interim. The admissions committee wants to know that you are the kind of person who takes advantage of opportunities and to understand what kinds of opportunities appeal to you. For example, perhaps you plan to complete a few quantitative courses to be better equipped to hit the ground running in your related MBA classes, or perhaps you want to spend some time with distant family members or volunteering in your community because you know that your availability to do so will be limited when you are in school, and you want to maintain those important connections. Maybe you want to travel to improve your language ability in a more immersive environment before coming to INSEAD, given the importance of this skill in the school’s program. Or you might be arrange informational interviews, job-shadowing opportunities, and/or unpaid internships, which could help in various ways with recruiting and job selection. Whatever your goals and plans, clearly convey how you anticipate your experience(s) to add to or change your character, enhance your skill set, and/or increase your understanding of yourself or others—all of which are valuable in business school.

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).

Although INSEAD’s request for “main factors … which have influenced your development” comes in the latter half of this essay prompt, we feel you should actually provide this context for your formative experiences before discussing the strengths and weaknesses you derived from them, because showing a clear cause-and-effect relationship between the two is important. The school asks that you offer examples “when necessary,” but your essay will be strongest if you present anecdotes to illustrate and support all your statements. Still, your essay should not end up being a hodgepodge of unconnected anecdotes that reveal strengths. Instead, focus on two or three strengths and one or two weaknesses in the mere 500 words allotted.

As always, be honest about your strengths (do not try to tell the committee what you think it wants to hear; truthfully describe who you legitimately are) and especially about your weaknesses—this is vital. Transparent or disingenuous statements will not fool or convince anyone and will only reveal you as someone incapable of critical self-evaluation.

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).

For this essay, you will need to offer two anecdotes that reveal different sides of you as an applicant, describing a high moment from your life and a low moment. Because the school also asks you to address how these incidents subsequently influenced your interactions with others and what lessons they taught you, you must identify stories that not only involve a significant incident but also affected you personally in a meaningful and long-lasting way. These elements of your essay are just as important as the accomplishment and the failure you choose to share; your unique thoughts can differentiate you from other applicants, and showing that you recognize how these incidents changed you and your relations with others demonstrates your self-awareness and capacity for growth. Steer clear of trite and clichéd statements about your takeaways, and really reflect on these situations to uncover your deeper reactions and impressions. For example, everyone gains some level of resiliency from a failure, so you must offer something less common and more compelling and personal.

Be aware that the best failure essays are often those that show reasoned optimism and tremendous momentum toward a goal—a goal that is ultimately derailed. In most cases, you will need to show that you were emotionally invested in your project/experience, which will enable the reader to connect with your story and vicariously experience your disappointment. If you were not invested at all, it is hardly credible to discuss the experience as a failure or learning experience.

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)

Although stereotypes about the top MBA programs abound—this school wants consultants, that school is for marketing professionals, this other one is for techies and entrepreneurs—the truth is that they all want a diverse incoming class, full of people with various strengths and experiences that they can share with one another for the good of all. Discussing how you choose to spend your free time—explaining why your chosen activities are important to you and what you derive from them—provides the admissions committee with a window into your personality outside the workplace and classroom and an idea of what you could contribute to the student body and INSEAD as a whole.

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)

However tempted you might be, this is not the place to paste in a strong essay from another school or to offer a few anecdotes that you were unable to use in any of your other essays. Instead, this is your opportunity, if needed, to address any lingering questions that an admissions officer may have about your candidacy, such as a poor grade or overall GPA, a low GMAT score, or a gap in your work experience. In our mbaMission Optional Essays Guide (available through our online store), we offer detailed advice on when and how to take advantage of the optional essay (along with multiple sample essays) to help mitigate any problem areas in your profile.

Video

After submitting their application, this season’s INSEAD candidates must respond to four additional—and as yet unknown—questions in video form.  Although applicants have until one week after the deadline for the round in which they apply to complete this element of the process, we recommend doing so sooner rather than later while your mind is still in application mode and to ensure you do not somehow forget this task or have to rush through it at the end of the allotted time period.

Because all INSEAD interviews are conducted by the school’s alumni, members of the admissions committee have previously had no opportunity to see or meet with candidates; they had to learn all they could simply from the written portions of the application. This new video component will now give the committee direct and dynamic insight into applicants’ character and personality, as well as another angle on their language abilities. About the video, the INSEAD admissions committee says on its site, “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!” So when the time comes for you to record your responses, do your best to relax, answer genuinely, and let your true self shine through!

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Duke University Fuqua School of Business Essay Analysis, 2016–2017 [#permalink]

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New post 12 Jul 2016, 13:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Duke University Fuqua School of Business Essay Analysis, 2016–2017
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Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business has made some adjustments to its essay questions this year but has chosen to keep its rather unique “25 Random Things” prompt, which we imagine will delight some applicants but dishearten others. If you fall into the latter category, we encourage you to view this submission as the generous opportunity it is to provide a comprehensive picture of yourself as a well-rounded candidate by sharing your most meaningful values, experiences, interests, and accomplishments. Whereas Fuqua’s required second essay involved a choice of topics last season, this time, all applicants must respond to the same query—which keeps the focus on candidates’ place within the school’s program and community but does so in a different context. Rather than explaining your need for Fuqua’s program specifically or how you would embody one of its main principles, you must address how you expect to engage with and be a benefit to others in the community. In addition to these essays, Fuqua poses a few short-answer goal questions with which applicants can cover the basic professional elements of their profile. Our analysis of all the school’s prompts follows…

Required Short Answer Questions: 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? 

With this trio of questions, Fuqua is essentially asking for a standard, albeit very brief, personal statement—though the third query does include a rather nonstandard component. Candidates often feel that they must be totally unequivocal in their goals, but here Fuqua is giving applicants room to address and speculate on other options. The admissions committee knows that sometimes the best-laid plans do not play out as expected or yield unintended results, and the school wants to know that you are prepared to switch gears and recommit to a different path, if necessary, and are fully capable of doing so. The key in answering this question is showing that your alternate goal is just as connected to your skills, interests, and ambitions as your original plan and does not come “out of left field,” so to speak. For example, you would probably have a difficult time convincing the admissions committee that your short-term goal is to work in technology consulting while your alternate goal would be to work in human resources, because these industries, for the most part, require entirely different skills and personalities. Just be mindful that both goals you present must be plausible and achievable.

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.

Required Essay 1: 25 Random Things About Yourself

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.
Be prepared to have fun creating this list for your Fuqua application, but before you start scribbling down random things, take some time to thoroughly brainstorm. You cannot simply draft a list of “typical” accomplishments—remember, the school is asking for a random list, and keep in mind that your reader should learn more about you as an individual with each item presented. Make sure that every “thing” you share gives the admissions committee a new window into your personality, into what really makes you tick and makes you you. Most important is that you own all the points on your list—that your final list could apply to no one but you. For example, a statement such as “I love the movie Goodfellas and have watched it multiple times” could easily be made by many applicants—therefore, it would not be truly yours. However, if you were to instead write, “At least once a year, my friends and I get together to watch our favorite movie, Goodfellas, all wearing dark suits, eating fresh pasta with homemade sauce, and reciting the dialogue line-for-line,” you would present an experience that is unquestionably yours, because few—if any—other candidates would be likely to say this same thing.

Although Fuqua does not want you to rehash your professional and academic accomplishments in this list, and you should certainly avoid repeating anything that already appears elsewhere in your application, you can of course still touch on significant moments that occurred in these spheres. Use detail and a narrative style (keeping things brief!) to give these elements life and ensure that they are personal. For example, rather than saying that you “won a creative thinking award for implementing an innovative training solution,” you might write that you “once won an award for instructing trainees to flip their desks upside down and face what was previously the back of the room—thereby creating an exercise to introduce new hires to the concept and value of new perspectives.”

Required Essay 2: 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? (Your response should be no more than 2 pages in length.)

With this new essay prompt, Fuqua clearly wants to see evidence that you have done your research on the school’s culture and community and developed a true and thorough understanding of it. Ideally, your essay will convince the admissions committee that you are eager to take advantage of opportunities to lead and contribute, that you have thoughtfully considered your place within the school’s community at length, and that as a result, you know the value of what you can offer and have a clear vision of how this will manifest when you are a Fuqua student.

For this to be possible, you really (really!) must know the school well, because if you hypothesize incorrectly about the contribution you will make—meaning that what you propose is just not possible at the school or does not align with Fuqua’s values and culture—you will definitely not get in. The question specifically mentions “student-led government, clubs, centers, and events,” so you could start your research there to find niches and opportunities that correspond with your strengths, knowledge, and experience. But if you feel you can contribute in a different area or way altogether (while still adhering to the “outside of the classroom” element of the prompt), you can certainly take that approach instead. Read student blogs, peruse discussion boards, catch up on the past year or more of press releases from the school, spend some time on Fuqua’s YouTube channel—these are all good places to start (or better, continue!) educating yourself about what life at the school is really like, beyond the course work.

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.
This admissions season, Fuqua has reduced the maximum length for its option essay from two pages to just one. We see this, along with the other clarifying bullet points, as confirmation that the admissions committee is not interested in additional information from applicants who fear that not submitting an optional essay would somehow count against them and would like to reserve this essay exclusively for those who truly need it. So be judicious in your use of this opportunity, and only submit an optional essay if you truly believe that explaining a key element of your story or profile is necessary for Fuqua to have a complete and accurate understanding of you as a candidate. In our mbaMission Optional Essays Guide, available through our online store, we offer detailed advice on when and how to take advantage of the optional essay (along with multiple sample essays) to help you mitigate any problem areas in your profile.

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Professor Profiles: Jeffrey Carr, NYU Stern School of Business [#permalink]

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New post 13 Jul 2016, 07:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Jeffrey Carr, NYU Stern 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 profile Jeffrey Carr from New York University’s (NYU’s) Leonard N. Stern School of Business.

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Having taught at Stern for more than a decade as an adjunct associate professor (earning him the 1996 Stern/Citibank Teacher of the Year Award), Jeffrey Carr joined Stern’s full-time faculty in 2007 and is now a clinical professor of marketing and entrepreneurship. He served formerly as the executive director of the Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation and has garnered a reputation as one of the school’s most respected marketing experts, featured by such major news outlets as NBC and the New York Times. Carr is president of Marketing Foundations Inc. and has worked on projects for such companies as Booz Allen Hamilton, IBM, General Electric, Pfizer, Kodak, Time Inc., and Unilever. As one first year we interviewed said of his experience at Stern, “So far, the most impressive class has been ‘Marketing’ with Jeff Carr,” adding, “He’s super engaging and makes you think more about the consequences of your actions in marketing than simply teaching you the tools. The class structure is very informal, but all of the students are learning a ton.”

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

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MBA News: Current MBA Students Largely Optimistic About Post-MBA Job M [#permalink]

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New post 13 Jul 2016, 11:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA News: Current MBA Students Largely Optimistic About Post-MBA Job Market
We recently posted about the promising job market into which the MBA Class of 2016 graduated. As for those still completing their business school studies, the future appears to be largely worry-free, according to a new study. Conducted by corporate training company Training The Street, the survey reveals that 86% of MBAs feel “very or somewhat optimistic” about post-MBA job possibilities, and more than 80% have already received job offers. Of those who have received offers, 51% feel “very satisfied” with the promised salary, and 11% are “dissatisfied”—both figures are slightly different from the previous year’s, when 54% and 8%, respectively, felt similarly.

The highest salary bracket in the survey saw a small decrease, as 40% of respondents will receive a starting salary of $125K or more. The previous year, that number was 43%. “The slight dip in starting salary is reflective of subtle changes in MBA job preferences,” Scott Rostan, Training The Street’s founder and CEO, commented in a press release. “Although salaries at Wall Street banks and consulting firms have not changed much, a slightly larger share of graduates are looking to join startups,” Rostan said.

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Beyond the MBA Classroom: Think Social, Drink Local at NYU Stern [#permalink]

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New post 14 Jul 2016, 08:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Beyond the MBA Classroom: Think Social, Drink Local at NYU Stern
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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Hosted jointly by NYU Stern’s Social Enterprise Association and the Luxury and Retail Club, the Think Social, Drink Local event features an “I Heart NY” themed fashion show highlighting New York–based designers (with Stern students and administrators as models) and an open bar offering beverages produced by local vineyards, distilleries, and breweries. The eleventh annual event, which took place in March 2016, was held at 404 NYC. These events raise money for Stern’s Social Impact Internship Fund, which is aimed at helping first-year students who hope to find internships within the joint fields of society and business. An organizer of the 2012 event explained to mbaMission that the event “highlight[s] the economic impact of locally minded consumption and the importance of production jobs and small businesses to a thriving local community.”

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

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Diamonds in the Rough: Experiential Learning at the Carlson School of  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Jul 2016, 12:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Diamonds in the Rough: Experiential Learning at the Carlson School of Management
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The University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management

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.

With approximately 20 Fortune 500 companies located nearby—including UnitedHealth Group, Target, and U.S. Bancorp—the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management boasts a robust network of corporate ties and high-profile recruiting opportunities. In fact, the Twin Cities placed first in Forbes’s 2011 rankings of the best U.S. cities for finding employment. Carlson also prepares its students with a pronounced hands-on approach to building leadership, management, and problem-solving skills.

Among the school’s more distinctive offerings, Carlson’s four Enterprise programs expose students to the areas of brand, consulting, funds, and ventures. The Enterprise learning experience is rather unique insofar as it operates as a full professional services firm, serving multiple clients and allowing students to work through real-world business challenges with senior management at major companies. In the Brand Enterprise program, for example, Carlson students have developed key marketing strategies for such brands as Cargill, Boston Scientific, Target, 3M, General Mills, and Land O’Lakes. Students in the Consulting Enterprise program have offered services to such companies as Best Buy, Northwest Airlines Cargo, Medtronic CRM Division, and Polaris. With approximately $38M in managed assets, the Carlson Funds Enterprise program ranks among the three largest student-managed funds in the world. Finally, the Carlson Ventures Enterprise program puts aspiring entrepreneurs in contact with experts, professionals, and investors.

The post Diamonds in the Rough: Experiential Learning at the Carlson School of Management appeared first on mbaMission - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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