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The mbaMission Blog

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Use Past and Present Tense Judiciously in Your MBA Application Essays [#permalink]

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New post 31 May 2017, 09:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Use Past and Present Tense Judiciously in Your MBA Application Essays
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Virtually all MBA application essays are written in the past tense, which makes sense, given that candidates are typically discussing past experiences. Although using the past tense is quite easy, another option is to use the present tense to heighten the immediacy of the experience being presented and to draw the reader into the story. Consider the following examples:

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

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

These examples do not represent “right” and “wrong” options but instead illustrate two different styles a candidate might use and that can be equally effective; choosing which is the better fit for a particular essay depends entirely on the skill of the writer. Executing well in the present tense can sometimes be difficult, and we recommend that candidates undertake the task carefully. Further, this choice also depends significantly on the story’s content and context—the present tense is a good option when the experience recounted involves “high drama” but is not necessarily appropriate for every essay.
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Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
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Explore Research-to-Practice Seminars at Dartmouth Tuck [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jun 2017, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Explore Research-to-Practice Seminars at Dartmouth Tuck
The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College is known for its close-knit community and small faculty-to-student ratio. The school’s research-to-practice seminars complement these characteristics. An article on the school’s Tuck Today Web site explained that “International Entrepreneurship” was the first of several such seminars designed to give students insight into a real-world business issue. The seminars were conceived as a key component of the school’s strategic five-year plan, called Tuck 2012. The courses bring together second-year students with top faculty for a “deep dive” into a specific topic. Research-to-practice seminars that were offered in recent years include the following:

  • “Corporate Takeovers”
  • “Deconstructing Apple”
  • “Management of Investment Portfolios”
  • “Marketing Good and Evil: Consumer Moral Judgment and Well-Being”
  • “Strategy in Innovation Ecosystems”
  • “Time in the Consumer Mind”
For more information on other defining characteristics of the MBA program at Dartmouth Tuck or one of 15 other top business schools, please check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Jen Kedrowski
mbaMission

Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
mbaMission Insiders Guides: http://www.mbamission.com/guides.php?category=insiders
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Raise Funds for Charities at MIT Sloan Auctions [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jun 2017, 13:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Raise Funds for Charities at MIT Sloan Auctions
MIT Sloan students organize charity auctions typically twice a year. Each “ocean” (the approximately 70-person cohort with which students take their first-semester core classes) selects a charity to support and identifies items to be auctioned, such as lunch with a professor, a home-cooked meal by a student, and more unusual offerings, like having a professor chauffeur you to class in his classic car. First-year oceans compete to see which one can raise the most money, and second-year students organize a similar auction. All together, the auctions raise tens of thousands of dollars each year for such charities as the California Wildfires Fund, Children of Uganda, Pencils of Promise, Bridge Over Troubled Waters, and the Sloan Social Impact Fellowship.

As you submit your application to MIT Sloan, you may want to consider what you can offer up for auction and start preparing to bid!

For more information on other defining characteristics of the MBA program at MIT Sloan or one of 15 other top business schools, please check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Jen Kedrowski
mbaMission

Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
mbaMission Insiders Guides: http://www.mbamission.com/guides.php?category=insiders
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Making the Most of Your Pre-MBA Summer [#permalink]

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New post 02 Jun 2017, 09:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Making the Most of Your Pre-MBA Summer
In this new blog series, our mbaMissionCareer Coaches offer invaluable advice and industry-related news to help you actively manage your career. Topics include building your network, learning from mistakes and setbacks, perfecting your written communication, and mastering even the toughest interviews. To schedule a free half-hour consultation with one of our mbaMission Career Coaches, click here.

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As you prepare to start your MBA program, we at mbaMission wanted to share our advice about how to arrive on campus ready for recruiting.  

This summer, consider doing the following:

  • Figure out what you want. What is your career vision? What industry, function, and corporate culture appeal to you? What motivates you? What skills/experiences do you bring to an employer? What are your Plan A and Plan B? For more guidance, check out some of our previous blogs on setting a career vision and assessing your career goals.
  • Research and identify potential target firms. Understand the skills and experiences desired for your target industries or functions. Check out our free Career Primers. Identify six to ten target companies in your industry of interest. Talk to people in your network who work in your target areas. Read industry publications.
  • Think about your story. How can you talk about your interest in a specific industry or function in a compelling way? What personal or professional experiences have made you want to pursue your target role? Know which of your previous experiences will be most compelling to your target audience. Are there any gaps in your candidacy?
  • Update your resume and LinkedIn profile.[b] Find out if your school has a required resume template, and if so, put your resume into that format. Update your LinkedIn profile to indicate you will soon be an MBA student. In addition, update your network about your plans to return to school.[/b]
  • Save any documents you used when writing business school applications; you will need them later. Articulating your career goals and identifying stories to tell in behavior-based interviews will help you when networking and interviewing for internships.
  • Relax, travel, or spend time with family and friends. You are about to embark on an intense experience. A lot of amazing academic, extracurricular, and recruiting opportunities will be waiting for you on campus; be rested so you can take advantage of them.
But do not worry if you are not 100% certain about your goals, your target firms, or your story before arriving on campus. That said, the more self-assessment and industry research you do beforehand, the more efficient you will be with your time, and the more you can leverage your school’s resources.

Once you are on campus, we suggest doing the following:

  • Get to know the career office. Pay attention to any and all communications from your school’s career management office, and attend any introductory sessions it offers. Understand the recruiting process (e.g., timing, source of offers) for your target roles and the resources available to you.
  • Join relevant professional clubs. This is a great way to learn more about your target industries, meet second-year students who just completed their internships, and engage with employers.  
  • Talk with your classmates. Your peers have had robust and impressive careers before arriving at business school. They are happy to share their experiences.
  • Learn about extracurricular activities. In addition to participating in professional clubs that align with your career interests, check out other ways you can build skills and demonstrate leadership.
  • Build a job search plan. Using the information gathered from the career office and your peers, write down weekly goals for your job search and set aside time to achieve those goals. Hold yourself accountable.
Have you been admitted to business school? If so, do you want to get a head start on defining your career goals? Do you need help preparing for job interviews or learning how to effectively network with your target employers? Or maybe you want to be a top performer in your current role but are unsure how to maximize your potential. Let an mbaMission Career Coach help via a free 30-minute consultation!
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

Jen Kedrowski
mbaMission

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

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University of Michigan (Ross) Essay Analysis, 2017–2018 [#permalink]

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New post 02 Jun 2017, 11:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: University of Michigan (Ross) Essay Analysis, 2017–2018
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Last year, one of our observations about the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan’s main essay question was that the 400-word limit did not offer a lot of room to expound on the topic. Thankfully, applicants also had a second essay (albeit also quite short, at just 250 words) in which to address their professional aspirations. This season, Michigan Ross has tightened the reins even more, asking applicants to provide 100-word responses (or shorter) to three “complete the sentence” prompts and to write a 300-word-maximum essay answering three career-related questions that actually encompass four topics. The scope of the main essay prompt has also been drastically narrowed, from a discussion of a personal event or attribute of which the applicant was proud to a rather prescribed rundown of the candidate’s career goals and plans to attain them.

This clear shift from a more touchy-feely focus to an inarguably pragmatic one seems to indicate a desire on the part of Admissions Director Soojin Kwon and her team to get straight to the heart of what makes the school’s applicants tick, without a lot of extraneous fluff (or any, for that matter). With more than a decade of experience as the head of admissions at Michigan Ross, Kwon undoubtedly has a handle on what to look for in candidates, and this new approach was likely engineered to elicit this information more efficiently. In a recent blog post, Kwon stated that the impetus behind the changes was a desire to “get to know more about you than we would in a traditional essay where you’d talk at length about one topic.” Our advice on how to ensure you deliver what the admissions committee wants follows…

Select one prompt from each group. Respond to your selected prompts using 100 words or fewer (<100 words each; 300 words total).

Group 1

I want people to know that I:

I turned an idea into action when I:

I made a difference when I:

Group 2

I showed my resilience when I:

I was humbled when:

I am out of my comfort zone when:

Group 3

I was aware that I am different when:

I find it challenging when people:

A valuable thing I have taught someone is:

Although these prompts are presented as short-answer questions on the Michigan Ross application, they are unquestionably mini essays, with each one offering you approximately four to five sentences in which to present your selected story. We recommend starting by reading through all the options for the three groups and considering each one thoroughly in turn. Do not simply pick the first three that catch your eye—you may have a much more compelling answer possible for a prompt you might not initially be drawn to, so you could do yourself a disservice by dismissing any out of hand, without proper contemplation. Naturally, you will be able to think of a fitting response to certain prompts much more easily than to others, but again, do not let this be the primary reason behind your final choice of which ones to complete. Take time to devise an answer—however meager in some cases—to each one, and then step back and look at all your options.

Hearken back to Kwon’s statement about wanting to “get to know more about you” and think about which response in each group feels most authentic to and revelatory of who you are as an individual. You want to be able to “own” your answer—as we like to say—meaning that no other applicant could write the same thing you do. Using the second prompt of the first group as an example (“I turned an idea into action when I…”), writing something like “dabble with different ideas and test hypotheses in my efforts to make an impact” would be far too general a response and could easily be stated by a large number of applicants. Instead, something much more specific like “knew no one wanted to launch yet another charity walk, but I was confident that a charity pie-eating contest would draw an enthusiastic market” would stand out for its originality and paint a clearer picture of the candidate who wrote it.

Next, look at your top three choices thus far and see if they are complementary of one another. If you feel that any two seem repetitive or focus on the same general idea, story, or area of your life, you may want to replace one. Your goal is to have each of your three responses reveal something new and interesting about you. Another factor to consider is everything the admissions committee will learn about you through the other portions of your application; you do not want to waste this opportunity to paint a well-rounded picture of yourself by repeating something the school will already know. So, to recap, strive to make sure that your three responses (1) genuinely reflect who you are as a candidate and are as specific to you alone as possible; (2) are complementary of each other, meaning that each one reveals something different about you; and (3) do not discuss a part of your profile that is already well explained or represented elsewhere in your application.

Please share your short-term and long-term career goals. What skills/strengths do you have that will be relevant to your career goals? How will Ross prepare you for your goals? (300 words)

As we noted earlier, Michigan Ross has refined its career-related essay query a bit by narrowing the scope from “what is your desired career path and why” to these more direct questions. Obviously, the admissions committee wants specific information and has adjusted its prompt to remove any ambiguity. Explained Kwon in the aforementioned blog post, “In previous years, some applicants wrote about their long-term career goals. Others wrote about their immediate plans after B-school. We want to learn about both. So, we thought we’d ask you to spell it out.” With just 300 words, you do not have any space to waste, so focus on presenting your answers as clearly and thoroughly as possible, and give the admissions committee what it wants!  

To craft a successful essay response to this prompt, you will need to accomplish a few things (though not necessarily in the order we are about to present them). One, clearly present both your immediate post-MBA goal and your longer-term aspiration. Two, ensure that the connection between these two objectives is clear, and if not, provide appropriate context or explanation to reveal the connection and why the transition from one to the other is reasonable and attainable for you. Three, describe the skills and background you already possess that position you for success in your desired roles and industry, along with those you still need to attain via an MBA education (thereby demonstrating your understanding of what is required to reach your stated positions and thrive there). And four, identify the resources and experiences Michigan Ross offers (and, ideally, that other top business schools do not) that will allow you to gain the abilities and exposure you currently lack. We explain these concepts and how to achieve them in more detail in our mbaMission Personal Statement Guide, which is available free of charge. Download your complimentary copy today!

And for a thorough exploration of Michigan Ross’s academic program/merits, social life, unique offerings, and other key characteristics, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business, which is also available for free.

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

This optional essay prompt may start out sounding like an invitation to discuss anything more you wish to share with the admissions committee, but a closer look—paying particular attention to the word “only” and the nature of the examples offered—seems to restrict the possible topics to problem areas and auxiliary elements of your profile that may not be readily conveyed elsewhere in your application. The additional directive about bullet points seems to be a not-too-veiled implication that the school wants you to focus on imparting key information rather than offering a detailed and longwinded explanation of the issue in question. This is not the time or place to share another cool story or otherwise try to impress or pander to the admissions committee. If you do not truly need to explain an issue or potentially confusing element of your candidacy (a poor grade or overall GPA, a low GMAT score, a gap in your work experience, etc.), we do not recommend that you submit an option essay; if you do have issues to clarify, keep things concise. In our free mbaMission Optional Essays Guide, we offer detailed advice on when and how to take advantage of the optional essay, including multiple examples.

The Next Step—Mastering Your Michigan Ross Interview: Many MBA candidates find admissions interviews stressful and intimidating, but mastering this important element of the application process is definitely possible—the key is informed preparation. We therefore offer our free Interview Primers to spur you along! Download your free copy of the Michigan Ross Interview Primer today.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Jen Kedrowski
mbaMission

Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
mbaMission Insiders Guides: http://www.mbamission.com/guides.php?category=insiders
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Berkeley Haas and UCLA Anderson Announce 2017-2018 Application Deadlin [#permalink]

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New post 03 Jun 2017, 06:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Berkeley Haas and UCLA Anderson Announce 2017-2018 Application Deadlines
This week, UCLA Anderson School of Management released its 2017-2018 MBA application deadlines.

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The Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley also released its 2017-2018 deadlines–along with its application essay questions.

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Essays:

Essay #1:

Tell us a six-word story that reflects a memorable experience in your life-to-date. Elaborate on why it is meaningful to you.

Essay #2:

Respond to one of the following prompts:

  • Describe a significant obstacle you have encountered and how it has impacted you.
  • Describe how you have cultivated a diverse and inclusive culture.
  • Describe a leadership experience and how you had a positive and lasting influence
Essay #3:

  • Briefly describe your immediate post-MBA career goals.
  • How have prior experiences motivated and prepared you to pursue these goals?
For a complete list of 2017-2018 business school deadlines, be sure to check ourApplication Deadlines page. We will be updating our list as business schools release them.

Do you plan to apply to UC Berkeley Haas or UCLA Anderson this fall? Stay tuned to the mbaMission blog for our analyses of the schools’ 2017-2018 essay questions and be sure to download our free Insider’s Guides!
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Jen Kedrowski
mbaMission

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

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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Am a Simple Product [#permalink]

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New post 03 Jun 2017, 09:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Am a Simple Product
Many candidates who approach us are concerned that they cannot get their stories out in a single sentence or worried that their personal branding is too muddled. Some candidates feel that they must have a single narrative and continuously speak to it in order to make an impression on the admissions committees. But, of course, you are not a simple product with one or two attributes—a Budweiser beer, for example, which can be represented with a straightforward slogan, “The Great American Lager.” MBA candidates are far more complex than consumer products. So, presenting yourself as one-dimensional (“I am an entrepreneur in everything I do,” “I am a finance guy”) is indeed a mistake that prevents you from revealing your depth of character and experience.

Let us consider a basic example: Jon built a lawn care business from a single truck into ten trucks, and he also coached Little League baseball, becoming a de facto “big brother” to one of the kids on the team. Why should Jon only show his entrepreneurial side and ignore his empathetic and altruistic treatment of this young baseball player? Why would not Jon instead reveal his depth and versatility, telling each story and revealing distinct but complementary strengths?

We at mbaMission encourage candidates to brainstorm thoroughly and consider each of their stories from as many different perspectives as possible. There is no simple formula for presenting yourself to the admissions committee. In fact, it is quite important for you to show that you are a multi-talented and sophisticated person. After all, admissions committees are on the hunt for the next great business leaders, and the true legends of international business cannot be summed up in three or four words.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

Jen Kedrowski
mbaMission

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

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Professor Profiles: Saras D. Sarasvathy, the University of Virginia Da [#permalink]

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New post 04 Jun 2017, 09:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Saras D. Sarasvathy, the University of Virginia Darden 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. Today, we focus on Saras D. Sarasvathy from the University of Virginia (UVA) Darden School of Business.

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Saras D. Sarasvathy is the Paul M. Hammaker Professor of Business Administration at UVA Darden, and she also teaches doctoral-level courses at schools in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Sarasvathy wrote her dissertation at Carnegie Mellon on entrepreneurial expertise and has parlayed that into a specialization in the area of “effectuation,” which examines the creation and growth of new organizations and markets. Her book Effectuation: Elements of Entrepreneurial Expertise (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2009) examines the way entrepreneurs think. In addition to serving on the editorial boards of various management journals, she writes a monthly column for the business newspaper, the Economic Times. In 2015, UVA awarded Sarasvathy the Mead-Colley Honored Faculty Award for her active engagement with students. In 2007, Fortune Small Business magazine named Sarasvathy one of 18 top professors in the field of entrepreneurship.

Students we interviewed feel that Sarasvathy, who has been teaching at Darden since 2004, is one of the up-and-coming scholars of entrepreneurship in the world. One alumnus described her to mbaMission as “very encouraging, supportive. She allows people to share ideas rather than looking for the right answer.” Another told us that he found himself in her “Starting New Ventures” class by mistake; he had lingered too long in the classroom after his previous class had ended and was still there when Sarasvathy’s class began. He was so impressed by her teaching that he added her course to his schedule, even though he was already overloaded. He found even at that first lesson that she “challenged conventional beliefs,” and he was “impressed at her insights and the way that she articulated basic assumptions to bring out the less obvious, deeper levels.”

For some interesting perspectives on entrepreneurship and business, see Sarasvathy’s presentations on BigThink at http://bigthink.com/sarassarasvathy.

For more information about UVA Darden and 15 other top-ranked business schools, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

Jen Kedrowski
mbaMission

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

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June 2017 Event Roundup [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jun 2017, 09:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: June 2017 Event Roundup
Are you applying to business school this fall? If so, you can enroll in one of our free business school workshops, which are offered both online and in person in major cities across the country!

This month, we invite you to join us in Washington, DC, and online! The event lineup includes the following sessions:

  • JUNE 5:

    Assessing Your MBA Profile (DC)

    In this session, learn to assess the quantitative and qualitative factors you bring to the table to better anticipate how you might be viewed by the admissions committee at the school of your dreams…and what you can do to improve that assessment!
  • JUNE 6:

    Long-Term Planning for the Overrepresented Applicant (Online)

    If you are part of an overrepresented applicant group, you might be wondering how to craft an application that truly stands out—and what you can do now to build the strongest possible profile before you apply!
  • JUNE 8:

    Writing Standout Columbia B-School Essays (Online)

    In our newest presentation, “Writing Standout Columbia Business School Application Essays,” we will help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute them so that your experiences truly stand out.
  • JUNE 21:

    Choosing the Right B-School (Online)

    During this event, we will elaborate on areas that will profoundly affect both your academic life and your social life in business school, including flexibility of a program’s curriculum, breadth of core courses, different methods of instruction, and varying sizes of the cohorts. Start preparing now so you can be sure to make an educated decision when you apply!
  • JUNE 26:

    Assessing Your MBA Profile (Online)


    In this session, learn to assess the quantitative and qualitative factors you bring to the table to better anticipate how you might be viewed by the admissions committee at the school of your dreams…and what you can do to improve that assessment!
To enroll in one of our free seminars, click the event title in the list above. We look forward to having you join us!
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Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
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Write Descriptively in Your MBA Application Essays [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jun 2017, 08:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Write Descriptively in Your MBA Application Essays
Many writers have trouble differentiating between adjectives/adverbs and details. When adjectives and adverbs are used to emphasize an emotion or an emotional state, they can actually end up adding very little to the description of an experience and could even undermine it. However, when an emotion or emotional state is described properly, this can add real life to a story.

Consider the following example:

“With my award in hand, I felt extremely proud of my accomplishment.”

In this example, the word “extremely” does not help create or enhance the reader’s mental picture; it merely states the obvious. After all, the difference between being “extremely proud” and being “proud” is negligible, considering that pride is naturally an “extreme” emotion. This just does not effectively convey how the writer actually felt. Now consider this second example:

“Approaching the podium to receive my award, I felt faint. Even though my hands were shaking, I managed to give our company president a firm handshake when she passed me the award. As I began speaking to a crowd of my colleagues, I finally understood what being proud of myself really means.”

In this second example, the details of the story (“felt faint,” “my hands were shaking”) create an image in the reader’s mind. The reader is not relating to the simple adjectives that reinforce existing impressions but is experiencing details that bring color to the story. In the first example, the story does not change if the word “extremely” is removed, but in the second, real emotion is conveyed.

We encourage you to avoid adjectives that simply reinforce an expressed emotion and to write descriptively to capture the true spirit of the experience you are sharing.
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Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
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Professor Profiles: Vijay Govindarajan, Dartmouth College Tuck School  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Jun 2017, 09:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Vijay Govindarajan, Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business
Many MBA applicants feel that they are purchasing a brand when they choose a business school. However, the educational experience you will have is what is crucial to your future, and no one will affect your education more than your professors. Each Wednesday, we profile a standout professor as identified by students. Today, we focus on Vijay Govindarajan from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

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Vijay Govindarajan, affectionately known by students as simply “VG,” is the Coxe Distinguished Professor at Tuck and has been cited by Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes, and The Times as a top-ten strategy professor. His research focus includes global strategy, strategic innovation, strategy execution, and strategic controls. Govindarajan has been a consultant to several well-known companies, including Walmart, FedEx, and Microsoft, and in 2008, he served as chief innovation consultant to General Electric. In addition to his residency at Tuck, Govindarajan was named a Marvin Bower Faculty Fellow at Harvard Business School in 2015 for a two-year period. He was also the 2015 recipient of the Association of Management Consulting Firms Award of Excellence.

One alumnus told mbaMission, “VG’s class is great, and the cases have been interesting. Most of the cases are about manufacturing companies; however, they are not boring at all. He’s a great speaker and great lecturer.”

Another graduate described Govindarajan’s classroom style to mbaMission by saying, “VG maintains a balance between lecture and class participation. He never cold-calls because he believes that students will be prepared. He doesn’t want students to comment for the sake of commenting and wants people to say something meaningful, which might be different from the approach at other schools.” Another alumnus shared that Govindarajan often brings great speakers to class.

For more information about Dartmouth Tuck and 15 other top-ranked MBA schools, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
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Former Director of Admissions at Dartmouth Tuck and UVA Darden Joins m [#permalink]

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New post 07 Jun 2017, 09:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Former Director of Admissions at Dartmouth Tuck and UVA Darden Joins mbaMission’s Elite Consulting Team
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We are delighted to announce that Dawna Clarke, former director of admissions at both the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, has joined mbaMission’s team of elite admissions consulting professionals.

For almost two decades, Dawna acted as the final decision-maker on more than 60,000 MBA applications and admitted approximately 8,000 successful candidates. She previously served as the associate director of admissions at Kenan-Flagler at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for three years, after completing her M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration. Now mbaMission’s Chief MBA Strategist and a Senior Consultant, Dawna formulated the admissions recruitment strategy for multiple priority demographic groups, including military candidates, women, underrepresented minorities, and applicants from certain international regions, during her extensive admissions career to date.

In addition to having interviewed several thousand business school applicants and reviewed tens of thousands of essays and recommendations, she has traveled repeatedly to more than 30 countries throughout Asia, Europe, and Latin America, which has provided her with comprehensive knowledge of various international educational systems and multicultural issues. Dawna’s sizeable network of admissions professionals was built through firsthand visits to many of the top US business schools as well as years of service on multiple committees for the Graduate Management Admissions Council and the Educational Testing Service. Because of her commitment to diversity within MBA programs, she was also a member of the Board of Directors for the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management for 17 years.

While at Dartmouth Tuck, Dawna received both the Tuck Management Award and the Tuck Team Award and was widely recognized for following industry trends within the MBA industry, winning—along with her team—international recognition three times for best practices in the MBA admissions field. She has been widely quoted in Poets&Quants, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Businessweek, and The Economist. The intersection of psychology and the admissions process is an area of particular interest for Dawna, who holds an undergraduate degree in psychology and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in the subject through Harvard University’s Extension School.

In November 2016, Dartmouth Tuck Dean Matt Slaughter announced that Dawna would be leaving the business school, for which she had served in admissions for 11 years, to establish her own admissions consulting firm. Poets&Quants was among the first outlets to break the news and shared part of an email from Dean Slaughter to the Tuck community in which he praised Dawna’s important contributions and tenure:

“After 11 years of stellar performance to the Tuck School as Director of Admissions, Dawna has decided to step down from her position to start her own admissions consulting firm…. Among the most important tasks Tuck undertakes each year is crafting our new class of MBA candidates who aspire to better the world through business. Thousands of talented individuals from dozens of countries are contacted, supported, and considered. From this earnest interest, building an MBA class requires deep empathy, sound judgment, and creative instinct, as well as indefatigable energy and enthusiasm. During her time at Tuck, Dawna has brought all of these talents and more.”

During Dawna’s time at Dartmouth Tuck, the percentage of women in each incoming class rose from 25% to 44%—a record for the school—while the average GMAT score increased as well, from 699 in 2007 to 717 in 2016.

Today, Dawna has decided to forego starting her own firm to instead join mbaMission, the world’s leading admissions consulting firm. In her first year as an mbaMission Senior Consultant, Dawna expects to take on a full roster of clients—including both package and hourly—in addition to hosting several online and in-person events in cities around the world.

She anticipates accepting her first clients within several weeks, so stay tuned to our blog for updates on her availability.

We hope you will join us in welcoming Dawna to our team!
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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mbaMission Consultant Spotlight: Jen Kedrowski [#permalink]

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New post 08 Jun 2017, 08:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: mbaMission Consultant Spotlight: Jen Kedrowski
At mbaMission, our consultants are more than just graduates of the world’s top MBA programs—we are also expert communicators who possess an unparalleled knowledge of the business school admissions process. Each week, we highlight one member of our team who has committed his/her professional life to helping you get into business school.

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Having been accepted at several top U.S. and international business schools, Jen Kedrowski ultimately chose to earn her MBA at Cambridge University’s Judge Business School in the United Kingdom. There she focused on marketing and entrepreneurship and was on the winning team of the A.T. Kearney Global Prize Competition, an annual strategic case competition. She also worked closely with the school’s Admissions Office and founded the Judge Student Ambassadors Club to assist with MBA admissions. After graduating, Jen returned to the United States to work at the corporate headquarters of Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions in the areas of brand management, strategic marketing, GMAT curriculum, and MBA admissions. Jen spent several years in London, advising applicants to the leading U.S. and international MBA programs, and has served as the featured MBA admissions presenter at seminars across the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada, representing Kaplan and the World MBA Tour. In addition, Jen has provided articles and admissions advice to such organizations and publications as TopMBA.com, MSN, Vault, Bloomberg Businessweek, and the Association of MBAs, and she has developed MBA admissions seminars and workshops that have been used in hundreds of test prep centers in both the United States and the United Kingdom.

Quick Facts:

Received MBA from: Cambridge University’s Judge Business School

Undergraduate field of study: Nursing

Fields worked in before mbaMission: MBA admissions, brand management, strategic marketing, education, GMAT curriculum, and small business ownership

Working style: Honest and direct; enjoys helping clients identify their unique stories and attributes and present them in the most engaging way possible

Hometown: Apex, North Carolina

Five things Jen wants her clients to know about her:

  • I have been in the MBA admissions industry for more than 12 years and have been an MBA admissions consultant for over seven years, based in both the United States and United Kingdom, helping U.S. and international clients apply to both U.S. and global MBA programs.
  • I have traveled with the World MBA Tour as the featured speaker on MBA admissions topics and designed MBA admissions seminars used around the country atKaplan Test Prep.
  • I believe every person has his/her own unique aspects, traits, experiences, and personal factors; helping schools get to know you via digging deep and sharing those traits can make a big impact on admissions decisions.
  • I am passionate about international experiences and feel that traveling and experiencing other cultures always helps people learn more about themselves and impacts their perspective in a large way.
  • I am realistic and direct with feedback, but also optimistic and supportive overall, and I enjoy seeing clients exceed their expectations.

What clients are saying about Jen:

“I feel like the luckiest person in the world, because I was accepted to every school I applied! I now have the difficult decision of choosing between Duke, Columbia, Wharton, and Harvard!! I am confident that I would not have submitted such strong applications or represented myself successfully in the interviews without your help—thank you so much!” —HBS, Wharton, Duke Fuqua, and Columbia Business School Admit



“There’s no way I would have been successful without your help. You helped me explain and demonstrate impact. You made me feel so much more confident about what I was getting into, and I always enjoyed the energy and excitement you brought to the process. Thanks for helping me to put my best foot forward!” —Kellogg Admit



“I had a wonderful experience working with Jen Kedrowski. I believed the weakest aspect of my application was my work experience and Jen worked very hard to help me highlight my accomplishments and address my weaknesses. We also spent many productive hours preparing for interviews, of which I had six in a two-week period. I chose Jen because she received her MBA from Cambridge and I was most interested in LBS, but this does not mean that she has limited knowledge of the American schools. Jen helped me get accepted to Booth, Yale, and Cambridge, and waitlisted at Dartmouth and LBS. If you are looking for a consultant who is very diligent, enthusiastic, reliable, and detail oriented, I would highly recommend Jen Kedrowski at mbaMission.” —Chicago Booth, Yale SOM, and Cambridge Admit (via GMAT Club)

Read more of Jen’s testimonials.

Watch Jen’s video:



Do you want to speak with Jen about your business school prospects? Sign up for a free 30-minute consultation here.
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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Stanford Graduate School of Business Essay Analysis, 2017–2018 [#permalink]

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New post 08 Jun 2017, 08:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Stanford Graduate School of Business Essay Analysis, 2017–2018
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Like several of the other top MBA programs that have released their essay questions for this year, the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) has remained faithful to the prompts it presented last season. But with a total maximum word count allowance of 1,150, the school gives its applicants a little more room in which to express themselves. Although the Stanford GSB is an institution well known for generating and encouraging  innovators, the school uses its application essays not to ask candidates to share their imaginative new ideas but rather to look inward and examine their motivations and values. These are your opportunities to demonstrate the parts of your personality and profile that are not readily conveyed through transcripts, scores, and lists of professional accomplishments. Here we present our advice on how you might do so effectively…

Essay A: What matters most to you, and why? (School-suggested word count of 750)

For this essay, we would like you to:

  • Do some deep self-examination, so you can genuinely illustrate who you are and how you came to be the person you are.
  • Share the insights, experiences, and lessons that shaped your perspectives, rather than focusing merely on what you’ve done or accomplished.
  • Write from the heart, and illustrate how a person, situation, or event has influenced you.
  • Focus on the “why” rather than the “what.”
When candidates ask us, “What should I write for what matters most to me?,” we offer some pretty simple guidance: start brainstorming for this essay by asking yourself that very question. What does matter most to you? This might seem like obvious advice, of course, but many applicants get flustered by the question, believing that an actual “right” answer exists that they must provide to satisfy the admissions committee. As a result, they never pause to actually consider their sincere responses, which are typically the most compelling.

We therefore encourage you to contemplate this question in depth and push yourself to explore the psychological and philosophical motivations behind your goals and achievements—behind who you are today. We cannot emphasize this enough: do not make a snap decision about the content of this essay. Once you have identified what you believe is an appropriate theme, discuss your idea(s) with those with whom you are closest and whose input you respect. Doing so can help validate deeply personal and authentic themes, leading to an essay that truly stands out.

Once you have fully examined your options and identified your main themes, do not simply provide a handful of supporting anecdotes—or worse, recycle the stories you used in a similar essay for another school. A strong essay response to this question will involve a true exploration of the themes you have chosen and reveal a thorough analysis of decisions, motives, and successes/failures, with a constant emphasis on how you conduct yourself. If you are merely telling stories and trying to tie in your preconceived conclusions, you are probably forcing a theme on your reader rather than genuinely analyzing your experiences, and any experienced admissions reader will see right through this. In short, be sure to fully consider and identify your most authentic answer(s), outline your essay accordingly, and then infuse your writing with your personality, thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

Stanford encourages you to give special attention to why the subject you have chosen to write about is the most important to you. This “why” element should be clear in your essay—it should be implied by what you are discussing and sharing. If you need to explicitly declare, “And what matters most to me is…,” your essay is not making a strong enough point on its own. A well-constructed essay that is infused with your values and motivation and that clearly conveys why you made certain decisions should effectively and implicitly reveal the “why” behind your chosen topic—and will almost always make a stronger point.

One final note is that you can write about a popular theme as long as you truly own the experience. However, the odds are very low that you could write on a theme that the Stanford GSB’s admissions committee has never read about before. You can discuss whatever you truly care about in your essay, but you absolutely must support your topic with a wealth of experience that shows how you have uniquely lived it. Therefore, for example, you cannot successfully write about “making a difference” if you have volunteered only occasionally, but if you have truly had a significant impact on someone’s life, then the topic is no longer a cliché—it is true to who you genuinely are. So, focus less on trying to choose the “right” subject for your essay and more on identifying one that is personal and authentic to you. If you write powerfully about your topic and connect it directly to your experiences and values, your essay should be a winner.

Essay 2: Why Stanford? (School-suggested word count of 400)

Enlighten us on how earning your MBA at Stanford will enable you to realize your ambitions.

  • Explain your decision to pursue graduate education in management.
  • Explain the distinctive opportunities you will pursue at Stanford.
On the application essays page of the Stanford GSB Web site, the admissions committee states forthrightly, “Resist the urge to ‘package’ yourself into what you think Stanford wants to see” (emphasis added). What the school really wants is to understand what and/or who you want to be and what role its MBA program plays in bringing that to fruition. The admissions committee does not have a preferred job or industry in mind that it is waiting to hear you say you plan to enter—it truly wants to understand your personal vision and why you feel a Stanford MBA in particular is a necessary element to facilitate this vision. If you try to present yourself as someone or something you are not, you will ultimately undermine your candidacy. Trust the admissions committee (and us) on this one!

The “why our school?” topic is a common element of a typical personal statement, so we encourage you to download your free copy of the mbaMission Personal Statement Guide, which helps applicants write this style of essay for any school. It explains ways of approaching this subject effectively and offers several sample essays as guides. Click here to access your complimentary copy today.

And for a thorough exploration of the Stanford GSB’s academic program, unique offerings, social life, and other key characteristics, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to the Stanford Graduate School of Business, which is also available for free.
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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Make Your MBA Application Essays Appropriately Personal [#permalink]

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New post 08 Jun 2017, 13:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Make Your MBA Application Essays Appropriately Personal
Business school candidates often fixate on using professional and community-based stories in their MBA application essays. As a result, many forget or neglect to even consider personal stories as possible differentiators. Because so many candidates have similar professional experiences, their personal dimensions should be highlighted whenever possible—considering that few lives are truly similar. Stories of commitment to oneself or others can have a strong emotional impact on an admissions committee and can help distinguish you from other applicants.

What types of experiences should you discuss? This question has no easy answer. For personal stories to work in your application essays, they need to be truly distinct. An example of a unique personal story might be that of an individual who helped his/her cousin, who was adopted at birth, locate his/her birth mother; another might be one of an individual who took a six-month leave of absence to take his/her disabled grandmother on a tour of her home country. Each of us has interesting anecdotes we can share about ourselves. These are the kinds of stories that can be showcased in your essays with a little bit of thought and creativity.
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Explore Innovative Opportunities at UCI’s Merage School of Business [#permalink]

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New post 09 Jun 2017, 09:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Explore Innovative Opportunities at UCI’s Merage School of Business
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Thanks to its proximity to the Tech Coast, the Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), offers significant opportunities for students with an eye toward innovative business. An emphasis on innovation and business pioneering is built directly into what Merage calls its “visionary curriculum,” supplementing conventional business disciplines with three core, cross-disciplinary areas: strategic innovation, information technology, and analytical decision making.

In addition, several of Merage’s special course offerings and programs showcase the school’s commitment to putting students in contact with the rapidly shifting face of business. For example, students can customize their MBA experience by completing one of the three available certificates: Digital Transformation, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Real Estate and Urban Development. Through the school’s “Applied Consulting” course, students have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with current business practices by working directly with locally based global companies for a ten-week period. Merage students can also participate each year in the university-wide New Venture Competition (formerly the Business Plan Competition), whose winners collectively claim a total of more than $100K in prizes and funding for their proposed start-up ventures.
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mbaMission Releases Updated Free Insider’s Guides for 2017–2018 [#permalink]

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New post 09 Jun 2017, 13:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: mbaMission Releases Updated Free Insider’s Guides for 2017–2018
How well do you know your target MBA program? MBA applicants tend to view the leading schools as stereotypes, thereby targeting some programs and bypassing others based on what they think the schools have to offer—but all the top programs are much more dynamic than you might suspect. To help inform today’s MBA hopefuls, we created our school-specific Insider’s Guides, which provide a more comprehensive picture of the resources, environments, activities, and communities at each school, so you can choose the program that is truly best for you.

Now, we’ve updated our extensive collection (16 individual school titles!) of Insider’s Guides for the 2017–2018 admissions season! Each 70–110-page book goes beyond the stereotypes to reveal the true character of the top business schools. Informed by firsthand insight from students, alumni, program representatives, and admissions officers, each guide offers detailed descriptions of the following:

  • Defining characteristics of the school’s location, class size, curriculum, teaching methods, facilities, alumni base/involvement, and rankings
  • Courses, experiential opportunities, faculty, and clubs related to MBAs’ most common career areas (consulting, finance, entrepreneurship, etc.)
  • The admissions committee’s stance on GMAT/GRE/TOEFL scores, recommendations, the waitlist, layoffs/unemployment, and other application elements
  • Notable professors and social/community events
  • Special year-over-year tables of rankings, class profile statistics, and top industries for each program
Download your free copy of each of our comprehensive Insider’s Guides today!
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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Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, Ess [#permalink]

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New post 09 Jun 2017, 14:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, Essay Analysis, 2017–2018
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One look at the first application essay question for the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, this year may make applicants think the program has finally embraced the less-is-more movement in essays that so many other top schools have been joining lately. And to be fair, the total number of words allowed for Berkeley-Haas’s essays this season has gone down, but not by all that much—dropping from 1,000 to 806—so candidates still have a comparatively good amount of space in which to present a well-rounded impression of themselves to the school. Although the prompts have changed in wording, the kind of information the school wants to elicit seems largely the same. As always, you want your essays as a whole to encompass a range of stories and qualities that complement each other so as to provide an accurate representation of who you are today, the student you expect to be in business school, and the professional you will be for the rest of your career. What follows is our full analysis of Berkeley-Haas’s updated essay questions…

Essay #1: Tell us a six-word story that reflects a memorable experience in your life-to-date. Elaborate on why it is meaningful to you. (250 words maximum)

Tip: A successful six-word story will pique the reader’s interest in the forthcoming explanation. Together, the story and explanation will share a specific and personal experience that helps the reader get to know you better, giving insight into your character, values, or how you would uniquely contribute to the Berkeley-Haas community. View sample six-word stories and video tips from the admissions committee.

Before you start hyperventilating, let us reassure you that you absolutely can convey a meaningful and compelling story in just six words. Perhaps the most famous example of this is Ernest Hemingway’s famous “six-word novel,” which reads, “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” In fact, entire Reddit, Pinterest, and Tumblr pages are dedicated to these succinct narratives, and several publications and Web sites have regular contests to see who can craft the best six-word tales. So, Berkeley-Haas may not be the first to come up with the idea, but it does appear to be the first business school to make it a part of its application!

In addition to presenting several examples for applicants on its team Web page, the Berkeley Haas admissions committee offers two key pieces of advice for this essay in a video application tip: using contractions (e.g., it’s, can’t, won’t, didn’t) is totally acceptable, and perfect grammar is not necessary. These are both important space savers. Thankfully, the school also gives you a 250-word essay in which to further elaborate on your mini story, so you can expound on some elements of the narrative that may not be immediately understood, but take care to not use that portion of this essay response to simply retell your story in more detail.

Start by thinking carefully about how you want to present yourself as an applicant and an individual, and consider what you might say in your other essays for the program, to ensure that each piece you submit is complementary of the others and offers something different about you. You might consider this first essay the “colorful” essay and the others more “serious.” In this one, you have a special opportunity to provide a window into your life experience and personality. Your six-word story should captivate and intrigue the admissions reader, leaving him or her wanting to learn more. (Almost by definition, the reader will be enveloped in mystery!) Then, the second, 250-word portion of the essay should unravel any mystery, illuminate your character, and clarify the significance of the core narrative in who you are today, thereby giving the admissions committee a critical sense of understanding.

Essay #2: Respond to one of the following prompts: (250 words maximum)

Tip: Responses can draw from professional or personal experiences. Through your response, the admissions committee hopes to gain insight into your achievements, involvement, and leadership footprint.

  • Describe a significant obstacle you have encountered and how it has impacted you.
If you choose to respond to this prompt, you will need to ensure that your essay conveys a sense of change, and to best demonstrate change, you must depict a clear “before and after” scenario. So, start by identifying a time when something stood between you and a goal you wanted to reach, or when something (likely unexpected) derailed your forward progress in an important area of your life. Consider incidents from your career, personal life, and community activities to find the one you feel is most compelling and reveals the most about you. For example, perhaps you faced a budget shortfall on a critical work project, clashed with a sibling over how to manage a parent’s health, or had a volunteer event you organized be jeopardized by budget or weather issues.

Begin your essay by providing some narrative context that sets the stage for the disruptive moment or experience, showing your progress and mind-set to that point. Then, describe the incident or issue that interrupted or threatened that progression and forced you to revise or abandon your original efforts. Next, detail your reaction and subsequent decision(s) and actions. Finally, share what you learned from the experience and how it has altered who you are and/or how you now view or interact with the world. Having an appropriate story to tell is only half the task. Berkeley-Haas does not want to know only that you have faced and overcome a significant challenge but also how that situation has contributed to the person you are today.

  • Describe how you have cultivated a diverse and inclusive culture.
In business school—as in life in general—you will encounter people who think differently from you, operate according to different values, and react differently to the same stimuli. And success in an endeavor often involves evaluating and even incorporating the views of others in one’s efforts. With this essay prompt, Berkeley-Haas is hoping to learn how you view and deal with such differences, using the principle that past behavior is a fairly reliable predictor of future behavior. In the Berkeley-Haas MBA program, you will be surrounded every day by individuals who are unlike you in a multitude of ways, and you will need to work in tandem with and alongside these individuals when analyzing case studies, completing group projects, and participating in other activities both inside and outside the classroom. Note, however, that the essay prompt does not refer simply to participating in a “diverse and inclusive culture” but actually cultivating one. The admissions committee wants to know that you are comfortable within such a dynamic, of course, but seems especially interested in hearing from candidates who have stepped into some kind of leadership role to actively bring various people together in a harmonious and productive way.

Leadership does not need to have an official title attached to it, and it can be expressed in a community service or even family life setting just as much as in a workplace, so plumb all the different areas of your life for possible stories. Perhaps, for example, you organized a welcome-our-neighbors potluck block party in your neighborhood after a group of refugees moved in. Or maybe you instituted a mentorship program at your company, in which employees with different tasks and personal backgrounds were matched to learn from and support one another. Whatever your story, we recommend using a narrative approach to present it, but be sure to also share the thought process and motivation(s) behind your actions. This way, the admissions committee will take away both a clear picture of what you accomplished and the aspects of your character that inspired you and enabled your success.

  • Describe a leadership experience and how you made a positive and lasting impact.
As we noted for the previous essay prompt, you can be a leader without having an official title of some sort, and you can act as a leader in your community service, personal life, or workplace, so take time to fully consider all the different areas of your life for possible stories before you start writing. Whatever the subject area, you ultimately want to offer a clear narrative that allows your reader to easily visualize your actions and motivations. The admissions committee wants to learn about you through your experience, after all, not hear platitudes about leadership. Also, Berkeley-Haas is not necessarily asking you to share your greatest triumph as a leader but rather the one that had the most meaningful and enduring influence. For some applicants, the two may be one and the same, but this will not necessarily be true for all candidates. And although one might assume that if your leadership resulted in a long-lasting, positive effect, you were likely successful in your core undertaking, again, this does not necessarily have to be the case. If your team failed to reach its intended goal, but the experience had a significant influence on those involved, that can be fodder for an effective essay as well.

Be sure that your description of the experience demands no more than one-half of your essay. The school is equally interested in hearing about the “positive and lasting impact” your leadership facilitated and also how you brought this about. So share your thought process and key decisions as well as the results, and keep in mind that the impact does not have to have been strictly on people. For example, you may have led the charge to clean up a local greenway and established a community group to ensure the ongoing maintenance of the area so that indigenous flora and fauna can thrive there. The keys to a compelling and successful essay response lie not in the size of the endeavor you led but in your actions and motivations, which will reveal important facets of your personality to the admissions committee, and to its ultimate significance—to you, to those involved, and to anyone or anything affected by the outcome.

Essay #3: (1) Briefly describe your immediate post-MBA career goals. (50 words maximum) (2) How have prior experiences motivated and prepared you to pursue these goals? (250 words maximum)

Tip: You are encouraged to reflect on both what you want to do professionally after business school and why this path interests you.

Yet again, Berkeley-Haas has reframed its career-focused essay prompt, this time removing the request to explain the school’s role in achieving your aims and narrowing the scope of the goal question to focus exclusively on your short-term plans—while also cutting back the word limit from 500 to 300 total. The school knows only too well that many candidates change their career goals during the course of the MBA program, given their exposure to new people, ideas, and options. Focusing on applicants’ immediate post-graduate aspirations allows the admissions committee to assess where the individual is right now in his or her thinking and development. Berkeley-Haas wants to know what skills and mind-set are being brought to the table, so to speak, perhaps to get an idea of the applicant’s potential not only in the stated area of interest but also in the many areas the candidate may have not yet considered but could be just as successful. The concept of motivation is also key, so you want to demonstrate that you are a forward-thinking, ambitious person who sees business school as a vital step on your professional and personal journey. Note that the essay prompt does not refer strictly to skills or qualifications but also experiences, implying that the admissions committee wants to know not just whether you are capable of doing the job you seek but also why you want that job. So be sure to respond accordingly, mentioning any life lessons, personal passions, and other stimuli that have spurred you to this point and inspire you to push still further.

Given that the word count for this essay has been restricted and the school does not explicitly ask you to detail your long-term plans or your vision for how Berkeley-Haas will help you reach your goals, we encourage you to think twice before using any space to address either of those topics and instead dedicate yourself to answering the questions it does pose in a thorough and thoughtful way. The elements this essay question demands are ones typically included in a standard personal statement essay, so we encourage you to download your free copy of the mbaMission Personal Statement Guide, which we created to help applicants write this style of essay for any school. It explains in further detail how to consider and present your career goals in essay form, with examples, so be sure to claim your complimentary copy today.

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

  • Explanation of employment gaps or academic aberrations
  • Quantitative abilities
  • For re-applicants, improvements to your candidacy
The optional essay prompt is the only one Berkeley-Haas has not tweaked this season, maintaining its directive approach in hopes, we believe, of focusing applicants specifically on the information it deems most useful and offering examples in the form of bullet points. This essay has no stated word limit, but do not interpret this as a blank-slate invitation to dump every bit of remaining information about yourself that you feel the school is lacking. And however difficult, avoid the temptation to simply reuse a strong essay you wrote for another program here or to offer a few anecdotes you were unable to incorporate into any of your other Berkeley-Haas essays. Be judicious in your use of this opportunity, and submit an optional essay only if you truly believe a key element of your story or profile is needed for the school to have a complete and accurate understanding of you as a candidate. Consider downloading your free copy of our mbaMission Optional Essays Guide, in which we offer detailed advice on when and how to take advantage of the optional essay (including multiple sample essays) to help you mitigate any problem areas in your profile.

For a thorough exploration of the academic program, merits, defining characteristics, crucial statistics, social life, academic environment, and other key aspects of UC Berkeley Haas, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to the Berkeley-Haas School of Business.
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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Should Worry Because My Coworker Is  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jun 2017, 09:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Should Worry Because My Coworker Is Also Applying!
You look around your office and think to yourself: “I wish my coworker were not applying to the same school as I am. They can’t take two people who sit at the same desk. Also, his GPA is 0.15 higher!” On the surface, this reasoning may seem logical, and it can thus cause anxiety for some candidates—especially for those who are in positions for which an MBA is virtually a “must have” to move forward, such as in consulting and banking.

However—not to worry—this thinking has two significant flaws:

  • You are not the same candidate as the person at the desk beside you.He/she may have similar work experience, but you have had different interactions with team members and clients and have worked on different projects. So, you have different perspectives on your experiences and so do your recommenders. Furthermore, your work experience is only one piece of the puzzle that is your application. Even if your coworker does have a slightly higher GPA or GMAT score, you are still quite different in terms of your personal/life experiences, community/leadership activities, ability to perform during interviews, and more. Instead of worrying that the admissions committee will make an apples-to-apples comparison and cast you out, you must focus on what makes you distinct and present your best self.
  • The top schools have room for two great candidates.When we asked Harvard Business School’s (HBS’s) former admissions director whether she would accept two candidates who had worked at the same company, she quipped, “We have room for Larry and Sergei (referencing the two founders of Google).” An mbaMission consultant recalled that when she was at HBS, she had two classmates who worked on the same desk at the same private equity firm. At HBS, they ended up in the same section. Top MBA programs do not have quotas for certain firms, towns, ethnicities, etc. They just want the best candidates out there.
So, in short, as you eye that individual across the desk, try to avoid simplified comparisons. Focus on that which makes you distinct, and expect that the admissions committees will not fulfill quotas, but rather identify talent.
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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NYU Stern Offers Global Opportunities to MBA Students [#permalink]

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New post 11 Jun 2017, 09:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: NYU Stern Offers Global Opportunities to MBA Students
For candidates seeking global immersion during their MBA experience, New York University’s (NYU’s) Stern School of Business provides ample opportunity to study abroad, with one- or two-week trips, through its “Doing Business in…” (DBi) program. DBi trips take place between semesters in January and May, and during school breaks. Each course (trip) is tailored to its specific locale and includes a mix of lectures given by Stern faculty as well as by local business practitioners and/or government representatives. Complementing the classroom learning are hands-on field experiences at corporate headquarters, factories, ports, development sites, and other such locations. DBi destinations in recent years have included Costa Rica, Spain, Brazil, Singapore, Israel, and Australia, just to name a few. Students who participate in the DBi program gain a new perspective on conducting business in a different culture while making some great memories with fellow “Sternies” along the way.

For more information on other defining characteristics of the MBA program at NYU Stern or one of 15 other top business schools, please check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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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