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mbaMission Admissions Consultant
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Professor Profiles: John Morgan, University of California, Berkeley, H [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: John Morgan, University of California, Berkeley, Haas 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 John Morgan from the University of California (UC), Berkeley, Haas School of Business.

John Morgan has been teaching at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business since 2002. He won the Earl F. Cheit Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2006 and was the first recipient of the Oliver E. Williamson Award in 2014. In an admissions podcast (“Game Theory and Strategy”), Morgan discussed how he has grown his “Game Theory” course, which studies how nations and industries interact strategically with each other. Morgan recommends that all Haas MBA students take the course, which is designed to cover all functions and industries, in their last semester at the school so that they apply the “mind-set to think strategically” to what they have learned in the program. Morgan expects the teams in his class to be ready to defend their strategies, but plenty of laughter is part of the course as well—as it reportedly is in all Morgan’s courses. An alumna even commented via Twitter in 2012, “Loving John Morgan’s Disruptive Technologies seminar. Great comedic timing.”
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University of Virginia (Darden) Essay Analysis, 2018–2019 [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: University of Virginia (Darden) Essay Analysis, 2018–2019

With Dawna Clarke back at the admissions helm for the University of Virginia’s Darden School after almost a decade and a half since her previous tenure there (and a stint as an mbaMission Senior Consultant), we were not surprised to see that she has put her stamp on the application process for this season, completely revamping the essay prompts. The single question Darden has posed the past few years has been replaced with five new prompts, each requesting a short blast of an essay that together total 750 words and cover applicants’ personal, professional, and educational objectives, while subtly acknowledging Darden’s character (its learning teams and 80-country reach, in particular). Our analysis follows…

“Tell us what you would want your learning team to know about you – personal, professional or both.” (100 words)

Before you start writing, we suggest you do some background work on what a learning team is and how it functions. At Darden, learning teams are carefully selected groups of five to six students, assembled with the intent of creating an eclectic mix of personalities and backgrounds. This group meets in the evenings, Sunday through Thursday, to tackle the next day’s case work together (and if you are not familiar with the case method, now is the time to do your homework on it as well!). Learning teams are a core element of the Darden experience, in part because some cases are so voluminous that students must take a divide-and-conquer approach and teach one another the material. In short, learning teams are intense and complex, requiring strong teamwork skills and contributions but capable of providing support and camaraderie as students work their way through Darden’s notoriously challenging first year. For your essay response to be successful and compelling, you will need to show that you have something to offer your future teammates.

So, in a mere 100 words, you must reveal that you have a perspective, attribute, or background that will better enable your learning team to function. We are advocates of using anecdotes to reveal this kind of information and suggest you consider focusing on a single experience that demonstrates your positive team attributes and can represent how you would function on your learning team. This does not mean that you must describe a clichéd team experience to prove you are a team player. The key is simply to show you bring something of value to the table in this context—perhaps you are a great debater and can clearly see and elucidate multiple sides to a story, or you have particular experience with and insight into geopolitics, or you are naturally intellectually curious and have amassed a broad range of basic knowledge. Within reason, the trait does not matter! Establish that you have a skill or attribute that would be advantageous to Darden’s learning team experience, and you will send a compelling message.

“Each year, Darden connects with over 80 countries. If you could choose any location in the world, where would you want to go with Darden? And why?” (50 words)

In just two or three sentences, you have an opportunity to show your adventurous or intellectual side by selecting a country that reveals something interesting about you. However, this should not be a travelogue. Just succinctly explain why and how your choice will enhance your education and others’ as well.

(Note that that paragraph is exactly 50 words long!)

“Darden strives to identify and cultivate leaders who follow their purpose. At this stage, how would you describe your evolving leadership style and please provide an example.” (200 words)

An example! Fantastic. We love requests for examples, because they all but force you to write using a compelling narrative structure. In revealing your “evolving leadership style,” you will have to choose an experience that changed your approach. For example, you might start by briefly describing a challenge: “I had never led a committee that spanned three departments before, but I found myself…” By launching into the narrative this way, you are clearly explaining the “newness” of your experience, and the idea of evolution is naturally understood. We recommend allocating approximately 125–150 words to recounting the experience and then spending the rest of your limited space reflecting on the change that occurred, and most importantly, your growth! Avoid just reiterating the thesis—“I grew by leading others across the firm, and it was meaningful!”—and instead share some insight into how the experience was meaningful, the tools you developed, and possibly even what takeaways you could apply in similar situations in the future. All in 200 words? Piece of cake!

“Please provide an example of a situation in which you have made a meaningful impact.” (200 words)

As with the previous essay, we suggest that once you have identified a compelling relevant experience, you launch directly into your narrative. In this case, Darden wants to know about “impact,” which means you have to show very clear results of your actions. Simply saying that you have experience leading is not enough here—leadership is not impact. The admissions committee needs to understand that the decisions you made and steps you took clearly paid off and that a project, company, organization, coworker, or product experienced some kind of change as a result. Although the school’s prompt does not specifically ask you to reflect on the experience, wrapping up your story with some brief thoughts about why it was significant for you might make your essay slightly more compelling, and certainly would not hurt.

“What is your short-term, post-MBA career goal and why?” (150 words)

Darden wants to know that you are approaching the MBA experience with purpose—that you have a clear and attainable goal in mind. Note that the admissions committee is asking only about your short-term goal, which is often a pretty practical one, compared with applicants’ typically more idealistic long-term goals. So, first make sure that the path you have chosen is a sensible one for you. Ask yourself, “Will a Darden MBA help me get from where I am now to where I want to be?” If, for example, you are a journalist and have dreams of working at a hedge fund after you graduate, the admissions committee will probably not respond very positively to your plan, because hedge funds tend to be the domain of math PhDs and seasoned finance professionals. The school wants to feel that you will be able to attain your aspirations after completing its program, so you want to avoid goals that could sound farfetched. Instead, as a journalist, you would need to identify a far more realistic path, but one that is true to who you are. Being ambitious is great, but the goal you present must be connected to reality, and to demonstrate that connection, you will have to spell out why your objective is a reasonable one for you. Establishing briefly that you have the skills and knowledge to enter your target field will make that logical connection for your admissions reader, reassuring them that you can be a happy and productive graduate.

One’s short-term goal is a common topic in a traditional 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. This complimentary guide offers detailed advice on approaching and framing these subjects, along with multiple illustrative examples. Be sure to claim your copy today.

For a thorough exploration of Darden’s academic offerings, defining characteristics, crucial statistics, social life, community/environment, and other key facets of the program, please download your free copy of the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to UVA Darden School of Business

The Next Step—Mastering Your 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. 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 UVA Darden Interview Primer today.
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Charity Auctions and the Sports “Dorkapalooza” at MIT Sloan [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Charity Auctions and the Sports “Dorkapalooza” at MIT Sloan
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.

MIT Sloan students are active in organizing conferences as well. Did you know that some of the biggest names in sports have met annually since 2007 for an event at the school that former ESPN columnist Bill Simmons once described as “dorkapalooza”? At the student-run Sports Analytics Conference, participants discuss the increasing role of analytics in the sports industry, and students have ample opportunity to network with the elite of the sports world.

The twelfth annual conference was held over two days in February 2018 in Boston, where 3,500 attendees witnessed industry experts, leaders, and professionals participate in nearly 40 panel discussions. Among the event’s speakers was former President Barack Obama. The panels covered such topics as “NBA 2.0: New Rules to Transform the Game,” “The Beautiful Game’s Global Reach,” “Nuts and Bolts of Acquiring a Franchise,” “Inventing Modern Basketball,” and “Next Frontier in Baseball Analytics.” Other conference events included a research papers exhibition, a start-up competition, and drop-in resume reviews. A second-year EMS Club member told mbaMission, “The event is one of the largest student-organized conferences in the country and was named the third most innovative company in all of sports (behind only the NFL and MLB Advanced Media) by Fast Company [magazine].”

For a thorough exploration of what MIT Sloan and 16 other top business schools have to offer, please check out the free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Need to Tell It All! (Part 2) [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Need to Tell It All! (Part 2)
Recently, we discussed observing limits with your resume. This time, we take a similar approach with your essays—in particular, your goals essay. Many business schools ask candidates to discuss their career progress first in their classic goals essay:

Briefly assess your career progress to date. Elaborate on your future career plans and your motivation for pursuing an MBA.

Whereas other schools do not request any professional context:

What are your short-term and long-term post-MBA goals? How will our school help you achieve these goals?

Many applicants will seize on these broad, open-ended questions to discuss their career history in depth, offering far more than mere context for their goals. Such candidates worry about missing a crucial opportunity to present their professional accomplishments and therefore write a complete career history. In response to a question like the first one here, some candidates will mistakenly use 75% or more of the word space provided just discussing their career progression to date. Although this may seem “brief” to you, the truth is that focusing so extensively on your past minimizes your opportunity to discuss other crucial aspects of your candidacy.

If you devote too much of your essay to detailing your past career progress, you will be unable to thoroughly address your reasons for wanting an MBA and your interest in the school. Providing context for your goals by giving an overview of your professional life to date is unquestionably important, but you must be sure to balance the different sections of your essay. Clearly conveying your goals and your reasons for choosing a particular school is crucial so that you connect with your target, rather than miss it entirely.
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Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, Ess [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, Essay Analysis, 2018–2019

Last year, we noted that the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, seemed to have begun embracing the less-is-more movement with regard to its application essays, having cut back its required submissions slightly, and this year, the program seems to have adopted that mind-set a little more (with the exception of its optional essays). It has gone from three mandatory essays down to two and changed the bulk of its career-focused question from an explanation of the past to a projection into the future. As for that aforementioned optional essay, Berkeley-Haas has broken unique ground with an elaborate questionnaire prompt that appears complicated at first but is actually rather straightforward. Overall, candidates still have a good opportunity to present a well-rounded impression of themselves to the school, from who they are today to the professional they expect to be in their projected career. Our full analysis of Berkeley-Haas’s updated essay questions follows…

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. (300 words maximum)

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 300-word essay in which to further elaborate on your mini story (up from 250 words last season), 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 other one  the more “serious” submission. 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, 300-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: Briefly describe your immediate post-MBA career goal, and discuss how it will put you on a path to a meaningful and rewarding career. (300 words maximum)

Yet again, Berkeley-Haas has reframed its career-focused essay prompt. This year, rather than asking about candidates’ “prior experiences” and the foundation/impetus those have provided, the admissions committee asks applicants to discuss how their first post-MBA position will be the initial chapter of an ultimately fulfilling professional story. 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, so focusing on an applicant’s immediate post-graduate aspiration allows the admissions committee to assess where that individual is right now in his/her thinking and development. The concept of motivation is key, so you want to demonstrate that you are a forward-thinking person who sees business school as a vital step on your professional and personal journey and truly understands how the experience fits into your vision of your future. Also, take special note of the words “meaningful and rewarding” in the school’s prompt. Berkeley-Haas wants to know that you are pursuing an MBA because you are passionate and enthusiastic about the career you envision will follow, that it appeals to you in a personal and significant way—not just as a potential path to a bigger paycheck or fancy title (or worse, that you simply feel you are supposed to get an MBA for some reason). So be sure to have that excitement and drive show in your response by being authentic and demonstrating that you have truly thought about your path and are eager to get started.

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 Information #1: We invite you to help us better understand the context of your opportunities and achievements.

  • What is the highest level of education completed by your parent(s) or guardian(s)?
  • Did not complete high school
  • High school diploma or equivalency (GED)
  • Associate’s degree (junior college) or vocational degree/license
  • Bachelor’s degree (BA, BS)
  • Master’s degree (MA, MS)
  • Doctorate or professional degree (MD, JD, DDS)

[*] What is the most recent occupation of your parent(s) or guardian(s)?[/list]
  • Unemployed
  • Homemaker
  • Laborer
  • Skilled worker
  • Professional

[*] If you were raised in one of the following household types, please indicate.[/list]
  • Raised by a single parent
  • Raised by an extended family member (grandparent, aunt/uncle, niece/nephew, cousin)
  • Raised in a multi-generational home
  • Raised in foster care
4.What was the primary language spoken in your childhood home?

[*] If you have you ever been responsible for providing significant and continuing financial or supervisory support for someone else, please indicate.[/list]
  • Child
  • Spouse
  • Sibling
  • Parent
  • Extended family member (grandparent, aunt/uncle, niece/nephew, cousin)
  • Other

[*] Please elaborate on any of your above responses. Alternatively, you may use this opportunity to expand on other hardships or unusual life circumstances that may help us understand the context of your opportunities, achievements, and impact. (300 words maximum)[/list]
Optional Information #2: This section should only be used to convey relevant information not addressed elsewhere in your application. This may include explanation of employment gaps, academic aberrations, supplemental coursework, etc. You are encouraged to use bullet points where appropriate.

Although the school’s first optional essay prompt is somewhat elaborate, it is not necessarily all that complicated, and we imagine it will offer certain applicants an easy way of highlighting particular elements of their background without having to try to fit them into a different essay. The school clearly wants direct information and basic explanation(s) from this option, so simply answer the questions and succinctly provide any necessary clarifications using the allocated word count. The second optional essay prompt asks applicants to focus specifically on information they deem most “relevant,” and the lack of a word limit means candidates can fully explain whatever they feel the admissions committee truly must know to be able to evaluate them fully and fairly.  This is not, however, 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 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.

And for a thorough exploration of Berkeley-Haas’s academic program, unique offerings, social life, and other key characteristics, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, which is also available for free.

The Next Step—Mastering Your Berkeley-Haas 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 Berkeley-Haas Interview Primer today!
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mbaMission Offers Free In-Person Consultations in Los Angeles, Philade [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: mbaMission Offers Free In-Person Consultations in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Boston, and New York!
Are you a business school applicant in need of some guidance from an admissions advisor? If so, then we want to meet you for a free in-person consultation! In the coming weeks, mbaMission will be hosting FREE in-person, one-on-one consultations* in the following cities:

  • Los Angeles, California: Wednesday, June 27 and Friday, June 29, 2018
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Tuesday, July 10, 2018
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Thursday, July 12, 2018
  • Boston, Massachusetts: Various Wednesdays in July 2018
  • New York, New York: Various Tuesdays in July 2018
During your free in-person consultation, your admissions advisor will answer all of your most pressing MBA application questions, including the following:

  • What are my chances of being admitted?
  • How can I differentiate myself from so many other applicants?
  • What is the best way to showcase my accomplishments or mitigate my weaknesses?
To sign up for a free in-person consultation in any of these cities, please fill out the form located on our Free Consultation submission page at www.mbamission.com/consult. We will reply to you within one business day with a link to schedule your appointment.

We look forward to getting to know some of this season’s best and brightest business school applicants!

*This offer is only valid for those who have not already had an mbaMission free 30-minute consultation. Please note that all mbaMission consultant appointments are booked on Eastern Time. After booking, if you would like to confirm the local time of your appointment, please contact denise@mbamission.com.
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Duke University Fuqua School of Business Essay Analysis, 2018–2019 [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Duke University Fuqua School of Business Essay Analysis, 2018–2019

We were thrilled to learn that nothing has changed with the application essay prompts for Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business this season, because that means the school’s intriguing “25 Random Things” essay is back for another round! Very few MBA programs give applicants as much room to roam and get creative with the application as Fuqua does, and we encourage any hesitant candidates out there to view this essay as the generous opportunity it is to provide a comprehensive picture of yourself as a well-rounded candidate. With such a quirky and “random” essay, we have trouble imagining any applicant not having fun with the process. So, enjoy the opportunity and get some inspiration for that and Fuqua’s other required submissions in our analysis, which follows…

Required short-answer essay questions

Instructions: Answer all three 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 they must be totally unequivocal in their goals, but in this case, 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 may even 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 that you 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.

As we noted, these questions concern many of the same topics covered in a traditional 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. This complimentary guide offers detailed advice on approaching and framing these subjects, along with multiple illustrative examples. Be sure to claim your copy today.

First required essay: 25 random things about yourself

Instructions: Present your response in list form, numbered 1 to 25. Some points may be only a few words, while others may be longer. Your complete list should not exceed two pages.

For context: Fuqua believes different types of people, points of view, and experiences bring out the best in everyone. And above all, we place a premium on succeeding while making a positive impact on businesses, organizations, and the world.  These ways of thinking set the Duke MBA experience apart, and this concept 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! Before you start scribbling down random things, though, stop and 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 new story or tidbit of information you share gives the admissions committee a different 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 could not be considered 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 exact same thing.

Although Fuqua does not want you to rehash your professional and academic accomplishments in this list, and you should certainly avoid repeating facts that already appear 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.”

Second required essay: The Fuqua community and you

Instructions: Your response should be no more than two pages in length.

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

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

With this 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.

And for a thorough exploration of Duke Fuqua’s academic offerings, defining characteristics, crucial statistics, social life, community/environment, and other key facets of the program, consider downloading your free copy of the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

Optional essay: Tell us more

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

Please do not upload additional essays or additional recommendations in this area of the application, and limit your response to one page.

Fuqua stipulates a maximum length for its option essay of just one page. 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 submit an optional essay only 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. Consider downloading a 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 (along with multiple sample essays) to help you mitigate any problem areas in your profile.

The Next Step—Mastering Your Duke Fuqua InterviewMany 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 develop this high level of preparation, we offer our free Interview Primers to spur you along! Download your free copy of the Duke Fuqua Interview Primer today.
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Pluralize Nouns and Vary Sentence Length in Your MBA Application Essay [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Pluralize Nouns and Vary Sentence Length in Your MBA Application Essays
One way to conserve words in your MBA application essays and short-answer responses is by pluralizing nouns whenever possible. Singular words often require an article such as “a,” “an,” or “the.” These words can add unnecessarily to your word count, thereby cluttering your page without contributing to your argument or style. Consider the following example:

“A manager with an MBA can ascend the corporate ladder faster than a manager who lacks an MBA.” (18 words)

Now consider this version, in which many of the singular nouns have been pluralized:

“Managers with MBAs can ascend the corporate ladder faster than managers without MBAs.” (13 words)

As you can see, both sentences present the same idea, but one sentence is five words shorter than the other. Given that essays can include dozens or even hundreds of sentences, pluralizing wherever possible is helpful in meeting word count requirements and decluttering the text.

Although decluttering your essays is important, ensure that all of your sentences are not the same length. Many business school applicants use medium-length sentences (like this one) in their essays. Few use short sentences (like this one). Likewise, few use long sentences in their essays, even though long sentences (like this one) can often play a useful role in an essay’s structure and story.

Confused? Consider the following example:

“At XYZ Inc., I was the manager in charge of leading a team of 12 staff members. Included in my team were four engineers, four marketing professionals, and four market analysts. Our goal was to develop a new thingamajig within six months. We worked really hard over the six months and succeeded. The new thingamajig is now on the market and is selling well. As a result of my efforts, I was promoted to vice president.”

All these sentences have approximately the same number of words and the same rhythm/cadence, making the paragraph fairly boring to read. Nothing changes—the structure just repeats itself over and over again, with one medium-length sentence following another medium-length sentence.

Now consider this example:*

“At XYZ Inc., I was the manager in charge of leading a thingamajig development team of 12 staff members, four of whom were engineers, four were marketing professionals, and four were market analysts. We had just six months to launch our new product. The team worked really hard and succeeded, and the new thingamajig is now on the market, where it is selling well. As a result of my efforts, I was promoted to vice president.”

The sentences in this paragraph are varied—the first is quite long, the second is very short, the third is medium-long, and the fourth is medium-short. Sentence variety makes for a much more interesting read, and one very short sentence in the middle of some longer ones can provide precisely the kind of contrast and drama that MBA application essays so often need.

*Please note that this is a simplified example for illustration purposes. If this were an actual essay, we would encourage the applicant to offer greater insight into his/her experience launching the product.
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How to Approach Lifting Your GMAT Score [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: How to Approach Lifting Your GMAT Score
With regard to the GMAT, raw intellectual horsepower helps, but it is not everything. Manhattan Prep’s Stacey Koprince teaches you how to perform at your best on test day by using some common sense.

How do you maximize your score on the GMAT? Sure, you have to learn to answer harder questions correctly—but that is not actually enough.

Let us stipulate a couple of things. First, whenever I say “easier” or “harder” in this post, I am referring to easier or harder for you, the reader; everything here is relative to your current scoring level and your desire to lift that level to whatever your goal score is. In other words, this works at every level and for every goal.

Second, as a general rule, you take (on average) more time to answer harder questions than you take to answer easier ones.

Okay, so what does that mean? Most people do not spend much time studying the things that they generally already know how to do; they do not analyze questions that they answered correctly unless there was some other issue (such as spending too much time).

That is a mistake—and not just because we can still learn things from questions that we answer correctly. More importantly, if you want to lift your score, then the questions that you find of medium difficulty today need to turn into questions that you find easier in the future.

Think about how the test works: if you are scoring in the 80th percentile, then 65th percentile questions are generally fairly easy for you, the 75th to 85th range is medium, and 90th percentile questions are too hard. If you want to lift your score to 90th percentile, sure, you have to learn how to tackle those harder questions. At the same time, the 75th to 80th percentile questions have to become your “easier” question pool—“medium” level will no longer be good enough!

Remember when I said that we generally take more time to answer the harder questions? That is okay, within reason (say, up to 30 seconds beyond the average for that question type). To have that extra time, though, you have got to be saving time on the easier questions. Those questions that are medium for you right now—you have actually got to be able to do them more quickly for them to turn into easier questions in the future.

Beyond all of that, there is yet another benefit. Shortcuts or alternate solution methods that you figure out for those easier and medium questions can often be used on harder questions as well. You will actually learn how to tackle some of the harder stuff by getting even better at the easier and medium stuff.

If you are going for a really high score (720+), then I will leave you with a couple of “challenge” exercises. Answer this math question and this Critical Reasoning question in one minute (or less). Good luck!
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Boosting Your Academic Profile with Supplemental Courses [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Boosting Your Academic Profile with Supplemental Courses

If you are seeking to boost your academic profile before you apply to business school—either because of a low GPA, low test score, nontraditional background, or other potentially limiting factor—you should consider taking one or more supplemental courses. These courses are a great way to prove your academic abilities and demonstrate how serious you are about earning your MBA. In our experience, taking two to three classes is ideal, but even completing just one can be helpful.

You have many options from which to choose, and we recommend pinpointing courses that best address the gaps in your background and fit your career goals. Did you get a D in “Statistics” in college? Retake “Statistics” (and this time, get an A)! Are you hoping to transition from consulting to investment banking after you graduate? Take a finance course (and be sure to get an A)! Did we mention that getting an A in these courses is important? Aside from statistics and finance, we also recommend other quantitative-based subjects, including accounting, economics, calculus (or other advanced math). Depending on your needs, you might also consider a course in Excel, financial modeling, or business writing/communications.

Our past clients at mbaMission have had success with taking supplemental courses through such programs as HBX CORe, UCLA Extension, UC Berkeley Extension, and MBA Math.

Finally, aim to complete your supplemental courses before you need to submit your application, so you can provide the additional transcripts at the same time.
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Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT Sloan) Essay Analysis, 2018 [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT Sloan) Essay Analysis, 2018–2019

MIT Sloan’s prompts make for an unusual set! First, you will have to write MIT Sloan’s unique cover letter. Then, you will be the star of your own short video. Finally, only if you receive an interview, you will write a traditional, but brief essay. While in aggregate these essays are unorthodox, they are nonetheless applicant friendly in that the cover letter allows you to reveal a formative experience, the video gives you room to reveal your personality and the final essay (should you be fortunate to be granted one!) enables you to connect your values to Sloan. Plenty of opportunity… our analysis follows!

Cover Letter: MIT Sloan seeks students whose personal characteristics demonstrate that they will make the most of the incredible opportunities at MIT, both academic and non-academic. We are on a quest to find those whose presence will enhance the experience of other students. We seek thoughtful leaders with exceptional intellectual abilities and the drive and determination to put their stamp on the world. We welcome people who are independent, authentic, and fearlessly creative — true doers. We want people who can redefine solutions to conventional problems, and strive to preempt unconventional dilemmas with cutting-edge ideas. We demand integrity and respect passion.

Taking the above into consideration, please submit a cover letter seeking a place in the MIT Sloan MBA Program. Your letter should conform to a standard business correspondence, include one or more examples that illustrate why you meet the desired criteria above, and be addressed to Mr. Rod Garcia, Senior Director of Admissions (300 words or fewer, excluding address and salutation).

We strongly advise that you avoid starting your letter with a rote opening like “My name is Bob, and I am seeking a place in the MIT Sloan Class of 2020.” Your admissions reader will likely be asleep before he or she even finishes the sentence! Such information is obvious—we can assure you that the admissions reader is well aware of your desire to be admitted to the MIT Sloan program—and is therefore a waste of precious word count, not to mention that it is hardly the kind of gripping opening that will grab and hold someone’s attention.

The broad scope of this essay prompt allows you a great amount of freedom to choose and share the information you believe is most important for your candidacy. The 300-word maximum is equal to roughly three short paragraphs with which you can make an impression. Informal guidance provided by MIT Sloan’s admissions committee after the release of this same essay question last year indicated that applicants should focus on sharing their personal experiences, accomplishments, values, viewpoints, and/or skills to demonstrate (1) what they can contribute to the school’s greater community as a result and (2) why Sloan’s MBA program in particular is the best one for them. The school does not ask you to outline your post-MBA goals, but if doing so allows you to better substantiate your need or desire for a Sloan MBA specifically, a (very) brief explanation of your aspirations could be appropriate and useful.

After discussing your accomplishments—being careful not to brag!—along with any other elements of your profile that you feel make you a great fit with the school, strive to relate these achievements and qualities to the MIT Sloan experience. Citing specific courses, experiential opportunities, or other relevant resources can help you make a compelling case for your spot in the next incoming class.

VIDEO STATEMENT: Please introduce yourself to your future classmates via a brief 60 second video statement.  (This video will be used for application purposes only and will not be shared.) Videos should be a single take (no editing) lasting no more than one minute and consisting of you speaking directly to the camera. We recommend using an application such as QuickTime or iMovie to record yourself.

Upload the video file according to the detailed instructions within the application. We support the following file formats: .avi, .flv, .m1v, .m2v, .m4v, .mkv, .mov, .mpeg, .mpg, .mp4, .webm, .wmv

Should you experience difficulties uploading your file, please ensure that you’re using a modern web browser (Chrome, Firefox, or Safari) on the fastest wired Internet connection available. An intermittent or slow Internet connection can cause uploads to timeout.

Before you do anything else, stop and take a deep, cleansing breath. We know video essays can be scary, but MIT Sloan is not trying to stress you out. The admissions committee simply wants a more dynamic representation of your personality than a written essay can provide, so your primary goal is simply to be as authentic and natural as possible. This is not a job interview, and you are instructed to consider your fellow students your intended audience, which certainly implies that a less rigid and traditionally “professional” demeanor is okay, though you should never be inappropriate or offensive. Do not concern yourself with trying to say the “right” things in your video. The topic here is one you know very well—you! A good brainstorming tactic is to imagine meeting someone for the first time at a party or other event and to think about the kinds of questions you might ask one another in the process of getting acquainted. What kind of information would you want to know about this person, and what facts about yourself would you be most eager to share, as a way of conveying who you are and making a connection? (You can even Google “icebreaker questions” to find examples of these sorts of questions.) Take some time to delve into your personality in this way.

Keep in mind that even though in the scenario the school presents, you are supposed to be addressing your fellow students, your actual audience will be the admissions committee, so put some thought into what the school will already have learned about you from your cover letter essay and the other portions of your application. You do not want to repeat any of that information unless the impression you are trying to create would be truly lacking without it. Do not use the video as an opportunity to pitch your candidacy or to pander to the school. This is not the time to detail your career goals or express your admiration for the program. You have only one minute in which to make an impression, and even without knowing you personally, we are confident that you have more to your character than can be conveyed in a mere 60 seconds—so do not waste any of them!

Given that this is a video, you will want to pay some extra attention to the clothing you will wear, your tone of voice, your language style, and other such details. In the end, your message is what is most important, so no fancy bells or whistles are needed, but if you are a more creative type, you might consider ways of nonverbally communicating some of your strongest attributes and key aspects of your life to help permeate your submission with as much information as possible. For example, if you are an avid baker, consider filming your video while standing in a kitchen, perhaps wearing an apron (if you typically do so) and surrounded by the ingredients and tools you need to create one of your favorite recipes. If you are a dedicated guitar player, perhaps strum your guitar as you speak. If you are especially confident, you could even sing about yourself! Think about what makes you who you are today, decide what you most want to share with your future classmates, and then let your creativity flow.

On a practical note, be sure to speak clearly. You naturally do not want any part of your message to be lost or misunderstood, and the admissions committee may view your communication skills and style as indicators of how you might interact with your classmates and/or speak in the classroom. Although we recommend spending some time practicing in front of a mirror or a friend, do not over rehearse. You still want to come across as genuine and natural.

Those invited to interview will be asked to answer the following question: The mission of the MIT Sloan School of Management is to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and to generate ideas that advance management practice. We believe that a commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity, and well-being is a key component of both principled leadership and sound management practice. In 250 words or less, please describe how you, as a member of the MIT Sloan community, would work to create a campus that is welcoming, inclusive and increasingly diverse. Details for submitting your essay will be included in the interview invitation.

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 incorporating the views of others in one’s efforts. Via this essay, MIT Sloan hopes to learn how you view and approach such differences. Once enrolled in the school’s 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 that the school’s prompt does not ask about simply being part of a “welcoming, inclusive and increasingly diverse” community but about actually helping to cultivate one. The admissions committee wants to know that you are comfortable within such a dynamic, of course, but in this case, it is especially interested in hearing what skills and mind-set you have that could be beneficial in bringing various people together in a harmonious and productive way.

We assume that you have already researched the school well by now in the process of deciding to apply to MIT Sloan in the first place and also in crafting your application. We therefore hope that along the way, you have been able to identify certain areas and opportunities at the school that speak to or connect with you personally, places where you can bring your enthusiasm or know-how to the table for the benefit of others. We realize you have limited space with which to work for this essay, but you must go beyond simply listing the campus organizations/events/resources through which you would engage and make your contribution and clearly communicate the why and how behind your intentions. For example, perhaps you plan to join the Sloan Jewish Students Organization and have always really enjoyed your family’s annual Seder. You might then state that you aspire to organize and lead the first Passover Seder on the MIT Sloan campus, thereby introducing others to an important element of your religion and creating an opportunity to experience this traditional custom alongside your Jewish classmates. Or, if you expect to join the MIT Sloan Entrepreneurship & Innovation Club, perhaps you would discuss how daunting entrepreneurial lingo can be. Then you could explain how you would establish and run a workshop to help those with limited exposure to the field understand and develop a familiarity with the vernacular, which could serve as an important part of their foundational knowledge base. Of course, these are just examples, and the contributions you make need not be exclusive to clubs but must simply be personal to you.

To add a level of credibility to your claim and increase the admissions committee’s  confidence that you will actually follow through on your stated intentions, include a brief reference to a time in the past when you did something similar. You want to assure the school that you are not simply offering a nice-sounding idea but one you truly aim to—and can—fulfill. So, for example, if you were to suggest the campus-wide Seder idea, you might describe the time you invited your entire community-league soccer team to your family’s celebration and how you walked your fellow players through the various stages of the tradition. This kind of reference to a related past situation will illustrate that you have some firsthand understanding of how to facilitate such an endeavor and that you must have seen some benefit from the undertaking, given your interest in revisiting the idea.

Be assured that like all other application essay questions, this one has no “right” answer, so do not try to guess and deliver what you think the school wants to hear. Authenticity and enthusiasm are the keys to your success here.

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 MIT Sloan School of Management Interview Primer today.

For a thorough exploration of the MIT Sloan academic program, unique offerings, social life, and other key characteristics, be sure to download your complimentary copy of the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to the MIT Sloan School of Management.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (OPTIONAL)

Please provide any additional information you would like the Admissions Committee to know that may be helpful in evaluating your candidacy (i.e. choice of recommenders, areas of concern in your academic record, other extenuating circumstances, etc.). This information should be provided in a written format; (200 words or less).

Ultimately, this is your opportunity to address any lingering questions that an admissions officer might have about your profile—if you feel you need to. We caution you against simply trying to fill this space because you fear that not doing so would somehow count against you. And of course, however tempted you might be, this is not the place to reuse a strong essay you wrote for another school or to offer a few anecdotes you were unable to use in your other submissions. But if you are inclined to use this essay to emphasize or explain something that if omitted would render your application incomplete, write a very brief piece on this key aspect of your profile. For more guidance, download our free mbaMission Optional Essays Guide, in which we offer detailed advice on when and how to take advantage of the optional essay, with multiple examples, to help you mitigate any problem areas in your application.
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MBA Hiring in Slight Decline, New GMAC Survey Shows [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Hiring in Slight Decline, New GMAC Survey Shows
The newly graduated MBA Class of 2018 is stepping into a slightly less robust job market than other recent graduates did, according to the 17th annual Corporate Recruiters Survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). The recently released survey, which features responses from more than 1,000 employers in 42 countries, reveals that 81% of companies worldwide plan to hire MBAs in 2018. This number has hovered in the 80% range for the past several years—86% in 2017, 88% in 2016, 84% in 2015, and 80% in 2014. Demand in 2018 is particularly high in the Asia Pacific region, where 90% of responding companies reported plans to hire at least one MBA this year. This figure was 85% within the United States, slightly lower than the 91% reported last year.

Median starting salaries followed a similar trend by declining slightly but remaining strong. The median base salary for MBAs within the United States was $105K, down from $110K in 2017. Consulting firms offered the highest median base salaries at $125K, followed by finance/accounting ($120K) and technology ($115K). For those hoping for a hefty bonus, the United States might be your best bet: 56% of U.S.-based companies offered signing bonuses, in comparison to 36% in Asia Pacific, 30% in Latin America, and 20% in Europe.
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July 2018 Event Roundup [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: July 2018 Event Roundup
Are you applying to business school this year? 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 July, the event lineup includes the following sessions:

  • July 9

    Writing a Standout Harvard Business School Essay (Online)Harvard Business School (HBS) receives more than 9,000 applications each year. During this live webinar, an experienced senior consultant will help prospective MBAs learn how to ensure their essay will grab the attention of an overworked HBS admissions officer.
  • July 12

    Essay Writing (Online)How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? An experienced senior consultant will use this simple but often perplexing question as the starting point to a workshop for prospective business school applicants.
  • July 15

    MBA Tour – San FranciscoAre you ready for your MBA? This summer, we at mbaMission are pleased to be attending The MBA Tour – US, where applicants from all over the country will meet with prospective MBA students, top business school admissions representatives, alumni, and other like-minded education enthusiasts to begin (or continue) their MBA journey!
  • July 17

    MBA Tour – HoustonAre you ready for your MBA? This summer, we at mbaMission are pleased to be attending The MBA Tour – US, where applicants from all over the country will meet with prospective MBA students, top business school admissions representatives, alumni, and other like-minded education enthusiasts to begin (or continue) their MBA journey!
  • July 18

    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!
  • July 21

    MBA Tour – New York CityAre you ready for your MBA? This summer, we at mbaMission are pleased to be attending The MBA Tour – US, where applicants from all over the country will meet with prospective MBA students, top business school admissions representatives, alumni, and other like-minded education enthusiasts to begin (or continue) their MBA journey!
  • July 23

    MBA Tour – ChicagoAre you ready for your MBA? This summer, we at mbaMission are pleased to be attending The MBA Tour – US, where applicants from all over the country will meet with prospective MBA students, top business school admissions representatives, alumni, and other like-minded education enthusiasts to begin (or continue) their MBA journey!
  • July 25

    MBA Tour – Washington, D.C.Are you ready for your MBA? This summer, we at mbaMission are pleased to be attending The MBA Tour – US, where applicants from all over the country will meet with prospective MBA students, top business school admissions representatives, alumni, and other like-minded education enthusiasts to begin (or continue) their MBA journey!
  • July 26

    MBA Tour – BostonAre you ready for your MBA? This summer, we at mbaMission are pleased to be attending The MBA Tour – US, where applicants from all over the country will meet with prospective MBA students, top business school admissions representatives, alumni, and other like-minded education enthusiasts to begin (or continue) their MBA journey!

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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mbaMission Releases Updated Insider’s Guides for 2018-2019 [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: mbaMission Releases Updated Insider’s Guides for 2018-2019
We at mbaMission are proud to release our new Insider’s Guides, which includes 17 individual top-ranked business school titles, for the 2018-2019 MBA admissions season!

Informed by firsthand insight from students, alumni, program representatives, and admissions officers, the Insider’s Guides offer detailed and up-to-date descriptions of the following:

  • Defining characteristics of the business 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 MBA program
We created our b-school-specific Insider’s Guides to help inform today’s MBA hopefuls with a comprehensive picture of the resources, environments, activities, and communities at each school, so they can choose the program that is truly best for them. Download your free copy of each of our comprehensive Insider’s Guides today!
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Explaining Your Contribution and Using School-Specific Info in MBA App [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Explaining Your Contribution and Using School-Specific Info in MBA Application Essays
Many business schools use their essay questions as an opportunity to ask about the unique contributions you will make to their particular program.

Unfortunately, candidates often make the mistake of thinking that a bland summary statement like “I will bring my leadership skills to XYZ School” will sufficiently express their intended contribution. One reason we prefer to work with business school candidates “from start to finish” is so we can prevent such problems. Simply relating a story about a past experience and then repeating the main point does not demonstrate that you can or will make a meaningful contribution to the school. Ideally, you want to go further, explaining how you would apply and use your experience and skills while at the school in a way that would offer some benefit to others, thereby demonstrating a true understanding of your fit with that particular program.

Example 1:

“My experience as a stand-up comedian will allow me to bring humor to the Kellogg environment.”

With this statement, the MBA admissions committee is left wondering, “How exactly will this applicant bring humor to the environment? Does this person really know what our environment is about?” In contrast, consider our next example.

Example 2:

“My experience as a stand-up comic will prove particularly useful at Kellogg, a dynamic environment where I will be constantly joining new and energetic study teams. I anticipate using my sense of humor to create more relaxed team environments, helping everyone feel comfortable contributing, though I will use my humor judiciously, such as to diffuse tense moments during late-night study sessions, rather than as a distraction. I believe my skills and experience being funny on stage will also allow me to play an important role in the Kellogg Follies.”

In this example, the writer has applied his/her personal experience and intended contribution directly to the Kellogg experience and has thereby shown a clear connection with the school, proving that the candidate truly identifies with it and accurately understands its nature.

At times, candidates also tend to unintentionally describe their personal experience with a specific MBA program in a vague and general manner. Because they are writing from memory and discussing their authentic experience, they do not realize that they are not being specific enough. Consider the following example:

“During my visit to Cornell Johnson, I was struck by the easygoing classroom discussion, the warmth of the professors, and the time spent by the first-year student who not only toured the facilities with me but also took me out for coffee and asked several of his colleagues to join us.”

Although these statements may in fact be true, the text contains no Cornell-specific language. If the Yale School of Management, Michigan Ross, or the name of any other school were substituted for Cornell Johnson here, the statement would not otherwise change at all, resulting in a weak and generic essay.

In contrast, the following statement could refer only to UVA Darden:

“While on Grounds, I was impressed by Professor Robert Carraway’s easygoing and humorous style as he facilitated a fast-paced discussion of the ‘George’s T-Shirts’ case. Although I admittedly felt dizzied by the class’s pace, I was comforted when I encountered several students reviewing the finer points of the case later at First Coffee. I was impressed when my first-year guide stopped mid-tour to check in with her learning teammate and reinforce the case’s central point. It was then I recognized that this was the right environment for me.”

If you were to substitute the Darden name and even the professor’s name with those of another school and professor, the paragraph would no longer work. Including the Darden-specific information regarding the day’s case, First Coffee, and learning teams ensures that these sentences have a sincere and personal feel and shows that the candidate truly understands what the school is about. This is necessary to craft a compelling personal statement that will catch the admissions committee’s attention.
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Come Meet Us at The MBA Tour in the United States! [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Come Meet Us at The MBA Tour in the United States!
Are you ready for your MBA? This summer, we at mbaMission are pleased to be attending The MBA Tour – US, where applicants from all over the country will meet with prospective MBA students, top business school admissions representatives, alumni, and other like-minded education enthusiasts to begin (or continue) their MBA journey!

During the tour, mbaMission will offer free, live consultations* with one of our full-time admissions consultants. This is your opportunity to ask your most pressing admissions questions and get personalized advice from an expert. Be sure to sign up for your session here and indicate which tour stop you will attend!

Join us in a city near you:

What is The MBA Tour?

Founded in 1993, The MBA Tour is an independent and high-quality information source regarding MBA admissions. The MBA Tour aims to provide potential MBA students an opportunity to meet with top business schools from around the world. In each city, schools host panel sessions and alumni seminars and are available to engage in discussions with prospective MBA students throughout the event. For more information, visit www.thembatour.com/aboutus/ourstory.html.

Why should you attend The MBA Tour?

The MBA Tour gathers the world’s top business schools all in one place.

Stand out from the competition and meet with admissions directors from top domestic and international business schools. Connect in person to ask your MBA questions, learn about program offerings, and discover how a graduate business degree can help you boost your career. The MBA Tour gives you the opportunity to participate in the following events:

  • Small group meetings
  • Admissions panels
  • GMAT strategy sessions
  • School presentations
  • Networking fair
  • and much more!

Who will you meet?

Connect with admissions decision makers:

  • You will have the unique opportunity to meet with admissions decision makers to increase your chances of acceptance.
  • Learn in-depth program information and ask your MBA questions during MeetUp discussions (invite-only, small-group meetings).
  • Discover admissions tips from industry leaders.
  • Network with the people who matter when it comes to getting accepted to your dream school.
How should you prepare?

Complete your online profile to be matched with top schools:

  • Provide helpful information during registration to let schools learn about you and your goals—and potentially be invited to meet with them during MeetUps or school presentations.
  • Use The MBA Tour’s Research Schools platform to learn more about program offerings and options.
  • Log into The MBA Tour’s online portal to easily confirm MeetUps and build your schedule to make the most of your event.
  • Sign up for your free mbaMission 30-minute consultation by filling out the form on this page—and be sure to indicate which city’s event you will attend.
Ready to sign up?

Register for free today to reserve your spot. Space is limited! And do not forget to stop by the mbaMission table while you are there to receive your free in-person consultation with one of our admissions experts. We look forward to meeting you!

*This offer is only valid for those who have not already had an mbaMission free 30-minute consultation.
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Professor Profiles: Sharon Oster, Yale School of Management [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Sharon Oster, Yale School of Management

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 Sharon Oster from the Yale School of Management.

A second-year student we interviewed at the Yale School of Management (SOM) remarked that Sharon Oster “loves teaching almost more than [she loved] being dean!” Oster, who served as dean from 2008 to 2011, is the Frederic D. Wolfe Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship, and she taught “Basics of Economics,” part of the school’s first-year core curriculum, for several years. In recent years, Oster has taught the elective course “Strategic Management of Nonprofit Organizations.”

Oster’s expertise lies in economics and nonprofit management. She is the author of several widely used business school textbooks, including Modern Competitive Analysis, and has co-authored introductory economics texts such as Principles of Microeconomics and Principles of Economics (both with Karl E. Case and Ray C. Fair). In addition, her text Strategic Management for Nonprofit Organizations: Theory and Cases is used in the aforementioned “Strategic Management of Nonprofit Organizations” course.

For more information about the Yale SOM and 16 other top-ranked business schools, check out the free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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