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New York University (Stern) Essay Analysis, 2014–2015 [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jun 2014, 15:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: New York University (Stern) Essay Analysis, 2014–2015
New York University’s (NYU’s) Stern School of Business must be happy with the essay responses they received from applicants last admissions season, because the school has made no changes to its essay questions for this year. Stern maintains its standard career essay prompt and again gives candidates two completely different options for the second essay, one that is professional in nature and another that is personal. Many applicants will likely be daunted by the “personal expression” option, because the significant latitude it offers can lead to uncertainty—as in, “Am I doing this right?” We suggest that rather than worrying about which format to choose, you first consider what you want to say as an applicant. Who are you? What do you want the Stern admissions committee to know about you? Once you can answer those questions, determine which option better allows you to showcase your message and your strengths.

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Essay 1:  Professional Aspirations 
(750 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)

  • Why pursue an MBA (or dual degree) at this point in your life?
  • What actions have you taken to determine that Stern is the best fit for your MBA experience?
  • What do you see yourself doing professionally upon graduation?
The three points that make up Stern’s Essay 1 question basically constitute a Personal Statement, and because Personal Statements are similar from one application to the next, we have produced the mbaMission Personal Statement Guide, which helps applicants write this style of essay for any school. We offer this guide to candidates free of charge. Please feel free to download your copy today.

And for a thorough exploration of NYU Stern’s academic program/merits, defining characteristics, important statistics, social life, academic environment and more, please check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business.

Essay 2: Choose Option A or Option B

Option A: Your Two Paths (500 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)

The mission of the Stern School of Business is to develop people and ideas that transform the challenges of the 21st century into opportunities to create value for business and society. Given today’s ever-changing global landscape, Stern seeks and develops leaders who thrive in ambiguity, embrace a broad perspective and think creatively about the range of ways they can have impact.

  • Describe two different and distinct paths you could see your career taking long term. How do you see your two paths unfolding?
  • What factors will most determine which path you will take?
  • How do your paths tie to the mission of NYU Stern?
Given that the school is asking about two possible paths for your long-term career, you may be wondering whether you have room to be vague or uncertain about your goals in this essay. Quite simply, “No.” In fact, you will instead need to present two feasible career options and relate your skills and experiences to both of them very clearly to create an effective, coherent statement and to show not only that you are versatile but also that you know yourself well.

The key here is demonstrating that you have a full understanding of the career paths you propose for yourself and truly grasp how and why each one would be a good fit for you. If you write that you could see yourself as either a marketing manager or a hedge fund manager, for example, you will reveal that you actually do not know much about these positions, because the personalities and skills necessary to succeed in the roles are quite different. Although identifying and showing a connection between these options is not impossible (both can require a very intense focus on data mining, for example), your essay will really only be successful if you can effectively show that you know yourself and the two diverse paths well. A more plausible—and likely convincing—option is to choose two positions that are more relatable to each other, such as entrepreneur and politician. There is no “right” combination for this essay, but whatever you propose has to be credible. Basically, Stern is saying that it wants to know that you are able to make the most of opportunities, even if life (or the economy!) throws you a curveball. By thoughtfully discussing two feasible alternatives, you will prove that you are multitalented and prepared to knock any curveball out of the park.

To best answer the question that relates to Stern’s mission, you must first understand—you guessed it!—the school’s mission, which Stern conveniently provides as the intro to its Option A questions. The school’s mission is clearly quite broad. You need not address every aspect of it in your essay, but make sure that you connect your proposed paths to at least one element of Stern’s statement. Further, you should definitely not trot out clichés about “doing good,” just because Stern has the word “society” in its mission. In short, avoid approaching this part of the essay with a “What do they want to hear?” perspective and truly consider how your stated career trajectories relate to the school’s objectives—think deeply about who you are, where you want to be and how your ambitions and values connect with Stern’s own mission.

Option B: Personal Expression

Please describe yourself to your MBA classmates. You may use almost any method to convey your message (e.g. words, illustrations). Feel free to be creative. (See Stern’s essay write-up in more depth via this link.)

In NYU Stern’s famed “personal expression” essay, you have a phenomenal opportunity to differentiate yourself from the rest of the applicant pool in two distinct ways. The first is the vehicle through which you choose to reveal your persona. By using a creative and captivating format, you can grab the admissions committee’s interest and compel your “reader” to pay close attention to your content. However, be sure to consider the possible limitations of certain clever options, not just their uniqueness. For example, although a baseball card may be aesthetically pleasing, this format severely limits the amount of information you can convey because of its size and anticipated style. Instead, if you were to submit a eulogy theoretically written by your best friend (and you CAN submit something that is written, but do not use this idea; it is now public), the format would be sufficiently broad to allow you to touch on all that is unique about you. The second way this essay question allows you to differentiate yourself is through your content. Ideally, you will use this opportunity to showcase a diversity of professional, personal, academic and community accomplishments that you were not able to share in essay one. The personal expression allows you to reveal your true personality and “likeability” beyond your professional/academic competencies.

One important note: NYU Stern is accepting multimedia presentations, but do not feel compelled to use this option if this is not something with which you are comfortable, and if you do choose this method, do not worry about the level of your Web design or video production skills relative to others’. For this essay, content trumps style. In fact, at an mbaMission event, we interviewed various admissions officers, students and alumni from NYU Stern who spoke of some incredibly simple “personal expression” submissions that had captivated the admissions committee—and many of these were straightforward essays!

Essay 3. Additional Information (optional)

Please provide any additional information that you would like to bring to the attention of the Admissions Committee. This may include current or past gaps in employment, further explanation of your undergraduate record or self-reported academic transcript(s), plans to retake the GMAT, GRE and/or TOEFL or any other relevant information.

If you are unable to submit a recommendation from your current supervisor, you must explain your reason, even if you are a re-applicant.

If you are a re-applicant from last year, please explain how your candidacy has improved since your last application.

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

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

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New post 09 Jun 2014, 08:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Monday Morning Essay Tip: Aim for a Descriptive Writing Style
Many writers tend to confuse adjectives and adverbs (“describing” words) with details. When adjectives and adverbs are used to emphasize an emotion or emotional state, they can actually end up adding very little to the description of an experience and possibly even undermine it. However, when that emotion or emotional state is described properly, it can add real life to a story.

Consider the following example:

Example 1: “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 “proud” is very little, considering that pride is naturally an “extreme” emotion. This just does not effectively convey how the writer actually felt. Now consider this second example:

Example 2: “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 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.
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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Mission Admission: The MBA Resume, Part 2 [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jun 2014, 12:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Mission Admission: The MBA Resume, Part 2
Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips; a new one is posted each Tuesday.

Presenting quantifiable results in your resume is preferred, because such results clearly convey your success in the actions you undertook. However, in some instances, you simply cannot quantify your success. In such cases, you can instead demonstrate nonquantifable or even potential results. Consider the following examples:

  • Persuaded management to review existing operations; currently leading Manufacturing Review Committee, which will table its final report in June 2014.
  • Established divisional continuing education series, noted on review as “crucial” and “game changing.”
  • Initiated biweekly “Tuesday at Five” team social event, resulting in enhanced workplace morale.
In each of these samples, the results of the writer’s actions are not measurable, but they are nonetheless important. The accomplishments, while “soft,” are conveyed as clearly positive.
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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Professor Profiles: Terry Taylor, UC-Berkeley Haas School of [#permalink]

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New post 11 Jun 2014, 12:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Terry Taylor, UC-Berkeley Haas School of Business
Many MBA applicants feel that they are purchasing a brand when they choose a business school to attend, but the educational experience 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 Terry Taylor from the Haas School of Business at the University of California (UC), Berkeley.

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After stints at Columbia Business School and the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, Terry Taylor (“Operations Management”) joined the faculty at the Haas School of Business at the University of California-Berkeley in 2007. Considering that Taylor, who has a PhD from Stanford in management science and engineering, is often named in student blogs and online student chats as a favorite among the school’s aspiring MBAs, he not surprisingly won the Earl F. Cheit Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2009 and again in 2011. He was also named the fifth most popular professor at a top U.S. business school by Bloomberg Businessweek in 2011.

Taylor’s academic interests include the economics of operations management and supply chain management. His core “Operations Management” course looks at operational issues confronted by manufacturing and service companies. In addition to reportedly having a well-organized curriculum and classes—which a second year we interviewed said include “no down time”—Taylor can make technical subjects very interesting, sometimes even using references to Seinfeld episodes to illuminate concepts. A second year told mbaMission, “He’s pretty young and has a style that mixes high energy with a dry sense of humor.”

For more information on the defining characteristics of the MBA program at UC-Berkeley Haas 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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mbaMission

Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
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Beyond the MBA Classroom: Liquidity Preference Functions at  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Jun 2014, 11:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Beyond the MBA Classroom: Liquidity Preference Functions at Chicago Booth
When you select an MBA program, you are not just choosing your learning environment, but are also committing to becoming part of a community. Each Thursday, we offer a window into life “beyond the MBA classroom” at a top business school.

Liquidity Preference Function (LPF) is a play on a financial term coined by John Maynard Keynes and is held on Fridays at Hyde Park at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Students and their partners/families gather after classes in a communal area in the Harper Building called Winter Garden for free food and drinks. LPF is a school-sponsored event organized by the Graduate Business Council (a group of students elected by the student body to organize activities). LPFs are often theme based. For example, one held during the 2011–2012 academic year was the Mentor-Mentee LPF, and one in the 2010–2011 academic year focused on the arts; at that event, the Booth Arts Group displayed the finalists in a photography contest it sponsored, and music and dance performances were featured.

For in-depth descriptions of social and community activities at Chicago Booth and 15 other top MBA programs, 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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Diamonds in the Rough: University of Southern California’s M [#permalink]

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New post 12 Jun 2014, 15:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Diamonds in the Rough: University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business
MBA applicants tend to overvalue rankings and so can overlook some strong business schools that might be a good fit. In this series, we profile amazing programs at schools that are typically ranked outside the top 15.

Learning to put business strategies into a global context is more than just a specialization at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. As part of the first-year MBA core curriculum, Marshall offers a comprehensive program in the spring semester called Pacific Rim International Management Education (PRIME). Students enrolled in PRIME participate in a team project focused on a specific country, industry and company. The team projects are a capstone of the students’ first year, a reflection of Marshall’s overall emphasis on case study teaching methods and participatory learning. In addition, students are required to partake in a ten-day overseas trip, during which they complete an on-site presentation to companies and organizations located in the Pacific Rim, Latin America or Europe. Cities visited in the past include Kyoto, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Guangdong, Shanghai, Beijing, Hanoi, Bangkok, São Paulo, Buenos Aires and Moscow.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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mbaMission

Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
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Friday Factoid: Wall Street Experience at Michigan Ross [#permalink]

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New post 13 Jun 2014, 11:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Friday Factoid: Wall Street Experience at Michigan Ross
You may not realize that students at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan do not have to travel all that far to get hands-on Wall Street experience. Through the John R. And Georgene M. Tozzi Electronic Business and Finance Center (known as simply the Tozzi Center), students can find themselves “on” Wall Street without ever having to leave Ann Arbor. Housed in a 5,800 square foot facility on campus, the Tozzi Center boasts a state-of-the-art mock trading floor as well as a flexible and wireless electronic classroom and an E-lab seminar room. The latest financial tools—including live news wires, trading systems and data and research services—can be found at the center. The space has been designed to look and feel like the real thing, so do not be surprised if you hear “Sell, Sell, Sell!” when you are walking by students in action.

For more information on the defining characteristics of the MBA program at Michigan Ross 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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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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Monday Morning Essay Tip: Make it Personal [#permalink]

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New post 16 Jun 2014, 08:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Monday Morning Essay Tip: Make it 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, personal dimensions should be highlighted whenever possible (considering that few examined lives can truly be said to be 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, relocate 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. Clearly, not everyone has these exact experiences, but each of us has interesting anecdotes we can tell about ourselves. These are the kinds of stories that can be showcased in your essays with a little bit of thought and creativity.
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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University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) Essay Analysis, 2014–20 [#permalink]

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New post 16 Jun 2014, 13:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) Essay Analysis, 2014–2015
The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania has decreased its number of application essays to just two this year and is giving candidates a whopping 900 words with which to distinguish themselves. We surmise that the influx of application essays can be overwhelming for the school’s overworked admissions officers, who find them somewhat deadening over time. So, by cutting back the program’s application requirements, they are able to stay sharp and still get what they need from you as an applicant. While this change may be helpful on the school’s end, the limitations make your job much harder. Wharton gives you a mostly boilerplate personal statement and a rather Harvard Business School–esque “discuss what you want” style prompt—seemingly not a lot of latitude with which to make an impression, but the key word here is “seemingly.” The smart applicant will make use of Essay 2 in particular to stand out from the pack. Our analysis follows…

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This year we require one essay, with a second being optional.  For the second optional essay, we recommend that you to use your best judgment and focus your energy on highlighting new information that we are unable to ascertain from other sections of the application.


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

In many ways, this prompt is asking for a typical MBA personal statement. In a mere 500 words, you must discuss your goals, giving very brief context for why they are realistic for you. You will then need to reveal how you will engage with Wharton’s resources in pursuit of these goals, by showing that you truly understand what the school offers and that you have a thoughtful game plan for immersing yourself in the Wharton experience. You will need to familiarize yourself with the school’s various resources and pinpoint those that truly pertain to you and the direction in which you hope to go—definitely do not just present a list of classes you think might be interesting.

Wharton adds a slight twist to this essay by asking you to discuss personal growth as well. This request might perplex you, but before you get too bewildered, we suggest that you take a step back and ask yourself what personal areas you genuinely need to develop. Maybe you need to challenge yourself to become a better public speaker, so you look forward to debating ideas in the classroom and on your learning team—not to mention pushing yourself out of your comfort zone by taking a role in the Wharton Follies. Do not worry about finding the “right” answer for what or how you want to develop personally—no such answer exists!—but focus instead on demonstrating self-awareness and showing that you truly grasp how Wharton in particular will best serve your personal needs.

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

For a thorough exploration of Wharton’s academic program/merits, defining characteristics, crucial statistics, social life, academic environment and more, please check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Essay 2: Optional: Please use the space below to highlight any additional information that you would like the Admissions Committee to know about your candidacy. (400 words)

We were surprised to see Wharton’s admissions committee asking for “new information we are unable to ascertain from other sections of the application,” because this appears to be unashamedly parroting Harvard Business School’s (HBS’s) essay question that says the admissions committee “can see your resume, school transcripts, extracurricular activities, awards” etc. and then asks, “What else would you like us to know?” Typically, each of the top schools have strived to maintain its own distinct essay questions to deter applicants from simply copying and pasting the same essay into multiple applications. By creating unique essay questions, the schools obligate you to do original work exclusively for their application, ensuring that you are genuinely interested in their specific program. Wharton’s imposition of a 400-word limit may be a tactic meant to force applicants to create something distinct; very few candidates will limit their open-ended HBS essay to just 400 words, so a copy and paste from HBS to Wharton (or vice versa) should make an applicant’s lack of effort fairly obvious. Note: we have to assume that HBS will be highly suspicious of 400-word essays!

As for what to write… even with only 400 words, you can still effectively grab the admissions committee’s attention. Indeed, as the committee itself suggests, think carefully about providing new information, but remember that you do not need to exclude anything and everything that has been included in minute detail in your application. Hypothetically, if a bullet on your resume describes your role on your firm’s charitable board, but it does not do justice to the incredible work you have accomplished in this capacity, you can use this essay to further explore and expound on this activity. Your task with this essay is to ensure that your reader is receiving new information about you—and additional information counts as new!

You can use this opportunity to reveal a single accomplishment, highlight a theme (thereby unifying several accomplishments), discuss a formative moment in your life, identify a time when your personal philosophy was challenged and changed—and probably countless other options. Just remember, you are trying to distinguish yourself from thousands of others. To do this, you need to own your story, and the best way to ensure that the story is fully yours is to tell it, as it happened, in your voice. Returning to the hypothetical example of your position on your firm’s charitable board, you should not start an essay with the following:

“I consider it a great honor to have been asked to join my firm’s charitable board. My work with the board is something that I will always be proud of, particularly because I was the youngest member of the team.”

This opening is not only banal and self-evident, it is also the type of information you could convey just as effectively in a single bullet on your resume. Instead, strive to put your reader in the middle of the action, and allow him/her to share your experience:

“As I advocated to the board to donate $11,500 to a literacy program for Caribbean immigrants, I reminded myself that I was taking on our firm’s CFO.”

In this second example, we are engaged in the details of a story—a story that this individual clearly owns. The applicant can continue with the narrative until he has created a representative example of himself (or possibly representative examples) and through his achievement has made a profound and memorable impression on the admissions committee.
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Mission Admission: The MBA Resume, Part 3 [#permalink]

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New post 17 Jun 2014, 10:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Mission Admission: The MBA Resume, Part 3
Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips; a new one is posted each Tuesday.

Ideally, your resume should be only one page long; admissions committees generally expect and appreciate the conciseness of this format. If you choose to submit a two-page resume or longer, your reader may have difficulty scanning it and identifying (and remembering) important facts. With these space constraints in mind, we offer two fairly straightforward “space saver” ideas:

1. Do not include a mission statement at the beginning of your resume. Your mission in this case is to get into the MBA program to which you are applying—and, of course, the admissions committee already knows this! A mission statement will take up precious space that can be used more effectively for other purposes.

2. Only your name should appear at the top of your resume. You do not need to include your address, email address, gender, marital status, etc., because these data will all be provided in your application form. As with a mission statement, adding this kind of information will take up precious space that can be used more effectively for other purposes.

Please, resist the urge to make your resume fit on one page by shrinking your font or margins. Your font should be no smaller than 10 point type, and your margins should be no smaller than 1” on either side and 0.75” at the top and bottom. Rather than trying to fit too much information on the page, commit yourself instead to showcasing only your most important accomplishments that best tell your story.
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University of Michigan (Ross) Essay Analysis, 2014–2015 [#permalink]

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New post 17 Jun 2014, 14:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: University of Michigan (Ross) Essay Analysis, 2014–2015
The Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan has refashioned its essay questions, going “smaller” with its requirements, as have several other schools this application season. Ross’s broadly worded essay prompts give you ample breadth—if not an overabundance of words—in which to tell your story. As always, think carefully about what you want to say and the impression you want to make before you start writing, because more opportunity lurks here than you might realize at first.

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Essay 1: What are you most proud of professionally and why? What did you learn from that experience? (400 words)


Many applicants who read this essay prompt will conclude that they have an opportunity here to share just one anecdote. However, you actually have another option. You could, of course, take a “task-oriented” approach, showing how you did one thing remarkably well, or you might consider taking a thematic approach, presenting instead a consistent record of achievement in one area. For example, you could discuss how you tamed your firm’s most feared client as a single clear accomplishment, or you could integrate this incident as one example supporting a theme of how you have developed your skills as a diplomat.

Any reader of our essay analyses or attendee of our essay writing seminars knows that we have an avowed preference for narrative-style writing. We strongly advocate getting right to the important details and describing your actions and results. Starting your essay with a bland declaration like “I am most proud of how I tamed our most difficult client and learned that I am a diplomat…” would be an essay killer!

As you are writing, be careful not to get carried away and forget to explain what you learned—the essay question very clearly asks, “What did you learn from the experience?” This information may be largely implied in your narrative, but your reflection on what you learned should not just repeat your key theme: “Clearly, I learned to be a diplomat in taming our toughest client, and I look forward to greater challenges going forward!” Just to be 100% clear, let us stress again that such a statement simply will not work. Contemplate your growth and development through the experience or series of experiences and use the theme of your essay as a starting point, but take the reflective piece further and reveal the self-awareness or skills that developed therein.

Essay 2: What are you most proud of personally and why? How does it shape who you are today?  (400 words)

Clearly, this essay is a fraternal twin of Essay 1. So again, you can focus on a single accomplishment (task) or a series of accomplishments that reveal a trait (theme). And revealing your chosen task or theme through a narrative will allow your actions and their impact to shine through.

Applicants are often flustered by the word “personal,” puzzling over why an admissions committee would want to learn anything about their personal life. Well, the reason is that the admissions committee want to get to know the entire you, and you are not just a series of professional accomplishments. We would define personal as “anything outside of work,” so your community service activities should be fair game here. But if you are so inclined, do not be afraid to discuss an aspect of your life that is truly personal, such as making a significant impact on a family member, pushing yourself to try something that is a radical personal departure, teaching yourself a new skill or committing to learning something interesting. The list of personal topics is vast, because you are living, changing and growing every day.

One thing you do not need to worry about is “scale”—no one expects you to be changing the world in your spare time. Admissions officers want to experience the intensity of your passion and commitment, but they also recognize that you are mortal, so you are not likely scaling the world’s ten highest peaks or curing a disease outside of work. You just need to show that you are doing your thing in a way that is spirited and determined.

As with Essay 1, do not neglect to reflect on the impact of your chosen task or theme: the admissions committee wants to hear how your personal accomplishment “shapes” the you you are today. The same rules apply—do not just offer a summary statement. Truly explore your development and elucidate what affects you today and how.

Essay 3: Optional question:  Is there anything not addressed elsewhere in the application that you  would like the Admissions Committee to know about you to evaluate your candidacy? (300 words)

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

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

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New post 18 Jun 2014, 11:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business School
Many MBA applicants feel that they are purchasing a brand when they choose a school to attend, but the educational experience 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 Clayton Christensen from Harvard Business School (HBS).

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With research interests in the areas of technology management and innovation management, Clayton Christensen (MBA ’79, DBA ’92) joined the HBS faculty in 1992, after having cofounded CPS Technologies (where he was chairman and president) in 1984, working as a consultant for Boston Consulting Group (1979–1984) and serving as a White House Fellow (1982–1983). Christensen’s “Building and Sustaining a Successful Enterprise” course is an elective he designed that shows students how to manage a successful company using theories of strategy and innovation to better understand which tools may be effective in various business situations. Students address such questions as “How can I beat powerful competitors?” and “How can we create and sustain a motivated group of employees?”

In 2010, Christensen, who is the author of numerous books—including The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book that Will Change the Way You Do Business (Harvard Business Review Press, 1997), The Innovator’s Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth (Harvard Business School Press, 2003) and Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns (McGraw-Hill, 2008)—received an Extraordinary Teaching Award from the HBS Class of 2010 as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award. In November 2011, Thinkers 50, a ranking released every two years by the consulting group Crainer Dearlove, named Christensen the World’s Most Influential Business Thinker.

For more information on the defining characteristics of the MBA program at HBS or one of 15 other top business schools, please check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan) Essay Analysis [#permalink]

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New post 18 Jun 2014, 15:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan) Essay Analysis, 2014–2015
The MIT Sloan School of Management bucks conventionality this admissions season and has added to the word count for its application essays—moving from a maximum of 1,000 words to 1,250. The school’s first essay question remains the same as last year’s, but its second essay prompt presents an interesting challenge in that the admissions committee asks you to do exactly what it does not want you to do in reality: write your own recommendation letter. At least in this case, the school is allowing you to do so in the light of day. Thankfully, perhaps, Sloan has dropped its befuddling optional essay, which had invited applicants to share any additional information in any format. Candidates will be content to see clearer directives in the program’s essay questions. As always, our analysis follows…

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Essay 1:  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. Discuss how you will contribute toward advancing the mission based on examples from your past work and activities. (500 words or fewer)


You may read this essay question and think, “Can I really provide examples that will lead someone to conclude that I ‘improve the world’ or ‘generate ideas that advance management practice’?” That indeed sounds like a tall order, but this essay prompt is not as daunting as it may seem, because the focus is on the future. Sloan’s MBA admissions committee is asking you to draw on past experience to show that you are prepared to support the school’s mission going forward. Rather than fretting about the latter part of the question, focus on the first part, and provide examples of how you have displayed principled or innovative leadership.

The phrasing of the question is broad enough that your examples can come from the professional, community or personal sphere. All these areas are equally valid. What is important is that you offer a clear narrative, so that your reader is able to truly visualize your actions and motivations. The admissions committee wants to learn about you through your stories, not hear platitudes about management. You might share two different anecdotes and then connect them both to the school’s mission at the end of your essay. Or you could present two dissimilar anecdotes that each mesh with the mission in their own way. Whatever your approach, remember to clearly link your stories to the school’s goal statement. Before your hands even touch the keyboard, really contemplate how your experiences relate to that mission.

Essay 2:  Write a professional letter of recommendation on behalf of yourself.  Answer the following questions as if you were your most recent supervisor recommending yourself for admission to the MIT Sloan MBA Program: (750 words or fewer)

  • How long and in what capacity have you known the applicant?
  • How does the applicant stand out from others in a similar capacity?
  • Please give an example of the applicant’s impact on a person, group, or organization.
  • Please give a representative example of how the applicant interacts with other people.
  • Which of the applicant’s personal or professional characteristics would you change?
  • Please tell us anything else you think we should know about this applicant.
 

Sloan presents an interesting challenge in this essay… err… letter of recommendation.  In 750 words, you must answer all the questions presented but do so in a way that is not so systematic that you are unable to create your own structure and stand out as an individual. Note that you do not have to answer these questions in any particular order or give equal emphasis to each query. In general, we recommend that you avoid clichés by not starting or finishing your essay with a statement like “I emphatically endorse this candidate for a place in the Sloan MBA class.”

Before you begin writing, consider actually meeting with your supervisor to discuss your accomplishments—in fact, you should already be doing this in preparation for the recommendation(s) he/she is going to write. You will benefit from this individual’s objective thoughts about your performance, and that objective voice will be crucial. The one thing you do not want to do is brag for 750 words. Instead, strike a humble tone and let your accomplishments speak for you. Here we offer two examples, one bad and one good:

Bad: “Jeremy is an excellent analyst, and we have given him more and more responsibility since he joined our firm. We promoted him early, because he is sharp analytically and determined to win—he will do anything within the law and ethical principles to get an informational edge. We know that he will never say ‘die’ and will push himself until our investment committee is satisfied. This is a rare quality, and one we admire in him.”

Although this statement initially seems glowing, in fact, it is devoid of meaning or effectiveness, because absolutely no evidence is presented of any accomplishments—there is no context for what “Jeremy” has done and how it separates him from others. Basically, this (terrible) writer has bragged and not backed up his claims. Instead, consider a more modest approach, where the accomplishments do the talking and the reader can easily surmise that he is reading about someone special…

Good: “Before we purchased shares in Lululemon, Jeremy volunteered to visit as many locations as we would permit. He ultimately traveled to 47 locations, reporting on everything from inventory levels to the size of signage. We incorporated his firsthand experiential data into our report and made a purchase with greater confidence. Jeremy’s determination was noted in his review and led to a promotion ahead of schedule.”

As you write your letter, consistently provide examples of your actions that illustrate your assertions. This is the key to maintaining the humility necessary in writing an effective essay.

Many candidates will likely be confused by the question about which characteristics they would “change.” Simply think honestly about your weaknesses and write about them forthrightly and with candor. Applicants typically make one of two mistakes when discussing weaknesses, and both involve going to extremes—they either completely refuse to acknowledge any weaknesses at all or are almost insanely critical of themselves in an effort to convey (brutal) honesty. Instead, identify an attribute you feel could use improvement, briefly discuss how the problem area has manifest and then explain how “the employee” has worked to change this trait. Writing this portion should actually be a little painful or uncomfortable. If you are too easy on yourself, the admissions committee will conclude that you do not have the personal strength to evaluate areas for change and growth. And who wants a manager who is incapable of growing?
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Beyond the MBA Classroom: Closing Bell at the Yale SOM [#permalink]

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New post 19 Jun 2014, 10:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Beyond the MBA Classroom: Closing Bell at the Yale SOM
When you select an MBA program, you are not just choosing your learning environment, but are also committing to becoming part of a community. Each Thursday, we offer a window into life “beyond the MBA classroom” at a top business school.

The Yale University School of Management’s (SOM’s) weekly happy hour, Closing Bell, takes place on Thursday nights. SOM students have no classes on Fridays, so Closing Bell kicks off the weekend. Generally held at an off-campus location, this event is attended by students and their partners as well as by members of the school’s faculty and staff. According to one second year mbaMission interviewed, “It’s a great chance to catch up with friends after a busy week and to make plans for the evening, which often includes a trip to GPSCY [the Graduate & Professional Student Center at Yale, aka Gryphon’s Pub] or other popular watering holes like Mory’s, Richter’s or Anchor, or quieter dinners and gatherings.”

For in-depth descriptions of social and community activities at Yale SOM and 15 other top MBA programs, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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Diamonds in the Rough: Bard College’s MBA in Sustainability [#permalink]

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New post 19 Jun 2014, 15:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Diamonds in the Rough: Bard College’s MBA in Sustainability
MBA applicants tend to overvalue rankings and so can overlook some strong business schools that might be a good fit. In this series, we profile amazing programs at schools that are typically ranked outside the top 15.

Sustainability is more than a mere buzzword or one elective specialization among many in the new Bard MBA curriculum—it provides the grounding for an integrated core of economic, environmental and social education. In this way, Bard offers an innovative approach to business, drawing on multidisciplinary perspectives and ecological thinking to prove that profitability can be compatible with a sustainable and socially responsible mission. Another rather unique feature of the Bard MBA is its low-residency structure, entailing monthly “weekend residencies” that focus on various learning “modules,” in addition to online instruction. Because of the program’s proximity to New York City, this structure allows students to participate in NYCLab, a program in which students work in small teams to gain hands-on experience consulting for businesses, government agencies and nonprofits. Students have the opportunity to work with such firms as Terrapin Bright Green, Unilever (as part of its Sustainable Living Plan) and TransitCenter, Inc.
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Friday Factoid: Program for Financial Studies at CBS [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jun 2014, 12:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Friday Factoid: Program for Financial Studies at CBS
Already well known as a finance powerhouse, Columbia Business School stepped up its finance game in 2010 with the establishment of the Program for Financial Studies. The umbrella initiative connects faculty who approach financial studies from a variety of disciplines with students, alumni and external organizations. The program’s main goals are to support research, to enhance the Columbia finance curriculum and related resources and to create opportunities for the exchange of ideas between Columbia students and faculty and members of the external finance community. Finance wonks will enjoy the program’s case studies, including “The Norwegian Government Pension Fund: The Divestiture of Wal-Mart Inc.,” written by Professor Andrew Ang, and “Don’t Be Evil: Google’s 2004 Dutch Auction Initial Public Offering,” written by the program’s director, Professor Laurie Hodrick.
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Monday Morning Essay Tip: Personal, But Not Too Personal [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jun 2014, 08:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Monday Morning Essay Tip: Personal, But Not Too Personal
Last week, we talked about how important thoroughly exploring and accessing your personal stories is when writing your business school application essays. Of course, having “too much of a good thing” is always a risk as well—MBA admissions committees can be put off by candidates who go too far and become too personal.

Some stories are particularly challenging for admissions committees. For example, we have strongly discouraged candidates from writing about divorce as a moment of failure. If an individual were to take responsibility in an essay for a failed marriage, he/she would likely end up revealing intensely personal problems and issues, rather than portraying him-/herself as having learned from a constructive professional or personal challenge.

Always keep in mind that in many ways, the admissions committee is meeting you for the first time via your application. So, a simple way to judge whether you are being too personal in your materials is to ask yourself, “Would I be uncomfortable if, immediately upon meeting someone, he/she were to share this sort of information with me?” If your answer is “yes,” you should most likely consider changing your topic.
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B-School Chart of the Week: May 2014 Social Currency Ranking [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jun 2014, 13:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: B-School Chart of the Week: May 2014 Social Currency Ranking
The end of spring saw an apparent upswing of matrimonial celebrations—though perhaps less so for business school students and alumni. MBAs accounted for just 15 of the 126 New York Times wedding announcements in May (up from 8 MBA weddings out of a total of 84 announcements in April). Our year-to-date tally thus hits a modest total of 63 MBAs out of 398 weddings in 2014. By comparison, the figures were 76 MBAs out of a total of 383 weddings in May of last year.

HBS and NYU Stern took the lead for the month, claiming three announcements each. In the former camp were newlyweds Kendall Fitch and Jonathan Bailey, who met at Harvard and both earned dual MBA/MPP (Master of Public Policy) degrees. A first-year student, Jeffrey Luse—who was married to Melissa Saiontz—was also featured among the HBS announcements. Representing NYU Stern, Geoffrey Karapetyan, who currently works as a manager of online distribution for NBCUniversal, was married to Jay Serpe.

Chicago Booth also made notable gains in May, garnering its first two mentions of the year: the marriage of alumnus Lt. James Tripiano—stationed in Richmond, Virginia after serving in Afghanistan—to Alexandra Della Rocchetta, and the marriage of alumna Mirian Pak, a director of strategic development for the digital and global e-commerce division of Ralph Lauren, to James Stillwagon Jr.

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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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Mission Admission: What Type of Candidate Are B-Schools Look [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jun 2014, 13:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Mission Admission: What Type of Candidate Are B-Schools Looking For?
Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips; a new one is posted each Tuesday.

One of the most common questions we hear from business school applicants is “What type of candidate is Harvard/Stanford/Wharton/Chicago Booth/etc. looking for?” Of course, the answer to that question is that schools do not want one type of applicant. Instead, each school is seeking to assemble a remarkably diverse class and thus wants to be able to identify distinct qualities in each candidate.

Although trying to simplify a school’s approach to admissions (“Kellogg wants team players!”) can be appealing, you should avoid trying to fit some perceived mold, because doing so will only mask your true distinct qualities. Rather than pandering to a stereotype with regard to your personal/professional experiences or changing your stated goals to match an imagined bias on the part of an MBA admissions committee, you should spend a great deal of time brainstorming to best understand how you can showcase your unique traits. By showing that you offer something different than other candidates, you have the greatest chance of succeeding.
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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Kudos [?]: 239 [0], given: 0

Expert Post
mbaMission Admissions Consultant
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Joined: 25 Apr 2013
Posts: 2623

Kudos [?]: 239 [0], given: 0

Professor Profiles: Youngme Moon, Harvard Business School [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jun 2014, 12:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Youngme Moon, Harvard Business School
Many MBA applicants feel that they are purchasing a brand when they choose a school to attend, but the educational experience 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 Youngme Moon from Harvard Business School (HBS).

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Having received the HBS Faculty Award for teaching excellence (voted on by students) from the first-year (aka RC) class in 2002 and the Faculty Award from the second-year (aka EC) class in 2005 and 2007, Youngme Moon (“Consumer Marketing”) is also the inaugural recipient of the 2002–2003 Hellman Faculty Fellowship for distinction in research. Moon teaches two sections of the school’s “Consumer Marketing” elective, both of which are typically oversubscribed, according to an alumna we interviewed. Her work has been published in the Harvard Business Review, the Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Consumer Psychology, the Journal of Experimental Psychology and the Journal of Applied Social Psychology.

Moon’s 2010 book Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd (Crown Business) is described on her Web site as showing “how to succeed in a world where conformity reigns … but exceptions rule.” Students told mbaMission they enjoy Moon’s “Consumer Marketing” class because of the sometimes counterintuitive ideas she presents in it, including explanations of “hostile brands” such as Harley Davidson and of IKEA’s “reverse positioning,” as well as discussions of innovative marketing models, such as (Product)Red and BMW Films. She was also described as being extremely friendly and accessible, even going out for casual dinners with students.

For more information about HBS 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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Kudos [?]: 239 [0], given: 0

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