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The mbaMission Blog

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mbaMission Admissions Consultant
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mbaMission’s Exclusive Interview with Melissa Rapp, Director of Admiss  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Aug 2018, 10:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: mbaMission’s Exclusive Interview with Melissa Rapp, Director of Admissions at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management
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Melissa Rapp, Director of Admissions at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management

Recently, we had the pleasure of speaking one-on-one with Melissa Rapp, director of admissions at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, who gave us the update on happenings at Kellogg over the past year. She also explained the admissions committee’s take on applying in different rounds and to different programs at the school, in addition to the following:

  • How the campus’s new Global Hub has influenced the Kellogg experience  
  • The effect of Dean Sally Blount’s departure at the end of the year
  • Rapp’s excitement about the class profile for the incoming Class of 2020, which includes more women students than ever before
  • Kellogg’s video essay and its unique role in the admissions process
  • The admissions team’s view of class visits
  • A few of the school’s new classes that Rapp feels are particularly compelling
Read on for the full transcript of our illuminating conversation.

July 2018

mbaMission: Melissa, thanks so much for joining us today.

Melissa Rapp: My pleasure.

mbaMission: There’s so much excitement at Kellogg right now. Tell us about the Global Hub—seven years, a $350 million investment. How has it changed the Kellogg experience, and is it everything everyone expected?

MR: I think it’s everything everyone expected and then some. I can definitely speak for me personally. I was a little skeptical that a new building could have such a big an influence and create so much positive energy, but ever since we moved back into it last year [March 2017], it has really been an incredible place to work and learn. Now that we’ve been in the building for a year, we’ve had a chance to hear from students how it has affected their experience here, and what we’ve heard is overwhelmingly positive. The things they highlight are things like the classroom setups being customizable. Whether it’s for an in-class lecture or a debate or a small group discussion, the new classrooms support a variety of learning styles and give students a better opportunity to engage with each other and to leverage technology.

The whole building was constructed with an eye toward how we use tech as an educational tool and how people use tech in their everyday lives. So the classrooms are appropriately wired; you can always find a place to charge and use your laptop or phone to take notes. The design was always intended to promote collaboration. And it’s almost impossible to walk through the Global Hub and not see someone you know, because of the wide open spaces and the way the walkways on the upper stories cut across Gies Plaza , the large collaborative plaza on the main floor. You regularly run into your friends, your professors, so it’s a fun place just to hang out.

We’re seeing students come to the Global Hub not just for academics or because they have to but for the gym and the marketplace, where we have food available all the time. They use the space to work in small groups because the study rooms are so great, and because both the large and small areas were designed for collaboration. And a lot of people just really appreciate the view. It’s inspiring to be able to look down the lake at the city and to see all of Chicago that way. It’s just a very calming environment where you can find some quiet space, too. Some rooms are set aside specifically for reflection and quiet, so you can remove yourself from all the technology and buzz of the day and just sit peacefully and look out over the water. And that can give you a real sense of calm, which comes in handy around finals time. It’s amazing.

mbaMission: That sounds fantastic. Kellogg has another big change in the works. Dean Sally Blount is stepping down at the end of the year. I’m not expecting you to announce any candidates today, but if you want to, you’re certainly welcome to!

MR: I really wish I could, but …

mbaMission: Can you tell us how the search is going? What would you say to someone who is applying to a school that does not have a “CEO” in place?

MR: I think it’s important to remember that Sally is the dean until the end of August, and her presence is still really strong around here. We don’t feel like we’re missing anyone in our top leadership position. She still influences our work here on a day-to-day basis. And Kellogg is so much more than just one person. It’s a great time here at Kellogg, and we continue to attract incredible, high-quality, diverse applicants. I’m excited for you to see the class profile for our incoming Class of 2020. We have more women at Kellogg than ever before, and we’re going to continue developing programming to help our women students with their personal and professional growth. We also plan to continue innovating with our curriculum. We’ve introduced more than 100 courses in the past few years! Everything Sally has put in motion will continue, and the momentum and energy she infused into Kellogg are still very strong. Whatever the future holds as far as our next dean, I know Kellogg’s values and the Kellogg experience will remain quintessentially Kellogg.

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View the facts and figures about Kellogg’s students entering the Two-Year MBA Program in Fall 2018.

mbaMission: Great. Kellogg offers a variety of opportunities for would-be MBAs. For example, it is the only top U.S. MBA program to offer a one-year option for candidates who already have significant managerial experience. But I was thinking that a lot of people in traditional two-year programs also have really strong managerial experience, both educationally and professionally. So what determines the difference, in your opinion? When you meet applicants, do you ever think, “You’re kind of a one-year applicant” or  “You’re kind of a two-year applicant”?

MR: Determining which program is right for you is a very personal decision. And you’re right that some two-year students here at Kellogg would probably have been eligible for the one-year experience. And some one-year students would probably have been fine in the two-year program. The standards for the programs are the same, so we have the same quality of students in both. I think it usually comes down to career goals and expectations. The one-year program is better suited to candidates who have clear career goals that are not too divergent from whatever they’ve been doing.

The major difference between the one-year and the two-year program is the summer internship experience. That internship experience is pivotal to students who want to make a big change in their careers. So if you’re looking to pivot into an entirely new industry or function, we think that internship experience is going to be an important part of your overall MBA experience. For students who have already established a career in a certain industry or function and are just looking to accelerate that career—maybe move to a different company but stay in the same lane—the one-year program is a great option. Because they’ve already established themselves in that industry or function, they can leverage that experience during their career search, versus having to rely on their internship experience. So it does take somebody who understands that their career is on a certain path, and one they’d like to continue on. It’s a great option for someone who fits the selection criteria—come to Kellogg, have a great Kellogg experience, enjoy the student-centered culture, enjoy the benefits of the alumni network after graduating, and do it all in one year.

mbaMission: I have a similar question about the MMM Program. You completely revamped the MMM program a few years ago. Can you share with us how an applicant might be best positioned for that program?

MR: So, MMM is our dual-degree, full-time program that focuses on driving the innovation life cycle of products and services. What’s great about the MMM Program is that it is a fully integrated curriculum that we have put together in partnership with the McCormick School of Engineering. Those students, while they are getting the benefit of that innovation curriculum taught by top professors, are fully Kellogg students. There isn’t any kind of separation between them and our other Kellogg students. When we’re looking at our MMM applicants, the standards are very similar to those for our other programs. A Kellogg student should be a Kellogg student first and foremost.

With that said, a strong applicant for MMM shows a strong focus on his or her goals and how the MMM program can help achieve those goals. The program focuses on the intersection between business, technology, design, and innovation and is rooted in empathy, so an interest in these areas is key. Finally, our team considers an applicant’s potential for contribution to the smaller class of 66, where they will also take coursework from the Segal Design Institute, which is the engineering part of the degree, in a cohort model.

mbaMission: Historically, Kellogg has been known for marketing, though consulting has been trouncing marketing for some time in terms of placement, for at least a decade, I believe. Can you share an area where Kellogg has a real strength but for which it may be lesser known?

MR: My opinion is that Kellogg’s strength does not come from one particular program. It is Kellogg’s long-standing commitment to a core curriculum that really provides students with a broad base of knowledge, and that sets us apart. I think it’s important for applicants who are considering Kellogg to understand that we want to prepare you as a business leader, and we believe that a broad base of knowledge is critical to your ability to rise higher and higher in organizations. It’s so important that you have a working knowledge across all business functions if you want to be a CEO.

Once you have that solid base of knowledge, Kellogg allows you the flexibility to really tailor the program to your needs and to go deep in one area. So if you’re interested in finance, you can definitely layer higher-level finance electives onto your core curriculum to build up your strengths in that area. We also allow you to, if you’d like, continue that broader approach to your academic base. So you can choose a major—majors are optional, and our majors are grounded in our academic departments. They are Accounting, Economics, Finance, Managing Organizations, Marketing, Operations, and Strategy. But we also recognize that some people’s interests don’t fall neatly into one of those areas. So the faculty designed what we refer to as “pathways.” These are guidelines—roadmaps, if you will—for faculty-recommended courses in specific industries that will give you a holistic understanding of that field. So “pathways” are things like data analytics, entrepreneurship, growth and scaling, healthcare, real estate, social impact, and venture capital and private equity.

Really, no matter what your goals are, whether you want to focus in one particular area or think more broadly about your education, Kellogg will allow you to do that. I’m always very hesitant to define Kellogg by one particular program or one particular degree, because I think the beauty of Kellogg is that opportunity to develop your own path after building a strong base of broad knowledge that will equip you to be a leader.

mbaMission: Sure. Thank you for that clarification. Let’s move toward some pure admissions questions now. Kellogg’s average GMAT score is pushing ever higher. Is there any intentionality behind that, or is it just driven by really motivated applicants who want to see their scores go up?

MR: We’ve been fortunate to have an outstanding pool of applicants the past few years. What we’ve seen is that the applicant pool’s GMAT average has risen, so our class profile reflects the caliber of candidates who are choosing to apply to the school. The GMAT gets quite a bit of attention, but it’s just one aspect of our holistic approach to evaluating applicants. We never want candidates to stress too much over it or be intimidated by that score. We do look at candidates from all angles, and while that score does continue to go up, we don’t want people to think that’s a barrier to applying to Kellogg or to being a good candidate for our program.

mbaMission: Other programs seem to be actively pushing people to apply in Round 1 these days. Can you clarify Kellogg’s stance on a Round 1 versus a Round 2 application?

MR: My stance has been and will continue to be that candidates should feel comfortable applying whenever they are ready. I can appreciate that candidates, especially when applying to highly selective schools, look for any strategy that might be beneficial to them. But the truth is, at Kellogg, we really do offer a similar number of admissions in both of those rounds and a similar number of scholarships. So when I say I prefer students to apply when they’re ready, I mean it. There is not a strategic advantage to one round over another.

mbaMission: That response is about as straightforward and matter-of-fact as we could ask for. Kellogg has its unique video essay. Can you talk about its role in the admissions process?

MR: Absolutely! I’ve always been proud that we pioneered this technology after hearing from our CMC [Career Management Center] that lots of companies were starting to use a digital platform to screen candidates, so it was something our students were likely to see in their career search. We felt it would be a good way of introducing the technology to our students while also recognizing the benefits in the evaluation process. Because we’re so committed to getting to know each and every applicant as an individual, having the video essay has been a delightful addition to the process that allows the admissions committee to virtually meet every candidate and to hear in their words why Kellogg interests them and why they want to pursue an MBA. I’m sure you can appreciate that people can represent themselves differently in writing versus when speaking. To see their facial expressions and to hear the emotion and interest in people’s voices has really added a third dimension to our evaluation process and become an integral part of how we consider candidates.

mbaMission: It is interesting that you now have the video essay, but you also maintain an open interview policy. Why interview all applicants if you have the video essay?

MR: It’s a different way of expressing yourself. The interview still plays a very important role and gets at some different qualities than our video essay. We try to very carefully curate the things we ask for from candidates so we can really get at the qualities we’re looking for in different ways. Having both the interview and the video essay doesn’t feel redundant, especially since the folks evaluating applications can’t personally interview everyone. We definitely use the interview reports supplied by our alumni from around the world and find great value in those reports, but there’s something different about seeing someone’s face and hearing their voice. Even though the video essay answers are short, they provide that third dimension of evaluation that the admissions committee really enjoys seeing and hearing.

The interview will continue to be an important part of our application process. We’re going to continue to strive to interview all our candidates, because that’s important to us. It reflects our strong commitment to inclusion and diversity and to making sure every person has a similar application experience. But the video essay, again, has become an important part of our process, so we’ll continue to use it as well.

mbaMission: What can you tell us about class visits? Do you see them as an important indication of interest? If a candidate lives a certain extreme distance away from the school, does not visiting campus become more acceptable in the eyes of the admissions committee? Sometimes people wonder if they are expected to visit if they live within a certain radius of campus.

MR: Our evaluation process doesn’t include anything directly tied to a campus visit, but I do think it’s an important way for candidates to get a feel for the culture and the environment they’re going to study in for the next year or two. Someone recently made the comparison that if you look at luxury cars—let’s say a BMW, a Mercedes, and a Lexus—if you look at the stats, they are all high-performance luxury vehicles, and on paper, they look fairly similar. But if you talk to some die-hard BMW drivers, they would never be caught dead in a Lexus, and vice versa. I think that concept can be applied to the MBA, especially if you’re looking at top-tier schools.

The class profiles, the academics, the strong professors are similar. On paper, or on a website, they all look fairly similar. But Kellogg people are Kellogg people. And Harvard people are Harvard people. And that’s okay! I think it’s really about learning about the culture, getting the feel of the community, and there’s just no better way to do that than to be on campus, talk to students, and talk to alumni. So I always encourage candidates to visit the campuses of all the schools they are seriously considering. It’s a really important part of the overall experience. I don’t think many people buy a car without test driving it, and I don’t think many people should go to a school they’ve never visited. And I understand that that’s complicated for international applicants. Obviously, we have a lot of applicants that choose to visit, but for those who can’t, I think engaging with current students and alumni via LinkedIn or email or over Skype is a good way of getting a feel for at least the people who make up Kellogg.

mbaMission: It’s funny that you use a car analogy. I always tell applicants, “If you bought a car, how many cars would you test drive?” And they’ll say, “Three.” And I’ll say, “This is ten times more important and expensive.” And then they kind of get it. So, what can you say about reapplicants to Kellogg? Can you give your reapplicants out there a little hope?

MR: Absolutely, there is hope! Every year, we admit some reapplicants. Some folks just weren’t quite ready the first time. Some just didn’t perform as well on one aspect of the application as they could have. It’s important for reapplicants to understand that submitting the exact same materials will yield the exact same results. You’d be surprised—sometimes, we get identical applications from people. That additional year of work experience and opportunity should be reflected in the next application. Our platform lets us look at a candidate’s application from the previous year alongside the new application. Seeing what kind of reflection happens after someone wasn’t admitted, and seeing how they subsequently took advantage of opportunities at work, or opportunities to study more for the GMAT, or to gain more leadership experience, all those things are important to show in your new application. I often tell our reapplicants I meet that it isn’t so much that you worked another year, because we’d expect you to work another year. It’s more “So what? What did you learn? How did you grow?” Being able to express that in your reapplicant essay is a really important part of being a successful reapplicant.

mbaMission: Something you said earlier caught my attention, that Kellogg has added 100 new classes in the past couple years. Can you point to a class that is a real favorite—maybe one that is a little bit innovative or different in its approach, that students are really loving?

MR: There are several in the entrepreneurship space.

For example, two years ago, Kellogg introduced a San Francisco Winter Quarter program, allowing students the opportunity to gain course credit while working within a high-growth startup, venture capital, or private equity firm. Students spend three to four days per week at their internship while also taking three credits’ worth of courses on topics including building strong teams and company culture, understanding the application of social dynamics and network science to inform strategy, and navigating the world of venture investment. We will be sending our third and largest cohort to the Bay Area this winter.

Other courses that stand out include “Entrepreneurial Selling,” in which students learn how to acquire and delight customers by using selling skills in different contexts, and “New Venture Discovery,” in which students navigate the earliest stages of starting a new venture by identifying a problem in the market that is worth solving.

mbaMission: When I went to business school, there was a course I felt everyone should have taken but that no one seemed to know about. They brought in 17 entrepreneurs who talked about how they had purchased a business for less than $500,000. Just an amazing class. I had to wonder what classes at Kellogg might be like that! Do you have anything else you would like to say about Kellogg or to your future applicants?

MR: I’m just so thrilled that our application is already live! We were able to launch it earlier than we ever have before. We wanted candidates, especially in Round 1, to have plenty of time to thoughtfully craft their applications. We’re thrilled to have it live now. I definitely encourage everyone to have a look at it and get started on it. Our admissions team is happy to help with any questions. We’ve also started a director blog series, so if you want to hear more of what I think about things, you can follow that [http://blogs.kellogg.northwestern.edu/inside/category/admissions/]. It is such an exciting time here at Kellogg.

mbaMission: Fantastic! Thank you so much for joining us. I look forward to visiting soon and to seeing Kellogg’s impressive growth continue.

MR: Thank you so much! It was a pleasure.
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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UNC Kenan Flagler Essay Analysis, 2018–2019  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Aug 2018, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: UNC Kenan Flagler Essay Analysis, 2018–2019
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The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School is continuing to stick with rather traditional application essay questions this year and eschewing the ultra creative options some other top programs have embraced— “introduce yourself” videos, tables of contents, lists of “random things,” six-word “stories,” representative songs—but it has all new prompts and now requires two essay submissions, rather than just one. Candidates are tasked with explaining their short-term professional intentions in one essay, while the other essay provides some balance by focusing on one’s core values and response to a related challenging situation. Applicants also have one optional essay, rather than the previous three, with which to address another angle or two of their profile and candidacy, as they see fit. The approach, albeit conventional, gives applicants plenty of opportunity to present a full picture of themselves in the 750 to 1,050 words allotted. Our full analysis of this season’s questions follows.

Essay 1  (Required): Please respond to the questions below that will assist us in learning more about you (500 words):

  •  Tell us what your immediate career goals are and how you will benefit personally and professionally from earning an MBA at Kenan-Flagler Business School.
  •  As the business world continues to evolve, circumstances can change and guide you in a different direction. Should your goals that you provided above not transpire, what other opportunities would you explore?
This year, Kenan-Flagler has amended its career-related essay question to focus strictly on one’s initial post-MBA job only. Business schools know only too well that students regularly change their long-term professional plans after being exposed through the MBA experience to new people, information, and options and learning new skills and ways of looking at the world and themselves. Given that reality, asking about candidates’ long-term goals can in some ways be a waste of time, if an admissions committee is not simply doing so to see evidence that the applicant has put serious thought into their plans of attending business school. With the first part of this prompt, Kenan-Flagler wants to know that you have thoroughly considered this next step in your career and are applying to business school for very clear, specific reasons—not because you feel you are supposed to or because you are following in a parent’s footsteps, and definitely not because you do not know what else to do at this juncture in your life! (Believe it or not, these are all actual reasons some people choose to pursue an MBA.) Kenan-Flagler, like all top programs, wants engaged, driven, and focused students who are ready to be an active part of its MBA experience and to do big things with the knowledge and skills they acquire from it. Although the school does not ask you to lay out your background and explain how you reached this choice, providing some basic context for your goal is a good idea (just be succinct!) to ensure the admissions committee understands that your plans are reasonable and fitting for you.

Without posing the question directly, the school is also looking for an explanation of “Why Kenan-Flagler?” The admissions committee wants evidence that you have researched its MBA program thoroughly enough to have pinpointed resources and offerings that directly align with your interests and needs—and not just academically and professionally. This is the part of our essay analysis in which we once again repeat our advice about getting to know a school beyond its website and published materials. Visit campus, sit in on a class, and connect with students and alumni. Identify clubs, events, courses, initiatives, and other opportunities at the school that speak to who you are as an individual and to who you want to be by the time you graduate and going forward in your career. Ideally, Kenan-Flagler offers one or more particular resources or experiences that you believe are vital to you in achieving your goals and are not available elsewhere. When you include this information in your essay, do not simply provide a list but explain how you will engage with these elements of the MBA program and what you expect to gain from them.

With career goals essays, candidates often feel they must be totally unequivocal in their stated aspirations, but with the second part of this essay prompt, Kenan-Flagler is giving applicants room to speculate on and discuss 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 not only that you are prepared to switch gears and recommit to a different path, if necessary, but also that you are fully capable of doing so. The key is to show 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.

This prompt encompasses a few core elements of a traditional personal statement essay, so we encourage you to download our free mbaMission Personal Statement Guide for more in-depth guidance. This complimentary publication offers detailed advice on approaching and framing these subjects, along with multiple illustrative examples. Be sure to claim your copy today.

Essay 2 (Required): The UNC Kenan-Flagler community lives by its core values: excellence, leadership, integrity, community and teamwork.

  •   Pick a core value that resonates most deeply with you.
  •   Identify the most challenging situation that you have encountered and how you responded while upholding that core value. (250 words)

Around the world, people hold very different definitions of success and strong feelings about the best way to achieve it. For some, this means “winning” at all costs and by any means necessary. As a result, you will inevitably encounter situations in life in which people act or things progress in a way that runs counter to what you feel is “right”—in other words, in a way that conflicts with your values. Kenan-Flagler wants to know how your values influence your decisions and actions, and in particular, which one you feel serves as your strongest guide. Simply stating that you adhere to your values is easy enough, so the admissions committee is understandably asking for an illustration of this phenomenon from your past to better gauge this for itself. Having an idea of how you tend to react to situations that challenge your core beliefs will help the school better envision how you might navigate such incidents in its classrooms and in the business world after you graduate.

The wording of the prompt leads us to believe that the school wants you to choose your featured core value from the list it has provided of its own—excellence, leadership, integrity, community, and teamwork—and given that your application essays are meant to convince the admissions committee that you would be a good fit with the Kenan-Flagler program, doing so only makes sense anyway. Beyond that, the school does not stipulate whether a story from your personal life or your career should be provided here, so consider all your options to identify the most fitting and revealing one. Although in theory, describing a situation from your personal or community activities would provide a nice balance for the professional focus of the school’s first essay, what is more critical is sharing an experience that best conveys this aspect of your character for the admissions committee. Given the 250-word maximum for this essay, you should definitely skip any preamble or lip service and simply dive into your response, clearly identifying your selected core value, describing the situation that challenged it, and detailing your subsequent thought process and actions in response. Whatever the ultimate outcome of the incident—even if it took the form of a failure of some kind—the key again is to clearly illustrate for the admissions committee how you were guided by your fundamental beliefs.

Optional Essay:  Is there any additional information not presented elsewhere in your application that you would like the admissions committee to consider? (300 words) Optional areas to address include:

  •   If you have not had coursework in the core business subjects (calculus, microeconomics, statistics, financial accounting), how will you prepare yourself?
  •   Inconsistent academics, gaps in work, or low standardized test scores
  •   Choice of recommenders
In general, we believe that the best use of the optional essay is to explain confusing or problematic issues in your candidacy, which this prompt allows, and which the inclusion of the illustrative bullet points seems to encourage. So, if you need to, use this opportunity to address any questions the admissions committee might have about your profile. If you elect to take this route, consider downloading our mbaMission Optional Essays Guide, in which we offer detailed advice (and multiple examples) on how best to approach the optional essay to mitigate any problem areas in your application.

However, Kenan-Flagler leaves the door open for you to discuss something other than a problem area if you feel you have information that is not covered elsewhere in your application and that you feel the admissions committee truly needs to know to be able to evaluate you fully and effectively. We caution you against submitting a response to this prompt just because you fear that not doing so would somehow count against you, though. Remember, with each additional essay you write, you are asking the admissions committee to do extra work on your behalf, so you must make sure that added time is warranted. If you decide to use this essay to impart information that if omitted would render your application incomplete, strive to keep your submission brief and on point.
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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INSEAD Essay Analysis, 2018–2019  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Aug 2018, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: INSEAD Essay Analysis, 2018–2019
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Last year, INSEAD made just the slightest of changes to its essay approach and questions, but this year, it has made none at all. Candidates must respond to four short career-focused queries and provide three motivation essays that together total 1,200 words.  Applicants are also tasked with completing a video component for which they answer four questions as four separate one-minute video recordings. Given the sheer number of prompts, tasks, and questions involved, some applicants may find INSEAD’s essay gauntlet a bit intimidating, if not outright punishing. Read on for our full analysis of the school’s questions, which we hope will make the process a little easier to manage.

Job Description 1: Briefly summarise your current (or most recent) job, including the nature of work, major responsibilities, and where relevant, employees under your supervision, size of budget, clients/products and results achieved. (short answer)

Job Description 2: What would be your next step in terms of position if you were to remain in the same company? (short answer)

Job Description 3: Please give a full description of your career since graduating from university. Describe your career path with the rationale behind your choices. (short answer)

Job Description 4: Discuss your short and long term career aspirations with an MBA from INSEAD. (short answer)

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

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

The third prompt is rather self-explanatory with respect to detailing the various stages of your career to date, but do not be remiss in responding to the “rationale” and “choices” aspects of the query. The school wants to know that your progression has not been passive, with your simply accepting the next good thing to come along, but rather that you have made thoughtful decisions with clear motivations and intentions behind them. For the fourth question, you will need to present your professional goals within the context of an INSEAD MBA education. Do your research on the school to identify specific resources it offers that relate directly to the skills and experiences you need to be successful in your career, thereby illustrating how INSEAD would help you achieve your aims. Above all, be sure to show determination and direction—that you are focused firmly on your intended end points and will not be easily deterred.

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

As we have noted, these questions cover many elements of a traditional personal statement, so we encourage you to download a free copy of our mbaMission Personal Statement Guide. In this complimentary publication, we provide a detailed discussion of how to approach such queries and craft effective responses, along with multiple illustrative examples.

Optional Job Essay: If you are currently not working or if you plan to leave your current employer more than 2 months before the programme starts, please explain your activities and occupations between leaving your job and the start of the programme.

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

Motivation Essay 1: Give a candid description of yourself (who are you as a person), stressing the personal characteristics you feel to be your strengths and weaknesses and the main factors which have influenced your personal development, giving examples when necessary (approximately 500 words).

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

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

Motivation Essay 2: Describe the achievement of which you are most proud and explain why. In addition, describe a situation where you failed. How did these experiences impact your relationships with others? Comment on what you learned (approximately 400 words).

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

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

Motivation Essay 3: Describe all types of extra-professional activities in which you have been or are still involved for a significant amount of time (clubs, sports, music, arts, politics, etc). How are you enriched by these activities? (approximately 300 words)

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

Optional Motivation Essay: Is there anything else that was not covered in your application that you would like to share with the Admissions Committee? (approximately 300 words)

We tend to believe that the best use of the optional essay is to explain confusing or problematic issues in your candidacy, and this prompt offers an opportunity to do just that. So, if you need to, this is your chance to address any questions an admissions officer might have about your profile—a poor grade or overall GPA, a low GMAT or GRE score, a gap in your work experience, etc. We suggest downloading your free copy of the mbaMission Optional Essays Guide, in which we offer detailed advice on deciding whether to take advantage of the optional essay and how best to do so (with multiple sample essays), if needed.

INSEAD does not stipulate that you can only discuss a problem area in this essay, however, so you have some leeway to share anything you think may be pivotal or particularly compelling. We caution you against trying to fill this space simply because you fear that not doing so would somehow count against you. Remember, by submitting an additional essay, you are asking the admissions committee to do extra work on your behalf, so you need to make sure that time is warranted. If you are using the essay to emphasize something that if omitted would render your application incomplete, take this opportunity to write a very brief narrative that reveals this key new aspect of your candidacy.

Video

After submitting your INSEAD application, you will need to respond to four additional questions in video form.  You technically have until 48 hours after the deadline for the round in which you apply to complete this element of the process, but we strongly recommend doing so sooner rather than later while your mind is still in application mode and to ensure you do not somehow forget this task or have to rush through it at the end of the allotted time period.

Because all INSEAD interviews are conducted by the school’s alumni, members of the admissions committee have previously had no opportunity to see or meet with candidates; they had to learn all they could simply from the written portions of the application. This video component now gives the committee direct and dynamic insight into applicants’ character and personality, as well as another angle on their language abilities. About the videos, INSEAD says on its site, “The Admissions Committee is interested in obtaining an authentic view of you as a person, to see how you think on your feet and how you convey your ideas.” So when the time comes for you to record your responses, do your best to relax, answer genuinely, and let your true self shine through!

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

The Next Step—Mastering Your INSEAD Interview:Many MBA candidates find admissions interviews stressful and intimidating, but mastering this important element of the application process is definitely possible—the key is informed preparation. We therefore offer our free Interview Primers to spur you along! Download your free copy of the INSEAD Interview Primer today.
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Dealing with Long Underlines in GMAT Sentence Correction Questions  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Aug 2018, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Dealing with Long Underlines in GMAT Sentence Correction Questions
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.

Many of the more “standard” (and lower-level) Sentence Correction (SC) questions have easier-to-identify “splits,” or differences in the answer choices. For instance, answers A and B might use the word “have,” while C, D, and E use the word “has,” indicating a relatively easy-to-spot singular versus plural issue.

Sentences with longer underlines, however, are more likely to be testing such global issues as Structure, Meaning, Modifiers, and Parallelism. In these questions, large chunks of the sentence move around, the fundamental sentence structure changes, and so on. In one GMATPrep problem, for example, answer A includes the text “the brain growing in mice when placed” while answer B says “mice whose brains grow when they are placed.” This is not just a simple switch of a single word—something more complicated is happening. Take a look at this article for the full example.

To have a chance at answering these correctly, we may need to modify our standard approach to SC. In GMATPrep’s Lake Baikal problem, the entire sentence is underlined, and the answers seem to be changing completely around. Where do we even start? Click the link to try the problem and learn more about how to tackle these types of SCs. Here is another one discussing an organization called Project SETI.

When you are done with this, try this third one: FCC rates. Here, only about two-thirds of the sentence is underlined, but the sentence is unusually long.

When you are starting to feel more comfortable with those, I have an exercise for you. Pull up some long-underline Official Guide questions that you have previously completed. Cover up the original sentence and look only at the answers (in other words, if the entire sentence is not underlined, then you are going to do this exercise without actually reading the full sentence!).

Based on the differences that you see, try to articulate all of the issues that are being tested and eliminate as many answers as you can. (Note: You will not always be able to eliminate all four wrong answers; sometimes the non-underlined portion of the sentence contains some crucial information!) When you are done, look at the full thing and review the explanation to see how close you got and whether you missed anything.

When you are starting to feel more comfortable with those, I have an exercise for you. Pull up some long-underline Official Guide questions that you have previously completed. Cover up the original sentence and look only at the answers (in other words, if the entire sentence is not underlined, then you are going to do this exercise without actually reading the full sentence!).

Based on the differences that you see, try to articulate all of the issues that are being tested and eliminate as many answers as you can. (Note: You will not always be able to eliminate all four wrong answers; sometimes the non-underlined portion of the sentence contains some crucial information!) When you are done, look at the full thing and review the explanation to see how close you got and whether you missed anything.
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Kelley School of Business and Fisher College of Business Offer MBAs in  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Aug 2018, 12:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Kelley School of Business and Fisher College of Business Offer MBAs in the Midwest
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Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business

As the demand for business-savvy health care professionals grows, business schools are taking notice. Leading the way is the Business of Medicine Physician MBA at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, which is designed to train practicing physicians to assume management positions and face a changing health care business environment. As the Financial Times reports, the two-year degree program began in the fall of 2013 and presents a new kind of opportunity at the intersection of business management and medical practice.

The degree combines the basic curriculum of Kelley’s full-time MBA with specialized health care courses supported by the school’s Center for the Business of Life Sciences. The Financial Times quotes Idalene Kesner, who was interim dean at the time of the article but has since been appointed dean, as saying, “With this degree, physician leaders will emerge with the full skillset to transform individual institutions, the broad healthcare field and, most important, patient outcomes.” Part of the Business of Medicine Physician MBA program is taught online, drawing on Kelley’s pioneering strengths in distance learning, while the other part entails one weekend residence per month, allowing for a more flexible time commitment.

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Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business

Despite the size of its parent institution, another Midwestern business school, the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University boasts a relatively intimate classroom experience—with approximately 100 students in each incoming full-time MBA class—and a close-knit community. Fisher students consequently benefit from the school’s wider university network (more than 550,000 alumni) and its proximity to major companies based both in Columbus and throughout the Midwest. Bloomberg Businessweek ranked Fisher 37th in its list of top U.S. full-time MBA programs in 2017.

The Fisher curriculum consists of a core sequence spanning the first year of the program and offers ten optional disciplines in which students can major (including a “Make Your Own Major” option). A particularly noteworthy highlight of Fisher’s MBA curriculum is its experiential Leadership Development program, which spans the full two years. The first program of its kind to be offered at a business school, the program organizes various workshops and assessments during the academic year, in addition to connecting students with corporate mentors who offer career guidance and networking opportunities. Also among the offerings are expert speakers, including such leaders as the chairman of Harley-Davidson and the founder and CEO of KRUEGER+CO Consulting, Inc.
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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Love Your School So Much That I Cann  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Aug 2018, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Love Your School So Much That I Cannot Stop Writing About It
Although admissions officers want to know that you are interested in their school, they do not want to read your repeated professions of love for it. Some candidates mistakenly believe they must include in each essay numerous enthusiastic statements about how they will improve their skills at their target school, regardless of whether the school asks for such information.

For instance, consider this entirely fictitious example of an individual who responds to the essay question “What achievement are you most proud of and why?” by writing the following:

“In starting ABC Distributors, I learned a great deal about entrepreneurship, and I hope to formalize this knowledge at the XYZ School of Management. Only with XYZ’s vast entrepreneurial resources and profound alumni connections will I be able to take my next venture to a higher level. At XYZ, I will grow my business skills and potential.”

We can identify numerous problems with this submission—including that the statements are cloying and have no real substance. However, the most egregious issue is that the school never asked the applicant to discuss how the program would affect his/her abilities. Thus, the “Why our school?” component is just empty pandering.

As you write your essays, always focus on answering the essay questions as they are written—do not try to anticipate or respond to unasked questions. So, if your target school does not explicitly request that you address the question “Why our school?,” do not look for ways to sneakily answer that question in your essay(s).

Of course, if the school does ask for this information, then certainly do your research and provide it. Again, the key is to always respond to the school’s question and give the admissions committee the information it wants.
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Begin Your Essays with Your Strongest Accomplishments and Enliven with  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Aug 2018, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Begin Your Essays with Your Strongest Accomplishments and Enliven with the Active Voice
When preparing personal statements that require significant information about career progress, many MBA applicants choose to discuss their accomplishments in chronological order. Although the simplicity of this approach makes it an attractive one, we encourage you to consider an alternative to showcase your more recent and thus potentially stronger accomplishments first. By choosing this alternate approach, you may capture your reader’s imagination more quickly and reduce the risk of being lost amid similar candidates.

Consider the examples of a software analyst who is now a project manager managing a budget and leading a team of 20 programmers, and of an investment banking analyst who is now in his/her third year with a company and has been sent abroad to work directly with a CFO:

The Project Manager:

Chronological: “Joining ABC Technology as a software programmer, I…”

Reverse: “Scrutinizing my plan one last time, I waited to present my team’s $3.7M proposal to our client…” 

The Investment Banker:

Chronological: “As an investment banking analyst at Deutsche Bank, I started…”

Reverse: “Arriving in Taipei, I was admittedly nervous to finally meet the CFO of XYZ Co. and lead my firm’s due diligence process…”

In these examples, the candidates immediately present their standout accomplishments and thrust the reader into the excitement of their stories. Although this kind of reverse introduction is not “all purpose,” it can be a feasible option in many circumstances. Still, in choosing this approach, the candidate must also be able to fluidly return to earlier moments in his/her career later in the essay—a task that requires creativity and skill.

Another task that requires skill is determining when to use the active voice. Many writers use the passive voice in their essays, but the best writers know it should be used only rarely, if ever.

The passive voice puts the verb in the “wrong” place in the sentence, thereby removing the “action.” Subjects become acted upon rather than performing actions. Sentences with the passive voice typically include verb phrases such as “was” or “has been” (e.g., “it was determined,” “the project has been completed”).

Consider this example of the passive voice:

“The marathon was run despite my injury.”

In this sentence, the verb (or action) is diminished because the writer says the marathon “was run.” A better way of describing the same activity is to use the active voice, as illustrated in this example:

“I ran the marathon despite my injury.”

Here are two more examples:

Passive: “The contract was awarded to us.”

Active: “We won the contract.”

Passive: “It was decided that I would be in charge of the project.”

Active: “My boss selected me to be in charge of the project.”

Remember—you are the center and subject of your essays. The best way to tell your stories and explain your accomplishments is to make sure that you are the catalyst of the stories you tell. Using the active voice ensures that the admissions committee(s) will see you as an active person who makes things happen.
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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Carnegie Mellon University Tepper Essay Analysis, 2018–2019  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Aug 2018, 09:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Carnegie Mellon University Tepper Essay Analysis, 2018–2019
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In recent years, Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business has offered its applicants one required essay question that was in many ways an open invitation to share whatever they felt was most important for the admissions committee to know about them. For this season, however, the school has made a big change in its approach. Candidates still only have to submit one 300- to 350-word essay, but they must now choose from three different essay prompts, and the scope of those prompts is rather  narrow, comparatively. Any applicants who feel they need to share additional information can do so via the optional essay, which is sufficiently broad to accommodate essays about more than just problem areas in one’s candidacy (if executed effectively). Our full analysis of the program’s revamped essay prompts follows.

At Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School, we love to tell our story. Below is your chance to tell yours. Please select only ONE of the options below to complete the essay requirement (maximum 300–350 words).

Option #1: Carnegie Mellon University is an institution that never stops looking and moving ahead, pioneering the next way forward with technology, business and research to answer questions big and small. Personally or professionally, in what way have you been a pioneer?

Tepper, like all top MBA programs, seeks candidates who have ambition, a burning desire to move forward and effect change in business and the world. Applying to business school is already a strong indicator of this kind of mind-set and passion, but the admissions committee wants to know that you have more than just a fire in your belly, so to speak, and that this attitude is authentically part of who you are. So to prove this, you need to share an experience from your past that evidences it. Showing that you have already—and proactively—taken steps to forge a new path or uncover a new option in a specific context demonstrates for the school that you possess the personality and drive necessary to identify novel opportunities and to pursue them with determination and, ultimately, success.

As with many application essays, we recommend taking a narrative approach here. Set the stage by introducing the situation you encountered that inspired you to take action. Explain what your new spin on that situation was and your thought process. Where did your idea come from? Why did you believe pursuing it was the right course of action? How did you develop your plan for your pioneering idea? What results did you envision? Then, of course, discuss the actions you took and the outcome of the situation. By clearly outlining the entire situation so that the admissions reader can follow the progression and understand your thinking at each stage, you will establish that you indeed possess the kind of thoughtful enthusiasm and drive the school is seeking.

Although Tepper does not specifically ask you to share what you learned from the situation, showing that you naturally reflect on your actions and achievements in such a way as to educate and equip yourself for future incidents is a good idea, if space allows. Doing so can serve as evidence of your maturity and self-awareness.  Just be sure to restrict yourself to only a sentence or two.

Option #2: Amidst the ambiguous and unchartered nature of change, Carnegie Mellon University students and alumni rise above to envision and create. Discuss how you have anticipated change in your professional life. In what ways did you effectively collaborate to create your desired outcome?

If you choose to respond to this essay prompt, one of your goals will be to show that you are a thoughtful, forward-looking individual who carefully processes information. We will assume to start that you are applying to business school with a plan in mind and not for a shallow reason—not because you think you are supposed to or just to follow in a parent’s footsteps, and definitely not because you do not know what else to do at this juncture in your life! And if that is true, we then also assume that you have considered your options along with potential setbacks and challenges and that you are ready to face them if they arise. You do your research and understand the kind of preparation and investment—time, energy, thought, etc.—that achieving one’s goals requires. And if this is true, then we can assume that this is not a brand new mind-set you just developed in time to apply to business school, so you must naturally approach key moments and decisions in your life with this attitude.

You therefore should have at least a few illustrative stories from your past of times when you knew an inflection point of some kind was in your future and planned to navigate it in a way that would move you in the direction of your professional ambitions. Perhaps you learned that an opportunity for promotion would soon be available at your company, so you spoke with your supervisor about how to best position yourself for consideration for the role. Or you sought out courses that would hone your skills in a certain area because you wanted to target a new job or project. Sharing such moments with the admissions committee will help prove that you can and will do so again in the future, not only in the Tepper MBA program but also in your professional life after graduation.

Note that of the three essay options Tepper offers this year, this is the only one that specifies that you must discuss a career-related story. Also, do not overlook the word “collaborate” in the final line of the prompt. Very often in life—and we would say, particularly in business—success is not a one-man (or one-woman) show. Sometimes the best outcomes require input from and effective teamwork among multiple people. Tepper seems to be making a quiet nod to this idea and inviting you to explain how you have called upon others as you have progressed through your career to date.

Option #3: At Carnegie Mellon University, our difference is what we imagine for the world and how we answer its challenges. What impact have you had on the world around you?

At mbaMission, we of course believe that today’s MBA students will be the individuals leading organizations and spearheading innovation in the years ahead—effectively changing the world with their ideas and decisions. With this prompt, Tepper is interested in learning how much of this instinct and drive you already possess and how you have applied it thus far in your life. The school does not specify whether you should focus on your personal life or your career, so consider all your options from both realms as you  brainstorm, and keep in mind that “world” does not have to be taken literally (note that the exact phrase is “world around you”). You could, for example, have affected one person in a truly profound way, perhaps by teaching an adult to read, which opened the door for him/her to get a better job, gain citizenship, or apply to college. You might have had a meaningful impact on a group, such as by motivating a team of coworkers to overcome an obstacle and achieve an important goal for the company. Or perhaps you affected a community, maybe by arranging a fund-raiser to create or revive a local park or activity center that in turn improved the lives of the area’s residents.  

A narrative approach will unquestionably be a good option for this essay. Introduce the situation you encountered. Explain what (or perhaps who) inspired you to step forward, and describe your thought process as you considered your options. Discuss how you put your intentions/plan into action, and then detail the outcome. Most importantly, clarify the extended results of your efforts. This is the “impact” part of the experience and therefore the most crucial element of your response for the school—demonstrating that the outcome had a sustained effect on others.

Optional Essay: Use this essay to convey important information that you may not have otherwise been able to convey. This may include unexplained resume gaps, context for recommender selection, etc. If you are a re-applicant, explain how your candidacy has strengthened since your last application.

Tepper’s optional essay prompt is somewhat broad in the sense that it does not demand that you discuss only problem areas in your candidacy. That said, the second line of the prompt does seem to imply that the admissions committee expects the essay to be used in this way. If an element of your profile would benefit from further explanation—such as a poor grade or overall GPA, a low GMAT or GRE score, or a legal or disciplinary issue—this is your opportunity to address it and answer any related questions an admissions officer might have. We caution you against simply trying to fill this space because you fear that not doing so would somehow count against you, and do not interpret this as a blank-slate invitation to dump every bit of remaining information about yourself that you feel the school is lacking or to offer a few anecdotes you were unable to use in your required essay. Although no word limit is stipulated, be mindful that by submitting a second essay, you are making a claim on an (undoubtedly very busy) admissions representative’s time, so you be sure that what you have written is worth the additional resources and effort. For more guidance, see our mbaMission Optional Essays Guide, in which we offer detailed advice (along with multiple examples) on when and how to take advantage of the optional essay.

If you are a reapplicant, this essay is pretty straightforward. Whether you have improved your academic record, received a promotion, begun a new and exciting project, increased your community involvement, or taken on some sort of personal challenge, the key to success with this essay is conveying a very deliberate path of achievement. Tepper wants to know that you have been actively striving to improve yourself and your profile, and that you have seized opportunities during the previous year to do so, because a Tepper 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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Professor Profiles: Gautam Kaul, University of Michigan Stephen M. Ros  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Aug 2018, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Gautam Kaul, University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business
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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 profile Gautam Kaul from the University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business.

Gautam Kaul, professor of finance and the Fred M. Taylor Professor of Business Administration, teaches both core curriculum courses and electives. In addition to referencing his intellectual capabilities, students with whom mbaMission spoke described Kaul as extremely friendly and having a great sense of humor. He is also known for his willingness to help students both inside and outside the classroom. In 2005, in direct response to student interest, Kaul developed the course “Finance and the Sustainable Enterprise.” In return, students recognized his efforts and awarded him the Sustainability Pioneer Award and a plaque in his honor on one of the chairs in the main auditorium of the university’s School of Natural Resources and Environment. Kaul has been nominated for an MBA Teaching Excellence Award (which is voted on by the student body) numerous times, and he won the award in 1996, 2006, 2009, 2011, and 2013. He is also the 2009 recipient of the Victor L. Bernard Leadership in Teaching Award from the university’s Center for Research on Learning and Teaching.

For more information about Michigan Ross and 16 other top-ranked business schools, check out the free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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To Keep or Cancel Your GMAT Scores?  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Aug 2018, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: To Keep or Cancel Your GMAT Scores?
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.

The GMAT offers various kinds of flexibility around your decision to keep or cancel your GMAT scores—but also some restrictions. It’s important to understand your options so that you make the best decision for you!

How does it work?

At the end of the test, you will be shown your scores (for everything except the essay) and you will then be asked whether you want to keep or cancel your GMAT scores. If you keep your scores, they’ll go on your official record. If you cancel them, they won’t; the school won’t see those scores, nor will the schools even know that you took the test that day.

Right at that moment, you’ll have 2 minutes to decide whether to keep or cancel your GMAT scores. Later, you can change your mind—but you’ll have to pay a fee to change the status of your scores. So let’s first talk about how to make the best decision during that first 2 minutes.

In short, you need to have an idea of what you’d want to do before you even walk in the testing room.

What do your schools want to see?

First, what kind of program do you want? MBA programs generally care only about your highest score. Other kinds of programs, such as Ph.D. programs, may look at all of your scores. So it’s important to find out how your schools are going to use the data.

If you are applying to an MBA program, you can assume that they don’t care if you take the test multiple times. They’re just going to use your best score and that’s that. If you are applying to a Ph.D. program or another type of Master’s program, ask the schools directly whether they care about multiple tests and, if so, how they use the multiple data points.

(By the way, for any school communication, I highly recommend attending one or more of the various MBA tours that travel around the country, giving you an opportunity to meet representatives from different schools. There are a bunch of different ones, some of which are tied to specific groups of people, such as women or other underrepresented groups. Ask your questions directly, make some connections, and get the ball rolling!)

What is your goal score?

Based on where you want to apply and how those schools use GMAT scores, you’ll come up with a goal score for yourself. Broadly speaking, you can classify the programs into one of three categories:

—Safety. I’m almost certain to be accepted to this school.

—Regular. I’ve got a good chance to get in, but it’s not a certainty.

—Reach. This school is a stretch, but hey, if I don’t even apply, I definitely won’t make it, right? So I’ll give it a shot.

Your GMAT goal should be above the average for your safety schools and at least at the average for your regular schools. You may not be above average for the reach schools, but you’d still ideally be within that school’s general range.

For the purposes of this discussion, let’s say that your goal score is a 650.

What is your minimum acceptable score?

Your ideal goal is 650, but let’s say that (based on your research) your minimum score is really a 620. You’d still feel comfortable applying to your schools with that score.

So, first, if you do hit a 620 or higher, you are not even going to think about canceling. You’re good to go!

What if you score a 610? Close enough. Keep it.

600?

580?

560…?

See where I’m going with this? At some point, the decision will switch to, “Nope, I’m going to cancel this one.” Where is that point?

Consider the Worst Possible Scenario

Your ideal goal is 650. Your minimum is 620. But what if you just can’t score above 590? You don’t want to take the test and score 590 and cancel, and then sign up again and get another 590 and cancel again, and then take it a third time and get a 550 because you’re so stressed out…and now you’ve taken the test three times and you have no score on your record at all.

The above scenario is even more likely for those who have really high goals. If someone really wants a 730 and keeps canceling 690 scores…that person might never make it to 730.

(You can reinstate your canceled scores at a later date—but you’re going to have to pay to do so. Let’s minimize your expenditure here.)

Know (More) about What the Schools Want

Remember how I said that MBA programs don’t really care if you take the test multiple times? For those programs, then, you don’t actually have to cancel anything. They don’t care. Just keep all your scores.

I know most students won’t be totally comfortable with this. I’m going to try to change your mind, though.

Anecdotally, we have heard that MBA programs, if anything, consider it a positive to see that you tried again. Let’s say that a school’s average is 650. You first score was a little under 650—say, 620 to 640. That’s probably good enough, but you decide to go for it again because you want to hit that average, if possible. This could play out in a couple of ways:

—You score 650+. Yay! You’re at/above the average for that school! Your hard work paid off.

—You increase your score a little but not all the way to the average. You are closer now, and you’ve signaled to the school that you were willing to try hard to succeed. They like to see that.

—You drop below your initial score. You still keep the score to signal to the school that you were willing to keep trying. Yeah, it did drop, but so what; you still have your original (higher) score locked in.

I would definitely keep the score in the first two scenarios. I also think it’s worth it to keep the score in the third scenario, but I would understand if a student didn’t feel comfortable doing so (particularly if you knew you would take the test a third time).

Final Advice: To Keep or Cancel Your GMAT Scores?

So all of the above leads me to this:

—If you’re applying for an MBA and you’re okay with my recommendation just to keep everything, then keep your score no matter what.

—If that idea makes you uneasy, then keep any score that’s within 100 points of your minimum goal score. If you want a minimum score of 650, keep any score of 550 or higher. (If your ideal score is 650 but your minimum is 620, keep anything at 520 or higher.)

Caveat: if your goal score is crazy high (e.g., you want a 780), keep anything within 150 points of your goal. I know, I know, a 630 isn’t anywhere near a 780. But less than 1% of the testing population hits a 780! That’s super ambitious. Be really happy if you get there, but don’t assume that anyone who just “studies enough” will get there.

I Canceled but Now I’m Thinking I Should Reinstate the Score… (or Vice Versa)

As of this writing, here are the details for canceling or reinstating a score after you leave the testing center. (Note that any details, especially pricing, could change in the future—so check mba.com to make sure that nothing has changed.)

If you keep your scores in the testing center but later decide that you want to cancel them, you have 72 hours to do so; after that, you cannot cancel your scores. You’ll have to pay a $25 fee.

If you cancel in the testing center but later decide that you want to reinstate your scores, you can do so as long as the scores are still valid (they expire after 5 years). This will cost you $50.

It costs less to cancel after the fact, but you have a time limit of 72 hours. If you’re just not sure what to do in the testing center, I would recommend keeping the scores, then using the next day or two to think about what to do (and ask others that you trust for their opinion). Then, if you do decide to cancel, you’ll only have to pay $25 to do so.

One Unusual Circumstance in Which You Actually Should Cancel

This last bit won’t apply to 99.9% of people taking the test, but just in case this happens to you, read on.

If you become ill or otherwise feel that you cannot finish while you are at the testing center, then a weird thing happens if you leave the test before getting to that “keep or cancel” screen at the very end. You won’t have any reported scores (since you didn’t finish) but the fact that you showed up to take the test that day will still show up on your official score report. It’s sort of an in-between case with an odd outcome.

So, if this happens to you, here’s what I recommend you do. If you have to leave the testing room (maybe you feel queasy and have to go to the bathroom), do so. Just let the test keep running. If you decide, when you get back, that you can’t keep going, then click through all of the remaining questions randomly to get yourself to the end of the test. On the Keep or Cancel screen, cancel your scores.

In Sum

Know what your goal scores (ideal and minimum) are.

Know what you want to do before you get into the testing room. (For example, tell yourself, “If I score 530 or higher, I’m keeping my score. If I score 520 or lower, I’m canceling.”)

If you just can’t decide at the end, keep the scores. Know that you’ll have 72 hours to change your mind and cancel instead. Get out of the testing room, clear your mind, decide what to do, and move ahead.
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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USC Marshall Essay Analysis, 2018–2019  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Aug 2018, 09:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: USC Marshall Essay Analysis, 2018–2019
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For this application season, the University of Southern California (USC) Marshall School of Business is largely maintaining the same application essay approach and prompts it used last year, with just some small tweaks. For the first (mini) essay, applicants must detail their immediate short-term career goal, with little room for any further discussion. For the second (more standard length) required essay, candidates can choose from three prompt options, two of which were held over from the choices presented last year. Given that one of those choices was “You have been hired by the Marshall MBA Admissions Committee to create an essay question for next year’s application,” we cannot help but be curious whether the new option in the list was the brainchild of one of last year’s applicants! We may never know the origin of the new—rather creative and thought provoking—prompt, but we can still do our best to guide you in preparing to write your essay responses. Our full analysis of Marshall’s suite of questions follows.

Essay 1: What is your specific, immediate short-term career goal upon completion of your MBA? Please include an intended position, function, and industry in your response. (word limit: 100)

Quite simply, Marshall wants to know that you have a specific intention in mind and are not just applying to business school with the expectation of figuring everything out later, once you are enrolled in the program. Many MBA applicants have a long-term vision for their career, of course, but with this prompt, Marshall is asking you to prove you have really given thought to the necessary steps in between. Your goal in this short essay is therefore to demonstrate that you do indeed have a plan, not just broad ambition. The school’s other key concern is whether its MBA program is truly the right one to help you attain your stated goal and that you have done the necessary research to discover and confirm this for yourself. Marshall has very little impetus to admit you—and you have very little to attend it—if you will not ultimately be equipped or positioned to pursue your intended goal once you graduate! For example, if you aspire to work in a field or position for which Marshall is not known to have particularly strong courses, professors, or other offerings, or if you want to work for a company that has no recruiting history with the program, it might not be the best choice to get you where you want to go right away.

At just 100 words maximum, your response needs to be fairly forthright. Avoid any generalities and vagueness. Do your research to ensure that Marshall can indeed position you to attain what you intend, and simply spell things out. Given that this essay involves at least one key element of a traditional personal statement, we encourage you to download your free copy of our mbaMission Personal Statement Guide, which provides further advice (with examples!) of how to effectively craft such essays.

Essay 2: Please respond to ONLY ONE of the following essay topics: (word limit: 500)

1) If you could pack the story of your life in a briefcase with 10 items, what items would you pack and why? Respond in list form.

Marshall is jumping right into the creative essay prompt trend with this option! The first thing to keep in mind as you brainstorm for this essay is that the “items” in your virtual briefcase here do not have to be actual, tangible things. “The memory of my grandfather” could be an one, for example. “My sense of humor” could be another. And we want to stress that a briefcase is more than just a simple container that holds things—otherwise, the school could have said “box” or “closet” or such—and carries with it the ideas of both movement and one’s career. Why would you want to bring the items you have listed with you as you move into the next phase of your professional life? What do they provide you, or what have you gained or learned from them?

Think of the many “things” (experiences, skills, values, character traits, responsibilities, friends and family members, heritage, hobbies, goals, etc.) that make you who you are today, in addition to actual, tangible items that are important to you. You want to choose a variety that presents you as a well-rounded individual with an interesting breadth of qualities, experiences, interests, and abilities, so make sure that the items in your suitcase are not too heavily concentrated in just one area of your life. Although the “briefcase” concept implies, as we have said, that the items in some way relate to your professional choices and aspirations, this does not mean that the individual items themselves must all be from your work background. For example, the “memory of my grandfather” item would not likely be from someone’s career, but that candidate’s grandfather may have instilled in him or her a strong work ethic or an interest that is now part of the person’s career path. You also do not have to present the items in chronological order. Furthermore, if you feel that some of your chosen items are more compelling or representative than others, consider putting a few at the beginning of your list and the others at the very end, so they can make the strongest impact.

If you choose this essay option, your final essay will obviously (we hope!) be more than a simple list of ten items. The school gives you 500 words for this essay, so the expectation is clearly that each thing you list will be accompanied by an explanation as to why you have included it among your ten items—why it is so meaningful to you.

2) You are asked to design a course to be taught at the Marshall School of Business. Please provide a title and description for the course.

To craft an effective response to this essay prompt, you will need to start by doing some comprehensive research. The absolute, number-one no-no in this situation would be suggesting a course that already exists at the school—or, just to be safe, that has been offered within the past year or two. So the first step will be getting some initial ideas for subject areas, but the immediate (and indispensable) second step will be taking some time to thoroughly read through the school’s current class offerings in those areas as well as those from last year and even the year before.

You do not need to be an expert in the subject matter of the hypothetical class you pitch. After all, Marshall is not asking you to teach it, simply to envision it and explain its potential value. Naturally, the course needs to be fitting for MBA-level study/students and be relevant in some way to current or projected business practices. A good route to consider would be to simply think about what kind of class you would like to take and why. What do you want to learn more about while you are in business school? What skills do you feel you need to learn to be successful going forward? Identify this kind of information and imagine what a course that addresses those interests and needs would entail and look like. Then compare your newly envisioned class against what is already available and tweak your proposal as necessary to ensure it is distinct from the school’s existing options.

Be sure to go beyond simply describing the course (and do not forget to give the class an actual title!) and dedicate a few lines of your essay to how the class would be helpful to an MBA student. Perhaps, for example, offer ideas for career paths the course would be well suited for.

3) You have been hired by the Marshall MBA Admissions Committee to create an essay question for next year’s application. Please state the question and answer it.

In a way, the admissions committee seems to be asking you, “What do you want to tell us about yourself and your candidacy?” and hoping to gain an idea of your level of creativity at the same time. A number of top MBA programs have offered some rather clever and innovative essay prompts in recent years—signature songs, six-word stories, random lists, photo selections, tables of contents, etc.—but Marshall may be restricting your creative side a bit in this case by stipulating that you must actually respond to your proposed question, not just imagine it. So if you plan to go the imaginative route, be sure to craft an option that you can then offer a strong essay response to, but keep in mind that you can also just offer a prompt that gets at an important element of your profile that you want to share with the admissions committee, with no special bells or whistles.

That said, because you also have the optional essay, if you want or need it, with which to address any “additional information” you believe the school needs to know to evaluate you thoroughly, we think this essay prompt may be best reserved for applicants who do have a strong imaginative or creative bent. Consider all your options for the school’s Essay 2 to make sure that you are choosing the one that allows you to share your most compelling stories.

Optional Essay: Please provide any additional information that will enhance our understanding of your candidacy for the program. (word limit: 250) 

In general, we believe candidates should use a school’s optioal essay to explain confusing or problematic issues in their candidacy, which this prompt does indeed allow. So, if you need to, use this opportunity to address any questions the admissions committee might have about your profile—a poor grade or overall GPA, a low GMAT or GRE score, a gap in your work experience, etc. Consider downloading our mbaMission Optional Essays Guide, in which we offer detailed advice (and multiple examples) on how best to approach the optional essay to mitigate any problem areas in your application.

However, Marshall clearly leaves the door open for you to discuss any other information about your candidacy that you feel may be pivotal or particularly compelling—that you think the admissions committee truly needs to know to be able to evaluate you fully and effectively. We caution you against submitting a response to this prompt just because you fear that not doing so would somehow count against you, though. Remember that with each additional essay you write, you are asking the admissions committee to do extra work on your behalf, so you must make sure that added time is warranted. If you decide to use this essay to impart information that you believe would render your application incomplete if omitted, strive to keep your submission brief and on point.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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mbaMission

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Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
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Alumni Generosity and Research-to-Practice at Dartmouth Tuck  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Aug 2018, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Alumni Generosity and Research-to-Practice at Dartmouth Tuck
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The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth has approximately 10,300 living alumni, and although that figure may sound small compared with a larger school’s alumni base, numerous students and graduates we have interviewed report that Tuck has an active and close-knit alumni community. Through their continued involvement with the school as mentors, visiting executives, recruiting contacts, and internship providers, Tuck alumni maintain an open channel between the MBA program and the business world. The Tuck students with whom we have spoken cannot say enough about the strength of student-alumni interactions, emphasizing that the vitality of Tuck’s close-knit community endures long after graduation.

One second-year student shared that he had had pretty high expectations with regard to the school’s alumni network “but still underestimated how strong the network can be.” He explained, “The connections were instant. I received same-day responses, all the time. There is a strong pay-it-forward mentality and a genuine interest in seeing people from Tuck do well. Alums go out of their way to help with networking, job preparation, anything.”

Tuck alumni also stay connected to the school through its annual fund-raising campaign. The school reportedly boasts the highest giving rate of all U.S. MBA programs. Tuck noted that its giving rate is “more than double the average giving rate of other business schools” in an August 2015 news article on the school’s website, and in an August 2016 article, the school boasted, “More than two-thirds of Tuck’s [alumni] gave to their alma mater this year, continuing the school’s tradition of unparalleled alumni loyalty and participation.” This pattern continued in 2017, when more than two-thirds of the Tuck alumni pool donated to the school, for the 11th year in a row. In fact, the school raised a record $31.1 million in 2017. “I continue to be humbled and inspired by [Tuck alumni’s] deep generosity,” Dean Matthew J. Slaughter said in a July 2017 Tuck news article regarding the new giving record.

Tuck takes pride in not only its active alumni pool, but also its close-knit community and small faculty-to-student ratio. The school’s Research-to-Practice Seminars complement these characteristics and allow incoming students to quickly get acquainted with the Tuck culture. An article on the school’s Tuck Today website explained that “International Entrepreneurship” was the first of several such seminars designed to give students insight into a real-world business issue. The seminars were conceived as a key component of the school’s strategic five-year plan, called Tuck 2012. The courses bring together a small group of second-year students with top faculty for a “deep dive” into a specific topic. Research-to-Practice Seminars that have been offered in the past include the following:

  • “Corporate Takeovers”
  • “Deconstructing Apple”
  • “Management of Investment Portfolios”
  • “Marketing Good and Evil: Consumer Moral Judgment and Well-Being”
  • “Strategy in Innovation Ecosystems”
  • “Time in the Consumer Mind”
For more information on other defining characteristics of the MBA program at Dartmouth Tuck or one of 16 other top business schools, please check out the free 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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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Must Have a Recommendation from My S  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Aug 2018, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Must Have a Recommendation from My Supervisor
MBA admissions committees often say they understand if an applicant does not have a recommendation from a supervisor, but do they really mean it? Even if they say it is okay, if everyone else has a supervisor writing, not having one would put you at a disadvantage, right? Not quite so.

We at mbaMission estimate that one of every five applicants has an issue with one of their current supervisors that prevents them from asking for a recommendation. Common issues include the following:

  • The applicant has had only a brief tenure with his/her current firm.
  • Disclosing one’s plans to attend business school could compromise potential promotions, bonuses, or salary increases.
  • The supervisor is “too busy” to help and either refuses the request or tells the applicant to write the recommendation him/herself, which the applicant is unprepared to do.
  • The supervisor does not believe in the MBA degree and would not be supportive of the applicant’s path.
  • The supervisor is a poor manager and refuses to assist junior staff.
  • The candidate is an entrepreneur or works in a family business and thus lacks a credibly objective supervisor.
We have explained before that admissions offices have no reason to disadvantage candidates who cannot ask their supervisors to be recommenders over those who have secured recommendations from supervisors. What incentive would they have to “disqualify” approximately 20% of applicants for reasons beyond their control?

Therefore, if you cannot ask your supervisor for his/her assistance, do not worry about your situation, but seek to remedy it. Start by considering your alternatives—a past employer, mentor, supplier, client, legal counsel, representative from an industry association, or anyone else who knows your work particularly well. Then, once you have made your alternate selection, briefly explain the nature of your situation and your relationship with this recommender in your optional essay. As long as you explain your choice, the admissions committee will understand your situation.
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Professor Profiles: Jeremy Siegel, the Wharton School of the Universit  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Aug 2018, 09:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Jeremy Siegel, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
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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 profile Jeremy Siegel from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Jeremy Siegel is arguably one of the most recognizable and renowned professors at Wharton, and not just because he regularly appears on CNN, CNBC, and NPR to weigh in on the financial markets. One first-year student we interviewed referred to Siegel as “THE professor at Wharton.” Siegel, who has taught at the school since 1976 and is the Russell E. Palmer Professor of Finance, combines his expertise with a passion for teaching. On the long list of teaching awards he has received is Bloomberg Businessweek’s Best Business School Professor (worldwide) accolade in 1994. What is more, Siegel’s expertise gives him almost unparalleled street cred in the eyes of Wharton students—not an easy lot to win over on the topic of the stock market. At the beginning of each class session for his macroeconomics course, Siegel pulls up live market data and quickly interprets what is going on in the markets that day. Interestingly, even students who are not enrolled in this course commonly stand at the back of the room to watch this summary.

Siegel has been recognized often for his writings, having won numerous best article awards, and is a bestselling author. The Washington Post named his book Stocks for the Long Run: The Definitive Guide to Financial Market Returns and Long-Term Investment Strategies “one of the ten-best investment books of all time.” And in 2005, Bloomberg Businessweek named another of Siegel’s works, The Future for Investors: Why the Tried and the True Triumph Over the Bold and the New, one of the best business books of the year. Also in 2005, Siegel received the prestigious Nicholas Molodovsky Award from CFA Institute, awarded to “those individuals who have made outstanding contributions of such significance as to change the direction of the profession and to raise it to higher standards of accomplishment.”

For information on other defining characteristics of the MBA program at Wharton or any of 16 other top business schools, please check out the free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
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Convey a Confident Tone and Avoid Fawning in Your MBA Application Essa  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Aug 2018, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Convey a Confident Tone and Avoid Fawning in Your MBA Application Essays
In your MBA application essays, you must ensure that the tone you use allows the admissions committee to readily recognize your certainty and self-confidence. Being clear and direct about who you are and how you envision your future is vital. Consider the following example statements:

Weak: “I now have adequate work experience and hope to pursue an MBA.”

Strong: “Through my work experience, I have gained both breadth and depth, providing me with a solid, practical foundation for pursuing my MBA.”

——

Weak: “I now want to pursue an MBA.”

Strong: “I am certain that now is the ideal time for me to pursue my MBA.”

——

Weak: “I have good quantitative skills and will succeed academically.”

Strong: “I have already mastered the quantitative skills necessary to thrive in my MBA studies.”

——

Weak: “With my MBA, I hope to establish myself as a leader.”

Strong: “I am certain that with my MBA, I will propel myself to the next levels of leadership.”

The key in all these examples is the use of language that clearly projects self-confidence. Instead of “hope,” use “will”; rather than saying you have “good” skills, show “mastery.” Although you should avoid sounding arrogant, by being assertive and direct, you will inspire confidence in your reader and ensure that you make a positive impression.

Your target MBA programs certainly want to know that you identify with them. However, this does not need to be a running theme throughout your essays or your entire application. Unless a business school explicitly requests this kind of information—for example, by asking what you are most passionate about and how that passion will positively affect the school—we generally recommend that candidates only discuss their connection with their target MBA program via their personal statements (“What are your short- and long-term goals, and how will [our school] allow you to achieve them?”).

For example, in response to a school’s question about leadership or putting knowledge into action, you would not need to discuss how the school will help you further develop your leadership skills or how you will continue to be an active learner when you are a member of the Class of 2021, even though these topics reflect core values that each school embraces. Although we cannot assert this as an absolute, we find that in most cases, such statements come across as insincere or fawning—the very opposite of the effect you want.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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mbaMission

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Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
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Common GMAT Concerns: Taking the Test Again, and Dealing with Low AWA   [#permalink]

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New post 29 Aug 2018, 09:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Common GMAT Concerns: Taking the Test Again, and Dealing with Low AWA Scores
When candidates who have already taken the GMAT exam once ask us whether they should take the test again, we always reply with this key question: “Do you think you can do better?” If the individual does indeed believe that he/she can improve, the next question we inevitably get is “What do business schools think of multiple scores?”

Fortunately, most MBA admissions committees do not frown on candidates taking the GMAT more than once. Many applicants feel that they have to be “perfect” the first time and that any subsequent test they take—particularly if they receive a lower score on it—might be damaging to their candidacy. This is not the case. Dartmouth Tuck, for one, anticipates that applicants will take the exam more than once and openly states its willingness to “consider your highest quantitative and highest verbal scores,” if they occur on separate tests. Meanwhile, other programs have been known to call candidates and tell them that if they can increase their GMAT scores, they will be offered admission.

Accepting a candidate’s highest GMAT scores is actually in an MBA program’s best interest, because doing so will raise the school’s GMAT average, which is then reported to rankings bodies such as Bloomberg Businessweek and U.S. News & World Report and could positively affect the school’s position in these surveys. So, do not be afraid to take the test two or even three times. It can only help.

Now, if you took the GMAT and feel like you finally “nailed” the exam but later learn that your score on the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), the essay portion, is low, should you panic?

In short, the answer is no. Although we have always encouraged business school candidates to do the best they can on the AWA, the truth is that we have never been told by an admissions officer—nor, as far as we know, has a candidate ever been told in a feedback session—that the AWA score is a factor in a school’s decisions. Generally, the AWA is not used to evaluate candidates but to detect fraud.

If, hypothetically, you had tremendous difficulty expressing yourself via the AWA essays but wrote like a Pulitzer Prize winner in your application essays, the school would get suspicious and begin to compare the two. Not to worry—the schools are not punitive and are not acting as fraud squads. Your AWA essays are expected to be unpolished, so no one will seek out your file if you did your best in both areas. However, if an enormous discrepancy arises between the two, the AWA serves a purpose.

So, if you did well on the GMAT and have a low AWA score, that is unfortunate, but it will not be the difference in a school’s decision about your candidacy. Rest easy—as long as you truly did write both!
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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MBAs for Professionals at Villanova School of Business and Krannert Sc  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Aug 2018, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBAs for Professionals at Villanova School of Business and Krannert School of Management
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Villanova School of Business

In 2013, the Villanova School of Business (VSB) received a $50M gift from alumnus James C. Davis, founder of recruitment company Allegis Group, and his wife, Kim. The donation—part of a $600M capital campaign—was the largest in the school’s history and was reportedly “earmarked to improve academic and career advising, increase internship and study abroad opportunities, perform technology upgrades, and provide scholarships,” according to Bloomberg Businessweek. VSB also planned to use a portion of the funds to “beef up its faculty roster to include more professors focused on teaching as opposed to research.”

With a satellite campus in Center City, Philadelphia, VSB specializes in part-time programs for working professionals, allowing them to enjoy the benefits of a full-time curriculum without leaving their job. In this vein, the school offers an accelerated, two-year, part-time Fast Track degree option, which meets twice a week, as well as the more customizable Flex Track degree option, which typically takes three years to complete and accommodates varying course loads.

One advantage of the accelerated option is the opportunity to partake in the school’s two-part consulting practicum project, which includes the “Social Enterprise Consulting Practicum” and the “Global Practicum” capstone courses—each lasting 14 weeks. In the former practicum, students work with local nonprofit organizations to identify strategies in such areas as branding, funding, and membership retention. Alternatively, the latter practicum entails working with a multinational corporation to gain firsthand experience analyzing market issues. VSB also hosts a variety of elective international immersion courses, through which students may travel abroad over winter break or during the summer.

Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management

Another option for professionals is Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management, whose two executive MBA programs focus on helping professionals gain their MBAs while maintaining a career. Students can choose from the traditional MBA program, which features five residencies at Krannert and one abroad, or the IMM Global Executive MBA program, during which students are divided into cohorts and take part in residencies in each of the six IMM partner schools (in addition to Krannert). Locations for the residencies include Brazil, China, and Italy. Both of these executive MBA programs take place over the course of 19 months and include online learning modules in addition to in-person studies.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: Why Worry? I Volunteered!  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Sep 2018, 08:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: Why Worry? I Volunteered!
Some MBA applicants mistakenly view community service as simply a prerequisite for getting into a top program and sign up for volunteer opportunities without considering whether the organization or cause they are choosing is actually a reasonable fit for them. Community service is generally something positive to highlight in your application, given that it demonstrates altruism and frequently indicates leadership skills as well—attributes that may not be revealed in your work experience. However, it is not a panacea or a mere box to be checked. As you contemplate your involvements, be aware that “hours served” are not as important as the spirit of your participation and the extent of your impact.

We encourage all MBA candidates to carefully consider their community experiences in the same way they would examine and evaluate their professional or entrepreneurial opportunities. Although people can sometimes make mistakes in their career path, most gravitate toward areas where they can excel, justifiably to further their own interests. So, for example, if you do not enjoy one-on-one interactions, you likely would not consider a position in sales, because you could never thrive in such a position. In contrast, if working in sales were to bring out the best in you, you just might earn promotions, think of new sales techniques, train others, etc. Success stories develop as a by-product of performance.

This reasoning also applies to community service. For example, if you have always enjoyed a particularly close relationship with your grandmother and want to share this kind of positive experience with others, you might decide to volunteer at a retirement home, spending time with seniors. If you became quite passionate about your work there, you might then get others involved, expand the volunteer program at the home, take greater leadership in the program, and demonstrate your initiative and enthusiasm in other ways. However, if you are not that passionate about spending time with the elderly, but you happen to live near a retirement home, volunteering there just for convenience would probably be a mistake. In such a situation, you would lack the spirit of commitment/adventure necessary to ensure that you make an impact—and therefore have a story worth telling the admissions committees.

Whether you are already committed to an activity or are just considering becoming involved in one, carefully determine whether you have the mind-set and personal interest necessary to truly commit yourself to your chosen cause and make a difference. If putting in hours is the only commitment you can make, you will just be wasting your time.
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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How to Build the Ideal Resume for Your MBA Application  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Sep 2018, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: How to Build the Ideal Resume for Your MBA Application
Present Both Responsibilities and Results

In your MBA resume, be sure to showcase your accomplishments, rather than merely stating the responsibilities of your position. When your responsibilities are presented with no accompanying results, the reader has no understanding of whether you were effective in the role you are describing. For example, consider the following entry, in which only responsibilities are offered:

2012–Present Household Products Group, Flocter & Gramble Cincinnati, Ohio

Brand Manager

  • Responsible for managing a $10M media campaign, supervising a staff of five junior brand managers, monitoring daily sales volumes, and ensuring the consistent supply of product from five production facilities in three countries.
The reader is left wondering, “Was the media campaign successful? Did the staff of five progress? Did sales volumes increase? Did the supply of products reach its destination?” When this one long bullet point is instead broken down into individual bulleted entries that elaborate on each task and show clear results, the reader learns not just about the candidate’s responsibilities, but also about that person’s ultimate effectiveness and successes.

2012–Present Flocter & Gramble Cincinnati, Ohio

Brand Manager

  • Initiated $10M television/Internet “Island Vacation” promotion introducing new Shine brand detergent, surpassing first-year sales targets within three months.
  • Mentored and supervised five junior brand managers, each of whom was promoted to brand manager (company traditionally promotes 25%).
  • Analyzed daily sales volumes and identified opportunity to increase price point in Midwest, resulting in 26% margin improvement and $35M in new profits.
  • Secured “safety supply” of vital chemicals from alternate suppliers, ensuring 99% order fulfillment.
By comparing the first entry with the second, you can see how much more effective an accomplishment-driven resume is than one that simply lists responsibilities.

Demonstrate Nonquantifiable Results

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 nonquantifiable 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 2019.
  • 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 bullet points, the results of the writer’s actions are not measurable, but they are nonetheless important. The accomplishments, while “soft,” are conveyed as clearly positive.

Keep It Concise

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 resume consisting of two pages or more, 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:

  • 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.
  • Your address should take up no more than one line of your resume. Many applicants will “stack” their address, using four, five, or even six lines, as if they were writing an address on an envelope. Consider how much space an address occupies when presented in the following format:
Jeremy Shinewald

138 West 25th Street

7th Floor

New York, NY 10024

646-485-8844

jeremy@mbamission.com

You just wasted six lines of real estate! To help whittle your resume down to one page, try putting your address on just one line so you can save five others for valuable bullets.

And, while we are discussing the document’s length, resist the urge to shrink your font or margins to make your resume fit on one page. 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 squeeze too much information onto the page, commit yourself to showcasing only your most important accomplishments that tell your story best.
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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Professor Profiles: Jeffrey Carr, NYU Stern School of Business  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Sep 2018, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Jeffrey Carr, NYU Stern School of Business
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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 profile Jeffrey Carr from New York University’s (NYU’s) Leonard N. Stern School of Business.

Having taught at Stern for more than a decade as an adjunct associate professor (earning him the 1996 Stern/Citibank Teacher of the Year Award), Jeffrey Carr joined Stern’s full-time faculty in 2007 and is now a clinical professor of marketing and entrepreneurship. Carr also serves as the director of the NYU Stern Fashion and Luxury Lab, which was launched in 2017. He served formerly as the executive director of the Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation and has garnered a reputation as one of the school’s most respected marketing experts, featured by such major news outlets as NBC and the New York Times. Carr is president of Marketing Foundations Inc. and has worked on projects for such companies as Booz Allen Hamilton, IBM, General Electric, Pfizer, Kodak, Time Inc., and Unilever.

As one first year we interviewed said of his experience at Stern, “So far, the most impressive class has been ‘Marketing’ with Jeff Carr,” adding, “He’s super engaging and makes you think more about the consequences of your actions in marketing than simply teaching you the tools. The class structure is very informal, but all of the students are learning a ton.”

For more information about NYU Stern and 16 other top-ranked business schools, check out the free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
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Free Consultation: http://www.mbamission.com/consult.php

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