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The mbaMission Blog

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2019–2020 Application Deadlines Roundup  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Jun 2019, 10:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: 2019–2020 Application Deadlines Roundup
The 20192020 admissions season has officially kicked off with the release of several top business schools’ application deadlines and required essays. Among the schools to release application details recently are Cambridge (Judge), Carnegie Mellon (Tepper), Cornell (Johnson), Dartmouth (Tuck), INSEAD, NYU (Stern), Stanford, and Texas (McCombs).

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For a complete list of 2019–2020 business school deadlines, be sure to check our Application Deadlines page. We will be updating our list as business schools release their deadlines in the coming months.

Finally, stay tuned to the mbaMission blog for our analyses of the 2019–2020 business school application essays, and be sure to download our free Insider’s Guides!

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

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New York University (Stern) Essay Analysis, 2019–2020  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jun 2019, 09:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: New York University (Stern) Essay Analysis, 2019–2020
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After slightly modifying its MBA application essay prompts last year, the New York University (NYU) Stern School of Business has opted to make no changes this season. Candidates must obtain and submit two EQ (emotional intelligence) endorsements as part of their application, which provide the school’s admissions committee with valuable complementary insight into applicants’ personalities—”things that people don’t necessarily talk about themselves,” as Associate Dean of MBA Admissions and Program Innovation Isser Gallogly told Poets&Quants when the EQ element was added last year. As for what candidates must write themselves, the program requests a rather classic personal statement and the challenging but very revelatory “Pick Six” submission, which seems appropriate in these days of rampant social media. As a result, you should be able to present a good balance of your professional and personal sides for the admissions committee. Our more thorough application essay analysis follows…

Essay 1: Professional Aspirations

(500 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)

  • What are your short and long-term career goals?
  • How will the MBA help you achieve them?
With this rather no-nonsense query about your motivation to earn an MBA and expectations as to where you will go with it after graduation, NYU Stern simply wants you to spell out what you have in mind as you approach this phase of your life and career. The school does not ask specifically about past experiences or what about its program in particular makes it the best one for you, though brief mentions of either would be acceptable if they are central to your main points. The three core components of this essay prompt are typical elements of a traditional personal statement, so we encourage you to download your free copy of the mbaMission Personal Statement Guide. This complimentary publication explains ways of approaching these topics effectively and offers several sample essays as examples.

And for a thorough exploration of NYU Stern’s academic program, unique offerings, social life, and other key characteristics, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business, which is also available for free.

Essay 2: Personal Expression (a.k.a. “Pick Six”)

Describe yourself to the Admissions Committee and to your future classmates using six images and corresponding captions. Your uploaded PDF should contain all of the following elements:

  • A brief introduction or overview of your “Pick Six” (no more than 3 sentences).
  • Six images that help illustrate who you are.
  • A one-sentence caption for each of the six images that helps explain why they were selected and are significant to you.
Note: Your visuals may include photos, infographics, drawings, or any other images that best describe you. Your document must be uploaded as a single PDF. The essay cannot be sent in physical form or be linked to a website.

We imagine that the initial reaction most candidates have to pretty much any prompt that does not request a traditional essay is momentary panic (though, to be fair, that is likely many applicants’ reaction to traditional essays as well), but let us reassure you a bit before we delve more deeply into how best to approach this one. One could argue that in many ways, this essay prompt is merely asking you to do something we assume you are already doing every day and have possibly been doing for years—curate an impression of yourself for others by sharing certain images and other media that resonate with you. Is that not what people regularly do via Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and any number of other social media venues by posting photos, memes, infographics, cartoons, and the like, typically along with a related comment? When you think of the task NYU Stern has presented you with this framework in mind, do you feel a little more confident about mastering it? We hope so.

In this case, rather than passing along just anything you think is funny or interesting or documenting your latest adventure or meal, you are communicating directly with a very singular audience, within a certain context, and with a very specific goal in mind. So start by carefully considering what you want the admissions committee to know about you—with the goal of sharing as many different aspects of your life and personality as possible—and what it will already be able to learn through your other essays and the rest of your application (resume, recommendations/EQ endorsement, transcript, etc.). You want the admissions “reader” to take away something new from each image they see.

Your images do not need to be sequential, nor do they need to always include you. Consider photos of meaningful locations and people (or animals, even) in your life as well as inanimate objects, such as a musical instrument, a pair of running shoes, a home-cooked meal, or a blooming flower. As long as the subject of the image is reflective of who you are as an individual—and remember that you will have the accompanying sentence for each image to clarify this connection, as needed—then you will be on the right track. Keep in mind also that not all of your images need to be actual photos, either. They can include drawings, paintings, charts, tables, emojis, and so on. And finally, although getting accepted to your target business school and earning an MBA are serious goals and undertakings, this does not mean that all your images for this essay submission need to be serious in nature, especially if your personality is naturally more lighthearted and humorous. Costumes and comical arrangements, if used judiciously, can be valid options if, again, the resulting final image is truly reflective of your character and/or life.

Your one-sentence captions are clearly an opportunity to enhance the meaning of each image you are submitting. In some cases, you might use the caption to provide a direct explanation of who or what is depicted in the image, chart, artistic expression, etc. You could also use the sentences to create a narrative link between multiple images, perhaps as a way of profoundly illustrating a particularly meaningful aspect of your life or personality. Another option would be to use the caption sentence to explain your state of mind in relation to the image or to express an associated viewpoint, value, or philosophy. As you write your short explanations, keep in mind that these statements must adhere to the school’s one-sentence rule, and be sure to not simply reiterate whatever is already obvious in/from the photo but to use the additional content to enhance the admissions reader’s understanding of you.

This prompt from NYU Stern offers a lot of leeway, but take care not to get carried away with overly elaborate or complicated images. This is not an art contest or a battle of wits but an opportunity to express and portray yourself to the admissions committee. Each time you consider an image to include, come back to the central question of Does this truly capture who I am? If so, then proceed, but if not, stop and reconsider your options. An increasingly complex series of images that lacks the proper heart and meaning will not elicit the response you want!

Essay 3: Additional Information (optional)

(250 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)

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

If you are planning to attend the Langone Part-time MBA program and do not currently live in the NYC Metro Area or the Westchester area, please indicate your plans to pursue the program. If you are planning to relocate to the NYC area, please indicate your plans for employment.

NYU Stern’s optional essay prompt is broader than most in that it does not demand that you discuss only problem areas in your candidacy, though the examples it offers within the prompt seem to imply a preference for these topics. Ultimately, this is your opportunity to address any lingering questions that an admissions officer might have about your profile—if you feel you need to. We caution you against simply trying to fill this space because you fear that not doing so would somehow count against you. And of course, however tempted you might be, this is not the place to reuse a strong essay you wrote for another school or to offer a few anecdotes you were unable to use in your other submissions. But if you are inclined to use this essay to emphasize or explain something that if omitted would render your application incomplete, write a very brief piece on this key aspect of your profile. For more guidance, download our free mbaMission Optional Essays Guide, in which we offer detailed advice on when and how to take advantage of the optional essay, with multiple examples, to help you mitigate any problem areas in your application.

The Next Step—Mastering Your NYU Stern Interview: Many MBA candidates find admissions interviews stressful and intimidating, but mastering this important element of the application process is definitely possible—the key is informed preparation. To help you on your way to this high level of preparation, we offer our free Interview Primers. Download your free copy of the NYU Stern Interview Primer today!
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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Must Interview with the Admissions C  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jun 2019, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Must Interview with the Admissions Committee
After submitting your MBA application, you endure weeks of nervous anticipation before ideally being invited to interview. You then start to prepare for the interview, ready to prove yourself to the admissions committee. You take your tour, sit in on a class, and head to the Admissions Office only to find—gasp!—a second-year MBA student waiting to interview you! You think, “This school must not take me seriously as a candidate. I must be some kind of second-tier applicant that it does not really care about!” If you find yourself in this situation, take a deep breath and reconsider.

What is the admissions committee’s job? Quite simply, the committee strives to find the best candidates for its program. So, whether you interview with a member of the committee, an alumnus/alumna, or a student, your interview will be considered equally. Why would an admissions committee put a huge group of candidates at a disadvantage? What would be the point of interviewing an applicant if the admissions committee did not consider its school’s alumni reliable interviewers? Why would the committee solicit the help of students if it sincerely believed those individuals were not capable of rendering an appropriate judgment?

All this is to say that if you find yourself on campus and being interviewed by someone other than an admissions committee member, do not worry. This is not a reflection of the school’s impression of you or an indicator of how likely you are to ultimately be admitted. Maintain your focus, and remember that your story and your ability to connect with your interviewer are what truly matter in your interview.
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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Limit the Use of “I” When Beginning Sentences in MBA Application Essay  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jun 2019, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Limit the Use of “I” When Beginning Sentences in MBA Application Essays, and Never Use “Etc.”
Although putting yourself at the center of the stories in your MBA application essays is certainly important, a common mistake applicants tend to make is beginning too many sentences with the word “I.” As a general rule, you should never begin two sentences in a row this way. Consider the following example:

“I worked for three years at ABC Plastics, a small injection molding company. I was responsible for overseeing the overall management of ABC Plastics, from day-to-day operations to strategic planning. I managed 100 people. I worked very long hours, but I learned more than I could have ever imagined.”

Now, consider the same statement reworked to avoid using “I” at the beginning of subsequent sentences:

“For three years, I worked at ABC Plastics, a small injection molding company. My responsibilities at ABC included overseeing the overall management of the company, from day-to-day operations to strategic planning. Because I supervised more than 100 staff members, my days were long, but the experience taught me more than I could have ever imagined.”

As you can see, the second example reads much better than the first—and none of the sentences in the second example begin with “I.”

Our next tip applies to the entire essay, instead of just the beginning of a sentence. As a general rule, “etc.” should never appear in the text of your MBA application essays. Consider the following sentences:

  • I helped draft prospectuses, analyze key company data, value companies, etc.
  • I look forward to courses such as “Small Business Management,” “Leading Teams,” “Multiparty Negotiations,” etc.
In the first example, “etc.” replaces information that the reader values. The reader cannot make the leap and just assume where the writer’s experiences lead and what they include. In the second example, “etc.” trivializes the school’s resources and may even suggest to the admissions committee that the applicant is just too lazy or disinterested to properly do their research.

We are at a loss to think of one instance in which “etc.” could be used appropriately in a business school essay. Very simply, ensure your essays do not include this term.
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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Professor Profiles: Saras D. Sarasvathy, the University of Virginia Da  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jun 2019, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Saras D. Sarasvathy, the University of Virginia Darden 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 focus on Saras D. Sarasvathy from the University of Virginia (UVA) Darden School of Business.

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

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

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

For more information about UVA Darden and 16 other top-ranked business schools, check out our free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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The Role of Exercise in Your GMAT Preparation  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Jun 2019, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: The Role of Exercise in Your GMAT Preparation
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.

Back in 2013, the New York Times’ Well blog featured a fascinating post. Exercise has a whole host of good benefits, including benefits associated with memory. Two studies delved even deeper into how this works.

How does exercise help memory?

In the blog post, New York Times journalist Gretchen Reynolds details two studies—one conducted on humans and the other conducted on rats.

In the human study, elderly women who already had some mild cognitive impairment were split into three groups. One group lifted weights, the second group engaged in moderate aerobic exercise, and the third group did yoga-like activities.

The participants were tested at the beginning and end of the six-month exercise period, and the results were striking. First, bear in mind that, in general, we would expect elderly people who are already experiencing mental decline to continue down that path over time. Indeed, after six months, the yoga group (the “control” group) showed a mild decline in several aspects of verbal memory.

The weight-training and aerobic groups, by contrast, actually improved their performance on several tests (remember, this was six months later!). The women were better at both making new memories and remembering/retrieving old ones!

Another group of researchers conducted a similar study, only this time, rats were getting some cardio in or lifting weights. (The rats ran on wheels for the cardio exercise and, get this, for the weight lifting, the researchers tied little weights to the rats’ tails and had them climb tiny ladders!)

At the end of six weeks, the running rats showed increased levels of a brain protein that helps create new brain cells. The tail-weight-trainers had higher levels of a different protein that helps new neurons survive.

How can I use this? Get up and MOVE!

Reading this study has made me want to exercise more—and not even for the GMAT! I would like to stave off mental decline in my old age.

The women in the study were performing fairly mild exercises only twice a week (remember, they were elderly), so we do not suddenly have to become fitness fiends. We do not know, of course, exactly how the study results might translate to younger people, but the general trend is clear: exercise can help us make and retain memories. That is crucially important when studying for the GMAT—every last bit will help!

Get a little bit of both weight training and cardio in every week. You do not have to become a gym rat (pun intended). Engaging in some moderate activity every few days is probably enough. Look for ways to incorporate mild exercise into your daily routine. For example, when I go to the grocery store, I carry a basket around on my arm rather than push a cart (unless I really have to buy a lot). I will fill that basket right up to the brim—often, I end up having to use both hands to continue carrying the thing. I figure that every time I do that, it has to be worth at least 10 to 15 minutes of pumping iron!

Studying for the GMAT is tiring, so use this news as an excuse to take a brain break. Get up and walk around the block for 15 minutes, or turn on some music and dance or run the vacuum cleaner (vigorously!). Then sit back down and enjoy the brain fruits of your physical labors.
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Duke University Fuqua School of Business Essay Analysis, 2019–2020  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jun 2019, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Duke University Fuqua School of Business Essay Analysis, 2019–2020
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Although Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business has not yet officially released its MBA application for 2019–2020, Assistant Dean of Admissions Allison Jamison recently announced some modifications it has made to the essay portion. Fortunately (in our opinion), the school has elected to maintain its distinctive “25 random things” prompt, which we love for the freedom it gives applicants to get creative and paint a well-rounded picture of themselves for the admissions committee. And the program’s community engagement essay likewise remains the same. Rather than three short-answer essay questions, however, applicants must respond to just two, though the heart of the information requested really has not changed much at all. In our full essay analysis that follows, we offer our best guidance on how to make the most of all the school’s prompts for this season.

Required short-answer essay questions

  • Why is pursuing an MBA the right next step for you? (500 characters, or about 100 words) 
  • What are your post-MBA career goals? Share with us your first-choice career plan and your alternate plan. (500 characters, or about 100 words)
With these two questions, Fuqua is essentially asking for a standard, albeit very brief, personal statement, with the addition of one rather nonstandard component in the second—the suggestion of an alternative path. Candidates often feel they must be totally unequivocal in their career goals to impress the admissions committee, but in this case, Fuqua is directly instructing applicants to speculate on and articulate multiple options. The school knows that sometimes the best-laid plans do not play out as expected or may even yield unintended results, and it wants to know that you are prepared to switch gears and recommit to a different path, if necessary—and that you are fully capable of doing so. The key in answering this question is showing that your backup goal is just as connected to your skills, interests, and ambitions as your original plan and does not come “out of left field,” so to speak. For example, you would probably have a difficult time convincing the admissions committee that your short-term goal is to work in technology consulting while your alternate goal would be to work in human resources, because these industries, for the most part, require entirely different skills and personalities. Just be mindful that both goals you present must be plausible and achievable.

As for the first question, the natural assumption is that if you have reached a point in your professional journey where you believe an MBA is necessary to move forward, you must have an understanding of why the degree is a critical part of continuing on that journey. This is simply your chance to outline your reasoning and needs for the admissions committee so it can be confident you have given this important step an appropriate amount of thought and are committed to your decision.

As we have noted, these questions concern several of the core topics covered in a traditional personal statement, so we encourage you to download your free copy of the mbaMission Personal Statement Guide, which helps applicants write this style of essay for any school. This complimentary guide offers detailed advice on approaching and framing these subjects, along with multiple illustrative examples. Be sure to claim your copy today.

First required essay: 25 random things about yourself

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

For context: Fuqua believes different types of people, points of view, and experiences bring out the best in everyone. And above all, we place a premium on succeeding while making a positive impact on businesses, organizations, and the world.  These ways of thinking set the Duke MBA experience apart, and this concept extends beyond the student body to include faculty, staff, and administration. When a new person joins the Admissions team, we ask that person to share with everyone in the office a list of “25 Random Things About Yourself.” As an Admissions team, we already know the new hire’s professional and academic background, so learning these “25 Random Things” helps us get to know someone’s personality, background, special talents, and more. 

In this spirit, the admissions committee also wants to get to know you–beyond the professional and academic achievements listed in your resume and transcript. You can share with us important life experiences, your likes/dislikes, hobbies, achievements, fun facts, or anything that helps us understand what makes you who you are. Share with us your list of “25 Random Things” about YOU.

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

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

Second required essay: The Fuqua community and you

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

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

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

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

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

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

Optional essay: Tell us more

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

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

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

The Next Step—Mastering Your Duke Fuqua Interview: Many MBA candidates find admissions interviews stressful and intimidating, but mastering this important element of the application process is definitely possible—the key is informed preparation. And to help you develop this high level of preparation, we offer our free Interview Primers to spur you along! Download your free copy of the Duke Fuqua Interview Primer today.
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MBAs for Professionals at Villanova School of Business and Krannert Sc  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Jun 2019, 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, for which students meet 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 three-part capstone project, which includes the “Social Enterprise Consulting Practicum,” “Global Practicum,” and “Global Strategic Management” courses—each lasting 14 weeks. In the “Social Enterprise Consulting Practicum,” students work with local nonprofit organizations to identify strategies in such areas as branding, funding, and membership retention. Alternatively, the latter two courses entail 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 advanced business degrees while maintaining a career. Students can select the traditional executive MBA program, which features six 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.
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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Must Have a Recommendation from My S  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jun 2019, 09:01
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 insist this is true, if every other applicant has a recommendation from a supervisor, not having one would put you at a disadvantage, right? Not necessarily!

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 for the supervisor, 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 those candidates’ control?

Therefore, if you cannot ask your supervisor for their assistance, do not worry about your situation, but seek to remedy it. Start by considering your alternatives—a mentor, past employer, 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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July 2019 Event Roundup  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jul 2019, 09:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: July 2019 Event Roundup
Are you applying to business school this year? If so, you can enroll in one of our free business school workshops, which are offered both online and in person in major cities across the country!

This July, the event lineup includes the following sessions:

  • July 11, 2019

    “What Matters?” and “What More?”: Writing Standout GSB and HBS Essays (Online) 

    Harvard Business School and the Stanford Graduate School of Business have two of the most challenging application essay prompts and leave many applicants struggling with where and how to even begin crafting a compelling response. In this brand-new event, we will discuss three established approaches you could take with these essays and then present several sample essays from past candidates, analyzing each one to highlight certain decisions—both good and bad—these writers made. We will show you that even effective essays are not truly perfect and hope to creatively inspire you as you get to work writing your own.
  • July 11, 2019

    San Francisco MBA Tour 

    Are you ready for your MBA? This summer, we at mbaMission are pleased to be attending The MBA Tour – US, where applicants from all over the country will meet with prospective MBA students, top business school admissions representatives, alumni, and other like-minded education enthusiasts to begin (or continue) their MBA journey!
  • July 15, 2019

    Houston MBA Tour

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

  • July 17, 2019 

    Chicago MBA Tour

    Are you ready for your MBA? This summer, we at mbaMission are pleased to be attending The MBA Tour – US, where applicants from all over the country will meet with prospective MBA students, top business school admissions representatives, alumni, and other like-minded education enthusiasts to begin (or continue) their MBA journey!
  • July 18, 2019

    Essay Writing Workshop (Online)

    How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? An experienced senior consultant will use this simple but often perplexing question as the starting point to a workshop for prospective business school applicants.
  • July 20, 2019 

    New York City MBA Tour

    Are you ready for your MBA? This summer, we at mbaMission are pleased to be attending The MBA Tour – US, where applicants from all over the country will meet with prospective MBA students, top business school admissions representatives, alumni, and other like-minded education enthusiasts to begin (or continue) their MBA journey!
  • July 23, 2019 

    Choosing The Right B-School (Online)

    Which MBA program is right for me? How can I find the best fit? An experienced senior consultant will help prospective MBAs understand the differences that exist among top MBA programs.
  • July 25, 2019 

    Washington, D.C. MBA Tour

    Are you ready for your MBA? This summer, we at mbaMission are pleased to be attending The MBA Tour – US, where applicants from all over the country will meet with prospective MBA students, top business school admissions representatives, alumni, and other like-minded education enthusiasts to begin (or continue) their MBA journey!
To enroll in one of our free seminars, click the event title in the list above. We look forward to having you join us!
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Come Meet Us at The MBA Tour in the United States!  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Jul 2019, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Come Meet Us at The MBA Tour in the United States!
Are you ready for your MBA? This summer, we at mbaMission are pleased to be attending The MBA Tour – US, where applicants from all over the country will meet with prospective MBA students, top business school admissions representatives, alumni, and other like-minded education enthusiasts to begin (or continue) their MBA journey!

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

Join us in a city near you:

What is The MBA Tour?

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

Why should you attend The MBA Tour?

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

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

  • Meet face-to-face with admissions representatives in small groups 
  • Improve your resume with advice from admissions experts 
  • Attend individual school presentations to compare various programs  
  • Learn how to finance your degree and improve your application 
  • Get tips from test prep experts on preparing for the GMAT 
  • Network with alumni and fellow applicants 
  • And much more! 
Who will you meet?

Connect with admissions decision makers:

  • You will have the unique opportunity to meet with admissions decision makers to increase your chances of acceptance.
  • Discover admissions tips from industry leaders.
  • Network with the people who matter when it comes to getting accepted to your dream school.
How should you prepare?

Complete your online profile to be matched with top schools:

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

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

*This offer is only valid for those who have not already had an mbaMission free 30-minute consultation.
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mbaMission Has Rebranded!  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Jul 2019, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: mbaMission Has Rebranded!
mbaMission is excited to announce that we have rebranded and completely redesigned our website! After 20 (!) years with our original brand and logo, and having just been named the number-one MBA admissions consulting firm by both Poets&Quants and GMAT Club, we felt that 2019 was the perfect time to introduce something fresh.

The period in our new logo symbolizes our company’s unwavering dedication to helping MBA applicants achieve success with their business school goals. We hope you find our new website easy to navigate and clear in its purpose to provide business school candidates with information about and assistance with every stage of the MBA admissions process.

Our look may be new, but our dedication to providing applicants with the highest possible level of MBA expertise remains unchanged. Our team of top-ranked MBA admissions consultants continues to offer the same unparalleled services our past clients rave about—including our complete start-to-finish packages, hourly services, and multiple interview prep options—and tons of free content, from our suite of admissions guides and Insider’s Guides to our blog.

We invite you to check out our new website and look forward to speaking with you about your business school aspirations!
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Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT Sloan) Essay Analysis, 2019  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Jul 2019, 07:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT Sloan) Essay Analysis, 2019–2020
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The MIT Sloan School of Management has made only the mildest of changes to its application essay prompts for this season, so candidates will still need to contend with the school’s interesting “cover letter” essay and its self-introduction video. However, the school has slipped an important qualification into its directions for the video portion that was not there last year—one that asks applicants to include some information about their background and about their fit with the Sloan program. We suspect that many previous candidates had skipped these topics, especially considering the brevity of the video, and the admissions committee wanted to ensure that the next wave of applicants would fill in these important blanks. As we have noted in the past, while unorthodox, the school’s prompts allow candidates to offer the school a balanced view of their professional and personal profiles, with a good amount of leeway for creativity. Read on for our full MBA essay analysis for MIT Sloan.

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

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

We strongly advise that you avoid starting your letter with a rote opening like “My name is Bob, and I am seeking a place in the MIT Sloan Class of 2022.” Your admissions reader will likely be asleep before they even finish the sentence! Such information is obvious—we can assure you that the admissions reader is well aware of your desire to be admitted to the MIT Sloan program—and is therefore a waste of precious word count, not to mention that it is hardly the kind of gripping opening that will grab and hold someone’s attention.

The broad scope of this essay prompt allows you a great amount of freedom to choose and share the information you believe is most important for your candidacy. The 300-word maximum is equal to roughly three short paragraphs with which you can make an impression. Informal guidance provided by MIT Sloan’s admissions committee after the release of this essay question in 2017 indicated that applicants should focus on sharing their personal experiences, accomplishments, values, viewpoints, and/or skills to demonstrate (1) what they can contribute to the school’s greater community as a result and (2) why Sloan’s MBA program in particular is the best one for them. The school does not ask you to outline your post-MBA goals, but if doing so allows you to better substantiate your need or desire for a Sloan MBA specifically, a (very) brief explanation of your aspirations could be appropriate and useful.

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

VIDEO STATEMENT: Please take a minute to introduce yourself to your future classmates via video. Include a bit on your past experience and why MIT Sloan is the best place for you to pursue your MBA. Videos should be a single take (no editing) lasting no more than one minute and consisting of you speaking directly to the camera. We recommend using an application such as QuickTime or iMovie to record yourself.

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

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

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

Keep in mind that even though in the scenario the school presents, you are supposed to be addressing your fellow students, your actual audience will be the admissions committee, so put some thought into what the school will already have learned about you from your cover letter essay and the other portions of your application. Because the admissions committee has added the proviso this year that you include “a bit” about your past and your reasons for choosing MIT Sloan for your MBA, you will naturally need to repeat some of this information, but focus on the overarching and most significant themes to create context and a foundation, rather than going into too much detail. Likewise, avoid pandering to the school or expressing your generic admiration for the program and instead discuss the primary reason(s) MIT Sloan fits your specific needs and personality. You have only one minute in which to make an impression, and even without knowing you personally, we are confident that you have more to your character than can be conveyed in a mere 60 seconds—so do not waste any of them!

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

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

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

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

In business school—as in life in general—you will encounter people who think differently from you, operate according to different values, and react differently to the same stimuli. And success in an endeavor often involves evaluating and incorporating the views of others in one’s efforts. Via this essay, MIT Sloan hopes to learn how you view and approach such differences. Once enrolled in the school’s MBA program, you will be surrounded every day by individuals who are unlike you in a multitude of ways, and you will need to work in tandem with and alongside these individuals when analyzing case studies, completing group projects, and participating in other activities both inside and outside the classroom. Note that the school’s prompt does not ask about simply being part of a “welcoming, inclusive and increasingly diverse” community but about actually helping to cultivate one. The admissions committee wants to know that you are comfortable within such a dynamic, of course, but in this case, it is especially interested in hearing what skills and mind-set you have that could be beneficial in bringing various people together in a harmonious and productive way.

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

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

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

Many MBA candidates find admissions interviews stressful and intimidating, but mastering this important element of the application process is definitely possible—the key is informed preparation. We therefore offer our free Interview Primers to spur you along! Download your free copy of the MIT Sloan School of Management Interview Primer today.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (OPTIONAL)

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

Ultimately, this is your opportunity to address any lingering questions that an admissions officer might have about your profile—if you feel you need to. We caution you against simply trying to fill this space because you fear that not doing so would somehow count against you. And of course, however tempted you might be, this is not the place to reuse a strong essay you wrote for another school or to offer a few anecdotes you were unable to use in your other submissions. But if you are inclined to use this essay to emphasize or explain something that if omitted would render your application incomplete, write a very brief piece on this key aspect of your profile. For more guidance, download our free mbaMission Optional Essays Guide, in which we offer detailed advice on when and how to take advantage of the optional essay, with multiple examples, to help you mitigate any problem areas in your application.
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Changes in Deanship at Wharton and Columbia Business School  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jul 2019, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Changes in Deanship at Wharton and Columbia Business School
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Dr. Costis Maglaras

Two top-ranked business schools have made changes in their leadership recently, as Columbia Business School (CBS) appointed a new dean and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania announced that its dean will depart the school in July 2020.

The hunt for a new dean has been underway at CBS since Glenn Hubbard, who had held the position since 2004, announced in September 2018 that he would be stepping down. Last week, Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger reported that Dr. Costis Maglaras would take over the role on July 1. Dr. Maglaras is no stranger to CBS—in fact, he joined the CBS faculty back in 1998 and has held such positions at the school as director of the PhD program from 2011 to 2017 and chair of the Decision, Risk, and Operations Division from 2015 to 2018. Last year, Maglaras received the Dean’s Award for Innovation in the Curriculum for his work in designing and launching the school’s technology and analytics curriculum.

“Costis has consistently demonstrated a commitment to embedding the widely applicable lessons of [his] data-focused scholarship more fully into Columbia’s business education and to supporting related initiatives at the University-level,” President Bollinger commented in a CBS press release. “He is a talented educator and a generous colleague, beloved by his students and peers, and he is known for his thoughtful and probing approach to business pedagogy, grounded in real-world examples, experience and analysis,” Bollinger continued.

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Geoffrey Garrett

At Wharton, the recent news of Dean Geoffrey Garrett’s departure came as a surprise to many; Garrett announced abruptly that he will be taking over the role of the dean at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business in July 2020. Marshall’s previous dean, James Ellis, was ousted in late 2018 in the midst of a controversy regarding claims of misconduct. The school will be led by an interim dean until Garrett steps in.

Garrett’s tenure as dean at Wharton began in 2014 and has included many highs, including the school’s placement as the best MBA program by the U.S. News and World Report in the publication’s 2020 ranking and its receipt of a record $50M donation in October 2018. “One thing that’s attractive to me about Marshall is they do a lot of stuff,” Garrett told the Los Angeles Times at the time of his appointment. “The world of business education is broad and dynamic, and Marshall has its fingers in lots of pies and has been very innovative,” he said. The University of Pennsylvania has begun forming a search committee consisting of members of Wharton faculty, students, and alumni in an effort to appoint a new dean.
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Texas McCombs Essay Analysis, 2019–2020  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jul 2019, 09:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Texas McCombs Essay Analysis, 2019–2020
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Once again, the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin has made only slight modifications to its MBA application essay prompts, simply refining the queries without changing the fundamental information on which they focus. The school’s required self-introduction essay (or video, for those who prefer that option) has been in play since at least 2013, and its second essay, for which applicants are asked to imagine themselves at graduation and to reflect on their time at McCombs, now specifies that candidates frame their response within the context of their goals, rather than the broader “post-MBA world.” Anyone with a potential problem area or unclear element in their profile can also submit an optional essay to address the issue(s). As a whole, the Texas McCombs essays give applicants ample opportunity to provide meaningful insight into their characters and strengths. Read on for our entire analysis of the program’s essay prompts for 2019–2020.

Essay 1: We will learn a lot about your professional background through your resume and letter of recommendation, but we want to get to know you further. Please introduce yourself. Select only one communication method for your response. 

  • Write an essay (250 words) 
  • Share a video introduction (one minute in length)
The Texas McCombs admissions committee offers a little clarifying text before its straightforward request for an introduction, guiding applicants to steer away from aspects of their story that will already be covered in their resume and recommendations. Otherwise, candidates have an arguably blank slate from which to begin here. We imagine that the less guidance a program provides with its essay questions, the more panic is generated in the hearts of hopeful applicants, but let us reassure you that you do not need to be intimidated. Some patience, self-reflection, brainstorming, and authenticity—with a dash of creativity—and you should be on the road to a standout submission. 

First, determine the format that is more compatible with your personality. If you are the quiet, thoughtful type, an essay may be the better choice; if you are typically the life of the party or a better speaker than writer, you should probably select the video option. Next, start identifying the kind of information you might share by thinking about what you would like to know about a new person you are meeting and would find interesting, helpful, or intriguing. For example, would you consider someone’s age or undergraduate institution particularly important or compelling? Probably not, so you should skip mentioning such facts in your own introduction. (Remember, too, that your actual audience will be a member of the admissions committee, who will already know such basic information about you from the rest of your application.) You would likely be more curious about what someone does in their spare time, what interesting or exceptional skills they have, whether they are approachable/funny/hyperorganized/a risk taker/etc., whether they have extensive experience in a certain area or a more wide-ranging background, and so on.

So think about the aspects of your personality and profile that you believe truly define you as an individual—not just what you do and have done, but who you are—and fully explore your background, hobbies, talents, experiences, values, goals, and quirks. Brainstorm an extensive list and then eliminate any items that seem too common (e.g., a BA in finance) or basic (e.g., your hometown) until you have a collection of truly distinctive qualities you can weave into your response. Your goal is to provide a well-rounded picture of yourself that draws from multiple areas and shows that you possess characteristics and/or knowledge that would make you a positive addition to McCombs’ diverse community.

Remember to bring energy and enthusiasm to your submission. You are not filling out a job application—you are trying to connect with others, so charisma is welcome, and a less rigid and traditionally “professional” demeanor is okay. Forego any fancy essay-writing or dramatic tactics (e.g., starting with a quotation, launching into an anecdote), and just be as natural and authentic as possible. Do not pitch your candidacy, detail your career goals, or express your admiration for the program. As they say, you only have one chance to make a first impression, so dedicate the time and effort necessary to ensure that your introduction is engaging, substantive, and true to who you are.

If you choose to submit a video, think beyond what you will say and also consider the clothing you will wear, the setting or background, your tone of voice, your language style, whether you will include music, and other similar details. Brainstorm ways of nonverbally communicating some of your strongest attributes and key aspects of your life to help permeate your submission with as much information as possible. For example, if you are an avid biker, consider filming your video while you are actively riding. If you are a dedicated musician, perhaps incorporate your instrument into your message by playing it while you speak (if you are especially confident, you might even sing about yourself!). Think about what makes you who you are today, decide what you most want to share about yourself, and then let your creativity flow.

On a practical note, be sure to speak clearly in your video. You naturally do not want any part of your message to be lost or misunderstood, and the admissions committee may view your communication skills and style as indicators of how you might interact with your classmates and/or speak in the classroom. Spend some time practicing in front of a mirror or a friend, but do not overrehearse. And definitely do not try to read from an off-camera script or notes (trust us—they will be able to tell!). You want to come across as genuine and natural.

Essay 2: Picture yourself at graduation. Describe how you spent your time as a Texas McCombs MBA to achieve your personal and professional goals. (500 words)

With this prompt, the McCombs admissions committee is asking you to imagine where you want to go after you have completed your MBA studies (in both your career and your life more generally) and explain how you used your time at the school to prepare yourself to get there. So, without using the actual words “why McCombs?” and “how do you expect to engage with our community?,” the school is nevertheless asking you for precisely this information.

The admissions committee essentially wants to know what has compelled you to choose McCombs in particular for your MBA and how you will take advantage of specific resources and experiences it offers. Why is it the most appropriate school for your goals, and why/how does it fit you personally? The assumption is that something you have learned about the program leads you to believe that McCombs will provide the experience, knowledge, skills, exposure, and/or other element you need to reach your goals. Likewise, something makes you feel you would fit well with the McCombs environment and be comfortable there. So what has given you that impression? All the top MBA programs want reassurance that the candidates they admit have not applied simply because of the school’s reputation or ranking but rather because they are truly excited to be a part of the community and to benefit from that specific learning experience. McCombs is not simply seeking warm bodies with which to fill its classrooms; it is striving to add to a long history of effective global business leaders and a network of alumni dedicated to the school and each other. Demonstrating your authentic interest in the program by offering concrete examples and drawing clear connections between who you want to be and what the school offers is key to crafting a compelling essay response.

If you have targeted McCombs because you feel it is the right program for you, you likely already have an idea of why that is true and how you would function as part of its community. If you do not yet have a handle on these points, you definitely need to start (now!) researching the school thoroughly, including interacting directly with students and/or alumni. Identify at least one (ideally more) resource, offering, or quality that McCombs has that is unique or that it excels in that directly relates to what you need to attain your post-MBA goals. And do not just offer a list—you must explain how the identified element(s) will fulfill particular needs for you.

Keep in mind that business school is not only about course work and recruiting, and McCombs specifically asks about achieving your personal goals as well as your career aspirations. While you are a student, you can (and should!) also have fun, make friends, and be a contributing member of the community outside the classroom. So take care not to discuss only academic and professional development elements of the McCombs program. Explore the school’s social events and offerings—including affinity, social, and sports clubs, for starters—to identify other aspects of the experience that you anticipate will also play an important role in your MBA journey. Although we would not encourage you to force this angle and mention something just to tick a box, so to speak, addressing these options can be an effective way of revealing more of your values and personality to the admissions committee and thereby presenting a more well-rounded impression of yourself.

Optional Statement: Please provide any additional information you believe is important or address any areas of concern that you believe will be beneficial to MBA Admissions in considering your application (e.g., gaps in work experience, choice of recommender, academic performance, or extenuating personal circumstances). (250 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. Consider downloading a free copy of our mbaMission Optional Essays Guide, in which we offer detailed advice on deciding whether to submit an optional essay and on how best to approach writing such a submission, with multiple examples.

However, because McCombs does not stipulate that you can only discuss a problem area in this essay, 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.
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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Have a Gap in My Resume  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Jul 2019, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Have a Gap in My Resume
The perfect MBA applicant does not actually exist. However, the perception of the perfect applicant absolutely does—such an individual scales greater and greater personal, community, and professional peaks unabated until finally applying to business school. Because of this idealized image of an applicant, candidates who have taken any time off from their professional pursuits think of themselves as disadvantaged. They worry that the admissions committees will see the gap(s) in their professional timeline and dismiss them outright. After all, the schools probably have numerous other, seemingly more determined individuals they could admit, right?

Time off has the potential to be destructive, true. If you spent a year sitting on your couch watching reality TV, you may be in trouble. If you have a strong professional history and spent one month between jobs sitting on your couch watching reality TV, your record should still speak for itself. But even if you do take (or have taken) an extended leave, as long as you are productive during that time and grow personally, you should still be just fine. In fact, an adventure may even add to your story and help you differentiate yourself.

If you spend six months or a year traveling before you start your professional career, you are certainly still eligible for a top MBA program. If you take personal leave to care for a family member, do charity work, or even pursue a personal passion—an art form, for example—as long as you can show purpose and reveal a broad record of competency, an admissions officer should still see your merits. Admissions officers are (this may be surprising to some!) actual human beings. They understand that applicants are not robots and that they have interests, passions, and personal lives. If you make good use of your time, they will not condemn you. They just might envy you.
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Cornell University Johnson Essay Analysis, 2019–2020  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Jul 2019, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Cornell University Johnson Essay Analysis, 2019–2020
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This MBA application season, the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University is tightening up the parameters within which its candidates can share their story with the admissions committee. Although the school has expanded the word limit for its goal statement mini essay from 250 to 350, it has cut back the allowances for all its other submissions. Each of the written essays (including the optional/reapplicant essay) has been shortened from 500 words to 350, and the video option truncated from five minutes to three. Also, the admissions committee is now requesting just one representative story for its “back of the resume” essay, rather than allowing applicants the leeway to include as many as they wish (or could reasonably fit) in that piece. Clearly, Cornell Johnson has little interest in lengthy, highly detailed discussions of its applicants’ candidacies and wants to get right to the heart of the issues it considers most valuable in its evaluations. So if you are ready to deliver the information Cornell Johnson is seeking, read on for our full essay analysis of the program’s latest prompts.

Goals Statement: A statement of your goals will begin a conversation that will last throughout [the] admissions process and guide your steps during the MBA program and experience. To the best of your understanding today, please share your short and long term goals by completing the following sentences and answering the enclosed short answer question (350 words maximum):

Immediately post-MBA, my goal is to work as a(n) ____[Role]____ at ___[Company]___within___[Industry]___.

Targeted Job Role:

Target Job Company:

Industry:

In 5–10 years post-MBA, my goal is to work as a(n) ____[Role]____ at ___[Company]___within___[Industry]___.

Targeted Job Role:

Target Job Company:

Industry:

How has your experience prepared and encouraged you to pursue these goals? 

With this incredibly direct approach to gathering information about candidates’ professional goals, Cornell Johnson is clearly conveying a desire for information only. The school states in the Application Requirements section of its website, “If invited to interview, you will have the opportunity to elaborate further,” signaling to us that the admissions committee really wants just the facts here. So, respect both the format and the school and be as direct and clear as possible, saving any embellishment or additional explanation for another time.

The inclusion of the mini essay prompt indicates, however, that the admissions committee wants to have some context for your stated aspirations. And the expansion of the word count for this submission to 350 (from 250 last year) suggests that the school may not have been getting quite enough context from earlier applicants, so do your best to be thorough and to clearly connect the dots between where you have been and where you are striving to go. An effective response will provide evidence that you (1) have done your research as to what is required to attain your goals, (2) understand where you are on that trajectory (what skills and experience you already possess that are key to success in your desired roles and field), and, to some degree, (3) why/how attaining an MBA will move you further in the right direction.

Although this prompt is not a request for a full-length personal essay, we offer a number of tips and examples in our free mbaMission Personal Statement Guide that could be helpful in crafting your responses. Download your complimentary copy today.

Essay 1 – Impact Essay: This essay is designed to explore the intersection of engagement and community culture. Whether during the program or following graduation, our students and alumni share a desire to positively impact the organizations and communities they serve. To help you explore your potential for impact, we encourage you to engage with our students, alumni, faculty, and professional staff. You may choose to connect with them via email or phone or in person during one of our on campus or off campus events. As you seek their input and insight, please be respectful of their time and prepare a few discussion points or questions in advance.

At Cornell, our students and alumni share a desire to positively impact the organizations and communities they serve. How do you intend to make an impact during the next several years of your education/career? (350 word maximum) 

Note that with this essay prompt, the school is not asking about times when you have made an impact in the past but rather about your expected impact going forward, which would theoretically include your time as part of the Cornell Johnson community. The rather less-than-subtle hint in the intro about “engag[ing] with our students, alumni, faculty, and professional staff” conveys that the admissions committee expects you to actively reach out to and communicate with individuals at or associated with Cornell Johnson to learn more about it before you begin writing this essay. If you have not already been making these kinds of connections, now (immediately) is the time to get busy. The suggestion also implies that the admissions committee expects your efforts to yield some useful insight, so saying that you have merely contacted a few people will not suffice. You will have to show that the insider information you subsequently received has further solidified your choice to pursue an MBA at Cornell Johnson by discussing the ways and areas in which you now feel you can contribute to it and how you expect the experience will position you to attain your professional goals after graduation.

Although we believe this submission should undoubtedly be written with the expectation of ultimately becoming a Cornell Johnson MBA student (and later graduate), you may want to very briefly touch on what you would do to continue advancing and making an impact should you not be accepted to the program. Showing—succinctly!—that you have a Plan B in mind could demonstrate to the admissions committee that you have thoroughly considered all your options and are committed to following through on your path despite such a setback. Dedication and thoughtful ambition are characteristics often valued by MBA admissions committees.

Essay 2 – Back of Resume Essay: This essay is an opportunity to present yourself as an individual. We encourage you to think about your proudest accomplishments, interests and passions, and personal highlights that will help us to get to know you as a person and potential community member. We value creativity and authenticity and encourage you to approach this essay with your unique style. Alternative submission formats may include a slide presentation, links to pre-existing media (personal website, digital portfolio, YouTube, etc.), as well as visually enhanced written submissions. Maximum file size is 5 MB. If you choose to submit a written essay, please limit your submission to 350 words or fewer. Multimedia submissions should be under 3 minutes.

The front page of your resume has given us a sense of your professional experience and accomplishments as well as your academic summary and extracurricular involvement. If the back page reflects “the rest of your story,” please help us get to know you better by sharing ONE example of a life experience, achievement, or passion that will give us a sense of who you are as a potential community member. 

This essay prompt is merely a creative way of asking you to reveal who you are as an individual, apart from what all the basic elements of your application already convey about your job, your education, and your activities and interests outside of work. Identifying the approach that will best help you tell your personal story is an important first step, so do not automatically restrict yourself and think too narrowly. The intro to the prompt explicitly states, “We value creativity and authenticity,” so keep this in mind as you mine your background and current life for the most fitting content and then decide how to present it.

Take care to not get gimmicky. Your goal is not to seem “cute” or even more creative than the next applicant but really just to tell your personal story, albeit in a brief way, and thereby provide a more dynamic image of yourself. We suggest you start by grabbing some paper and making an old-fashioned list of your key “experiences, achievements, … [and] passions.” Then, consider what information the admissions committee already has about you from your other essay(s) and elements of your application, and strive to choose the item from your list that best complements that information to create a well-rounded picture of you. With an allowance of only 350 words or three minutes, you will need to be succinct, so be sure not to spend too much time or space on unnecessary buildup or repetition. You want your story to have life and sufficient context so the admissions committee can fully understand and appreciate it, but you also want to give yourself enough room to share details that will imbue your message with color and individuality. 

Cornell Johnson states that you may use an alternate (multimedia) format for this submission. We offer no recommendation with respect to whether a written essay, a PowerPoint presentation, a video, or any other approach is “best” in this case. Opportunities are certainly available in both traditional and creative approaches, depending on where your strengths lie, so do not feel that you must use some form of multimedia. Again, start by brainstorming to determine what you want to say as an applicant—what you feel the admissions committee really needs to learn about you—and then decide which format most appropriately matches your personality and message. Your ultimate goal here is to effectively convey information that showcases your personality and an important moment in or aspect of your life, not to win an Oscar.

Optional/Reapplicant Essay: You may use this essay to call attention to items needing clarification and to add additional details to any aspects of your application that do not accurately reflect your potential for success at Johnson (350 words maximum). 

If you are reapplying for admission, please use this essay to indicate how you have strengthened your application since the last time you applied for admission. Please also review our Admission Policy for additional information about re-applying. (350 words maximum)

If you are a Cornell Johnson reapplicant, this essay should be 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. The school 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 Cornell Johnson 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.

If you are not a reapplicant, this is your opportunity—if needed—to address any lingering questions that an admissions officer might have about your candidacy, such as a poor grade or overall GPA, a low GMAT or GRE score, or a gap in your work experience. We encourage you to download a free copy of our 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, along with multiple illustrative examples. Be mindful and respectful of the admissions committee’s time and remember that each additional file you submit requires more resources on behalf of the admissions office, so whatever you write must be truly worthwhile and clearly reveal that you made good use of this opportunity to provide further insight into your candidacy.

For a thorough exploration of Cornell Johnson’s academic offerings, defining characteristics, crucial statistics, social life, community/environment, and other key facets of the program, please download your free copy of the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to Cornell Johnson.
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Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, Ess  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Jul 2019, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, Essay Analysis, 2019–2020
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Applicants to the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, this season will be responding to two totally new required essay questions. We were a little sad to see that the school’s unique and challenging six-word story prompt had been removed, but we imagine many candidates are not. Instead, Berkeley Haas wants applicants to dig deep on a personal level and discuss something about which they are passionate. For their second essay, candidates must explain the school’s role in their anticipated development as a leader. For its optional essays, the admissions committee has maintained its multipart questionnaire prompt (which is much less complicated than it may seem at first glance) and an open-ended prompt that gives applicants the opportunity to address any unclear or problem areas in their profile. These four essays together should allow you to present a well-rounded impression of yourself to the school, complementing the information presented in your resume, recommendations, and basic stats with insight into who you are as an individual and who you hope to be as a future business leader. Our full essay analysis for Berkeley Haas follows…

Required Essay #1: What makes you feel alive when you are doing it, and why? (300 words maximum)

Perhaps you are familiar with the psychological concept of “flow,” which is a mental state people enter when they are completely immersed in and focused on something they enjoy and are enthusiastic about—it is also described as being “in the zone.” With this question, Berkeley Haas is basically asking you to discuss what puts you in the zone. If you are truly excited about something—and, we would assume, therefore engage in it on a regular basis—writing about it should not prove too challenging. Like all other application questions, this one has no “right” answer, so do not try to guess what you think the school wants to hear. Authenticity is key to your success here. Note that the prompt includes the words “when you are doing it,” so although you may feel strongly about certain causes or values, such as animal rights or environmental matters, for this essay, you will need to discuss an activity rather than an ideology. 

The school does not stipulate that your topic needs to come from a specific area of your life (e.g., professional life, community service, personal life). We appreciate that you are likely passionate about your career, but this is not automatically your best choice for a topic here, especially given that the school’s second required essay offers a better opportunity to discuss your professional side. What Berkeley Haas wants to learn from this essay is what gets your heart pumping and mind racing. Enthusiasm and intensity can be very inspiring and energizing and can lead to big ideas and actions. Sharing what incites such feelings in you gives the admissions committee an idea of where you might someday make an impression on the world, how you might leave your mark—especially once you are equipped with all you will gain and learn during your MBA experience.

That said, do not worry if the thing you feel so fervently about might initially seem commonplace to someone else. For example, perhaps you feel passionate about basketball. Because this is an interest anyone could share and enjoy, you might have concerns that it could sound pedestrian or unremarkable—and for many, this is a completely unremarkable pastime and one they should not write about. If, however, you can show that you have engaged with basketball in a way that takes the activity well beyond being a commonplace hobby and that it is something you connect with on a deep level and in various ways—perhaps having played for many years, you now coach youth teams from underprivileged neighborhoods in your community—then it most definitely becomes an acceptable discussion topic. In such a case, basketball could be used to reveal intensity, dedication, commitment to yourself and others, growth, longevity, and/or resilience. Of course, we are offering basketball here just for illustration purposes. We imagine you likely feel the flow when engaging in a completely different activity or even engaging in disparate activities that are unified by a single behavior, such as when you are creating something, or perhaps motivating others. The options are very much endless.

Once you have identified the passion you wish to discuss, avoid simply telling the admissions committee about it and instead illustrate how it manifests in your life. For example, rather than starting your essay by stating, “I have been watching and playing basketball since I was a child,” you need to create a more vivid impression of your dedication and involvement, such as “From playing with my brothers after school to varsity ball in college to now coaching a youth league in my community, I can hardly remember a time when basketball wasn’t an integral part of my life.” Or consider a more narrative approach, such as, “Dripping with sweat, I thrust my right arm up and knocked the ball away, just as the buzzer sounded.” Once you have set the scene and presented the object of your fervor, you must then explain why you connect with it so strongly or so well—perhaps it gives you a sense of peace or purpose, or it makes you feel connected with others in a meaningful way, or it allows you to challenge yourself mentally or physically. A successful essay response will not only paint a clear picture of your passion but also highlight the elements of your personality that make it significant to you.

Required Essay #2: At Berkeley Haas, we are redefining leadership. We value different opinions and perspectives, recognizing that we always have more to learn about others’ lived experiences and histories. We encourage speaking up and listening, and courageously use our power to address barriers and drive change for positive impact.

Tell us how a Berkeley Haas MBA would enhance your leadership profile, incorporating specific examples. (300 words max)

Although the school does not explicitly ask that you discuss leadership within the context of your career for this essay, we believe that focusing on your professional experience is best here. After all, you are not applying to business school to get better at your extracurricular pursuits! The intro to this prompt implies that Berkeley Haas seeks individuals who take an inclusive, if not collaborative, approach to leadership, so keep this in mind as you craft your response. Also, note the verb “enhance,” which carries with it the idea that you are building on something that already exists, improving it and taking it to a new level. You will therefore need to provide some basic context about your past leadership experience and current style. But with only 300 words for the entire essay, you will need to keep this information succinct and direct. This is certainly not the place to try to impress the admissions committee with a detailed story about a past leadership success. Instead, strive to convey the leadership abilities and mind-set you have developed thus far, to set the stage for your discussion of the elements you hope to acquire in the MBA program and how the school can help you do so.

The admissions committee very directly requests “specific examples” to illustrate why Berkeley Haas is the right place for you to advance your leadership experience and knowledge, so you will need to do some focused research on the program to identify the resources, events, and other offerings that align with your needs and interests in this area. In essence, this is a very targeted “why our school?” query, so we encourage you to download a free copy of the mbaMission Personal Statement Guide, which we created to help applicants write this style of essay for any school. It explains ways of approaching this subject effectively and offers several sample essays as guides. Click here to access your complimentary copy.

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

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

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

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

[*] What was the primary language spoken in your childhood home?[*] If you have you ever been responsible for providing significant and continuing financial or supervisory support for someone else, please indicate.[/list]
    • Child
    • Spouse
    • Sibling
    • Parent
    • Extended family member (grandparent, aunt/uncle, niece/nephew, cousin)
    • Other

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

Although the school’s first optional essay prompt is somewhat elaborate, it is not necessarily all that complicated, and we imagine it will offer certain applicants an easy way of highlighting particular elements of their background without having to try to fit them into a different essay. The school clearly wants direct information and basic explanation(s) from this option, so simply answer the questions and succinctly provide any necessary clarifications using the allocated word count. The second optional essay prompt asks applicants to focus specifically on information they deem most “relevant,” and the lack of a word limit means candidates can fully explain whatever they feel the admissions committee truly must know to be able to evaluate them fully and fairly. This is not, however, a blank-slate invitation to dump every bit of remaining information about yourself that you feel the school is lacking. And however difficult, avoid the temptation to simply reuse a strong essay you wrote for another program here or to offer a few anecdotes you were unable to incorporate into your other Berkeley Haas essays. Be judicious in your use of this opportunity, and submit an optional essay only if you truly believe a key element of your story or profile is needed for the school to have a complete and accurate understanding of you as a candidate. Consider downloading your free copy of our mbaMission Optional Essays Guide, in which we offer detailed advice on when and how to take advantage of the optional essay (including multiple sample essays) to help you mitigate any problem areas in your profile.

The Next Step—Mastering Your Berkeley Haas Interview: Many MBA candidates find admissions interviews stressful and intimidating, but mastering this important element of the application process is definitely possible—the key is informed preparation. And to help you develop this high level of preparation, we offer our free Interview Primers! Download your free copy of the Berkeley Haas School of Business Interview Primer today.
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Five Things to Do During Your Pre-MBA Summer to Prepare for Your Inter  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jul 2019, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Five Things to Do During Your Pre-MBA Summer to Prepare for Your Internship
In this blog series, our mbaMission Career Coaches offer invaluable advice and industry-related news to help you actively manage your career. Topics include building your network, learning from mistakes and setbacks, perfecting your written communication, and mastering even the toughest interviews. To schedule a free half-hour consultation with one of our mbaMission Career Coaches, click here.

With the start of orientation only six to eight weeks away at many MBA programs, we know some of you are finishing up your jobs, planning cross-country (or international!) moves, and thinking about how to turn your career goals into reality.

Here are five actionable tips for laying the groundwork for a successful internship search before you even set foot on campus:

  • Reflect on your career experiences. Write down each major job/role you have had to date, and underneath that record the following information: what you liked most/least about the role, what skills you developed in the role, and how the role related to/influenced your current career goals. You will use this information to develop your story and pitch yourself to employers. 
  • Update your network. Send personalized emails to your contacts letting them know you are leaving your job and attending business school; share your career goals and thank them for their support. Change the headline in your LinkedIn profile to reflect your MBA candidacy (e.g., “MBA Candidate xxxx | Focused on XXXXX”), and in August, post news of your arrival on campus. 
  • Become an “insider” on your target industry. Read about trends, company news, and products of interest; learn key terminology; understand the challenges facing your target industry; and develop a perspective on how companies can best compete. 
  • Identify 10 to 15 potential target companies. During your research, jot down a robust list of potential employers. Follow these companies on social media (e.g., Twitter and LinkedIn). See how they position themselves in the market and how they are addressing disruption and change in the market. 
  • Write down potential obstacles to your internship search. We know that the internship search can be overwhelming, and it is totally normal to be apprehensive, but discussing your concerns with your program’s career center and/or your peers will help you to brainstorm actionable ways to overcome them. 
Plus, read all emails from your MBA program. Many schools are already communicating with the incoming class and are sharing resources and to-do lists.

Business school is a tremendous growth opportunity that can enable you to achieve more than you thought possible. We at mbaMission wish you the best of luck, and remember that we are always here to support you! Learn more about our complimentary 30-minute career consultations here.

Have you been admitted to business school? If so, do you want to get a head start on defining your career goals? Do you need help preparing for job interviews or learning how to effectively network with your target employers? Or maybe you want to be a top performer in your current role but are unsure how to maximize your potential. Let an mbaMission Career Coach help via a free 30-minute consultation!
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Tackling Reading Comprehension Problems in the GMAT  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Jul 2019, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Tackling Reading Comprehension Problems in the GMAT
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.

We previously examined how to read Reading Comprehension (RC) passages. If you have not read our earlier article, go ahead and do so right now.

Today, I want to talk about the three primary types of questions that appear on RC: Main Idea, Specific Detail, and Inference. I also want to talk about how to analyze RC problems.

In general, we learn the most from a problem after we have finished doing it. Our review is the real learning experience. Any problem can (and should!) be analyzed using the questions discussed in this “How to Analyze a Practice Problem” article.

How would that work with a Reading Comprehension question? Glad you asked. This article contains an example of a complete RC Inference problem analysis—you will learn not only how to analyze an RC problem but also how to tackle Inference problems. (In general, Inference problems ask us to deduce something from some piece of evidence provided in the passage.)

Let us tackle Main Idea questions next. These questions focus on the main point of a passage, though we could also be asked to give the main point of just one paragraph.

Specific Detail questions ask us to address some particular detail mentioned explicitly in the passage. We could be asked what the passage says or why the author mentions a certain thing. Knowing whether you are dealing with a What question or a Why question is important. Think about the answers to these two questions: What are you studying? Why are you studying it? Completely different answers!

Those will cover most, if not all, of the RC question types you will see when you take the GMAT. You might also encounter a Strengthen or Weaken question, similar to the questions that we see in the Critical Reasoning section. These are fairly rare in RC, though—chances are good that you will not actually see one.

So go ahead and tackle those Reading Comprehension question types and remember this: when you are studying, your goal is not (just) to get the question right. Your goal is to learn something that you could apply on a different question (or questions) in the future!
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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