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The mbaMission Blog

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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: Why Worry? I Volunteered!  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Aug 2019, 09:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: Why Worry? I Volunteered!
Some MBA applicants mistakenly view community service as simply a prerequisite for getting into a top program and sign up for volunteer opportunities without considering whether the organization or cause they are choosing is actually a reasonable fit for them. Community service is generally something positive to highlight in your application, given that it demonstrates altruism and frequently indicates leadership skills as well—attributes that may not be revealed in your work experience. However, it is not a panacea or a mere box to be checked. As you contemplate your involvements, be aware that “hours served” are not as important as the spirit of your participation and the extent of your impact.

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

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

Whether you are already committed to an activity or are just considering becoming involved in one, carefully determine whether you have the mind-set and personal interest necessary to truly commit yourself to your chosen cause and make a difference. If putting in hours is the only commitment you can make, you will just be wasting your time.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Accelerate Your Career and Experience Foreign Cultures with the Wharto  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Aug 2019, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Accelerate Your Career and Experience Foreign Cultures with the Wharton Executive MBA
The full-time MBA program at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania attracts thousands of applications each year—the Class of 2020, for example, was built from a total of 6,245 applications. But for applicants who have already gained lengthy work and leadership experience, the school’s Executive MBA (EMBA) Program may be a better fit. Wharton’s EMBA Class of 2021 is decidedly diverse, featuring 236 participants from 26 countries with an average of 12 years of work experience and an average age of 36.

The 24-month Wharton EMBA program follows largely the same curriculum as its full-time counterpart, but it allows participants to continue to work full time throughout their studies. The program is offered at Wharton’s Philadelphia and San Francisco campuses, and students can switch locations in their second year or take a semester of elective classes on the other campus if space is available. Each incoming class is typically split equally between the Philadelphia campus (120 within the Class of 2021) and the San Francisco campus (116 within the Class of 2021).

The program kicks off with a week-long orientation program at the Philadelphia campus, which all EMBA students attend. After the orientation, classes take place at both campuses on Fridays and Saturdays every other week, in addition to a number of three-day weekends. Students typically spend 20 to 25 hours per week between class meetings studying, including remote collaboration sessions with their study teams.

The EMBA core curriculum is divided into three parts: Leadership Essentials, which features three courses, including “Responsibility in Global Management”; Analytic Foundations, which also comprises three courses, including “Regression Analysis for Business”; and Business Foundations, an eight-module course featuring such themes as “Marketing Management,” “Fundamentals of Financial and Managerial Accounting,” and “Macroeconomics and the Global Economic Environment.” In their second year, students choose from a plethora of elective courses, which amount to nearly half of the program’s 19 credit units. Although students are not required to follow a major course of study, they can choose from the 19 majors offered by Wharton.

In the second year of the program, students take part in the EMBA Global Business Week, a seven-day trip consisting of company visits, lectures, and learning about the culture at one of five available international locations. The most recent class that participated in Global Business Week chose from such locations as Cuba, Spain, China, and South Africa. The EMBA program also offers Global Modular Courses, which are short and intensive workshops hosted in various locations focusing on locally relevant topics. Past courses have included “Conducting Business in Emerging Economies” in Colombia, “Competitive Advantage in the Leisure Industry” in Portugal and Spain, and “Sustainable Growth in ASEAN” in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore.

Combining a demanding job with part-time MBA studies can be challenging, but the effort involved can confer notable advantages—not only in the professional doors an MBA typically opens and the leadership skills gained but also in the relationships established with classmates and faculty members. If you are considering applying to a part-time MBA program, sign up for a free 30-minute consultation with one of our Senior Consultants to get valuable information on starting your journey.
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How to Take Ownership of Your Post-MBA Goals and Show They Are Attaina  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Aug 2019, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: How to Take Ownership of Your Post-MBA Goals and Show They Are Attainable
When admissions officers read your MBA application, they want to feel inspired by your personal statement; they want to know that you have a strong sense of purpose and will work energetically to attain your objectives. Thus, you must ensure that you are not presenting generic or shallow goals. Although this problem is not industry specific, it occurs most often with candidates who propose careers in investment banking or consulting but do not have a true understanding of what these positions entail.

For example, a candidate cannot merely state the following goal: “In the short term, after graduating from Wharton, I want to become an investment banking associate. After three years, I will be promoted to vice president, and then in the long term, I will become a managing director.”

This hypothetical candidate does not express any passion for their proposed course, does not show any understanding of the demands of the positions, and does not explain the value they could bring to the firm. To avoid these kinds of shortcomings, conduct this simple test when writing your personal statement: if you can easily substitute another job title into your career goals and the sentence still makes perfect sense (for example, “In the short term, when I graduate from Wharton, I want to become a consultant. After three years, I will be promoted to vice president, and then in the long term, I will become a managing director.”), you have a serious problem on your hands and need to put more work into your essay.

To effectively convey your goals, you need to truly own them. This means personalizing them, determining and presenting why you expect to be a success in the proposed position, and explaining why an opportunity exists for you to contribute. For example, a former forestry engineer could make a strong argument for joining an environmental impact consulting firm. (Note: This candidate would still need to explain why they would want to join one.)

Similarly, a financial analyst in the corporate finance department at Yahoo! could connect their goals to tech investment banking. Although the connection need not be so direct, especially for candidates seeking to change careers, relating your past experiences and/or your skills to your future path is still extremely important. This approach will add depth to your essay and ensure that the admissions committee takes you seriously.

While some candidates struggle to effectively convey their immediate post-MBA goals, many also have difficulty defining their long-term goals. Although short-term goals should be relatively specific, long-term goals can be broad and ambitious. Regardless of what your short- and long-term aspirations actually are, what is most important is presenting a clear “cause and effect” relationship between them. The admissions committee will have difficulty buying into a long-term goal that lacks grounding. However, do not interpret this to mean you must declare your interest in an industry and then assert that you will stay in it for your entire career. You can present any career path that excites you—again, as long as you also demonstrate a logical path to achieving your goals.

For example, many candidates discuss having ambitions in the field of management consulting. Could an individual with such aspirations justify any of the following long-term goals?

  • Climbing the ladder and becoming a partner in a consulting firm
  • Launching a boutique consulting firm
  • Leaving consulting to manage a nonprofit
  • Leaving consulting to buy a failing manufacturing firm and forge a “turnaround”
  • Entering the management ranks of a major corporation
The answer is yes! This candidate could justify any of these long-term goals (along with many others), as long as they connect them to experiences gained via their career as a consultant. With regard to your goals, do not feel constrained—just be sure to emphasize and illustrate that your career objectives are logical, achievable, and ambitious.
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: Youngme Moon, Harvard Business School  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Aug 2019, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Youngme Moon, Harvard Business School
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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 Youngme Moon from Harvard Business School (HBS).

In addition to receiving the HBS Student Association Faculty Award seven times, Youngme Moon was also the inaugural recipient of the Hellman Faculty Fellowship in 2002–2003 for distinction in research. Moon is currently the Donald K. David Professor of Business Administration and has served as the senior associate dean for strategy and innovation and as the senior associate dean for the MBA program at the school. Her work has been published in the Harvard Business Review, the Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Consumer Psychology, the Journal of Experimental Psychology, and the Journal of Applied Social Psychology. Students described Moon to mbaMission as being extremely friendly and accessible, even going out for casual dinners with students.

Moon’s bestselling 2010 book, Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd (Crown Business), is described by the publisher as showing “how to succeed in a world where conformity reigns…but exceptions rule.” Moon co-hosts a weekly podcast, After Hours, which is presented by the Harvard Business Review. The podcast features Moon and two other HBS professors discussing current events “that sit at the crossroads of business and culture,” according to the podcast’s iTunes description.

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

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The MBA Admissions Deadline Is Approaching, and I Do Not Have My GMAT   [#permalink]

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New post 29 Aug 2019, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: The MBA Admissions Deadline Is Approaching, and I Do Not Have My GMAT Score!
With regard to the GMAT, raw intellectual horsepower helps, but it is not everything. Manhattan Prep’s Stacey Koprince teaches you how to perform at your best on test day by using some common sense.

When business schools announce their application deadlines, I often hear from candidates who do not yet have the GMAT score they want. What to do?

First, do a little research. What kinds of scores are posted for the schools to which you plan to apply? Check their websites; most will publish scores for admitted students. If you cannot find scores for a certain program, you can try checking various MBA ranking reports (though many require you to buy the information). How far are you from the goal?

Next, consult the experts. First, talk to an admissions consultant (hint, hint, mbaMission) to gain help in deciding how far you really need to go with the GMAT. The general rule is that you would like to be at or above the average to be competitive for a certain school, but you may need to push higher (or you might get away with a lower score), depending on other aspects of your application profile. Be sure to discuss multiple scenarios: if I apply first round, can I get away with a slightly lower GMAT score? If I wait to apply second round, is the possibility of a higher GMAT score likely to make much of a difference? (Disclaimer: Of course, nobody can tell you whether you will definitely get into any particular school, just as nobody can tell you that taking the test again will definitely net you a higher score. As always, you take your chances!)

When you have an idea of your “ideal” goal score, talk to some GMAT experts to see whether your desired goal score and your time frame are reasonable, given your starting point. If someone tells me that she just scored a 600 and wants a 720 in 30 days, that person has an “expectation adjustment” conversation in her near future, because not many people would be able to raise their score by 120 points (particularly to such a high final score) in only one month.

Next, think about what resources would help you to learn better than you have in the past. Online forums? A friend who has already taken the test? A private tutor? A mix of all three? (I am not suggesting a course here, because I am assuming that we are talking about six weeks or fewer, in which case—if you are going to spend money—you might as well spend it on a tutor. That will give you much more targeted and customized help, which is crucial in such a short time frame. If you have more time, though, add “a course?” to the list of possibilities.)

You may have to make a tough choice between going for your goal score while postponing your application and lowering your goal score while sticking to your application time frame. Either way, take advantage of the expert advice out there to help you with this decision.
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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See the World During Your Studies at Michigan Ross and NYU Stern  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Aug 2019, 09:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: See the World During Your Studies at Michigan Ross and NYU Stern
For incoming first-year students at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business who want to get a head start on building friendships within their class or make use of some time off before the academic year begins, the MTrek program may be just the answer. MTreks, which were first offered in 1999, are small-group, multiday, outdoor adventure trips that take place before classes officially start. Organized in locations around the world, the trips are entirely student led (by second years) and are designed to provide a team-based environment similar to that found at Ross and to promote leadership in a team setting. MTreks look to be as inclusive as possible—trips are available to suit a wide variety of interests and thus range from hard-core adventure to relaxing sightseeing excursions.

MTreks in 2019 include “Chilling in Scandinavia Blue,” which features Norway, Sweden, and Denmark as destinations; “We Drink and We Know Things,” which takes place in Chile and Argentina; and “One Trip to Rule Them All: Fjords and Frodo,” an exploration of New Zealand. In 2018, students were able to participate in such treks as “Fast and Furious: Sing-a-laysia Edition,” which took place in Malaysia and Singapore; “Alpaca Your Bags,” a hiking trip in Peru; and “We Like to Port-y,” a trip to Portugal.

So, whether you are interested in hiking and rafting in Iceland or beaching and snorkeling in Mexico, MTreks provide a chance to build friendships and develop leadership skills while having a great time.

New York University’s (NYU’s) Stern School of Business also provides its students ample opportunity to spend time abroad during one- or two-week trips, through its “Doing Business in…” (DBi) program. DBi trips take place between the fall and winter semesters, during spring break, and in May (after classes conclude). Each course (trip) is tailored to its specific locale and includes a mix of lectures given by Stern faculty as well as by local business practitioners and/or government representatives. Complementing the classroom learning are hands-on field experiences at corporate headquarters, factories, ports, development sites, and other such locations. DBi destinations in recent years have included Costa Rica, Spain, Brazil, Singapore, Israel, and Australia, just to name a few. Students who participate in the DBi program gain a new perspective on conducting business in a different culture while making some great memories with fellow “Sternies” along the way.

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

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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: The CFA Is a Liability  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Aug 2019, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: The CFA Is a Liability
The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation—a grueling, three-part financial program that hundreds of thousands of people pursue each year—covers many of the subjects included in a “typical” first-year MBA curriculum. A CFA aspirant must study basic economics, accounting, finance, and quantitative analysis, areas that echo aspects of many first-year MBA core curricula. So, could working toward the CFA designation negatively affect an MBA applicant’s candidacy by suggesting that they already have the tools an MBA education would provide and that additional studies would therefore be superfluous? Definitely not!

In fact, pursuing the CFA designation reflects positively on an applicant in that the effort emphasizes his/her ability to manage a rigorous MBA curriculum and establishes the candidate as a self-starter and a disciplined individual, given that CFA exam preparation is intense and requires several months of sustained and extensive study for each level. Furthermore, from an admissions perspective, admissions officers want to know that they are admitting individuals who are employable; the CFA charter holder has an advantage in the post-MBA recruiting world, because employers can point to the designation as a differentiator among otherwise comparable applicants.

The CFA exam/program can also be a useful marketing tool for candidates to help them during the admissions process. Because the CFA narrowly focuses on financial tools, it does not cover a myriad of other subjects the MBA does address and that are useful to financial professionals, including marketing, operations, international business, human resource management, and entrepreneurship. The CFA is an independent and largely quantitative program and thus cannot provide the elements a business school program offers through discussion, debate, and measuring qualitative information in decision making.

Together, the CFA designation and the MBA degree constitute a powerful one-two punch that can be advantageous in landing that coveted post-MBA position.
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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Decoding the HBS Interview  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Sep 2019, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Decoding the HBS Interview
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Harvard Business School

The official deadline for Round 1 Harvard Business School (HBS) applicants is drawing near: September 4, 2019. Once you submit your HBS application (and breathe a sigh of relief), the waiting game for the interview invitation begins.

Predicting exactly what questions you will be asked in your HBS interview is impossible, given the dynamic nature of the meeting and the school’s individualized approach, but this does not mean you cannot prepare to navigate the interaction effectively and increase your chances of leaving your desired impression.

Join us for our new “Decoding the HBS Interview” Workshop, hosted by mbaMission Founder/President Jeremy Shinewald and mbaMission HBS Interviewer in Residence Devi Vallabhaneni (HBS Class of 1997, former HBS Admissions Board Candidate Interviewer).

In this 60-minute workshop, you will learn:

  • What makes the HBS interview so different from all the other business school interviews
  • The philosophy behind the HBS approach
  • How to prepare for the interview
Coming out of the session, you will have a much better sense of what to expect in your HBS interview and how to prepare for it so you can approach your interview with competence and confidence. Space is limited. Reserve your spot today.

Before you attend the webinar, what do you need to know? Drawing on her six years as an interviewer at HBS, Devi Vallabhaneni shares a few helpful tips:

Feeling Nervous

Feeling your nerves kick in is totally normal, but would you believe that every time I interviewed an HBS prospect, I was just as nervous? You might find that hard to imagine, but it is the truth! I felt like I owed each and every interviewee the courtesy of bringing my best to them, really getting to know them, and working just as hard as they had to arrive at the interview. So, first things first, know that the person on the other side of your HBS interview is eager and sincere in wanting to know the real you.

Know Your Story Cold

Your story should be within you, right? Well, maybe you wrote about your love of Chinese cookery in the personal section of your resume, but since then, you have not given another thought to the last cooking class you took—which, by the way, was a good story two years ago! Although I was never specifically trying to find weak spots in interviewees’ stories, I would sometimes start by asking about interests and hobbies they had listed that sounded interesting, so I just might have asked you about your Chinese cooking. Before your interview, refresh your familiarity with your entire application, even the parts you think are trivial.

Master the What & How

How you accomplished something is just as important, if not more than, what you actually accomplished. The how shows the real level of effort you had to expend to reach your end result. To me, the how also lets you share a deeper version of your story with your interviewer. I once interviewed an applicant who had worked on a seemingly common financial transaction. Because of the regulatory and political complexity of the transaction, she had to create more than 30 different potential scenarios to anticipate and quantify the client’s next steps. In this case, the how gave me better insight into the applicant’s depth of analysis, creativity, and experience. Without that information, this project, on its face, may not have stood out to me as something meaningful. Be sure to detail the how of your achievements for your HBS interviewer so that he or she can better understand the rigor and impact of your experience.

Give Full Answers

I once asked an applicant to tell me about a growth experience he had had while studying abroad. He responded by reporting that he had learned to make his bed. I have to admit that, on the surface, this is not much of an answer. However, after a few follow-up questions, I realized that he was humbly trying to explain that he had been coddled up to that point and that he had ultimately had an awakening about independence. I wish he had proactively connected these ideas, because we ultimately spent much more time than necessary on this topic, which precluded us from fully exploring other parts of his background. Giving full answers means demonstrating the broader context of your responses and anticipating the interviewer’s potential perceptions so that you use your 30 minutes as wisely and efficiently as possible.

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Devi Vallabhaneni

Strive for Practiced, Not Scripted

You worked really hard on your HBS application, which is what led to this interview opportunity. But your application probably took weeks or months to complete and required multiple revisions and edits, whereas your interview is a one-shot 30 minutes. This is why practicing your answers verbally is a great idea, but practice does not mean memorization or rehearsal. I once interviewed a woman I later ran into on campus when she was a first-year student. While we were catching up, she told me how nervous she had been for our interview and how she had practiced by writing out bullet points and verbalizing them in front of a mirror. I still remember her interview to this day. She was natural, conversational, and in the moment. The way she had practiced enabled her to convey what was salient while still being fully present and engaged. In contrast, another candidate I interviewed responded to my every question with “I have three reasons…” or “I have three examples…,” and in most cases, his replies did not match my questions! He had memorized pre-made answers and simply recited them when given the chance to speak. Make sure to prepare useful points and stories and practice verbalizing them before your interview, but once you are in the meeting, pay attention to the questions being asked and call on those points and stories as appropriate.

Forget About the Introvert Versus Extrovert Factor

Prospective interviewees regularly ask me, “Am I at a disadvantage if I’m an introvert?” and assume the interview is better suited to—and more beneficial for—extroverts. The truth is that I have seen both be extremely successful. Shy, quiet, low-key people can be just as compelling as those who are outgoing, animated, or gregarious. I remember an interview I had with a soft-spoken individual who had intriguing manufacturing experience in a foreign country. He really blossomed when he shared his worries about that country’s upcoming elections and how the outcome might affect his company and export potential. Your HBS interviewer is much more interested in your experiences, background, values, and interests than in your personality type—so just be thoroughly you.

Anticipate the Interviewer’s Homework

I once interviewed an HBS applicant who was working at a start-up in a foreign country. I had never heard of it, so I read up on it, including its funding structure, mission, and founding team. I even found a news report that explained that one of the funding rounds had not gone smoothly. During the interview, we got on the topic of raising money, and the candidate was shocked when I asked about one of the investors. When he asked how I knew about that investor, I explained that I had researched his start-up—not to create “gotcha” questions but to better understand his work environment. Expect your HBS interviewer to go beyond just reading through the information you included in your application. The philosophy has always been (1) to meet candidates where they are and (2) that the more we know about an interviewee beforehand, the deeper and more helpful the interview will be.

Be Earlier than Early

I interviewed a candidate once who was 15 minutes late. His interview was essentially over before he even (finally!) walked in the door.  Just as you would plan to arrive early for an important work meeting to make sure you are physically and mentally ready, plan to arrive for your HBS interview earlier than necessary. If you know you have a problem with timeliness, plan to arrive even earlier still. This way you can have a few peaceful moments to gather your thoughts and prepare. If you end up being so early you have extra time on your hands, you can use the opportunity to meet other applicants, walk around campus, or just sit back and enjoy the moment. Whatever you do, just never be late!

Enjoy the Moment

I used to begin my HBS interviews by briefly introducing myself and then enthusiastically asking, “Ready to have some fun?” The candidates would look at me like I was crazy, clearly incapable of thinking the interview could possibly be fun, but by the end of our conversation, they understood what I had meant. Your interview is an opportunity to talk about yourself, your background, your goals, and your experiences—and to let your personality and style shine through. Try to loosen up and enjoy it! The 30 minutes go by really fast. By the time the interview starts, you cannot do anything more to prepare, so try to push through any nervousness you may be feeling and make the most of the experience! The HBS interview is an extremely human process for both the interviewer and interviewee. Embrace the opportunity to engage with the school on this next level and show your readiness for its unique MBA experience.

Devi Vallabhaneni, an HBS graduate and former HBS MBA interviewer, is mbaMission’s HBS Interviewer in Residence, and will be conducting HBS Intensive Interview Simulations this fall.
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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How to Approach Freelance Work and Layoffs in Your MBA Application  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Sep 2019, 15:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: How to Approach Freelance Work and Layoffs in Your MBA Application
If you do mostly short-term, project-based work, you might struggle with how to structure your resume so that it does not give the impression that you switch jobs every few months. If you list each job separately, not only will your resume be too long, but you also run the risk that your reader will think you have not had a stable career—when in fact, if you are a successful freelancer or contractor, the opposite is the case. So, how can you organize your resume so that it showcases the strength of your work and avoid having the variety and number of your work experiences come across as a weakness instead?

The key here is “clustering.” Rather than listing each short-term job separately, cluster them all under one heading, such as “independent contractor” or “freelance project manager.” Next to this heading, note the time range (i.e., start and end dates) during which you have worked for yourself. Then, using bullet points, list the individual projects you completed as a freelancer, noting your primary accomplishments for each one, followed by the related company/organization name and dates. The goal is to keep the focus on your accomplishments.

Similarly, many business school applicants worry about the impact having been laid off might have on their candidacy. Do the admissions committees view a layoff as a sign of failure?

One thing to remember is that many MBA candidates share this worry—thousands of them worldwide, in fact. For the admissions committees to dismiss all such applicants outright would simply not be practical. Moreover, the admissions committees know that the global financial crisis and subsequent recession are at the root of the problem, not necessarily the individual candidate’s performance. Indeed, layoffs and firings are not the same thing, so admissions committees will examine your application with that in mind, seeking your broader story.

If you find yourself in this situation, what is important is that you show that you have made good use of your time since the layoff by studying, volunteering, seeking work, enhancing your skills, etc. Each candidate will react differently, of course, but you need to have a story to tell of how you made the most of a difficult situation.
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mbaMission Offers Free In-Person Consultations in Cambridge, New York,  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Sep 2019, 11:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: mbaMission Offers Free In-Person Consultations in Cambridge, New York, and San Francisco!
Are you a business school applicant in need of some guidance from an admissions advisor? If so, then we want to meet you for a free in-person consultation! In the coming weeks, mbaMission will be hosting FREE in-person, one-on-one consultations* in the following cities:

Cambridge, Massachusetts: Tuesday, September 10, 2019; and Wednesday, September 11, 2019

New York, New York: Thursday, September 12, 2019

San Francisco, California: Thursday, September 26, 2019

During your free in-person consultation, your admissions advisor will answer all your most pressing MBA application questions, including the following:

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

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

*This offer is valid only for those applicants who have not already had an mbaMission free 30-minute consultation. Please note that all mbaMission consultant appointments are booked in Eastern Time. After booking, if you would like to confirm the local time of your appointment, please contact denise@mbamission.com.
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Which MBA Application Round Should I Apply In?  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Sep 2019, 13:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Which MBA Application Round Should I Apply In?
Many MBA admissions officers will tell candidates that if they can complete their applications and submit them in Round 1, then they should do so. Most MBA programs will also tell candidates that they should try to avoid Round 3, because the majority of the places in their classes will have been filled by then. So, what does that say about Round 2?

Candidates sometimes contact mbaMission to ask whether submitting an application in Round 2 is worth the effort or whether the opportunity has passed at that point. Unfortunately, when one is being compared against a group of unknown competitors, being concerned about every perceived difference or deficiency is only natural. Some candidates grow concerned if they are a year older than the average at their target school, while others fret if they are a year younger. Many applicants worry if their GMAT score is ten points below a school’s average. And, of course, some worry if they submit their application in Round 2. However, the overall strength of your candidacy, which is a measure of many factors, is far more important than where you fit in relation to any single statistic—not to mention whether you apply in Round 1 or 2.

So, we too would encourage candidates to apply early, if they are ready, but we do not believe anyone should give up on their MBA dreams for a year if applying in Round 1 is just not practical. You may be surprised to discover that admissions committees encourage early applications but also concede that the difference in selectivity between the first and the second rounds is very small. To back up this statement, we offer a small selection of quotes from mbaMission’s exclusive interviews with admissions officers:

“My stance has been and will continue to be that candidates should feel comfortable applying whenever they are ready. I can appreciate that candidates, especially when applying to highly selective schools, look for any strategy that might be beneficial to them. But the truth is, at Kellogg, we really do offer a similar number of admissions in [Rounds 1 and 2] and a similar number of scholarships. So, when I say I prefer students to apply when they’re ready, I mean it. There is not a strategic advantage to one round over another.” – Melissa Rapp, Director of Admissions, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management

“We really don’t [recommend that candidates apply in any specific round]. We model to admit the same quality of students in each round, so it’s not as though there’s an advantage to applying in one round versus another. We have three rounds, and we’re also part of the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, so we do receive applications that come in through the consortium and that are referred to us. But in terms of our three direct application rounds, like a lot of schools, we counsel people that if they can avoid the third round, they should try to do that. That’s not because it’s inherently any more difficult, but just because it’s more variable. It depends on how many people have already been accepted into the class in the first two rounds, so you just don’t know. It could be more than we were expecting, or it could be less. It’s that uncertainty that can make it more challenging. The main piece of advice we give everybody is to apply when you have your strongest application ready. Don’t rush to get it in earlier if it’s going to be less strong. And especially between rounds one and two, as I said, we model so that the quality of people we’re admitting stays constant throughout, so there’s no advantage in applying in one round versus another.” – Bruce DelMonico, Assistant Dean for Admissions, Yale School of Management

“[We] get about a third of our applications in Round 1, about 55% in Round 2, and the remainder in Round 3. … We encourage people to submit their application when they feel that they offer their best possible applications. … So, if you can get everything lined up and completed and you feel really good about it … then I would encourage you to apply in Round 1. But if it takes you a bit longer, and you want to take the time to look at your application again and maybe have somebody else look at it, then Round 2 is fine, too.” – Soojin Kwon, Managing Director of Admissions, University of Michigan Ross School of Business
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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: You Need a 750 to Get into Business Sc  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Sep 2019, 11:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: You Need a 750 to Get into Business School
We often hear MBA applicants ask some form of the following question: “Do I need a 750 to get into a top MBA program?” Although a 750 on the GMAT can certainly be helpful, it is not a prerequisite. We wanted to dispel this myth and put some who believe it at ease. Here are a few simple reasons why this is just not true:

  • The average is lower. Average GMAT scores at the top MBA programs range from approximately 700 to 730. Clearly, if the high end of the GMAT average range is 730, the schools cannot expect applicants to have a 750. That would mean that every applicant would be above average, which is not possible. Still, if a candidate’s score falls below the average, this generally places a greater burden on the other components of the individual’s application—so, for example, maybe their work experience would need to be stronger than that of other applicants, or maybe their extracurriculars would need to stand out even more. The bottom line is that mathematically speaking, many people have a GMAT score below 750.
  • Too few applicants have a 750 or higher.The top MBA programs accept thousands of applicants each application season. Only approximately 2% of GMAT test takers earn scores of 750 or higher, and some are earned by people who do not ultimately apply to business school at all, do not apply to any of the leading schools, take the test only to become GMAT instructors, pursue an EMBA or part-time MBA instead, are rejected because other aspects of their profile render them uncompetitive… and the list goes on. Basically, the top MBA programs do not receive applications from enough applicants with 750s to entirely populate their incoming class, as evidenced by the schools’ mid-80% GMAT ranges, which are typically 660–760.
  • All schools accept the GRE. Applicants do not really even need to take the GMAT anymore. Of course, if you do take the GMAT, you should strive to achieve the highest score possible. However, if the GMAT is not even required, you obviously would not need to score a 750 to be accepted.
We want to be unequivocal: 750 is a great GMAT score, and anyone who earns that score should be delighted. However, if you do not fare as well on the exam, you should still be quite hopeful and keep a positive mind-set, because the admissions process is holistic.
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Professor Profiles: James E. Schrager, the University of Chicago Booth  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Sep 2019, 11:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: James E. Schrager, the University of Chicago Booth 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 James E. Schrager from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Although he has a PhD from the University of Chicago in organizational behavior and policy, James E. Schrager is not just an academic, but also a practitioner who helped take the first private American company public on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and helped turn around aspects of the Pritzker family holdings, which were ultimately sold to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. Students we interviewed noted that Schrager brings his high-level experiences to class but remains entirely in touch with students’ more modest perspectives, adapting his anecdotes accordingly and creating practical learning points that pertain to what students will face early in their post-MBA careers. Schrager is a three-time winner of the university’s Emory Williams Award for Excellence in Teaching (in 2007, 2001, and 1996), and he received the Faculty Excellence Teaching Award in 2017. One second-year student told mbaMission, “He is not up in the sky, but very practical, and by the way, his class is always full.” Students’ grades in Schrager’s “New Venture Strategy” class are based in part on the success of a business idea the students present to their peers—the other students act as venture capitalists and give feedback on the idea.

For more information about Chicago Booth and 16 other top-ranked business schools, check out our free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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Luxury Brand Management at the GCU British School of Fashion and Londo  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Sep 2019, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Luxury Brand Management at the GCU British School of Fashion and London Business School
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In the fall of 2013, Scotland’s Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU)—known as a leader in fashion education since the 19th century—inaugurated a new fashion business school in London and soon after opened a satellite campus in New York City. Rather than focusing on the design aspect of fashion, however, the GCU British School of Fashion aims to offer a specialized business education with applications to the fashion industry, as the school’s then director, Christopher Moore, explained in a BBC article at the time the new campuses were being revealed: “The remit of the school is clear: we are about the business of fashion. And while there are other great international design schools, we are quite different. Our aim is to be a leading school for the business of fashion.”

The British School of Fashion’s MBA in Luxury Brand Management program aims to impart industry tools and skills related to such topics as consumer behavior, globalization, and strategic management. The program features several modules, exploring such topics as “Finance and Wealth Management,” “Strategic Brand Management,” “Legal Aspects of Brand Management,” and “Luxury Perspectives and Practice.” The school also professes a commitment to social responsibility, sustainability, and fair trade as part of its core values. With support from a number of British fashion brands, which have included Marks & Spencer, House of Fraser, AllSaints, and the Arcadia Group, the school’s faculty also features a team of honorary professors and fashion industry leaders.

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London Business School

London Business School has also taken steps to attract applicants with an interest in luxury brand management and retail. Although the school does not offer a degree on the subject, students can partake in numerous activities in the field throughout their studies. One of the most notable opportunities is the Walpole Luxury Programme, a partnership with the Walpole British Luxury brand. The program, which requires an application process, equips students with the tools necessary to enter global management positions after graduation. Students take elective courses, visit companies, participate in workshops, complete internships, and work with a mentor from Walpole throughout the program. Mentors in the program have represented such companies as Temperley London, The Savoy, NET-A-PORTER, and Gieves & Hawkes.

The London Core Application Practicum (LondonCAP) module, which was launched in 2017, is a hands-on learning opportunity during which students work with companies on projects related to their interests—a notable past partner is the British Fashion Council. Students can join the Retail & Luxury Goods Club, which is one of the largest clubs on campus, with more than 4,500 members. The group welcomes industry speakers and organizes career treks to such locations as Milan and Paris, in addition to hosting an annual e-commerce conference, whose past speakers have represented such companies as NET-A-PORTER, Marks & Spencer, and LVMH.
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How to Approach Data Sufficiency Questions on the GMAT  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Sep 2019, 13:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: How to Approach Data Sufficiency Questions on 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.

If you have only recently started studying for the GMAT (or even if you have been studying for a while!), you are likely annoyed by Data Sufficiency (DS). What is this weird question type, and why do they ask it? More importantly, how do we handle it?

What is Data Sufficiency?

The GMAT really is not a math test. (Neither is the GRE.) These tests are actually trying to test us on our “executive reasoning” skills—that is, how well we make decisions and prioritize when faced with too many things to do in too little time.

So, DS questions are really about quickly analyzing a collective set of data and trying to figure out which pieces you need to do the job. Imagine your boss dumping a bunch of stuff on you and saying, “Hey, our client wants to know whether they should raise the price on this product. Can you answer that question from this data? If so, which pieces do we need to prove the case?”

We do, of course, have to do some math—and sometimes that math is quite annoying. We usually do not, however, have to do as much as we usually do on regular “problem solving” questions (the normal Quant questions).

How does Data Sufficiency work?

First, we are given what is called the “question stem.” Here is an example:

How old is Oliver?

The question stem asks us a question, naturally. It can also provide information, such as the following:

If Oliver’s age is even, how old is Oliver?

Now we know that Oliver’s age is an even number. If they told me, for example, that Oliver is either 13 or 14 years old, now I know he is definitely 14, because I should only consider even numbers as possible values for Oliver’s age.

Next, the problem will give us two statements, such as the following:

(1) Oliver is 4 years older than Sam.

(2) Sam will be 11 years old in 5 years.

So, can we figure out how old Oliver is? What information would we need to do so? The first statement, by itself, does not help, because we do not know how old Sam is. The second statement, by itself, also does not help, because it does not tell us anything about Oliver.

If we put the two statements together, however, then we can actually figure out how old Oliver is. In this case, using both statements 1 and 2 together is sufficient to answer the question. (And this situation corresponds to answer choice C on the GMAT.)

DS questions have five possible answers:

(A) Statement 1 does help us to answer the question but statement 2 does not.

(B) Statement 2 does help us to answer the question but statement 1 does not.

(C) Neither statement works on its own, but I can use them together to answer the question.

(D) Statement 1 works by itself and statement 2 works by itself.

(E) Nothing works. Even if I use both statements together, I still cannot answer the question.

Okay, these are weird. How do I get better?

These are going to take some practice, yes. In addition, this was only a very short introduction; a ton of great strategies are out there that you can learn. Look for books, articles, classes, and other resources to help. (Here is one to get you started.)

You also, of course, have to learn a bunch of math. What we have presented here, though, should help you get started on this kind-of-bizarre question type in the first place!
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Earn Your Executive MBA and See the World with the Columbia Business S  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Sep 2019, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Earn Your Executive MBA and See the World with the Columbia Business School EMBA Program
Columbia Business School (CBS), located in the bustling business metropolis of New York City, offers a number of graduate and doctoral programs. While the school’s full-time MBA program is arguably its flagship offering, Columbia’s Executive MBA (EMBA) program covers the same curriculum and differs only in schedule. An executive MBA is often a good fit for professionals who have more than a few years of work experience and who prefer to keep working full-time during their studies.

The New York City–based EMBA program at CBS offers three schedule options: the Saturday format, the Friday/Saturday format, and the Americas format. In the Saturday option, which lasts 24 months, students matriculate in May and then meet each Saturday for classes. The Friday/Saturday option also starts in May and brings participants together twice weekly, on Fridays and Saturdays, for 20 months. The Americas option begins in January and takes place over the course of 20 months in five- to six-day blocks once a month. The Friday/Saturday and the Americas options require company sponsorship, whereas sponsorship is encouraged for the Saturday option, but not mandatory.

While the EMBA program’s Saturday and Friday/Saturday formats administer the core curriculum studies solely on the CBS campus in New York, the Americas format—as the program title suggests—also takes students to other locations in the Americas during the first year of the program via three weeklong class sessions in Toronto, Seattle, and Latin America. Students in all three New York–based EMBA options who wish to explore (or continue exploring) the world as part of the program can then take advantage of certain international offerings, including one-week seminars in such destinations as Tel Aviv, Munich, and Cape Town.

Another EMBA program option exists in two formats for students who wish to go completely global: the EMBA-Global Americas and Europe program alternates class time between London Business School and the CBS campus, and the EMBA-Global Asia program takes place mainly in Hong Kong but also includes study periods in New York, Shanghai, and London.

Combining a demanding job with part-time MBA studies can be challenging, but the effort involved can confer notable advantages—not only in the professional doors an MBA typically opens and the leadership skills gained but also in the relationships established with classmates and faculty members. If you are considering applying to a part-time MBA program, sign up for a free 30-minute consultation with one of our Senior Consultants to get valuable information on starting your journey.
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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Have No International Experience  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Sep 2019, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Have No International Experience
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In the past, we have debunked the prevailing myth that MBA applicants must follow a specific “right” professional path to be accepted to business school. This time, we want to dispel the similar myth that candidates must have a certain kind and level of life experience. Applicants often worry that they lack an appropriate amount of international experience, for example, but having international experience is not a prerequisite for or guarantee of admission to a top program—and a dearth of such experience does not suddenly disqualify you, either.

That admissions officers want a geographically and experientially diverse class is generally understood, and most MBA candidates these days have had some international exposure, either through personal travel or work. However, keep in mind that international exposure is not limited to physically leaving one’s home country. If you are dealing with suppliers abroad or running a weekly conference call with a team in another country—even if you are an American dealing with this from the United States or an Indian managing these tasks from India—you still have international experience.

However, even if you are an American working for a U.S. company with a U.S.-based product or service and U.S.-based customers—as unlikely as that is these days—you are not applying with one hand tied behind your back. If you have not had the personal resources or the professional opportunities to gain international experience, you can still become a business leader—the two are not mutually exclusive. So, like all candidates, you will need to explain to the MBA admissions committee how your degree will help you achieve your dreams. Gaining an international education and international exposure through your MBA may just be a crucial step in reaching your goals.
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How to Introduce Without an Introduction and Own Your Story in MBA App  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Sep 2019, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: How to Introduce Without an Introduction and Own Your Story in MBA Application Essays
Most high school students in the United States are taught to write essays that have a formal introduction, a body that supports that introduction, and a conclusion that reinforces the main point presented in the introduction. Although this approach and structure yield easily comprehensible academic work, business school application essays are constrained by word count—so candidates often must use alternative, less lengthy openings because they do not have the luxury of “wasting” 100 words to introduce their topic.

We recommend sometimes using the “non-introduction” introduction, depending on the context and pace of your story. If you have a gripping opener that places your reader in the middle of a scenario, we suggest you launch right into your story to grab and keep the reader’s attention.

Consider this traditional introduction:



“Throughout my career, I have strived to continuously learn and develop as a manager, frequently taking enrichment courses, seizing mentorship opportunities, and seeking frank feedback from my superiors. When my firm staffed me on its $4.5M Oregon Project (our highest-profile product launch in a decade), I considered it a tremendous opportunity to deliver and never imagined that it would become the greatest test of my managerial abilities. When I arrived in Portland, I discovered a project deemed so important by our firm that it was overstaffed and wallowing in confused directives from headquarters in Chicago. I quickly surveyed the situation and began to create support for changes to…”

What if this essay, under the pressure of word limits, were to begin with a slightly modified version of the body?



“When I arrived in Portland, I discovered that my firm’s $4.5M Oregon Project—our highest-profile product launch in a decade—was overstaffed and wallowing in confused directives from headquarters in Chicago. I quickly surveyed the situation and began to create support for change…”

In this case, approximately 70 words are saved, and the reader is immediately thrust into the middle of the story, learning how the writer jumped into the project and ultimately saved the day. Although the “non-introduction” introduction should not be used for every essay, it can be a valuable tool when applied with discretion.



In addition, applicants should consider how to assert a sense of ownership in their essays. Many business school candidates unwittingly begin with platitudes—obvious or trite remarks written as though they were original. For example, when responding to the essay question, “Tell us about a time when you made a difficult decision,” an applicant might mistakenly write the following:

“Managers constantly face difficult decisions. Still, everyone hates indecision.”

The applicant does not “own” this idea and cannot lay claim to this statement. A simple alternative would be to insert their personal experience and viewpoint into the sentence:

“I found myself back in the boardroom with Steve, anticipating that yet again, he would change his mind on the mbaMission file.”

By discussing your personal and unique experiences, you demonstrate ownership of your story while engaging your reader. Avoiding platitudes and generalities—and ensuring that you are sharing your experience, rather than one that could belong to anyone else—is a simple but often overlooked step in creating a compelling message.
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