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The mbaMission Blog

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Professor Profiles: George Geis, UCLA Anderson School of Management  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Jun 2020, 08:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: George Geis, UCLA Anderson School of Management
Image
Many MBA applicants feel that they are purchasing a brand when they choose a business school. However, the educational experience you will have is what is crucial to your future, and no one will affect your education more than your professors. Today, we profile George Geis from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

George Geis has been voted Outstanding Teacher of the Year five times while at UCLA Anderson, most recently in 2012, and currently serves as faculty director of the school’s Mergers and Acquisitions Executive Program. In the past, Geis has served as the associate dean and faculty director of the Anderson Executive MBA program. Geis also occasionally writes a mergers and acquisitions blog and a biotech corporate development blog.

One alumnus described Geis to mbaMission as an experienced investor and a funny and credible guy. The graduate added that he had very much enjoyed the guest speakers Geis brought to class, as well as the strategic analysis of the board game industry, covered in a case discussion about the game Trivial Pursuit.

For more information about the UCLA Anderson School of Management and 16 other top-ranked MBA schools, check out our free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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Michigan Ross Announces 2020–2021 Deadlines and Essays  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Jun 2020, 13:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Michigan Ross Announces 2020–2021 Deadlines and Essays
The Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan announced its 20202021 deadlines and required essays (for the MBA class of 2023, matriculating fall 2021):

Image

Short Answers (choose one from each group; 100 words each)

Group 1

  • I want people to know that I:
  • I made a difference when I:
  • I was aware that I was different when:
Group 2

  • I was out of my comfort zone when:
  • I was humbled when:
  • I was challenged when:
Career Goal Essay

Michigan Ross is a place where people from all backgrounds with different career goals can thrive. What is your short-term career goal and why?

For a complete list of 2020–2021 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.

How will you ensure that your essays will grab the attention of an overworked Wharton admissions officer? Join us on Tuesday, June 16, 2020, for Writing a Standout MBA Application Essay, a free webinar during which an mbaMission Senior Consultant will help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute them, so that your experiences truly stand out!

Stay tuned to the mbaMission blog for our 2020–2021 Michigan Ross essay analysis, and be sure to download our free Insider’s Guide to Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business.
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University of Michigan (Ross) Essay Analysis, 2020–2021  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Jun 2020, 10:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: University of Michigan (Ross) Essay Analysis, 2020–2021
[url=https://www.mbamission.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/U-Mich-Ross.png][img]https://www.mbamission.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/U-Mich-Ross.png[/img][/url]
The admissions committee at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan has made some adjustments to its essay prompts for this season, though the changes primarily affect how much space candidates have to respond rather than the nature of the information they are asked to provide. Ross seems to be taking a very no-nonsense, just-the-facts approach to their application essays (even the scope of the optional essay has been narrowed). For the school’s short answers, the individual prompts are actually the same, but they have been sorted into two groups, rather than three, and applicants now need to submit only two short essays of 100 words each. Ross’s 200-word (down from 300) career essay again asks applicants to share and explain their short-term professional aspirations, thereby showing that they have a plan in mind and have given serious thought to why they need a Ross MBA to achieve their goal. Our full analysis of the program’s 2020–2021 essay prompts follows.

[b]Part 1: Short Answers (choose one from each group; 100 words each)[/b]

[b]Group 1[/b]

[b]I want people to know that I:

[/b][b]I made a difference when I:

[/b][b]I was aware that I was different when:[/b]

[b]Group 2[/b]

[b]I was out of my comfort zone when:

[/b][b]I was humbled when:

[/b][b]I was challenged when:[/b]

When the Ross’s short-answer prompts were first introduced, Soojin Kwon, the managing director of full-time MBA admissions, explained in a blog post, “[We want to] get to know more about you than we would in a traditional essay where you’d talk at length about one topic.” She stressed this idea again last year, and in a [b][url=https://michiganross.umich.edu/graduate/full-time-mba/admissions/admissions-blog/2020/06/01/just-released-updates-application]recent post[/url][/b], elaborated further by stating, “The most interesting and insightful responses to these prompts remain when applicants share personal examples that allow us to learn more about who you are as a person, and what unique experiences and insights you would bring to the MBA class.” Clearly, the admissions committee hopes these mini essays will reveal distinctive facets of applicants’ personalities in a straightforward manner, unencumbered by extraneous text. Given the mere 100-word maximum for each, you might be tempted to just jump in and start writing, but thinking strategically about who you are as an applicant is critical here.

We encourage you to first consider very carefully which option of each group feels most authentic to and revelatory of who you are as an individual. Then, thoroughly and thoughtfully brainstorm to identify your strongest possible responses. You want to be able to “own” your answer—as we like to say—meaning that no other applicant could write the same thing as you do. Using the second prompt of the first group as an example (“I made a difference when I…”), writing something like “gave back to my community by volunteering with the local homeless shelter” would be far too general a response and could likely be stated by multiple applicants. Instead, something much more specific like “dedicated every Saturday morning for three years to helping cook and serve breakfast at the local homeless shelter, where I also instituted a bulk-shopping plan that saved hundreds of dollars each year on supplies” would stand out for its originality and paint a clearer picture of the candidate who wrote it with respect to their values, dedication, and fiscal creativity. In addition, using a narrative approach is a good way to paint a dynamic picture of how you conduct yourself and to engage your reader with a compelling story that has a clear beginning, middle, and end. If you choose to simply discuss a trait without a narrative, you could risk sounding as though you are bragging, and this would be a wasted opportunity for the admissions reader to get to know you in more depth.

When you are done writing, take a look at your responses and see if they are complementary of one another. If they seem repetitive or focus on the same general idea, story, or area of your life, you will likely want to rewrite one. Your goal is to have each response reveal something new and interesting about you. Another factor to consider is everything the admissions committee will already know about you from the other portions of your application; you do not want to miss this chance to paint a well-rounded picture of yourself by repeating information available elsewhere in your profile.

So, to recap, strive to make sure your responses (1) genuinely reflect who you are as a candidate and are as specific to you alone as possible; (2) present a narrative that allows the reader to walk in your shoes, so to speak; (3) are complementary of each other, with each one revealing something different about you; and (4) do not discuss a part of your profile that is already well explained or represented in a different part of your application.

[b]​Part 2: Career Goal Essay (200 words)[/b]

[b]Michigan Ross is a place where people from all backgrounds with different career goals can thrive. What is your short-term career goal and why?[/b]

With just 200 words, you do not have any space to waste here, so focus on presenting your answer as directly and thoroughly as possible—and give the admissions committee what it wants! For further clarification, in the aforementioned blog post, Kwon wrote, “We found that the best responses to this essay were clear and succinct. The ones that were less successful tended to be less focused or focused too much on the ‘what’ and not enough on the ‘why.’ For the AdCom, the ‘why’ is the most impactful and differentiating aspect of each essay to me.”

To help provide that “why” element, you should include a little context for your stated goal so that your career path makes sense. Stating your goals in a vacuum, without any connection to where you have been, can be a little bit confusing for the reader, especially if you are a career changer. Imagine you plan to move from consumer marketing to equity research for consumer goods companies after graduating. If you were to simply state, “Post-MBA, I want to join a boutique equity research firm” as your opening sentence, your reader could be left wondering where this interest comes from. But if you were to instead write, “For the past four years, I have basically lived and breathed Fruity Pebbles. I now understand how the tiniest increase in coconut oil prices or a ten-cent competitor’s coupon can affect a product’s margins. I have subsequently become obsessed with the big data that drive computer goods and want to spend the next phase of my career in equity research, helping investors understand the riddle.” These are two very different answers, all because of some helpful context. From here, you can delve deeper into why equity research is right for you—how you intend to grow in your role and further develop your passion for the position.

Michigan Ross does not ask you why its program is the right one for you, but we encourage you to nevertheless note a specific resource (or two, if space allows) at the school that would enable you to make this professional goal a reality. Remember to not just tout stereotypes but truly integrate your mention of these resources into your essay in a way that shows true professional need. We explain these concepts and how to achieve them in more detail in our [b][url=https://shop.mbamission.com/products/personal-statement-guide]mbaMission Personal Statement Guide[/url][/b], which is available free of charge. Download your complimentary copy today!

And for a thorough exploration of Michigan Ross’s academic program/merits, social life, unique offerings, and other key characteristics, check out the [b][url=https://shop.mbamission.com/products/university-of-michigan-ross-school-of-business-insider-s-guide]mbaMission Insider’s Guide to the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business[/url][/b], which is also available for free.

[b]Optional Statement[/b]

[b]Is there something in your resume or application that could use some explanation? You might want to discuss the completion of supplemental coursework, employment gaps, academic issues, etc. Feel free to use bullet points where appropriate. [/b]

Michigan Ross has tightened up the wording of its optional essay prompt to more overtly specify that this essay is intended to give candidates space to address unclear or problem areas in their profiles and is not an open invitation to discuss anything more they wish to share with the admissions committee. The additional directive about bullet points seems to be a not-too-veiled implication that the school wants you to focus on imparting key information rather than offering a detailed and longwinded explanation of the issue in question. This is absolutely not the time or place to share another cool story or otherwise try to impress or pander to the admissions committee. If you do not truly need to explain an issue or potentially confusing element of your candidacy, we do not recommend that you submit an option essay; if you do have issues to clarify, keep things concise. In our free [b][url=https://shop.mbamission.com/products/mbamission-optional-essays-guide]mbaMission Optional Essays Guide[/url][/b], we offer detailed advice on when and how to take advantage of the optional essay, including multiple examples.

[b]The Next Step—Mastering Your Michigan Ross Interview: [/b]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 [b][url=https://shop.mbamission.com/products/michigan-ross-interview-primer]Michigan Ross Interview Primer[/url][/b] today.
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University of Cambridge Judge Business School Essay Analysis, 2020–202  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jun 2020, 08:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: University of Cambridge Judge Business School Essay Analysis, 2020–2021
[url=https://www.mbamission.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/judge.png][img]https://www.mbamission.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/judge-300x113.png[/img][/url]
The University of Cambridge Judge Business School has been posing essentially the same essay questions since 2016, with only some minor rearranging of their order, so we have to assume that the admissions committee is happy with the kind of information they elicit from applicants. Candidates must provide a basic—and rather brief—personal statement, discuss a significant failure they have learned from, and share a past teamwork situation and its subsequent takeaways. In total, applicants have just 900 words with which to cover these topics, but taken together, the school’s essays cover a good balance of the professional and the personal, so that candidates should be able to effectively present a well-rounded impression of themselves for the admissions committee. Read on for our full essay analysis, with our tips on how to approach each question and create your best possible essays for your Judge application this year.

[b]Essay 1: Please provide a personal statement. It should not exceed 500 words and must address the following questions:[/b]

[list]
[*][b]What are your short and long term career objectives and what skills/characteristics do you already have that will help you achieve them?[/b][/*]
[*][b]What actions will you take before and during the MBA to contribute to your career outcome?[/b][/*]
[*][b]If you are unsure of your post-MBA career path, how will the MBA equip you for the future?[/b][/*]
[/list]
As the school itself states in the prompt, this is a request for a rather traditional personal statement, so our first recommendation is to download a free copy of the [b][url=http://info.mbamission.com/MBA-Personal-Statement-Guide]mbaMission Personal Statement Guide[/url][/b]. This complimentary guide offers detailed advice on how to approach and frame the information requested in these three bullet points, and includes multiple illustrative examples.

More specifically with respect to Judge’s multipart question, the school wants to know not only the basic facts of your career aspirations but also how you view your readiness for and active role in achieving them. How equipped are you already, and how much closer to your goals will earning a business degree from Judge move you? What are you already planning to do on your own both before you enroll and while in the program that will ensure you graduate with the skills, experiences, knowledge, and/or connections you need to build a bridge between where you are now and where you want to go? Be sure to refer to specific resources and offerings at the school that connect directly to these areas of improvement so that the admissions committee knows you have thoroughly considered and researched your options and determined that Judge is the best fit for your particular needs and interests. The school also wants to see evidence that you are cognizant you must be an active participant in your own success and are ready and willing to contribute, rather than relying on the program and its name or reputation to solely move you forward on your career trajectory.

[b]Essay 2: What did you learn from your most spectacular failure? (200 words)[/b]

Failures are important learning opportunities. With this prompt, the admissions committee wants to know what you take away from situations in which things do not turn out as you had planned or hoped. Do you place blame elsewhere and try to make excuses? Or do you view these sorts of experiences with an analytical eye, using what they can teach you to achieve better results with similar ventures going forward? That a world-class business school would be interested in candidates who are eager and open-minded learners only makes sense. Judge has been posing this particular essay prompt since 2010, so it clearly touches on a topic the admissions committee views as pivotal in identifying applicants they feel will be successful in its MBA program.

With respect to the word “spectacular” here, the school is not hoping to hear about a time when you were exceptionally embarrassed in front of a vast audience but instead about an instance that had an incredibly significant impact on you. Perhaps, for example, you were blindsided by the shortfall, having previously thought you were on the right track to success—this might have made the failure particularly stunning and memorable for you. The scale or scope of the situation in an objective sense is not as important as how affecting and influential it was for you personally.

Note that Judge does not specify that the story you share in this essay must be a professional one, so explore all your personal/family/community life experiences for what you believe is truly the most “spectacular.” You may want to consider your options for this essay and the third essay simultaneously, because if you select a career-related incident to discuss in this one, for balance, you might want to draw on a personal story for the other, and vice versa. However, this kind of distribution works best if it is not forced—the first criterion should always be whether the narrative is the most fitting one for the essay’s prompt; if two options seem equally fitting, then you may be able to create a kind of consonance. 

With a limit of only 200 words, you cannot waste any by starting with a bland statement like “My most spectacular failure was [fill in the blank].” Instead, leap directly into the action of your story and immediately convey what was at stake in the situation. After all, the opportunity for true failure exists only when you have something to lose. Next, briefly explain how you failed, and then dedicate the majority of the essay to demonstrating what you took away from the experience. Avoid clichés such as gaining resilience or learning to be humble and show that you can be honest about your weaknesses and blind spots. Convey that the information, insight, and/or skills you acquired via the shortcoming have changed how you view or operate in the world in a positive way—and that you know how to apply these learnings in new situations.

[b]Essay 3: Describe a situation where you had to work jointly with others to achieve a common goal. What did you learn from the experience? (up to 200 words)[/b]

Judge poses three essay questions to its candidates, and two of them have to do with learning from a life experience. Clearly, the school is seeking individuals who absorb lessons by interacting with and participating actively in the world around them, not just by listening to an instructor in a classroom. As a student at an international business school—one with more than 40 nationalities represented in a class of approximately 200 people—you will naturally be enmeshed in a widely diverse environment, and Judge wants to hear about your mind-set and working style in such situations. As for Essay 2, this prompt does not stipulate which part of your life you must draw from for content, so hearken back to our advice for the previous essay with respect to selecting between a professional story or a more personal one.

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 even incorporating the views of others in one’s efforts. At Judge, 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. The school is clearly seeking evidence that you are capable of listening, reflecting, learning, and growing. If you are not, it might assume that you simply do not have the necessary qualities to become an integral part of its next incoming class, let alone a standout manager later in your career.

To craft an effective essay response to this query, describe via a narrative approach the nature of your collaboration with the others on your team, showing both what you contributed and what others brought to the dynamic (though much more briefly), and which elements became long-term takeaways that still serve you today. Consider describing a kind of “before and after” situation in which the information or input you received from your teammate(s) influenced your thoughts and actions as you worked toward your shared goal. An essay that demonstrates your openness to collaborating with peers in pursuit of a common goal, your ability to contribute to such projects, and your capacity to naturally learn from such experiences is almost certain to make an admissions reader take notice.

Business schools outside the United States are increasingly popular among MBA hopefuls, and we at mbaMission are proud to offer our latest publications: [b][url=https://shop.mbamission.com/collections/b-school-primers]Program Primers[/url][/b] for international b-schools. In these snapshots we discuss core curriculums, elective courses, locations, school facilities, rankings, and more. Click here to download your free copy of the [b][url=https://shop.mbamission.com/products/cambridge-judge-business-school-program-primer]Cambridge Judge Business School Program Primer[/url][/b].
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Addressing Sustainability at UCLA Anderson and Thinking Social at NYU   [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jun 2020, 07:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Addressing Sustainability at UCLA Anderson and Thinking Social at NYU Stern
Applicants to the UCLA Anderson School of Management may be well aware of the school’s strengths in media and real estate, but they might be surprised to learn that Anderson also offers a cutting-edge multidisciplinary program for students interested in environmental sustainability. The school’s Leaders in Sustainability (LiS) certificate program allows Anderson students to take courses at different graduate schools within the university network, thereby offering them opportunities to address issues of environmental sustainability in an interdisciplinary manner. Students must apply to the program, which typically has more than 190 participants from graduate programs across the university.

Students in the LiS program must take four classes, including the LiS core course and three sustainability-related elective courses—at least one of which must be taught outside the students’ primary graduate school. In total, the greater university offers more than 50 sustainability-related courses that Anderson students may choose from, ranging from “Business and Environment” to “Economic Analysis for Managers” to even “Marine Ecology.” In addition to completing the program’s required four courses, LiS students must complete a leadership project related to sustainability.

Meanwhile, on the East Coast, New York University’s (NYU’s) Stern School of Business is perhaps not well known among the top MBA programs for sustainable enterprise or social entrepreneurship. However, the school in fact offers an array of resources for those interested in pursuing careers in such fields. The W.R. Berkley Innovation Labs serve as the hub of all entrepreneurial activities and events at the school, and in 2008, Stern introduced a Sustainable Business and Innovation (formerly Social Innovation and Impact) specialization, thereby formalizing an academic track for students with this career path in mind. Courses available within the specialization include “Energy and the Environment,” “Investing for Environmental and Social Impact,” and “Strategy with a Social Purpose.”

Attending or helping to plan the “Stern Struts” (formerly “Think Social, Drink Local”) marquee fundraiser is one of many options that socially conscious aspiring MBAs will find to fulfill their interests at Stern. The school’s Luxury & Retail Club hosts the event with help from corporate sponsors, which in the past have included Brooklyn Brewery and Crop Organic Vodka. The most recent event, hosted in April 2018, took place at the 1 OAK NYC nightclub and featured an open bar and a “Style Icons” runway fashion show, in which Stern students modeled clothing from designers. The fashion show is a highlight of the evening each year and has raised more than $10K in past years.

Through the Stern Consulting Corps program, students can partner on consulting projects with New York City–based nonprofits. And for those who also have the entrepreneurial bug, Stern added a Social Venture Competition—in which participants compete for a $75K prize—to its traditional for-profit $300K Entrepreneurs Challenge.

In short, socially conscious Sternies have quite a bit to keep them busy!

For a thorough exploration of what UCLA Anderson, NYU Stern, and 15 other top business schools have to offer, please check out our free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Must Have International Experience  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Jun 2020, 07:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Must Have International Experience
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. Now we want to dispel the similar myth that candidates must have a certain kind and level of life experience. For example, applicants often worry that they lack an appropriate amount of international experience, 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 immediately 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 doing 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 product or service based in the United States and with strictly U.S. customers—as unlikely as that is these days—you are not applying at a disadvantage. 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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“Lead” vs. “Led” and Not Overusing Techniques in Your Application Essa  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Jun 2020, 07:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: “Lead” vs. “Led” and Not Overusing Techniques in Your Application Essays
A common mistake we see in our clients’ MBA application essays is the misuse of the verb “lead.” A deeply entrenched and widespread misunderstanding seems to exist as to which spelling connotes present tense and which connotes past tense. One of our consultants even had a client raise their voice in passionate defense—of the wrong usage! In case you are not completely confident about this word yourself, we hope this blog post helps clear up the issue for you.

Lead or Led?



  • Lead—verb, present tense, rhymes with “seed”—refers to actively and presently guiding others.
“In my current position as managing director, I lead a team of six analysts in completing market analysis.”



  • Led—verb, past tense, rhymes with “bed”—refers to the act of having guided others at an earlier time or at some point in the past. “Led” is both the past tense and the past participle of “lead.”
“As part of my first job after college, I led two summer interns in a competitive assessment” and “I have led multiple teams of salespeople during my five years at the firm.”



Confusing the spelling and/or pronunciation of this verb’s different tenses is a simple mistake but one that stands out clearly to admissions professionals who have probably seen this verb more times in the past year than most people do in a lifetime! So, pay close attention to which is which, and be sure you are using the correct version every time.

Another essay-related issue encountered by some applicants is changing the structure from one essay to the next. For example, a candidate might choose to use a quote at the beginning of an essay to create a sense of urgency:

“This cannot be fixed. This cannot be fixed!” I stared blankly at the broken machinery and knew that the next few hours would be crucial…

Using this kind of attention-grabbing technique can certainly be effective, but you should never use any technique more than once in an application. By starting more than one essay in the same manner, you are essentially telling the admissions reader that you understand how to use a gimmick but not how to tell a compelling story in your own way. This is also a quick way to lose your reader’s interest! Be sure to vary your approach in each new essay within a single application. We work with our candidates to ensure that their ideas are presented in fresh and different ways, to captivate the admissions committee with each introduction and, indeed, each essay.
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Columbia Business School Essay Analysis, 2020–2021  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Jun 2020, 11:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Columbia Business School Essay Analysis, 2020–2021
[url=https://www.mbamission.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/CBS-logo.jpg][img]https://www.mbamission.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/CBS-logo.jpg[/img][/url]
Once again, Columbia Business School (CBS) is offering applicants a combination of old and new essay questions. Its short-answer goal statement remains unchanged, as has its first essay prompt—which is also about candidates’ career aspirations. Likewise, the school’s second essay question still asks applicants to discuss why they want an MBA from CBS in particular. For the third essay, though, candidates no longer have to frame their values within the context of an admired leader but are instead tasked with revealing key elements of their personalities and lives through the selection of a cherished book, movie, or song. Our more detailed analysis of the program’s 2020–2021 questions follows.

[b]Short Answer Question: What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (Maximum 50 Characters)[/b]

CBS applicants accustomed to Twitter’s 280-character allowance may find CBS’s 50-character limit here more than a little challenging—especially considering that it includes spaces! To get a sense of how brief your opportunity really is, note that the school’s prompt is itself exactly 50 characters. With such limited space, this can hardly be considered a true essay, but you will need to approach it with the same level of thought and focus you give all your other written responses for CBS. During a [b][url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igB17wELvKk&t=4693s]Q&A mbaMission conducted with several top admissions officers[/url][/b], Assistant Dean of Admissions Amanda Carlson commented,

That 50 characters really helps people to just break it down very simply for themselves and simply for us . . . . Pursuing business education, it’s a huge investment in time, in money, in effort, in energy, and I think this 50-character exercise is as much for the candidate as it is for our team, and we want to know that people are serious, they’re focused, and they’re ready for this kind of adventure.

So, this prompt is a no-nonsense request for information that is all about getting to the point and telling the admissions committee what it needs to know—that you have a clear and achievable goal. In the past, the school has provided a few sample responses, including “Work in business development for a media company” and “Join a strategy consulting firm,” illustrating that conveying the requested information in such a tight space is definitely doable and that you do not need to worry too much about grammatical issues (in other words, you do not need to start your statement with “I want to” or something similar). We like to offer the statement “Reveal true goals, not what you think CBS wants” as both our own example of keeping things concise and our advice on how to approach and fulfill this request.

Think about what you truly want to do with your career in the short term and state this aspiration directly. Keep in mind that the rest of your application will need to provide evidence that your stated goal aligns with your existing skills and profound interests, especially once they have been augmented by an MBA education. This will show that your professed goal is achievable and lend credibility to your statement. If you can do this in 50 characters (not words!), you will have done what you need to answer the school’s question quite well.

[b]Essay #1: Through your resume and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals over the next 3-5 years and what, in your imagination, would be your long-term dream job? (500 words)[/b]

CBS starts this essay question by more or less telling you not to recap your career to date, so we strongly recommend that you do so (and briefly, at that) only if context is absolutely needed for your stated goals to be understood and/or believable—perhaps if you are making a fairly remarkable career change. Pay particular attention to the phrases “dream job” and “in your imagination” with respect to the long-term portion of the question. The school is prompting you to be creative and perhaps even to challenge or push yourself to think big. CBS wants individuals who do not just follow prescribed paths according to someone else’s blueprint but who are aspirational and more inclined to forge their own way. This is not to suggest that if you have a more traditional plan in mind that you are in trouble or at risk of losing the admissions committee’s attention, but you may need to take a little extra time to consider your ambitions from the perspective of “what if?” and delve more deeply into what you hope to achieve to find the more personal and inspiring elements of your goals. Showing creativity and individualism here can only be helpful.

Although this is not a request for a textbook personal statement essay, your response will certainly involve some elements of the topics covered in such a submission, such as short- and long-term goals. The [b][url=https://shop.mbamission.com/products/personal-statement-guide]mbaMission Personal Statement Guide[/url][/b] offers advice on brainstorming and crafting such essays along with multiple illustrative examples and so may be helpful in preparing your CBS response to this prompt. You can download your free copy [b][url=https://shop.mbamission.com/products/personal-statement-guide]here[/url][/b].

[b]Essay #2:  Why do you feel that Columbia Business School is a good fit for you? (250 Words)[/b]

A few seasons ago, CBS’s second essay concerned the school’s New York City location and the benefits that conferred, but the admissions committee later widened the scope of the prompt to encompass everything the program offers, both on campus and elsewhere. To effectively answer this question, you will need to conduct some significant research on CBS, from its resources and community to its extracurriculars and, yes, location. You must create and present a plan of action, showing direct connections between CBS’s offerings and your interests, personality, and needs. Also, for Essay #1, CBS does not ask how it will factor into the achievement of your professional goals, but this topic seems more than fitting here—though you should take care not to discuss only career-related resources and opportunities.

Note that generic claims and empty pandering have no place at all in this rather compact essay. Any elements of CBS that you reference must be specific to your interests, character, and needs, and the connections between them must be very clear. Be authentic about what draws you to CBS in particular, and create a narrative explaining how you will grow through the opportunities available there and benefit from the overall experience.

The “why our school?” topic is a common element of a typical personal statement, so we (again) encourage you to download a free copy of the [b][url=http://shop.mbamission.com/products/personal-statement-guide]mbaMission Personal Statement Guide[/url][/b], which helps applicants write this style of essay for any school. It explains ways of approaching this subject effectively and offers several sample essays as guides. [b][url=http://shop.mbamission.com/products/personal-statement-guide]Click here[/url][/b] to access your complimentary copy.

And for a thorough exploration of CBS’s academic program, unique offerings, social life, and other key characteristics, the [b][url=https://shop.mbamission.com/products/columbia-business-school-insider-s-guide]mbaMission Insider’s Guide to Columbia Business School[/url][/b] is also available for free.

[b]Essay #3: Tell us about your favorite book, movie or song and why it resonates with you. (250 Words) [/b]

Last year, CBS’s third essay prompt—which asked candidates about a leader they admired—could have been summarized as “Tell us about yourself by telling us about someone else.” Candidates could easily (and perhaps did) spend more time talking about the esteemed individual than about themselves, not exactly giving the admissions committee the kind of input it was hoping for. With this new prompt, which will undoubtedly make applicants’ essay responses much more personal, individual, and creative, the focus is now entirely on you.

Let us first make one thing very clear—the admissions committee is not using this essay to judge your taste in books, films, or music! If you like ’90s grunge, and your admissions reader enjoys Broadway standards, or if you love Marvel movies, and your admissions reader is a fan of black-and-white classics, this is completely irrelevant. Like all other business school essay questions, this one has no “right” answer, so do not worry that the book, film, or song (which we will now refer to as a “piece,” so we do not need to keep repeating all three options) you choose will somehow automatically eliminate you for consideration by the admissions committee.

Do not choose something simply because you believe it is cool or on trend, and take care not to select a piece that represents who you would like to be (or would like the admissions committee to think you are). The piece you discuss does not even need to be readily recognizable. What is important, above all else, is that whatever you select is truly meaningful to and representative of you. It should somehow express or highlight a key element of your life, your personality, or your values. Why is what you have chosen so meaningful to you? To what part of your life or character does it relate?

For example, the piece could have a sentimental connection with an important relationship in your life; perhaps you watched a certain movie repeatedly with a beloved family member, and that shared experience has made your relationship more profound. Or maybe a book helped change your perspective on something in a significant way or opened up a career path you had not previously considered. Or possibly a special song has helped calm (or energize) you before an important event or activity. Because the school allots merely 250 words for this essay, do not dedicate too many words to discussing the selected piece and instead simply introduce what it is, explain in a concise and straightforward manner why it is important to you, and then share experiences from your life that illustrate how that significance has manifested. 

[b]Optional Essay: Is there any further information that you wish to provide the Admissions Committee? If so, use this space to provide an explanation of any areas of concern in your academic record or your personal history. This does not need to be a formal essay. You may submit bullet points. (Maximum 500 Words)[/b]

This optional essay question starts out sounding like an open invitation to discuss almost anything you feel like sharing with the admissions committee, but the second line dials things in and puts the spotlight on addressing problem areas specifically. The additional directive about bullet points seems to be a not-too-veiled implication that the school wants you to focus on imparting key information rather than offering a detailed and long-winded explanation of the issue in question. Without a doubt, this is not an opportunity to share another cool story or otherwise try to impress or pander to the admissions committee. If you do not truly need to explain an issue or potentially confusing element of your candidacy (a poor grade or overall GPA, a low GMAT score, a gap in your work experience, etc.), we do not recommend that you submit an option essay; if you do have issues to clarify, keep things concise. In our [b][url=https://shop.mbamission.com/products/mbamission-optional-essays-guide]mbaMission Optional Essays Guide[/url][/b], we offer detailed advice on when and how to take advantage of the optional essay, with multiple examples, to help you mitigate any problem areas in your profile.

[b]The Next Step—Mastering Your CBS Interview:[/b] Many MBA candidates find admissions interviews stressful and intimidating, but mastering this important element of the application process is definitely possible—the key is informed preparation. And, on your way to this high level of preparation, we offer our free Interview Primers to spur you along! Download your free copy of the [b][url=https://shop.mbamission.com/products/columbia-business-school-interview-guide]Columbia Business School Interview Primer[/url][/b] today.
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Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT Sloan) Essay Analysis, 2020  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Jun 2020, 07:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT Sloan) Essay Analysis, 2020–2021
[url=https://www.mbamission.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/MIT-sloan.jpg][img]https://www.mbamission.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/MIT-sloan-300x300.jpg[/img][/url]
Last month, in a joint mbaMission–Manhattan Prep [b][url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igB17wELvKk]webinar[/url][/b] featuring admissions directors from five top business schools, we were informed that the MIT Sloan School of Management does not expect to make any changes to its application essay prompts this year. So in hopes of helping any candidates who wish to get started on their essays sooner rather than later (and we always encourage as early a start as your schedule will permit), we are posting our advice on how to approach the school’s questions now. If by chance the admissions committee elects to change the questions after all, we will revisit and update this post accordingly.

Perhaps to the consternation of some candidates this season, MIT Sloan has maintained its interesting “cover letter” essay and self-introduction video, including the important qualification for the video portion that it added last year—one that asks applicants to discuss their background and their perceived fit with the Sloan program. We assume that the admissions committee wanted to ensure that candidates would provide this important information. As we have noted in the past, while somewhat unorthodox, the school’s prompts allow applicants 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.

[b]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.[/b]

[b]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).[/b]

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 2023.” 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 initial 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.

[b]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.[/b]

[b]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[/b]

[b]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.[/b]

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 obviously 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 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 [b][url=https://shop.mbamission.com/products/mit-sloan-school-of-management-insider-s-guide]mbaMission Insider’s Guide to the MIT Sloan School of Management[/url][/b].
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Northwestern University (Kellogg) Essay Analysis, 2020–2021   [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jun 2020, 07:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Northwestern University (Kellogg) Essay Analysis, 2020–2021 
[url=https://www.mbamission.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Kellogg_logo.jpg][img]https://www.mbamission.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Kellogg_logo-300x84.jpg[/img][/url]
Last month, in a joint mbaMission–Manhattan Prep [b][url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igB17wELvKk]webinar[/url][/b] featuring admissions directors from five top business schools, we were informed that the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University does not expect to make any changes to its application essay prompts this year. So in hopes of helping any candidates who wish to get started on their essays sooner rather than later (and we always encourage as early a start as your schedule will permit), we are posting our advice on how to approach the school’s questions now. If by chance the admissions committee elects to change the questions after all, we will revisit and update this post accordingly.

For this application season, Northwestern Kellogg has elected to keep its same essay questions. The first deals with a leadership experience that resulted in some form of ongoing merit, while the second focuses on applicants’ guiding principles. Interestingly, both of Kellogg’s essays center on “value(s)” but in very different ways, according to two separate definitions of the term. As such, Kellogg’s questions seem to address two key aspects of business today, and candidates will need to demonstrate their awareness of both and potential to fulfill them. For more guidance on how to interpret and approach the school’s prompts for 2020–2021, read on.

[b]Required Essay 1: Kellogg’s purpose is to educate, equip & inspire brave leaders who create lasting value.  Tell us about a time you have demonstrated leadership and created lasting value. What challenges did you face, and what did you learn? (450 words) [/b]

This is a fairly straightforward essay prompt, and we recommend responding in an equally straightforward manner. Launch directly into the story of your leadership experience, and detail the specific actions you took in directing others to achieve some kind of enduring result. The key here is to show that you shared a valuable experience with colleagues, extracted the most from your team members, and attained a desired outcome. Although we often note that not all great leadership stories necessarily have to end in success, Kellogg’s request for evidence of “lasting value” certainly implies that the school wants to hear about a situation that had a positive resolution. You will need to convey not only your role in spearheading a group to achieve what you did but also how that achievement has persisted.

Note that Kellogg does not specify that the experience you share must be related to your workplace or career. Leadership does not need to have an official title attached to it, and it can be expressed in a community service or even family life setting just as much as in a workplace, so explore all the different areas of your life for possible stories. We recommend using a narrative approach to present your story, but be sure to also share the thought process and motivation(s) behind your actions. This way, the admissions committee will take away a clear picture not only of what you accomplished but also of the aspects of your character that inspired you and helped enable your success.

That said, the school acknowledges within the prompt that even endeavors that have a positive result are rarely smooth sailing from beginning to end—hence the question about challenges faced. A mistake applicants often make in writing this kind of essay is presenting a strong narrative in which they are incredible leaders, and then near the end, making a brief (and typically disjointed) reference to a hardship or conflict encountered along the way, meant to fulfill the “challenges” element of the essay query. To be effective and believable, your ups and downs must be woven intrinsically into your narrative, rather than simply acknowledged at the end. Clearly explaining how you approached and prevailed over the challenge at hand is crucial, so go beyond simply describing the roadblock itself and ensure that you detail your response and the inner workings of your decision making at that point.

Lastly, do not forget or neglect to explain what you learned from the experience—Kellogg specifically asks you to do so! And keep in mind that for your takeaways to be “meaningful,” they have to be profoundly connected to your narrative. The admissions reader should be able to easily understand the connection between the situation you describe and your subsequent learnings.

[b]Required Essay 2: Values are what guide you in your life and work. What values are important to you and how have they influenced you? (450 words)[/b]

Kellogg offers another very straightforward essay question here, so not a lot of interpretation is needed. On its FAQ page, the admissions committee states that it is “interested in learning about your values,” so a frank query on the topic only makes sense. Kellogg wants to know how your values influence your decisions and actions, and in particular, which ones tend to guide you most often or intensely. Simply stating that you embrace certain values is easy, so the admissions committee is understandably asking for illustrations of this phenomenon to better gauge this for itself. Having an idea of how you tend to incorporate your core beliefs into your life will help the school better envision how you might fit into its classrooms and the business world after you graduate.

Perhaps at the most basic level, Kellogg wants to know that you understand how values come into play in “life and work.” This final phrase seems to open the door to stories from your personal life or from your career, with no particular emphasis on either, so consider all your options to identify the most fitting and revealing one. Although in theory, describing a situation from your personal or community activities would provide a nice balance if you chose a professional story for the school’s first essay (and vice versa), what is more critical is sharing the experiences that best convey the concepts you wish to highlight. Given the 450-word maximum for this essay, you should skip or at least minimize any preamble and dive into your response, clearly identifying your selected core values and describing specific situations that illustrate them in action. Your ultimate goal is to clearly illustrate for the admissions committee how you have been (and are) guided by your fundamental beliefs.

Believe us when we say that Kellogg does not have a set list of values that it expects applicants to demonstrate and that by not choosing the “right” ones, you will not be accepted to the school. As always, focus on simply being authentic and sincere and letting your true character show through. That said, we would encourage you to learn what you can about the values Kellogg students tend to display or that would likely be compatible with the Kellogg community. Contact students and alumni to get a sense of what these might be, and if you identify one or two that match some of your own, those might prove strong fodder for your essay. To clarify, we are not saying that you should claim values that are not naturally yours in a misguided attempt to impress the admissions committee, but simply consider highlighting ones that appear to be mutual.

[b]Certain applicants will respond to additional questions:[/b]

[list]
[*][b]1Y applicants: Please discuss your post-MBA career goal, the current experience you will leverage to support the transition, and the Kellogg 1Y opportunities that will help you reach this goal. (250 words)[/b][/*]
[*][b]JD-MBA applicants: Please discuss your post-JD-MBA career goals and why the JD-MBA Program is the right program to help you reach those goals. (250 words)[/b][/*]
[*][b]MMM applicants: The five core values of the MMM Program are curiosity, creativity, empathy, open-mindedness and a learning mindset. Describe a situation in which you demonstrated one of these values. Why is this value an important part of the MMM experience for you? (250 words)[/b][/*]
[/list]
Kellogg adds depth and specificity to these essay prompts by providing a separate one for each special program. If you are applying to one of these options, you should be ready to demonstrate a great deal of intentionality. After all, you are committing to a specialized path that may require additional time and cost. With a limit of just 250 words, you have no choice but to cut to the chase. Applicants to the 1Y and JD/MBA programs must outline how the degree is necessary to achieve their particular desired outcomes and then tie those goals specifically to the Kellogg program they are targeting and its associated resources. This essay is essentially another opportunity to explain your distinct need to attend Kellogg, only here, you can focus on showcasing the non-MBA portion of your intended degree. In many ways, these prompts are asking for a typical (if brief) MBA personal statement, so we encourage you to download your free copy of the [b][url=https://shop.mbamission.com/products/personal-statement-guide]mbaMission Personal Statement Guide[/url][/b]. This complimentary guide offers detailed advice on approaching and framing these topics, along with multiple illustrative examples. Be sure to [b][url=https://shop.mbamission.com/products/personal-statement-guide]download your copy[/url][/b] today.

MMM applicants are, curiously, asked to discuss values yet again, only this time, the school presents the specific ones it wants candidates to choose from. Obviously, if you are applying to this program, you will need to plan out your response to this essay in conjunction with Essay 2 to ensure you do not repeat any choices or illustrative stories.

[b]Re-applicants: Since your previous application, what steps have you taken to strengthen your candidacy? (250 word limit) [/b]

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. Kellogg 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 Kellogg 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.

[b]All applicants have the opportunity to provide explanations or clarification in Additional Information. Use this section if you think the person reviewing your application might have a few questions about one or more of your responses. This could include:[/b]

[list]
[*][b]Unexplained gaps in work experience[/b][/*]
[*][b]Academic, GMAT or GRE performance[/b][/*]
[*][b]Extenuating circumstances that we should be aware of when reviewing your application[/b][/*]
[/list]
Kellogg may have rephrased and reformatted this prompt this year, but our advice for approaching it remains the same. However tempted you might be, this is not the place to paste in a strong essay you wrote for another school or to offer a few anecdotes that you were unable to incorporate into any of your other essays. Instead, this is your opportunity, if needed, to address any questions an admissions officer might have about your candidacy. We encourage you to download our free [b][url=https://shop.mbamission.com/products/mbamission-optional-essays-guide]mbaMission Optional Essays Guide[/url][/b], 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.

[b]Required Video Essay: The video essay provides you with an additional opportunity to demonstrate what you will bring to our vibrant Kellogg community — in an interactive way. You will respond to several short video essay questions. The questions are designed to bring to life the person we have learned about on paper.[/b]

[list]
[*][b]After submitting your application and payment, you will be able to access the video essay through your application status page. The first question will ask you to introduce yourself to the admissions committee. Then, you’ll have an opportunity to describe your plans for the future and how Kellogg will help you on that journey. The remaining questions will be randomly generated and similar to interview questions.[/b][/*]
[*][b]There are practice questions that you may complete as many times as you like to get comfortable with the format and technology. The practice questions and experience will simulate the actual video essay experience, so this is meant to be a useful tool to help you feel prepared.[/b][/*]
[*][b]We encourage you to practice so you are comfortable with the format once it is time to complete the official questions. You will not have an opportunity to re-do the answer to the official video essay questions.[/b][/*]
[*][b]You will have 20 seconds to think about the question and up to one minute to give your response.[/b][/*]
[*][b]We estimate the video essays will take 20-25 minutes to complete — which includes time for set-up and answering all the practice questions. You will need an internet connected computer with a webcam, microphone and an updated version of Adobe Flash in order to complete the video essay.[/b][/*]
[/list]
In a Q&A with several admissions representatives at our 2019 mbaMission annual conference, Kellogg’s Assistant Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Kate Smith explained that the school’s video component sprang from the admissions committee’s desire to actually see and hear the applicants they were evaluating. Given that Kellogg’s interviews are conducted by alumni, the video is the committee’s only “live” interaction with candidates. Keep this in mind as you tackle this segment of the application, and make being authentic and natural your primary goal. Kellogg is not looking for the next viral TED Talk presenter or late-night TV host. They just want to get to know you as a unique individual who may one day join its community.

So, start by taking a deep breath. We understand that these video essays can make you feel like you are being put on the spot, but Kellogg is really not trying to scare you. The admissions committee simply wants a more dynamic representation of your personality than a written essay can provide. You cannot answer any of the school’s video questions incorrectly, so do not concern yourself with trying to give the “right” answer. Just respond to each query honestly, as smoothly as you can (despite any nervousness you may be feeling), and be yourself. Thankfully, Kellogg provides some hints as to the nature of some of the questions you will encounter in the application’s video segment, so you do not have to go in totally blind.

The “introduction” question will be about a topic you know very well—you! You can think of this question as an “icebreaker,” like you might encounter when meeting someone for the first time at a party or other event. Similar questions to what you might ask each other in the process of getting acquainted are what you can very likely expect from Kellogg. Examples we can imagine are “What is your favorite book and why?,” “If you unexpectedly had 24 work-free hours, how would you spend them?,” and “If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?” Although we are going to assume that you already know yourself pretty well, these types of queries sometimes require a moment or two of thought before a clear answer can be offered. So take some time to imagine potential questions (you can even Google “icebreaker questions” to find lists of examples) and practice delving into your personality in this way. Who knows, you might even learn something new about yourself in the process!

You will also need to briefly discuss your anticipated professional path and why Kellogg is the right program for you, so you must truly understand why you are choosing it for your MBA. By that, we do not mean that you should create and memorize a laundry list of reasons. Instead, you must have a comprehensive knowledge of the school’s resources and be able to clearly and concisely express which ones are of particular importance and significance to you—and why. Then, when recording your video, you will need to convey this information in a sincere and compelling way. That will not happen if you are listing facts you have simply committed to memory! (For a thorough exploration of Kellogg’s academic program, unique offerings, social life, and other key characteristics, be sure to download a free copy of the [b][url=https://shop.mbamission.com/products/northwestern-university-s-kellogg-school-of-management-insider-s-guide]mbaMission Insider’s Guide to the Kellogg School of Management[/url][/b].)

You cannot expect for sure that you will be asked to describe a challenge, but do not dismiss this possibility altogether. Kellogg says that some of the questions posed will be “similar to interview questions,” and queries about past challenges are most definitely common in MBA interviews! You may wish to download a free copy of the [b][url=https://shop.mbamission.com/products/mbamission-interview-guide]mbaMission Interview Guide[/url][/b], which, in addition to advice on preparing for and mastering the interview process, includes several pages of common interview questions that could be helpful in approaching your Kellogg video essays.

One minute is not very long, so run through several practice sessions—perhaps in front of a mirror—to get a sense of how quickly those 60 seconds will pass when you are in front of the camera. Although you can prepare as much as you want, you get only one chance at the recording. If you stumble while answering or ultimately are unhappy with your answer, unfortunately, you cannot do anything about it. You will not be able to rerecord your responses or try again another time. This may make you nervous, but we encourage you to view the situation a little differently. Kellogg wants to get to know the authentic you through these video essays. If you fumble for words or lose your train of thought, just laugh or shrug and continue with your response. Accepting a mistake with a sense of humor and grace will give the admissions committee a more positive and natural impression of your personality than rigid scripting and overpreparation ever could.

[b]The Next Step—Mastering Your Kellogg Interview: [/b]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 [b][url=http://shop.mbamission.com/collections/interview-primers]free Interview Primers[/url][/b]! Download your free copy of the [b][url=http://shop.mbamission.com/products/northwestern-kellogg-interview-primer]Northwestern Kellogg Interview Primer[/url][/b] today.
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Yale School of Management Essay Analysis, 2020–2021  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Jun 2020, 07:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Yale School of Management Essay Analysis, 2020–2021
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Last month, in a joint mbaMission–Manhattan Prep webinar featuring admissions directors from five top business schools, we were informed that the Yale School of Management (SOM) does not expect to make any changes to its application essay prompts this year. So in hopes of helping any candidates who wish to get started on their essays sooner rather than later (and we always encourage as early a start as your schedule will permit), we are posting our advice on how to approach the school’s questions now. If by chance the admissions committee elects to change the questions after all, we will revisit and update this post accordingly.

The Yale School of Management (SOM), like Harvard Business School, takes a bit of a “go big or go home” approach with its sole application essay prompt in that it gives applicants just one shot to make their desired impression on the admissions committee. The Yale SOM query is less open-ended, however, and requires candidates to focus on a significant past commitment and its underlying reasons and value. The  essay is limited to just 500 words, so you will need to be clear, direct, and rather succinct in your response, without much preamble or extraneous text. Read on for our full analysis.

Describe the biggest commitment you have ever made. (500 words maximum)

In a Yale SOM blog post about the school’s essay prompt when it was originally introduced (in 2016), Assistant Dean for Admissions Bruce DelMonico noted that the “seemingly simple and straightforward question” was composed with assistance from one of the program’s organizational behavior professors. Yale’s admissions committee clearly takes the application essay seriously and is thoughtful about the types of behaviors it wants to see in the school’s students. In an online Q&A session with several leading admissions officers we hosted in 2018, Bruce declared himself “agnostic” about whether applicants should discuss a personal commitment or a professional one, noting that he wants to gauge the level to which candidates commit themselves, rather than the context of the engagement: “We don’t have a preference for professional or personal accomplishments. . . . We are not making value judgments about what that commitment is, but it is more about how you approach that commitment, how you have demonstrated that commitment, and what sorts of behaviors underlie that commitment.”

You may initially think this prompt is rather narrow in scope, allowing you space to share the story of just a single professional or community project and nothing more. Although you can certainly discuss your dedication to a particular project or cause, you are definitely not restricted to this approach. Consider this: you can also be committed to an idea (e.g., personal liberty) or a value (e.g., creating opportunity for others), and approaching your essay from this angle instead could enable you to share much more of and about yourself with the admissions committee. For example, you might relate a few anecdotes that on the surface seem unrelated—drawing from different parts of your life—but that all support and illustrate how you are guided by a particular value. Or, to use the example of personal liberty as a theme, you could show how you take control of your academic and professional paths, adhering steadfastly to your values and vision. Whatever you choose to feature as the focus of your commitment, your actions and decisions, manifest via a variety of experiences, must allow you to own it as a genuine part of who you are as an individual. Identifying a theme that you think no one else will ever use is not your goal here; presenting authentic anecdotes that powerfully support your selected theme is what is important.

If you elect to focus on a single anecdote, the commitment you claim must be truly inordinate. Being particularly proud of an accomplishment is not enough to make it an effective topic for this essay. You need to demonstrate your constancy and dedication in the face of challenges or resistance, revealing that your connection to the experience was hard won. Strive to show that you have been resolute in following a sometimes difficult path and have doggedly stayed on course, citing clear examples to illustrate your steadfastness. Nothing commonplace will work here—you must make your reader truly understand your journey and leave them more impressed by your effort than the outcome.

Optional Information:

If any aspect of your candidacy needs further explanation (unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, academic performance, promotions or recognitions, etc.), please provide a brief description here. (200 words maximum)

Yale’s optional information prompt invites you to address any potential problem areas in your profile if you feel you need to. The use of the adjective “brief” clearly conveys that the school wants you to focus on imparting key information rather than offering a detailed and long-winded explanation of the issue in question. This is absolutely not an opportunity to share another cool story or otherwise try to impress or pander to the admissions committee. If you do not truly need to explain an issue or a perhaps confusing element of your candidacy, we do not recommend that you submit an option essay; if you do have issues to clarify, keep things concise. In our free mbaMission Optional Essays Guide, we offer detailed advice on when and how to take advantage of these kinds of opportunities, with multiple examples, to help you mitigate any problem areas in your profile.

For a thorough exploration of the Yale SOM academic program/merits, defining characteristics, crucial statistics, social life, academic environment, and other key features, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to the Yale School of Management.

The Next Step—Mastering Your Yale SOM 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 Yale School of Management Interview Primer today.
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University of Virginia (Darden) Essay Analysis, 2020–2021  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Jun 2020, 12:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: University of Virginia (Darden) Essay Analysis, 2020–2021
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Two years ago, the admissions committee at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business completely reworked its MBA application essay questions, but for this season and the last, the school has done only a little fine-tuning. Ostensibly, this indicates that the variety and presentation of the prompts are generating the kind of input the admissions department wants in evaluating its candidates. Applicants must respond to five prompts and do so within a 700-word limit (or 705, if you want to get specific). As a whole, the essays cover candidates’ personal, educational, and career objectives while touching on aspects of Darden’s particular character and ethos—notably, its learning teams, vast international reach, and diversity. Applicants who feel they have still more they need to impart to the admissions committee can take advantage of the school’s 250-word optional essay as well. In this analysis, we offer our best essay advice for the school’s 2020–2021 questions.

[b]Leadership: Darden strives to identify and cultivate responsible leaders who follow their purpose. Please provide an example of a situation in which you have made a meaningful impact. (200 words) [/b]

Darden’s first essay prompt is an interesting hybrid of two questions it posed two seasons ago, one about leadership style and the other about impact. This current presentation cleverly touches on both, the assumption likely being that when you brought about the meaningful result in question, you did so while in an official leadership position or at least when acting in a leadership capacity. Therefore, by describing what you achieved and how you did so, you will naturally also reveal information about your leadership style.

At mbaMission, we love when admissions committees request examples, because they invite essays that use a narrative structure, and we believe such essays tend to be not only more revelatory but also more interesting to read (always good when trying to make an impression on someone who reads literally thousands of essays each year!). To illustrate, you might start by launching directly into your story: “Although I had never led a committee that spanned three departments before, I found myself….” In a [b][url=https://blogs.darden.virginia.edu/admissions/2019/06/17/application-advice-all-about-our-short-answer-questions/?_ga=2.3004216.94598758.1591799783-446131949.1591375937&_gac=1.25297615.1591636964.CjwKCAjw2uf2BRBpEiwA31VZj1nmle1DCg9nQ4iuAxKpAroPeUlaCL7Y21JtpJfNY1z239Id6rngkhoCdR0QAvD_BwE]Discover Darden blog post[/url][/b], an admissions representative advises, “Our basic advice is to show, don’t tell. Examples are always best,” then cautions, “but do not be so broad as to preclude self-reflection and meaningful insight.”

Because Darden wants to know about your “impact,” you will have to clearly show the results of your actions, but the admissions committee also wants to understand that the decisions you made and steps you took clearly paid off and that a project, company, organization, individual, or product experienced some kind of change as a result. In other words, in addition to explaining what was achieved and why it was significant, you must illustrate the values, thought process, and initiatives that made it possible. Also, make note of the words “responsible” and “purpose” in this prompt and keep them in mind as you brainstorm ideas for this mini essay. Qualities related to these concepts would be good ones to highlight if they are truly part of your authentic story.

[b]Diversity: Diversity and inclusion are critical to our mission and they work best when they are an integral and celebrated part of our community. Read the [url=https://vpdiversity.virginia.edu/#:~:text=The%20University%20of%20Virginia's%20Commitment,attributes%2C%20perspectives%2C%20and%20disciplines.]University of Virginia’s Commitment to Diversity[/url]. Share a time in which you engaged with a perspective, identity, community, or experience that was different from your own and how it impacted your worldview. (200 words) [/b]

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 considering and incorporating others’ input and standpoints. Via this essay, Darden hopes to learn how you view, approach, and react to such differences. Once enrolled in the school’s MBA program, you will be surrounded every day by people 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. The school is clearly seeking evidence that you are capable of listening, reflecting, learning, and growing and that you are open and receptive to things beyond your usual frame of reference. And by asking you to share a time when a novel “perspective, identity, community, or experience” changed you in some fundamental way, Darden is requesting actual evidence of this open-mindedness in action.

To craft an effective essay response, consider using a narrative approach to describe a kind of “before and after” situation or “lightbulb moment” in which your takeaways from the experience influenced your subsequent thoughts, values, and/or actions. Perhaps you were exposed to something completely new that resonated with you and thereafter became a fundamental part of your mores or a routine practice in your life. Or maybe an experience challenged one of your existing beliefs and altered your opinion or stance in a significant way. Keep in mind, however, that the admissions committee is much more interested in your willingness and capacity to learn and grow than in the specific kind of change you experienced.

[b]Learning Team: Tell us what you would want your learning team to know about you – personal, professional, or both? (100 words) [/b]

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

So, in a mere 100 words, you must reveal that you have a perspective, attribute, or background that will enable your learning team to function better or perhaps even just more pleasantly. In the [b][url=https://blogs.darden.virginia.edu/admissions/2019/06/17/application-advice-all-about-our-short-answer-questions/?_ga=2.3004216.94598758.1591799783-446131949.1591375937&_gac=1.25297615.1591636964.CjwKCAjw2uf2BRBpEiwA31VZj1nmle1DCg9nQ4iuAxKpAroPeUlaCL7Y21JtpJfNY1z239Id6rngkhoCdR0QAvD_BwE]Discover Darden blog post[/url][/b] mentioned earlier, the admissions representative makes this encouraging declaration: “This is a chance for you to let your true self shine. Hobbies, interests, passions, values—it’s all fair game here.”

Although the prompt’s implication is that you will be communicating with your future Darden classmates, the truth is, of course, that you are speaking to the admissions committee (and maybe even to the people who will ultimately decide the makeup of the school’s learning teams). So for your essay to be most successful and compelling, you must demonstrate that you have something valuable to offer your future teammates.

We are advocates of using anecdotes to reveal this kind of information and suggest you consider focusing on a single experience that demonstrates your chosen attribute and can represent how you might function on your learning team. This does not mean, however, that you must describe a clichéd team experience to prove you are a team player. Perhaps you are a great debater and can clearly see and elucidate multiple sides to a story, or you have particular experience with and insight into geopolitics, or you are naturally intellectually curious and have amassed a broad range of basic knowledge. Or maybe you have a talent for diffusing tense situations with humor and can therefore keep a tired and stressed group of ambitious students with strongly held but opposing views on track and cooperating civilly. Within reason, what the skill or trait is that you highlight here does not matter as much as establishing that it would make you advantageous to Darden’s learning team experience.

To learn more about Darden’s learning teams and other characteristic elements of its MBA program, download a free copy of the mbaMission [b][url=https://shop.mbamission.com/products/uva-darden-school-of-business-administration-insider-s-guide]Insider’s Guide to the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business Administration[/url][/b].

[b]What is your short-term, post-MBA career goal and why? (150 words) [/b]

At a recent mbaMission annual conference, Darden’s Executive Director of Admissions Dawna Clarke shared with us that one of her favorite expressions is “You don’t know what you don’t know” and that she keeps this maxim in mind when considering Darden applicants’ career goals. MBA students encounter an incredible (and often surprising) number and breadth of professional opportunities while in business school, and given Dawna’s extensive admissions background, she knows only too well that candidates can and do change their minds and trajectories along the way. That said, Darden wants to know that you have given this aspect of your MBA experience very serious thought, have thoroughly researched your options, and are approaching business school with a strong sense of purpose—that you have a fitting and attainable goal in mind and can articulate it clearly.

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

One’s short-term goal is a common topic in a traditional personal statement, so we encourage you to download your free copy of the [b][url=http://info.mbamission.com/MBA-Personal-Statement-Guide]mbaMission Personal Statement Guide[/url][/b], 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 [b][url=http://info.mbamission.com/MBA-Personal-Statement-Guide]claim your copy today[/url][/b].

[b]The [url=https://www.darden.virginia.edu/mba/darden-worldwide/scholarship-fund/]Batten Foundation Worldwide Scholarship[/url] provides all Darden students in our full-time MBA program with an opportunity to participate in a [url=https://www.darden.virginia.edu/mba/darden-worldwide/]Darden Worldwide Course[/url]. Each year, Darden connects with over 80 countries. [/b]

[b]If you could choose any location in the world, where would you want to travel? (5 words) [/b]

[b]And why? (50 words)[/b]

First, we want to make sure you fully understand what this essay prompt is revealing. At the aforementioned mbaMission annual conference, Dawna explained to us that because of this generous Batten scholarship, every single Darden student can now afford to participate in an international course at some point during their two years in the program. Business school is an experience rife with opportunities, and Darden wants to make sure no barriers stand in the way of its students taking advantage of this particular one—the chance to study abroad and explore new horizons. While this essay prompt might initially strike you as hypothetical, let us reassure you that it is very much grounded in reality. In addition, the admissions committee notes on its blog, “Th[is] question is intentionally broad. While we encourage you to review our Darden Worldwide Course offerings, you are welcome to go beyond the locations where we deliver a course when crafting your response” (emphasis added). So really plumb your interests and identify a location that truly excites you—then write about it! 

You can reveal yourself to be adventurous, curious, or intellectual by pinpointing which country most entices you. Then clearly and succinctly (your response must fit a delineated box, so no longwinded travelogues!) convey your enthusiasm for this choice and explain how the opportunity would enhance your Darden education and experience.

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

[b]If there is further information you believe would be helpful to the Admission Committee, please provide it. (250 words)[/b]

We tend to believe that the best use of the optional essay is to explain confusing or problematic issues in your candidacy, and this prompt offers an opportunity to do just that. So, if you need to, this is your chance to address any questions an admissions officer might have about your profile—a poor grade or overall GPA, a low GMAT or GRE score, a gap in your work experience, etc. In our [b][url=https://shop.mbamission.com/products/mbamission-optional-essays-guide]mbaMission Optional Essays Guide[/url][/b], we offer detailed advice on how best to take advantage of the optional essay, with multiple examples, to help you mitigate any problem areas in your application.

However, because Darden does not stipulate that you can only discuss a problem area in this essay, it does open the door for you to discuss something that is not addressed elsewhere in your application but that you feel is truly critical for the admissions committee to know to be able to evaluate you fully and effectively. We caution you about simply trying to fill this space 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.

[b]The Next Step—Mastering Your UVA Darden Interview:[/b] Many MBA candidates find admissions interviews stressful and intimidating, but mastering this important element of the application process is definitely possible—the key is informed preparation. And, on your way to this high level of preparation, we offer our [b][url=http://shop.mbamission.com/collections/interview-primers]free Interview Primers[/url][/b] to spur you along! Download your free copy of [url=https://shop.mbamission.com/products/uva-darden-interview-primer][b]The UVA Darden Interview Primer[/b][/url] today.
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Stanford Graduate School of Business Essay Analysis, 2020–2021  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Jun 2020, 07:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Stanford Graduate School of Business Essay Analysis, 2020–2021
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Like many of the top MBA programs appear to be doing this season, the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) has opted to make no changes to its application essay prompts. The Optional Short-Answer Question, which gives applicants the opportunity to share some of their most significant accomplishments and experiences, likewise remains the same. We believe this outlet is primarily for (likely quant-minded) candidates who might have otherwise felt compelled to shoehorn such information into their “what matters most?” essay, thereby freeing them to speak more from the heart in that submission, without fear that the admissions committee will somehow overlook what they believe are key “selling points” in their profile. In our full MBA essay analysis that follows, we provide more insight into the GSB’s two required questions as well as this added element and how it can complement the school’s other application essays this season.

[b]Essay A: What matters most to you, and why? [/b]

[b]For this essay, we would like you to reflect deeply and write from the heart. Once you’ve identified what matters most to you, help us understand why. You might consider, for example, what makes this so important to you? What people, insights, or experiences have shaped your perspectives?[/b]

When candidates ask us, “What should I write for what matters most to me?,” we offer some pretty simple guidance: start brainstorming for this essay by asking yourself that very question. What does matter most to you? This might seem like obvious advice, of course, but many applicants get flustered by the question, believing that an actual “right” answer exists that they must provide to satisfy the admissions committee. As a result, they never pause to actually consider their sincere responses, which are typically the most compelling. The GSB itself notes on [b][url=https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/programs/mba/admission/application-process/essays]its essay page[/url][/b], “There is no ‘right answer’ to these questions—the best answer is the one that is truest for you.”

We therefore encourage you to contemplate this question in depth and push yourself to explore the psychological and philosophical motivations behind your goals and achievements—behind who you are today. We cannot emphasize this enough: do not make a snap decision about the content of this essay. Once you have identified what you believe is an appropriate theme, discuss your idea(s) with those with whom you are closest and whose input you respect. Doing so can help validate deeply personal and authentic themes, leading to an essay that truly stands out.

Once you have fully examined your options and identified your main themes, do not simply provide a handful of supporting anecdotes—or worse, recycle the stories you used in a similar essay for another school. A strong essay response to this question will involve a true exploration of the themes you have chosen and reveal a thorough analysis of decisions, motives, and successes/failures, with a constant emphasis on how you conduct yourself. If you are merely telling stories and trying to tie in your preconceived conclusions, you are probably forcing a theme on your reader rather than genuinely analyzing your experiences, and any experienced admissions reader will see right through this. In short, be sure to fully consider and identify your most authentic answer(s), outline your essay accordingly, and then infuse your writing with your personality, thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

Stanford encourages you to give special attention to why the subject you have chosen to write about is the most important to you. This “why” element should be clear in your essay—it should be implied by what you are discussing and sharing. If you need to explicitly declare, “And what matters most to me is…,” your essay is not making a strong enough point on its own. A well-constructed essay that is infused with your values and motivation and that clearly conveys why you made certain decisions should effectively and implicitly reveal the “why” behind your chosen topic—and will almost always make a stronger point.

One final note is that you can write about a popular theme as long as you truly own the experience. However, the odds are very low that you could write on a theme that the Stanford GSB’s admissions committee has never read about before. You can discuss whatever you truly care about in your essay, but you absolutely must support your topic with a wealth of experience that shows how you have uniquely lived it. Therefore, for example, you cannot successfully write about “making a difference” if you have volunteered only occasionally, but if you have truly had a significant impact on someone’s life, then the topic is no longer a cliché—it is true to who you genuinely are. So, focus less on trying to choose the “right” subject for your essay and more on identifying one that is personal and authentic to you. If you write powerfully about your topic and connect it directly to your experiences and values, your essay should be a winner.

For even more targeted advice about how to approach this multidecade mainstay question for the Stanford GSB—and to see several annotated sample essays for inspiration—download your free copy of our guide [b][url=https://shop.mbamission.com/products/what-matters-and-what-more-a-guide-to-the-stanford-gsb-and-hbs-personal-essays]“What Matters?” and “What More?”: A Guide to the Stanford GSB and HBS Personal Essays[/url][/b].

[b]Essay B: Why Stanford? [/b]

[b]Describe your aspirations and how your Stanford GSB experience will help you realize them. If you are applying to both the MBA and MSx programs, use Essay B to address your interest in both programs.[/b]

As we noted earlier, on the school’s application essays page, the Stanford GSB admissions committee stresses that it has no “right” answer in mind for its essay questions and wants applicants to share their story in their “genuine voice.” This means it does not have a preferred job or industry in mind that it is waiting to hear you say you plan to enter. It really just wants to understand your personal vision and why you feel a Stanford MBA (or MSx) in particular is necessary to facilitate this vision. If you try to present yourself as someone or something you are not, you will ultimately undermine your candidacy. Trust the admissions committee (and us) on this one!

The “why our school?” topic is a common element of a typical personal statement, so we encourage you to download your free copy of the [b][url=http://shop.mbamission.com/products/personal-statement-guide]mbaMission Personal Statement Guide[/url][/b], which helps applicants write this style of essay for any school. It explains ways of approaching this subject effectively and offers several sample essays as guides. [b][url=http://shop.mbamission.com/products/personal-statement-guide]Click here[/url][/b] to access your complimentary copy today.

And for a thorough exploration of the Stanford GSB’s academic program, unique offerings, social life, and other key characteristics, check out the [b][url=https://shop.mbamission.com/products/stanford-graduate-school-of-business-insider-s-guide]mbaMission Insider’s Guide to the Stanford Graduate School of Business[/url][/b], which is also available for free.

[b]Optional Short-Answer Question:[/b]

[b]Think about times you’ve created a positive impact, whether in professional, extracurricular, academic, or other settings. What was your impact? What made it significant to you or to others? You are welcome to share up to three examples. (Up to 1500 characters, approximately 250 words, for each example)[/b]

We know from experience that when asked to write an essay that is more personal than professional or that focuses on a “why” rather than a “what,” some applicants—and particularly those with strong quant backgrounds or mind-sets—get extremely concerned that the admissions committee will not understand or recognize how successful they have been in their career or life to date. Perhaps they feel their greatest strengths are demonstrated by their accomplishments and therefore believe that not highlighting these for the admissions committee will mean certain rejection. This is simply not true, but we understand that this can be a difficult truth to accept. We suspect that many past Stanford GSB candidates simply could not resist talking more about their achievements in Essay A than about their values, personal interests, beliefs, and emotions—ultimately depriving the admissions committee of the information it truly wanted. The addition of these optional mini essays now provides an outlet for such applicants and their success stories, which will likely prove a win-win. Candidates can focus on the more personal aspects of their profile in their first essay, as the GSB wants, and can then highlight their standout skills and triumphs here (if they wish), providing still more data on which the admissions committee can base its final decision.  

First, keep in mind that this is an optional element of your application. We encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity only if you feel you have a story (or stories) that the admissions committee must have to consider your candidacy fully and fairly. Just because you can submit additional information here does not mean that you must (i.e., you will not be penalized for not doing so!), and if you are essentially asking the already overtaxed admissions readers to do additional work on your application, you need to make sure that extra effort is worthwhile. Similarly, although the school states that you may discuss three impact situations, sharing just one or two is absolutely acceptable. They key is to focus on conveying stories that are truly significant and revelatory of who you are, what you can do, and/or what kind of effect you have had on others, not just on filling every available space on the application.

Despite your limited word count here, do your best to “show,” or really spell out, how things unfolded—rather than just stating the accomplishment or flatly presenting the situation—to give the admissions reader some perspective on how you conduct yourself and achieve. And because the school wants to know about “your impact,” you will obviously have to convey the results of your actions. The GSB wants to understand that the decisions you made and steps you took clearly paid off and that a project, company, organization, individual, or product subsequently experienced a positive change. Finally, do not gloss over the “why” factor here, and be sure to delineate the reason the outcome was so meaningful.

[b]The Next Step—Mastering Your Stanford GSB Interview: [/b]Many MBA candidates find admissions interviews stressful and intimidating, but mastering this important element of the application process is definitely possible—the key is informed preparation. And, on your way to this high level of preparation, we offer our free Interview Primers to spur you along! Download your free copy of the [url=https://shop.mbamission.com/products/stanford-gsb-interview-primer][b]Stanford GSB Interview Primer[/b][/url] today.
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Studying for and Struggling with the GMAT: The Most Common Issues  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Jun 2020, 08:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Studying for and Struggling with the GMAT: The Most Common Issues
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.

Have you been studying for the GMAT for a while now but find yourself struggling to lift your score? Perhaps you have some problems of which you are unaware, or you are studying in an inefficient or ineffective way.

This article includes links to a number of additional articles. If you see something that applies to your situation, follow the link!

First, read this short article: In It to Win It.

Time Management

Almost everyone has timing problems; many people think they do not, but they are wrong. If you have been studying for a while but your score does not seem to be changing much, then one of the culprits is probably timing. Another common sign: your practice test scores fluctuate up and down.

Next, analyze your most recent practice test to see whether you have any timing problems and, if so, what they are.

Content

You may also, of course, have content problems—maybe modifiers are driving you crazy, or combinatorics.

Not all content areas have equal value. Some areas are more commonly tested than others, and those areas are obviously worth more of your time and attention. For example, modifiers are very commonly tested, but combinatorics questions are infrequent. If you are struggling with this topic, good news! Forget about it.

How do you know which areas are more or less commonly tested? This changes over time, so ask your instructor or post the question on some GMAT forums.

The test review we discussed in the time management section will also tell you your content strengths and weaknesses. Your next task is to figure out how to study in a more effective way.

How to Study

Many people do huge quantities of problems, but we are not going to memorize all these problems. If that is what you have been doing and you are struggling or taking forever, stop now!

What we want to do instead is use the current practice problems to help us learn how to think our way through future new problems. When doing GMAT-format problems, be aware that roughly 80% of your learning comes after you have finished doing the problem. Your goal here is not to do a million questions but to do a much more modest number of questions and really analyze them to death. Here is how to review GMAT practice problems.

Super-High Score Goal

What if you are going for a super-high score (730+) and find that you are stagnating? Maybe you have hit 700 but cannot get past that mark. First, do you really need such a high score? Not many schools will reject a 700-scorer for that reason.

If you are determined to push into the stratosphere, learn the differences between a 700-scorer and a 760-scorer. A super-high scorer has certain skills and habits, and you will need to learn how to develop them. Also, recognize that you might need outside help from a class or tutor to make this leap.

My Score Dropped!

Have you experienced a big score drop (more than 70 points) on a recent practice test or an official exam? I know you are disappointed, but you are not alone. Your task now is to figure out what went wrong, so that you can take steps to get back to the pre-drop level.

Something Else?

Finally, if you just cannot figure out what is holding you back, then you likely need the advice of an expert. You can get free advice on various forums (including the Manhattan Prep forums!). You could also take a class or work with a tutor—this will cost money, of course, but if you have really been banging your head against the wall for a long time, then you might decide the investment is worth it.
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Finding Suitable Recommendation Writers and Ensuring Their Punctuality  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Jun 2020, 07:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Finding Suitable Recommendation Writers and Ensuring Their Punctuality
Letters of recommendation are an important part of your overall application package—they provide the only outside information the admissions committee receives about you. One of the most stressful parts of the application process can be picking your recommender. The first question you should ask is who can write a valuable letter on my behalf?

Like many candidates, you may believe that your recommenders must have remarkable credentials and titles to impress the admissions committee. However, what is far more important is selecting individuals who can write a personal and knowledgeable letter that discusses your talents, accomplishments, personality, and potential. If senior managers at your company can only describe your work in vague and general terms, they will not help your cause. Lower-level managers who directly supervise your work, on the other hand, can often offer powerful examples of the impact you have had on your company. As a result, their letters can be far more effective.

Nonetheless, not everyone who knows you and your capabilities well will make a good recommender. For starters, you should of course feel confident that your potential recommender likes you and will write a positive letter on your behalf. As you contemplate your choices, try to gather some intelligence on your potential recommenders. Have they written letters for anyone else? Are they generous with their time with regard to employee feedback and review sessions? Will they devote the effort and time necessary to write a letter that will really shine? (See also our blog post on choosing “safe” recommenders.)

If your prospective MBA program asks for two letters of recommendation, you should generally approach two of your recent supervisors, with one ideally being your current supervisor. Your letters will have added credibility if they are written by individuals who are senior to you, because your recommenders are in evaluative positions and will not have anything to lose by critically appraising your candidacy.

As application deadlines approach, many candidates find themselves immersed in stress—busy juggling multiple essays and revising their resume. Often in the midst of all this, an alarming question suddenly springs to mind: What if my recommenders do not get their letters done by the deadline?

In our opinion, the easiest way to ensure that your recommenders complete their letters on time is to present them with your own deadline—one that is a bit earlier than the school’s—when you first ask them to provide a recommendation for you. If the application to your school of choice is due on January 15, for example, tell your recommenders that you are submitting on January 8. Incidentally, submitting your application early can be good for your sanity as well. By setting this advanced deadline, you can put some additional pressure on your recommenders on the 8th if they have not yet finished the letters, so you should still be able to submit by the school’s official deadline.

Most people work to deadlines. Alleviate unnecessary stress by setting your recommenders’ deadlines one week early, and “enjoy” the application process a little bit more.
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Professor Profiles: Gautam Kaul, University of Michigan Stephen M. Ros  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Jun 2020, 09:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Gautam Kaul, University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business
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Many MBA applicants feel that they are purchasing a brand when they choose a business school. However, the educational experience you will have is what is crucial to your future, and no one will affect your education more than your professors. Today, we profile Gautam Kaul from the University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business.

Gautam Kaul, professor of finance and the Robert G. Rodkey Collegiate Professor of Business Administration, teaches both core curriculum courses and electives. Kaul also  served as the Special Counsel for Digital Education and Innovator in Residence at the University of Michigan from 2012 to 2018.

In addition to referencing his intellectual capabilities, students with whom mbaMission spoke described Kaul as extremely friendly and having a great sense of humor. He is also known for his willingness to help students both inside and outside the classroom. In 2005, in direct response to student interest, Kaul developed the elective course “Finance and the Sustainable Enterprise.” In return, students recognized his efforts and awarded him the Sustainability Pioneer Award and a plaque in his honor on one of the chairs in the main auditorium of the university’s School of Natural Resources and Environment. Kaul has been nominated for an MBA Teaching Excellence Award (which is voted on by the student body) numerous times, most recently in 2019, and he won the award in 1996, 2006, 2009, 2011, and 2013. He is also the 2009 recipient of the Victor L. Bernard Leadership in Teaching Award from the university’s Center for Research on Learning and Teaching.

For more information about Michigan Ross and 16 other top-ranked business schools, check out our free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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Full-Time MBA Programs at Rotman School of Management and Simon Busine  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Jun 2020, 11:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Full-Time MBA Programs at Rotman School of Management and Simon Business School
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The University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management

The University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management was ranked first among Canadian MBA programs by the Financial Times in 2019. In addition to its finance-related strengths, Rotman offers a rather unique approach to core business pedagogy. Relying on what it terms “integrative thinking,” Rotman’s teaching model challenges the compartmentalization of traditional functional areas. Students complete a series of core courses in their first year that emphasize generalized business skills and the ability to think across functional disciplines. The Rotman Self-Developmental Lab, which offers feedback on the students’ communication style and behavioral performance via group workshops and personalized sessions with psychologists and management consultants, is also part of the first year of studies. The mission of the program, according to the school’s site, is to “develop and nurture [the students’] self-awareness and the interpersonal skills that are key to becoming an effective collaborative problem-solver.”

In their second year, Rotman MBA students are given the option to choose from 16 different major areas, including Global Management, Sustainability, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Funds Management, while supplementing their focus with a broader array of more than 90 elective courses.

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Simon Business School at the University of Rochester

Meanwhile, only 170 miles away but across the border, the full-time MBA program at the Simon Business School at the University of Rochester offers a broadly finance-oriented general management curriculum featuring particular strengths in analytics and accounting. Simon’s program is built on a foundation of 12 core courses, including “Managerial Economics,” “Capital Budgeting and Corporate Objectives,” and “Marketing Management.” Students complete their core with an assigned study team before exploring more specialized professional interests.

The school’s elective courses represent a variety of industries and functions, such as entrepreneurship, consulting, and real estate. Students may choose from ten career specializations, which are divided into three tracks: Finance, which includes such topics as Banking, Corporate Finance, and Asset Management; Consulting, which includes Pricing, Strategy, Technology, and Operations; and Marketing, which includes Product Management and Brand Management. Students also have ten available minors, including Analytics, Global Business, and Leadership. In addition, the Simon MBA EDGE Program provides students with opportunities for personal development in such areas as problem solving, communication, and leadership through involvement in activities including clubs, advisory boards, and other groups on campus, as well as case competitions and projects with area companies. The program, which the school’s website says was developed “to focus on key competencies [that] today’s employers demand in graduate business students,” aims to complement knowledge learned in the classroom and increase students’ value to potential employers.

Simon’s Ain Center for Entrepreneurship and Center for Pricing offer curricular and research support to supplement the specific career concentrations. Simon is also home to more than 20 professional and social student-run organizations aimed at coordinating networking events and professional development resources to assist students in advancing their careers.
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Duke Fuqua Announces 2020–2021 Deadlines and Essays  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Jun 2020, 10:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Duke Fuqua Announces 2020–2021 Deadlines and Essays
Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business recently announced its 20202021 deadlines and required essays (for the MBA class of 2023, matriculating fall 2021):

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Required short-answer essay question

Instructions: Answer the following question in 500 characters only (the equivalent of about 100 words).

What are your post-MBA career goals? Share with us your first choice career plan and your alternate plan.

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.

Second required essay: The Fuqua community and you

Instructions: Your response should be no more than 300 words.

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, what are the three most meaningful ways you expect to engage and contribute to our community outside of the classroom?

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.

For a complete list of 2020–2021 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.

Stay tuned to the mbaMission blog for our analyses of the 2020–2021 essay questions, and be sure to download our free Insider’s Guide to Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.
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Duke University Fuqua School of Business Essay Analysis, 2020–2021  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Jun 2020, 07:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Duke University Fuqua School of Business Essay Analysis, 2020–2021
[url=https://www.mbamission.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/fuqua-logo-rgb000099.png][img]https://www.mbamission.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/fuqua-logo-rgb000099-292x300.png[/img][/url]
In a [b][url=https://blogs.fuqua.duke.edu/duke-mba/2020/06/17/allison-jamison/changes-to-our-mba-application-for-2020-2021]blog post[/url][/b] about changes to the MBA application essays for Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business this season, Assistant Dean of Admissions Allison Jamison first comments on how the COVID-19 pandemic has severely complicated the admissions process, then states, “During this time, we learned the importance of keeping things simple and removing some of the stress that comes with applying to business school.” As a result, the admissions committee has truncated its essays and short-answer demands for this season, likely to the relief of the school’s 2020–2021 candidates. Rather than two short-answer essay questions, applicants must respond to only one, and while the wording of the program’s community engagement essay remains the same, the maximum length has been cut from two pages to just 300 words. 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. Plus, Jamison notes that the admissions committee enjoys reading these essays the most. Our full essay analysis follows.

[b]Required short-answer essay question[/b]

[b]Instructions: Answer the following question in 500 characters only (the equivalent of about 100 words).[/b]

[b]What are your post-MBA career goals? Share with us your first-choice career plan and your alternate plan. [/b]

With this question, Fuqua is essentially asking for a standard element of a traditional personal statement—one’s short-term career aspirations—with the addition of one rather nonstandard component—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 we have noted, this question concerns one of the core topics covered in a typical personal statement, so we encourage you to download your free copy of the [b][url=http://info.mbamission.com/MBA-Personal-Statement-Guide]mbaMission Personal Statement Guide[/url][/b], 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 download [b][url=http://info.mbamission.com/MBA-Personal-Statement-Guide]your complimentary copy[/url][/b] today.

[b]First required essay: 25 random things about yourself [/b]

[b]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.[/b]

[b]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. [/b]

[b]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.[/b]

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.”

[b]Second required essay: The Fuqua community and you[/b]

[b]Instructions: Your response should be no more than 300 words.[/b]

[b]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.[/b]

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

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 [b][url=https://www.youtube.com/user/FuquaSchOfBusiness]Fuqua’s YouTube channel[/url][/b]—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.

Although this stipulation is not included in the wording of the prompt, in the [b][url=https://blogs.fuqua.duke.edu/duke-mba/2020/06/17/allison-jamison/changes-to-our-mba-application-for-2020-2021]blog post[/url][/b] we mentioned in our intro, Jamison counsels, “We would like you to limit it to the three most meaningful ways you expect to engage as a student” (italics ours). We of course recommend that you restrict yourself accordingly. The new 300-word maximum will likely make squeezing much more into the essay difficult anyway, but Jamison also notes, “One of the first skills you must develop as a student is how to prioritize what’s most important to you,” so this is a chance for you to demonstrate that you can do just that.

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 [b][url=https://shop.mbamission.com/products/duke-university-s-fuqua-school-of-business-insider-s-guide]mbaMission Insider’s Guide to Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business[/url][/b].

[b]Optional essay: Tell us more[/b]

[b]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.[/b]

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

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 [b][url=https://shop.mbamission.com/products/mbamission-optional-essays-guide]mbaMission Optional Essays Guide[/url][/b], 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.

[b]The Next Step—Mastering Your Duke Fuqua Interview[/b][b]: [/b]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 [b][url=https://shop.mbamission.com/collections/interview-guides]Interview Guides[/url][/b] to spur you along! Download your free copy of the [b][url=https://shop.mbamission.com/products/duke-fuqua-interview-guide]Duke Fuqua Interview Guide[/url][/b] today.
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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Setting Realistic and Reasonable Career Goals   [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jun 2020, 08:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Setting Realistic and Reasonable Career Goals 
This post was written by our resident Career Coach, [url=https://www.mbamission.com/who-we-are/team/elissa-harris/]Elissa Harris[/url]. To sign up for a free 30-minute career consultation with Elissa, please [url=https://www.mbamission.com/consult/career-coaching/]click here[/url].

Identifying the right career path for you requires time to reflect and to research—and then to reflect again. mbaMission’s experience indicates that the most realistic career goals tend to meet the following criteria:

[list]
[*]Demonstrated passion and foundation for goals (e.g., relevant functional/industry experience, exposure, or knowledge)[/*]
[*]Clear understanding of the role (e.g., tasks, responsibilities, outcomes) and the recruiting process [/*]
[*]Relevant and transferable skills for the role as well as required educational pedigree (e.g., undergraduate major, GMAT, GPA) and/or experience in similar work environments[/*]
[*]Availability of jobs in the target area or a large number of target companies [/*]
[*]Connection to the resources and courses available in an MBA program[/*]
[/list]
When defining your career goals, take into account your interests, skills/background, and the marketplace realities. As you can imagine, admissions committees and recruiters want candidates who will be successful within their organizations—those who demonstrate they really want to be there and who articulate how they will contribute. 

Although uncovering your career path can be a time-consuming and iterative process, creating a structured approach makes it easier and more productive. To get started, try the following steps:

1. Ask yourself the following questions (and write down the answers, so you can go back and identify themes):

[list]
[*]
[list]
[*]Why did you go into industry X? Has it met your expectations? Why or why not? [/*]
[*]What is the work culture in your current role?[/*]
[*]What words describe you at your best? What compliments do you hear most often?[/*]
[*]What makes you feel valued at work? Why? [/*]
[*]What do you really love to do at work? What really drains/frustrates you at work?  [/*]
[*]What articles do you stop and read in the Wall Street Journal (or other business publications)?[/*]
[/list]
[/*]
[/list]
2. Read about potential MBA career paths. Look at the [b][url=https://shop.mbamission.com/collections/career-guides]mbaMission Career Guides[/url][/b] and read target job descriptions. Seek out information on post-MBA opportunities for people with your background (e.g., research on LinkedIn). Talk with three to five people who work in roles of interest to you.

3. Synthesize your own reflections and research. Validate goals by using different sources to gain perspective.

Bottom line: Use the insights obtained from the above steps to develop an authentic and compelling story through which you can connect your experiences to your goals.
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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