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mbaMission Admissions Consultant
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mbaMission Admissions Consultant
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mbaMission Admissions Consultant
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mbaMission Admissions Consultant
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Questions to Ask MBA Admissions Consulting Firms [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Questions to Ask MBA Admissions Consulting Firms
Getting into a top business school has only gotten more challenging over the years. The competition can be fierce, so many candidates turn to MBA admissions consultants to help them prepare their best possible application. As you speak with different MBA admissions consulting firms to determine which one to work with on your applications, here are a few important questions you should be asking:

1. What is your firm’s hiring process like?
Can anyone become a consultant with the firm? Must they have certain qualifications, such as an MBA degree themselves or writing/editing experience? At mbaMission, we hire approximately one out of every 200 job applicants. After submitting a resume and cover letter, some applicants are invited to interview. Those who do well in that initial interview are then interviewed by at least two additional consultants on our hiring committee. If all three interviewers agree to move forward with the applicant, the candidate completes several writing and editing exercises to demonstrate their skills in those areas. The hiring committee reviews the competed exercises, and applicants who perform well are then interviewed by our CEO. If he and the hiring committee agree on a promising applicant, that individual is invited to join our firm. We are committed to hiring only highly qualified consultants, and in fact, applicants who have not fulfilled our exacting standards have sometimes gone on to join our competitor firms, whose hiring processes are not as rigorous.

2. What kind of initial training do your consultants complete? How long after a consultant is hired do they begin working with clients?
Once hired, do new consultants undergo any sort of training? Do they begin taking on clients right away? At mbaMission, our admissions consultants complete a three-month, closely supervised training program that addresses how to evaluate, craft, and edit all components of an MBA application and involves learning thoroughly about the admissions field. During these three months, the new hire does not work on or interact with any real, current clients. At the conclusion of the training phase, the new consultant must complete a capstone exercise that is reviewed by a committee. They can start accepting clients of their own only after they successfully pass this review, and for their first full year, they have a dedicated mentor who reviews their essay edits and feedback before they are returned to the client.

3. What ongoing training does your firm offer its consultants?
This question will reveal whether a firm’s consultants are up-to-date on admissions trends and the characteristics of the current applicant pool. The admissions process changes constantly and has especially done so in recent years, which means that if your consultant is not constantly learning and growing with the field, their advice might be stale. At mbaMission, we have a staff meeting every two weeks to share updates and discuss concerns and trends that consultants are hearing from their clients. Twice a year, each consultant is responsible for conducting a “teach-in” through which they explain and explore a particular aspect of admissions consulting for their colleagues. Pre-COVID, mbaMission held an annual in-person conference, bringing together all our admissions consultants from around the world to meet in person and participate in targeted workshops and exercises. (We will resume this yearly conference when conditions allow.)

4. What is the background of the consultant I will be working with? What kind of admissions experience do they have?
Make sure you find out who exactly would be your dedicated consultant and what their background is. Have they gone through the MBA admissions process themselves? Did they graduate from a top business school? How long have they been in the admissions field? Do they have experience working with applicants like you? Are you able to choose the consultant you will work with, or will you be assigned someone?

All mbaMission consultants are graduates of elite MBA programs and have therefore gone through the same application process you will be going through. We have profound writing and editing experience, which makes us especially qualified to guide you in crafting your application essays. All of our consultants are listed on the mbaMission web site, and you have the freedom to choose which one you work with, provided your preferred consultant has availability. As we explained earlier, every mbaMission admissions consultant undergoes a comprehensive hiring and training process, and our team stays constantly up-to-date on the admissions process.

5. Are your consultants full-time or part-time?
Do you want your consultant to be someone who helps you on their lunch break or after an eight-hour day at another job? Or do you want someone for whom helping you get into business school is their professional calling? A part-time MBA admissions consultant might also work with only a handful of applicants each year, but that does not mean they will give you more attention than a full-time consultant with many clients would. In fact, it means the opposite. A part-timer not only has a separate full-time job they must juggle but also much less experience to draw from, given that they work with substantially fewer applicants. Someone who advises only two to five applicants per round or per year simply cannot be an expert in applications or the applicant pool.

All mbaMission consultants are full-time MBA admissions consultants. This enables us to offer dedicated training to our consultants and build a truly collaborative organization. We live and breathe MBA admissions, and as a firm, we have worked on literally tens of thousands of applications over the past decade, giving us the expertise needed to help you succeed in the MBA admissions process.

6. What types of services do you offer? What is your approach to admissions consulting?
You have many different types of admissions consulting firms to choose from—larger firms, boutique firms, solo operations, those that specialize in certain application elements, international specialists, and so on—so you need to understand exactly what a given firm can and cannot help you with, as well as what is included in their services. Does the firm offer only hourly services? Or does it also offer an unlimited service? Do its consultants help just with the core application, or do they also provide support with mock interviews, the waitlist, and/or other aspects of the application process?

mbaMission’s flagship Complete Start-to-Finish Package is truly unlimited, and for candidates who want support on just one or two aspects of the application process, we also offer hourly services. In addition, mbaMission can assist with general mock interviews and offers more specialized interview prep services as well, including Harvard Business School intensive interview simulations (with former HBS interview Devi Vallabhaneni), Wharton Team-Based Discussion simulations, and help with recorded video interviews.

7. What makes you different from or better than other firms?
MBA admissions consultants can all seem like “the best,” especially when you are reading reviews that are all five-stars and raving. This definitely makes choosing the right one for you very difficult. Any admissions consulting firm you consider should be able to clearly tell you what makes them different and/or better than their competitors. If they cannot—or if they simply denigrate other firms—that should be a red flag.

mbaMission has many differentiators. As noted, we are the only significant firm with full-time admissions consultants who have all gone through exacting hiring and training processes, but we also have the exclusive recommendation of the leading GMAT prep provider, Manhattan Prep, Powered by Kaplan. mbaMission is the number-one firm on GMAT Club, with more than 1,300 verified five-star reviews—more than double the next-ranked firm. Plus, Poets&Quants has named us the top MBA admissions consulting firm “far and away ahead of any other firm in the business,” and we have more team members in the publication’s top individual consultants ranking than any other firm, year after year.

8. When will my consultant be available? What is your turnaround time?
A part-time MBA admissions consultant might be available only after traditional work hours and/or on the weekend, which might not be ideal for you, especially when deadlines are looming. You also want to find out when you can expect edited documents to be returned to you.

mbaMission has a guaranteed two-business-day turnaround time. Because our consultants are full-time, they are available to help you during regular business hours and often after hours and on weekends as well. Although they are not available 24/7, they always do their best to accommodate clients and their schedules.

9. If your consultants do not know the answer to a client’s question, where do they go to find it?
This question is particularly important if you are speaking with a smaller firm or solo operation. mbaMission’s team of full-time admissions consultants interact with each other all day long via a very active Slack channel and a constant exchange of emails. We also read client essays for each other. We are deeply immersed in the MBA admissions field, and if you have a question your consultant cannot readily answer themselves, they will very quickly get a response from a colleague who can.

10. Do any outside organizations endorse your company?
Having external validation for a firm can be really meaningful when you are trying to choose the right one for you. Manhattan Prep, Powered by Kaplan has exclusively recommended mbaMission to its students for the past decade, based on the consistently positive feedback about our firm they receive from students who work with us on their business school applications.

11. Do you find success rates to be a meaningful metric?
Many MBA admissions consulting firms advertise their success rate, and honestly, we have to wonder why. We believe that a company that is concerned with its success rate has taken its eyes off the ball with respect to our primary goal—helping MBA applicants get accepted to the program of their dreams, not to schools that will boost the firm’s acceptance or success rate. A focus on success rates disconnects the consultant’s goal from the client’s goal, and to us, that is not acceptable. Plus, does an admissions firm’s advertised “success rate” include all of its clients or just its most competitive clients? Does it include all the schools its candidates have applied to or just some? If a firm gives you a success rate, we strongly advise you to ask for and consider the data behind it before factoring it into your decision.
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Harvard Business School Interview Prep [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Harvard Business School Interview Prep
Harvard Business School (HBS) will send out Round 2 interview invitations on [b]Wednesday, February 2, at noon eastern time[/b]. HBS will send only one batch of interview invites, along with notifications of “release,” which are sent to candidates who will not be moving forward in the application process. HBS’s managing director of MBA admissions and financial aid, Chad Losee, addressed the impending invitations in a [url=https://www.hbs.edu/mba/admissions/Pages/from-the-admissions-director.aspx][b]blog post[/b][/url].

Now is the time to get ready for this crucial step in your application process.

[img]https://i0.wp.com/www.mbamission.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/HBS-campus.jpg?resize=300%2C169&ssl=1[/img]
Harvard Business School

[url=https://www.mbamission.com/who-we-are/team/devi-vallabhaneni/][b]Devi Vallabhaneni[/b][/url], a Harvard Business School graduate and former HBS MBA interviewer, has more than 20 years of experience in MBA admissions and readiness. She has conducted thousands of real and mock HBS interviews with candidates across all industries, geographies, backgrounds, and personal stories. As mbaMission’s Managing Director and HBS Interviewer in Residence she works directly with applicants on their business school applications and conducts [url=https://shop.mbamission.com/collections/services/products/hbs-in-person-intensive-interview-simulation][b]HBS Intensive Interview Simulations[/b][/url]. Here she shares some of her insights on the HBS interview.

[b]How to Think about the Harvard Business School Interview[/b]
So much misinformation is disseminated and exchanged about the Harvard Business School interview, so I would like to mitigate some of that by sharing the way I see it. Let me first clarify for you what the HBS interview is NOT.

[b]A Monologue[/b]
I have seen applicants start answering a question and then ramble on for minutes, covering topics that had not even been asked about. Unfortunately, these candidates often lose connection with the interviewer, who is not able to just jump into the conversation and might feel forced to cut them off midstream, which does not feel good for either party.

[b]A Performance[/b]
This happened to me last year. My interviewee rehearsed all of his hand gestures and facial expressions to accompany his words and treated our mock interview as a dress rehearsal instead of a true representation of what to expect in the actual interview. In a performance, the temptation is to become someone else—like an actor in a play—which goes against the entire philosophy of the Harvard Business School interview.

[b]An Oral Exam[/b]
MBA applicants often feel the need to defend the path not chosen, such as a certain college major or job. Focus on the path you chose by sharing the why—your reasons for doing so. If you felt any regret or disappointment along the way, talk about how it shaped you, how it informed future decisions, and how you incorporated your learnings. We have all second-guessed ourselves at some point, but this is not the right venue for dwelling on them.

[b]A Sales Presentation[/b]
How do I sell myself? How do I stand out? How do I impress the MBA admissions committee? These common questions lend themselves to a sales mentality. The Harvard Business School interview is not about “selling yourself”; it is about “expressing yourself.” The admissions board has seen every type of background, personality, life experience, and so on. By communicating the most compelling and salient parts of your story, you automatically differentiate yourself.

[b]A Therapy Session[/b]
I have seen interviewees misinterpret “authenticity” and “vulnerability” and share too much information about themselves. Remember the context: this is an interview for Harvard Business School; it is not a support group meeting!

[b]A Speech[/b]
By thinking of the interview as a speech, some applicants inevitably memorize their talking points, which gives them a false sense of security. Really listening and being present in the moment is difficult when you are busy trying to recall your prepared answers. So these candidates end up answering questions that were not even asked.

[img]https://i0.wp.com/www.mbamission.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/devi-vallabhaneni.jpg?resize=225%2C300&ssl=1[/img]
Devi Vallabhaneni, mbaMission Managing Director/HBS Interviewer in Residence

Instead, the HBS interview is a conversation—a high-level, cogent, yet personal dialogue between two people. The best way to think of the interview is as a chat with a C-level executive at your company or with a business school dean. They both know a lot about business and can understand you quickly. Your HBS interviewer is the same.

People often say that leadership is about competence and character, and I believe this is just as true for the HBS interview.

[b]Tips for Preparing for Your HBS Interview The RIGHT Way[/b]
Know what prepping really means.

No one perfect way of preparing for your Harvard Business School interview exists for all candidates. Feedback from my clients indicates that each person generally prepares multidimensionally.

Some people prep by writing. I have heard of applicants writing out talking points to remind themselves of important aspects of their stories. However, make sure that you indeed write talking points and not full answers that you will be tempted to memorize.

Some people prep by speaking in front of a mirror. Doing this allows you to hear and see yourself answering a question. It might feel awkward at first, but this method could be an important part of your “interview practice repertoire.” However, the potential downside is that sometimes, individuals who practice too much in front of a mirror end up editing themselves too much, so their answers sound less natural and authentic.

Some people prep by dialoguing back and forth with a friend or colleague. This method helps develop the ability to answer both anticipated and unanticipated questions naturally and spontaneously. The feedback you receive from dialoguing can then be incorporated into your next mock interview.

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

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

[b]Learn to master the what and how.[/b]
How you accomplished something is just as important as—if not more important than—what you actually accomplished. The how shows the real level of effort you had to expend to reach your end result. To me, providing the how also lets you share a deeper version of your story with your interviewer.

I once interviewed an HBS applicant who had worked on a seemingly common financial transaction. Because of the regulatory and political complexity of the transaction, she had to create more than 30 different potential scenarios to anticipate and quantify the client’s next steps. In this case, the how gave me better insight into the applicant’s depth of analysis, creativity, and experience. Without that information, this project, on its face, might not have stood out to me as something meaningful. Be sure to detail the how of your achievements for your HBS interviewer so that they can better understand the rigor and impact of your experience.

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

[b]Strive for practiced, not scripted.[/b]
You worked hard on your Harvard Business School application, which is what led to this interview opportunity. But your application probably took weeks or months to complete and required multiple revisions and edits, whereas your interview is a one-shot 30 minutes. This is why practicing your answers verbally is a great idea, but practice should not mean memorization or rehearsal.

I once interviewed a woman I later ran into on campus when she was a first-year student. While we were catching up, she told me how nervous she had been for our interview and how she had practiced by writing out bullet points and verbalizing them in front of a mirror. I still remember her interview to this day. She was natural, conversational, and in the moment. The way she had prepared enabled her to convey what was salient while still being fully present and engaged. In contrast, another candidate I interviewed responded to my every question with “I have three reasons…” or “I have three examples…,” and in most cases, his replies did not match my questions! He had memorized premade answers and simply recited them when given the chance to speak.

When preparing for your HBS interview, the most important thing to avoid is memorization of the answers you prepared. Be present and answer the question you are being asked—not the question you perhaps practiced. Listening is just as crucial as responding, if not more so. Think of the interview as a dialogue or conversation, which are two-way communications, rather than a speech, which is a one-way communication. Make sure to prepare useful points and stories and practice verbalizing them beforehand, but once you are actually in the interview, pay attention to the questions your interviewer is asking and call on those points and stories as appropriate.

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

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

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

[b]mbaMission Resources for Harvard Business School Interview Candidates[/b]
[b]Harvard Business School Intensive Interview Simulation [/b]
Devi offers candidates the opportunity to prepare for their Harvard Business School interviews via live intensive interview simulations. The live interview simulation includes the following components:

[list]
[b]Two or more 30-minute interview experiences customized to your application.[/b] Before your first session, Devi will spend several hours reviewing your written HBS application, following the same process she used when conducting candidate interviews for HBS. This allows her to target her HBS interview questions based on what she discovers about you from your application.[/*]
[b]Personalized feedback. [/b]After each interview session, Devi will provide you with targeted feedback, talking you through her impressions and offering strategic advice for improving your Harvard Business School interview skills.[/*]
[b]A reflection period.[/b] You will have time between your interview sessions with Devi to internalize the feedback and adjust accordingly before trying again.[/*]
[b]Post-Interview Reflection support.[/b] After their interviews, intensive-simulation clients who are not already working with an mbaMission Consultant can have Devi provide targeted support on their HBS Post-Interview Reflection.[/*]
[/list]
For more information and to secure your spot, please visit our [url=https://shop.mbamission.com/collections/services/products/hbs-in-person-intensive-interview-simulation][b]HBS Intensive Interview Simulation page[/b][/url].

[b]Mock Interview and Post-Interview Reflection Support [/b]
Another resource to help you prepare is our [url=https://shop.mbamission.com/collections/services/products/hbs-mock-interview-and-post-interview-reflection-support][b]HBS Mock Interview and Post-Interview Reflection Support[/b][/url] service. Through it, you work with an experienced mbaMission Senior Consultant or Managing Director who will have read your entire Harvard Business School application and prepared customized interview questions based on your candidacy. Via Q&A, feedback, and thorough response planning, we will help you improve the content of your answers, your time management skills, and your overall presentation.

Harvard Business school asks all interviewed applicants to write a post-interview essay and submit it within 24 hours of their interview. This essay has no word limit, and HBS suggests that candidates think of it as an email they would write to a friend or colleague, rather than as a formal essay.

As part of our targeted HBS interview package, an mbaMission advisor will help you strategize your approach to this special essay. Your Consultant will also review a draft of the essay and provide feedback and tips intended to assist you in making it stronger and more effective. Please note that because the HBS admissions office explicitly states that applicants are not to write anything in advance or receive outside help with this essay, your mbaMission Consultant will not edit your writing but will instead offer detailed strategic direction via comments only.

To purchase your HBS mock interview preparation session, [url=https://shop.mbamission.com/collections/services/products/hbs-mock-interview-and-post-interview-reflection-support][b]click here[/b][/url]!

[b]HBS Interview Prep Guide [/b]

Download your complimentary copy of mbaMission’s [url=https://shop.mbamission.com/products/harvard-business-school-interview-guide][b]Harvard Business School Interview Guide[/b][/url] today.

In creating our interview guides, we have drawn on countless communications with MBA students, alumni, admissions officers, and applicants, in addition to our vast library of interview reports submitted by current and past clients. Our HBS Interview Guide provides the following information:

[list]
Insight into what the school is evaluating and hoping to gain from the interview[/*]
An explanation of the school’s approach to interviewing (e.g., self-scheduled or invite only, blind versus comprehensive)[/*]
Past applicants’ firsthand accounts of their interview experiences and multiple sample interview question sequences[/*]
Tips on preparing for and responding to the interview questions that most often vex applicants[/*]
Help in formulating compelling interview questions of your own[/*]
[/list]
Good luck to all Round 2 applicants! If you believe you might benefit from one of our interview-planning services—or if you would simply like more information on these offerings or on the interview process in general—feel free to anytime!
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Meet Devi Vallabhaneni, Our Harvard Business School Interviewer in Res [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Meet Devi Vallabhaneni, Our Harvard Business School Interviewer in Residence
[img]https://i0.wp.com/www.mbamission.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/devi-vallabhaneni.jpg?resize=225%2C300&ssl=1[/img]
Devi Vallabhaneni, mbaMission’s HBS Interviewer in Residence

[url=https://www.mbamission.com/who-we-are/team/devi-vallabhaneni/]Devi Vallabhaneni[/url] has almost two decades of admissions experience, including interviewing and evaluating Harvard Business School (HBS) candidates, a passion she first developed when she herself was a second-year student at the school. She is a Managing Director at mbaMission, as well as our Harvard Business School Interviewer in Residence, offering [url=https://shop.mbamission.com/collections/services/products/hbs-in-person-intensive-interview-simulation]HBS Intensive Interview Simulations[/url] to HBS hopefuls. In fact, her services are so popular that she always has a waitlist of candidates who want to prep with her for the coveted HBS admissions interview. Here, she answers some questions about the Harvard Business School interview, excerpted from a recent conversation between Vallabhaneni and mbaMission Founder and President Jeremy Shinewald.

[b]How do you prepare to prepare others for their Harvard Business School Interview?[/b]
The HBS interview season is only about eight weeks over the two rounds, so it’s what I do the remaining 44 weeks that’s important. There is a through-line between each year’s MBA applicant pool and current events in business, which is why I think of admissions as being in the business of business.

CNBC or Bloomberg is always on in my office. I love following the markets, which allows me to be several steps ahead of my interviewees, who are working on the most newsworthy SPACs [special purpose acquisition companies], latest innovations across industries, newest business models, and the most pressing societal problems. My job isn’t to give them answers but to ask the right questions and challenge their thinking for them to formulate their own viewpoints.

[b]I hear you give homework to your clients. What does that mean?[/b]
Recently, I was helping an interviewee who was sharing his struggles at his service-based start-up. He was advising leadership that to be customer-centric, they had to be employee-centric first, but leadership was having a hard time making this connection. I gave him homework: to study the Service Profit Chain developed by HBS Professor James Heskett. He shared it with his leadership, who started listening to him. Because there is no divining rod of who will be accepted, I make sure to leave them with something tangible they could use on their job as well as during the HBS interview.

[b]How do you address EQ [emotional quotient]?[/b]
Some clients haven’t fully processed their emotions around their path and inadvertently infuse their answers with regret and negativity. The interview process can be emotional, and at times, people cry telling me heart wrenching stories about their setbacks or disappointments. The more that is processed during practice, the better. Confidence comes when you understand yourself emotionally, so if that’s the bottleneck, that’s what we focus on. It’s amazing to see the lightness of their persona when emotions are processed in a safe and nonjudgmental way.

[b]Why is this so important to you?[/b]
Prepping clients for the HBS interview is a strangely intimate, intense, and personal experience for me. They know nothing about me, yet I know everything about them. Our exchanges become their biggest priorities for a few weeks. They place their past, their future, their hopes, their disappointments, their goals, and, most importantly, their trust in my hands. I’m constantly thinking, What do I need to ask them to get them to where they need to go or for them to see their path differently? My process is more of an art than a science. I view each client like a protagonist in a case study. Instead of analyzing whether a company should launch a product or build a new plant somewhere, the case study is their life.

It’s a privilege to be trusted with someone’s yet-to-be-written story. It’s a privilege to be the second call after their immediate family to share in their acceptance!!

Do you want to prep for your HBS interview with Devi? [url=https://shop.mbamission.com/collections/services/products/hbs-in-person-intensive-interview-simulation]Click here[/url] to learn more about her HBS Intensive Interview Simulations and reserve your spot.
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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: The CFA Is a Liability [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: The CFA Is a Liability
The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation—a grueling, three-part financial program that hundreds of thousands of people pursue each year—covers many of the subjects included in a “typical” first-year MBA curriculum. A CFA aspirant must study basic economics, accounting, finance, and quantitative analysis, areas that echo aspects of many first-year MBA core curricula. So, could working toward the CFA designation negatively affect an MBA applicant’s candidacy by suggesting that they already have the tools an MBA education would provide and that additional studies would therefore be superfluous? Definitely not!

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

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

Together, the CFA designation and the MBA degree constitute a powerful one-two punch that can be advantageous in landing that coveted post-MBA position.
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Professor Profiles: Saras D. Sarasvathy, University of Virginia Darden [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Saras D. Sarasvathy, University of Virginia Darden School of Business

Many MBA applicants feel that they are purchasing a brand when they choose a business school. However, the educational experience you will have is what is crucial to your future, and no one will affect your education more than your professors. Today, we focus on Saras D. Sarasvathy from the University of Virginia (UVA) Darden School of Business.

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

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

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

For more information about UVA Darden and 16 other top-ranked business schools, check out our free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.

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Stressed Out? Meditate to Lower Your Anxiety and Boost Your GMAT Score [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Stressed Out? Meditate to Lower Your Anxiety and Boost Your GMAT Score

With regard to the GMAT, raw intellectual horsepower helps, but it is not everything. Manhattan Prep’s Stacey Koprince teaches you how to perform at your best on test day by using some common sense.

Are you feeling overwhelmingly stressed out when you sit down to study for the GMAT? Do you find that concentrating on the task at hand is difficult?

Researchers at the University of California at Santa Barbara published the results of a study following 48 undergrads preparing for the GRE. Jan Hoffman details the research in a blog post at the New York Times.

The motivation for the study

“We had already found that mind-wandering underlies performance on a variety of tests, including working memory capacity and intelligence,” said Michael D. Mrazek in the NYT blog post.

We have all had this experience. We are taking a test, the clock is ticking, and we keep finding ourselves thinking about something other than the question we are supposed to be answering at that moment. Maybe we are stressing about our score. Maybe we are thinking about applications. Maybe we are even distracted by work, significant others, family, or other issues that have nothing to do with the test!

How do we stop fixating on other things and concentrate on the task at hand? This study tried to find out.

The study

First, the students were given some “baseline” tests, including one verbal reasoning section from the GRE (yes, the GRE, not the GMAT).

The students were then split into two groups. One group (group M) attended meditation classes four times a week; these students learned lessons on “mindfulness,” which focuses on breathing techniques and helps minimize distracting thoughts.

The other group (group N) attended nutrition classes, designed to teach the students healthy eating habits.

Afterward, the students did another GRE verbal section. The performance of students in group N stayed the same; the nutritional studies did not make a difference.

Group M students, however, improved their GRE scores by an average of 12 percentile points! The students also reported (subjectively) that they were better able to concentrate the second time around; they felt that their minds wandered less than they had before. Here is the best part: the study took just two weeks.

How did that happen?

The students did not become smarter or learn (much) more in that time frame. Rather, the mindfulness techniques helped the students perform closer to their true potential by reducing negative thoughts or habits that were interfering with performance. Think how much better you could do if you could turn off, or at least minimize, all those distracting thoughts that interrupt you when you are trying to concentrate!

How can I use this?

That short, two-week time frame is both good news and bad news. The good news is that you can achieve results without having to study meditation for six months. The bad news is that we do not know whether this provides only a short-term boost—the effects may fade over time.

So let’s speculate that the effects will fade unless you keep up with a regular meditation schedule. Let’s also assume that most people are not going to make meditation a regular part of their daily life; most will try it for a time and then drop it.

Here is what to do, then: Start learning some of these mindfulness techniques about eight weeks before you plan to take the test. Give yourself enough time to learn what to do, and then make these meditation sessions a part of your regular study schedule until you take the test. (If you would like to continue after that, great!)

Here is a resource to get you started: the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA. They offer free meditation lessons and podcasts. They also periodically offer a six-week online course (for a small fee, roughly $200 at the time of this publication); in addition to the prerecorded classes, you will be able to take advantage of live chats with an instructor. If you would rather meet with someone in person, run a Google search to find someone in your area.

Take a deep breath, exhale, and start learning how to minimize distractions and concentrate on the task at hand. Good luck!
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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: Your MBA Program Is the Sole Determina [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: Your MBA Program Is the Sole Determinant of Your Future
Human nature dictates that while engaged in a competitive MBA application process—exaggerated by the pervasiveness of rankings and the chatter surrounding them—some candidates will perceive that they are “ahead” of others because they were accepted at a top school, while others will perceive that they are “behind” their peers because they were accepted at a lower-ranked school. What is often lost amid all this worrying is that you, not your target business school, are the independent variable. You, not your target school, will determine your success.

Many regard such prestigious institutions as Harvard Business School and the Stanford Graduate School of Business as some sort of holy grail and believe, “All you have to do is get in and you are set for life!” This is patently wrong. Although tremendous opportunities exist for those who graduate from Harvard or Stanford, no graduate is simply given a free pass. When MBAs find summer or full-time positions at prestigious firms, they are still competing with others from many schools once they enter the workplace, where (surprise!) their individual performance—not their pedigree—then determines their success.

An mbaMission Senior Consultant recalls her MBA summer internship at J.P. Morgan. The firm had recruited students from 17 top MBA programs, and at the end of the summer, students from Wharton, Michigan Ross, UVA Darden, Texas McCombs, and NYU Stern were offered full-time positions, while students from many other schools were not. This simple anecdote features a very small sampling from one firm and one summer, but it can be an eye-opener for an MBA applicant who assumes that a top ten school is a kind of guaranteed “ticket.”

Further, a myriad of studies suggest that lower-ranked schools offer a greater return on investment than top-ranked schools. In one study sponsored by GMAC (the collective of MBA programs that administers the GMAT), data suggested that lower-ranked schools offer lower costs and higher returns over a ten-year period (185% vs. 118%). We are not saying that you should start applying exclusively to lower-ranked schools or shun Stanford or Harvard—both have excellent programs. Our point is simply that some applicants focus too exclusively on their target schools and neglect to recognize that their unique experiences, skills, and potential are what have made them competitive applicants in the first place. And these qualities will not be nullified during or after business school but will instead continue to drive them in the future.
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Entrepreneurship at Northwestern Kellogg and Chicago Booth [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Entrepreneurship at Northwestern Kellogg and Chicago Booth
How about a quick game of word association? We will start.

“Kellogg.”

Okay, go ahead. “Entrepreneurship,” right? No? Aspiring MBAs may be surprised to learn that Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management offers a number of courses in this discipline and that its Entrepreneurship and Innovation major is among its most popular areas of study—defying the stereotype that Kellogg produces only marketing MBAs.

As part of Envision Kellogg, the school’s strategic plan at the time, the MBA program introduced four new impact initiatives in 2012, one of which is the Kellogg Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative (KIEI). Overseen by the Larry and Carol Levy Institute for Entrepreneurial Practice, the KIEI offers numerous opportunities for students to develop their entrepreneurial acumen and currently features a total of 50 professors in its faculty. In addition to business plan competitions, the Levy Institute manages the Kellogg Entrepreneurial Internship Program Stipend and the Entrepreneur in Residence Program, an experiential learning option through which, for a day, an experienced entrepreneur hosts half-hour one-on-one sessions with students who aspire to careers in this field or are seeking advice on their already active projects.

The school’s Heizer Center for Private Equity and Venture Capital offers the Private Equity Lab, wherein rising second-year students intern with small businesses or private equity firms—receiving a stipend—to facilitate career transitions that would otherwise be challenging for those without experience. MBA student entrepreneurs coming from or planning to enter a family business will likely be interested to learn that the Kellogg John L. Ward Center for Family Enterprises not only publishes research and cases on such businesses but also confidentially consults with family-run companies. Indeed, this is all just the tip of the iceberg.

Let us continue the guessing game: Chicago Booth is just a finance school, right? Not at all. We feel that not enough applicants are aware of Chicago Booth’s robust “hands-on” entrepreneurial offerings, which are available through its Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Where to begin?

Chicago Booth’s practical academic programs extend into the field of entrepreneurship with the school’s “New Venture and Small Enterprise Lab.” Herein, students work within a host firm or take on a dedicated project in a class designed to train those who intend to ultimately join start-ups or provide consulting services to them. Other courses offered by the Polsky Center include “Lab to Launch,” “Building the New Venture,” and “Entrepreneurial Selling.” In addition, the Polsky Center sponsors the annual Edward L. Kaplan New Venture Challenge, a business plan competition that awarded more than $1M—the largest investment pool in the challenge’s history—in funding to its 2021 winners.

Further, entrepreneurially minded Chicago Booth students can apply for funding from the Hyde Park Angels (HPA), a group of former Chicago Booth Executive MBA students who make investments in start-ups—in 2020, for example, the group invested nearly $14M. Although the HPA is an arms-length organization and does not source investments exclusively from Chicago Booth, it maintains a connection to the Polsky Center, which supports the HPA’s mission. So, students hoping to get in front of the HPA’s investment committee will have a built-in networking advantage. Also, the HPA offers students the opportunity to apply for the Hyde Park Angels Venture Capital Award, which is only available to Chicago Booth students.

Believe it or not, we are just scratching the surface here. Again, Chicago Booth is most definitely not “just a finance school.”

For more information on Northwestern Kellogg, Chicago Booth, and other leading MBA programs, check out our free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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What to Expect During a Free Consultation with an MBA Admissions Consu [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: What to Expect During a Free Consultation with an MBA Admissions Consulting Firm

Before you commit to buying any product or service, you should always “test drive” it first. A commitment-free “practice run” will inform your decision and help you feel confident that you are making a worthwhile and rewarding investment. (Frankly, this is exactly why test drives, real estate tours, and trial subscriptions exist!)

We at mbaMission believe this kind of pre-purchase test is just as important when you are looking for the right MBA admissions consulting firm to help you with your business school applications.

This is why we offer a free 30-minute consultation for all business school candidates so they can preview the process of working with a consultant, better envision what the relationship might look like, and understand what to expect on a day-to-day basis.

Each year, our team of expert admissions advisors connects with literally thousands of aspiring MBAs who have their sights set on being accepted to a top U.S. or international business school. Via our free 30-minute consultation, we have counseled these applicants on such topics as what their next steps should be, what challenges they might need to overcome, and what the overall process tends to look like.

If you are considering booking a free consultation with mbaMission, read on to learn more about what you can expect from the meeting and how to ensure you are prepared to get the most from the session before speaking with an expert.

What You Can Expect with Your Free 30-Minute Consultation with mbaMission
  • First, we ask you to fill out our Free Consultation request form and provide information about yourself and your candidacy, such as your background, work history, extracurricular activities, test scores, and business school aspirations. This input is crucial to the productivity of your free consultation because prior to your scheduled call, the admissions advisor you will speak with will thoroughly review it and come prepared with notes and talking points based on their impression of you as a business school applicant.
  • Once you book your virtual meeting, you will receive a confirmation email with the toll-free number or Zoom/Skype link to use for your one-on-one with your chosen advisor.
  • Your consultant will begin your free consultation session with a comprehensive profile assessment that covers your strengths and weaknesses as an applicant, with respect to your background, resume, and other information. The consultant might point out your “pain points”—elements of your profile that might inhibit your ability to gain admission—or areas where you have excelled in your career or leadership trajectory. They might give suggestions on your timeline (Is applying in Round 1 feasible? Should you wait until next year?) or on ways to strengthen your candidacy before you submit an application (Supplemental coursework? A certification? Community service?). No matter what their feedback is, your mbaMission consultant will be candid and professional, offering advice based on their years (or in some cases, decades) of experience helping thousands of people gain admission to the world’s most competitive MBA programs.
  • Your mbaMission consultant will then open the floor to your questions. Am I a competent applicant for my target schools? What do I need to do to improve my profile? What GMAT/GRE score do I need in order to get in? How can I stand out? All these questions and more are fair game. We encourage you to make the most of your consultation time by asking all your most pressing profile- and application-related questions.
What You Should Not Expect from Your Free 30-Minute Consultation with mbaMission
As we have explained thus far, your expert advisor will be candid in answering your MBA candidacy and application questions and honest in their assessment of your profile, resume, and goals. However, there are some things your mbaMission advisor will not do as part of your free consultation, including the following:

  • Give you false hope. We will never advise you to apply to a program for which we do not genuinely feel you are a competitive candidate. Our goal for your free consultation is to give you the most candid and truthful advice possible for your specific circumstances, so you are better informed in taking your next steps, no matter what those might be.
  • Write your applications for you. Integrity and honesty are our grounding principles at mbaMission, which means we will never write your (or anyone else’s) business school applications under any circumstances. Business schools want to get to know the real you from your submissions, so allowing someone other than you to craft your application would be doing yourself a grave disservice! Your mbaMission consultant is your trusted advisor and coach—not your ghostwriter.
  • Be punitive. Just as we will never give you false hope, we will never judge the circumstances of your application materials or their condition. Over the years, we have had candidates at every stage of the application process come to us for advice—from applicants who are just starting out, with few ideas and little written work to share, to those nearing their deadline with impressive and fully polished narratives. In each case, we have strived to offer sound guidance to enhance their overall applications in ways that best fit their unique circumstances.
  • Provide written edits on your essays or other application components. Performing written edits on materials such as personal essays, resumes, and short answers is simply beyond the scope of a free 30-minute consultation. However, we do offer this kind of help in our Complete Start-to-Finish Package and our A la Carte Hourly Services, if you decide to continue working with our firm.
  • Push our services. We encourage you to ask us whatever you like about our firm, team members, and services—and we are pleased to answer!—but we will not do so on your Your free consultation with mbaMission is about you and your business school aspirations, not us. We will be happy to respond to any of your firm-/process-/payment-related queries at your convenience after your consultation, so you do not have to take valuable time away from discussing your MBA candidacy and getting your questions answered!
What to Expect after Your Free 30-Minute Consultation with mbaMission
After your meeting with an mbaMission consultant, you will receive an email outlining and summarizing the discussion, along with action items and tips for moving forward.

Think of your mbaMission consultant as your guide; from that point forward, they will serve as your point of contact and will keep the line of communication open as you move toward constructing your application. If/when you decide to hire an mbaMission consultant, you are in no way required to work exclusively with the one who did your free consultation. Instead, they will be happy to offer you suggestions on your timeline, what your collaboration will look like, and which member of our team might be a strong fit to work one-on-one with (based on your profile, target schools, goals, or even your personal preferences, such as application timing, time zone, or other detail). We will work to ensure that you are matched with the best possible advisor for you.

Sounds Great! So How Do I Sign Up for a Free 30-Minute Consultation?
Simply fill out this free consultation request form on our website. We will get back to you within  one business day to schedule your call.

What Your Free Consultation Should Not Be
If you are shopping around for an MBA admissions consultant, you have likely connected with other firms besides mbaMission thus far and taken advantage of (or are thinking about) their free consultation offerings.

We believe that everyone considering this important investment in themselves—not just going to business school but also hiring an admissions consultant for support—should be well informed before making a final decision, so we want to alert you to some things to look out for during all your consultations. These tactics will ultimately not be helpful to you during your application journey.

  • The gimmick – “You have a 450 GMAT and no managerial experience to speak of, but I can get you into Harvard Business School! You just have to buy a premium package, and I’ll do the rest.” This one is self-explanatory. Avoid anyone who claims to have the “special sauce” or “magic bullet” that will guarantee admission!
  • The “limited-time discount” This approach goes hand-in-hand with “the gimmick.” The firm promises a big reward for a relatively smaller monetary commitment—but only if you sign on right away. In our opinion, MBA admissions consulting is the wrong place to look for a deal because comparisons should be based on the quality of the service provided, not on price. When you pay less for assistance that will be crucial to your educational and professional development, you have to ask yourself what shortcuts and compromises in quality are making those savings possible. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for.
  • The “success rate” pusher – Click here for our thoughts on the subject of success rates and why you should be wary of anyone who touts them. Rather than judging a firm on its self-proclaimed stats, we suggest that you take some time to research what its past clients have to say about working with the firm in their reviews.
  • The evasive or opaque question dodger –  Be wary of consultants who find a way to avoid directly answering your questions or are unable to back up their claims with evidence from their testimonials, reviews, or website offerings. The primary purpose of mbaMission’s free 30-minute consultation is to provide you with clear, candid advice you can use in navigating your application journey—not to muddy the water with confusion or doubt!
  • The car salesman – In this approach, the consultant provides very little advice on applying to business school and instead a lot of reasons the candidate should work with their firm. Some MBA consultants conduct the free consultation much like a car salesman—offering fast talk about why their model is the best and brightest—without really taking the time to address you, the applicant, at all. Remember, your free consultation should be your time, and you should be in control of what is discussed, whether that is school selection, reapplication strategies, or something else entirely. Before your meeting, take time to think about what you want to get out of the conversation, and be ready to ask your most pressing questions. If they go unanswered, that is probably a bad sign!
We hope you have found this blog post helpful in terms of understanding what to expect and look for in a complimentary consultation with an MBA admissions consultant.

If you are ready to sign up for a free 30-minute consultation with mbaMission, fill out this form or simply feel free to [email=%20info@mbamission.com]contact us[/email] at any time. We look forward to hearing from you!
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Common Worries About the HBS Admissions Interview [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Common Worries About the HBS Admissions Interview
[url=https://i0.wp.com/www.mbamission.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/devi-vallabhaneni.jpg?ssl=1][img]https://i0.wp.com/www.mbamission.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/devi-vallabhaneni.jpg?resize=225%2C300&ssl=1[/img][/url]
Devi Vallabhaneni, mbaMission’s HBS Interviewer in Residence

Devi Vallabhaneni, an HBS graduate and former HBS MBA interviewer, is mbaMission’s HBS Interviewer in Residence, conducting [b][url=https://shop.mbamission.com/collections/services/products/hbs-in-person-intensive-interview-simulation]HBS Intensive Interview Simulations[/url][/b].

Being invited to interview with Harvard Business School (HBS) is unquestionably exciting and a positive step in your admissions journey, but it can also trigger a lot of concerns and questions. Here, I draw on my six years as an HBS interviewer to address some of the most common worries applicants have about the HBS admissions interview, in hopes of easing any apprehension you may be feeling about your upcoming meeting.

[b]“I don’t know what to expect.”[/b]
The HBS interview is unlike any other business school interview or even a job interview. It is designed to meet the interviewee where they are, meaning that it conforms to the applicant’s style rather than following a preconceived format set by the school. It is dynamic, extremely personal, and tailored to the specific individual. The interviewer will read your entire application before your interview and will base their questions on that information. As a result, no two interviews are the same because no two applicants are the same. Do not let what you read online or have heard about someone else’s interview worry you. Those stories most likely do not apply to you.

[b]“I have limited presentation or public-speaking experience.”[/b]
The HBS interview is not a speech or a typical work presentation but more like a conversation between two business professionals. You do not need to prepare anything formal in advance, and having extensive presentation experience is certainly not required to have a successful interview. What is imperative is knowing yourself and your story extremely well. The interviewer will be focused on you as an individual, your potential contributions as an MBA student, and your career goals. Your personal communication style is less important.

[b]“I work in a very technical and complex field.”[/b]
HBS has interviewed candidates from all backgrounds, including science, technology, engineering, and medicine. Your interviewer’s goal is not to understand the technical details of your job but rather how you work and communicate, who you are as a person, how you think about your career, and what your values are. Think of your HBS interview as similar to a discussion you might have about your job with your company’s CEO, which would be a higher-level conversation, beyond the nuts and bolts.

[b]“I have a nontraditional background.”[/b]
This does not put you at a disadvantage. Whether you work at a start-up of just three people or with your parents and siblings in a family business, your HBS interview will unfold the same way it would for someone who works at IBM, Goldman Sachs, Google, or McKinsey & Company. You should feel confident in communicating your unique professional challenges and accomplishments. Your preparation for your HBS interview should be no different from that of someone who works at a larger or more conventional company.

[b]“I’m an international applicant.”[/b]
HBS is a global community and understands that some candidates might feel less comfortable with their ability to speak English. If you feel your English could use some polishing, that is a personal decision, and you should do what will make you most comfortable for your interview. You will not be penalized for verbal errors or accents because of the high-stress nature of the interview. Practice and prepare the same way you would for an important business meeting in English.

[b]“I work in consulting [or banking] and don’t know how to stand out.”[/b]
Your HBS interview is not about standing out per se. It is about viewing your background in the context of what you could contribute to the HBS community. This could include a particular high-impact project, a leadership position outside of work, or a post-MBA career goal that builds on your past professional experience. If you look at yourself as strictly “a consultant applicant” or “a banking applicant,” you will likely be limiting yourself in your self-perception. Instead, take your entire life story and career path into consideration when determining how to communicate who you are.

The bottom line is that everyone feels as though they have some kind of disadvantage in the interview process. This is the human condition. Preparation, self-reflection, and, most importantly, the ability to communicate clearly and succinctly are all key in mastering your HBS interview.

The admissions interview is an art, not a science—one with no hard and fast rules. I wish such rules did exist so that applicants would not worry so much. Imagine the application process as a relay race: your interviewer will pick up where your application left off and will strive to continue learning about you as a candidate. The interview is the next step after your written application and builds on what you have already shared with the HBS Admissions Board.

Practicing speaking about yourself and your accomplishments is important. Find a friend or family member to ask you questions so that you become more comfortable responding to personal queries and get better at delivering your most compelling information easily. Just as you did not write your final, polished application in a single sitting and draft, you will likely need to complete multiple “verbal drafts” before you feel ready for your HBS interview, and this—like the other issues I have covered here—is nothing to worry about.

I can assure you that your HBS interview is intended to help the school get to know you as a person, not just an applicant. You are more than the contents of your file, your work experience, and your primary accomplishments. HBS strives to admit each person as the individual they are, so let your genuine personality shine through in the most authentic way possible.

To learn more about mbaMission’s interview prep options for Harvard Business School applicants, [url=https://www.mbamission.com/blog/2020/09/30/hbs-interview-invitations-will-go-out-on-october-6-how-to-prepare/][b]click here[/b][/url]. If you believe you can benefit from one of our interview planning services—or simply would like some more information on the process—feel free to [b][url=https://www.mbamission.com/about/?display=contact]contact us[/url][/b] anytime!
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Wharton Team-Based Discussion: What to Expect and How to Prepare [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Wharton Team-Based Discussion: What to Expect and How to Prepare
[url=https://i0.wp.com/www.mbamission.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/wharton.jpg?ssl=1][img]https://i0.wp.com/www.mbamission.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/wharton.jpg?resize=300%2C194&ssl=1[/img][/url]
The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania [b][url=https://mba.wharton.upenn.edu/application-timeline-deadlines/]announced[/url][/b] that Round 2 interview invitations will go out on Monday, February 14, 2022,  and once again, the school is using its virtual team-based discussion format rather than a traditional admissions interview to evaluate its candidates.

Below, we address some of the most common questions from Wharton Team-Based Discussion applicants regarding what to expect and how to prepare for the one-of-a-kind interview.

[b]What is the Wharton Team-Based Discussion? [/b]
Unlike the traditional business school interview, The Wharton School groups 4-6 applicants together for a 35-minute exercise within a dynamic team setting. Upon being invited to interview, each candidate will receive the interview prompt from the current admissions year and will be instructed to participate and interact with their fellow group members. As Wharton notes on their [b][url=https://mba.wharton.upenn.edu/interview-process/]website[/url][/b], all groups are assigned randomly, so interview candidates will not know who they are meeting with—and what other discussion points will be addressed—prior to the interview session.  Following the group interview, each candidate will meet one-on-one with a Wharton admissions committee member to discuss their personal interest in attending the business school.

[b]What’s the best way to prepare for my [/b][b]Wharton Team-Based Discussion?[/b]
[url=https://i0.wp.com/www.mbamission.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Wharton-Interview-Guide.png?ssl=1][img]https://i0.wp.com/www.mbamission.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Wharton-Interview-Guide.png?resize=250%2C295&ssl=1[/img][/url]
mbaMission’s Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania Interview Guide

Understandably, Wharton applicants get anxious about this atypical interview because the approach creates a very different dynamic from what one usually encounters in a one-on-one meeting—and with other applicants also in the virtual meeting room, one cannot help but feel less in control of the content and direction of the conversation. Yet despite the uncertainty, here are a few things that interviewees can expect:

[list]
You will need to arrive at the interview with an idea—a response to a challenge that will be presented in your interview invitation.[/*]
Having the best idea is much less important than how you interact with others in the group and communicate your thoughts. So while you should prepare an idea ahead of time, that is only part of what you will be evaluated on.[/*]
Your peers will have prepared their ideas as well. Chances are that ideas will be raised that you know little or nothing about. Do not worry! The admissions committee members are not measuring your topical expertise. Instead, they want to see how you add to the collective output of the team.[/*]
During your short one-on-one session with someone representing Wharton’s admissions team, you will likely be asked to reflect on how the team-based discussion went for you; this will require self-awareness on your part.[/*]
Download mbaMission’s free [b][url=https://shop.mbamission.com/products/the-wharton-school-of-the-university-of-pennsylvania-interview-guide]Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania Interview Guide[/url][/b] for an in-depth look into the interview process.The complimentary guide provides:[/*]
[/list]
[list]
[*]
[list]
Insight into what the school is evaluating and hoping to gain from the interview[/*]
An explanation of the school’s approach to interviewing (self-scheduled or invite only, blind versus comprehensive, etc.)[/*]
Past applicants’ firsthand accounts of their interview experiences and multiple sample interview question sequences[/*]
Tips on preparing for and responding to questions which most typically vex applicants[/*]
Help in formulating compelling questions of your own[/*]
[/list]
[/*]
[/list]

[b]Can I book a practice Wharton Team-Based Discussion session?[/b]

Yes!

To give candidates the opportunity to undergo a realistic test run before experiencing the actual event, we created our [b][url=https://shop.mbamission.com/products/wharton-team-based-discussion-simulation]Wharton Team-Based Discussion Simulation[/url][/b]. Via this simulation, applicants participate anonymously with three to five other MBA candidates in an online conversation, which is moderated by two of our experienced Senior Consultants familiar with Wharton’s format and approach. All participants then receive feedback on their performance, with special focus on their interpersonal skills and communication abilities. The simulation builds confidence by highlighting your role in a team, examining how you communicate your ideas to—and within—a group of (equally talented) peers and discovering how you react when you are thrown “into the deep end” and have to swim. Our Wharton Team-Based Discussion Simulation allows you to test the experience so you are ready for the real thing.

[b]The 2022 Wharton Team-Based Discussion Simulation Round 2 schedule is as follows:[/b]
[list]
GROUP A: Wednesday, February 16 at 4:30 pm ET [/*]
GROUP B: Friday, February 18 at 3:00 pm ET[/*]
GROUP C: Saturday, February 19 at 12:00 pm ET [/*]
GROUP D: Sunday, February 20 at 6:00 pm ET [/*]
GROUP E: Monday, February 21 at 12:00 pm ET [/*]
GROUP F: Monday, February 21 at 3:00 pm ET [/*]
GROUP G: Friday, February 25 at 3:00 p.m. ET [/*]
GROUP H: Saturday, February 26 at 12:00 p.m. ET [/*]
GROUP I: Saturday, February 26 at 3:00 p.m. ET [/*]
GROUP J: Sunday, February 27 at 3:00 pm ET [/*]
GROUP K: Sunday, February 27 at 6:00 pm ET [/*]
GROUP L: Monday, February 28 at 9:00 p.m. ET [/*]
GROUP M: Wednesday, March 2 at 6:00 pm ET [/*]
GROUP N: Wednesday, March 2 at 9:00 pm ET  [/*]
GROUP O: Thursday, March 3 at 9:00 pm ET

[/*]
[/list]
To learn more or sign up for a session, visit our [b][url=https://shop.mbamission.com/products/wharton-team-based-discussion-simulation]Wharton Team-Based Discussion Simulation page[/url][/b].

Once you have been invited to interview, we highly encourage you to reserve your spot by purchasing a Simulation session as soon as possible. Space is extremely limited for these mock interviews, and availability is on a first-come-first-served basis.

If you have any questions regarding availability for your Wharton interview prep session, please [b][email=info@mbamission.com]contact us[/email][/b] anytime.
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Business School Together: Applying to MBA Programs as a Couple [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Business School Together: Applying to MBA Programs as a Couple
If you and your significant other have both decided that an MBA degree is the ideal next step in your careers, you might find yourself facing the business school application process together. Applying to business school as a couple can be a challenging yet rewarding shared experience, and you might be wondering what specific considerations you should keep in mind.

Identify Programs That Are a Good Fit for Both of You
Although partners sometimes have similar career interests, in most cases, each partner has their own career trajectory and aspirations. Seek to identify MBA programs that will be a good fit for both of you in terms of specialization, career resources, student culture, and geographical preferences. When possible, visit schools together to get a realistic feel for what the experience will be like. In the long run, you will both be happier with the overall experience if selecting our target schools was a joint effort.

Apply to the Same Programs or to Different Programs in the Same City
Ideally, you will be able to identify programs that both of you are interested in and then work toward the same application deadlines for those programs. Most couples we work with at mbaMission recommend aiming to attend the same school so that during your hectic business school experience, your time is spent primarily together, rather than divided between two business school communities. Attending an MBA program can be an all-encompassing life experience and even has the potential to bring a couple closer as they study, work on projects, socialize, and travel together throughout the program.

Another option is to look at different programs that are in the same city or geographic region. This can be an effective strategy if one person in the couple is a less competitive candidate than the other or if another school in a nearby location is a better fit for their career interests. For example, think Columbia Business School and NYU Stern in New York City; Chicago Booth and Northwestern Kellogg in the Chicago area; Stanford GSB and Berkeley Haas in the Bay Area; and Harvard Business School, MIT Sloan, Boston College Carroll, and Boston University Questrom in the Boston area. We have even worked with a client who attended Wharton in Philadelphia while their partner studied at a New York City school a train ride away.

Let the Admissions Committee Know You Are Applying as a Couple
Although some applicants are hesitant to share that they are applying as a couple, we recommend disclosing this information to the admissions committee. A school will not admit an unqualified applicant simply because they are in a relationship with a stronger applicant, but in some cases, a school is more likely to admit a borderline applicant if they apply with a partner who is a stronger applicant. Each candidate is always evaluated individually, but the admissions committee does understand that the stronger applicant will be more likely to actually attend the program if their partner is also admitted and can attend with them (accepting both candidates can therefore have a positive impact on the program’s yield, or the percentage of people who actually attend out of those admitted).

Applying with his wife likely improved our client Carl’s* chance of being admitted to several top MBA programs. Carl’s wife, Lisa, had a GMAT score of 770 and an impressive career in health care consulting, while Carl had an average GMAT score and a less differentiated career in finance. Carl had initially applied by himself and been rejected at UPenn Wharton and waitlisted at Northwestern Kellogg; the following year, Carl (who by then had a slightly higher GMAT score than he had the year before) and Lisa applied to several programs as a couple, and both wound up being accepted at UPenn Wharton, Northwestern Kellogg, UVA Darden, and Berkeley Haas. They decided to attend Northwestern Kellogg together.

Note that some admissions officers and consultants believe that applying with a partner who is a stronger candidate is more likely to improve an applicant’s chance of admission if the couple is married or in a long-term relationship as opposed to a newer one.

So, how and where should you disclose the fact that you are a couple? Some schools actually have a short question about this on their application form. If not, a short and succinct paragraph in the optional/supplemental essay section is appropriate.

Be Sure Each of You Demonstrates a Connection with the School
For any applicant to a top MBA program, showing a connection to the school is recommended. However, for applicants applying as part of a couple, this becomes even more important. You do not want an admissions officer to read your application and think you might just be going through the motions and applying to their program only because your partner is—or worse, to feel that you are not committed to the school and therefore that you might be more likely to follow your partner elsewhere. So be sure that both of you clearly indicate your interest in the program by demonstrating your detailed knowledge of and enthusiasm for it in your essays and interviews, connecting with students and alumni, and attending events.

Try to share that you are applying as a couple early in the process. For example, if you attend an MBA fair or informational event before applying and have the chance to chat with an admissions representative about it, they might remember you and your partner if you make a strong first impression (this is even more likely at programs with smaller numbers of applicants in a given year).

Set Expectations and Communicate During the Application Process
As you start this process as a couple, take some time to discuss and lay out expectations for how you will handle everything from school research and selection to working on application components. For example, discuss whether you will read one another’s essays. If you do share ideas and advice with one another, keep in mind that essays and applications are quite personal and subjective—just because your partner might have approached a topic in a different way does not mean your way is any less valid.

Many couples find having the support of an MBA admissions consultant to be helpful. A consultant acts as a partner and coach in the process who can provide external support, editing, and guidance to both members of the couple.

Alternative Approach: Apply on Different Timelines
Some couples decide to stagger their MBA experiences at the same program, with one partner starting the program and the other partner working in the same city and then applying to the same program one or two years later. If you find yourself in this situation, or if one partner is not admitted this year and decides to reapply while their partner is in their second year, be sure the partner who is planning on reapplying attends plenty of events with the partner who is attending and gets to know the school, students, and staff. That effort, combined with the fact that the school would feel optimistic about their likelihood to attend, will give the reapplicant a much better chance of being admitted the second time around. In recent years, we at mbaMission have seen multiple examples of a partner of a student gaining admission to the same program after getting to know it well.

Conclusion
Sharing the MBA experience with your partner can be very rewarding, and schools appreciate knowing you are applying as a couple. As Kate Kingen and Patrick Garrison, who wrote about their time at Harvard Business School (HBS) as a couple, said, “Our time at HBS has brought us closer together. . . . Having the opportunity to learn, grow, travel and meet a whole new set of people has been a wonderful new chapter in our relationship together.”

To discuss your MBA application, reach out to mbaMission for a free consultation.

*Note that names have been changed for privacy.
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Watch Our Mock Harvard Business School Interview with a Former HBS Int [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Watch Our Mock Harvard Business School Interview with a Former HBS Interviewer
[img]https://i0.wp.com/www.mbamission.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/HBS-campus.jpg?resize=300%2C169&ssl=1[/img]
Harvard Business School

If you are one of the thousands of applicants whose sights are set on attending Harvard Business School (HBS), odds are you have wondered if you will receive a coveted invitation to interview with the school’s admissions committee. Whether you have already applied and are preparing for your admissions interview or you are researching the process in anticipation of applying, you are likely asking yourself an important question:

[b]What can I expect during a Harvard Business School interview? [/b]
With its unique and intensive interview approach, HBS has continuously vexed MBA applicants for years. To help, we at mbaMission recently teamed up with Poets&Quants to create a new resource for HBS applicants that presents exactly the types of questions one might expect to be asked during a typical HBS admissions interview—and the best way to answer them.

Poets&Quants Founder John A. Byrne sat down with mbaMission’s Managing Director and HBS Interviewer in Residence [b][url=https://www.mbamission.com/who-we-are/team/devi-vallabhaneni/]Devi Vallabhaneni[/url][/b] for a one-of-a-kind mock HBS interview, in which Devi interviewed John just as she has hundreds of real HBS applicants.

As an HBS graduate, a former HBS alumni interviewer, and a former HBS Admissions Board member, Devi has interviewed thousands of HBS candidates in Boston, London, and Paris. Over her more than 20 years working in MBA admissions and readiness, she has helped candidates across all industries, geographies, and backgrounds showcase their best attributes via the interview process—and now she is using her unique experience to better inform and benefit the pool of today’s HBS applicants.

During the 30-minute mock interview and subsequent debrief, John and Devi illuminated common HBS interview concerns including the following:

[list]
What is stressful about the HBS interview?[/*]
What are the myths surrounding preparation for the HBS interview as well as the interview itself?[/*]
How can someone prepare? Isn’t it hard to know what is covered?[/*]
What does it mean to be “authentic” in the interview?[/*]
Does your interview have to be perfect for you to be accepted? What if you feel like you messed up an answer?[/*]
What is HBS really looking for in the interview? Can it make or break someone’s candidacy?[/*]
[/list]
Although no two HBS interviews are the same, the intention of the mock interview video session was to present some types of thought-provoking questions and answers that HBS intends to cover during an interview.

We encourage you to watch the full video below or via our [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-mcuo4uC7g&feature=youtu.be][b]YouTube channel[/b][/url].



If you believe you could benefit from a prep session with Devi, please [b][email=info@mbamission.com]reach out to us[/email][/b] or book your spot for one of our [b][url=https://shop.mbamission.com/collections/services/products/hbs-in-person-intensive-interview-simulation]HBS Intensive Interview Simulations exclusively for HBS applicants[/url][/b].

Via the intensive interview simulation, applicants receive:

[list]
[b]Two or more 30-minute interview experiences customized to your application:[/b] Before your first session, Devi will spend several hours reviewing your written HBS application, following the same process she used when conducting candidate interviews for HBS. This allows her to target her HBS interview questions based on what she discovers about you from your application.[/*]
[b]Personalized feedback:[/b] After each interview session, Devi will provide you with targeted feedback, talking you through her impressions and offering strategic advice for improving your HBS interview skills.[/*]
[b]A reflection period:[/b] You will have time between your interview sessions with Devi to internalize the feedback and adjust accordingly before trying again.[/*]
[b]Post-Interview Reflection support:[/b] After their interviews, intensive-simulation clients who are not already working with an mbaMission Consultant can have Devi provide targeted support on their HBS Post-Interview Reflection.[/*]
[/list]
If you have questions about other ways in which mbaMission might be able to assist with your MBA interview readiness, please [b][email=info@mbamission.com]contact us[/email][/b] anytime.
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Professor Profiles: John Morgan, University of California, Berkeley, H [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: John Morgan, University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business


Many MBA applicants feel that they are purchasing a brand when they choose a business school. However, the educational experience you will have is what is crucial to your future, and no one will affect your education more than your professors. Today, we focus on John Morgan from the University of California (UC), Berkeley, Haas School of Business.

John Morgan has been teaching at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business since 2002. He won the Earl F. Cheit Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2006 and was the first recipient of the Oliver E. Williamson Award in 2014. In an admissions podcast (“Game Theory and Strategy”), Morgan discussed how he has grown his “Game Theory” course, which studies how nations and industries interact strategically with each other. Morgan, who has served as the Oliver E. and Dolores W. Williamson Chair of the Economics of Organizations since 2006, recommends that all Haas MBA students take the course, which is designed to cover all functions and industries, in their last semester at the school so that they apply the “mind-set to think strategically” to what they have learned in the program. Morgan expects the teams in his class to be ready to defend their strategies, but plenty of laughter is part of the course as well—as it reportedly is in all Morgan’s courses. A graduate previously commented via Twitter: “Loving John Morgan’s Disruptive Technologies seminar. Great comedic timing.”

For more information about UC Berkeley Haas and 16 other top-ranked business schools, check out our free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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The MBA Admissions Deadline Is Approaching, and I Do Not Have My GMAT [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: The MBA Admissions Deadline Is Approaching, and I Do Not Have My GMAT Score!
With regard to the GMAT, raw intellectual horsepower helps, but it is not everything. Manhattan Prep’s Stacey Koprince teaches you how to perform at your best on test day by using some common sense.

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

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

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

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

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

You may have to make a tough choice between going for your goal score while postponing your application and lowering your goal score while sticking to your application time frame. Either way, take advantage of the expert advice out there to help you with this decision.
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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Must Have Botched the Interview [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Must Have Botched the Interview
Maybe you are one of the unlucky applicants on the outside looking in this year, shaking your head and struggling to understand why you were not accepted to your target MBA program. As you look back and assess where things might have gone wrong, you could end up focusing unduly on your MBA interviews. After all, you were invited to interview but were rejected thereafter, so there must be a cause-and-effect relationship, right? Your rejection must mean that everything was at stake during those 30 to 60 minutes and that your interviewer just did not feel that you are of the caliber preferred by your target school, right? Not at all.

Bruce DelMonico, the Yale School of Management (SOM) assistant dean for admissions, explained to mbaMission that the school uses a “consensus decision-making model [in which] we all need to agree on an outcome for an applicant [to be accepted].” Each file is read multiple times. We can safely conclude that with the need for a consensus, the committee is not waiting on the interview as the determinant. Admissions officers do not make any post-interview snap judgments but rather dedicate serious thought and reflection to their decision making.

Although we have discussed this topic before, we should repeat that no simple formula exists for MBA admissions and that the evaluation process is thorough and not instinctive or reactive. Yes, a disastrous interview can certainly hurt you—but if you felt positively about your experience, you should not worry that you botched it and that this was the sole deciding factor for the admissions committee.

mbaMission offers even more interview advice in our free Interview Guides, which are available for 17 top-ranked business schools.
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Pluralize Nouns and Vary Sentence Length in Your MBA Application Essay [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Pluralize Nouns and Vary Sentence Length in Your MBA Application Essays
One way to conserve words in your MBA application essays and short-answer responses is by pluralizing nouns whenever possible. Singular words often require an article such as “a,” “an,” or “the.” These words can add unnecessarily to your word count, thereby cluttering your page without contributing to your argument or style. Consider the following example:

“A manager with an MBA can ascend the corporate ladder faster than a manager who lacks an MBA.” (18 words)

Now consider this version, in which many of the singular nouns have been pluralized:

“Managers with MBAs can ascend the corporate ladder faster than managers without MBAs.” (13 words)

As you can see, both sentences present the same idea, but one sentence is five words shorter than the other. Given that essays can include dozens or even hundreds of sentences, pluralizing wherever possible is helpful in meeting word count requirements and decluttering the text.

Although decluttering your essays is important, ensure that all of your sentences are not the same length. Many business school applicants use medium-length sentences (like this one) in their essays. Few use short sentences (like this one). Likewise, few use long sentences in their essays, even though long sentences (like this one) can often play a useful role in an essay’s structure and story.

Confused? Consider the following example:

“At XYZ Inc., I was the manager in charge of leading a team of 12 staff members. Included in my team were four engineers, four marketing professionals, and four market analysts. Our goal was to develop a new thingamajig within six months. We worked really hard over the six months and succeeded. The new thingamajig is now on the market and is selling well. As a result of my efforts, I was promoted to vice president.”

All these sentences have approximately the same number of words and the same rhythm/cadence, making the paragraph fairly boring to read. Nothing changes—the structure just repeats itself over and over again, with one medium-length sentence following another medium-length sentence.

Now consider this example:*

“At XYZ Inc., I was the manager in charge of leading a thingamajig development team of 12 staff members, four of whom were engineers, four were marketing professionals, and four were market analysts. We had just six months to launch our new product. The team worked really hard and succeeded, and the new thingamajig is now on the market, where it is selling well. As a result of my efforts, I was promoted to vice president.”

The sentences in this paragraph are varied—the first is quite long, the second is very short, the third is medium-long, and the fourth is medium-short. Sentence variety makes for a much more interesting read, and one very short sentence in the middle of some longer ones can provide precisely the kind of contrast and drama that MBA application essays so often need.

*Please note that this is a simplified example for illustration purposes. If this were an actual essay, we would encourage the applicant to offer greater insight into their experience launching the product.
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