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mbaMission Admissions Consultant
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Three Misconceptions about the Chicago Booth School of Business [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Three Misconceptions about the Chicago Booth School of Business
[url=https://i0.wp.com/www.mbamission.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Booth.jpg?ssl=1][img]https://i0.wp.com/www.mbamission.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Booth.jpg?resize=300%2C156&ssl=1[/img][/url]
The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business is one of the top MBA programs in the world, boasting several Nobel laureates and holding a spot among the elite “M7” programs. Yet despite the school’s strong reputation, many applicants are often surprised when they investigate its MBA program. Here are three common misconceptions about Chicago Booth…

[b]1. It is not just a finance school. [/b]
Chicago Booth has become synonymous with finance. Its reputation in this space is certainly well deserved; Booth’s finance faculty members, which include Nobel winner Eugene Fama and Fischer Black Prize winner Raghuram Rajan, have made significant contributions to the field of finance. Booth itself even [b][url=https://www.chicagobooth.edu/mba/academics/curriculum/concentrations/finance]claims on its site[/url][/b], “There is no better business school in the world to study finance than Booth.” But does that mean Booth should be known only for finance? We always recommend that applicants investigate for themselves the career outcomes and resources available. Looking at Booth’s employment report, you will find that 35.1% of its most recent class (Class of 2022) entered the financial services industry. That means approximately 65% of the class entered positions in industries such as consulting, technology, health care, consumer products, and real estate. In fact, consulting is so popular that 35.5% of the Class of 2022 (more than 190 Booth graduates) accepted consulting jobs, making the school one of the top programs for consulting placements.

Another popular and sometimes overlooked focus at Booth is entrepreneurship. Over 70% of Booth students choose a concentration in entrepreneurship, which is not surprising, given the school’s experiential lab courses and resources from the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The Startup Summer program offers incoming students the chance to work for a Booth-led start-up the summer before they start their MBA courses. And the school’s popular New Venture Challenge is a top start-up accelerator, helping launch more than 370 start-up companies over the past two decades.

[b]What is the takeaway here?[/b] Booth should undoubtedly be on your list if you are interested in finance, but if you are not, definitely do not count Booth out. It is more than just a finance school.

[b]2. Flexibility means freedom to explore. [/b]
Booth has also become known as the most flexible business school, with only one required course that everyone takes (called LEAD). Indeed, Booth gives its students more freedom than other programs in that students are not required to pick a concentration (though most do), and they can choose their courses and electives (and professors) right away in the first quarter. You can design your course load to match your recruiting timeline. And you can even take up to six courses outside Booth at other University of Chicago schools.

Most find this flexibility empowering as they challenge themselves beyond classes in subjects they already know well or mix and match courses tailored to their needs as career changers. But many applicants do not realize that this reputation for flexibility can be misleading. Booth’s curriculum has more structure than many expect. For example, in the full-time MBA program, students must choose one course from three foundation areas—Financial Accounting, Microeconomics, and Statistics—and at least one course from seven of eight categories, which include Marketing, Decisions, Society, and Strategy. But what is different about Booth is that within these areas, students can opt for the basic course, such as “Business Statistics,” or a more challenging one to satisfy their foundational requirements, such as “Machine Learning” or “Data Mining.” Rest assured that Booth has track suggestions, career advising resources, and second-year students to guide you.

Perhaps where most applicants misjudge Booth is thinking that flexibility applies only to course selection, when in fact, it extends to the entire Booth experience: which student clubs you join, the teams you form, where you live, and so on. The school does not assign you to a learning team to collaborate with a preselected group of fellow students, you do not take multiple classes with the same cohort of students, and you are not required to live on campus. Booth truly supports the freedom of each individual student to make their own choices and believes that this freedom best prepares students to navigate future ambiguity and complexity.

[b]What is the takeaway here?[/b] Flexibility is core to Booth, but this does not mean you will miss out on opportunities or have zero guidance or support. Think of flexibility as more opportunity to explore.

[b]3. The community is cohesive but not always on campus.[/b]
As mentioned earlier, Booth does not dictate where students live. Although the campus is located in a diverse neighborhood called Hyde Park, just south of downtown Chicago, most students opt to live in Chicago’s vibrant downtown, in an area known as “The Loop.” In fact, a recent student shared that most students live in one of three apartment buildings right next to each other. This off-campus proximity makes for an incredible social scene, with regular dinners at Chicago’s many eateries and popular weekly “TNDC” events at local bars. In addition, Booth students who live in The Loop have an easy train ride down to Hyde Park and enjoy all the benefits of urban living with modern apartments and easy access to restaurants, shopping, museums, and Chicago landmarks.

When students are on campus, everything at Booth is housed within one building, the Charles M. Harper Center. The heart of the Harper Center is the Rothman Winter Garden, a six-story atrium that serves as a gathering space for events and a common area for students, faculty, and staff to connect throughout the day. Fun fact: the Harper Center also houses an impressive contemporary art collection of 500 works by more than 120 global artists.

While Booth students are free to choose from a wide variety of student clubs and activities, the school facilitates regular social interaction through weekly events for all types of students and lifestyles. Further afield, Boothies (yes, they call themselves that) rave about the two annual ski trips and student-organized Random Walk trips abroad.

[b]What is the takeaway here? [/b]Booth’s community is not fully centralized on campus, but the school and students still cultivate a thriving social scene. At Booth, you will not find a completely campus-centric culture like you will at its neighbor Northwestern Kellogg, nor does Booth have a dispersed metropolitan culture like that of Columbia Business School.

Between the career opportunities, curriculum, and community, Booth offers a plethora of chances to explore. So, you must ask yourself, Will you relish in those choices or feel daunted by them?

I hope this post has given you a better understanding of Booth. For even more in-depth information on the school, download a free copy of the [b][url=https://shop.mbamission.com/products/university-of-chicago-booth-school-of-business-insider-s-guide]mbaMission Insider’s Guide to the Booth School of Business[/url][/b] or watch our video on [url=https://youtu.be/7K1vOx7-gKE][b]How to Get into the Chicago Booth School of Business[/b][/url].
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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: Reapplicants Should Not Reapply [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: Reapplicants Should Not Reapply
You applied to business school(s) once and did not get in. It took a lot of effort and caused a lot of heartache. Now what do you do? You cannot apply to those schools again, can you? What would be the point? They already rejected you once, so they will definitely do the same thing next time, right? Not necessarily!

Remember, MBA admissions committees are governed by self-interest. Simply put, the schools want the best candidates out there. If you are among the best candidates, why would any admissions director think, “Well, this is an outstanding candidate who can add something special to our school and has unique potential going forward, but they applied last year, so we’ll just forget about them.” Indeed, the reapplication process is not a practical joke or a disingenuous olive branch to those permanently on the outside. If the schools were not willing to admit reapplicants, they would not waste time and resources processing and reviewing their applications.

Although many candidates fret about being reapplicants, some admissions officers actually see a reapplication as a positive—a new opportunity. The Yale School of Management’s assistant dean and director of admissions, Bruce DelMonico, noted, “I can certainly bust [that] myth. Our admit rate for reapplicants is actually the same as it is for first-time applicants. It’s important, though, for reapplicants to explain to us how their candidacy has improved from the previous time they applied. Reapplicants need to make sure they enhance their application, rather than just resubmitting the same application.”

In short, reapplicants, you have no reason to believe that you only have one chance. Like any competitive MBA applicant, continue to strive and achieve; if things do not work out this time, they just might the next time.
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Get an Early Start on Your Resume and Personal Goals [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Get an Early Start on Your Resume and Personal Goals
We at mbaMission try to encourage business school candidates to get as much “noise” out of the way as possible before they begin working on their official application(s) and essays, even several months in advance. We want applicants to have the freedom to reflect on their experiences, formally and thoroughly brainstorm, choose ideas, prepare outlines, and then focus on crafting powerful essays. Essentially, we want them to be unfettered as they engage in what is, for many, one of the most significant creative challenges they will ever face.

If you are targeting Round 1 deadlines this fall, using this time to address a task such as preparing your resume—a process that often requires several rounds of revisions—will allow you to focus better on the other elements of your application later. By revising your resume now, you can dedicate the time needed to do so at a more leisurely pace, before “crunch time” hits. Further, you will lay the foundation for brainstorming for your essays by reminding yourself of your most significant accomplishments.

If you prepare your resume now, you will definitely thank yourself later for having completed this task early. Note: We recognize that you may achieve additional accomplishments before applying. We nonetheless suggest that you update your resume now and then revisit and amend it as necessary one to two weeks before your application deadlines.

A similar message applies to personal leadership—you always have time to take steps to bolster your chances of admission. Many candidates completely ignore the personal side of their candidacy. But if you have, for example, completed a triathlon, learned a language, published an article, or simply been an inordinately dedicated neighbor/sibling/mentor in an unofficial capacity, your story can provide an interesting point of differentiation.

So, if you have an activity or adventure in mind that you would otherwise complete later anyway, we recommend pursuing it now. We are not suggesting that you start writing poetry tomorrow in hopes of getting something published, for instance, but if you are a dedicated poet and have verses that you have long intended to submit, do so now. If you can run 20 miles and have always planned to run a marathon, do it now. These kinds of personal stories can help set you apart from your fellow applicants.
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A Successful Stanford GSB Essay Example [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: A Successful Stanford GSB Essay Example
“What matters most to you, and why?”

This is a huge question and one that requires a great deal of thought before answering. How do you approach this essay prompt that the (GSB) poses in its application? To help you, we have recorded a videooffering guidance on this topic! Be sure to subscribe to mbaMission’s YouTube channel for the most up-to-date content. Today, we are going to take you through an actual successful GSB essay and discuss its strengths. 

The essay we will review in this post is showcased in the book “What Matters?” and “What More?”: 50 Successful Essays for the Stanford GSB and HBS (and Why They Worked), co-authored by mbaMission Founder Jeremy Shinewald. To read more of our analysis of this essay, and that of 49 other examples, be sure to download your copy today. Note that this essay is not meant to be a template—it is one applicant’s personal answer. At mbaMission, we encourage you to reflect on and write about what is meaningful to you! The first paragraph of our highlighted GSB example follows;

In Lithuania, one of the most Catholic countries in the world, it is almost inconceivable for anyone to leave the church. Yet, as I grew older, I increasingly felt that as a person of science, I couldn’t reconcile being committed to an organization founded broadly on beliefs. Despite a rich tradition and the good guidance the church provides, I still felt that to be true to myself I should file for apostasy—a challenging process! Several of my friends refused to be my witnesses and vouch for my sanity—in our society one is “insane” to leave the church—because they feared I would be ostracized. Finally, finding two people who confirmed the thoughtfulness of my choice, I met with the priest only to hear him reject my deed of will. I had to find his superior to finally get my act stamped and my name removed from the baptismal book. Although I would no longer gain entry to sacred grounds and could not be married in my country, making my life marginally more difficult socially, I was nonetheless at peace with myself because I know that there is no price for living by the truth.

This is an aggressive opening. Three sentences in, and the reader learns that the applicant filed for apostasy. Note that our writer is not trying to tell us about the church. Rather, he is sharing a lot about himself. In fact, he is even deferential to the church to ensure that the admissions committee understands that can be diplomatic. Nonetheless, he very forcefully asserts that he is an independent thinker, taking a symbolic step that will disadvantage him, just to be true to himself and his conscience. That said, the next paragraph is really critical:

To me, this is emblematic of my approach to work and life: I have always had strong opinions, unwavering whether they are aligned with the majority or not.From a young age, my teachers joked that one day I would start a revolution setting Lithuania straight. By the end of high school, my educator asked me if he could resign from applying for highest distinction on my behalf, rather than start a storm by presenting my candidacy, as not all teachers appreciated my independence as he did. (I actually agreed to his request because grades and titles were confirmations rather than goals.) Later, while at Vilnius University, I made my approach of a thesis advisor very carefully, seeking an individual who would strenuously challenge me, because truths must withstand scrutiny. I found that advisor in Professor Sarkinas, our former chairman of the central bank. He was known to intimidate, but I just accepted that he pushed students to reconsider their thoughts and reveled in his constant challenges. Over my four years with him as an advisor, he expanded my view of economics and my perspective on learning. His most important lesson was not a theorem, but was about debate and seeking truth: to oppose, one must understand his opponent, at times, better than one understands himself.

The reader understands that the applicant’s theme is independent thought, but what is important to a business school is that an independent thinker is still productive and does not yield to dogma or consider themselves an expert on everything. In this paragraph, our author talks about how he specifically chose an advisor who would challenge his opinions. In doing so, the writer shows that he seeks understanding before asserting himself. Again, this is a strong theme, but he thoughtfully balances it out.

Equipped with my professor’s wisdom, I have embarked on my career in investment management by building my brand on independence and truth. When the biggest mobile telecom provider in the Baltics was going public, I gave an interview about its prospects, wherein I stated that the IPO was a “smoke screen” to force a higher bid in a parallel private process with a competitor (as synergies in a unified company were far more compelling). Furious, the company excluded me from the IPO, canceled its road show for me and even resigned on group insurance offered by our parent company.In the end, after its IPO, news surfaced that it in fact was in negotiations with its competitor throughout the IPO process, which was intended to inflate its price. Later, in an offering by eight brokerages, an overhyped, fast-growing, Lithuanian financial institution launched its IPO. Listening attentively, I understood that its CEO had admitted to two minor fraudulent practices during its road show and found its business model simply did not add up. I was certain the firm was a deceit that the market did not want to see. At the time, I was on a road show and was repetitively asked about that IPO. I answered honestly that the company was a swindle and that management would end up in jail—not a popular thing to say! As I write this essay, the company is being liquidated and management is in custody, in one of the biggest financial scandals in my country’s history.

In this paragraph, the reader sees the payoff—all the author’s independent thought comes in service of others. The applicant is recognizing frauds that others cannot spot. He is not blinded by a good story. He digs deeper and sees that something is fishy. Something does not add up, and this is to the benefit of his firm, investors, and society at large. His independence is a superpower, not a crutch or a problem. Further, throughout this essay, we are not just learning about a character trait but are also gaining a picture of an individual who has had distinct experiences and will add a unique voice to his class, through his background, knowledge of the capital markets in an emerging region, and other aspects of his character. His message is complete—the applicant has an authentic voice and has led an interesting life. He concludes his essay with the following paragraph:  

Recently, I visited one of the distributors who asked me for another market presentation. When I was about to start my talk, the regional director stood up and said to his colleagues, “Quiet, let’s now listen to the truth.” Maybe just a brief utterance, but also the most rewarding moment of my career, when it became clear to me that truth is not a liability, but a way to help and shape reality.

This is a nice closing to a well-constructed essay. Of course, writing somewhat aggressively can be risky, but readers clearly understand what this applicant stands for, and his principles certainly manifest in this essay, as they no doubt did when he was on the GSB campus!

If you found this post helpful, consider downloading the, “What Matters?” and “What More?”: 50 Successful Essays for the Stanford GSB and HBS (and Why They Worked). Also, sign up for a  and speak with an mbaMission consultant about any questions you might have about your GSB application—or really about anything related to MBA applications. mbaMission is here to give you our expert opinion and help you on your journey.

Finally, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for even more MBA application tips and advice. Thanks so much for reading, and good luck with your applications!

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Is an MBA Worth the Investment in 2023? [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Is an MBA Worth the Investment in 2023?
So, you are considering applying to an MBA program this year but wonder whether the time, money, energy, and everything else involved in this endeavor is worthwhile. The easy answer is yes—go for it. Chances are high that you will make more money, have a better knowledge base that can propel your career forward, and make connections that will position you for future success. But an MBA is not for everyone, and especially not for anyone who is unsure what is driving them to pursue the degree. Before you dive in, think about why you want an MBA and where you want it to lead you.

If you are thinking about an MBA, then chances are, you are weighing the degree’s return on investment. You are certainly not alone. In fact, the Bloomberg Businessweek survey that informs the publication’s business school rankings revealed that in 2022, [url=https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-03-10/mba-starting-salaries-fail-to-keep-up-with-inflation#xj4y7vzkg]73.3 % of the second-year student respondents[/url] at US programs indicated that increased compensation was one of the five primary factors behind their decision to earn an MBA. Well, the news is good on that front. That same survey found that in 2022, graduates gained a median of $85,000 in their first post-MBA role, compared with what they earned before entering business school. Getting an MBA also propels your salary higher than if you had merely a bachelor’s degree. A [url=https://poetsandquants.com/2021/05/05/lifetime-earnings-of-mbas/]2021 study [/url]conducted by data analytics company PaySpace for Poets&Quants found that graduates of the leading 50 U.S. business schools are expected to earn a median total of $5.7 million in cash compensation after 35 years of post-graduate work. That amount represents a premium of $2.3 million over what individuals who have only an undergraduate degree will earn.

In addition to boosting your earnings, an MBA can fuel your career trajectory. Learning to work in teams, solve complex problems, and strategically make decisions can translate into being an effective contributor—and hopefully, leader—in the workplace. Not only do you develop technical skills over the course of your MBA studies but you also learn the soft skills in management and leadership that can help you navigate complex challenges in dealing with people and projects. The professional development you gain through your MBA experience can last well beyond your initial roles after your graduate and extend throughout your entire career.

Attending business school helps you build your network, too. You meet students in classes, of course, but also during the significant amount of time you will spend on group work, volunteering, extracurriculars, study trips, and socializing. Given how global most MBA programs are these days—many have classes that are nearly 50% international—students are able to connect with classmates who come from different parts of the world, immediately expanding their global mind-set. In addition, business schools have vast alumni networks, allowing students to call upon such connections as needed throughout their career. Long after graduation, you might be invited to interview at a company, and a quick search of your school’s alumni database will give you the names of fellow graduates who work there. Bingo—you have contacts who can help you build your knowledge!

While these factors certainly play into why someone would want an MBA, you still have more to consider. Before applying to business school, really examine your career goals. The last thing you want to do is apply to a program that will not propel you to where you want to be after graduation. MBAs can generally be found working in every field, but doing some research to determine whether you will gain as much as you want from the degree for what you aspire to do professionally in the long term is definitely worth your time. Some things to look into are whether an MBA program has courses that relate to your area of interest and whether the school has any notable level of job placement in the industries you want to target. An MBA would not be worth the investment if you were to find yourself scrambling for work at graduation.

Another important factor to weigh is your finances. Sure, that median $85,000 gain in salary we noted at the beginning of this post sounds good, but not every industry or school will set you up for that kind of big number. Be real about your risk tolerance—are you in a position to take off two years for a full-time program, or would a part-time or Executive MBA program serve you better by allowing you to keep working? On the personal front, asking yourself whether now is the right time to go back to school is crucial. This question extends beyond just the financial aspect of pursuing the degree; ask yourself whether you have the time to dedicate to it as well.

As you consider whether an MBA is worth the time and other resources that earning it requires, do not be blinded by the potential gain in compensation. Think about what else the degree could change for you in the long term. If you feel that it will advance your career in terms of greater leadership abilities and potential, then you very well might be making the right choice about applying to business school.
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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Need to Tell It All! (Part 1) [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Need to Tell It All! (Part 1)
In your pursuit of acceptance to business school, you are competing against thousands of other applicants. Because you do not actually know these individuals, you may naturally assume that you need any and every edge available to stand out. As a result, you may feel compelled to provide every single detail of your life, exploiting your resume in particular to do so. We want you to maximize your opportunities, of course, but we also want to be sure you do not jeopardize your application by offering too much information.

Our experience has shown that many resumes—especially those in which every margin is narrowed and every font is made smaller—provide a detrimental surplus of detail. Some become so dense with text that rather than being easily scannable, which is the ideal, they are entirely impenetrable and therefore easy to ignore. We often tell clients that “less is more,” explaining that a brief resume that will be read in full is more beneficial than a dense resume that will not get read at all. At an Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants Conference, eight leading admissions officers were asked whether they would prefer a one-page or two-page resume, and one person led all the others in declaring, “Everyone together… one page!”

Even with a one-page resume, however, you need to understand what is useful to include and what should be excluded. The answer to this riddle is different for everyone. You may consider jettisoning internships from years gone by, for example, or reducing the number of bullet points offered for past jobs. Eliminating entries for community involvements from long ago could be helpful. The agenda for your resume should be to create maximum impact, and sometimes that is achieved by using fewer words and bullet points. You may need to make tough choices, but the time and effort will be well spent if you ultimately submit a stronger resume and thereby make a more compelling statement about yourself.
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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Need to Tell It All! (Part 2) [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Need to Tell It All! (Part 2)
Recently, we discussed observing limits with your resume. This time, we take a similar approach with your essays—in particular, your goals essay. Some business schools ask applicants to discuss their career progress first in a classic goals essay:

Briefly assess your career progress to date. Elaborate on your future career plans and your motivation for pursuing an MBA.

Whereas other schools do not request any professional context:

What are your short-term and long-term post-MBA goals? How will our school help you achieve these goals?

Applicants tend to seize on these broad, open-ended questions as opportunities to discuss their entire career history in depth, offering far more than mere context for their goals. In response to a question like the first one here, some candidates will mistakenly use 75% or more of the word space provided just discussing their career progression to date. Although this may seem “brief” to you, the truth is that focusing so extensively on your past minimizes your opportunity to discuss other crucial aspects of your candidacy.

If you devote too much of your essay to detailing your past career progress, you will be unable to thoroughly address your reasons for wanting an MBA and your interest in the school. Providing context for your goals by giving an overview of your professional life to date is unquestionably important, but you must be sure to balance the different sections of your essay. Clearly conveying your goals and your reasons for choosing a particular school is crucial so that you connect with your target, rather than miss it entirely.
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Multidimensional Brainstorming for Your MBA Application Essays [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Multidimensional Brainstorming for Your MBA Application Essays
We at mbaMission often tell candidates, “You cannot turn a bad idea into a good essay.” We insist on taking our clients through a lengthy brainstorming process—starting with a thorough questionnaire—to discover the stories that make them distinct. As you uncover your stories, consider each one from as many different angles as possible. Doing so will not only help ensure you understand the various “weapons in your arsenal” but also provide you with maximum flexibility, considering that MBA admissions committees ask questions that vary dramatically from school to school.

For example, an experience coaching a baseball team at an underfunded high school may have multiple dimensions, such as the following:

  • Creatively motivating an underachieving team and changing attitudes, despite losses
  • Initiating and leading fund-raising efforts so that each player could afford proper equipment
  • Mentoring struggling players and seeing an improvement in their on-field performance
  • Helping a player deal with a family issue off the field
  • Recruiting other coaches and then working to improve a team’s on-field performance
These are just a few of the stories that could be gleaned through brainstorming, proving that considering your experiences from various angles can help you discover multiple unique approaches to your essays.

In addition, many MBA candidates—whether they work as bankers or lawyers, in internal corporate finance or corporate strategy—feel they must tell a “deal story” in their application essays. Although discussing a deal can be a good idea, what is vital is showing your distinct impact on the deal in question. You are the central character, not the deal. A straightforward story about how you dutifully completed your work and steadily supported others as a deal became a reality will not likely be very compelling. Further, the important thing is that the admissions committee gain insight into your personality, not your spreadsheets.

Ask yourself the following questions to ensure your story is truly about you:

  • What did you do that was beyond expectations for your role? Did you grow into additional responsibilities at a crucial time?
  • Did any particular interactions take place in which you used your personality to change the dynamic, thereby ensuring the deal’s progress or success?
  • Did you need to take a principled stand at any moment or speak out on behalf of a needful party?
  • Did you help others overcome any corporate or international cultural barriers?
These questions can get you started, but the point remains: do not simply offer any deal; instead, provide insight into your deal.

If you have questions about your application essays or wonder which schools you would be competitive at, sign up for a free 30-minute consultation with an mbaMission consultant.

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The Best MBA Programs for Social Impact [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: The Best MBA Programs for Social Impact
Over the last few years, we at mbaMission have seen growing interest in social impact careers among aspiring MBAs. Amid this increasing desire to make significant, positive change that solves critical social issues, business schools have responded by introducing new coursework and resources in social impact; environmental, social, and governance (ESG); and related topics. If you are seeking a purpose-driven career in sustainability, impact investing, or nonprofit management, which MBA programs are best?

At mbaMission, I have helped countless business school candidates thoughtfully choose their target MBA programs. In this post, I share some “must consider” programs if you are interested in social impact as well as other programs that should be on your radar if you want to pursue a social impact career.

Berkeley Haas, the Yale School of Management (SOM), Duke Fuqua, and Oxford Saïd offer robust resources that have consistently attracted socially minded applicants. 

Berkeley Haas[b] [/b]
[url=https://shop.mbamission.com/products/uc-berkeley-haas-school-of-business-insider-s-guide]Berkeley Haas[/url] has four defining principles, including “Beyond Yourself.” The school strives to not only teach management skills but also achieve societal progress through innovation, inclusion, and sustainability. Haas has some of the most robust social impact resources, all within a wider university and city known for its progressive values.

Perusing the course catalog, you will find such courses as “Social Investing” and “Strategy and Leadership for Social Impact.” [url=https://haas.berkeley.edu/ibsi/]The Institute for Business & Social Impact[/url] is a leading research center offering hands-on activities including the Berkeley Board Fellows, as well as fellowships for students focused on social impact. In addition, you can build practical social impact career experience at Haas through such clubs as Net Impact and competitions including the [url=https://haas.berkeley.edu/responsible-business/events/patagonia-case-competition/]Patagonia Case Competition[/url], while connecting with a network of students, alumni, and faculty who are equally passionate about social impact.

Yale School of Management
With a long-standing mission “to educate leaders for business and society,” [url=https://shop.mbamission.com/products/yale-school-of-management-insider-s-guide]Yale SOM[/url] is a top choice for those interested in social impact. The school’s past admits tell us it is a place where students genuinely want to make a difference. Even the first-year MBA core curriculum at Yale SOM includes content related to social and environmental issues. The school’s website presents an impressive list of elective courses related to social impact: “Financing Green Technologies,” “Inequality and Social Mobility,” and “Global Social Entrepreneurship,” to name a few. Yale SOM’s Program on Social Enterprise is the hub for social impact activities at the school. Outside the classroom, Social Impact Week is full of mission-driven programming, all led by students, and the Social Impact Consulting Club offers pro-bono consulting services to the nonprofit and public sectors.

Duke Fuqua
The tight-knit community at —or “Team Fuqua,” as Fuquans call it—profoundly cares about using business to serve society. The school offers four concentrations related to social impact: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Energy & Environment; Leadership & Ethics; and Social Entrepreneurship. Beyond these focus areas, one of the top reasons to consider Fuqua for social impact is the school’s [url=https://centers.fuqua.duke.edu/case/]Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE)[/url]. Through CASE, students can engage with social sector leaders at such events as the Executive Speaker Series and the Sustainable Business and Social Impact Conference. Students can also gain hands-on opportunities via such clubs as Fuqua on Board and the CASE Initiative on Impact Investing. [url=https://www.fuqua.duke.edu/programs/daytime-mba/career-development]Fuqua’s Career Management Center[/url] even has team members dedicated to social impact career development.

Oxford Saïd
[url=https://www.mbamission.com/blog/how-to-get-into-said-business-school-oxford-said-essay-tips-and-examples/]Oxford Saïd[/url] is the only European school on this list. The hub of social impact at Oxford Saïd is the [url=https://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/research/centres-and-initiatives/skoll-centre-social-entrepreneurship]Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship[/url], which hosts the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship and a fully funded scholarship for selected Skoll Scholars who are pursuing social entrepreneurship. A popular program within the Skoll Centre is the Impact Lab, a co-curricular opportunity that includes workshops and mentoring from alumni in impact careers.

Other MBA Programs to Consider
As mentioned earlier, many MBA programs have expanded their offerings related to social impact. So, this list would not be complete without mentioning a few more business schools to consider:

[list]
[*] GSB has a Center for Social Innovation, offers personalized learning that can encompass social impact, and conducts leading research on social and environmental problems.[/*]
[*]HBS hosts a Social Enterprise Initiative and the Social Impact Fellowship Fund.[/*]
[*]Kellogg offers a Social Impact pathway for its socially minded students and fosters a community-centered mindset.[/*]
[*]Booth features the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation as well as one of the country’s first social venture competitions, the Social New Venture Challenge.[/*]
[*][url=https://shop.mbamission.com/products/mit-sloan-school-of-management-insider-s-guide][b]MIT Sloan[/b][/url]’s well-regarded [url=https://mitsloan.mit.edu/sustainability-initiative/welcome]Sustainability Initiative[/url] manages the Sloan Social Impact Fund.[/*]
[*] Michigan Ross offers a concentration in Business and Sustainability in addition to a student-run Social Venture Fund.[/*]
[*]Boston University’s full-time Social Impact MBA program aims to develop responsible leaders who will address social challenges.[/*]
[/list]
If you would like help identifying which schools would be the best fit for you, or if you have questions about your competitiveness at any of these programs, we invite you to sign up for a [url=https://www.mbamission.com/consult/mba-admissions/]free 30-minute consultation[/url] with one of our mbaMission admissions experts.
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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Have No Managerial Experience [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Have No Managerial Experience
Formal managerial experience is not a prerequisite for admission to a top MBA program—a truth some applicants might find ironic. Keep in mind that an MBA education is for individuals who aspire to become managers and is not exclusive to those who already are managers. If you are fretting about the fact that you have not had any subordinates to date and believe that having overseen a staff is a prerequisite to gaining admission to a top program, you are adhering to a myth and can stop worrying. Instead, think about the ways you have excelled in your position and made the most of the leadership opportunities you have had.

For example, consider the numerous investment banking analysts who apply to MBA programs each year. Although analysts are at the bottom of the banks’ organizational charts and therefore do not have staffs to manage, they still have demanding jobs and must perform exceptionally well each day to succeed. Most analysts can tell the story of thriving in an ultracompetitive environment and thus reveal their professional excellence via their resumes, essays, and recommendations. And even if most analysts do not have staffs of their own, ample opportunities still exist for senior analysts to train and mentor newer analysts. So, even without a title and a staff, investment banking analysts can find ways to demonstrate their leadership and de facto management skills. And we imagine that with sufficient reflection and brainstorming, you can, too.

If you have questions about your MBA application or wonder which schools you would be competitive at, sign up for a free 30-minute consultation with an mbaMission Senior Consultant.

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GRE to GMAT Score Conversion: It Is Not a Science! [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: GRE to GMAT Score Conversion: It Is Not a Science!
Would you like to know exactly how to convert your GRE score to a GMAT score? We get questions all the time on this topic. Our GRE-taking clients want to know their equivalent GMAT score to ensure that they fall within the GMAT range for their target schools. Unfortunately, no exact conversion for these tests exists. Although you can plug your GRE score into the ETS site to see the general range of equivalent GMAT scores, that does not give you the full picture!

Most U.S. business schools accept both the GMAT and the GRE, but the GRE has historically trailed the GMAT as the standardized test of choice for MBA programs. However, it has gained significant traction over recent years, and now [url=https://poetsandquants.com/2022/04/06/average-gre-scores-at-the-top-50-u-s-mba-programs/]approximately 20%[/url] of all business school candidates submit their applications with a GRE. Despite this exam’s growing popularity, it is not yet used as an official factor in business school rankings, and thus, the range of acceptable GRE scores for admitted students is a bit more flexible than it is for the GMAT.

Take, for example, Kellogg’s admissions stats: the average GMAT score for incoming members of the Class of 2024 was 729. The median GRE scores for these students were 162 Verbal and 163 Quant. This total GRE score of 325 equates to a predicted score of 680 on the GMAT, almost 50 points below the school’s average GMAT. This means that Kellogg admitted candidates with a lower “equivalent GMAT” when they submitted the GRE instead. 

So, the conversion of a particular score does not convey one’s total chance of admission based on that score. Using the Kellogg stats we just provided, if a candidate with the school’s median GRE score had converted that number to a predicted GMAT score, they would have seen that their predicted GMAT was lower than the school’s average by roughly 50 points and assessed their chances of admission based on that information. But, given the median GRE score for Kellogg’s admitted students, this process is clearly more of an art than a science, and there is simply more variability in a “good” GRE score. 

If you have questions about your test scores, need some basic guidance on your application essays, or wonder which schools you would be competitive at, you can start getting answers from an experienced mbaMission consultant. Sign up for a [url=https://www.mbamission.com/consult/mba-admissions/]free 30-minute consultation[/url] with one today!
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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Do Not Have to Rework My Resume [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Do Not Have to Rework My Resume
Many MBA candidates do not thoroughly consider and revise their resumes for their applications, often dismissing this element because an existing version may already be saved on their computer. We strongly caution you not to underestimate the value of this document—the admissions committees, in fact, review applicants’ resumes carefully because they serve as a road map of each candidate’s career.

In the past, we have highlighted that your resume is not the place to “stuff” all of your life experiences. Somewhere between the two extremes—cramming your resume with information and ignoring it altogether—lies the ideal: a clear, easily scannable, action/results-oriented resume that tells a story that will capture the attention of an admissions officer who has reviewed hundreds of similar files.

One of the most common errors candidates make is leaving their resume in an industry-specific format, filled with jargon and acronyms recognizable only to an expert in their field. Remember, the admissions committee is not hiring you for a task but is trying to understand your progress, your accomplishments, and even your character. Each bullet point in your resume needs to highlight achievement more than positional expertise.

As you prepare your resume to be included in your application, think about your audience, and recognize that your resume can be a strategic tool to reinforce certain characteristics that are important to you—characteristics that may complement information provided in other parts of your application. For example, if you aspire to a career that is international in nature, you may place more emphasis on your international experience in your resume. Or, if you come from a field that is not known for its management orientation—you were a teacher who administered a school’s $50,000 student activities budget, for example—you may use your resume to emphasize disciplines that are important to an MBA admissions audience.

Some candidates are surprised to realize that one page can communicate so much and therefore deserves a significant level of attention, but investing some time in this short but crucial document is definitely worth the effort.

If you have questions about your resume, need some basic guidance on your application essays, or wonder which schools you would be competitive at, you can start getting answers from an experienced mbaMission consultant. Sign up for a free 30-minute consultation with one today!
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GMAT Score Chart 2023: A Comprehensive Guide for Test Takers  [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: GMAT Score Chart 2023: A Comprehensive Guide for Test Takers 
Wondering how [url=https://www.mba.com/exams/gmat-exam/about/structure-and-content]GMAT exam[/url] scoring works? Or how your Verbal and Quantitative subscores equate to an overall GMAT score?

The current GMAT exam, taken primarily by applicants to MBA programs, consists of four sections: Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), and Integrated Reasoning (IR). Subscore and section details are as follows, per [url=https://www.mba.com/exams/gmat-exam/about/structure-and-content]GMAC[/url]:

[b]Exam Section[/b][b]Time Limit[/b][b]Number of Questions[/b]Quantitative Reasoning62 minutes31Verbal Reasoning65 minutes36Integrated Reasoning30 minutes12Analytical Writing Assessment30 minutes1[b]Total[/b][b]3 hours 7 minutes[/b][b]80[/b]

[b]How GMAT Scoring Works[/b]

The GMAT is a computer-adaptive exam, which means that your score is calculated via an algorithm that adjusts the level of difficulty of the questions you receive based on your performance as you proceed through the exam. In other words, you essentially receive increasingly difficult test questions as you perform better and less difficult ones when you answer questions incorrectly. In this way, the exam aims to identify your precise ability level. 

Your final GMAT scores take into account not just how many questions you got correct and incorrect but also the difficulty level of each question you answered. 

[b]Section subscores[/b]

The score range for the individual questions in the Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning sections is 6–51. A candidate’s total scores on these two sections (generally referred to as one’s Quant and Verbal scores) are combined to create the overall 200–800 score that is cited most often by test takers and business schools. 

The AWA is scored separately on a 0–6 scale, and IR is also scored separately on a 1–8 scale. The AWA and IR sections do not affect or factor into that 200–800 score that most people focus on. 

If we had to choose which of these GMAT score components is most significant in the MBA admissions process, it would be that overall 200–800 score. That is the score that is used to calculate an MBA program’s class average each season and the one the admissions committees generally analyze to predict an applicant’s success in their program. Although doing your best to maximize your score across all sections and areas is important, the GMAT Score Chart we linked to earlier in this post demonstrates that there are multiple ways to reach the same overall score, and some test takers might be stronger in Quant or in Verbal and achieve the same overall score. 

That flexibility does come with some caveats, though. The MBA is a quantitative degree in nature, so a very low GMAT Quant subscore could become a red flag or concern for a candidate in a competitive application environment. 

[b]Determining a “Good” GMAT Score[/b]

Two key considerations factor into what makes a “good” GMAT score:

[list]
[*]Your percentiles[/*]

[*]The average scores at your target schools [/*]
[/list]

[b]GMAT Percentiles[/b]

To see how your GMAT overall score and subscores compare to those of other test takers, you can reference the latest percentiles, compiled by GMAC, the organization that writes and administers the exam. 

Percentiles showcase how your score compares with those of everyone who has taken the exam globally. Scoring at the 50th percentile means you have scored higher than 50% of test takers. Currently, a 90th percentile score on the overall exam would equate to a 710 overall score, for reference. Average scores at the top U.S. full-time MBA programs (such as Harvard Business School, the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Wharton, and Columbia Business School) are approximately 730, which is the 96th percentile (meaning only the top 4% of test takers are scoring at this level).

[b]Average GMAT Scores at Specific MBA Programs[/b]

In addition to checking percentiles, you should also research what the average test score is at your target programs. Your admissions chances will be higher if you score at or above the averages at your intended schools. 

You can research average test scores in several places, including the Class Profile page of each program’s website. 

[url=https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools/mba-rankings]U.S. News & World Report also publishes[/url] average test scores as part of its MBA rankings. 

[b]What the GMAT Test Involves [/b]

Question types within the Verbal Reasoning section are Critical Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, and Sentence Correction. 

Question types within the Quantitative Reasoning section are Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency. Quant section questions involve such topics as number properties, arithmetic, algebra, and geometry. 

Question types within the IR section are Multi-Source Reasoning, Table Analysis, Graphics Interpretation, and Two-Part Analysis.

For the AWA, test takers evaluate an argument and write an essay discussing how “well reasoned” they find that argument.

Overall, the GMAT also tests your ability to analyze and use data, work with incomplete information, communicate, make decisions, and manage your time under pressure. 

[b]How Admissions Committees Use Applicants’ GMAT scores[/b]

Business school admissions committees look at an applicant’s GMAT scores, in combination with their undergraduate performance (their overall GPA and specifics on their transcripts), to predict how well the candidate should be able to handle the academic rigor of the MBA program. 

MBA admissions decisions are holistic and take many factors into account, including an applicant’s test score(s), academic history, work experience, leadership potential, recommender insight, extracurricular involvement, career goals, and fit with the program. GMAT scores on their own do not often get applicants accepted, but scoring well below a program’s average can very well hold an applicant back and become a roadblock to acceptance. In addition, in a competitive environment, many other well-qualified candidates are also submitting strong test scores, so to maximize your chances, you want to attain the highest score possible for you. 

[b]When to Take the GMAT and How Long to Prepare[/b]

GMAT scores are valid for five years, so even if you are not planning to apply to business school for several more years, taking the exam sooner rather than later can be beneficial. You should determine a time frame in which to prepare for and take the exam that works best with your professional and personal schedule. 

Most candidates study for the GMAT over a two- to three-month period, and taking a preparation course and/or working with a tutor can be effective in strengthening your quantitative and verbal foundations and ultimately maximizing your score. 

A thorough prep course will offer the following: 

[list]
[*]Foundational content you need to review to do well on test day (e.g., number properties, algebra) [/*]

[*]Specific strategies for each question type and for times you get stuck[/*]

[*]Realistic practice through full-length computer-adaptive exams to ensure you are ready for the actual test experience [/*]
[/list]

[b]Test Prep Tips to Maximize your GMAT Score[/b]

[list]
[*]Commit two to three months to studying (on average, those who score above 700 prepare for more than 80 hours)[/*]

[*]Set a study plan and stick to it (e.g., two to three hours per day, four to five days per week, for two to three months)[/*]

[*]Take six to ten full practice exams before test day [/*]

[*]Do not study the day before the test (take a mental break)[/*]
[/list]

[url=https://www.mbamission.com/blog/why-gmat-prep-is-like-training-for-a-marathon/]Read why GMAT preparation is like training for a marathon[/url].

[b]When You Should Retake the GMAT [/b]

Retaking the GMAT is not something to be avoided because business schools will use your highest score when evaluating you for admission. We therefore recommend that you consider retaking the exam if you feel that you can improve your score and/or if you scored below your desired target for your intended business schools. 

Taking the exam more than once is relatively common. Be aware that you must wait 16 days between exams, and build that into your timeline as you plan ahead. 

If you have taken the GMAT exam and hope to improve your score, we recommend purchasing the [url=https://www.mba.com/exam-prep/gmat-enhanced-score-report]Enhanced Score Report[/url] offered by GMAC, which will reveal the question types and subject areas in which you most need to improve. 

[b]Deciding Between the GMAT and GRE, Plus Exam Alternatives[/b]

Currently, the vast majority of MBA programs in the United States and around the world require either a GMAT or GRE score as part of your application. Schools generally do not have a preference between the two exams (GMAT or GRE), so you should take the exam on which you feel you would score higher and that would help present you in the strongest possible light as an applicant. 

We recommend that you take a free online practice exam (available on each respective test developer’s website) early in your test preparation process to assess your comfort level with both exam options and generate a rough starting score, and then use that experience to determine which test to focus on. Note that some candidates actually take both exams to see which one they ultimately perform better on (there is a large proportion of overlap in the subject areas covered). 

If you have taken a practice exam for both the GMAT and GRE and are still unsure about which one to focus on, or if you just need additional advice related to your test preparation, contact us to schedule a free 30-minute [url=https://www.mbamission.com/consult/mba-admissions/]consultation[/url] with one of our experienced MBA admissions consultants, who can offer valuable input on your situation. We offer these complimentary advice consultations on a weekly basis across multiple time zones. 

[b]The Executive Assessment [/b]

A small but growing number of full-time MBA programs also accept a third admissions exam, the . The EA was created by the same organization that produces the GMAT and was initially intended for candidates applying for Executive MBA (EMBA) programs. The EA is an accepted alternative to the GMAT or GRE at several elite U.S. full-time MBA programs, including Columbia Business School, NYU Stern, UVA Darden, Duke Fuqua, UT McCombs, and Georgetown McDonough. 

[b]GMAT and GRE Test Waivers [/b]

Some MBA programs have begun offering test waivers for applicants who either cannot take an exam and/or feel that they have sufficient evidence to otherwise demonstrate their quantitative, analytical, and verbal reasoning skills. If you are considering applying for a test waiver, you must review the specific requirements outlined by the school in question because policies tend to vary widely. In general, you will need to provide sufficient evidence that proves your abilities via past academics, work experience, and/or certifications or other graduate degrees. 

(*Subject to change; be sure to review each school’s policy for the most up-to-date info on its requirements and options.)

[b]Changes Planned for the GMAT Exam [/b]

GMAC recently announced that major changes are coming to the GMAT exam’s format and structure, with a new version of the test—titled GMAT Focus Edition—to be initially offered later in 2023. (The current GMAT is expected to be offered through early 2024 but will then be discontinued.) Changes include the ability to return to prior questions within a section, the removal of the AWA section, and additional focus on data analysis.

If you have questions about your  test plan or MBA application profile, sign up at your convenience for a [url=https://www.mbamission.com/consult/mba-admissions/]complimentary 30-minute consultation[/url] with an experienced mbaMission consultant.
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MBA Personal Statement Tips and a Sample Essay [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Personal Statement Tips and a Sample Essay
“What are your goals, and why do you need an MBA from our school?” Virtually all MBA programs ask some version of this question. And you must answer this question thoughtfully and with detail—you need to show the admissions committee that you really fit with their program—or they just might give your place to someone else who is able to prove that fit! So, what should you write to achieve this?

I have helped countless applicants perfect their personal statement. In this post, I will dissect an actual successful essay from a past applicant so you can learn some of the “dos” and “don’ts” in revealing your fit with your target program. One quick note—this sample essay is not meant to be used as a template. I suggest that you use it as a resource, but do not copy it! Everyone has their own stories and nuances, and you need to focus on sharing yours in your own personal voice and style.

The essay I analyze here is in answer to the following question from Wharton’s 2022–2023 application, but the advice I give is applicable to any school’s required personal or goal statement:

How do you plan to use the Wharton MBA program to help you achieve your future professional goals? You might consider your past experience, short and long-term goals, and resources available at Wharton. (500 words)

There are three elements of this essay: past, present, and future. Let us unveil and examine each one.

The Past

The writer starts, logically, with the past, which is discussed in the first part of the paragraph.

Transitioning from banking to private equity, I initially found the faster pace and expanded scope startling, but ultimately, it was invigorating. Shifting from agent to principal, I joined the VP Product at a Japanese industrial firm in repricing one hundred, long-ignored products, and shepherded the acquisition of the rotational-molding division from a Korean chaebol. While I had neither pricing nor manufacturing experience, all that mattered was that I could learn, adapt, and contribute. At KJIP, I came to appreciate the “messiness” of investing and the opportunities to create value via ingenuity and collaboration.

No matter what the word limit is for the essay you are writing, you must give the admissions committee some indication of where you have been to provide context for where you want to go. The author here could not have just written, “I plan to accelerate my development at Wharton before returning to investing….” He needed to give the admissions reader a sense of his experiences and background before introducing his goals. While he will not be the only private equity (PE) associate to apply to Wharton, he offers a window into how his time in PE was his own—he invested in Asia, gained experience working with portfolio firms on a repricing project, completed an industrial acquisition, and so on. And beyond his discussion of his actual work, he gives an honest view into what he enjoys about the experience—the “messiness,” as he calls it. He discusses the challenge of adjusting and the rewards of creating opportunity. He demonstrates that he is authentic and capable and does so in just 90 or so words. He has not shared anything earth-shattering, but he has created an identity for himself and done enough to grab the reader’s attention and distinguish himself ever so slightly from other, similar candidates. He has also set the stage for the next section of his essay.

The Future

In the next roughly 90 words, the writer tells us that he plans to return to investing back home in America, sticking with industrials. He even names firms.

Now, I plan to accelerate my development at Wharton before returning to investing to drive change on a greater scale. While I had a tremendous experience in Asia, I am eager to return home and would seek to join a middle-market, PE firm, like BZPD or PowerStrat, which focus on industrial innovation to the benefit of all stakeholders. Longer term, as I develop my leadership skills and breadth of industrial experience, I aspire to become a partner at a PE firm or to a CEO position with a larger industrial firm, where I can truly lead change. 

The author does not need to “save the whales” or shift into tech to excite the admissions committee. He just needs to show that he has clear goals and that those aspirations make sense for him—and that ultimately, his MBA will be the bridge to get him there.

He can go from PE pre-MBA to PE post-MBA, no problem, or he could suggest that he wants to transition into industry right away. He could probably find ways to shift into other careers as well. What is important is the logic behind the career goals, not the target industry. And in this case, this applicant’s path makes sense. In addition, his long-term goals naturally extend from his short-term goals. His logic continues, and his objectives, while unrevolutionary, are, importantly, significant, ambitious, and prestigious. In short, the admissions committee can see a credible path for him to be a successful alumnus. Of course, all this logic and “pathing” is critical. For the applicant to say that he wants to go from industrial PE into sports management or into leadership of a consumer marketing business would sound strange with the information we have, so again, the focus is on being logical, credible, and ambitious.

If I were to critique this portion of the essay, I would say that he might give another sentence of depth here. His goals are possibly a little thin. Maybe he could elaborate on the work he would seek at his post-MBA firm or offer an intermediary goal that would lend more credibility to his long-term aspiration of landing that C-suite position. Of course, if he did so, he would need to find space to do so elsewhere in his essay, because Wharton has a hard limit of 500 words. You literally cannot enter even one word more into the space allotted for this essay on the school’s application. Not a word! At some other programs, you do not need to worry so much about being a few words over, though we always recommend that applicants not exceed an MBA program’s stated word count by more than 5%, tops.

The Present

Finally, the bulk of his essay is on Wharton—approximately 60% of it. The admissions committee wants to know that you have done your homework on their school because they have thousands of applicants and do not need to accept anyone who lacks a complete understanding of what their program has to offer. To be a successful applicant, you really need to prove that you have done your homework. 

Assessing areas for development, I recognize that I need to grow beyond the financial plain and will pursue Wharton’s Strategic Management major, both to expand my ability to advance my future firm’s strategic rationale and to quickly grasp the challenges faced by management at portfolio firms. After taking core courses like “Operations, Information, and Decisions” and “Foundations of Teamwork and Leadership” to deepen my managerial point of view, I would specialize via electives like “Managing Organizational Change,” “Corporate Diplomacy,” and “Advanced Global Strategy.” Of course, beyond Wharton’s course options, I find the opportunities to unify theory and practice to be incredibly compelling. In particular, I would pursue the Advanced Management Practicum, so that I could collaborate with classmates by providing actionable solutions for a specific management problem, while gaining the enduring benefit of a consultant’s perspective. And a Global Modular Course, like “Supply Chain Management in Mexico,” will introduce me to our most vexing global business issue, while expanding my network within industry and with classmates. 

I feel fortunate to have already witnessed the role my diverse and dynamic Wharton classmates will play in my education; I recently visited my cousin, Tarek Masoud (W ’22) and observed his “Managerial Decision Making” class, also attending that week’s Pub. Both class and Pub revealed a community that comes together to share ideas— and even laughs together amid the intensity of the experience. Indeed, this reflective aspect is deeply appealing; by pursuing a Leadership Venture, I would work with peers to better understand myself and hone my leadership style. Meantime, through my Learning Team experience, I will be constantly adapting as I seek to contribute to a unit that Tarek described as his “lifeline.” I would come to Wharton ready to listen, absorb, and share, knowing that by bringing the entirety of my energy, I will confidently embark on the next phase of my career.

Has our applicant proven that he has done his research on the school? Unequivocally, yes! He has visited the program, sat in on a class, selected an appropriate major, reasoned through the courses he wants to take, noted experiential opportunities, and familiarized himself with the school’s Learning Team model. And he does not just present a list—he is able to show how these resources will help shape his experience.

I want to highlight a few specific details. The writer does not just say that he visited his cousin at Wharton and had a great time; he visited his cousin with a sense of purpose and absorbed the experience both academically and socially. He has takeaways about the Learning Team experience. If I were to critique this section, I would focus on the Leadership Venture element. Which one would he want to pursue? Why? Would any Leadership Venture work to help him gain what he needs? Small details like this add to the sincerity of the essay, thereby making it more convincing.

The brevity of this essay—at a mere 500 words—could always leave us second-guessing the writer. In this case, though, the applicant delivers a fairly straightforward story, identifies some nuances within his experience, offers clear and connected goals, and is able to identify with Wharton as his target. He does a very solid job and generally makes the most of his space. Again, do not just try to copy this sample essay. Use the tips in this post to make your essay truly your own. I hope this has helped you understand the depth that is necessary in your writing and the logical connections you need to make. This should launch you on your journey.

If you have questions about your application essays or wonder which schools you would be competitive at, sign up for a free 30-minute consultation with an mbaMission consultant.
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mbaMission Offering Limited-Time Reapplication Strategy Support Specia [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: mbaMission Offering Limited-Time Reapplication Strategy Support Special for Dinged Applicants!


Did you apply to business school in the 2022–2023 application season and were released from further consideration, otherwise known as “dinged”?

If so, we want to help you improve your chances of success in the coming application cycle.

Now through May 15, 2023, “dinged” reapplicants have a chance to win an mbaMission “reapplicant strategy” service for a fraction of the typical cost. If you are selected as a winner, you will be able to sign on for our comprehensive reapplication strategy service (which regularly starts at $700) for just $100! That is a savings of over 85%! And if you subsequently sign on for an application package with us, that $100 is applied to your costs—making the reapplicant strategy service totally free!

This is what you get if you are selected: the mbaMission consultant who will conduct your reapplication strategy review will reach out to ask you for a complete copy of your submitted application (including your letters of recommendation, if you have them.) Within two weeks of when you send the application to your consultant, you will have a phone call with that consultant, who will discuss your application’s strengths and gaps, offer suggestions, and answer any questions you have about the review or about the strategy you should follow for your reapplication.

But that is not all! As we noted earlier, any selected applicants who then sign up for mbaMission’s Complete-Start-to-Finish Package service after their review will have the $100 they paid credited to the price of that package. Your reapplication strategy service will thus be free!

If you would like a shot at the $100 reapplication strategy review service opportunity, simply complete this form by May 15, 2023. Good luck!

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Which MBA Application Round Should I Apply In? [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Which MBA Application Round Should I Apply In?
At most top business schools, aspiring MBAs apply in one of three application rounds: Round 1 in September, Round 2 in January, or Round 3 in March or April. As an applicant, you might be wondering when the ideal time to apply is. In this video, we explain the differences among the MBA application rounds:



Round 1 is generally considered the best time to apply for several key reasons:

  • The class is wide open, and the MBA admissions officers have fresh eyes.

  • Applying early indicates your interest in your target MBA program.

  • If you are an overrepresented applicant (e.g., consultant, private equity analyst), or if you have a weak point in your application (e.g., a low GPA or GMAT/GRE score), getting your application in front of the admissions committee as early as possible can help you stand out.

We recommend that you apply in Round 1 if you are ready to submit your best possible application by your target school’s deadline. However, if you believe you can significantly improve your application in some way, such as boosting your test score or earning a promotion, if you had a little extra time, then applying in Round 2 is also a solid option. Similarly, if you got a bit of a late start on your application and do not want to rush, opting for Round 2 would be a prudent decision. If you would be a strong applicant in Round 1, you should still be a strong applicant in Round 2.

Round 3—or the last round at MBA programs that have more than three application rounds—is what most schools refer to as a “shaping” round. This is when the admissions committees are more targeted in their evaluations because they are looking to fill certain “holes” in the class. For example, they might say, “We need a few more countries represented” or “We usually have a higher number of women in the class, so let’s be thoughtful about balancing things in this final round.” Because most spots in the MBA class have been filled by Round 3, we generally advise against waiting until this round to submit your application. However, if you are a truly exceptional candidate or can offer a unique professional experience to the class, you could find success in Round 3.

We asked Bruce DelMonico, the assistant dean and director of admissions at the Yale School of Management, for his thoughts on applying in the different application rounds. Here is what he had to say:

“We really don’t [recommend that candidates apply in any specific round]. We model to admit the same quality of students in each round, so it’s not as though there’s an advantage to applying in one round versus another. We have three rounds, and we’re also part of the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, so we do receive applications that come in through the consortium and that are referred to us. But in terms of our three direct application rounds, like a lot of schools, we counsel people that if they can avoid the third round, they should try to do that. That’s not because it’s inherently any more difficult, but just because it’s more variable. It depends on how many people have already been accepted into the class in the first two rounds, so you just don’t know. It could be more than we were expecting, or it could be less. It’s that uncertainty that can make it more challenging. The main piece of advice we give everybody is to apply when you have your strongest application ready. Don’t rush to get it in earlier if it’s going to be less strong. And especially between Rounds 1 and 2, as I said, we model so that the quality of people we’re admitting stays constant throughout, so there’s no advantage in applying in one round versus another.”

If you have questions about your candidacy or the timing of your applications, book your FREE 30-minute MBA admissions consultation with one of our experienced MBA admissions consultants.
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How to Use Social Media When Applying to Business School [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: How to Use Social Media When Applying to Business School
Whether you love social media or hate it, you cannot afford to ignore it with respect to your MBA application!

You should assume that—just as firms do during the recruiting process—admissions committees will Google you and assess how your character is reflected in your social media presence. In a 2020 survey by Kaplan, 65% of the admissions officers polled said they believe an applicant’s social media is “fair game” when their candidacy is being evaluated. This percentage is probably even higher in 2023, and we expect that this practice will only become more prevalent. You therefore need to ensure that anything within your control supports the personal brand you want to portray and are working to cultivate in your application. At a minimum, Google yourself to view the results, delete anything that could call into question your credibility as an MBA candidate and potential successful student, and adjust your privacy settings accordingly! Focus in particular on LinkedIn, and make sure the information there fully aligns with the key details in your application, including your past employers, job titles, and dates of employment. Building a robust LinkedIn profile (if you do not already have one) could also prove beneficial during the job recruiting process, both for internships and for full-time, post-MBA employment. In addition, it can demonstrate your genuine passion for your career goals, based on the posts you engage with and the companies and groups you follow.

If you enjoy social media, leverage it as a positive! Essentially all the top-ranked MBA programs are active on social media, which can be a fantastic way to research the various schools and assess mutual fit, as well as provide essay fodder for why you want to attend a specific school. Two-way communication is another key benefit of social media, and many MBA programs not only appreciate but also encourage active engagement. By participating in conversations about a school’s blog posts, video content, or press releases via thoughtful, relevant, and intelligent commentary, you can demonstrate your genuine interest in the program. This is also a great way to stay up-to-date on key admissions events and information and to show the school that you are someone who will be actively involved with the community as part of the MBA program.

Ideally, you want your business school application to indicate to the admissions committee that you are a multidimensional, dynamic person who participates in and contributes positively to society. Social media can be a powerful platform through which to showcase your passions and interests, allowing you to post photos from a humanitarian trip abroad, a review of a hot new restaurant from your “foodie” perspective, or a video of your recent musical performance. This publicly available content should effectively reinforce the claims you make in the “interests” section of your MBA application, thereby providing validity and authenticity. In addition, engagement on LinkedIn can showcase your “EQ” savvy. For example, perhaps you congratulated a connection for a promotion or commented about and applauded someone who published an article that resonated with you, thereby showing your support of them.

Regardless of your personal stance on social media, do not neglect this important avenue through which the admissions committees can learn more about you. Although one’s social media presence and activity are not formal elements of the application process today, social media research can (and likely will) be used to help schools form a more holistic impression of you, so make sure to manage it in such a way that it mitigates any negative perceptions of you—or even better, use it to your advantage!

For more detailed guidance on making the most of social media as part of your business school candidacy, download a copy of our free guide. And follow our social media channels for more helpful tips and advice on your MBA application: FacebookTwitterYouTube. If you would like a personalized, one-on-one conversation regarding your specific profile and MBA goals, sign up for free 30-minute consultation call with one of mbaMission’s admissions experts.
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