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Vantage Point Admissions Consultant
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Vantage Point Admissions Consultant
Joined: 17 Mar 2016
Status:Admissions Consultant
Affiliations: Vantage Point MBA Admissions Consulting
Posts: 413
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Location: United States
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Vantage Point Admissions Consultant
Joined: 17 Mar 2016
Status:Admissions Consultant
Affiliations: Vantage Point MBA Admissions Consulting
Posts: 413
Own Kudos [?]: 26 [0]
Given Kudos: 0
Location: United States
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Vantage Point Admissions Consultant
Joined: 17 Mar 2016
Status:Admissions Consultant
Affiliations: Vantage Point MBA Admissions Consulting
Posts: 413
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Location: United States
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Is a 2.5 GPA a Non-Starter for MBA Admission? How To Overcome a Low GP [#permalink]
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FROM Vantage Point MBA Admissions Blog: Is a 2.5 GPA a Non-Starter for MBA Admission? How To Overcome a Low GPA
One of the most common concerns we hear from clients is that their low GPA will prevent them from being accepted to the MBA program of their dreams. Whether it was because you chose the toughest major at your university, had a little too much fun, or were so involved in extracurriculars that you didn’t have enough time to study, the good news is that a low GPA can be one of the easier weaknesses to mitigate in your MBA applications.

If you’re like most applicants, college was several years ago and you’ve come a long way since then – you’ve begun your career, earned a promotion or two, and maybe even started managing a team. While these accomplishments help demonstrate your leadership potential and perhaps your analytical skills, they don’t tell the admissions committee whether you can handle a rigorous academic environment.

Though MBA programs often emphasize the “programmatic” nature of the degree (the internships, seminars, experiential learning opportunities, conferences, trips, and networking), an MBA is still a master’s level degree with master’s level classes. The coursework demands that you can study, apply theories to cases, write essays, and pass tests.

The time-honored way for the admissions committees to assess your skills in this area is by looking at the combination of your GMAT score and your GPA. So, what can you do if have a low GPA – one that is not at or above the average for your target schools? The key is to focus on two things: 1) explaining and 2) overcoming.

Explaining a Low GPA

Note that I did not use the word “justify”. Explaining is not making excuses; explaining is simply stating what ‘it’ was and why ‘it’s’ better now (whatever ‘it’ was).

Don’t sweep anything under the rug or be cagey. If your low GPA was mainly because of your first two years when you were struggling with over-committing and not managing your time well, then it’s OK to say that it took you awhile to perfect your time management skills and learn to prioritize effectively. In fact, it shows a great deal of maturity and self-reflection.

However, you must immediately follow that statement with how you’ve overcome that issue (e.g., earned a top-notch GPA in another master’s program, successfully managed multiple projects at work, etc.). Be brief but specific – you don’t want them to assume that you are being vague because the real reason for your low GPA is that you just partied too much.

This information, in addition to any other necessary explanations, will go into the optional essay component of the application. This is where you directly point out that certain areas of weakness, including a low GPA, are not reflective of the strength of your candidacy.

Overcoming a Low GPA

In addition to explaining why you had a low GPA in undergrad, you also want to use the optional essay to share what you’ve done to demonstrate your academic ability.

The best “proof” is having earned a stellar grade in a post-grad class to show the admissions committee that you can handle the academics like a champ. A large percentage of our clients take some sort of online or in-person class to bolster their applications (I’d estimate over 50%). Fortunately, there are great options for every work and life schedule.

On the higher end of commitment level are live classes through a local community college or university continuing education department. These work well for people who learn best in a group setting and want to be held to a more concrete schedule.

Self-directed online courses offer more flexibility and may appeal to those who travel for work (in a non-COVID world) or have less control over their day-to-day schedule. Online classes also range in commitment level and costs. On the lower end of the commitment and time spectrum, MBAMath.com costs $149 for modules covering topics like statistics, accounting and finance that can be completed in 20-40 hours. On the higher end of commitment and time is Harvard Online’s CORe program, which costs $2,250 and is estimated to take approximately 150 hours to complete. Of note, many estimate that a rather large percentage of HBS admits have taken CORe (this is anecdotal, of course). Other popular options include Wharton’s Coursera courses (target the graded versions) and UC Berkeley’s Extension.

Focus on foundational quantitative subjects you didn’t study in college (or performed poorly in) like accounting, statistics and/or calculus. By doing well in one of these courses, you can ask the admissions committee to look at your additional coursework grades as an indication of your ability to succeed in the classroom instead of your undergrad coursework. Typically, this demonstration, paired with a strong GMAT score, will help an admissions director to feel more comfortable with a low GPA.

Aside from increasing your chances, taking additional coursework shows your commitment and willingness to prepare for the MBA experience, which signals that you are ready to get as much value out of the program as humanly possible (and the admissions committee likes that!).

Interested in a personalized assessment of your profile or help with your applications? Reach out to schedule an initial consultation.

The post Is a 2.5 GPA a Non-Starter for MBA Admission? How To Overcome a Low GPA appeared first on Vantage Point MBA.
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Vantage Point Admissions Consultant
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Understanding MBA Admissions Consulting Prices [#permalink]
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FROM Vantage Point MBA Admissions Blog: Understanding MBA Admissions Consulting Prices
Are you considering hiring an MBA admissions consultant and curious to understand how MBA admissions consulting prices work? It’s confusing, we get it! In today’s article, we’ll do our best to clarify the various ways MBA admissions consultants charge for their services and share the pros and cons of each.

We also want to acknowledge upfront that, as MBA admissions consultants ourselves, it feels a little weird to be opining on topics like MBA admissions consulting prices and whether hiring an MBA admissions consultant is ‘worth it’ (of course we think it is). As such, the intent of this article is not to ‘sell you’ on anything. It’s purely to lay out the way our industry tends to package and price its services so you can decide for yourself what is best for you. Ok, PSA over, let’s move to the content.

MBA Admissions Consulting Prices – Hourly Services
We’ll start here as hourly services are the most straightforward, on the surface at least. With hourly services, just as they sound, the client pays an MBA admissions consultant for time spent on calls, editing documents, responding to emails, etc. MBA admissions consulting prices for this type of work are generally $300+ per hour.

Pros

  • While firms may have a minimum number of hours they require, you can usually add more hours as needed. This allows you to ensure you like the firm and/or your consultant before committing a large sum of money.
  • You can allocate the hours as you see fit. Your consultant will help you determine the best use of your time but should ask for your ok before completing any billable work. This means you can devote a larger number of hours to your top choice / stretch programs and fewer to other schools, if you are so inclined.
Cons

  • A big (and underappreciated) downside to hourly services is that, when working ‘on the clock’, it can be easy to shortchange the early stages of the process where your consultant invests in getting to know you and helping you define your ‘story’. This upfront work is SO critical to a compelling application, but the benefits often aren’t readily apparent until your applications come together. Some consulting firms don’t even offer hourly services (we do, but on a limited basis) because they feel it’s hard to do their best work when they can’t take as much time as they’d like at every step of the process.
MBA Admissions Consulting Prices – A la Carte or Pay by Service
Here we’re referring to services like resume reviews, final application reviews, mock interviews, etc. Generally speaking, the consultant will do one review of your materials (resume, essays, etc., depending on the service you’ve selected) and note areas where they could be improved. A mock interview entails a live session and then either individualized written or verbal feedback afterwards. The service may allow for a limited amount of back-and-forth communication with your consultant via email or phone.

At Vantage Point, we offer a unique variant on this service type through our Amplify Hourly Packages, which bundle together support in certain high value areas at a price that is less than a comprehensive package (described further below) but provides a more structured approach than working with us hourly. These are great for clients who have started on the application process on their own but want help taking their materials (resume, essays) to the next level.

The pricing for a la carte services is generally tied to the consultant’s hourly rate times the number of hours they expect to devote to the particular service you are purchasing.

Pros

  • Certain services can really lend themselves to a ‘one off’ approach, such as mock interviews where it’s almost better if the person you speak with has only the information your actual interviewer will have, like your resume. The same goes for a service like our Adcom Trial Run where a client sends their near final application to a member of our team who used to work in admissions for one of the top MBA programs. He/she reviews it as they would have while on an admissions committee and provides feedback accordingly.
  • If your budget it tight but you want a professional set of eyes, this is a lower cost option than a comprehensive package and there is 100% clarity into what you’re getting upfront (although a good consultant will be very transparent as to how you will work together with any type of service arrangement).
Cons

  • The big con with this type of service is the fact that, for the most part, there is limited iteration with the consultant. With a resume review, for instance, your consultant will provide feedback on the version you send them, but it will be up to you to incorporate that feedback effectively. For reference, we often iterate 10 times with comprehensive clients on their resumes and up to 20 times on a set of essays. Understanding feedback and putting it into practice are two different things (and the latter can be much more difficult).
MBA Admissions Consulting Prices – Unlimited or Comprehensive Packages
Unlimited or comprehensive packages offer hands-on coaching throughout the MBA application process. At Vantage Point, we often begin working with clients applying in Round 1 around now (April – June) and the engagement continues until they’ve signed on the dotted line with a school. We work with them to select the schools to which they will apply, zero in on their career goals, define their ‘story’ or what differentiates them from other applicants, draft their MBA resume, select and prepare their recommenders, write their essays, practice for interviews, and more.

You can choose how many schools you would like to partner with the consultant on. The first school is the most expensive because a lot of the heavy lifting (setting career goals, defining your story, drafting your resume, etc.) is done whether you are working with them on one school or six. After that, there is a smaller fee for each additional school you include in your package.

The pricing for unlimited packages generally starts around $5,000 for one school and comes in around $7500+ for three schools. We get it, that’s a lot of money, but it’s also a lot of work (that we love doing!).

Despite what the term ‘unlimited’ implies, there are many things consultants do NOT do. They don’t write your essays for you, hit submit on your applications or make sure all the components are in by the deadline. They can’t guarantee you will be admitted to your dream school (if they say they can, run). Applying to business school is a lot of work, there’s no getting around it.

Pros

  • Working with a consultant on a comprehensive basis is truly the gold standard for a reason. At every juncture, they will help ensure you are ‘doing all the right things’ from networking with schools to appropriately preparing your recommenders to position you in your best light. They know what schools are looking for and will help ensure these characteristics are brought to the forefront of your application in a way that is authentic to you.
  • Applying to business school is stressful and there are endless questions that come up along the way. From the mundane (‘Should I attend this info session?’) to the not-so-mundane (‘How do I (and can I) negotiate scholarship offers?’), it’s reassuring to have someone on call to ask.
Cons

  • Working with a consultant comprehensively is (necessarily) a very personal engagement. They will want to know a lot about you to help you craft an authentic and differentiated application. Do the leg work upfront to ensure you find someone who is a good fit for you. It’s not only important that you get along with them, but they should also have experience with clients like you.
We hope that helped clarify MBA admissions consulting prices for you! Our packages are described more fully here. As always, feel free to reach out to schedule a free consultation.

The post Understanding MBA Admissions Consulting Prices appeared first on Vantage Point MBA.
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How to Network for Your MBA Applications (And Why You Should Start Now [#permalink]
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FROM Vantage Point MBA Admissions Blog: How to Network for Your MBA Applications (And Why You Should Start Now) + A Free Download
How to network and why exactly networking is important is something we’re frequently asked by our MBA admissions consulting clients. In an already subjective and sometimes vague process, “networking” can seem particularly abstract or worse, can simply be another “thing” on your long MBA application to-do list.

While there’s no hard deliverable attached to networking, we believe it’s a critical part of the MBA application process and now’s the perfect time to get started – before the essay questions are released and you’re managing a busy work schedule, summer vacations, and your apps. So, we’ve broken it all down for you here in order to eliminate some of the mystery and ambiguity that surrounds networking.

What Is Networking?
Let’s start there. It’s easy to be confused about what “networking” even means. Some folks think it’s very transactional or artificial (i.e., schmoozing), where you reach out to someone to “get something” like a favor, information, or introduction to another person. While that may be true for some people, that’s not the approach or attitude that we recommend.

Instead, simply put, networking is building relationships. In the case of your MBA applications, it’s building relationships with a variety of folks who are connected to the application process in some way. It’s a two-way street, where you get to know people and they get to know you. Usually, the relationship is initiated because you have something in common – a friend, an interest, a hobby, an employer, etc. – but the relationship is nurtured because you invest in it and because both parties enjoy it and benefit from it.

Oh so “networking” is just a fancy way of saying “meeting new people”, right? Well, yes and no. Yes, because that’s often true but no, because you want to be strategic in your approach. By that I mean that you want to invest your efforts in building relationships with folks who can help guide, mentor, and inform your MBA application process. For instance, a former classmate from undergrad who’s a first-year student at HBS. By connecting with her, you’re sure to gain some valuable insights and advice about the school, its culture, essay tips, etc. And who knows, maybe she’s recruiting at your company for a post-MBA role, and you can share your experience with her in return.

Why Is Networking Important?
Still skeptical as to why networking for your MBA applications is so important? Here are a few things to consider. If your competition (i.e., other applicants) is networking and leveraging all the resources at their disposal to help inform and strengthen their applications and you’re not, you risk losing out. For an even better reason that doesn’t involve “because everyone else is doing it”, networking can help you put together a more cohesive and compelling application, which in turn increases your chances of admission to your dream MBA program. Let’s dig into how that can be.

First and foremost, networking is an opportunity to discover new things about a school that can help solidify your fit and answer to “why X school”.  Trust us, a thoughtful and well-researched answer to this question can be the difference that gets you admitted. Most of the time, that kind of information can’t be found on a website.

Networking is also a tremendous opportunity to get valuable advice from folks who have been in your shoes. Learn about the unexpected benefits of an MBA from a recent graduate, learn from past MBA students’ mistakes, and get admissions “tips” from folks who have insight into the process. The advice you get along the way can help make the process more efficient, straight-forward, or at least slightly less stressful for you.

Lastly, the MBA application process can seem like a long, lonely journey and it’s nice to feel supported along the way. My clients are usually blown away (I know I definitely was) by how supportive and helpful current students, alums, colleagues with MBAs, etc. are once they find out you’re pursuing an MBA. MBA’s love to pay-it-forward, so let them! Just be sure to be appreciative and stay in touch with them once you have news about decisions so they can remain invested in your journey.

Networking – What Not to Do
It should go without saying that all social etiquette rules apply in MBA application networking but just as a quick refresher, here are a few key “DON’Ts”.

DON’T wait until the last minute: networking is not an on-off switch and should be approached like a marathon, not a sprint. Building relationships, scheduling coffee chats, etc. takes time. So, start early – like now! Give yourself space to follow-up with your new contacts and keep in touch with them throughout the process. Waiting until two days before the deadline to reach out to a current student with a list of questions whose answers you will plug into your “why school X” essay will not do you any favors.

DON’T ask basic or shallow questions: when you’ve finally nailed down that coffee with an alum from your dream school, don’t waste their time asking questions with answers you could easily find on your own. Instead, come with thoughtful questions whose answers will truly further your understanding of how the school fits with your goals and objectives. (Here’s a more comprehensive school selection tool if you’re just getting started.) You want the other person to be impressed with your level of research because who knows, they may end up being an advocate for your candidacy if they also feel like you’re the right fit for their school!

DON’T be disrespectful or ungrateful for the other person’s time: MBA students, alums, representatives from admissions, etc. are all very busy and while they’re happy to help, it takes effort on their part. So be sure to express your gratitude for their time and input. If they tell you they can only spare 20 minutes, remain vigilant of the time and wrap up accordingly. Those manners will go a long way in leaving a good impression.

How To Get Started Networking
With all that said, there’s really isn’t a wrong way to start building your network. In thinking about what the ideal network looks like, it’s comprised of current students and/or alums from your target schools, colleagues/former classmates/mentors, etc. with MBAs, and people in your target post-MBA industry/function. (Note that these three categories are not mutually exclusive – most likely one person will fall into more than one bucket.)

An easy place to start is with your existing network – people from work, undergrad, personal circles, etc. who have MBA’s or are somehow connected to an MBA program. Make a list of these individuals and start reaching out to them for a Zoom chat, after-work cocktail, etc. Be present during these conversations and take mental note of what you discussed. If you chatted about a particular current event or recent trend in your industry, for example, send that person an article on the relevant topic a couple of weeks later to show that you give as well as receive. After each meeting, be sure to ask that person to connect you with someone else from his/her network who could be helpful in your application process. Then repeat.

Lastly, you can take advantage of third-party platforms and events to further build out your network. LinkedIn, MBA forums (reddit, GMAT Club, Beat the GMAT, etc.), and formal networking events (Poets & Quants is hosting a couple this year, for example) are all great places to engage if you feel like your network is a bit sparse.

Networking Directly with Your Target Schools is Important Too
Even if the some of the folks above are current students or graduates from your target schools, you should also plan to engage with the schools directly. A great way to do this is through a campus visit, ideally coordinated through the school so you have a chance to sit in on a class and meet current students in addition to sitting through a presentation from admissions. Many schools are once again beginning to offer these sessions in person, so check with each of your target programs.

If a school visit isn’t possible, plan to attend at least one virtual information session or webinar. These are great opportunities to hear what the schools believe are their selling points while giving you a chance to ask questions. Current students as well as representatives from admissions typically host these events so it’s a great time to initiate a dialogue with a few of them. Those conversations could even turn into a follow-up meeting or call, depending on how well you connect. Not only will engaging with the schools in as many ways as possible help you determine which programs are the right fit for you and why, but it indicates to the admission committee that you’re serious about their program and have made the effort to get to know it. Some schools make this a critical part of their admissions decisions so it’s worth putting in the time (i.e., more is more!).

It’s ultimately up to you to find your own personal style of networking that makes you feel comfortable and authentic, but rest assured that doing this right will only contribute to stronger applications.

Finally, here is the link to our free worksheet download. This tool is a great way to organize your networking plans and ensure you have all your bases covered.  

Best of luck!

 

The post How to Network for Your MBA Applications (And Why You Should Start Now) + A Free Download appeared first on Vantage Point MBA.
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Vantage Point Admissions Consultant
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The Consortium: Member Schools, Application Process, and an Amazing Sc [#permalink]
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FROM Vantage Point MBA Admissions Blog: The Consortium: Member Schools, Application Process, and an Amazing Scholarship Opportunity
Are you familiar with The Consortium, formally known as The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management (CGSM)? If not, you should be! This amazing nonprofit’s mission is to “enhance diversity and inclusion in global business education and leadership”, which is something we can all rally behind. To operationalize this mission, The Consortium seeks to provide a smoother path towards a top tier MBA and sought-after post-MBA career opportunities for those who have dedicated their lives to inclusion.

Tactically speaking, The Consortium allows qualifying individuals (we’ll get to this in a second) to apply to up to six of its member MBA programs using one common application, saving time and money. The Consortium then provides merit-based full ride scholarships to roughly 70% (!!) of those who are granted admission to their program AND to at least one MBA program. Last but not least, Consortium members are invited to attend an annual conference where they meet with the organization’s corporate partners and often walk away with multiple internship offers in hand. In our experience, MBA programs may give preference to Consortium applicants given the recruiting support they receive at the annual conference (after all, employability is key for business schools).

The Consortium: Who Can Apply?
You are eligible to apply for Consortium MBA membership if you meet the following criteria:

[list]
[*]You are a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident of any race or ethnicity[/*]
[*]Your community activism, professional involvement, and/or life experience demonstrate a commitment to The Consortium’s mission of helping to reduce the serious underrepresentation of African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans at member schools and in the ranks of management[/*]
[*]You hold a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in the U.S. or an equivalent degree from a college or university outside the U.S.[/*]
[/list]
To be considered for membership in The Consortium (which then entitles you to the benefits described above), you must make the case for your fit with its mission through an application essay and one letter of recommendation.

So, what are some examples of candidates who have been accepted as Consortium MBAs? A past client of ours is a Hispanic American who worked in the nonprofit education sector pre-MBA and plans to stay in the nonprofit field after graduating from business school. The Consortium website highlights other members including a Nigerian immigrant who founded a company that promotes accessible investing. There are a wide variety of profiles that can fit and as noted in the criteria, people of any race or ethnicity will be considered.

The Consortium: Which Schools are Members?
One of the hallmarks of applying to business school through The Consortium is the ability to apply to six members schools with one common application. Note, however, that this does NOT get you out of writing individual essays for each school – a common misconception. You still must complete each school’s required essays as well as an additional essay for Consortium applicants that will be shared with the schools.

On top of that, you must apply to The Consortium itself, which requires an essay and an additional recommendation (these items are not shared with schools).

Which schools are Consortium members, you may wonder? The comprehensive list is below, but it includes many of the top U.S. programs. The most recent addition is [url=https://cgsm.org/consortium-announces-addition-of-stanford-graduate-school-of-business-as-new-member-school/]Stanford GSB[/url], which joins the fold with the upcoming application cycle.

The 22 Consortium MBA programs are as follows:

[list]
[*]University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business[/*]
[*]University of California, Los Angeles, Anderson School of Management[/*]
[*]Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business[/*]
[*]Columbia University, Columbia Business School[/*]
[*]Cornell University, Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management[/*]
[*]Dartmouth College, Tuck School of Business[/*]
[*]Emory University, Goizueta Business School[/*]
[*]Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business[/*]
[*]Indiana University-Bloomington, Kelley School of Business[/*]
[*] University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Ross School of Business[/*]
[*]New York University, Stern School of Business[/*]
[*]UNC Chapel Hill, Kenan-Flagler Business School[/*]
[*]Rice University, Jones Graduate School of Business[/*]
[*]Stanford Graduate School of Business[/*]
[*]University of Rochester, Simon Business School[/*]
[*]USC, Marshall School of Business[/*]
[*]UT Austin, McCombs School of Business[/*]
[*]Washington University in St. Louis, Olin Business School[/*]
[*]University of Virginia, Darden School of Business[/*]
[*]University of Washington, Foster School of Business[/*]
[*]University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin School of Business[/*]
[*]Yale University, Yale School of Management[/*]
[/list]
As you can see, this is an incredible list of programs and there are a range of options from geographic and competitiveness standpoints. It also bears noting that, just because you apply to some programs through The Consortium, it does not mean you cannot apply to others the ‘traditional’ way. So not to fear if your dream school is somehow not on this list.

The Consortium: Application Process
The next topic we’ll cover is how exactly the Consortium MBA application process works, as it tends to confuse people in our experience.

From a timing standpoint, there are two deadlines for Consortium MBA applications, an ‘early’ deadline in mid-October and a ‘traditional’ deadline in early January. Regardless of when schools’ individual deadlines are, if you are applying through The Consortium one of these dates are when your applications are due.

To apply through The Consortium, instead of creating a profile on each individual school’s website, you create one centralized profile on The Consortium website. Through this portal, you submit all materials required by The Consortium and all supplemental materials required by each school to which you are applying (including but not limited to their school-specific essays).

Materials required by The Consortium that WILL be shared with each school (and upon which they will base their admissions decisions) include:

[list]
[*]GMAT / GRE score report[/*]
[*]Transcript(s)[/*]
[*]Two professional recommendations[/*]
[*]Core Essay 1: Please describe your short- and long-term goals post-MBA. How has your professional experience shaped these goals and influenced your decision to pursue an MBA degree? (2,000 characters)[/*]
[*](Optional) Core Essay 2: Is there any other information you would like to share with us that is not presented elsewhere in your application? (1,000 characters)[/*]
[*]School specific essays for each school to which you are applying[/*]
[/list]
Materials required by The Consortium that WILL NOT be shared with each school (they are used to assess whether you should be granted Consortium MBA membership) include:

[list]
[*]Mission Essay 1: What have you done pre-MBA in your business, personal, or academic life to demonstrate commitment to [The Consortium] mission? (2,000 characters)[/*]
[*]Mission Essay 2: What will you do while enrolled in your MBA program to demonstrate your commitment to the mission? (2,000 characters)[/*]
[*]Mission Essay 3: What will you do post-MBA with respect to community service and leadership involvement to demonstrate your continued commitment to The Consortium’s missions of diversity and inclusion? (1,000 characters)[/*]
[*]Recommendation letter in support of your adherence to the Consortium MBA mission[/*]
[/list]
To finalize your application, you must also pay a tiered fee based on the number of programs to which you are applying. This ranges from $150 for 1-2 schools up to $300 for 6 schools. Considering application fees for each school when applying the ‘traditional’ way can be $200-300 dollars (per school!), this can end up saving you over $1000.

The Consortium: Admissions Decisions and Fellowship Opportunity
So, what comes next, you may ask. Well, a few things. First and foremost, each individual Consortium member school to which you’ve applied evaluates your candidacy and decides whether they want to admit you (and many will have an interview component that comes before their final decision). At the same time, The Consortium assesses whether your experiences and accomplishments make you a good fit for Consortium membership. You can be accepted to Consortium member schools and NOT The Consortium itself. For reference, roughly 1100 people apply for Consortium membership each year and around 500 are accepted. It goes without saying that you should honestly assess your fit with The Consortium’s mission before applying to business school via this avenue.

Once you’ve been admitted to at least one member school AND been granted Consortium membership, you become eligible for a full-tuition Consortium Fellowship. When you submit your applications, you rank order the schools to which you’ve applied. Schools don’t see this ranking until they release their admissions decisions! If you’re admitted to your first-choice school, they have the option of granting you the fellowship. If they pass, the option moves to your second-choice school and so on. It ultimately works out that 400 of 500 new Consortium members are offered a full tuition fellowship each year. Those are GREAT odds.

Regardless of whether you end up with a fellowship, Consortium MBAs attend The Consortium’s annual Orientation Program (‘the OP’) where they meet with corporate partners (Apple, BCG, Google, Starbucks, just to name a few) and, as noted earlier, often walk away with multiple internship offers for the following summer. This all happens in June before they are even on campus! Imagine how nice it would be to walk into school the first day and already have your internship locked up. Not to mention that the OP is a great opportunity to network with likeminded peers who will start school with you in the fall and people from other programs.

The Consortium: The Bottom Line
If you are passionate about diversity and inclusion and can prove as much based upon your past experiences and accomplishments, applying to business school through The Consortium is a very good option (we would even go so far as to call it a no brainer). There are a few additional hoops to jump through, but the payoff can be huge.

If you couldn’t tell, we are huge fans of The Consortium and its mission. We also have experience guiding candidates through this unique application process. If we can be of assistance to you, please don’t hesitate to [url=https://vantagepointmba.com/free-consultation/]reach out[/url]!

The post [url=https://vantagepointmba.com/2022/04/21/the-consortium-everything-you-need-to-know/]The Consortium: Member Schools, Application Process, and an Amazing Scholarship Opportunity[/url] appeared first on [url=https://vantagepointmba.com]Vantage Point MBA[/url].
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MBA Career Goals Part I: Crafting a Compelling Short-Term Vision [#permalink]
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FROM Vantage Point MBA Admissions Blog: MBA Career Goals – Part I: Crafting a Compelling Short-Term Vision
You’re probably aware that ambitious, yet realistic MBA career goals are critical to a compelling business school application. Not only that, understanding how business school will accelerate or pivot your career path is essential to justifying the financial and time investment required to pursue an MBA.

Many clients we speak with have a general sense of what they want to do post-MBA (or at least what they don’t want to do) but have trouble zeroing in on MBA career goals at the level of specificity that admissions committees expect. Clients are also often concerned about whether the post-MBA career path they envision will resonate with their target programs as it relates to their application.

As such, MBA career goals is the topic we’re covering in today’s article, specifically short-term MBA career goals. Short-term MBA career goals refer to the job you will seek right after graduation and perhaps an intermediate step directly thereafter. We will be focusing on how to craft and communicate your short-term MBA career goals in your MBA application. Of course, this is a highly personalized discussion, but there are some overarching principles that can guide your thinking.

When it comes to the role you will target directly after business school, the adcom is looking for it to check three boxes:

1. Your MBA career goals are something employers hire for out of their program.
Note that I’m not suggesting you have to say you will target the same five or so career paths that every other MBA is looking to pursue (consulting, tech product management, private equity / venture capital, etc.). I’m not even saying your short-term goal has to be something companies recruit for ‘on campus’ as opposed to something that will require a little leg work on your part.

Instead, I’m suggesting that you convey a realistic understanding of the seniority level at which a company may recruit a new MBA and whether your targeted industry / function is somewhere the program has placed graduates in the past. Specificity is important here, even going so far as to spell out the position you will target (i.e., Associate Marketing Manager) and a few companies you would be excited to work for.

2. Your background makes it realistic that employers will consider you for this position.
Some post-MBA career paths are more restrictive than others when it comes to the specific skills recruiters expect you to have. For example, in my experience at Kellogg, investment banks were open to people from a wide variety of pre-MBA fields so long as the person was willing to work hard and could demonstrate aptitude in the interviews.

On the other hand, breaking into product management at a large technology company can be difficult without prior technical work experience and/or an engineering degree. I’m not saying it can’t be done and would never discourage someone from trying for the role of their dreams. That said, the adcom at top MBA programs may be weary of someone who doesn’t at least acknowledge that they are fighting an uphill battle and perhaps present a more realistic ‘Plan B’.

Like it or not, top MBA programs are laser focused on their employment statistics relative to peer schools. While last year’s employment rates at top MBA programs were strong, there’s no guarantee that the job market will remain as such over the next three years until this year’s applicants are graduating. As such, MBA programs will continue to focus on accepting people with realistic post-MBA plans.

3. Your short-term MBA career goal is a logical steppingstone to your long-term goal.
Long-term career goals will be the focus of an upcoming article, but I’ll briefly touch on them here, as they are inherently intertwined with your near-term plans.

It’s ok for long-term career goals – where you dream of being 10-15 years down the road – to be less of a sure bet than your target post-MBA role. In fact, they should be both aspirational and inspirational, tying into your core values and passions.

But, while it’s great to dream big, you also need to have a vision of how to get there and this is where your short-term goals come in. The role you target out of business school should set you on the path towards your long-term goal, building the skills you will need for success in your dream career.

A Few Examples…
To help put theory into practice, here are a few strong examples of short-term MBA career goals from past clients:

“My short-term goal is to join the financial institutions or technology group of a leading investment bank, which will provide the valuation and due diligence skills required of a well-rounded investor and enable my long-term goal of investing in growth-stage FinTech companies that foster progress in financial education and decision-making.”

“A post-MBA role in strategy consulting will build upon my deep experience in the education industry and allow me to put the skills gained at [X school] into practice across a wide variety of business challenges, setting me up for success as the founder of an educational technology company.”

Look for an upcoming article on crafting compelling long-term goals! In the meantime, if you would like personalized advice on your post-MBA plans, reach out to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.

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FROM Vantage Point MBA Admissions Blog: MBA Career Goals – Crafting a Compelling Short-Term Vision
You’re probably aware that ambitious, yet realistic MBA career goals are critical to a compelling business school application. Not only that, understanding how business school will accelerate or pivot your career path is essential to justifying the financial and time investment required to pursue an MBA.

Many clients we speak with have a general sense of what they want to do post-MBA (or at least what they don’t want to do) but have trouble zeroing in on MBA career goals at the level of specificity that admissions committees expect. Clients are also often concerned about whether the post-MBA career path they envision will resonate with their target programs as it relates to their application.

As such, MBA career goals is the topic we’re covering in today’s article, specifically short-term MBA career goals. Short-term MBA career goals refer to the job you will seek right after graduation and perhaps an intermediate step directly thereafter. We will be focusing on how to craft and communicate your short-term MBA career goals in your MBA application. Of course, this is a highly personalized discussion, but there are some overarching principles that can guide your thinking.

When it comes to the role you will target directly after business school, the adcom is looking for it to check three boxes:

1. Your MBA career goals are something employers hire for out of their program.
Note that I’m not suggesting you have to say you will target the same five or so career paths that every other MBA is looking to pursue (consulting, tech product management, private equity / venture capital, etc.). I’m not even saying your short-term goal has to be something companies recruit for ‘on campus’ as opposed to something that will require a little leg work on your part.

Instead, I’m suggesting that you convey a realistic understanding of the seniority level at which a company may recruit a new MBA and whether your targeted industry / function is somewhere the program has placed graduates in the past. Specificity is important here, even going so far as to spell out the position you will target (i.e., Associate Marketing Manager) and a few companies you would be excited to work for.

2. Your background makes it realistic that employers will consider you for this position.
Some post-MBA career paths are more restrictive than others when it comes to the specific skills recruiters expect you to have. For example, in my experience at Kellogg, investment banks were open to people from a wide variety of pre-MBA fields so long as the person was willing to work hard and could demonstrate aptitude in the interviews.

On the other hand, breaking into product management at a large technology company can be difficult without prior technical work experience and/or an engineering degree. I’m not saying it can’t be done and would never discourage someone from trying for the role of their dreams. That said, the adcom at top MBA programs may be weary of someone who doesn’t at least acknowledge that they are fighting an uphill battle and perhaps present a more realistic ‘Plan B’.

Like it or not, top MBA programs are laser focused on their employment statistics relative to peer schools. While last year’s employment rates at top MBA programs were strong, there’s no guarantee that the job market will remain as such over the next three years until this year’s applicants are graduating. As such, MBA programs will continue to focus on accepting people with realistic post-MBA plans.

3. Your short-term MBA career goal is a logical steppingstone to your long-term goal.
Long-term career goals will be the focus of an upcoming article, but I’ll briefly touch on them here, as they are inherently intertwined with your near-term plans.

It’s ok for long-term career goals – where you dream of being 10-15 years down the road – to be less of a sure bet than your target post-MBA role. In fact, they should be both aspirational and inspirational, tying into your core values and passions.

But, while it’s great to dream big, you also need to have a vision of how to get there and this is where your short-term goals come in. The role you target out of business school should set you on the path towards your long-term goal, building the skills you will need for success in your dream career.

A Few Examples…
To help put theory into practice, here are a few strong examples of short-term MBA career goals from past clients:

“My short-term goal is to join the financial institutions or technology group of a leading investment bank, which will provide the valuation and due diligence skills required of a well-rounded investor and enable my long-term goal of investing in growth-stage FinTech companies that foster progress in financial education and decision-making.”

“A post-MBA role in strategy consulting will build upon my deep experience in the education industry and allow me to put the skills gained at [X school] into practice across a wide variety of business challenges, setting me up for success as the founder of an educational technology company.”

Look for an upcoming article on crafting compelling long-term goals! In the meantime, if you would like personalized advice on your post-MBA plans, reach out to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.

The post MBA Career Goals – Crafting a Compelling Short-Term Vision appeared first on Vantage Point MBA.
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How to Get the Adcom Excited About Your MBA Career Goals Essay Plus an [#permalink]
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FROM Vantage Point MBA Admissions Blog: How to Get the Adcom Excited About Your MBA Career Goals Essay Plus an Example
In last week’s article, we provided some tips to ensure the short-term goals you share in your MBA career goals essay will resonate with the admissions committee. We shared that your post-MBA goals should be specific, realistic, and logical. This is all true, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. While a strong short-term MBA career goal will demonstrate to the admissions committee that you understand the type of companies that hire out of their program, it won’t get them excited about having you as part of their incoming class. This is where the long-term component of your MBA career goals essay comes in. By long-term MBA career goals, we mean your end game – where you see yourself at the pinnacle of your career.

Don’t think small or hold back here, it’s ok to be ambitious. Top MBA programs aren’t looking for people who are afraid or unable to dream big. Exactly the opposite – they want to educate the next generation of leaders who will leave an indelible mark on the world. Intimidated? We get it! However, with some deep reflection, research and soul searching, we know your dream job is out there (or maybe it isn’t yet and your plan is to create it – that’s fine too!).

So that’s the big picture. Here are some guiding principles to use as you think about your long-term MBA career goals. At the end of this article, we’re also sharing a strong MBA career goals essay example from a past client that really puts our advice into practice.

[b]1) Your Future Should Connect to Your Past[/b]
A great place to start when brainstorming your long-term career goals is with your past. Think about situations – whether early in life, in college, or throughout your career – where you’ve felt truly fulfilled or energized. What was it about these situations that made you feel this way? Is there a common thread between them?

As an example, perhaps in college you built a new campus organization from the ground up and loved the sense of ownership you had during the experience. Fast forward to your current job, perhaps the most exciting project you’ve been involved with was helping your company enter a new market or launch a new product. The connection I see between these two things is an entrepreneurial spirit, which is something that could absolutely factor into your ultimate career goal.

Beyond a linkage to your underlying passions or motivations, your long-term goal should have a more tactical connection to your past. It’s hard to make the case that you want to pursue a certain path if you haven’t had even a touch of exposure to it in the past. For instance, if your pre-MBA career is in investment banking, it would be hard to justify a long-term goal as the founder of a nonprofit (unless another part of your background is heavily social impact focused).

Said simply, there has to be a solid ‘why’ driving your long-term goal that the adcom will understand within the confines of your application and specifically within your MBA career goals essay.

[b]2) You Don’t Have to Reinvent the Wheel[/b]
A common concern I work through with clients is how to differentiate themselves if their long-term career goals are ‘typical’. For instance, someone who followed the investment banking / private equity pre-MBA career path and wants to remain in the private equity space throughout their career.

Rest assured that targeting a finance career (or consulting, etc.) is ok! Remember that large portions of the graduates from top MBA programs go these ‘typical’ routes (see statistics at the far right of [url=https://vantagepointmba.com/2021/03/15/comparison-of-top-mba-programs/]this table[/url]) and a notable amount of them remain there for the long haul. Clearly the adcom is amenable to these goals.

I do, however, encourage my clients to make these types of goals ‘their own’.  Each of these careers has numerous areas of specialization, whether that be an industry focus, investing philosophy, etc. By identifying one about which you are passionate, rooted in past work or personal experience, makes the goal more unique and interesting.

If not an industry specialty, perhaps you are passionate about a certain leadership philosophy (like Ray Dalio, a Harvard Business School graduate, and his ‘idea meritocracy’) or a cause that could be tied in with your future career ambitions. The key, if you are targeting one of the more common post-MBA careers (and even if you aren’t, quite frankly), is to put your personal spin on the goal and tie it in with the values and passions that make you who you are.      

[b]3) Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day – Your Career Goals Shouldn’t Be Either[/b]
As I said earlier, arriving at authentic, well developed long-term MBA career goals is hard – and that’s exactly why it matters to the admissions committees at top MBA programs. I find that many applicants rush to a conclusion about ‘what they want to be when they grow up’ without enough self-reflection and end up with a goal that is run of the mill and uninspiring.

Take the time to research where MBAs that have gone into your field of interest have ended up 10 to 20 years after graduation. Read about business leaders you admire and the path they followed to get where they are. Last and most important, network with alums of your target programs that have gone into your field of interest.  These things will get your wheels turning and help you develop a compelling narrative for your application, while inspiring you to set and achieve lofty goals. 

[b]An MBA Career Goals Essay Example[/b]
To help put theory into practice, below is a career goals essay example from one of our past clients that does a particularly good job of incorporating the advice we’ve shared in this and last week’s article.

[b][url=https://academics.gsb.columbia.edu/mba/admissions/application-requirements#5]Prompt (Columbia Business School)[/url]: Through your resume and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals over the next 3-5 years and what, in your imagination, would be your long-term dream job? (500 words)[/b]

As a first-generation immigrant to the US, I was raised on the principle of investing in the future. My parents gave up their life in <country> to invest in better education and career opportunities in the US for me and my sister. When I moved to New York and struggled to learn English in 6th grade, I spent two months of my allowance on several pocket-size notebooks and pens that I carried around to jot down unfamiliar words that I would later look up in the dictionary. This habit earned me a few jeers on the playground, but I knew the long-term pay-off – mastering the English language – would be worth it.

This long-term lens continues to shape my career. At <Company>, I have stepped up to become the biomass industry lead analyst because I believe in the potential of the industry to be one of the long-term environmental solutions for carbon emission. I was particularly excited to lead a meeting in 2019 with a multi-billion dollar <Client> to share my biomass industry analysis, helping drive their investment in sustainable energy infrastructure. However, given the scope of credit rating analysis, I often find myself disappointed that I have no stake in the investment decision outcome. I want to be in a position to directly invest in companies that have a positive long-term impact. As such, I want to become an investment manager focusing in ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) investing, which targets responsible investing opportunities.

In the next 3 – 5 years after CBS, I plan to work as a research associate for an asset manager or investment fund that has an ESG focus, such as Neuberger Berman or PIMCO. I hope to convert my summer internship into a full-time position at one of these funds, as did <Name> (’20). My goal as a research associate is to leverage my investing skills and application of ESG concepts garnered from my Columbia MBA, the Value Investing program and the Three Cairns Climate Fellowship in particular, to lead teams in crafting investment portfolios that meet the long-term investment objectives of ESG investors. From managing the entire investment process, I’ll understand every aspect that is factored into an investment decision, strengthening my analytical acumen and ultimately growing my network and reputation in the ESG investing community that will help me achieve my dream goal.

My dream job is to be the founder and CEO of a global ESG-focused investment fund that manages the entire ESG investment process in-house – from formulating the top-down ESG selection process to executing on the investment decisions – as most funds either offer ESG as one of many investment options or largely depend on third party analytics as an input to their ESG investment decisions. This tailored in-house investment approach would offer much-needed transparency, enabling investors and stakeholders to monitor the impact that their investments are making. From my personal experience, I fully understand what it means to “invest in the next generation”, and I firmly believe that ESG is a powerful way for investors to focus beyond monetary return.

Need help applying this advice to your own situation? We would love to help. Click [url=https://vantagepointmba.com/free-consultation/]here[/url] to schedule an initial consultation.

The post [url=https://vantagepointmba.com/2022/05/04/mba-career-goals-essay/]How to Get the Adcom Excited About Your MBA Career Goals Essay Plus an Example[/url] appeared first on [url=https://vantagepointmba.com]Vantage Point MBA[/url].
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FROM Vantage Point MBA Admissions Blog: Older MBA Applicant? Here Are Some Tips So That Your Age Doesn’t Hold You Back
Are you an older MBA applicant to a traditional full-time program? A number of clients and prospective clients we speak with each year are surprised to learn that they fall into this category and that their years of work experience can be a point of weakness in their application. Please don’t abandon your dreams of a full time MBA if you are an older MBA applicant, however, as there are things you can do to get the admissions committee comfortable with and excited about your robust experience.

[b]What is an Older MBA Applicant Exactly? [/b]
If you look at the average years of work experience of incoming students at the top ranked programs, it sits squarely and consistently at five years. Those five years are upon matriculation, so, on average, students apply when they have four years of experience and are roughly 26 years old (if they entered the workforce right out of undergrad).

Clearly this is an average so there is a range, but it’s not as wide as you may think. HBS no longer publishes the dispersion of work experience within its classes, but when it last did, only 67 students or roughly 7% were 30 or older. Columbia Business School shares that [url=https://academics.gsb.columbia.edu/mba/admissions/class-profile]the middle 80% of its class is between 25-31[/url]; if half of the remaining 20% is older than 31, that translates to about 80 students per class. Being older than average is not a deal killer, but it makes an incredibly competitive application process even more selective.

Age is not the only factor that determines whether the admissions committee will view you as an older MBA applicant, however. If you went straight into a master’s program out of undergrad, your age might not directly correlate to your years of work experience and the admissions committee will take this into consideration. An early career pivot (from, say, technical engineering to consulting) may have also led you to be on the older end, which is explainable. But that’s just it, they will expect you to explain it – don’t let them make assumptions for themselves.

[b]What Concerns Admissions Committees About Older MBA Applicants?[/b]
Business schools’ concerns with older MBA applicants are two-fold (for the most part) – employability and your own satisfaction with the degree.

If you’ve been researching top MBA programs, you’ve likely come across the employment statistics and reports they publish each year. The percentage of students employed upon graduation is a hugely important metric for them. Major post-MBA employers come to campus expecting to speak with students at similar points in their careers and with similar expectations as to the level and compensation at which they will be hired. Business schools want to maximize the pool of students in this ‘sweet spot’ for employers to make it worth the employers’ while to come to campus for recruiting. This, in turn, helps maximize the proportion of students who are employed at graduation. [b]    [/b]

As you can infer from the prior paragraph, top MBA programs consider employers to be one of their key ‘customers’. Solid employment statistics ensure the ongoing viability of their program. The other key ‘customer’ of top MBA programs is its alumni. Alumni engagement, satisfaction with their degree, and enthusiasm for donating to their alma mater is another thing that keeps MBA programs afloat.

Business schools know that alumni tend to be satisfied with their degree if they had a great, engaging experience on campus and perceive that they have realized an acceptable ROI in their tuition investment.  True or not, the perception is that late 20-somethings have fewer outside responsibilities and will therefore devote themselves more fully to the campus experience than older students.

[b]So, You’re an Older MBA Applicant, What Should You Do? [/b]
The reason we share the concerns the admissions committee may have about older MBA applicants is because understanding these concerns can help these candidates strategize.

[b]Convince Admissions Committees You’re as Employable (If Not More) Than Younger Applicants[/b]
To defray concerns about employability, it’s even more important than for younger candidates to have a concrete, tactical [url=https://vantagepointmba.com/2022/04/27/mba-career-goals-short-term/]short-term MBA career goal[/url] (i.e., the job you will pursue after graduation). Further, your career goals should be fully vetted through research and live conversations with alumni who have followed your targeted path before you. In addition to ensuring that your target post-MBA job lines up with your expectations / desires, it’s important to understand whether it typically appeals to older MBAs. Some paths may not be a fit for those with young kids at home if they entail long hours and extended, frequent travel. It’s truly a matter of personal preference, but you want to be realistic and, perhaps, weave your research into an essay.

Even more importantly, use your ‘extra’ years of experience to your advantage! As you are likely aware, leadership experiences and career progression are of prime importance to admissions committees (because, to harp on this once more, strong leaders who have been promoted in the past tend to be easily employable). Make sure these qualities come across loud and clear in the ‘[url=https://vantagepointmba.com/2021/03/29/how-to-develop-your-personal-brand-2/]personal brand[/url]’ you portray in essays and interviews. Further, to revisit what we said earlier on, don’t hesitate to thoroughly explain your career path thus far – why you’ve made the moves you have and how these experiences have equipped you to achieve your goals.

[b]Really Lean into Your ‘Why MBA’, Specifically ‘Why Full Time MBA’[/b]
In addition to making sure you are employed at graduation, MBA programs want to ensure you are successful throughout your career. They care about you, yes, but successful alumni who are leaders in their fields tend to be great guest speakers, adjunct professors, and mentors to current students. Show the admissions committee that you have a crystallized and aspirational vision of your future and, critically, how an MBA fits into it. This messaging is important for all applicants, of course, but it is even more crucial for older applicants who may have already achieved success without the degree.

In addition to really building out your ‘why MBA’ rationale, make sure to cover off on why you are choosing the full-time route and not, say, and executive MBA or evening/weekend program. EMBAs and part-time programs tend to appeal to older MBA applicants – we have even seen the question of ‘why not a part time program’ asked in admissions interviews for older full-time applicants. It’s on the admissions committee’s mind, so don’t leave them with a question about which option is better for you. Address it proactively and directly.

Another important part of your ‘why MBA’ story is helping the admissions committee envision you as a student in their next class. Show them you are excited to be involved in certain clubs and what role you will play in them (leadership positions, etc.). As past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior, share how you have been involved outside of your day-to-day responsibilities in the past. Tie in these prior extracurriculars to ways you will be involved during business school. The key is to show that, even though you are a few years older, you will still have the wide-eyed enthusiasm for learning and engaging in the MBA experience as your younger peers.

If our advice for how to convince the admissions committee that your robust work experience will be an asset and not a hindrance seems nuanced, that’s because it is, quite honestly. The best way to ensure your messaging comes across is to have a few trusted colleagues, friends, or family members read your applications (without pre-prompting) and ask them for their honest assessment.

We can help too! We have loads of experience advising older MBA applicants and ensuring they set themselves up for success. Reach out to schedule a [url=https://vantagepointmba.com/free-consultation/]free consultation[/url].  

[b] [/b]

[b] [/b]



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FROM Vantage Point MBA Admissions Blog: What Is a Good GMAT Score? Answer These 5 Questions to See If You Should Consider a Retake
[img]https://vantagepointmba.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Researching.jpg[/img]

“What is a good GMAT score?” is a question we field frequently from clients. Perhaps they have taken the GMAT or GRE at least once but aren’t sure if their score is “enough” to get them into their dream program.

At the end of the day, the answer to ‘what is a good GMAT score?’ isn’t cut and dry. It varies by school and by applicant, quite frankly. For those that come from an overrepresented applicant pool (i.e., consultants, bankers), a higher GMAT score might be needed to stand out relative to someone with a less traditional background.

At the end of the day, there is really no downside to retaking the test, except for the time and [url=https://www.mba.com/exams/gmat/about-the-gmat-exam/location-specific-pricing-regulations]associated fee[/url] it requires, so it’s an option worth considering. If you’re applying to the [url=https://vantagepointmba.com/2019/03/15/comparison-of-top-mba-programs/]top MBA programs[/url], you want to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward at every opportunity.

If you’re waffling about whether to give the GMAT or GRE another go, here are a few questions to consider:

1. Is your score below average for your target schools? If so, by how much?
If your GMAT score is 30+ points below your target schools’ average (or 6+ points below average for the GRE), you are part of an overrepresented applicant pool and your undergrad GPA is also below average, it’s probably worth seeing what you can do to bring your score up.

However, if everything else about your application wows, including unique work experience, a stellar undergrad GPA, and impressive extracurriculars, you may feel more comfortable applying with a so-so test score.

2. How many times have you taken the test and how far have you come since your first attempt?
If you took the GMAT or GRE once and were disappointed by your score, it likely makes sense to retake it. Most applicants take their chosen standardized test more than once; our clients have typically taken it at least 2-3 times. The admissions committee actually looks favorably upon multiple attempts, as it shows dedication to the application process.

However, if you’ve taken it four or more times and still haven’t achieved your target score, you may want to focus on other areas of the application and adjust your school list so that you’re hedging your bets. That said, if you’ve made moderate gains with each retake, you may still have runway and should probably try again.

3. How hard did you study? Did you really give it your all?
Ask yourself if, in your heart of hearts, you have upside left in your score. If you took a reputable course, did all the homework, drilled incessantly on your weak areas, and took real practice tests then you may not. You could retake the test and possibly squeeze out another 10 points (in the case of the GMAT), but it’s arguably not worth it for that little movement.

On the other hand, if you took the test with no structure or strategy to your studying, you might be able to improve quite significantly. Take the time to prep properly and then schedule a retake. Whether your best score so far has been a 620 or 720 (again, in the case of the GMAT), if you have this kind of upside left, why not capture it?

4. How does your score compare to your practice test performance?
This is another way to determine if you might have upside in your score. If you took full simulated practice tests and consistently scored better than you did on the actual test, you may have just had an off day.

If your actual score reflects your practice test performance and you were simply hoping to get lucky and do better, it’s probably not worth planning a retake.

5. How much time do you have left before the deadlines?
If it’s less than, say, two months and you still have a lot of work left to do on your applications, your time will be better spent on higher-return efforts, such writing killer essays. However, if you’re reading this at the time it was published (May), you still have a good four months before the earliest round 1 deadlines, so we say go for it!

You could consider postponing your applications to round 2 if you’re committed to improving your test score and you don’t have time to do it all, but that’s not an option for everyone (those who want to take advantage of an early decision option, for example).

At the end of the day, the question at the beginning of this article should really be ‘what is a good GMAT score for me’ as the answer is nuanced and individualized. If you’re torn about whether a retake is warranted, our team is happy to help!

Click [url=https://vantagepointmba.com/free-consultation/]here[/url] to schedule a free consultation with an experienced admissions expert who can weigh in on your decision and provide a helpful evaluation of your profile.



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MBA Acceptance Rates at the Top U.S. Programs and How the Data Should [#permalink]
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FROM Vantage Point MBA Admissions Blog: MBA Acceptance Rates at the Top U.S. Programs and How the Data Should Inform Your Application Strategy
As an applicant or prospective applicant to top MBA programs, you might be wondering what your chances of acceptance are…and rightly so, applying to business school takes a ton of time and energy, you want to make sure all the effort pays off in the end! To simplify things, we’ve compiled a list of MBA acceptance rates at the top U.S. programs for the class of 2023. Analyzing this data reveals some interesting and sometimes surprising insights about selectivity across schools.

[b]Stanford GSB is (Unsurprisingly) the Most Selective MBA Program[/b]
Many of you will not be surprised by the fact that [url=https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/programs/mba/admission/class-profile]Stanford GSB[/url] has the lowest acceptance rate of any U.S. MBA program. But just how selective it is might cause a few double takes.

The latest data shows that Stanford GSB accepts just 6% of those who apply! That’s right, of the 7,367 who submitted applications, only 445 were accepted. This was not an aberration – Stanford’s acceptance rate has hovered at 6-7% for at least the last five years.

For context, [url=https://www.hbs.edu/mba/admissions/class-profile/Pages/default.aspx]Harvard Business School’s[/url] acceptance rate was more than twice as high as Stanford’s at 12.5% – of the 9,773 people who applied, 1,222 were admitted. Purely from a numbers standpoint, if you are considering adding a dream program to your list, HBS is statistically easier to get into (not that we’re recommending you decide where to apply solely based on this fact).

[b]The Most Selective Program After Harvard and Stanford Is…[/b]
If you said Wharton (you know, H/S/W as the saying goes), you would be WRONG! There are actually three programs that are slightly less competitive than Harvard and Stanford but more competitive than Wharton – Sloan, Columbia, and Haas. To be precise, Sloan had a slightly lower acceptance rate than even Harvard last year (!), but this was a bit of an outlier looking at historical data.

Why are Sloan, Columbia, and Haas so selective, you may wonder? There are a few factors at play. The most readily apparent is class size – Wharton enrolls a huge class each year (~900 students) and these other three programs are smaller (Haas’ class size is typically less than 300 students). There are simply fewer seats to fill, which is something to think about as you craft your list of target schools.

The second reason is a little more nuanced. Our experience is that these three programs, notably Sloan and Haas, have a heightened focus on fit with their unique cultures. All the top programs care about that nebulous concept, ‘fit’, but these two schools take it to the next level. If you are simply planning to blanket the top 5-10 U.S. programs with applications to see ‘what sticks’, it is likely you will strike out at Sloan and Haas unless you really take the time to know them and what they look for in applicants.

An ancillary factor driving Columbia and Sloan’s selectivity is the number of applications these programs receive (6,000-7,000, significantly more than other top 10 programs aside from H/S/W). With strong global brand recognition and, particularly for Columbia, a highly desirable location for both domestic and international applicants, they simply receive more applications. Sloan also continued to offer a GMAT waiver option after other programs pulled back from this COVID-related accommodation, which could have increased application volume.

[b]Two of the Highest Ranked Programs Are Not as Selective as You May Think[/b]
A bright spot to note from the MBA acceptance rates data is that two of the highest ranked programs, Booth (#1 this year per U.S. News) and Kellogg (tied with Stanford for #3), have acceptance rates of 23% and 26%, respectively. Yes, the competition is still fierce, but those percentages are roughly 4x Stanford’s acceptance rate and double that of Harvard.

While there are multiple reasons for this, the math is simple. Kellogg and Booth have substantial class sizes (500-600 students) but do not attract the same number of applicants as their top five peers. It’s possible that people overlook Chicago in favor of the east and west coasts or are less familiar with the brand names of Kellogg’s and Booth’s parent universities. Whatever the driver, consider using this knowledge to your advantage when [url=https://vantagepointmba.com/2022/03/09/mba-program-selection/]deciding where to apply[/url].   

If you need help narrowing your search or an expert opinion on where you will be competitive, feel free to reach out for a [url=https://vantagepointmba.com/free-consultation/]free consultation[/url].

[b]MBA Acceptance Rates at the Top U.S. Programs for the Class of 2023:[/b]

[b] School [/b]
[b]2023 US News Ranking[/b]
[b]2022 US News Ranking[/b]
[b]Applications Received[/b]
[b]Acceptances[/b]
[b]Enrolled[/b]
[b]Acceptance Rate[/b]
[b]Selectivity Index[/b]

Booth
1
3
                5,037
               1,140
           620
22.6%
10

Wharton
2
2
                7,338
               1,338
           897
18.2%
6

Kellogg
3
4
                4,632
               1,205
           508
26.0%
13

Stanford
3
1
                7,367
                  445
           426
6.0%
1

Harvard
5
5
                9,773
               1,222
        1,010
12.5%
3

Sloan
5
5
                7,112
                  859
           450
12.1%
2

Yale
7
9
                3,887
                  914
           349
23.5%
12

Columbia
8
7
                6,033
                  948
           614
15.7%
4

Haas
8
7
                3,841
                  677
           291
17.6%
5

Ross
10
13
                4,003
                  808
           398
20.2%
9

Tuck
11
10
                2,463
                  726
           294
29.5%
15

Fuqua
12
12
                3,762
                  723
           447
19.2%
7

Stern
12
10
                3,958
                  771
           360
19.5%
8

Darden
14
13
                3,058
                  913
           351
29.9%
18

Johnson
15
15
                2,105
                  620
           304
29.5%
14

Tepper
16
16
                1,963
                  583
           231
29.7%
16

Anderson
17
18
                3,085
                  919
           372
29.8%
17

McCombs
18
18
                2,102
                  747
           270
35.5%
19

Kenan-Flagler
19
20
                1,494
                  662
           296
44.3%
20

Marshall
19
16
                2,418
                  555
           218
23.0%
11

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What Matters Most in MBA Admissions? [#permalink]
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FROM Vantage Point MBA Admissions Blog: What Matters Most in MBA Admissions?
If you’re like many MBA hopefuls, you’ve begun to map out your application approach and are daydreaming in earnest about what it would be like to attend your top choice program. As you consider your own qualifications – both your strengths and your weaknesses – you may wonder, what matters most in MBA admissions?

It can be easy to focus on the ‘hard facts’, including GMAT/GRE scores, GPA, and work titles. While those are certainly important, in our experience, simply having strong credentials on paper will not get you accepted to the top MBA programs.

We’ve found that what matters most in MBA admissions is a set of four characteristics. These attributes set successful applicants apart from others who may not emerge from the MBA application process having reached their full potential.  We hope that they help guide the intentions you set for yourself as you embark on this transformative (and admittedly stressful!) journey.

Without further ado, here are the four characteristics that successful MBA applicants tend to have in common.

1. They are self-aware.
Above all else, the commonality we see amongst the most successful applicants to top MBA programs is self-awareness. This often manifests itself into an easier time distilling down the values, passions, and motivations that guide their past decisions and future goals – all of which is critical material to nail in your MBA essays.

Separately, strong self-awareness typically lends itself to deeper and more productive relationships with others, from which the best leadership and teamwork stories usually result.

2. They are open.
For many people, the toughest thing about writing business school application essays is getting comfortable sharing personal details. It can be surprising to learn that the admissions committees want you to let your guard down and share more about yourself than you would in a typical professional setting.

Think about it for a moment, it would be incredibly hard to differentiate between candidates if you were only judging them on their work experiences (consulting engagement stories really run together, we’ve read a lot of them) and GMAT scores. To truly assess your leadership potential and the value you would add to classroom discussion, admissions committees want to understand your unique perspective – one that was shaped by your upbringing, college experience, and personal hobbies.

If it is not your natural inclination to reflect on your values and motivations and then share them with perfect strangers, that is ok! But be prepared to get comfortable going down this path. [url=https://vantagepointmba.com/2021/03/29/how-to-develop-your-personal-brand-2/]Here[/url] is an exercise on developing what we call your ‘personal brand’ that might help.

3. They are curious.
When we speak to clients this time of year, they inevitably ask what they should be doing right now to prepare for their applications. Hands down, my advice is to seek any and all information and truly listen to those who have come before you. In other words, [url=https://vantagepointmba.com/2020/02/25/networking-for-your-mba-applications/]network[/url]!

Nine times out of ten, applicants underestimate the number of conversations they need to have to adequately learn the subtle differences between top MBA programs. Remember that each person you speak with is just one opinion; to develop a robust perspective on how a school fits or does not fit your goals, you need to accumulate a variety of views.

Let’s go back to the admissions committee for a moment. Just as schools probably sound the same if you are only reading the generic language on their websites, applicants sound boringly similar if they speak in broad strokes about a school’s ‘culture’ and ‘[url=https://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/programs/full-time-mba/academics/experiential-learning.aspx]experiential curriculum[/url]’. No matter how compelling your profile, they will be hesitant to admit you if you can’t articulate how you will leverage their program to achieve your goals.

So be curious and enjoy the process of learning about the experiences of others. Many of the details they share may not apply to you, but those that do will make all the difference in the world.

4. They are willing to put in the work.
Just as networking takes time and effort to do well, so does the broader application process. From arriving at compelling [url=https://vantagepointmba.com/2021/03/08/mba-career-goals-part-i-crafting-a-compelling-short-term-vision/]short-term[/url] and [url=https://vantagepointmba.com/2021/03/22/mba-career-goals-part-ii-crafting-a-compelling-long-term-vision/]long-term post-MBA career goals[/url] to [url=https://vantagepointmba.com/2021/03/01/how-to-make-your-resume-mba-ready/]recrafting your resume[/url] for an admissions committee audience, a strong application can’t be done in days or even weeks.

Remember that you are competing for one of 300-1000 spots (depending on the program) with a pool roughly nine times as big as the incoming class based on the [url=https://vantagepointmba.com/2022/05/25/mba-acceptance-rates-at-top-u-s-programs/]latest acceptance and yield data[/url]. Invest the time into crafting an authentic, well-developed application and set yourself up for the best chances of success.

You may have been hoping for one concrete, achievable answer to what matters most in MBA admissions. We get it, crafting a compelling application is tough! If you would like assistance, [url=https://vantagepointmba.com/free-consultation/]reach out[/url] for a free 30-minute consultation!



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HBS Essay Advice: Frameworks, What to Avoid, and a Strong Example [#permalink]
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FROM Vantage Point MBA Admissions Blog: HBS Essay Advice: Frameworks, What to Avoid, and a Strong Example
It’s ‘go’ time! HBS has announced next year’s deadlines and confirmed its essay question, which remained unchanged again this year. At first glance, the HBS essay question seems fairly simple. As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA program? However, after giving it some thought, many candidates find themselves lost, trying to figure out what the adcom is looking for and which experiences from their background would be best to include.  Also of note, HBS added a word count this year, limiting submissions to a maximum of 900 words – a significant deviation from past years where there was no specific length guidance.

To help you navigate this challenging and important piece of writing, we’re sharing our best HBS essay advice – some frameworks and a structure you might leverage, what to avoid including in your essay, and finally a strong example from a past client.

[b]What Does HBS Look For[/b]
As a starting place, it’s important to keep in mind the [url=https://www.hbs.edu/mba/admissions/Pages/who-are-we-looking-for.aspx]qualities HBS seeks in its MBAs[/url]. HBS looks for: 1) Habit of Leadership, 2) Analytical Aptitude and Appetite; 3) Engaged Community Citizenship. It wants strong leaders who will change the world. Nearly every successful candidate meets the criteria above, so it’s important you demonstrate all of these throughout your application (but not necessarily all in the essays).

Ultimately, the HBS essay is the place where they will get to know you beyond the nitty-gritty things you provide elsewhere in your application. As such, it’s important to get personal. The goal is to show who you are, what drives you, and what has helped you become who you are today (and that person today is a strong, amazing leader). Your essay should be centered on a thesis that crystallizes this overarching insight about yourself.

We’ve had applicants write about personal mantras that coaches gave them, childhood experiences or cultural influences that impacted the way they think, hobbies that helped them think outside the box, etc. Your experiences and accomplishments don’t have to be massive things, relatively speaking – not everyone has started a non-profit or is on a mission to save the world — but they should be significant to you and your evolution as a person. So settle in and get comfortable turning the microscope on yourself!

[b]Frameworks to Consider[/b]
From our years of advising successful applicants to HBS, we find that it’s helpful to brainstorm leveraging frameworks that can help tie various elements of a candidate’s profile together.  This approach provides some structure while leaving plenty of room for personal expression and creativity. To start, consider how your own story could fit into one of the following:

1) Life Theme: is there something from your life that’s been a theme and you can point to how it’s impacted you personally, professionally and otherwise? It can be cultural heritage, family, traditions (large and small), etc. We’ve even had clients write about something as simple as a hobby like soccer or riding horses.

2) Defining Trait: pick a trait that you believe really exemplifies who you are. For example, we recently had a client write about how he got comfortable not always being the best and sometimes being the worst; and how overcoming his fear of failure led him to some of his greatest achievements.

This is probably the most common tack to take. GSB’s prompt in prior years has been “What matters most to you, and why?” and sometimes people find that to be an easier framework to think inside. This approach could result in a similar essay for HBS and Stanford GSB.

3) A Passion: Pick something about which you’re really passionate. Maybe you have a strong passion that drives your goals? In the past, we’ve had clients write about diversity and inclusion, wanting to change industries, etc., but it’s atypical to spend an HBS essay focused on work.

[b]Structure Ideas[/b]
Once you’ve brainstormed possible theses and the underlying stories you could use to support them in your HBS essay, begin building an outline. Ultimately, you want an essay that adheres to the new word limit of 900 words and follows a structure somewhat like the below. In reality, your essay will be more like 8-9 paragraphs because your stories can take up multiple paragraphs.

P1: Intro (summarizes the main point and is unique/interesting enough to pull the reader in)

P2: Context / history of what you asserted about yourself in P1 (the ‘origins’ story, if you will)

P3: Example story from some point in life (can be any time really)

P4: Example story from another point in life (stories should demonstrate leadership as much as possible – these should be your most impressive stories of stepping up to the plate)

P5: Conclusion

[b]What to Avoid[/b]
You should never write about “Why HBS” or really “Why MBA” in your HBS essay. HBS has never directly asked ‘why HBS’ and that is intentional – they are confident that their program sets its graduates up for success as leaders. Word count spent detailing ‘why HBS’ is word count you don’t have to spend talking about yourself and that’s a missed opportunity. It’s possible that you integrate some “Why MBA” in the conclusion but try to avoid that initially and see how it goes.

In addition, be careful not to spend too much of your HBS essay focused on work. It is our strong, strong recommendation that your overarching essay topic should not be anything professionally specific or undifferentiated like a banking deal team story. If you include something like this, make it an example story somewhere in your essay, not the essay topic itself.

[b]An Example of Success[/b]
Because it’s often hard to put theory into practice, below is a sample HBS essay from one of our clients who was accepted. You can also find it [url=https://vantagepointmba.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/VantagePointMBA-Sample-HBS-Successful-Essay.pdf]here[/url], along with some color commentary from our team.

“My upbringing taught me to be proudly self-reliant. My mother, a construction worker by day and a waitress by night, worked relentlessly to afford to keep us in a strong Massachusetts school system. And her busy work schedule forced me to take on a high level of responsibility from a young age. By the time I was 10, I knew how to make dinner for myself and my younger sister. If I wanted to get ice cream with my friends, I earned money by babysitting for my neighbors. I had to spend extra time on my homework as I often did not have a second set of eyes checking for mistakes. Though the self-reliance I built was something I was proud of, the challenge was that these experiences also made me naively believe that I could tackle any obstacle by myself, and that I did not need help from others to achieve my goals.

However, my perspective changed when I was diagnosed with type I diabetes at the age of 13. I was initially unaffected by my diagnosis and insisted on doing my own insulin shots at the hospital as soon as the nurses would let me. Due to some unfortunate timing, I was forced to spend my third and final night at the hospital alone. During that quiet night my new reality finally sank in, and I started to question my ability to handle this challenge alone. Luckily, when I left the hospital I was assigned a fantastic team of nutritionists, nurses, and doctors who taught me how to manage my condition. But gradually, my appointments with this team became less frequent. As the only diabetic in my family, I felt isolated as I struggled with the daily ups and downs of diabetes. After years of staunch independence, I felt myself suddenly wanting a broader community for support.

I found this community initially on the softball field. I had been playing softball since the age of eight but the game took on new meaning after my diagnosis. Putting on my uniform and stepping onto the field, I bonded with a group of individuals focused on one goal: winning. Out of this mindset grew unconditional friendships and when low blood sugar forced me out of a game, every player would check on me and cheer loudly when I when went back on the field. In return, I put everything I had into our games; I even sport a permanent scar on my left leg from constantly sliding into bases. During my 2008 season on my college varsity softball team, Coach Tom asked us to write down our unique strengths. The day before playoffs, each player received a ball with a written quote encapsulating this self-evaluation. I now keep this softball on my desk at work to remind myself of my individualized mantra: “I may not be the biggest or the strongest, but I always give 100% of myself to the team”.

As a varsity softball player in college, my team devotion was tested when an over-zealous slide into third base sidelined me for most of the season. I was initially devastated by this accident: for years I had gauged my contribution to the team by my statistical performance, and I felt insignificant without this data. Fortunately, I discovered a renewed sense of purpose mentoring one of our struggling freshmen, Rachel. I empathized with Rachel’s frustrations and feelings of isolation, recalling my own emotions from that third night in the hospital. Together we worked tirelessly to improve her fielding skills and I felt immensely proud when Rachel fielded several games successfully later that season. This experience taught me that the impact I could have as a leader on a team was as important as the impact I could have at bat or in the outfield. I’ve carried this lesson with me to my Boston co-ed league where I currently add value to my team of talented but relatively inexperienced softball players every week by strategizing field positioning, directing base runners, and rallying morale. Each community I become a part of ―be it the leading bank where I now work, my coed softball team, or my volunteer leadership committee― receives the same level of collaborative enthusiasm from me. My experiences on the softball field have taught me the value of teamwork and leadership, which have become core to my personality and vital to my professional success. By knowing how to work with and motivate large groups, I have been able to lead cross-sector research projects at a leading bank, revealing unique investment insights. During these projects I have taken responsibility for ensuring that a team objective is established and that everyone contributes, leading to great successes and promotions not only for me but also for my teammates. And going forward, I believe that these qualities will enable me to become an effective and influential executive at a company focused on improving the quality of care and the quality of life for all individuals like me living with diabetes and seeking their own ”teams” for support.”

We hope this helps get you started with the HBS essay! The ambiguity of the question makes it tough, but with self-reflection, vulnerability, and patience you can write a great essay and hopefully have a bit of fun with it along the way.

If you would like some personalized guidance, click [url=https://vantagepointmba.com/free-consultation/]here[/url] to request a free 30-minute consultation!



The post [url=https://vantagepointmba.com/2022/06/09/hbs-essay-advice/]HBS Essay Advice: Frameworks, What to Avoid, and a Strong Example[/url] appeared first on [url=https://vantagepointmba.com]Vantage Point MBA[/url].
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MBA Application Deadlines for 2022-2023 [#permalink]
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FROM Vantage Point MBA Admissions Blog: MBA Application Deadlines for 2022-2023
It’s that time of year! Top business schools are starting to release their MBA application deadlines and essay questions for the 2022-2023 application cycle. If you are applying in Round 1, now is the time to pick your first school and start drafting essays.

Remember, when you apply matters. Early action programs tend to have higher acceptance rates but are typically binding commitments. Round 1 is the optimal round for most applicants, especially those with 4+ years of work experience or who are applying from an over-represented background like consulting.

But at the end of the day, the most important factor is [b]what[/b] you submit. So, weigh the factors but don’t sacrifice quality for speed (see our longer article on [url=https://vantagepointmba.com/2019/06/11/round-1-or-round-2/]Round 1 vs. Round 2[/url] if you’re on the fence).  Please note that we did not include Round 3 deadlines below as they are not ideal for most applicants.

Here are the MBA application deadlines that have been announced as of June 15, 2022 (rows that are left blank indicate the school has not yet announced deadlines for 2022-2023).

[img]https://vantagepointmba.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Application-Deadlines-2.png[/img]



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Kellogg MBA Essay Questions and Tips [#permalink]
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FROM Vantage Point MBA Admissions Blog: Kellogg MBA Essay Questions and Tips
If [url=https://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/programs/full-time-mba.aspx]Kellogg School of Management[/url] is on your list of target MBA programs, you’ve likely begun thinking about how to approach the Kellogg MBA essay questions. You’ve come to the right place. Read on for the Kellogg MBA essay questions and tips to ensure your responses are as strong as possible.

Kellogg MBA Essay Questions
[list]
[*]Kellogg’s purpose is to educate, equip and inspire leaders who create lasting value. Provide a recent example where you have demonstrated leadership and created value. What challenges did you face and what did you learn? (450 words)[/*]
[*]Values are what guide us in our life and work. What values are important to you and how have they influenced you? (450 words)[/*]
[/list]
Note: There is also a third required essay for those applying to a specialized MBA program and/or for those who are reapplying. Finally, Kellogg has three video essay questions that will need to be submitted within 96 hours of the application deadline (a link will be sent to you after you submit your application).

Kellogg MBA Essay Tips
To begin, it’s helpful to consider the qualities Kellogg seeks in its applicants. As shared on its blog, Kellogg ‘…develop[s] leaders who are empathetic, innovative and who harness the power of diverse teams to meet complex challenges.’ Aim to put your own personal spin on this statement and share experiences that demonstrate it resonates with you.

Frameworks
Think Long and Hard About the Story You Select for Essay One

As the first essay prompt indicates, Kellogg is looking for you to share one concrete ‘story’ in your answer. So, essentially, you have one shot to demonstrate why, as proven by a past experience, you will make an indelible mark on their incoming class. That’s a lot of pressure to put on one story, so it’s important to choose wisely.

Our recommended approach is to brainstorm a variety of stories you could potentially use here and not simply go with the first one that comes to mind. Just because an accomplishment was personally significant to you doesn’t mean it is the best material for this essay.

As general guidance, we would steer you towards a professional example that is relatively recent (within the last two years) and involved teamwork of some kind. Kellogg wants to see the kind of leader you are today and given the heavily team-oriented nature of the program, telling a story about a time you accomplished something without the help of others doesn’t demonstrate the fit they are looking for.

Further, gravitate towards a time where you acted outside of your day-to-day job responsibilities (maybe you took the initiative to fix a process that was broken or launched a new employee resource group at your company) – this is how you hit on the ‘brave leadership’ element Kellogg is looking for.

Essay Two Should Blend the Personal and Professional

When it comes to the content for essay two, it should nearly always include some discussion of your future goals. If you’ve done robust personal branding work, these goals are rooted in your values and passions, exactly what this essay is looking for.

Thinking holistically about the Kellogg application, there really isn’t another place to talk about your vision for the future and how an MBA fits into it. As such, this is the ideal place to include it.

That said, the whole essay probably shouldn’t be forward looking. You want to show that you’ve put your values into practice through your past choices and actions too. Maybe the same value that led you to your pre-MBA career (drive for excellence, a desire to overcome challenges, etc.) is also influencing your future goals and decision to pursue an MBA.

Structure Ideas
For Essay 1, we recommend a structure somewhat like this:

P1: Brief intro that previews the story you will tell and the learnings you will share at the end
P2: Context / background info for your story
P3: Challenge you faced as part of the experience and how you overcame it
P4: Wrap up the story, covering the ‘results’ and impact on your team or organization
P5: Share ~2 ‘learnings’ from the story that you can envision applying at Kellogg and beyond

For Essay 2, we recommend a structure somewhat like this:

P1: Introduce the value(s) you will cover in the essay and preview your answer to how they have influenced you
P2: Share the ‘origin’ of these values (i.e., what experience or person/people caused these values to be central to your life)
P3: Example story from later in life showing an application of these values
P4: Forward-looking discussion of how these values have influenced your future career plans and desire to pursue a Kellogg MBA

Kellogg MBA Video Essay Tips
Kellogg has provided two of the three questions you will be asked and outlines the topic of the third prompt.

[list]
[*]Please introduce yourself to the admissions committee.[/*]
[*]What path are you interested in pursuing, how will you get there, and why is this program right for you?[/*]
[*]This question will be based on a challenge you’ve faced and what you’ve learned from it.[/*]
[/list]
Once the clock starts ticking, you will have 20 seconds to prepare and 60 seconds to answer each question. Focus the bulk of your practice on getting the timing right – a minute is shorter than you think! That said, content is important too and it should be complementary, not repetitive with the rest of your application. Since you don’t know the exact prompt for the last question, prepare a few (2-3) brief stories that might fit. Reflect on what each challenge has taught you and how you have put these learnings into practice since.

If you’d like assistance with your Kellogg essays or your broader MBA application strategy, [url=https://vantagepointmba.com/free-consultation/]click here[/url] to schedule an initial consultation!

The post [url=https://vantagepointmba.com/2022/06/23/kellogg-mba-essay-questions-and-tips/]Kellogg MBA Essay Questions and Tips[/url] appeared first on [url=https://vantagepointmba.com]Vantage Point MBA[/url].
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FROM Vantage Point MBA Admissions Blog: Round 1 MBA Application Timeline: A Month-by-Month Guide to Keep You on Track
Is it us or is the summer flying by? It’s July 1st, and that officially means it’s time to kick your MBA application work into high gear, if you are applying in Round 1. To help you stay on track, we’ve put together a high-level MBA application timeline. Read on to see if you’ve accomplished what you should have at this point (don’t worry you can still catch up if needed!) and what tasks should be next on your ‘to do’ list.

MBA Application Timeline: What You Should Have Done Already
[list]
[*]Taken the GMAT or GRE and achieved a score with which you are satisfied[/*]
[*]Researched your target schools by attending webinars and scheduling chats with current students / alumni (bonus points if you’ve visited their campuses)[/*]
[*]Solidified the list of schools to which you will be applying and put the [url=https://vantagepointmba.com/2022/06/16/mba-application-deadlines/]deadlines[/url] on your calendar[/*]
[*]Reflected on your post-MBA career goals, including having informational chats with MBA grads in your target industry[/*]
[*]Crafted and iterated on your MBA resume[/*]
[*]Honed your ‘personal brand’, which is essentially an application thesis that crystallizes what you have accomplished, what you will accomplish, and why an MBA is needed to realize these goals[/*]
[*]Considered who you will ask to write your MBA recommendation(s) and had preliminary conversations with them to ensure they are on board to help[/*]
[*]Requested transcripts from your undergraduate institution and any other schools you have attended post-college[/*]
[/list]
MBA Application Timeline: Do These Things in July
[list]
[*]Finalize your MBA resume, aside from any last-minute bullets for your latest and greatest accomplishments[/*]
[*]Provide your recommenders with ‘prep packets’ that communicate details of the MBA recommendation process and share an overview of how you will be presenting yourself in your applications (strengths, weaknesses, post-MBA goals)[/*]
[*]Begin writing your application essays, aiming to have at least 1-2 schools’ essays in good shape by the end of the month[/*]
[/list]
MBA Application Timeline: Do These Things in (or Before) August
[list]
[*]Continue writing your application essays, aiming to have all schools’ essays in good shape by the end of the month[/*]
[*]Complete application data forms (i.e., the actual ‘application’) on each school’s portal – these often take longer than people think so don’t save them for the last minute[/*]
[*]Check in with your recommenders to make sure they are on track to submit their materials by the deadlines; bonus point if they will allow you to quickly review what they’ve written to ensure they emphasize the things you are hoping they will[/*]
[/list]
MBA Application Timeline: Do These Things in (or Before) September
[list]
[*]Tie up loose ends, including final edits of your resume and essays, and hit submit![/*]
[*]Double check that your recommenders have submitted their materials[/*]
[*]Prepare for and complete any video essays required by your schools (links to complete these are often sent once you submit and there may be a quick turnaround to complete them)[/*]
[/list]
…and BREATHE! Most of the hard work is done, so take some time to relax and catch up on life.

We wish you the best in your MBA application journey. As always, if we can be of assistance feel free to [url=https://vantagepointmba.com/free-consultation/]reach out[/url] for a free consultation.



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Wharton MBA Essay Questions & Tips [#permalink]
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FROM Vantage Point MBA Admissions Blog: Wharton MBA Essay Questions & Tips
Applying to the Wharton MBA program? If so, you’ve likely begun thinking about how to approach the Wharton MBA essay questions. You’ve come to the right place. Read on for the Wharton MBA essay questions and tips to ensure your responses are as strong as possible.

Wharton MBA Essay Questions
  • 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)
  • Taking into consideration your background – personal, professional, and/or academic – how do you plan to make specific, meaningful contributions to the Wharton community? (400 words)
Wharton MBA Essay Tips
The Wharton essay prompts are direct and allow enough word count to paint a robust picture of who you are and why Wharton is right for you (and vice versa). As such, this application can be a good one to tackle early in the process. The deadlines are also early in each round, which lends additional credence to this approach.

While the Wharton essay questions read as fairly straightforward, don’t let them lead you down the path of writing bland essays. Run of the mill essays do nothing to help you stand out from the sea of applications Wharton receives. Additionally, despite the generous word count, you will absolutely need to be strategic about what you include – and don’t.

Frameworks
Your Career Goals Are the ‘Anchor’ For Essay One
When it comes to the first essay, the critical thing to keep in mind is that all of your content should be ‘anchored’ by your short- and long-term career goals. If you haven’t given robust thought to these and done your due diligence to ensure they are sound, now is the time to do so.

Once you have defined and refined your career goals, you need to think backwards and forwards. By thinking backwards, we’re encouraging you to think about the formative experiences that led you to your post-MBA career goals. Perhaps in your work as a consultant you were staffed on a healthcare project that opened your eyes to how complex yet exciting the healthcare industry can be. This sparked your interest in shifting to a strategy role within a healthcare company where you can make a lasting impact on the industry and those it touches. Tell this story so the adcom can really feel your passion and the authenticity behind your goals.

By thinking forwards, we’re recommending that you think very specifically about the skills you need to build to be successful in your target career. Then, research and describe the unique elements of Wharton’s program that will help you to build them. If the examples you cite are offered by other business schools, they are not specific enough to make a compelling argument as to why Wharton will best position you for success. Getting this part right takes work and that is exactly why it matters.

Focus Essay Two on Being a ‘Giver’ Not a ‘Taker’
When it comes to the second essay, take a cue from what Wharton professor extraordinaire Adam Grant’s concept of ‘givers and takers’. Whereas the ‘why Wharton’ section of the first essay can cover what you will ‘take’ from the experience, this essay should focus on the ways in which you will be a ‘giver’ while at Wharton and even after graduation. A giver ‘…[looks] to help others by making an introduction, giving advice, providing mentoring, or sharing knowledge, without any strings attached.’

To be in a position to ‘give’, you need to have a unique knowledge base, personality trait, or past experience from which others will benefit. This is the crux of the essay. It is, first and foremost, the place to share what distinguishes you from other applicants. Because the first essay is so career focused, we urge clients to write about something personal here.

For example, a past client discussed how she would use the determination that had helped her overcome personal challenges to motivate her peers in Wharton Women in Business. She went on to describe a specific area of programming she would bring to the club that tied in with some of the personal challenges she had conquered. The essay was strategic, specific, and thoughtful (and it was successful in earning her an acceptance with full scholarship).

Structure Ideas
Note: In some cases, the topic noted under a single paragraph below may span two or even three paragraphs, but, topically, the below lays out a good flow.

For Essay 1, we recommend a structure somewhat like this:

P1: Directly and concisely share your short-term and long-term career goals
P2: Share a story that explains the ‘why’ behind your goals
P3-5: Describe 3ish key “things” you want to get out of the Wharton MBA to support those goals

For Essay 2, we recommend a structure somewhat like this:

P1: Introduce the ‘unique contribution’ you will bring to Wharton and preview how you will use it to benefit others
P2: Share the ‘origin’ of this contribution (i.e., what experience or person/people helped you to develop it)
P3: Forward-looking discussion of ~two specific ways you will leverage your ‘unique contribution’ to ‘give’ to the Wharton community while you are on campus or after you have graduated

We hope these frameworks and structure ideas are helpful as you work to differentiate yourself and demonstrate the amazing mark you are prepared to leave on the Wharton community.

If you’d like assistance with your Wharton essays or your broader MBA application strategy, click here to schedule an initial consultation!

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Round 1 vs. Round 2 MBA Applications [#permalink]
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FROM Vantage Point MBA Admissions Blog: Round 1 vs. Round 2 MBA Applications
[url=https://www.hbs.edu/mba/admissions/Pages/application-dates.aspx]HBS is due in eight weeks[/url]! This is the time of year when many applicants realize that the crazy work project, wedding planning, or some other major commitment has left them feeling pressed for time in what is a longer process than they originally thought. As such, this is also the time when many applicants start wondering whether there is a difference between Round 1 vs. Round 2 MBA applications. Is one round less competitive than the other? Should they sprint for Round 1 or wait until Round 2?

Right now, you still have plenty of time to get your act together; but here are a few other items to consider when making this decision over the coming weeks.

Round 1 vs. Round 2: Which One Is ‘Better’?
While there’s no conclusive data to support it – notice all the heavy caveats on any “data” you find – many applicants believe that their chances of admission in Round 1 are higher than in Round 2. The logic (which we believe in) is straightforward – in Round 1, admissions committees are starting with a ‘blank slate’ when it comes to class composition. By Round 2, they have already started to build-out their classes.

Our team of former admissions committee members recommends Round 1, especially for those with 4+ years of experience and/or who are coming from overrepresented industries like consulting and finance. The reality is that the Round 1 vs. Round 2 acceptance rates fluctuate from year to year (we do know clearly that Round 3 is always a very low acceptance rate round for most US schools).

Round 1 vs. Round 2: Which One is Right for Me?
We say be conservative and, if you can apply in Round 1, go for it; BUT not if you’re going to submit a second-rate application. We get it, by this point in the application process, a big part of you wants to be done. You’re ready to submit your applications and know the outcome one way or another so you can start planning the next year of your life. Please do not sacrifice one ounce of quality just to apply Round 1. This is a competitive process – you must bring your ‘A game’.

If you are still working through two or more of the items in [url=https://vantagepointmba.com/2022/06/30/mba-application-timeline/]this article[/url] under ‘What You Should Have Done Already’, you may want to start thinking about a plan B. [b]Our advice for people having this internal debate right now is to keep marching forward but focus on quality over speed.[/b]

Round 1 vs. Round 2: What Is My Plan B?
It’s also not ‘all or nothing’. Your plan B might be splitting schools between rounds – for example, applying to two or three of your five schools in Round 1 and holding the others until Round 2. If you do this, prioritize your top choice schools in Round 1. If you don’t apply to your top choice schools in Round 1 and are accepted to a lower-priority program on your list, you will likely have to commit before Round 2 decisions are released. Said another way, if you are splitting your applications across rounds, don’t leave any schools for Round 2 that you wouldn’t be wondering ‘what if’.

If you attempt to march forward but ultimately decide you won’t be in a good place to submit any applications by the Round 1 deadline, give yourself a break. You’re making the right decision to put yourself in the best position for success but deciding to do so is hard and can feel a bit like defeat. So go ahead and reward yourself with a week or two off. Reconnect with your friends and family. Go to the gym. See a movie. Do whatever you need to do to clear your head and come back to your applications with a fresh set of eyes and a renewed focus.

If you’re wondering whether your application is ready for Round 1, feel free to [url=https://vantagepointmba.com/free-consultation/]reach out[/url]. We can give you some feedback and/or you can run your application through our [url=https://vantagepointmba.com/adcom-trial-run/]Adcom Trial Run[/url] process so that a former top 10 admissions committee member can simulate your application review before the real thing.

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Round 1 vs. Round 2 MBA Applications [#permalink]
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