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Standing Out With a Competitive MBA Application

October 27, 2014 by

It probably doesn’t surprise you to hear that MBA admissions are competitive. However, it may surprise you to hear just how competitive they have recently become.

Business schools are reporting a spike in MBA applications, and that means more people fighting over a handful of spots. The top 25 business schools in the United States admit only around 25% of their applicants, with the most selective business schools’ acceptance rates hovering closer to 10%.

With that said, let’s talk about standing out. You’re in the process of checking off the requirements on your MBA application checklist, but you know you can’t settle for what’s merely required. How are you going to make your application stand out to the top MBA programs of your dreams?

Here is your checklist to becoming a competitive MBA applicant:

Research, research, research 

To be competitive, you have to make a case for why … Read full post

Getting Into the MBA Program: mbaMission’s Northwestern Kellogg Essay Analysis (2014-2015)

October 26, 2014 by

The Kellogg School of Management is going positively retro with its rather robust application components this admissions season, requiring two written essays and two video essays. The school seems to actually want to get to know the people who will represent its brand for the next 60 years. Kudos to the Kellogg MBA program! Our analysis follows…

For 2014–2015, the following two essays are required of all applicants:

Essay 1: Resilience. Perseverance. Grit. Call it what you will…. Challenges can build character. Describe a challenging experience you’ve had. How were you tested? What did you learn? (450 words)

Although this is a rather straightforward prompt, executing a response to it could, well, challenge you. Why? Well, most people do not like to admit when they have been knocked down or (heaven forbid!) made mistakes. But Kellogg wants to know that you are a real person—that you have some hard-won victories … Read full post

Getting Into The MBA Program: mbaMission’s Cornell Johnson Essay Analysis, 2014-2015

October 25, 2014 by

You can be forgiven for feeling a little annoyance with Johnson at Cornell University’s decision to unnecessarily complicate things this season by stipulating a character limit, rather than a word limit, for its MBA program application essays. What does 2,000 characters, “including formatting characters,” really mean in this case?

A call to the Johnson admissions office clarified for us that the 2,000-character limit does not include spaces, which means that your final text would likely equal approximately 400 words. (By comparison, note that last year, Johnson’s word limit was a more straightforward 300 words for Essay 1 and 450 words for its three-part Essay 2. So this year, the school is actually giving you a bit more leeway for the first essay and then dialing it back for the second.) Give your word processor’s “word count” function a workout and constantly check it as you write to see how close … Read full post

5 Tips for Getting into the Best Business Schools

October 22, 2014 by

If you’ve been following along, you’re probably already familiar with the handy MBA application checklist we gave you a few weeks back. For you underclassmen out there, don’t go thinking that your business school application days are so far ahead of you that you casually file those tips away and forget about them … until it’s too late to really for you to affect your GPA, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, GMAT score, and more.

Applying for your MBA is a long-term process, and to be fully prepared, you need to start thinking early. Even if you are currently a freshman or a sophomore in college, you can begin taking steps toward becoming a competitive applicant and getting into the top MBA programs.

Here are five things that you need to start focusing on now. Doing so will help you build up the credentials you need to gain admission to … Read full post

MBA Admissions in the Headlines: October 2014 News and Reports

October 3, 2014 by

Here’s some of the latest news and reports about business school admissions and the current MBA landscape from media outlets across the country. From a jump in the number of applications of full-time MBA programs to a troubling small decline in the number of female applicants overall, there’s a lot to explore!

Leading off…

GMAC reports overall spike business school applications

  • Are happy days here again? According to a report by the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), the makers of the GMAT, most MBA programs are reporting significant growth in their full-time business school applications. 61% of global full-time two-year MBA programs that participated in the survey say they have seen application growth, up from 50% in 2013. Another way to look at it: 2014 is the first time in five years when a majority of schools reported a spike in full-time applications.One big surprise that GMAC’s research found: Six
  • Read full post

Business School Networking: Don’t forget your professors!

October 1, 2014 by

Anyone thinking about going to business school knows the value proposition includes networking. When I was asking around my social circle about what an MBA education was all about one close friend told me that 50% of the value was in the education itself and the other 50% came from the relationships you build while in school. The education-to-network breakdown fluctuates widely for different individuals, but a 50/50 split is a reasonable generalization.

Business school networking

The expectations around network-building likely involve some or all of the following:

  • your classmates
  • other b-schoolers you might meet at business competitions
  • outside professional relationships founded via an internship

Each expected source is reasonable, valuable, and realistic. However, an oft overlooked and severely under-valued source for enriching relationships the diverse, intelligent, experienced, and invested group of individuals that comprise your institution’s teaching faculty.

Bloomberg Businessweek article reminds us of the importance of making … Read full post

MBA News: This Week’s Top Headlines in Business Education

September 26, 2014 by

Hoping to unlock the good life by going to business school? Stay on top of what’s making news in business education today with these latest headlines, recaps, and studies about the  MBA admissions process.

From Wharton topping Harvard in the coveted category of average GMAT score, to business school admissions officers frowning on “helicopter parenting,” here are this week’s highlights in MBA education news:

  • For the first time ever, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School has an average GMAT score for its new class of MBA students that beats the average GMAT score for Harvard Business School’s new class: 728 vs. 726. While Wharton’s 728 mean score only went up three points from last year, the new high is a sizable increase over its 718 score in the previous four years. Meanwhile, Stanford School of Business has yet to release its own average GMAT score, and, historically, they’ve been
  • Read full post

Why Get an MBA?

September 25, 2014 by

By its very nature, business school is a means to an end. The benefits of business school are numerous: it can help us reach our goals, advance in our careers, and become better people.

At Kaplan, we have thousands and thousands of success stories—stories of people who, just like you, figured out how to get an MBA and made the decision to pursue it. Each of them answered the question, “why go to business school?” differently; what they had in common was a clear image in their minds of who they wanted to be and—most importantly—the will to go for it.

One such individual is Jennifer Shoemaker, a certified public accountant, marathon runner, and amateur boxer. To land her dream job and take her career to the next level, she needed an advanced accounting degree from a top business school.

After prepping with Kaplan and figuring … Read full post

MBA News: Top Headlines and Recaps This Week

September 19, 2014 by

Looking to unlock the good life by going to business school? Best to stay on top of the current MBA news. Check out some of the latest headlines, recaps, and studies about the MBA admissions process from media outlets across the country.

From parents of prospective MBAs having to foot more of their kids’ tuition bills, to a proliferation of GRE applications being submitted instead of GMAT applications, it’s been a busy few weeks. Here are some highlights in this month’s MBA news:

A new study finds that aspiring MBA applicants are increasingly planning to turn to their parents to help finance their education. Note the small gender gap. Women, who generally enter the MBA admissions process at a younger age and with less financial means, are more likely to have their parents involved in the financial aid equation than men are. (The Wall Street Journal)

Mentors can … Read full post

Veterans Returning from Military Service Get Down to Business

September 15, 2014 by

Since 2001, more than one million military veterans have been returning from Afghanistan and Iraq only to face high unemployment rates and a poor job outlook, so it’s no surprise that veterans are turning to higher education—including business school—when they return from military service.

Veteran applicants are highly sought in business schools, because the qualities that carry you through the military also make you successful in your business school education and career.

So follow our tips for getting into business school by presenting your military service application the right way.

Why business schools love veterans

1. Leadership … and more. Whatever your rank in the military, you’ve been a leader—and sometimes more importantly—a follower.

“Military candidates are already leaders, and they have had significant experiences in team building, leading under pressure, and performing in stressful situations…. These are invaluable skills in the MBA classroom and in post-MBA … Read full post

 

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