New York University’s (NYU’s) Stern School of Business must be happy with the essay responses they received from applicants last MBA program admissions season, because the school has made no changes to its essay questions for this year.
Stern maintains its standard career essay prompt and again gives candidates two completely different options for the second essay, one that is professional in nature and another that is personal. Many applicants will likely be daunted by the “personal expression” option, because the significant latitude it offers can lead to uncertainty—as in, “Am I doing this right?” We suggest that rather than worrying about which format to choose, you first consider what you want to say as an applicant. Who are you? What do you want the Stern admissions committee to know about you? Once you can answer those questions, determine which option better allows you to showcase your message and your … Read full post
Last year, Harvard Business School (HBS) took a new approach to the application essay questions for its MBA program, moving from multiple queries to one very open-ended prompt with no clear word limit. This year, HBS Director of Admissions and Financial Aid Dee Leopold seems to have surprised even herself, judging from a recent blog post, by announcing that the school will be keeping its questions… err, question… exactly the same.
With the benefit of a year of HBS acceptances under our belt using this specific question, we can at least offer some confident guidance on word limits, an issue that really perplexed last year’s candidates. Last season, we had many successful applicants to HBS, some of whom used as few as 750 words while others used as many as 1,250. In general, we encouraged our clients to stick with 1,000 or fewer, but certain candidates who had plenty … Read full post
Following what seems to be an emerging trend this season, the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College has decreased the number of required applications essays for their MBA program this year from (an already fairly minimal) three to just two 500-word submissions, one of which is a classic career statement, while the other asks candidates to share and reflect on a significant leadership experience. Having just 1,000 words with which to convey meaningful elements of their profile means that applicants will need to be especially judicious in choosing their messages and particularly efficient in their writing to get the most impact from these two rather circumscribed essays. As always, we recommend a thorough brainstorming session before you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) so that your messages are clear, complete and fully on topic.
Please respond fully but concisely to the following essay questions. There are no … Read full post
Imagine that you are standing in the lobby of a large building and have just pushed the button to go up to the 10th floor for an appointment you have in a few minutes. As you are waiting for the elevator to arrive, you strike up a conversation with the person waiting next to you. To your amazement, you find that your companion for the elevator ride will be none other than an MBA admissions officer from your top b-school – the very b-school that you are applying to this fall! What will you say in the 30-45 seconds you have to make a great impression and potentially secure your dream?
Before you begin to meet admissions officers and send in that application to your programs of choice, it is essential that you define and refine your elevator pitch. This is the synopsis, in under one minute, of what qualifies … Read full post
We at mbaMission try to encourage business school candidates to get as much “noise” out of the way as possible before the schools begin releasing their essay questions. We want our applicants to have the freedom to reflect on their experiences, formally and thoroughly brainstorm, choose ideas, prepare outlines and then truly focus on crafting powerful essays. Essentially, we want them to be unfettered as they engage in what is, for many, one of the most significant creative challenges they will ever face.
So, a simple step such as preparing your resume now will allow you to focus better on the other elements of your application in the future. By working on your resume now, a process that can require several rounds of revisions, you can dedicate the required time to do so at a more leisurely pace, before “crunch time” hits. Further, you will lay the foundation for brainstorming … Read full post
We often get questions about part-time MBA programs and their value. We thought it would be good to take a look at some of the pros and cons of this MBA option.
As for the pros, the one candidates cite most frequently is that the part-time MBA has a limited opportunity cost. Unlike the full-time MBA student, the part-time MBA student does not miss out on two years of salary and still has the opportunity to earn raises and promotions while completing his/her studies. Furthermore, firm sponsorship seems to be more prevalent for part-time MBAs, so candidates who have this option can truly come out ahead, with a free education and continued earning throughout.
Beyond the financial rationale, many part-time MBA students see an academic advantage; they can learn both in the classroom and at work and can then turn theory into practice (and vice versa) in real time, … Read full post
Great news for Kaplan students: we’ve collaborated with Amazon to bring the first GMAT course ebook directly to students enrolled in Kaplan courses using the Kindle reading apps and Kindle Fire tablets. This makes our GMAT course the first Kindle-compatible Kaplan course available for aspiring business school students. Kaplan GMAT students will have the ability to study across multiple devices—Kindle Fire and Android tablets, iPads, PCs and Macs—and take advantage of features such as note taking, highlighting, tracking progress, word look up, searching and syncing.
“Until recently, the adoption of tablets and eBooks for studying has lagged the adoption of eBooks for leisure reading, because studying involves engagement with the book through highlighting, note-taking and other tactile actions,” said Lee Weiss, Executive Director of Emerging Products, Kaplan Test Prep. “But as these functions became more user-friendly in eBook form and device ownership continues to grow, we’re now seeing a demand … Read full post
When assessing business school and an MBA, the ‘Money Issue’ is nothing if not multi-faceted. Since graduate degrees are an investment, like any other investment, there is up front cost. Some are fortunate enough to not have to secure student loans to help pay for graduate school, but most, unfortunately, do need this type of financial assistance. So, how do you pay for business school once you’re in?
Last year, I wrote about a proclamation made by the student loan ombudsman at the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB), Rohit Chopra. Mr. Chopra declared the student loan system in the United States economy as ‘too big to fail.’ The student loan debt market, comprised of public and private lenders, shot past $1 trillion in early 2013 and continues its relentless climb.
It is a wonderful thing to not have to take on debt in order to pursue a graduate … Read full post
Mean GMAT scores are influenced by all sorts of factors and are, of course, derived from compiling scores significantly above, significantly below, and all points in between a plotted average. Plus, it is certainly worth noting the vast differences in the individual human beings that are submitting these scores. These folks undeniably come from extremely different educational histories and socio-economic statuses. Each person decides on his or her own level of preparation in order to achieve wildly different target scores relevant to wildly different admissions criteria. And the list of mitigating factors goes on and on. Nonetheless, comparing arithmetic mean GMAT scores from nation to nation tells an interesting if not complete story and raises at least a few novel questions.
The U.S. has long been criticized for an educational system that appears to be less than it ought to be considering the wealth of the nation. Arguably, the most … Read full post
Do you know what your GMAT score goal should be? Do you know how to figure that out? Look, you need a target score and I need you to set it. Here’s how:
- Do some research. Compile a list of all the programs you’d like to attend. Be thorough in your research and clearly identify why you would like to attend each institution that makes it onto your list.
- Find out what the average GMAT score is for admitted students to each of your listed programs. If, for some reason, you cannot find that information online, call the admissions office and ask.
- Take the highest score and make it higher. Add on twenty points or so and set that as your target score. Remember, an average is comprised of scores that are higher and lower than the mean presented. You want to be on the top side of that range.