Category Archives: General

UCLA Anderson Requires 2 Recommendation Letters for Fall 2016 Application

The latest post on the MBA Insider’s Blog at UCLA Anderson School of Management reveals that the full-time MBA program will require applicants to submit two letters of recommendation for the class entering in Fall …

ucla anderson letters of recommendation

The latest post on the MBA Insider’s Blog at UCLA Anderson School of Management reveals that the full-time MBA program will require applicants to submit two letters of recommendation for the class entering in Fall 2016.

It seems many applicants in previous years were submitting two letters anyway, so the program decided to make it official this season and will monitor how useful the extra recommendation will be to the admissions committee.

“The letters of recommendation are very helpful in providing a third party’s perspective on your leadership and management potential, readiness/fit for business school, interpersonal skills and teamwork abilities,” writes admissions officer Jessica Chung.

In addition to listing who you should and should not choose as a recommender, Chung also details what kind of information these champions for your b-school candidacy should share with the admissions team.

Finally, she stresses the importance of managing your recommenders and providing them with reminders of your strengths and past accomplishments to make the process just a little bit easier.

“It’s a small investment of time on your part,” Chung notes, “But your recommenders will absolutely appreciate your insight because it will make their job easier!”

We completely agree with the advice and suggestions shared by the admissions team at UCLA Anderson. As MBA admissions consultants, we’re always coaching clients on how to strategize and manage the MBA recommendation process, avoid choosing the wrong MBA recommenders, and decide whether they should juice up MBA recommendations with alumni and VIPS.

Letters of recommendation are one of the most influential components of your business school application, and you want yours to be as strong and compelling as possible.

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Recommendation Letters for MBA Applications

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Fall 2016 MBA Application Deadlines at Cornell’s Johnson School

The Johnson School of Management at Cornell University has posted the following MBA application deadlines for the 2015-2016 admissions season. Round 1 Application deadline: October 1, 2015 Decision notification: December 15, 2015 Round 2 Application …

Cornell Johnson deadlinesThe Johnson School of Management at Cornell University has posted the following MBA application deadlines for the 2015-2016 admissions season.

Round 1
Application deadline: October 1, 2015
Decision notification: December 15, 2015

Round 2
Application deadline: November 17, 2015
Decision notification: February 15, 2016

Round 3
Application deadline: January 15, 2016
Decision notification: March 15, 2016

Round 4*
Application deadline: March 17, 2016
Decision notification: April 15, 2016

*After Round 4, applications will be received and reviewed on a space available basis. Applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. EST on the day of the deadline to be considered in that round.

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Cornell’s Johnson School Bolsters Admissions Team

New MBA Curriculum at Cornell’s Johnson School

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Focus on Career Progression, Results for a Successful MBA Resume

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com While most business school applicants might readily accept the need to spend weeks or months on test prep and MBA essays, many wrongly assume …

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com

While most business school applicants might readily accept the need to spend weeks or months on test prep and MBA essays, many wrongly assume they can simply tweak their current professional resumes and hit submit along with the rest of the required data forms.

In doing so, they have missed a tremendous opportunity to create a powerful first impression on both the admissions committee and, fingers crossed, their future MBA interviewer.

The MBA resume is quite different from a traditional business resume in that it should focus heavily on MBA skills and traits such as leadership, teamwork and international work experience. Admissions committee members often view the resume as one of the most important parts of an application, so think of it as a marketing and branding tool and make it shine while keeping it simple.

Imagine someone scanning an MBA application resume for the first time on the 30-second walk down the hall to the interview. That person should be able to get a clear picture of the candidate – and that quickly.

You do want to provide a snapshot of your functional skills, but the admissions committee will be more interested in the fact that you led a cross-functional team to develop a new version of your product than the fact that you coded in three computer languages to develop the new version.

To the extent possible, illustrate career progression through the resume. Highlight a promotion or show how skills were cultivated after switching to a new job.

For example, if you have worked for the same company for five years but were promoted twice, you should highlight all three job titles, with separate dates of employment and separate descriptions. The descriptions should reflect your increasing levels of responsibility.

Business schools in general today aren’t as strict as they used to be regarding years of work experience, and some programs regularly admit students right out of college.

Whether you have five years on the job or one, don’t go so far back as to list high school jobs on your resume – they are just not relevant anymore. In some cases, even part-time college positions aren’t worthy of more than a mention, so focus on highlighting your most recent roles.

Admissions committees like to see results-oriented phrases in resumes, so for every bullet point, try to quantify results in dollar amounts or percentages whenever possible. It is much more powerful to write that you “created a marketing plan that resulted in a 30 percent increase in leads,” as opposed to noting that you simply “created a marketing plan.”

Business school applicants often find it helpful to frame their accomplishments using the STAR method, which stands for situation, task, action and result. For each employment position listed on your resume, think of a project, initiative or transaction where you made a meaningful contribution. Then describe the situation, your task, the actions you undertook and the results.

For example, one client who had worked as a summer associate at McKinsey & Co. noted on her resume that she “isolated regional sales performance weaknesses and designed a plan to recover $50 million in revenue.”

We see that the situation involved regional sales performance, the task was to isolate weaknesses and the action included designing a plan that resulted in recovering $50 million in revenue. The description was clear, brief and powerful.

The last couple lines of the MBA resume can highlight various interests and skills such as computer proficiency, second languages spoken or a love of travel. This is also an opportunity for a personal touch by adding something fun that shows a bit of personality and can become an icebreaker during interviews.

My resume included that I collect Pez dispensers, and that was always the first thing that the interviewer touched on that warmed things up and made the exchange more conversational.

Finally, for applicants with a noticeable gap in employment history, the best place to address this is in the optional essay, not the resume. Candidates want to fully explain any anomalies to the admissions committee so that no one jumps to an incorrect conclusion, and there’s simply not enough space to do so in a one-page resume.

The MBA resume may only receive a few minutes of attention from the admissions committee and MBA interviewer, but applicants should do all they can to make this first impression as powerful, compelling? and concise as possible.

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Texas MBA Gives Admissions Perspective on GMAT vs GRE

A great many MBA programs now accept the GRE as an alternative to the GMAT as an entrance requirement, but applicants may still wonder whether business schools truly view both equally. If you find yourself …

UT McCombs School of BusinessA great many MBA programs now accept the GRE as an alternative to the GMAT as an entrance requirement, but applicants may still wonder whether business schools truly view both equally. If you find yourself on the fence about which exam to take, the recent post, Which Test is Best?, on the Texas MBA Insider blog at UT McCombs School of Business should be required reading.

Kimberly Jones, author of the article, makes a strong case for making the choice between the GMAT and GRE based on your career and degree goals,  as well as your more personal perception of both tests’ reputations.

For instance, consulting and investment banking companies use the GMAT score as a baseline qualifier for the recruiting process, Jones explains.

“If Consulting or I-Banking are in your sights, this means that the GMAT is the best choice because you could take it once and use your score for both your Admissions application as well as your career recruitment profile.”

However, there are many cases where applicants, particularly those targeting a dual degree, coming from a humanities background, or applying to both business school and other graduate programs, will benefit from going with the GRE instead.

For MBA candidates with career aspirations outside of banking and consulting, the choice may boil down to perception. As Jones points out, companies that hire MBAs are very familiar with the score scale of the GMAT but may need clarification regarding how GRE scores compare.

“MBA Admissions Officers are also new to the GRE setting,” Jones says. “However, many of us have worked with the test and have recruited amazing candidates to our programs since we started accepting it a few years ago and are more comfortable assessing verbal and quantitative skill sets based on those scores.”

As MBA admissions consultants, we generally advise clients to go for the GMAT exam. After all, the GMAT has long been considered the gold standard for the specific academic skills needed in graduate business school, and therefore the admissions committees’ level of familiarity with it compared to the GRE is still nowhere near equal.

If you are a great test-taker and it’s all the same to you, I would stick with GMAT for now. It’s more of a known entity and “tried and true” for the schools—no questions asked about why you chose it.

You may also be interested in:

Applicants Overwhelming Favor GMAT Over GRE, Kaplan Survey Reveals

HBS Admissions Director Talks GMAT/GRE Scores

GRE vs. GMAT, Which Test is Right for You?

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Tuesday Tips: Northwestern Kellogg MBA Essay Tips

Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management is a close-knit community that values leadership and teamwork. At the same time, diversity in experience, background and thought is important to the Kellogg admissions committee. Do your research …

Kellogg MBA essay tipsNorthwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management is a close-knit community that values leadership and teamwork. At the same time, diversity in experience, background and thought is important to the Kellogg admissions committee.

Do your research on the programs, activities, clubs, classes and professors at Kellogg as you approach your essays. While you are reading and conversing with students and alumni, envision how you will contribute to the community.

Kellogg has two mandatory video essays as part of the application process. After you submit your essays you will receive the questions, one of which will focus on Why Kellogg and another will be a general “getting to know you” question. The video essay is an opportunity for the admissions committee to see the person behind the accomplishments you will describe.

Prepare as if you would for an interview, drafting the topics you want to cover and practicing your presentation. The video should accurately portray your personality and demeanor, and extensive preparation will help you be comfortable and be yourself.

Video essays can be daunting, and Stacy Blackman Consulting has developed customized preparation to help you practice for this important component of the application and provide our expert feedback. Contact us to learn more about how we can prepare you for the entire Kellogg application.

Essay 1
Leadership and teamwork are integral parts of the Kellogg experience. Describe a recent and meaningful time you were a leader. What challenges did you face, and what did you learn? (450 words)

This essay focuses on leadership and teamwork using a behavioral essay framework. By seeing the details about exactly what you did and said in your leadership story, Kellogg admissions will understand how you are likely to perform in the future. When approaching this essay spend some time on set up to explain the background, and then use the majority of the space describing specifically what you did, thought, felt and how you behaved.

As the question specifically asks about challenges, it will be useful to show how you have overcome difficulty as a leader or learned from a tough situation. Don’t be nervous about showing weakness here. Every leader has to learn and develop, and willingness to be open to feedback and improve will be an asset to your profile.

Do not neglect mentioning teamwork, which is a core value of Kellogg’s culture. Your leadership experience is likely part of a team at work or in an extracurricular activity, and sensitivity to teamwork and collaboration in any leadership story demonstrates maturity and people skills.

Essay 2
Pursuing an MBA is a catalyst for personal and professional growth. How have you grown in the past? How do you intend to grow at Kellogg? (450 words)

This essay question is a hybrid of a classic career goals essay and a personal essay. Kellogg is interested in candidates who are able to integrate their personal and professional goals and show how a Kellogg MBA will serve both sides of life.

When you describe professional and personal growth in the past, make sure it is relevant to your plans to pursue an MBA at Kellogg. The story you tell in this essay should provide insight into your decision to pursue an MBA and allude to your future goals. Because this isn’t a question about your entire career thus far you can choose just one or two main experiences to share.

The topic of this essay should also be an experience that did show growth over time. Something like starting in an entry level position at work and progressing into a management role comes to mind easily, but also consider something like developing leadership skills over time and personal investment in your career. You could also focus on a passion outside of work that has developed over time and led to personal growth.

Dual-degree Applicants
For applicants to the MMM or JD-MBA dual degree programs, please explain why that program is right for you. (250 words)

Doing your research on Kellogg MBA’s academics and resources will help you answer the question about why you need a dual degree to achieve your goals. If you are applying to the MMM program, you’ll have to show how the degree will prepare you more effectively for your career goals than the MBA alone.

Be able to articulate what is different about the Kellogg MMM program as compared to the MBA and other joint degrees. Know the classes you want to take, the professors you hope to work for, and how the MMM experience will be an asset in your future career.

Similarly, the JD-MBA at Kellogg is a highly competitive admissions process and will require a very clear explanation of what you will do with both degrees after school. Consider the unique attributes of the Kellogg JD-MBA program as compared to others, and also why you specifically need both a JD and an MBA.

Re-Applicants Only
Since your previous application, what steps have you taken to strengthen your candidacy? (250 word limit)

In answering this question make sure you provide tangible evidence that you have improved the overall package you are submitting this year. Improvements like GMAT score or new quantitative classes are especially tangible, but a promotion, increase in responsibility at work, a job change or even a change of goals and mission can apply.

Additional Information (Optional)
If needed, use this section to briefly describe any extenuating circumstances (e.g. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, etc.) (no word count)

If there are any areas of concern, this is the correct place to address them. Strike an upbeat tone here and avoid excuses. Explain your issue clearly and focus most of the essay on the correction for the issue. For example, if you had a disciplinary issue in college, spend most of the essay demonstrating that you learned from the experience and have been an ideal citizen ever since.

Low GPA issues should be explained here, and if there is a grade of C or below on your transcript the admissions committee will want to know why and feel comfortable it is an outlier in your overall academic record. For academic questions make sure you emphasize your improved performance either later in your college career or in subsequent work or classes since college.

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Georgetown MBA’s Fall 2016 Essay Topics

Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business has recently revamped its admissions website, but the changes don’t extend to the MBA essays within the 2015-2016 application. Once again, the Georgetown MBA essays are: Essay One: We would …

Georgetown essaysGeorgetown University’s McDonough School of Business has recently revamped its admissions website, but the changes don’t extend to the MBA essays within the 2015-2016 application. Once again, the Georgetown MBA essays are:

  • Essay One: We would like to learn more about you. Please answer the following essay question in 750 words or less: “Why you?”
  • Optional Essay One: If you are not currently employed full-time, use this essay to provide information about your current activities. (250 words or fewer)
  • Optional Essay Two: Please provide any information you would like to add to your application that you have not otherwise included. (500 words or fewer)
  • Re-Applicant Essay: How have you strengthened your candidacy since your last application? We are particularly interested in hearing about how you have grown professionally and personally. (500 words or fewer)

The MBA admissions team urges applicants to tell their own unique story, and says when responding to the only required essay, be authentic and take time to reflect on your goals and past experiences. Craft a response that explains how these experiences led you to pursue an MBA.

For more information, please visit the Georgetown MBA admissions website.

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Georgetown MBA Program 2015-2016 Application Deadlines

Georgetown McDonough’s New Global Real Estate Center

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