Category Archives: General
January 2, 2015
If you were a Round 1 applicant this season, over the last few weeks you may have received great news, upsetting news or a mix of both— otherwise known as placement on the waitlist. First of all, the waitlist is great feedback. It means that you are qualified to attend the program, and that the school was interested in your application and your profile. Unfortunately, it was a competitive year and they couldn’t offer you a solid place in the class. No matter the reason, the waitlist is still a tough place to be.
Will I get in?
There is almost no way to know if you will be admitted off the waitlist. It certainly does happen, often, yet you have little information about the ranking of the waitlist, how many people are on the waitlist, or whether the school will reach the yield they are looking for with regular applicants. Therefore, being on the waitlist means a certain comfort with ambiguity. Hopefully you were admitted to another school and can decide whether to remain in limbo or not.
Should I stay on the waitlist?
The decision to stay on the waitlist depends on your interest level in the MBA program you have been waitlisted for. If it is your top choice, you may be willing to remain on the list until school begins, especially if you are willing to move quickly and give up a deposit on a school that has offered you firm admission.
If the waitlisting program is not your first choice, or you would like to settle your MBA plans before school starts, you may choose to remove your name from the list. It is a great service to another applicant if you do so promptly, allowing someone else a chance at their MBA dream.
Can I improve my chances of admission from the waitlist?
You may be able to improve your chances. The number one rule of waitlists is to follow directions. The school provided you with instructions about how to handle the waitlist process, and you must follow these directions to avoid having a negative impact on your standing with the admissions committee. If the school tells you that no additional materials are required, no additional materials are required, and you should not submit any under any circumstances.
If the MBA program does provide the option of submitting additional materials, apply consistent application strategy to the task. The AdCom may welcome letters of recommendation, improved GMAT scores or additional essays/letters from you. Carefully consider your strengths and weaknesses and what may be most beneficial in your situation.
If you have recently been promoted at work, have accomplished a personal goal, or have completed an academic class with a strong grade, it may be worth writing a letter to update the admissions committee with your news. Try to keep your essay or letter factual, and do not repeat information that was already included in your original application.
A supplemental recommendation may add information about you to strengthen your position on the waitlist. If you have been involved in an extracurricular activity, know someone associated with the school, or can use a letter to strengthen a part of your application, the letter may be the right direction to proceed in. Make sure your additional recommendation is brief, focused and adds significant additional information to your overall profile.
Factual information like improved GMAT scores or transcripts from successful business related classes could go a long way towards bolstering your chances.
While the waitlist may be frustrating, it is a positive indication for your application, and you may be fortunate enough to receive final admission from your chosen program.
December 29, 2014
There is no mute button in an admissions interview to get into a top business school, and since this is one of a handful of opportunities for face time you’ll have with someone from the AdCom team, you’ll need to do all that you can to make that time count.
Keep in mind, the interaction in an MBA interview speaks volumes about what kind of teammate you will be when you are in the program, so make sure the right message is coming across loud and clear.
Here are six interview tactics that will leave them wanting more of you.
1) THERE’S NO PRIZE FOR ANSWERING THE FASTEST! Business school interviews are as much about getting to know you as they are about getting to know how you think. The interviewer isn’t going to endorse you based on how fast you answer a question, but they are going to hold it against you if you answer a question without understanding it. So if you’re stumped by a question, ask for clarification. And don’t be afraid to take a moment to ponder your answer. A well-thought answer is never a bad thing!
2) BE A BROKEN RECORD. What’s the best way to get to Carnegie Hall? Practice. The same can be said for your business school interview, PRACTICE! Once you’ve thought of the stories and anecdotes you want to highlight in your interview, practice them out loud and for an audience. Sure, your roommate may roll her eyes when asked to hear the “Peace Corps” story again and your brother may plug his ears when you tell him the “What I Learned From Being Fired” story again, but all that practice will make sure your Interviewer isn’t the one plugging his ears and rolling his eyes.
3) IT’S AN INTERVIEW, NOT A MONOLOGUE. The point of the interview is to get to know you, but you don’t want to bore the interviewer in the process. Remember, they may interview dozens of candidates. That means a lot of eager future-moguls talking about the same thing: themselves. So whenever possible, make the interview a conversation, not a monologue. By including the interviewer in the conversation, you’ll keep them interested and engaged in the most important topic of all: YOU.
4) DON’T MISS THE OPPORTUNITY TO GET TO KNOW AN ALUM. If your interviewer just happens to be an alum, take the opportunity to get to know a bit more about their experiences with the school. Not only will you learn more about your potential business school, but by asking thoughtful questions your interviewer will get another opportunity to see your savvy thought process and insightful way of thinking. Believe us – MBAs love to talk about themselves!
5) PROFESSIONAL IS AS PROFESSIONAL DOES. Be on time and be professional. That means, be on time if not early. Dress professionally, turn your cell phone off and present yourself as you would at work. Not sure what that means? Ask your friends who have gone to business school, or a trusted professional. Still not sure? Just think of what your mother would say to do, don’t be late, sit up straight, spit out your gum and for goodness sake, turn off your cell phone! Nothing screams unprofessional like the beeping of an iphone text because all your buddies and family members want to know how it’s going.
6) DON’T BE A ROBOT. Easier said than done, but RELAX and realize you are speaking to a real live human being. If your interviewer wanted formulaic answers without the addition of your personality and charm, they’d read your resume and application package and that would be that. They’re interviewing you because they want to get to know you. Your personality is as unique as your experiences. Share your story and share who you are, that’s why they’re there after all!
Basically, if you can get from point A to point B in a clear, logical way; maintain an open, friendly, and professional demeanor; dress appropriately; and have an inquisitive attitude about the school and all it has to offer students, you stand a very good chance of coming out of the interview with flying colors.
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A version of this post by Stacy was originally published on the MBA website Poets & Quants.
December 23, 2014
People have a lot of preconceived notions about what Harvard Business School is like, much of it good but some of it not so great. I came across an article written by MBA candidate Philip Blackett, which does a bit of HBS myth-busting that I think current and future applicants will appreciate reading.
Myth #1 HBS is Cutthroat
Blackett’s imagination ran wild before he came to Cambridge in August, imagining his future classmates would go out of their way to sabotage the success of their peers. “What I found was the exact opposite,” he writes. “I was most surprised by how tight my 93-person section became and how much we genuinely cared for one another after only a few months.”
This sense of collaboration and closeness extends beyond the section to the whole study body, he adds, noting how touched he felt when fellow students reacted to the Mike Brown and Eric Garner incidents by holding a candlelight vigil. Attending Harvard doesn’t mean you can’t relate to life outside of campus, says Blackett.
Myth #2 You Can’t Learn Finance from Case Studies
He wasn’t the only incoming student feeling apprehensive about learning finance through reading cases. With textbooks and practice problems for reference, Blackett says he was able to learn NPV, dividend growth model and EV/EBITDA valuation multiples just fine.
“These concepts that we learned in finance (and accounting) helped my classmates make better decisions when we put ourselves in the shoes of each case protagonist,” Blackett writes. “This simulation practice will help prepare us for similar decisions to be made once we’re back in the real world with real problems to solve.”
Myth #3 The Only Thing You’ll Learn at Harvard is Leadership
While Harvard Business School is nicknamed the “West Point of Capitalism,” Blackett writes that in addition to leadership skills, he was surprised to discover an unexpected lesson during his first semester. In these few short months, he has learned a great deal about both time and priority management at HBS.
With something new and exciting to do every day of the week both on and off campus, many incoming students become overwhelmed by FOMO (fear of missing out). “Each day, I had to make tough decisions on which activities to participate in after school, while considering the tradeoffs of each decision,” he writes, knowing full well that managing his commitments will only become more challenging during the two-year program.
Perhaps the best way to learn whether an MBA program is a good fit for you is by finding out how current students and alumni feel about their experience. To read more of Blackett’s thoughts on his HBS journey so far, please follow the link above for the full article.
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