Category Archives: Application Tips

Tuesday Tips: Cornell Johnson Fall 2016 MBA Essay Tips

Cornell University’s Johnson School of Management is a flexible MBA program housed within an Ivy League campus. Cornell Johnson offers multiple full-time options, including a one-year MBA, executive programs and a tech focused program. Cornell Johnson …

new curriculum at Cornell Johnson

Cornell University’s Johnson School of Management is a flexible MBA program housed within an Ivy League campus. Cornell Johnson offers multiple full-time options, including a one-year MBA, executive programs and a tech focused program. Cornell Johnson has multiple joint degree programs as well from a JD-MBA to MBA-MD. Whatever your goals and background Cornell has a program that can help you achieve your goals.

When approaching this set of Cornell essays it will be useful to set an application strategy. Identify the program you are most interested in and do substantial school research. Then example your background and goals to see what is most important to explain as part of your story. Next, add the layer of personal background and experiences – consider what makes you truly unique. Finally, make sure you have solid academics, work experience and extracurriculars. If you identify any holes in your profile or story, take the time to fill them prior to starting your application.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Applicants are now encouraged to show enhanced creativity in submission medium. For example, the essay may be delivered by video or a creative slide deck.

You are the author for the book of Your Life Story. In 500 words or less, please create the table of contents for the book in the space provided or upload it as an attachment. We value creativity and authenticity and encourage you to approach this essay with your unique style. Alternative submission formats may include a slide presentation, links to pre-existing media (personal website, digital portfolio, YouTube etc.), as well as visually enhanced written submissions.

This essay is an opportunity to show the admissions committee who you are on a personal level. Think about highlighting areas you may not have been able to touch in the previous career focused essays, and demonstrate your unique personal attributes or community involvement. If you have a consistent theme of involvement in a charity or activity this is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate why you became involved and what you have done over the years.

When structuring the story, think of this essay as a way to communicate a narrative theme of your life to the admissions committee. What are the key moments that are meaningful to you? Were there key moments with your friends, family, hobbies or interests that led you to be the person you are today?

This essay can be delivered in any of the media specified above (video, slide presentation, website) and you should tailor the format you use to the message you want to send. Though a creative format will impress the admissions committee substance is always the most important part of the essay. Make sure you are highlighting unique, individual qualities that will make the case for admission to Cornell.

GOALS
The prompt for this essay has been simplified to help applicants hone in on their objectives in getting an MBA.
What are your short and long term goals and how do you see the Cornell MBA enabling you to achieve both? Please limit your response to 500 words or less.

This classic career goals essay is asking for a clear description of both your short and long term goals and how Cornell fits in. This career goals essay requires you to demonstrate that your Cornell MBA will be the right next step to achieve your career goals.

Since past experiences are likely indicators of your skills and future direction, you may want to briefly outline key aspects of your career history. The question does not specifically require career history, and with the limited word count you are best served by choosing key inflection points rather than an entire resume review. When considering what aspects of your past career to focus on, think about the situations that led you to realize what you really want to do, that built skills that will be important to your goals, or introduced you to people who were crucial to your development.

Make sure to spend enough time on your interest in the Cornell MBA to demonstrate why Cornell is the right place to spend the next two years of your life. Academics are going to be a crucial part of your career goals, yet classmates and activities will also be important. Make sure to investigate your fit with Cornell through talking with current students or alumni, visiting campus if you can, or attending information sessions.

OPTIONAL ESSAY
Complete this essay if you would like to add additional details regarding your candidacy. For instance, if you believe one or more aspects of your application (e.g., undergraduate record or test scores) do not accurately reflect your potential for success at the Johnson School.

If you are reapplying for admission, please use this essay to indicate how you have strengthened your application since the last time you applied.

Please limit your response to 500 words or less.

This optional essay allows for either an explanation of any weaknesses in your application or additional information that may bolster your application. If you have a poor GPA or GMAT, concerns with your undergraduate record, or were unable to provide a recommendation from a current supervisor, this is the place to offer explanations, not excuses. Quickly describe the situation and what may have contributed to the issue (illness, family difficulties, etc.) without editorializing. Focus the balance of your essay on looking forward: what have you done in the recent past to demonstrate your skills and intelligence?

If you are a reapplicant this is the ideal place to explain what you have done since your last application to strengthen your case for admission. If you have a new GMAT score or took classes in calculus or statistics you have a solid case for improved academics. A promotion could signal career development and leadership. Even if you don’t have a clear cut development to describe you can use this space to explain how you have improved your thinking, career goals, or fit with Cornell.

Stuck on the Johnson Cornell essay questions? Contact Stacy Blackman Consulting to learn how we can help.

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Cornell’s Johnson School Posts Fall 2016 MBA Essay Prompts

The Johnson School of Management at Cornell University has announced the required and optional essay questions that are part of the 2015-2016 MBA application. The school has fine-tuned the application process this year in an …

Cornell Johnson deadlinesThe Johnson School of Management at Cornell University has announced the required and optional essay questions that are part of the 2015-2016 MBA application. The school has fine-tuned the application process this year in an effort to help candidates convey their strengths and attributes.

“We’ve refined the application process at Johnson to better help candidates reflect on their personal journey and goals, and to present their best selves, as potential MBA students and future Cornellians,” says Judi Byers, executive director of admissions and financial aid.

“Discovering each candidate’s unique strengths is always exciting, and we are looking forward to seeing how applicants choose to convey their strengths through the essay submissions this year.”

Fall 2016 Required Essays

Table of Contents

Applicants are now encouraged to show enhanced creativity in submission medium. For example, the essay may be delivered by video or a creative slide deck.

You are the author for the book of Your Life Story. In 500 words or less, please create the table of contents for the book in the space provided or upload it as an attachment. We value creativity and authenticity and encourage you to approach this essay with your unique style. Alternative submission formats may include a slide presentation, links to pre-existing media (personal website, digital portfolio, YouTube etc.), as well as visually enhanced written submissions.

Maximum file size is 5 MB. We recommend that you upload your submission in MS Word, PowerPoint, or PDF format. We cannot accept .zip or .exe files.

Goals

The prompt for this essay has been simplified to help applicants hone in on their objectives in getting an MBA.

What are your short and long term goals and how do you see the Cornell MBA enabling you to achieve both? Please limit your response to 500 words or less.

Optional Essay

Complete this essay if you would like to add additional details regarding your candidacy. For instance, if you believe one or more aspects of your application (e.g., undergraduate record or test scores) do not accurately reflect your potential for success at the Johnson School.

If you are reapplying for admission, please use this essay to indicate how you have strengthened your application since the last time you applied.

Please limit your response to 500 words or less.

You may also be interested in:

Cornell Johnson Fall 2016 MBA Application Deadlines

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5 Don’ts for Managing MBA Recommendation Writers

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com I recently got off the phone with a business school applicant who believes poor recommendations were a key reason she was not admitted …

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

I recently got off the phone with a business school applicant who believes poor recommendations were a key reason she was not admitted to school last year.

RecommandationShe carefully selected her recommenders and gave them several months’ advance notice. Her first recommender gave her a copy of his letter after submitting it. It was six pages long, written with care – and all wrong. He emphasized the wrong qualities, rambled like crazy and did not provide relevant examples.

Unfortunately, this is not uncommon, and it’s the reason why properly managing your recommenders is just as important as selecting the right ones. Heed these five don’ts for doing so, and you’ll avoid a lot of unnecessary anxiety at a time when you are already under a lot of pressure.

1. Don’t assume he or she will remember all of your achievements or know what to write about: Your recommender is probably time-strapped and doesn’t remember those three amazing examples of your leadership. They also probably don’t know exactly what schools are looking for in letters of recommendation.

Show your reccomender your essays and decide on four or five key traits that you would like him or her to emphasize throughout the letter, such as leadership, teamwork, creative thinking, determination, focus, intelligence, charisma and integrity.

Come up with at least one concrete example that you feel illustrates each characteristic.

Here’s what an instance of initiative might look like: “Last year, when I learned that international sales were declining, I took it upon myself to research the competitive landscape and learned of two recent market entrants. I then offered to lead a team to analyze these new competitors and develop a strategy for regaining our market share. Our team of five analysts proposed a solution after one week of work. The solution was implemented and within six months, we gained back 5 percent of lost market share.”

2. Don’t bombard them with too many materials or reminders: Doing this can overwhelm your recommender and lead them to ignore what you’ve prepared for them. Create a bulleted list of all of the projects that you have worked on and an outline of your strengths that go into more detail than your resume.

You want your recommenders to actually read this document, so try to keep it to one page and do not overload them with information. It should be a helpful, quick reference.

3. Don’t allow your recommender to provide a rave review without supporting their statements with solid facts: The cardinal rule of good writing – show, don’t tell – is equally important in a letter of recommendation. The admissions committee really wants to get that third-party perspective missing from your essays, test scores and interview.

No one expects the applicant to be perfect, however. The best recommendation letters paint a vivid picture of the candidate that brings the candidate on paper to life.

4. Don’t let them submit late under any circumstances: It’s important to get started on this process as early as possible. Your recommender should know that writing such a letter is both an honor and responsibility.

Give them plenty of time to prepare for your deadline. You may find it helpful to advance the due date by a week or so in order to remove one last-minute worry from your plate.

5. Don’t write the recommendation letter for them: In an effort to save time or ease their burden, a recommender may ask you to write the letter for them to sign. Don’t do it!

For one, the admissions committee will probably recognize your writing style from your essays and that will immediately raise a red flag. And secondly, if the individual doesn’t have enough time to write a proper recommendation, you would be better off seeking out someone who is more enthusiastic about championing your business school dreams.

On the other hand, if the reason for the request is because English is a second language for your supervisor and he or she is worried about sounding unprofessional, you have two options. The first is simply to not worry about it and explain that the admissions committee is focused solely on the content of the message and understands any language limitations that may exist. However, if you fear it might become a distraction, hire a translator and eliminate that concern.

If you can help your recommenders stay on message, deliver on time and provide vivid examples of your professional skills, you will have this element of your MBA application well in hand.

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Tuesday Tips: London Business School Fall 2016 MBA Essay Tips

London Business School is a close-knit program with an international focus, set in one of the most exciting centers of culture in Europe. Among one of the top-ranked programs in the world, LBS is equally …

London Business School essay questionsLondon Business School is a close-knit program with an international focus, set in one of the most exciting centers of culture in Europe. Among one of the top-ranked programs in the world, LBS is equally valued by employers in both the US and Europe. LBS is an excellent choice for MBA hopefuls who have international experience, a goal to work in London or other parts of Europe, or just an interest in attending school outside the US.

LBS has a slim set of required questions. It will be a challenge for you to present everything you may want about your career, extracurriculars and personal attributes. Make sure you formulate a clear game plan for this set of essays so you can maximize the questions and the space permitted to make your case for admission.

Essay 1
What are your post-MBA plans and how will your past experience and the London Business School programme contribute? (500 words)

Most MBA applicants are pursuing the degree for a specific career goal post-MBA, but if you need a bit more reflection to answer this question it is worth doing the work. Self-awareness about your strengths and interests will help you refine what you want. To take your research deeper it could be helpful to talk to colleagues and alumni who have MBAs in your field to identify your career path options. Make sure that your career goals are both realistic and aspirational. An MBA will certainly open doors for you, and also may define a specific career path.

Your past experiences have certainly informed your post-MBA plans, and touching on those most relevant will be helpful to setting the background for your current pursuit of an MBA. To make this essay more than a rehash of your resume, think about explaining the rationale for your decisions throughout the essay. Why did you pursue your past experience and what has been the impetus behind subsequent career choices? At this point, why are you choosing LBS? If space permits, you will want to discuss the question of timing – why you have made the choice to pursue an MBA at this time, and why you want to attend LBS now.

Essay 2
What specific areas of London Business School life are you most excited about getting involved in and where will you add value? (300 words)

This essay is an opportunity to demonstrate passion for the school, London, activities and the community. Thorough research will be crucial here, whether online or in person. Consider both the academic community and the extracurricular communities. Reaching out to the clubs and organizations you are most interested in may allow you to interact with current students who can provide context for you. Visiting LBS would be an invaluable experience to feel the excitement in person.

To be most effective in answering this question you will want to be specific and logical in your choices of activities you will impact. What activities make the most sense in the context of your career and industry interests? What about your hobbies? Any community involvement you are currently pursuing and plan to continue could start to demonstrate your value to the groups you plan to join or lead at LBS.

International experience may be another area that is important to the LBS community and where you can add value. LBS is seeking applicants who are well traveled and thoughtful about cultural differences beyond their home countries. If you focus on your international background make sure you are able to explain what you have learned from interacting with cultures that are not your own, and relate your experiences back to what you will bring to LBS.

Optional Essay
Is there any other information you believe the Admissions Committee should know about you and your application to London Business School? (300 words)

This essay can be used to explain possible weaknesses in your application like a low GPA or GMAT score, or could be another opportunity to reveal an aspect of your candidacy that has not been covered in the previous questions.

If you use this space to explain a less than stellar aspect of your candidacy make sure you are offering explanations and not excuses. Keep all background information succinct and factual (no whining!) and explain the concrete steps you have taken to improve your candidacy and to be ready for an MBA programme like LBS.
If you are in the enviable position of having nothing to explain, this open-ended question would be a great opportunity to touch on a personal story or add color to your career goals. This could be the ideal place to describe a unique background, experience or attribute that did not fit elsewhere in the application.

Challenged by the LBS essay questions? Contact us to learn how Stacy Blackman Consulting can help.

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