Category Archives: Application Tips
October 25, 2016
The University of Michigan Ross School of Business plans to send out invitations to interview today, October 25th, and the admissions team has been absolutely swamped so far this season. “Given the 13 percent increase …
The University of Michigan Ross School of Business plans to send out invitations to interview today, October 25th, and the admissions team has been absolutely swamped so far this season.
“Given the 13 percent increase in Round 1 apps (our third consecutive year of increases), we’re spending more time reviewing apps than we ever have in Round 1,” says MBA Admissions Director Soojin Kwon in an update posted on her blog. She also notes some exciting changes in the applicant pool: a big increase in apps from women, and increases from both U.S. and international applicants.
While interviews conducted at satellite locations with alums or via Skype carry the same weight as an on-campus interview, Kwon urges applicants to interview at in person at Ross if possible because it’s the only chance in Round 1 to do the Team Exercise, which gives the admissions team an additional data point with which to evaluate your ability to work on teams.
As far as preparing for the interview is concerned, the director advises applicants to know their resume backwards and forward, and to thoroughly research the school. “Interviewers are proud of their school,” she says, and “Doing your homework on Ross demonstrates interest.”
Prepare to answer common interview questions such as: “Why do you want to get an MBA? Why do you want to do that at Ross? What do you hope to pursue after getting your MBA? Why?”
Your answers should be succinct, enthusiastic, and show that you’re prepared without sounding memorized. “Be authentic,” Kwon advises, but don’t worry too much because, as she adds, “You don’t need to try to ‘impress’ us.”
A note for those who don’t receive an interview invite today: the admissions team may hold your application for further consideration and either waitlisted to revisit during Round 2, or denied.
If you suspect a low GMAT or GRE score has lead to your application being waitlisted, you have the option of retaking and submitting the higher score. Otherwise, send no further updates to the Michigan Ross admissions team.
Finally, Kwon notes that the school is working to make an additional loan program for international students available in Fall 2017, and Ross hopes to have the agreement in place by the end of the year.
Good luck to all Round 1 applicants to Michigan Ross!
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October 21, 2016
If you’re applying to business schools this year, the process of pulling your materials together will consume much of your life in the coming months. Of particular focus will be planning how to best position …
If you’re applying to business schools this year, the process of pulling your materials together will consume much of your life in the coming months. Of particular focus will be planning how to best position yourself. If you’ve taken on leadership roles in volunteer organizations or have actively engaged with a nonprofit you’re passionate about, you’ll want to be sure you play up that angle in your materials.
A recent post to The MBA Insider’s Blog published by the admissions team at UCLA Anderson School of Management explained precisely why leadership and extracurricular activities are such an important part of their evaluation process.
“Your past is a good predictor for how involved you will be on Anderson’s student-run campus,” writes ad comm member Satiya Witzer. “Recruiters and employers also see your leadership in college, prior companies and Anderson as signs of your leadership interest and potential in their organizations.”
Admissions committees understand that for some applicants, it’s extremely hard to have meaningful involvement in an organization outside of work. This is often the case for those whose jobs constantly keep them on the road, or whose typical workday doesn’t even afford them the opportunity for a full night’s sleep.
But extracurriculars are vital to your application for several reasons. First, they show admissions officials that you are multi-dimensional. They demonstrate your interests, passions, and personality, which helps the committees get to know you beyond your professional goals. Extracurriculars also indicate how you might contribute to the diversity and vitality of a class and alumni network.
Having interests outside of work shows that you can balance multiple commitments, and that you are the type of person who is capable of juggling academics with clubs, conferences, recruiting, and more.
Witzer lists a variety of activities to help jog your memory of valuable experiences that make great examples of leadership for your MBA application:
- College athletics: Team captain? Most Valuable Player? Operations manager?
- Leadership role in a campus club, non-profit organization, sorority or fraternity
- Writer or Editor of a campus publication
- Mentor for high school students
- Orientation leader or campus tour guide
- Volunteer missions
- Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC)
- Case competitions
- Peer tutor
- Leadership role in an alumni association
- Continued involvement/role in non-profits or professional organizations
- Workplace engagement teams
- Volunteer team leader
- Public speaking or teaching roles
- Active role in political organizations or local campaigns
- Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) role
Your extracurriculars can show admissions officials that you understand your own role as a leader and your ability to leverage your position and give back. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate qualities such as creativity, leadership, teamwork, communication skills, and initiative. These qualities are important outside of a professional setting, as well as at work.
Keep in mind that quality is far more important than quantity. Rattling off a list of 10 involvements will not help your admissions chances as much as something that truly reflects who you are and can showcase important interests and skills.
You may be surprised to find that these involvements will add a great deal to your life, which is exactly the point.
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Image credit: Premier of Ontario Photography (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
October 19, 2016
This probably comes as no surprise to many of you, but Harvard Business School has notoriously low acceptance rates, which is why applicants to HBS must answer the required essay question both thoughtfully and strategically. Business …
This probably comes as no surprise to many of you, but Harvard Business School has notoriously low acceptance rates, which is why applicants to HBS must answer the required essay question both thoughtfully and strategically.
Business Insider recently shared my tips for this season’s crop of candidates, who, quite honestly, will probably have an easier time compared to last year’s simply because HBS decided to forgo the creative prompt for a simple, straightforward question.
It’s interesting to note how the essay at this top b-school has morphed over the past three years. Two seasons ago, there was an optional essay question that threw many applicants into a tailspin. Realizing applicants didn’t really want “optional,” the school posed this question for the Class of 2018 application essay:
It’s the first day of class at HBS. You are in Aldrich Hall meeting your “section.” This is the group of 90 classmates who will become your close companions in the first-year MBA classroom. Our signature case method participant-based learning model ensures that you will get to know each other very well. The bonds you collectively create throughout this shared experience will be lasting.
I think that the more ‘creative’ format of the introduction may have muddied some of the answers, wasting word count being cute, setting up a conversation, etc., prompting the admissions team to look toward something vastly more streamlined for this year. This is the question for the Class of 2019 application essay:
As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA program?
The most challenging part of this essay is remaining disciplined. With unlimited space to make your case, you may be tempted to compose a laundry list of everything interesting or impressive you have ever done.
That urge could backfire, as the essay is used to determine who isn’t a fit for HBS as much as those who deserve the chance to move into the interview round. Maturity, accomplishment, and leadership are highly valued qualities and this essay is your chance to display those qualities through the stories you choose and the voice coming through your writing.
Is Harvard Business School on your list of target schools this season? If so, follow the link above to the full article on Business Insider to read more of my HBS essay tips!
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Image credit: Flickr user Chris Han (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
October 14, 2016
Today’s business school applicants feel the call to reinvent themselves to become more well-rounded and employable, and the invaluable personal and professional connections forged during an executive MBA continue to be the primary draw for most …
Today’s business school applicants feel the call to reinvent themselves to become more well-rounded and employable, and the invaluable personal and professional connections forged during an executive MBA continue to be the primary draw for most applicants.
However, the need to maintain some semblance of work/life balance is especially crucial for EMBA candidates, who often already shoulder work and family responsibilities before adding school back into the mix. An EMBA student needs to keep up in the classroom; maintain high performance levels at the office; and dedicate time to spouse and family on a regular basis.
These expectations can be difficult to meet, so it’s important to figure out a way to keep your job, family, and sanity during an executive program. A new article in the Financial Times takes a look at how students juggle the demands of an EMBA, grimly noting that some people refer to EMBAs as the ‘divorce course.”
Many will have to adjust expectations of what they can achieve. Learning to manage time is also vital.
It’s critical to have everyone on the same page—including affected family members and employer—before contemplating a return to graduate school. Married applicants should make sure they’ll have total support from their spouse before applying, and research which programs have a strong support network for students’ partners during the course.
“Those who cope well in the programme are not necessarily the ones that do best academically,” notes the FT, “but those who have resilience, are good communicators and able to ask for help.”
Check out the original article to learn from several students who have encountered and dealt with the particular stresses inherent to those pursuing an executive MBA degree. Silvia McCallister-Castillo, EMBA programme director at London Business School, tells the FT, “We select people that we are sure will be 100 per cent successful in the programme. We stretch them to beyond what they thought was possible. But we knew definitely it was possible.”
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