Category Archives: Application Tips
December 26, 2013
Finding yourself on the waitlist at your dream b-school definitely comes with a mixed bag of emotions. While it’s disappointing not to have a definitive yes, you’re still in the running and should take some …
Finding yourself on the waitlist at your dream b-school definitely comes with a mixed bag of emotions. While it’s disappointing not to have a definitive yes, you’re still in the running and should take some comfort in knowing that you’ve passed an important hurdle with the admissions committee.
As their classes begin to take shape, admissions committees will return to the waitlist and admit a fair number from this group. Meanwhile, there are a few things you can try to increase your chances of moving off the waitlist.
Each school is different, so find out what your target school expects from applicants. Some schools only want to hear whether you want to remain on the waitlist or be released. If this is the case, don’t try to send more information or pester the admissions committee about their reasoning because you’ll only be shooting yourself in the foot if you do.
However, if the school is open to receiving more information from waitlisted candidates, think hard about what concrete information you can provide that might sway them in your favor. Are they open to receiving just an update letter? Are they willing to read an additional letter of recommendation? Do they want regular updates? You want to do as much as you can without disregarding their requests or overloading their staff. Above all remember that you are still in the game!
If you’ve been promoted or taken on more responsibilities at work, improved your GMAT score, deepened your volunteering commitments, or had a new, meaningful travel experience, be sure to share it and include why these updates make you a better candidate, and therefore student, who would further enrich their program.
The waitlist is a frustrating stage, but you really should see it as a sign that your application is strong, and you may be fortunate enough to receive final admission from your chosen school.
For a first-hand account of how our client Max successfully managed his waitlist experience and ended up at Harvard Business School, read this SBC client case study.
October 28, 2013
In an era where MBA applicants often come across as overly packaged and polished, the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management decided to shake things up last year by introducing a video component to …
In an era where MBA applicants often come across as overly packaged and polished, the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management decided to shake things up last year by introducing a video component to the application in an effort to see the unscripted side of candidates.
Until now, schools only had face time with the applicants they interviewed. Video technology allows every MBA hopeful a chance to add some color to the rest of his or her application and show the admissions committee the person behind the resume, recommendation letters and essays.
(continue reading this post on Stacy’s US News MBA Admissions: Strictly Business Blog)
October 22, 2013
When Harvard Business School sent out Round 1 interview invitations last week, the Harbus’s general manager La Keisha Landrum posted an article that afternoon letting those lucky recipients in on some of the secrets of …
When Harvard Business School sent out Round 1 interview invitations last week, the Harbus’s general manager La Keisha Landrum posted an article that afternoon letting those lucky recipients in on some of the secrets of a successful admissions interview.
Here are the key takeaways from current HBS students that Landrum shares to inform your own interview preparation:
“Know your application inside and out. Sounds simple, but review it. Know your story and practice explaining key achievements that you mention in your resume or essays.”
“To practice, I did 6 simulated interviews with HBS students that proved invaluable in my preparation.”
“Prepare three or four good stories (which could be adapted to answer practically any question), then record yourself on iSight answering 20 minutes of questions. Watch to assess your body language, tone.”
“Know your resume cold. Know your essay(s) cold.”
“If you were reading your application, what questions would you have for yourself? Those are probably the questions you’ll get on interview day.”
“As you think about your strategy for answering interview questions, it’s a good idea to rehearse your answers, but do not memorize them! That will come off as inauthentic and can really hurt your chances.”
“HBS students are expected to be able to think on their feet in the case method. The interview screens for that.”
“You will be asked a lot of questions—often in rapid fire fashion. But don’t forget to get your own message across.”
“ What do you want to convey to your interviewer? Find a way to get your points across in your answers.”
“When preparing for your interview, practice being succinct in your answers. HBS is looking for articulate students who can make convincing statements or arguments without going on and on forever.”
“ Remember, it’s only a thirty-minute session, so your interviewer will get frustrated if you are taking up too much air time.”
As you prepare for your interview, one of the most important tips to remember is to sound natural—not scripted—during the exchange. Instead of trying to remember and include every last one of your memorized bullet points, focus on succinctly answering only the question at hand.
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.
Stacy Blackman Consulting offers two valuable eBooks which may help you on your journey to Harvard Business School. Please check out our:
October 14, 2013
Many applicants tell me crafting their application would be so much easier if they knew exactly what business schools were looking for in a candidate. But if you ask any MBA admissions officer, the likely …
Many applicants tell me crafting their application would be so much easier if they knew exactly what business schools were looking for in a candidate. But if you ask any MBA admissions officer, the likely answer is that all-too-elusive “fit” with his or her program. Schools have to determine if your experiences, both personal and professional, make you an intriguing addition to the class they are forming, and they also need to be convinced that your career goals and their program are a good match.
Since my background is in marketing, I often explain it in marketing terms: the admissions committee is the buyer and you’re the seller. As a marketing strategist, you want to get to know as much about your buyer as you possibly can…
(continue reading this post on Stacy’s US News MBA Admissions: Strictly Business Blog)
October 2, 2013
Stumped by uninspired essays? Struggling to write anything at all? Join a senior SBC consultant for a session designed to help kick-start essays that come to life and create lasting impressions. Two sessions offered on …
Stumped by uninspired essays? Struggling to write anything at all?
Join a senior SBC consultant for a session designed to help kick-start essays that come to life and create lasting impressions.
Two sessions offered on October 16. Sign up at StacyBlackman.webex.com.
September 18, 2013
The 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 valued by US and international recruiters. LBS is an excellent choice for MBA hopefuls who have international experience or would like to develop a career without borders.
When approaching this streamlined set of questions, you will want to make sure you are also presenting your well-rounded self, with focus on career, extracurriculars and personal attributes. Make sure you formulate a clear game plan for this set of essays so you can utilize the limited space effectively.
What will your future look like after completing your MBA? (500 words)
The first two questions for the LBS application focus on your career goals. Though the questions are separated into two, your overall narrative thread should flow organically from your past experiences to your MBA decision and into your future career goals.
To make this essay more than a recitation of your resume, think about explaining the rationale for your decisions throughout the essay. Why did you choose your first job, and what was the impetus behind subsequent career choices? At this point, why are you choosing LBS? While your future career goals are the subject of the next question in this set, you will want to discuss why you have made the choice to pursue an MBA at this time, and why you want to attend LBS.
There should be a clear link between your immediate post-MBA goals and where you plan to be in five years and longer term. You have set the stage with your career story thus far and now you need to explain what your LBS education will launch you towards in the future.
Many applicants aren’t exactly sure what they will do in the long-term or even five years into the future. Certainly the future is not entirely in your control, but this essay is a great opportunity to think about what you really want from your career. Self-awareness about your strengths and interests will help you refine what you want. To take your research deeper it may be incredibly helpful to talk to colleagues and alumni who have MBAs in your field to see what your career path options are. 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. Make sure you are well-informed about what others have done before you.
What value will you add to London Business School? (300 words)
LBS would like to see that you have considered their program specifically and have an idea of how the program differs from other top schools. Of course you are applying to more than one program, but the answer to this question will show that you have considered your application to LBS and researched it extensively. As Oliver Ashby, head of MBA recruitment and admissions wrote in the LBS admissions blog: “One of the most common failings we see in applications is an inability to differentiate between top business schools.”
Thorough research will be crucial here, whether online or in person. Reaching out to the clubs and organizations you are most interested in may allow you to interact with a current student who can provide context for you. To be most effective in answering this question you will want to be specific and logical in your choices. 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 will be especially credible here.
What is the School’s responsibility to you and what is your responsibility to the School? (400 words)
The answer to this question, as in the previous essay, should focus on your fit with LBS. The relationship you have with your MBA program is a two way street and LBS wants to know that your expectations of the support you will receive from the program are realistic. At the same time, LBS wants you to realize that you are not just taking education and career progress from the program, you are also contributing to the school both while on campus and afterwards. Values for LBS include taking your studies seriously and being part of the fun, vibrant community and your answer should contain elements from both aspects of the MBA program.