Tag Archives: MBA application
October 11, 2013
Here’s a heads-up for applicants regarding a recent update on the interview process at Stanford Graduate School of Business. According to the MBA Admission Blog, the school has decided to compress the interview timeline. This …
Here’s a heads-up for applicants regarding a recent update on the interview process at Stanford Graduate School of Business. According to the MBA Admission Blog, the school has decided to compress the interview timeline.
This means interview invitations for Round 1 applicants will only go out from October 28-Novembr 26, 2013, instead of over the entire round. Final notification is still December 11th, but you’ll know on November 26th whether you’re still being considered for admission.
“Some of you have told us that if the answer is a definite ‘no,’ you’d rather know earlier to give you more time to work on Round 2 applications for other schools,” writes Victoria Hendel De La O in Stanford MBA admissions. “Our hope is that this compressed timeline helps ease your anxiety as you navigate the application process.”
Because this condensed interview process is still a pilot, interview dates for Rounds 2 and 3 have not yet been set.
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.
September 9, 2013
Many schools reduced the number of required essays this season, and UCLA Anderson School of Management is one of them. With just one prompt—What are your short-term and long-term career goals, and how will an …
Many schools reduced the number of required essays this season, and UCLA Anderson School of Management is one of them. With just one prompt—What are your short-term and long-term career goals, and how will an MBA from UCLA Anderson specifically help you achieve these goals?—applicants either feel relieved at what could be perceived as less work, or more stressed, as they ponder how to answer the question in a memorable and insightful way.
In the latest post on the MBA Insider’s Blog, the staff in Anderson admissions and financial aid attempts to explain the rationale for the single essay question, and offers tips on how to successfully approach the question. While the posted advice is targeted specifically for Anderson MBA hopefuls, the question is common to many schools and therefore pertinent to all b-school applicants.
Like other programs, UCLA Anderson has reduced the number of essays simply as an attempt to focus applicants’—and AdComs’— energies on what matters most. The question acts as a set-up for the face-to-face interview, and basically rounds out the admissions committee’s assessment of the information provided in the rest of the application, Anderson explains.
Remember, the program is asking for a clear set of career goals that will demonstrate the need for an MBA from UCLA Anderson. A key tip for applicants: identify the classes, professors, activities, clubs, tools and other extra curricular opportunities offered by the program and explain how they would help you achieve your goals.
It may be relevant to provide background that highlights your career passions and sets up your future goals. Briefly explain what you plan to do immediately after graduation, and then what you want to accomplish over the long-term with your career. A career path that focuses on demonstrated passions and interests throughout your life is going to be most compelling as you write this essay.
UCLA Anderson acknowledges that most MBA candidates aren’t professional writers, and many may not even be native English speakers, but that shouldn’t stop you from injecting your personality and style into the essay. Just make sure to have friends or family read through your draft before submitting to ensure your message is coming across clearly, the school advises. Also, UCLA Anderson checks essays for plagiarism, so be sure to submit only original work.
For more advice about the Anderson MBA essays, including what to say in the re-applicant essay and how and when to use the optional essay, read Stacy Blackman’s recent tips post here.
August 28, 2013
The Dartmouth Tuck School of Business has a small student body and a rural location, combined with world-class faculty and academic focus. As you approach your Dartmouth Tuck MBA application it will be important to …
The Dartmouth Tuck School of Business has a small student body and a rural location, combined with world-class faculty and academic focus. As you approach your Dartmouth Tuck MBA application it will be important to consistently show how you will fit into the school values of leadership, teamwork and collaboration and bring your own unique qualities and experiences to the community.
Before you begin the essays think about the areas you want to communicate to the Tuck Business School admissions committee. As you consider each topic be sure to provide specific examples to illustrate your unique qualities. Real life experiences are your best evidence of leadership qualities, teamwork skills and management potential.
Stacy Blackman Consulting has worked with successful Tuck applicants for over a decade, contact us to learn more about the customized assistance we can provide for your application.
Why is an MBA a critical next step toward your short- and long-term career goals? Why is Tuck the best MBA fit for you and your goals and why are you the best fit for Tuck?
This standard career goals question requires you to clearly outline your short- and long-term career goals. Your short-term goals are the aspirations you have for your job immediately after graduation, while your long-term goals may be 10 or 20 years after you complete your MBA. In this relatively short essay you will need to explain what you have been pursuing in your career thus far, and why you need an MBA at this point in your life, along with your career goals.
“Why Tuck Business School” is an important aspect to this essay, and your opportunity to demonstrate fit. Make sure you have researched the school’s programs and determined your education will suit your plans. By reaching out to current students and alumni you will gain crucial insights that will provide a personal perspective on the culture of the school.
Tell us about your most meaningful collaborative leadership experience and what role you played. What did you learn about your own individual strengths and weaknesses through this experience?
This question gets at your strengths and weaknesses as a leader. An addition to this question this year is the use of the word “collaborative” when associated with leadership. Tuck is a close knit community with a strong alumni network, and considering your leadership skills in a group context will be important to demonstrate fit with the program.
This essay requires that you describe one specific example that illustrates your leadership challenges and strengths. Think about the leadership opportunities that led to a deeper understanding of yourself and others, and may have resulted in definition of your strengths or an improvement in your weaknesses. The example you choose can be from work or community involvement, as “great leadership can be accomplished in the pursuit or business and societal goals.”
You will need to adhere to the Tuck School of Business definition of leadership and include a team-based aspect to your example. As you describe your leadership experience, make sure you explain how you were able to inspire and enable others to accomplish.
Describe a circumstance in your life in which you faced adversity, failure, or setback. What actions did you take as a result and what did you learn from this experience?
This question is your opportunity to show how you handle challenging situations. Everyone faces adversity, failure or setbacks at work or in personal life, and it is how you decide to react that demonstrates your character. Revealing your emotions and thought process along with your actions in this essay will provide a window into how you process difficult experiences and emerge from them with a new direction.
Think back to Tuck Business School’s criteria, and consider using this essay to either demonstrate your interpersonal skills (if your challenge was of the interpersonal variety) or to show something from your background or experience that is unique.
When brainstorming for this essay think first about what you learned from the situation, and then work backwards to describe the circumstances and the initial challenge or hurdle, that will help you see the whole situation from a more optimistic viewpoint. Did you learn from the experience and did it impact your life or demonstrate a specific aspect of your character, goals or accomplishments? Even the most difficult situations often lead to personal growth and change and have contributed to who you are today.
(Optional) Please provide any additional insight or information that you have not addressed elsewhere that may be helpful in reviewing your application (e.g., unusual choice of evaluators, weaknesses in academic performance, unexplained job gaps or changes, etc.). Complete this question only if you feel your candidacy is not fully represented by this application.
This is your opportunity to discuss any perceived weaknesses in your application such as low GPA or gaps in your work experience. When approaching a question of this nature, focus on explanations rather than excuses and explain what you have done since the event you are explaining to demonstrate your academic ability or management potential.
You could potentially use this space to add something new that was not covered in the previous essays or in the application, resume or recommendations, however use your judgment about the topics as Tuck asks that you only complete this question if you “feel your candidacy is not fully represented by this application.”
August 16, 2013
As many readers know, the University of Michigan Ross School of Business will introduce a group exercise as an optional component of the upcoming MBA application season. It’s not actually an interview, per se, because …
As many readers know, the University of Michigan Ross School of Business will introduce a group exercise as an optional component of the upcoming MBA application season. It’s not actually an interview, per se, because no questions will be asked of participants. Through observation of each member’s discussions and communication with the group, the Ross admissions team hopes to glean deeper insight into each applicant’s teamwork and interpersonal skills.
One-on-one interviews weren’t giving the admissions committee enough information to determine how an applicant might engage with others, and the school believes this new component with fill in those blanks. Predictably, this new format has generated some anxiety among applicants, and Ross admissions director Soojin Kwon attempts to quell fears and demystify the process in a recent posting on her MBA blog titled, “Don’t fear the group interview.”
The entire exercise lasts about 30 minutes, with the first ten used for introductions and an icebreaker within your group of four to six people, Kwon explains in an accompanying video. Then, each participant receives two random words to weave into a 60-second story that you’ll share within your group. You’ll then spend the remaining 20 minutes connecting all of the word-pairs into a business challenge and solution that you’ll present to the observers.
How you manage yourself within the group is the sole focus of the observers, so it doesn’t matter if your fellow participants are “weak”, or whether you’ve landed in a “bad” group. How you interact within the team, and how you interact with people who have different styles than you, will be foremost on the observers’ radar, Kwon explains.
As noted, the group exercise is completely optional. In Round 1, team exercises will take place only in Ann Arbor. In Round 2, they’ll be held in Ann Arbor and most likely in Seoul, Shanghai, Beijing and Delhi. International applicants who want to participate in a team exercise should plan to visit Ann Arbor in Round 1, or apply in Round 2 and attend one of the sessions in the above cities.
“Not participating won’t hurt you in the admissions process,” the director clarifies. “But you’ll be missing another opportunity to make a positive impression. If I wanted to go to Ross, I’d do it.”
If you have been invited to interview with a school that is using the group interview format, you will absolutely want to take advantage of Stacy Blackman’s live group practice session. This format can be fun, but also challenging and stress inducing! Success comes from practice and becoming comfortable with the format.
We’ll have dedicated groups of 3-6 people for Wharton and Ross, with experienced moderators and admissions experience. You’ll receive preparation tips and a one-hour mock experience, followed by written feedback with actionable advice. For more on this new service, click here.