Tag Archives: MBA application
July 5, 2016
MIT Sloan School of Management has streamlined the application considerably this year, removing all but one optional open-ended essay from the application, and reviving the cover letter essay that was a staple of previous admissions cycles. …
MIT Sloan School of Management has streamlined the application considerably this year, removing all but one optional open-ended essay from the application, and reviving the cover letter essay that was a staple of previous admissions cycles.
While the essay formats have changed, MIT Sloan continues to seek MBA candidates with integrity, passion, creativity, intellectual abilities, drive and determination. Consider how to communicate these attributes as you approach both the cover letter and possibly the optional creative essay.
“This year, instead of responding to an essay question, we are asking applicants to submit a cover letter along with their resume. Your cover letter is an opportunity to introduce yourself, describe your past successes, and explain why MIT Sloan’s MBA Program is the right place for you.”
Your letter should conform to a standard business correspondence and be addressed to Mr. Rod Garcia, Senior Director of Admissions. (250 words or fewer)
MIT Sloan has asked for a cover letter for many years in past admissions cycles, and now for the Fall 2017 intake application is asking for a cover letter again. The benefit of the cover letter format is that you must think about your application to Sloan as if you are applying for a new job.
Necessarily, that will require you to distill your most relevant and impressive experience and apply it to achieve your goal of a place in the class. With only 250 words to work with, you will need to have two or three concise and focused examples to introduce yourself and make your case.
The best cover letters will work cohesively with your resume. That means you should imagine that the admissions committee is reading the cover letter with your resume right there and repeating content will be redundant. For the cover letter focus on the stories that will illuminate who you are and why you should attend MIT Sloan, not every accomplishment at work.
The Admissions Committee invites you to share additional information about yourself, in any format. If you choose a multimedia format, please host the information on a website and provide us with the URL.
Please keep all videos and media limited to 2:00 minutes total in length.
Please keep all written essays to 500 words or less.
MIT Sloan’s entirely open-ended optional essay invites applicants to respond to the essay in any format desired. This allows you to do anything you need to with this space, including clarifying any concerns or highlighting interesting aspects of your background or profile. The format can be a creative way for you to showcase any technical or design skills you have, but the content should be your primary focus.
As you consider whether to answer this essay question and what content to include, think about how the rest of your application will communicate your background, goals and any unique experience you bring to the class.
You will be submitting a resume, the cover letter and your recommenders will write about you. What information, if any, do you think will fall through the cracks? If there is something additional you need or want to communicate, address it here.
Stacy Blackman Consulting has advised candidates on everything from photo journalism projects to customized multimedia presentations for this type of essay question. We treat the application as a holistic process and would advise you on which aspects of your background to consider revealing in this optional essay.
Stumped by your MIT Sloan MBA application? Contact Stacy Blackman Consulting to learn how we can help.
June 28, 2016
The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania released the essay questions for the class of 2019 with the inclusion of a second required essay. This additional essay focuses on teamwork and complements the main …
The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania released the essay questions for the class of 2019 with the inclusion of a second required essay. This additional essay focuses on teamwork and complements the main essay question that asks candidates to reflect upon their fit with Wharton both personally and professionally.
As you consider how to approach this set of essays make sure you are conducting thorough school research. Getting to know the Wharton community through campus visits, online research and the many admissions events around the globe will help you understand the personality of the school and the alumni network to write an effective set of essays.
Essay 1: (Required) What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)
This is both a standard career goals question and an inquiry into your personality and potential success in the program.
Be careful to answer the specific question in this career goals essay. Notice that you are not asked about your professional background or your key accomplishments. To answer the question asked, you will want to focus mainly on the future and what you are planning to pursue with your MBA degree.
At the same time, there is certainly room to add color by using your background information where it is most relevant to your goals. Think about the key moments of your professional life that crystallized your goals for you, and focus on illuminating those decision points rather than reciting your entire resume.
Understanding exactly how you fit in will help you describe what Wharton will do for you, as well as navigate interviews and other interactions with the Wharton admissions committee. Consider including specific information from your Wharton research in this essay such as Wharton faculty you would like to study with or unique educational opportunities at Wharton.
When you address your personal goals for the MBA make sure you are making the case for Wharton specifically. Consider what living in Philadelphia might be like, the many clubs and student activities, and leadership development opportunities like traveling to Antarctica with your classmates that may address some of your personal life goals.
Essay 2: (Required) Teamwork is at the core of the Wharton MBA experience with each student contributing unique elements to our collaborative culture. How will you contribute to the Wharton community? (400 words)
Wharton is an intense environment, but also one that takes pride in collaboration and community. This question seeks to understand how you work with others and what your leadership style is. Collaboration and teamwork are important key concepts to illustrate in this essay.
Your contribution to Wharton could be in the classroom, clubs or within small group projects. You might bring your experiences launching a new product to your marketing case studies. Maybe you will lend creative ideas to your learning team as you prepare a research project.
Perhaps you will tutor your learning team mate in accounting principles because he has never done accounting at work. Or you might contribute to the Media and Entertainment Club by leading a career trek or bringing a new speaker to campus. Think about what you have learned in your career and in prior academics that may help those around you.
This essay does not explicitly require examples of teamwork or leadership from your past experiences, but it will be a stronger essay if you provide evidence. Think about a time you demonstrated your collaborative approach to team problem solving, and consider how you can prove what you contributed to your community in your workplace or extracurricular activities.
Essay 3: (Optional) Please use the space below to highlight any additional information that you would like the Admissions Committee to know about your candidacy. (400 words)
If you think that your application materials and the required essays are enough to provide a complete picture of your candidacy you may want to forgo this essay. There is no need to submit additional material just to submit something – consider whether the admissions committee will appreciate the information or think you are wasting their time.
If you do choose to answer this question note that the essay can be used for any topic that you would like. If there is something about your personal background you did not cover in the required essays and it is relevant and useful for your application, this is the place to cover it.
Perhaps you didn’t have room in the required essays to describe an important accomplishment or to tell a story about your life that is relevant to your pursuit of an MBA. Anything that you think will be an asset to your application is fair game as a topic for this essay.
All reapplicants to Wharton are required to complete this essay. Explain how you have reflected on the previous decision about your application, and discuss any updates to your candidacy (e.g., changes in your professional life, additional coursework, extracurricular/volunteer engagements). (250 words)
All applicants, including reapplicants can also use this section to address any extenuating circumstances. (250 words)
All reapplicants are required to provide information that supports your renewed candidacy. The most successful version of the reapplicant essay will provide tangible evidence that you have improved the overall package you are submitting this year.
Improvements like GMAT score or new quantitative classes are especially tangible and convincing, but a promotion, increase in responsibility at work, a job change or even a change of goals and mission can serve as reasonable updates.
A rejection or waitlist last year is a form of feedback, and may have led to soul searching for you. When you describe your changes make sure reflect your ability to take feedback and improve. Describe how you approached the reapplication process after assessing your own strengths and weaknesses as a candidate and making the appropriate efforts to improve.
If you are not a reapplicant this essay is a potential space to address any areas of concern in your application. If you have a low GPA or GMAT, gaps in your resume, disciplinary action in undergrad or anything else that you want to explain, this is where you would provide a brief explanation and any supporting evidence to show you have moved past the setback.
Contact Stacy Blackman Consulting for customized advice to give you that competitive edge in your Wharton application
June 21, 2016
As the NYU Stern School of Business website states, “Stern develops leaders who make an impact on business and beyond.” Evolving from a pure finance school into one that focuses on areas like entertainment and technology, …
As the NYU Stern School of Business website states, “Stern develops leaders who make an impact on business and beyond.” Evolving from a pure finance school into one that focuses on areas like entertainment and technology, Stern takes advantage of the vibrant and changing business opportunities in New York City.
The individual components of your application will be academic ability, professional achievements and career aspirations, and personal characteristics. Stern provides podcasts to describe each component on the admissions website, and it’s worth starting your research there. While your academics will be evaluated mainly through your GMAT and GPA, the essays are a crucial part of your application strategy.
The personal expression essay offers you the opportunity to present yourself creatively, but also requires you to apply structure to a completely open-ended question. It’s a great test for a life solving business problems after your MBA.
Essay 1: Professional Aspirations
(750 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)
• Why pursue an MBA (or dual degree) at this point in your life?
• What actions have you taken to determine that Stern is the best fit for your MBA experience?
• What do you see yourself doing professionally upon graduation?
Why MBA, why now, is an important question to answer. While many people seek an MBA degree, NYU wants to invest in those who can use it most effectively. Perhaps you’re seeking an MBA for networking or professional credibility, or maybe you want an MBA to learn specific skills to change careers. Whatever your own personal reasons may be, make sure you can point to specific aspects of the MBA education both generally and specifically at Stern that are necessary to achieve your goals.
Note that this question specifically asks about your interest in pursuing an MBA at this point in your life. Why is now the right time for you, both personally and professionally? What will an MBA add to your already successful career trajectory to get you to the next level? If you are an older applicant you will need to spend time carefully communicating that you realize what an MBA can and can’t do for you at your professional level, and that you have a plan to leverage the MBA professionally in your next job.
This essay also offers an opportunity to demonstrate your fit with NYU Stern and describe why NYU Stern is the right place for you to spend the next two years of your life. Certainly personal experience of the campus through visits or student touch points would be ideal, but even if you are halfway around the world you can illustrate the many ways in which you learned about the NYU Stern experience.
Your post MBA goal should be both achievable and demonstrate the need for an MBA. An MBA from NYU Stern will open professional doors for you, and you should demonstrate that you are ready to take advantage of those opportunities. Think about a logical sequence that starts with your past work experience, then your MBA education and ends with your immediate post MBA goal. Ideally your goal pulls from both your current work experience and the skills you will gain in the NYU MBA program.
Essay 2: Personal Expression
Please describe yourself to your MBA classmates. You may use almost any method to convey your message (e.g. words, illustrations). Feel free to be creative.
If you submit a non-written piece for this essay (i.e., artwork or multimedia) or if you submit this essay via mail, please upload a brief description of your submission with your online application.
Open-ended essays like this one can be intimidating. You are allowed any method to introduce yourself to your classmates, and you’re probably wondering what the best medium for your message is.
However, your content is king in this essay. The best first step is to brainstorm the information you want to convey. Reflect upon your unique personal qualities and what is valued most by your friends and family. How would you want your classmates to see you? What are some of the personal stories you would share with a new friend?
Once you have established the content you want to use for the NYU Stern essay 2, it’s time to consider the medium. If you are a visual person you may chose a drawing, painting or photo series. If you are a creative writer perhaps it’s a poem or short story. If none of the “creative” approaches feel right to you, feel free to write a standard essay where you explain who you are and introduce yourself to your classmates. The medium is not the most important aspect of this essay. What is most important is the message and content of your composition to demonstrate your motivations and who you are to the admissions committee.
Stacy Blackman Consulting has helped countless aspiring NYU Stern MBA students to showcase personal and professional stories that cut through the clutter. Contact us to learn more.
March 24, 2016
Many b-school aspirants see the spring and summer solely as a time to take a GMAT prep course. They often wait until they are neck deep in the process of writing their essays and compiling all of their other application materials to identify the elements of their candidacy they wish to improve.
But, with a little advanced planning and a commitment of just a few hours a week, applicants can do a great deal to bolster their overall candidacy starting in the spring before they apply.
Business schools pride themselves in training future leaders, and look for individuals who are concerned about doing great work and improving the world around them. If you feel that your commitment over the last several years to outside causes does not reflect the balance you want to establish in your life…well, put your money where your mouth is and get involved.
If you have been involved with outside activities over the last couple of years, consider stepping your activities up a notch. One of our clients had helped out for a few hours a month for two years at a local Ronald McDonald House. In the spring, he upped his involvement by organizing some fundraising/recruiting events for young professionals.
It’s true that young professionals work long hours and often have demanding travel schedules, which sometimes rules out activities such as Big Brothers/Sisters or tutoring. But the next person who says he or she cannot spend two hours on a weekend to help clean up a park or paint a school or talk with seniors at a nursing home will be the first.
Getting in the habit of reading again will pay huge dividends for your candidacy and your application process. You are about to engage in quite possibly the most demanding writing process of your adult life. And you’ve probably forgotten half of the vocabulary words you learned for your SATs.
Reading outside of work will immerse your brain in the English language again, expanding your active/accessible vocabulary, reacquainting you with interesting sentence structures and illustrating great organizational techniques for your essays. Your apps and your GMAT scores will both benefit.
But beyond that, you’ll probably become a more interesting person. You’ll show that you take time to get to know more about topics that are important to you. You’ll have more to talk about with interviewers. You may even gain some material for essays.
You have a better chance of being admitted to any school if it is the right school for you. Many candidates look at rankings and decide to apply to the top few schools. You will be far better off if you do your own research, talk to students and alums and, if possible, visit campuses.
Doing this type of research early on will help you to better understand the schools, and quite possibly change your mind about where you want to apply. You also will be better qualified to answer the question, “Why do you want to go here?” Demonstrating an understanding of what makes a school unique and showing that you are truly passionate about attending will take you far.
If you get a little bit of a jump start on prepping for your GMAT and application-writing process now, you’ll find your fall and winter a much more productive and enjoyable time.
Image credit: Sophiadphotography (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)