Category Archives: MBA Admissions

Applying For A Round 1 MBA or EMBA? Make Your Resume Shine!

MBA Ivy League

Are you applying for Round 1 MBA or EMBA this year?  One of the best things you can do to stand out from all the rest,  is to make sure your MBA resume shines!  You absolutely must get your professional resume in the best possible condition before you submit, and by following these simple tips, you’ll already be ahead of the game (and the competition) in this year’s MBA & EMBA business school admissions process:

1.  MBA TIP #1 – DO SOME RESEARCH:  Take the time to google a few sample resumes in your field and for the particular school you’re applying to, so you know what a professional resume actually looks like for that program.

Some of the MBA programs (like Chicago Booth, for instance, have their own preferred format, and the preferred format is the one I strongly recommend you follow).

Linked In is a great resource for…

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The Hail Mary MBA Pass! Final Deadlines Still Exist!

So, let’s say you applied to business school this year and…you didn’t get in.  Yet, you really, really want to start an MBA program in September of THIS year, and not have to wait an entire full year before even being able to begin. However, it’s late in the game.  Really late as most of you know: most deadlines have passed…but noticed I used the word “MOST” = as of today’s date (March 12, 2016) there are still schools out there – top schools – top MBA programs, with deadlines you can still make if you start now.

So, what are these schools, and should you even really bother?  Most will be surprised to learn that some of the Round 3 deadlines still out there, are at some of the most competitive MBA programs around, and even though most of these schools have already compiled their incoming class list there is still room for “adjustments.”

People will decide to go to other schools, saying yes to one means saying “no” to others and that leaves OPENINGS.  Schools will also “hold” spots until the very last date of the admission process, and even if you are wait-listed, getting in off the wait-list and not having to wait an entire FULL YEAR just to be able to begin the MBA program of your dreams that you would rather start THIS September than next…makes an MBA application now a “Hail Mary” end-of-game pass into the endzone, but a pass that I recommend.

It’s like this: if waiting another year is going to be more annoying to you than anything, if you can’t stand having to put your life on hold, then throw that ball and take the chance that maybe, just maybe you can actually get in.  All you stand to lose is the price of the application.  What you can gain could save you TIME, a lot of time, by putting your career and education right on track, and we all know that time and opportunity is something you can’t exactly get back.

So, the schools with deadlines still open as of today’s date (March 12, 2016):

Round 3_1

Round 3_2

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So. again, let me stress, there are still spots. Every admissions officer I’ve ever talked to tells me, year after year, that they always hold at least “a few” spaces for the student who comes to them late, yet who they know would make a strong contribution to the class.  If the admission committees didn’t believe this, and put action behind their words, there would be no “Round 3!”  The schools would have a Round 1 and Round 2 and that would be it. Round 3 is there for a reason, and yes, people do actually get in.

So, wouldn’t it be nice if that was YOU?  Remember: it’s not over until it’s over. So, if you’re depressed about not getting in this year and the idea of having to spend yet another year at your current job before you can even BEGIN to make headway into your future, then just look at the list, choose your schools, and take the step and apply.  Throw another hat into the ring. Make that pass into the end zone. Take your application, give it your best shot in these weeks to come and you may just be pleasantly surprised.  Sometimes that pass wins the game!

And, worst case scenario, you that much ahead for a serious start to your MBA future next year.

[Considering an MBA or EMBA? I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer and a Harvard graduate, and currently run the MBA admissions firm MBA IVY LEAGUE out of New York.  As one of the top MBA admissions firms in the country, we help the most competitive students and professionals get into the business school of their dreams.  Contact me for a free initial consultation today!  www.MBAIvyLeague.com ]

The Round 3 MBA: Should You Apply?

The Round 3 MBA: is it worth it?  Whereas most of you think it’s probably too late in the game to apply for your MBA at a top school if you’re even looking at Round 3, and that you would just be wasting your time, I’m here to say that isn’t necessarily true. While most students have in fact already submitted their MBA applications and got them in either right before or right after Christmas, applying for a Round 3 MBA can still work and actually be a valuable strategy and course of action in certain situations.

The biggest deterrent here is that, yes, most of the top business schools have already made a large chunk of their admission decisions, so by the pure math alone, the smaller number of spaces left for Round 3 students are going to make admission in this round more cut-throat and harder, BUT there are still spots left at every single one of the schools, and if you’re qualified, have strong professional experience, a viable GMAT score for the school you’re targeting, and perhaps just didn’t apply Round 1 or 2 because of various time-intensive projects you were involved in at work, excessive business travel for a global client, finishing up your time in the military, or were in the process of switching jobs…a Round 3 MBA can and does make perfect sense, and will to the admissions committee too.

In other words, there are still spots, and if your reasons for waiting seem perfectly professionally understandable and valid then wouldn’t it be so much better to apply now and get your life going in the direction you want it to go in (a Fall 2016 admission to a solid MBA program) versus waiting an entire full year in order to even begin the process and try again.

There is a lot to strategy in this too – if for some reason you don’t get in this Round, you will have something to examine and go over for months (and at that point, I would recommend a consultant who can help you fortify your application as well as analyze what happened and what perhaps went wrong) before you then apply again. In other words,  if needed, it gives you a second chance to make the best application possible.

Again though, let me stress, there are spots. Every admissions officer I’ve talked to tells me, year after year, that they always hold spaces for the student who comes in late, yet they know would make a strong contribution to the class.  If the admission committees didn’t believe this, and put action behind their words, there would be no “Round 3.”  Everyone would apply Round 1 and Round 2 and that would be it. It’s there for a reason, and yes, people do actually get in.

So, wouldn’t it be nice if it was you?  Don’t delay another year.  Worst case scenario, all you lose is your application fee, but what you can gain by taking the challenge is a serious start to your future THIS year.

Remaining MBA deadlines for 2016:

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Round 3_a,jpg

Round 3_1

Round 3_2

Screen shot 2016-01-27 at 11.27.03 AM

[Considering an MBA or EMBA program? I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer and a Harvard graduate, and currently run the MBA admissions firm MBA IVY LEAGUE out of New York City.  As one of the top MBA admissions firms in the country, we help the best students and professionals get into the business school of their dreams.  Contact me for a free initial consultation today!  www.MBAIvyLeague.com ]

 

Top MBA Interview Questions – What Can You Expect?

MBA Ivy League

Top MBA Interview Questions  – What Can You Expect?

Are you one of the lucky ones?  Have you been invited to interview at one of the top-tier MBA programs you applied to in Round 2?  Even if you’re now just applying Round 3, the below can help you learn what kinds of questions admission officers are asking this year, and what tips can help you give the best impression possible!

1. “Tell me about your career choices since leaving college?”

What interviewers are looking for here, is what I call a “logical progression.”  They’re looking to see a focused path regarding both how and why you moved from point A to point B, to point C, and if you don’t have a focused path (which accounts for a large amount of applicants, so don’t worry) they simply want to see and understand the reasons you jumped around.  It has to…

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EMBA MBA

How Important is the Letter of Recommendation for Your MBA Application?

If you’re applying to an MBA or EMBA program this year, you may be wondering just how much your recommendation letters really mean in terms of a successful business school application. – and this is an even more pertinent question to ask if you’re applying to any of the “Top Ten” or Ivy League MBA programs out there like HBS, Wharton, Kellogg, Chicago Booth, MIT Sloan, Stanford, or NYU Stern.

You may have spent a little time trying to figure out which manager or supervisor to ask at work, or you may have spent a lot of time trying to deduce who truly knows you the best and has the best credentials. Well, I am here to tell you the recommendation letters actually mean a lot.  I’ve seen them turn the tide.  A good rec letter can make the difference between getting in to a top school like Wharton or Booth, and NOT getting in to a school at all.

I’ve seen good letters make up for poor GMAT scores, an “unpleasant” undergraduate GPA, or the fact that you may have gaps in your professional work experience.

In other words, a strong rec letter is golden.  It gives the MBA committee the confidence to believe that you can handle not only the work load in business school, but become a valuable, contributing, active part of their incoming class. It’s someone “vouching” for you, and putting their own professional reputation on the line, to make a public and very vocal claim for yours.

So, what can you do to maximize your chances and make sure that you are asking the right person for a letter? Sometimes you don’t have a choice and the MBA admissions comittees are simply asking you to get a letter from your direct supervisor, but when you can submit additional letters, or have other options, below are the key characteristics that can make an average MBA recommendation letter GREAT, trump any “bad” scores or grades on your former transcripts, explain personality traits that work in your favor and show off your professional goals and accomplishments…making a very strong case for getting you in to the MBA or EMBA program of your dreams:

  • CREDIBILITY  – Ideally, you want to pick the recommender who knows you best, and also has impressive credentials themselves.  The admissions committee is not only looking at your background, but the background of the people you know (in terms of who you ask to write a letter).  They do this in order to “leverage” where they think you fit on the hierarchy in terms of other MBA & EMBA applicants, as they form a professional opinion of you in their mind.  Getting someone who has impressive credentials themselves, is always going to be better than asking a colleague who has the same job description as you, no matter how well he/she knows you, and how supportive they can be.
  • NETWORKING – How well have you networked?  Are you already at a big firm, and if yes, how much access do you appear to have to the top?  Does your choice of recommender show this?  How high can you get? Does the recommender obviously know you well, or is this just the type of perfunctory letter they are obviously frequently asked to write simply because of who they are, and they really don’t know you much at all? If they really don’t know you, don’t ask.  It will be obvious to the MBA committee and only count against you.
  • SINCERITY – it is always better to have someone who knows you well write your letter than a person “higher up” who may not know enough about you to convey your experience to the committee (or even take the time). The MBA committee is looking for this type of information to place you in their mind.  In other words, you’re either someone to be taken seriously via your letter, or you’re not. It makes a difference.  Choose wisely.

[I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer and a Harvard graduate, and currently run the MBA & EMBA admissions firm: www.MBAIvyLeague.com out of New York.  I specialize in helping clients get in to the ‘Top Ten’ MBA programs worldwide.  Contact me for a free consultation today]

MBA Ivy League

Applying For A Round 1 MBA or EMBA? Make Your Resume Shine!

Are you applying for Round 1 MBA or EMBA this year?  One of the best things you can do to stand out from all the rest,  is to make sure your MBA resume shines!  You absolutely must get your professional resume in the best possible condition before you submit, and by following these simple tips, you’ll already be ahead of the game (and the competition) in this year’s MBA & EMBA business school admissions process:

1.  MBA TIP #1 – DO SOME RESEARCH:  Take the time to google a few sample resumes in your field and for the particular school you’re applying to, so you know what a professional resume actually looks like for that program.

Some of the MBA programs (like Chicago Booth, for instance, have their own preferred format, and the preferred format is the one I strongly recommend you follow).

Linked In is a great resource for the industry examples, and the school’s own website is often a good resource for samples that match what they want (Most schools will give you samples if their format at all differs from industry standard.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across people with strong, good experience, but their resume is just not formatted properly, or it’s formatted in a way that just doesn’t look professional and competitive in terms of the other applicants in their industry – and that is the one things that will get you dinged fast.

Your resume matters.  It’s actually the very first thing an admissions committee will look at when reviewing your MBA or EMBA application, so do your homework and try to get it right.

2. MBA TIP #2 – KEEP IT TO 1 PAGE:  Two pages if you have more than 8-10 years experience (usually more relevant for the EMBA), as most of you applying to full-time MBA programs will, and should,  have less than that.  It doesn’t matter how many different facets of the business day you are in charge of at your job, what matters if you can succinctly summarize this experience in a way that comes across as being professional, focused, and to the point, while also highlighting your accomplishments.

The MBA admissions committee is trying to get an overview of your professional background, not read a manifesto.  Keep it streamlined, tight, focused and NEAT, which by the way, usually means justified margins.  Then, if your experience warrants it, your resume will get attention.  In other words, don’t ever give them a reason to say no.

3. MBA TIP #3 – MENTION NUMBERS: The top MBA and especially EMBA programs love to see numbers. That means numbers of employees you manage, number of projects that come through your department, average number of sales, budget you handle, etc.  Admissions officers also like financial or monetary numbers, even if you’re just giving a general estimate, as it helps them gauge not only the size of the company you work for, and where you fit in their hierarchy, but more importantly, it reveals your level of responsibility.

Do you manage $1.2 million in assets for your investment bank employer? Or, perhaps you oversee $750K in current active contracts for your operations department? Mention these facts, and you’ve suddenly raised the admission committees’ awareness of your level of experience.  If you have numbers like these at your disposal (even if their just averages), AND you can freely share, make sure you mention them as this will only help.

4. In summary, the MBA resume is slightly different from a regular resume you might use to using when you apply for a job.  The MBA resume is all about highlighting your experience in a way that focuses on your ability to be a leader.

In this regard, it is better to create a resume that’s more general than “tech” or “niche” specific. The MBA admissions officer reading through your application, may not necessarily know the technical language of your field, but by following all of the above tips and not giving them a reason to say no, they will certainly know a competitive resume – and candidate – when they see one!

I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer, and a Harvard graduate, and currently run the MBA & EMBA admissions firm MBA IVY LEAGUE out of New York. I specialize in helping clients get in to the most competitive ‘Top Ten’ MBA & EMBA programs in the U.S and abroad, including HBS, Wharton, Chicago Booth, MIT Sloan, Kellogg, Columbia and LBS (just to name a few!)  Contact me to set up a free consultation today!   www.MBAIvyLeague.com 

Successful MBA Sample Essays That Got Applicants Into HBS & Wharton

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Last year HBS had a 12% accept rate with over 9,000 applicants.  The other top MBA programs in the U.S. – Wharton, Stanford, Kellogg, Booth, Columbia and MIT Sloan, just to name a few had similar tight competition.  We’ve already discussed the necessary GMAT score ranges and interview skills needed in other blog posts that give you a chance at the top.  The question here then is, what makes an applicant’s MBA essay successful, and what can you do to raise yourself among the best?”

The answer to that question is to start by looking at some very successful essays.  What does a good essay look like?  The best resource I’ve found to pass on to the curious, is this resource here:

65 Successful Harvard Business School Application Essays

http://www.amazon.com/Successful-Harvard-Business-Application-Edition/dp/0312550073/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1353339299&sr=8-2&keywords=successful+harvard+business+school+essays

BUT, read with caution because even though I believe this book will help you better understand how to differentiate…

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“DINGED” : Why Your MBA Application Didn’t Make It

If you applied for your MBA degree this past year, you might (unfortunately) be all too familiar with what the word “dinged” means in the context of MBA applications.

To put it bluntly for those who don’t know, it means that you didn’t get in – that you were rejected from your ideal school.  Turned down.  Cast aside.  Thrown away. Stripped of your dreams, and basically told in no uncertain terms: NO.

And, if you’re like most MBA applicants, especially those who applied to some of the most competitive MBA or EMBA programs around (including but not limited to HBS, Wharton, Kellogg, Booth, Stanford, Columbia, or MIT Sloan) and THEN got rejected when you thought you were really in the running…you probably actually have no idea at all what happened, or why you were, in fact, turned down at all.

Admissions committees leave you in dark when it comes to not getting in.

But, if you are now thinking of applying again for next year, after you already got rejected and you have already made this failed first attempt, you really need to understand:

1). Why you were “Dinged,” and

2). Exactly what you need to do to repair and improve your chances this year when you submit your application again.

Too many applicants simply try again with the same application!  This is a horrible, horrible, plan of action as getting “dinged” was not just an oversight of the admissions committee.  It means that there was something wrong with your application that you, now, absolutely need to understand, repair, and fix.

So, it’s not just all about taking the GMAT again and trying to raise your GMAT score (though that’s always a good thing), BUT your GMAT score more than likely truly didn’t make or break you.  Something else did, either in your essays, your job experience, your interview or perhaps you have something on your social media sites online that really shouldn’t be out there if you’re trying to make a good impression (and, yes, they do look).

Most of the time though, it’s usually about knowing how to add more detailed examples to your MBA essays that better exemplify your points, fine-tuning your “story” or career narrative so it really shows your “journey,” and either gaining extra experience on the job, or better highlighting and emphasizing certain experience you already have but perhaps overlooked along with discussing your goals and skills in a way that can make you look even more valuable as a potential candidate to admissions.

However, you MUST first understand why you were turned down.  You can’t improve if you don’t know.

I am currently offering a flat rate “Ding Evaluation” if you have been turned away from one or perhaps many of your choice schools.  Understanding what happened before you apply again is key, so you have the time to make the serious improvements you need.

You can contact me through my website below, and specify “Ding Evaluation” in the note and we will figure out what went wrong for a great new application and chance at your dreams!

I’m a former Harvard interviewer and a Harvard graduate and currently run the MBA admissions firm MBA IVY LEAGUE in Manhattan. I work with students all over the world, and you can reach me through my website:  www.MBAIvyLeague.com 

Interested in a Top EMBA Program? What You Need to Know

So, you’re interested in an EMBA degree. How do you know though if you’re right for an EMBA degree versus a regular, full-time MBA program? Obviously, the better the school the better your future professional career, and graduating from a top EMBA program like Kellogg, MIT Sloan, or Columbia University’s joint-EMBA with the London School of Business means you’ll be headed for success in your field.

You have experience, solid experience, and that’s what makes the EMBA different from those with only 3-4 years lower level experience who are applying for a regular MBA. In other words, if you’re even thinking about an EMBA – an Executive MBA – you are already at the top of your game; the higher reaches of your career.  You are already at an executive level within a known-name firm, or perhaps you’re a very successful entrepreneur with your own company, and you have the drive and ambition to push your vision even further.

The following is what the top EMBA programs look for in a candidate:  solid, committed professionals who have strong and proven experience in their industry, that they can bring to the table.

An EMBA degree is all about forming connections – putting the best of the best in the same room, so strategies can be shared, ideas brainstormed, future business plans made, and networks shared.  The EMBA is more than just a degree where the meat of what you learn comes from a professor or from a case study or book.  The EMBA is a place where you are interacting and associating with a group of extremely impressive and successful peers – classmates who are already at the highest levels of their career and now want to go higher.

An EMBA, especially from a top school can put you there.  The degree is an experience that helps fill in any gaps in your business education; that gives you a credential that perhaps is now necessary for you to move up in your company or firm.  It is meant as a platform from which you can jump off even higher in the business world.  It’s meant for leaders who still fully intend to be a part of their current company and business growth full-time.

So, again, the top EMBA programs for 2015:  Wharton, Booth, Kellogg, Columbia, NYU Stern, and Fuqua, just to name a few (and, again, Columbia’s joint program with LBS (London School of Business) makes it one of the best in my opinion, as you get incredibly interesting global experience and the ability to form serious contacts in both NY and London).

In summary, the EMBA is a serious degree that can make a serious difference.

[I’m a former Harvard interviewer and a Harvard grad, and currently run the MBA & EMBA consulting firm: MBA IVY LEAGUE out of Manhattan. Contact me for a free consultation today! http://www.MBAIvyLeague.com]

Top MBA Interview Questions – What Can You Expect?

Top MBA Interview Questions  – What Can You Expect?

Are you one of the lucky ones?  Have you been invited to interview at one of the top-tier MBA programs you applied to in Round 2?  Even if you’re now just applying Round 3, the below can help you learn what kinds of questions admission officers are asking this year, and what tips can help you give the best impression possible!

1. “Tell me about your career choices since leaving college?”

What interviewers are looking for here, is what I call a “logical progression.”  They’re looking to see a focused path regarding both how and why you moved from point A to point B, to point C, and if you don’t have a focused path (which accounts for a large amount of applicants, so don’t worry) they simply want to see and understand the reasons you jumped around.  It has to sound LOGICAL.  It has to add up to who and where you are NOW.

The main thing that will get you dinged here?  Impulsiveness – that’s what this question is trying to screen out.  They want to make sure you’re just not all over the place and flaky, because then, you know, you may leave the program, too.

2. “What accomplishment are you most proud of at your current job?”

Here, the interviewer is trying to get a sense of the amount of responsibility you hold in your current position, as the thing you are most proud of will not only (most likely) show off your best strength as an employee, but will show what character trait you actually value most – and that gives them great information about YOU.

The main thing that will get you dinged with this question? Not speaking up with confidence or failing to explain or back up your answer.

3. “When have you strongly differed in opinion from someone at work?”

Give your best example that had a positive outcome!  Admissions is trying to see if you have what it takes to speak up and make a serious difference in your workplace, but also are looking for you to describe how there was a positive solution to the difference that ended up working in your favor.  If your example didn’t work out in your favor – choose another example!

4. “What is an example of something really difficult you’ve had to go through, or important event in the last 5-7 years?”

Again, here the committee is trying to get a sense of your professional journey and what stands out in your mind, which is going to parallel highly with what you most value.  They are simply trying to understand who you are professionally, and how you see yourself in relation to others.

The one thing that will get you dinged on this question?  Not having a strong and solid answer.  It’s really not so much what you say, but how you say it.  Always speak with confidence as the fastest thing to get you dinged on all of your questions is a wishy-washy, weak, one-word response.

5. “Why an MBA now,  and why our school?”

Most likely, you already wrote an essay for this question, so just review all of your essays before going into your interview.  Your answer to the first part, “Why an MBA now?” should really take into consideration why NOW is, in fact, the most logical time to get your degree. The word “now” is key.  They want to see the logic behind your decision.

The second part, “Why HBS, Wharton, Columbia, Booth, Kellogg, MIT Sloan or NYU Stern?” just to name a few, should focus on the particular program’s attributes that are specific to your career.

What they are trying to screen for in this question, is again, impulsiveness = they don’t like it.  Everything you do, even if your career so far hasn’t been as smooth or uninterrupted as you would like, should still have a reason, an explanation, an arc, a journey as if everything you’ve done to get you where you are still has value – value that can be used and drawn upon now in your current career.

In the end, your interview should be conversational, dynamic, and engaging!  In other words, just try to have a very real and engaging conversation.  If you’ve gotten this far, it’s a very good sign that you are already on your way!

[I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer and a Harvard graduate.  I currently run the MBA admissions firm: MBA IVY LEAGUE out of NYC.  I provide expert advice on MBA essays and applications to students all over the world, and offer free initial consultations, so please contact me today! http://www.MBAIvyLeague.com]