Wharton Penn JD/MBA Admissions Q&A This Week!


Huntsman Hall at Wharton

Join Penn representative, Colleen P. France, Associate Director for JD/MBA Recruitment and Administration, for an interactive Q&A about the unique Penn Law/Wharton MBA dual-degree program. The Q&A, which will take place on Wednesday, November 2, 2011 at 5:00 PM PT / 8:00 PM ET / 12:00 AM GMT, will provide you with an opportunity to ask your most pressing questions about the JD/MBA program’s admissions practices and curriculum, helping you gain admission to the first fully integrated three-year MBA /JD program in the U.S. If you are considering applying to this elite program, and have questions about the breakdown of courses over the three-year period, the capstone course, the summer internship opportunity, or any other admissions-related topic, then you won’t want to miss this Q&A!

Register now to reserve your spot for Wharton & Penn JD/MBA Admissions Q&A!

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3 Treats that Will do the Trick in Your Personal Statement or Application Essay

In my meanderings on the web, I stumbled across a short video on screen writing. The presenters are two Emmy-winning screen writers, and they know a thing or two about telling a good story.

They boil the story-telling stew down to three words — actually 2 do’s and 1 don’t:

The do’s:

  1. Therefore
  2. But

The don’t:

  1. And then.

All elements in your story have to connect to what preceded them. They can connect via an implied “therefore,” for the logical and possible to anticipate, or an implicit “but” for the unanticipated surprises that life hands you or the changes in direction you may have made. You don’t need to explicitly include those words, but the presence of those concepts means you have a story.

However, if you have “And then,” your story doesn’t work. There’s a gap — not a surprise, but a hole in the chain of events or your logic.

What works for viewers of the small screen also works for the  readers of your application essays, personal statement, or statement of purpose.

(If interested, you can see the full video at MTVu.)

Linda Abraham By , founder and president of Accepted.com


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2012 CEIBS MBA Admissions Tips

CEIBS (China Europe International Business School), located in Shanghai, is the longest-running MBA program in China, boasting the largest MBA alumni pool in China and over 10,000 alumni around the world. Ranked 2nd in China by the Financial Times and 17th in the world, the program focuses on endowing students with a global business perspective plus a local cultural understanding. Last year’s curriculum reform made a greater emphasis on endowing students with soft skills like interpersonal communication, strategy development, and an integrated management perspective that allows graduates to solve challenging business problems that cut across functional business lines. Program graduates seem to do quite well: the average salary according to the Financial Times research for graduates in the past 3 years is over $126,000!

CEIBS’s essay questions are straightforward and focus on three areas: goal orientation, leadership/impact, and personal introspection. My comments and advice are in blue below:

Essay 1

Why are you seeking to pursue your MBA study at this moment of your life in relation to your short-term and long-term career goals? Explain how an MBA from CEIBS will contribute to these goals. (500 words)

To predict your career’s future development does require a brief summary of its evolution to date, but don’t make the mistake of writing 400 words about your past and leaving only 100 to outline your future and CEIBS’s role in preparing you for it! I suggest starting by discussing your goals in about 100 words then spending about 200 words on how your past has prepared you for them and 200 words on the unique way that the CEIBS program will prepare you for your future. Be sure your goals are consistent with what other graduates go on to do after graduating!

Essay 2

For question 2(a) and 2(b), you only need to answer one of the two questions.
2(a). Describe your most significant work-related achievement and explain why you view it as such. (400 words) OR
2(b). Describe a difficult situation where you demonstrated leadership skills to achieve a positive outcome. (400 words)

Whether you answer question 2a or 2b, the emphasis here is on impact. This essay is your opportunity to focus on what challenges you have overcome – both business and interpersonal – and the extent of the impact you succeeded in making.

Essay 3

For question 3(a) and 3(b), you only need to answer one of the two questions.
3(a). Describe a professional failure and what were the lessons learned? (400 words) OR
3(b). Describe a situation where your values, ethics or morals were challenged and how did you handle the situation. (400 words)

Both 3a and 3b require introspection: when you failed, what disappointed you? What did you learn about yourself in the process? How did you apply these lessons to succeed subsequently?
When your ethics or morals were challenged, what was your thought process and how did you resolve the conflict without ruining relationships in your path? Ethical challenge questions are the most difficult to answer because applicants need to avoid preaching. Creativity and interpersonal skills will surely play a large part in successful ethical challenge essays.

Essay 4

(Optional) Is there any other information that you believe would be helpful to the MBA Admission Committee in evaluating your application?(200 words). Re-applicants are suggested to describe the progress you have made since your previous application.

I highly recommend submitting an optional essay to CEIBS. In particular, essays that demonstrate cultural insights in Asia or abroad will demonstrate your ability to contribute to the global perspective in the classroom.

The 18-month CEIBS program beginning in August 2011 conducts its application reviews in rounds. While the third round ends April 6th, applicants from within Asia should certainly try to submit their applications by the second round on February 12th, otherwise the class may already be full of students from similar backgrounds. However, applicants from outside of Asia should still have a good shot at a place in the class in the final round since the school would like to have a good representation of students from outside of Asia (around 20% of last year’s graduating class hailed originally from Europe/US).

CEIBS Application Rounds


Application Deadline

Decision by


Nov. 15, 2011

Dec. 20, 2011


Feb. 2, 2012*

Mar. 22, 2012


Mar. 29, 2012

Apr. 30, 2012





*Please note that all the scholarship application (except CEIBS Scholarship) should be submitted before Feb. 2, 2012.

Check out more of our 2012 MBA essay tips!

Jennifer Bloom  

Law School News Roundup

  •  Which Law School Can Get Me a Job? Amid rampant concern regarding job opportunities post-law school, Forbes highlights the career prospects ranking in the Princeton Review’s recent guide, The Best 167 Law Schools. Both data from the schools themselves and student surveys were used to formulate the rankings, including percent of students passing the bar the first time, those employed nine months post-grad and their average starting salary. The surveys asked students “how much their law schools offer and encourage practical experience, how students rate their schools’ opportunities for judicial externships, internships and clerkships, and how prepared the students feel they are to practice law after graduating.” Northwestern University School of Law topped the career prospects category, with University of Chicago Law School and Columbia University School of Law in second and third place.
  • Yale to Start First Amendment Institute- As reported by The National Law Journal, Yale Law School has received a donation of $3 million by First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams to create an institute concentrating on freedom of speech. The institute “will include a law clinic through which students will litigate cases, draft proposed legislation and advise policymakers regarding freedom of speech and informational access.” It will also focus on new media, and issues pertaining to the Internet and privacy and intellectual property.
  • Junior Associates Not Worth the Price- In case law students and recent grads didn’t feel helpless enough, the WSJ Law Blog reveals that over 20% of corporate clients are unwilling to pay for work done by first- or second-year attorneys. This development seems to be motivated by the economic downturn and increasing rates for junior associates. Elie Mystal at Above the Law finds law schools at fault, for, “ If law schools aren’t pumping out people who can convince clients to pay for their work, then what are law schools doing really?” He notes that a shift to the apprenticeship system, as in the U.K., is not so straightforward, since law is only studied in grad school in the U.S. and tuition is much higher.
  • Someone Actually Endorsing Law School- On a more optimistic note, Aaron N. Taylor lists the benefits of a legal education in the National Jurist. While he admits that the recession has impacted the legal sector, Taylor points out that the profession has fared much better than most others. Most lawyers still earn relatively high salaries, and even law grads pursuing jobs in other areas have an advantage over those without a J.D. Taylor also touts the pros of student loans, particularly federal loans with generous repayment plans. He notes that with all the “bad publicity,” now is a more favorable time to apply to law school, since applications are down and more thorough employment data will become available. As he concludes, “in terms of providing career and financial stability, few educational pursuits compare. And in an economy where workers are increasingly required to think, adapt and thrive in changing work environments, the flexible nature of legal training arguably makes it a better investment than it was 20 years ago.”
  • The LSAC Steps Up- Although the Law School Admission Council had declined to get involved in the past, the LSAC is now considering policing the GPAs and LSAT scores reported to the ABA by law schools, The National Law Journal reports. It seems that the recent scandals at Villanova and the University of Illinois may have augmented the pressure on the organization to intervene. If the council finds that it can confirm the reported figures in a reliable manner, then it will do so in the future, but not for the data reported this year.
  • The Early Bird Application Doesn’t Always Catch the Worm- For those trying to rush in their law school applications, Most Strongly Supported cautions: it is worth taking your time on your application even if it takes a bit longer to send it in. If you’d like to retake the LSAT in December for the chance of improving your score, make sure that the rest of your application is done so you can send it in as soon as you get your score. Regarding specific dates, “applications submitted by November 15 are early, applications sent in early October are super early, and you are usually at a disadvantage if you get in your applications after January 5.” Considering early decision? While it may up your chances of admission to that particular school, you are then locked in regardless of the amount of financial aid you will receive (and the amounts offered by other schools can’t then be used as bargaining tools).

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A Cornell Conversation: Johnson MBA Admissions Q&A Next Week!

Cornell Johnson

Sage Hall at the Johnson School

Join us for an in-depth conversation about Cornell Johnson with Christine E. Sneva, Director of Admissions & Financial Aid, and Laurie Shunney, Assistant Director of Admissions & Financial Aid, on Monday, October 31, 2011 at 10:00 AM PT/1:00 PM ET/5:00 PM GMT. If you’re intrigued by Johnson’s close-knit, active student body, strong business fundamentals, and concentrated emphasis on leadership, then you won’t want to miss this opportunity to take part in a Cornell Conversation! Register today to get all your Cornell Johnson questions answered and learn how to navigate the complicated admissions maze as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Register now to reserve your spot for A Cornell Conversation!

What time is that for me? Click on the link to find out the exact time for your location.

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MBA Blogger Interview: MBA Boy’s Journey

Next up in our series of featured MBA bloggers is MBA Boy, author of the blog, “MBA Applicationland.” Please enjoy MBA Boy’s thoughtful answers and use them to help you make your way through the MBA admissions process.

Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself – where are you from, where did you go to school and when did you graduate; and what prior degrees do you hold?

MBA Boy: I was born and raised in Massachusetts, before departing for college out-of-state in 2004. (I’m keeping the name of my college confidential during the application process, although I’ll say I’m a 2008 graduate.) Additionally, I wrote a post containing other juicy tidbits about my life entitled “Who Is MBA Boy?”.

Accepted: Why do you want to go to business school? What are some of the factors motivating you?

MBA Boy: Well, first off: I think I’m approaching the age where I have to make that decision of going back to school or not. If you look at the trend, most students at top MBA programs are under 30.

I also think that, nowadays, people can get so detached from their jobs. They spend the large majority of their adult lives just going through the motions of their jobs, just doing things, because they have to – to get by in life, pay the bills, support the family – but mentally and spiritually, they’re slowly getting the life sucked out of them. And I don’t believe in that; I believe in calling. I believe everyone has a calling, and that it’s crucial for you to discover your calling and to pursue it, because it injects purpose into your life.

See, I’m actually one of those oddballs who genuinely enjoys investment banking. (Yeah, I’m that guy.) But at the same time I don’t feel called to be a career investment banker; I see other opportunities where I can personally impact people more. And that’s something that’s really important to me. Some people are passionate about making a great product. Other people really care about innovation or getting rich or something else. For me, it’s all about people. I’m passionate about people.

So it basically came down to, do I want to start thinking about my next job, or would I rather go back to school first? And I settled on going back to school, because I think it’ll provide a better foundation in the long run and prepare me for the things I want to do. That said, I’m also a very religious person, so ultimately I’m leaving the outcome in God’s hands. I absolutely trust that I will end up where God wants me to end up, even if it’s not at business school.

Accepted: How important is a “name brand” MBA program to you? Are you only applying to top 10 programs?

MBA Boy: Haha, I want to be careful here because I don’t want to equate applying to top schools with valuing prestige – even if that’s what a lot of people do. While I don’t know how you’d specifically define the “top 10 MBA programs,” the schools to which I am applying are all well-regarded. More importantly, though, I think they’re the best schools to help me achieve my calling.

On the other hand, I’m not going to sit here and tell you I don’t think about the prestige factor at all, because I do. I think everyone does. Anyone who tells you otherwise is in all likelihood lying. But I’m wary of thinking about prestige, since prestige is really synonymous with pride, and pride is a very dangerous thing. So whenever thoughts of prestige arise I make sure I squash them, because if that’s why I’m going back to school, then I’m just doing it to feed my own pride.

Accepted: Would you consider applying to a b-school outside your current country?

MBA Boy: I’ve already finalized the list of schools I’m applying to, so I can answer with certainty that I’m not considering any schools outside of the U.S. I studied abroad in London for a semester and absolutely adored the city, but it probably makes the most sense to stay in the U.S. if I’m planning to work here.

Accepted: How many times did you take the GMAT? Are you happy with your score?

MBA Boy: I took the GMAT once, scored 760, and was satisfied with it. I think it’d be rather bratty for me to say I got a 760 and it’s very upsetting. If you’re interested in reading more about my GMAT journey, I dedicated one and a half decently long posts to it in my blog.

Accepted: How has the current economy affected your decision to attend business school?

MBA Boy: To be honest, not at all.

Accepted: Why did you choose to blog about the MBA application experience?

MBA Boy: I love writing, and it’s a beautiful thing when you’re able to express yourself eloquently through words. I used to jot down random musings about my day, which eventually turned into an obscure blog with an ebullient fanbase of seven or so. Unfortunately, I’m not a terribly fast writer and I just couldn’t find time to keep writing, so I stopped.

One night in August, as I was contemplating essay ideas for my applications, an exquisite inspiration came upon me and I wanted to commemorate the moment in words somewhere. All of a sudden, I found myself blogging again. And so really, I’m just finding an excuse to do something I love; if others can draw inspiration from my writing, even better.

Do you want to be featured in Accepted.com’s blog, Accepted Admissions Blog? If you want to share your MBA journey with the world (or at least with our readers), email us at mbabloggers@accepted.com.

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Goals Essay-Writing Nitty-Gritty

This post is the fourth of five posts in our Why MBA series.

Short- and long-term goals

Before you start drafting your goals essays,  work out three levels of goals: short-term, intermediate, and long-term.  It helps to have this whole picture in your mind regardless of where you’ll “zoom in” for a particular essay.  Short-term is immediately post MBA to about two years later; intermediate is about two to five years post MBA; and long-term is the rest.  Usually essays ask for short- and long-term goals, but you’ll need intermediate as the bridge between them.

Short-term goals are the most specific, for obvious reasons – they’re closer in time and they’re also the direct link to the MBA program.  As you describe successive steps, use less and less detail in each, because the further out you project, the less certain things are.  Don’t go beyond what’s practical, e.g., describing in detail what you’ll be doing in twenty years.  Adapt each phase to reality too.  If your targeted industry (say, healthcare) is in great flux, that point should be reflected in your goals.

Responding to specific goals questions

Different sets of essay questions will emphasize different aspects of the goals; they’ll require different lengths and have different tones.   Some are open; other are focused and directed.  They key is to “read” not just the words but the tone of the question.  Anecdotally, I’ve noticed a trend toward short, focused goals essay questions; there are fewer 1,000 word goals essays (Haas is an exception), fewer essays asking for your “vision” (Fuqua is an exception).  Most want the facts, straight.  Columbia asks you to define goals in 200 characters.  Wharton gives you 300 words to answer, “What are your professional objectives?”

Read the question carefully, and emphasize in your essay what the question emphasizes (e.g., short-term or long-term equal or do they just mention post-MBA goal?).  In other words, be guided by the question.   That doesn’t mean you can’t bring in other elements, but they should support your main points.  In the Wharton essay, for example, you’d boil down your experience and motivation to a contextual sentence or two.

Often the question asks why you want an MBA or want to attend the particular program.  Link these points directly to your goals.  If you can weave in your school visit and/or interactions with students and alumni, great!

Cindy TokumitsuBy Cindy Tokumitsu, author of numerous ebooks, articles, and special reports. Cindy has worked with hundreds of successful MBA applicants in her last ten years with Accepted. She can help you assess your strengths and weaknesses and develop a winning MBA admissions strategy.


For MBA resources at your fingertips, check out our MBA 101 pages — free webinars, special reports, articles, and blog posts on every MBA admissions topic!

Duke Hits 93% Employment Rate

Duke Fuqua

Duke Fuqua campus

Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business announced (“Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business Reports Significant Increase in Employment for MBA Graduates”) it has reached a record high—93% of full-time students in 2011 receiving job offers within three months of graduating.  This percentage reflects an 11% increase from last year and a 14% increase from 2009.  Fuqua also notes:

  • Students are being offered jobs at higher levels than the past.
  • 48 employers hired Duke MBAs in a variety of industries, including: financial services, consulting, health care, technology, consumer products, diversified products and services, retail, and entertainment.
  • The industry that has been hiring the most students (30%) is consulting.
  • Students are being better compensated for their work, with the mean full-time annual salary in 2011 going up to $107,833 and the mean signing bonus going up to $25,946.

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MBA Admissions News Roundup

  • Bonuses Go Down- BusinessWeek announced that bonuses on Wall Street will go down and not up in the next three years, according to an eFinancialCareers.com survey. While the 50% of the survey respondents at hedge funds and boutique banks still expect their bonus to go up from last year, analysts are predicting that employees at large investment and commercial banks are likely to see lower bonuses. The good news: 92% of respondents expect at least some kind of bonus this year.
  • ISB Doubles its Scholarships- The Indian School of Business announced that it will double the funds available for scholarships for the incoming class of 2013. Since 1 in every 7 students receives financial need or merit-based scholarships—funding 25%-50% of their education—these additional funds will make a huge difference.
  • GMAC Board Becomes More International- MBA Universe looks at the three new board members that have been appointed to the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) board of directors.  For the first time ever, one of the new members is the dean of the Indian School of Business, Ajit Rangnekar. Rangnekar’s place on the board highlights the rising prominence of Asian business schools on the international stage.

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