Accepted’s Most in 2011

Best of 2011 at Accepted.comWhat worked for you last year? At least what worked at for our readers? And that’s YOU!

Here are a few posts, articles, and resources that proved particularly popular:

Top Ten Most Visited Accepted Admissions Blog Posts of 2011

  1. Harvard Business School 2012 Essay Questions, Deadlines, Tips
  2. INSEAD 2012 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips
  3. London Business School 2012 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips
  4. 2011 Rankings: BW’s Best Undergraduate Business Schools
  5. NYU Stern 2012 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips
  6. Kellogg 2012 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips
  7. Columbia 2012 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips
  8. 2012 Common Application Essay Tips
  9. Stanford GSB 2012 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips
  10. Chicago Booth 2012 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips

5 Most Downloaded Special Reports of 2011

  1. 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid
  2. From Example to Exemplary
  3. Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One
  4. Leadership in Admissions
  5. MBA Rankings: What You Need to Know

5 Most Popular Articles

  1. Writing Your Grad School Personal Statement
  2. Go for the Goals in Your Statement of Purpose
  3. Tips for Writing Letters of Recommendation
  4. MBA Admissions: Low GMAT or GPA
  5. The Letters of Rec Too?!?

6 Most Viewed Webinars

  1. AMCAS Essays for Acceptance
  2. Law School Personal Statements with Pizzazz
  3. Highlighting Your Strengths in the Common Application
  4. MBA Reality Check: Evaluate Your Profile for Acceptance
  5. 4 Essentials in an Executive MBA Application
  6. The Art of a Gripping MBA Goals Essay

5 Most Visited Chats Pages:

  1. Duke NUS Medical School Admissions Q&A
  2. Consortium 2011 MBA Application Strategies (2012 version is here.)
  3. 2011 London Business School MBA/MiF Admissions Chat (2012 version is here)
  4. 2012 INSEAD MBA Admissions Q&A 
  5. 2011 Columbia MBA Admissions Q&A

With the year drawing to a close, I have a request. We moved to a new blogging platform in September, and since then, you folks have really stopped asking us questions. On the old blog, we frequently received profile evaluation requests and “what are my chances?” questions on school tip posts. We welcome them! And miss them in our new abode.  Don’t be shy. If you have a question or would like your profile evaluated, just ask.

And what’s the mostest of the mostest at Accepted? The absolute best? YOU! Our readers, followers, circlers, fans, friends, participants, and most of all, our clients. Thanks for a wonderful 2011.

Linda AbrahamBy Linda Abraham, founder and president of, co-author of MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.


Applicants, learn the 5 fatal flaws to avoid in your application essay, statement of purpose, personal statement, or secondary essay with our FREE special report, 5 Fatal Flaws.

3 Admissions Trends to Watch in 2012

2012 Trends1.  Continuing Impact of Rising Tuition Combined with Recession

  • The law school admissions world has been roiled by the high levels of debt assumed by law school students in anticipation of high-paying jobs that simply never materialized.  A couple of cases of alleged fraud by admissions offices have further stirred this volatile stew. In 2013, look for more transparency in reporting hiring trends for law school graduates. The ABA has already taken a few baby steps in that direction; I believe they will take more. Law schools will become more open with this data, with or without a kick from the ABA, to protect themselves from law suits from unhappy customers: their students.
  • The trend towards more openness with hiring data will spill over to MBA programs next. Look for more data in the form of numbers, not just names of companies. Other larger graduate programs will follow suit.
  • Expect more focus on realistic, well-reasoned goals in all areas of graduate admissions. The days of going to graduate school to avoid the world of work are over — unless you have very well-to-do parents.

2.  More Experimentation with Interview Formats

Wharton experimented with group interviews. Several medical schools have tried “Multiple Mini-Interviews,” or what I would call interviews a la speed dating. I also expect more programs, especially MBA and computer science programs, to try team interviews to see how students interact in a team setting. The main limitation on implementing change in this area will be cost and geography.

3.  Increased Flexibility in B-School Curricula

The goal here is to increase curriculum flexibility so that students can contribute more effectively during their internships.  UCLA Anderson and Wharton introduced new curricula this year that allow students to dive deep into their areas of specialty from Day 1 and postpone requirements unrelated to their major or concentration to the second year. In response to feedback from recruiters, both schools aimed to increase the ability of their students to contribute more effectively as interns, and let’s remember that internships are try-outs for permanent positions. I didn’t see the Round 1 data from Wharton, but Anderson proudly reports that its Round 1 application volume climbed 20%; it attributes that growth largely to the curriculum reform. Anticipated appeal to recruiters and increased hiring drive MBA application volume. And higher application volume and hiring improves rankings; now that’s a real winner.  Look for more schools allowing students to fulfill non-major requirements in their second year.

Linda AbrahamBy Linda Abraham, founder of and author of MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.


Learn to avoid the five fatal flaws of application essays and personal statements by reading our FREE special report, 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid

IMD Executive MBA Program 2012 Application Questions, Deadlines, and Tips

IMDIMD Executive MBA Application Essay Questions and Tips

The IMD EMBA essay questions will generate a comprehensive view of you as a businessperson and a professional – in very succinct form.  Although the essays are not long, be prepared to put good thought into deciding what to write.  Also spend time deciding what to emphasize about a given experience or point, because you will not be able to include all aspects given the brevity.   Keep in mind the program’s targeting of seasoned managers on the brink of senior management.

Rather than in a traditional set of essay questions, the IMD application asks you a couple of critical questions within the application.

5. Description of career history

Please provide a brief description of your career history and accomplishments to date, including current duties and reporting responsibilities.  The response must be limited to 10 lines.

This line limit gives you about 130-150 words – not much.  You can either weave in your accomplishments ( selectively discussing the key ones) into your career history, or you can do a short paragraph with your career history followed by a short paragraph about your key accomplishments.  Regarding the accomplishments, include at least one recent one.  In this short essay, be specific and quantify where possible/relevant.

9. Briefly state your career objectives.  The response must be limited to 5 lines. 

This gives you a few sentences approximately.  Be specific:  roles/positions, industry, possibly geography.  Give an example of companies that interest you.  State not just what you want to do, but also what you’d like to accomplish, what impact you’d like to have in the long term (your “vision”).

10-13. Essays

Questions 10-13 should be answered on separate sheets of paper. Please re-type the questions with your answers and include your name on each page.  Please take this opportunity to present yourself to the Admissions Committee in a concise, informative and open manner.  Each essay should be a maximum of 15 lines.

NOTE: This line limit gives you about 200 words per essay.

10. Please describe three situations, business or otherwise, in which you were involved and which were of importance to you. Explain why you view them as such.

Selecting three interesting, different, and in some way pivotal situations is the key to using this essay to maximum effect.  It gives the adcom YOUR lens onto your life and career –and it gives you a chance to present a multifaceted self-portrait.  Ideally at least one of the three situations will be non-work related.  A general rule of thumb in terms of time frame is, the longer ago something happened, the “bigger” its meaning and impact should be to make it a viable essay topic.  For example, you should generally steer clear of discussing something as far back as high school – unless, for example, you escaped with your family from a region at war.  Most likely you’ll discuss things within the last five years. For the work-related items, try to have one fairly recent, and also discuss experiences that are different.    I suggest three paragraphs, each devoted to one situation.  In each, describe the situation, and then discuss why it was important to you – and if it was so for multiple reasons, focus on one or two.  Be thoughtful and insightful, don’t just state the obvious. 

11. Please comment on a situation where you failed to reach an objective and what you learned from it.

Here you have a chance to go more in depth on a particular experience.  Ideally use an experience from work, not too far in the past.  First narrate the situation, giving specifics such as where, who, when, etc.   Don’t shrink from the part where you failed to reach the objective – this is the pivot point of the story.  Explain what happened and be frank about where you fell short.  Describe your learning from it – and then add a quick sentence noting how you have since applied that learning.

12. In what ways do you believe you can contribute to this program?

Identify 2-3 key ways you stand out among IMD Executive MBA applicants and elaborate on how they will enable you to contribute.  There is no formula here; it will differ for each applicant.  Some examples of factors to consider are a unique industry perspective or niche, an unusual or powerful experience at work, in-depth experience in under-represented developing region, work that deals with critical or evolving social issues, significant and high-impact volunteer work.  These are just examples.  For the top 2-3 factors you mention, describe each briefly and now how/why it will enable you to contribute.  After this substantive discussion, if you wish and if you have room, you can add a couple more points in a concluding sentence or two – but there is no need to do so. 

13. Optional question: Is there any additional information that is critical for the Executive MBA Admissions Committee to know that has not been covered elsewhere in this application?

The use of the phrase “is critical” indicates that you should not use this essay simply to further market yourself; write it only if there is an essential item not mentioned that the adcom must know in order to have a full understanding of your candidacy.  Obviously you’d need to discuss things such as an unimpressive undergrad record, gap in resume, etc.  But given the opportunity to discuss a range of issues that the regular essays present, you should not add another “interesting” experience here.

Application deadline

“As soon as we receive applications, we review them and make acceptance decisions. Typically, we respond to all applicants within 3 weeks.  You can apply at any time – it is in your best interest to apply early.”

If you would like help with IMD’s executive MBA essays, please consider’s EMBA admissions consulting and EMBA essay editing services.

Cindy Tokumitsu


 By , co-author of The EMBA Edge, and author of the free special report,Ace the EMBA.”

Check out the rest of our executive MBA essay tips here.

Get Your MBA Smarts at 20% off through Saturday!

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MBA Admission for Smarties is a gem of a guide designed to help savvy business school applicants research and pick appropriate schools and present their application in the most compelling way to the admission committees.”

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MBA Admissions News Roundup

  • School Visits are Like Online Dating- The MBA Blog, “Por Qué….MBA?” One girl’s MBA application journey!, looks at the importance of visiting MBA programs before making any decisions about where to apply. MBA blogger Mango, visited both Columbia and Kellogg’s programs and learned about her “type” of program.  She explained that the same way you understand a lot about a person from a blind date (even though you can’t understand everything), you learn a lot about your chemistry with a school from an initial visit.  Bottom line: schools are very different on paper than they are in person. To hear more about Mango’s MBA application process check out her interview with Accepted.
  • How to Utilize GMAC Data- GMAC talks about what it has learned after giving 258,192 tests worldwide in 2011. The testing year, which ended June 30,2011, showed that GMAT test taking is down 2.2% from 2010 and 3% from 2009.
  • Plagiarism Has Got to Stop- BusinessWeek reports that is cutting down on cheating in business schools. Turnitin, a program that scans admissions essays and then compares them to a large database of essays, said there are 10-20 business schools currently using its service. Turnitin reported that a study of 453,000 personal statements from over 300 colleges and universities found that 36% were cases of possible plagiarism. While this number sounds high, since more MBA programs will likely start using Turnitin, MBA applicants should be extra careful and not “borrow” from sample essays online.
  • GMAT is Used By Over 5,300 Programs- GMAC reports that there has been an increase in different types of programs involving business management. The growth in programs is highlighted by the fact that GMAC has had to add or update 23 program code categories this year. In fact, over 5,300 different programs worldwide use the GMAT exam. To help find what kind of program is right for you, check out the different programs—filtered by GMAT program code types—at ~ Helping You Write Your Best