Selling Yourself Short?

Get advice for writing exemplary personal statements.

Don’t sell yourself short!

“I founded a small candy company.”  I could see in the faces of my fellow admissions committee members that they were not that impressed with the candidate; none of them had ever heard of “Del Sol Candy,”* and Roberto’s modest description did not make it sound all that impressive an accomplishment.

Many times while interviewing international MBA candidates, I have found that some of them sell themselves short, particularly with regards to their work experience. Whether it is because of culture or family upbringing, there is a certain type of candidate who finds it hard to present his or her own professional accomplishments in the best light.

This contrasts dramatically with what is expected from MBA applicants; committee members expect candidates to present their best case and promote their accomplishments. This mismatch between the candidate’s culture and the committee’s expectations can sometimes harm the candidate’s chances of admission. A second layer of complexity also arises for some international students: if an American applicant mentions that he or she is a regional manager at Hershey’s, for example, the adcom would have at least an idea of the size of the operation, the level of responsibility, and the selectiveness of the company. If, on the other hand, you come from abroad and your company is not well known in the U.S., the adcom may have a harder time evaluating your work experience.

Just by chance, I had been to Roberto’s home city the previous year on a recruitment trip, and I happened to know that the company he had started from scratch was not only the biggest candy maker in the country, but that it exported millions of dollars’ worth of goods to international markets as far away as the Middle East. During the interview I asked him a couple of probing questions about it, and once he started talking about specifics (sales figures, market share, etc.) he became more comfortable. More importantly, the committee was able to assess the magnitude of his accomplishments.

If you, like Roberto, feel hesitant to promote your achievements for fear of sounding boastful, you need to be aware of those emotions and make a determined effort to overcome that tendency. It is up to you, the candidate, to provide the school with enough information to evaluate your accomplishments.

A good way to overcome any qualms regarding self-promotion is to be ready to provide the adcom with hard data that will document what you have done. If at all possible, do research and be prepared to provide them with a benchmark, a point of comparison with an American company, or at least some details of the level of the operation, but most importantly, the size of your responsibilities. By preparing yourself with facts, you will dramatically improve your chances of admission and, later on, your employability prospects for internship and beyond.

Learn how to use sample essays to create an exemplary essay of your own!

Esmeralda CardenalBy Esmeralda Cardenal, previously the Associate Director of Admissions at Yale SOM, Director of MBA Admissions at MSU Broad, and consultant at Cardiff Business School in the UK. She is happy to help you showcase your achievements in your MBA application.

Related Resources:

• The Quick Guide to Admissions Resumes
• 4 Application Strategy Tips: Stand Out AND Fit In
• 4 Ways to Show How You’ll Contribute in the Future

Prepare for the TOEFL With This Infographic!

Don't be afraid of the TOEFL.  Check out this infographic and get prepared!There’s a lot to be tense about when it comes to the TOEFL speaking section–you’ll need to show your comfort level with the English language while speaking clearly into a microphone while surrounded by other test-takers who are also speaking into their microphones, and all of this done under a time crunch. That’s enough to make even the most sophisticated test-taker break out in a sweat!

However, all is not lost. There is a lot you can do to practice and improve on this section of the test. And as a first step, you can study this handy TOEFL Speaking infographic that our friends at Magoosh TOEFL put together! It’s complete with info on the structure of the test, useful strategies to keep in mind, and helpful tips to make this section more manageable.

 So take a look at the infographic below and get confident about your TOEFL speaking skills!
Magoosh TOEFL Speaking Infographic
Learn how to use sample essays to create an exemplary essay of your own!
Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

• All Things Test Prep: The Test Prep Guru Speaks
• What is a Good TOEFL Score?
• Studying For GRE Verbal and the TOEFL at the Same Time

A Wharton Grad Rids the World of Bank Fees

Listen to the recording!BankMobile is bank with a vision, ATMs everywhere, no fees, and no branches.

Want to know more, right?

For the full scoop, listen to the entire recording of our conversation with Luvleen Sidhu, Wharton alum and Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer at the mobile-only, fee-free bank for Millennials.

00:01:40 – Introducing Luvleen Sidhu and the many benefits of BankMobile.

00:07:05 – BankMobile is planning to become the “Uber of banking.” True or False?

00:09:09 – Up and coming at BankMobile: The “Can I Buy” feature.

00:10:58 – How BankMobile came to be.

00:13:40 – Did you really learn anything in b-school?

00:17:55 – What Luvleen wishes she knew before b-school: The application process doesn’t end after you are admitted!

00:20:19 – The best and worst about Wharton.

00:26:41 – Advice for Wharton applicants and future entrepreneurs.

Click here to listen to the show!*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com

Related Links:

• Bankmobile
• BankMobile Aims to Become the Uber of Banking
• Wharton 2015 MBA Questions, Deadlines, Tips
Get Accepted to The Wharton School

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Get Accepted to Wharton

Will the Final 4 be Your Top Choice Schools?

Click here for the 5 fatal flaws to avoid on your essays

Are college sports more than a game for you?

One story-line that pops up frequently this time of year is the idea that a school that does well in the NCAA tournament will see an increase in application numbers, or in the number of students enrolling. This is popularly known as the Flutie Effect, after Doug Flutie of Boston College, whose dramatic game-winning Hail Mary pass in a 1984 game has been credited with raising the college’s profile among applicants and leading to a dramatic increase in applications.

A 2009 study by economists Jaren and Devin Pope suggested that participating in the NCAA basketball tournament does translate into higher undergraduate application rates the following year: a 1% increase for teams that make the tournament, 3% for teams that make the Sweet 16, 4-5% for teams that make the Final 4, and up to 7-8% for the champion.

A 2013 working paper by Doug Chung at HBS also explored the relationship between college athletics and applications, and found that applications do rise at schools that experience success in basketball and football. Chung regards athletic success as a form of advertising for universities.

Is athletic success a factor in your decision-making process?

If you’re applying to graduate school, are you interested in a field related to athletics, such as sports management or marketing, or sports medicine? Were those interests shaped by your experience of intercollegiate athletics? Let us know!

grad 5 Fatal Flaws

Rebecca BlusteinBy Dr. Rebecca BlusteinAccepted.com consultant since 2008, former Student Affairs Officer at UCLA’s Scholarship Resource Center, and author of the ebook, Financing Your Future: Winning Fellowships, Scholarships and Awards for Grad School. Dr. Blustein, who earned her Ph.D. at UCLA, assists our clients applying to MS, MA, and Ph.D. programs. She is happy to assist you with your grad school applications.

Related Resources:

• Athletic Appeal in Admissions
Preparing for College in High School
• From Example to Exemplary

March Madness and Story Time

Can your application tell a story?Is your bracket busted yet? (Probably.)

One of the things that draws even casual sports fans to March Madness is the storylines—the last-minute excitement, the players’ personal stories, the upsets, the Cinderella runs deep into the tournament.

And during the tournament, absolutely everything becomes a story. As I write, one of the top stories on Yahoo Sports is about the chair that GA State coach Ron Hunter fell out of in excitement when his son hit a game winning shot. Yes—the chair, which is now a treasured object of superstitious reverence. Of course! But another great story (and one of the enduring images of this year’s tournament, even after GA State was eliminated in the next round).

Stories make the game more exciting by giving us a personal connection to it. That’s how we tend to relate to the world around us. And I think it’s a useful thing to remember when you’re writing application essays: stories matter.

Your personal experiences add depth and interest to your application essays, helping you stand out and illustrating the qualities and goals you’re explaining. As you prepare to write, think about the stories you want to tell. It can be helpful to do some prewriting—think through some of the experiences you want to write about and what you learned from them, as well as how they relate to what you want to do in the future. This will give you some good material to draw on in your essay(s).

And…Go Bruins! (If they’re eliminated by the time you read this—better luck next year.)

Learn how to use sample essays to create an exemplary essay of your own!

 

Rebecca BlusteinBy Dr. Rebecca BlusteinAccepted.com consultant since 2008, former Student Affairs Officer at UCLA’s Scholarship Resource Center, and author of the ebook, Financing Your Future: Winning Fellowships, Scholarships and Awards for Grad School. Dr. Blustein, who earned her Ph.D. at UCLA, assists our clients applying to MS, MA, and Ph.D. programs. She is happy to assist you with your grad school applications.

Related Resources: 

• 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Application Essays
• Telling Your Story in Your Application Essay
• MBA Application Essays: All You Need is a Story