Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog » MBA Admissions http://blog.accepted.com Admissions consulting and application advice Fri, 22 May 2015 16:10:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Are MBA Rankings REALLY Important? http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/22/are-mba-rankings-really-important-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/22/are-mba-rankings-really-important-2/#respond Fri, 22 May 2015 16:10:12 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30555 What do the MBA rankings mean to you? What will they teach you? Should you trust them? Are MBA rankings REALLY important? In our guide, MBA Rankings: What You Need to Know, newly updated and expanded for 2015, Linda Abraham will walk you through the process of locating the rankings, sifting through them for the […]

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What do the MBA rankings mean to you? What will they teach you? Should you trust them? Are MBA rankings REALLY important?

In our guide, MBA Rankings: What You Need to Know, newly updated and expanded for 2015, Linda Abraham will walk you through the process of locating the rankings, sifting through them for the important information, analyzing the relevant data, and then finally, USING that information to help you choose the best MBA program for YOU.

MBA Rankings: What you  need to know

The rankings ARE an important tool, but they’re also a tool that can easily be abused. Learn how to use the rankings properly when you download MBA Rankings: What You Need to Know today!

Are You Misusing the B-School Rankings?
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Indian In IT Finds Her Fit At Anderson http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/22/from-mumbai-to-ucla-anderson-to-amazon-intern/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/22/from-mumbai-to-ucla-anderson-to-amazon-intern/#respond Fri, 22 May 2015 14:06:58 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30962 This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. We hope to offer you a candid picture of student life, and what you should consider as you prepare your MBA application. And now for an interview with Rohini Vaze… […]

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Read more MBA student interviews

This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. We hope to offer you a candid picture of student life, and what you should consider as you prepare your MBA application. And now for an interview with Rohini Vaze…

Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Can you share 3 fun facts about yourself?

Rohini: Sure! I am from Mumbai in India. I did my undergrad in electrical engineering from Pune and then worked at Tata Motors for three years. It was an amazing job where I got a 360 degree view of the business by working in sales, manufacturing and customer support and could take many initiatives and see them implemented. However, I always felt that I needed to learn frameworks that I could apply in my career, and so I came to business school to gain those skills. I also funded my friend’s startup during my time at Tata Motors and that got me interested in this space. So I am using these two years at business school to gain exposure to start-ups in California.

3 fun facts about me are:

1. I have travelled to 10 countries outside my country of birth.

2. I am a trustee at a non-profit organization in India to help underprivileged children learn English and computers.

3. I have been dancing since the age of five.

Accepted: Where are you in business school? What year?

Rohini: I am in my first year of Business School at UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Accepted: What is your favorite thing about Anderson so far? And if you could change one thing about the program, what would it be? 

Rohini: My favorite thing about Anderson has been the people and the exposure that it has given to me. Many schools are good at a single discipline but not so great at other industries, but Anderson is great for a variety of careers. This gives a lot of exposure to people who have very diverse backgrounds and I am sure it will be very helpful in the future. If I could change one thing, I would change the time at which the school starts. The quarter system makes recruiting harder since all other schools tend to have an advantage of starting a month earlier than Anderson, and thus those students have more time to gain valuable skills that will help them in seeking internships and full time positions.

Accepted: Can you tell us about your current internship? What role did UCLA play in helping you secure that position?

Rohini: I am currently pursuing a part-time internship at a Venture Capital Firm in Santa Monica and the opportunity came to me through UCLA itself. We have a website through our career center where companies that are in need of interns post about their opportunities. I applied to this internship after seeing the posting on the website and went through a company analysis and interview process before being offered this position. The part-time internship involves doing market research for companies that are being considered for funding through the Venture Capital Firm. What I really like about the internship is that the firm has good deal flow and provides real support to the entrepreneurs that they fund.

For the summer, I will be going to Amazon, and the Anderson career center was very helpful in giving me tips for preparation for the same. Moreover, my classmates as well as 2nd year students helped a lot with the preparation for the interviews!

Accepted: Which other business schools had you considered attending? How was UCLA the best fit for you?

Rohini: I always wanted a business school on the West Coast. I have a heard a lot about the cultural difference between the West and the East Coast schools and knew that I am a West Coast person. The other two criteria I had in mind were that I wanted a school in a city so that I could pursue part-time internships in parallel to school, as well as I wanted a school where there was a high concentration of people going into Hi-Tech. Thus, I had only considered attending UCLA, Berkeley and Stanford. I believe Anderson is a great fit for me since along with the above factors, Anderson has a very diverse crowd. The business school is really good for Finance and Consulting too, and I am confident that this exposure by being in an ‘all-rounder’ school will be very helpful in my career in the future.

Accepted: I see that you did fantastic on your GMAT – can you share a few tips with our readers?

Rohini: Thanks. There are a few things that I think helped me a lot with my GMAT score:

• Start with the simplest books and then move on to the harder ones. The simpler books help to re-learn the concepts from high school that most of us have forgotten. I started preparing with Princeton books and then went on to Manhattan and Kaplan. I also advise my friends to study from the official GMAT book the last. The official book tends to have the simpler questions in the 400-600 range and are not the best questions to practice when you are aiming for a great GMAT score. However, being able to easily solve these questions in the last couple of days when you need something to reduce your anxiousness is the best way to use the Official GMAT book.

• Check your mistakes to find patterns that will help you to focus your further preparation on a particular topic that is common for GMAT exams.

• Spend adequate time on the first 10 questions. I took the older format GMAT where the first 10 questions can really make or break your final score. Thus checking for silly mistakes in reading the question or a calculation error in not calculating answers till the end helps in getting a good score.

• Most importantly, practice a LOT! This is probably the most important tip since one of my biggest hurdles with GMAT was managing to concentrate for the whole 4 hours. During practice exams, I observed that I would make a lot of silly mistakes in the last hour and get lower scores. Thus, I made it a point to get used to the long hours and took one practice exam every three days. I believe this can really make the difference between a 700 and a 750 score.

Accepted: Do you have any other advice for our b-school applicants? 

Rohini: Start the application early and enjoy the process! Hopefully, there will be many things that you will learn about yourself through the application process. Also, focus on a few schools that you really want to get into and gather as much information about the school from as many sources as possible – you might have the best application but you won’t get any admit unless you can articulate “why this school” well.

For one-on-one guidance on your b-school applications, please see our MBA Application Packages.

To read more a bout Rohini, you can check out her blog at Rohini’s Blog. Thank you Rohini for sharing your story with us – we wish you much success! 

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Related Resources:

• UCLA Anderson Zone Page
• MBA Admissions for Indian Applicants
• Podcast: UCLA Anderson and Entrepreneurship

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The Unconventional Guide To Writing For The GMAT http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/21/the-unconventional-guide-to-writing-for-the-gmat/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/21/the-unconventional-guide-to-writing-for-the-gmat/#respond Thu, 21 May 2015 21:18:18 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30929 Structure gets all the limelight.  Structure is undoubtedly a huge deal on the GMAT AWA. After all, you are being graded in part by a computer. But there is still much to be said for content, and the more you think about what to say before you say it, the less likely you are to […]

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Click here for GMAT study Tips

Prepare to think on your feet

Structure gets all the limelight.  Structure is undoubtedly a huge deal on the GMAT AWA. After all, you are being graded in part by a computer. But there is still much to be said for content, and the more you think about what to say before you say it, the less likely you are to run out things to say, besides simply repeating, “the argument is also weak because it fails to substantiate a number of points.” Remember, only one of the graders is a computer. The other grader will be very aware if your content is lacking.

Content is king

Much of the content, believe it or not, will come from your brain. All the advice you get about the structure and the exact wording will only help you so much. Generating ideas on the fly, though, can be difficult—especially on test day. A good tactic is to practice using the arguments in the back of the Official Guide. Your job: identify several assumptions and ways that those assumptions can be strengthened or disproven.

Official prompt from GMAT webpage:

“The following appeared in a memorandum from the business department of the Apogee Company:

“‘When the Apogee Company had all its operations in one location, it was more profitable than it is today. Therefore, the Apogee Company should close down its field offices and conduct all its operations from a single location. Such centralization would improve profitability by cutting costs and helping the company maintain better supervision of all employees.’

Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion.”

The first step is to identify possible assumptions. This process might seem difficult at first, but with a little practice, you’ll become more adept at it.

Generating ideas means generating content

Questionable assumptions

1.  Profitability had one cause: having all operations centralized in one location.

2.  Even if that were the case, returning to a centralized operation does not ensure profitability.

3.  Supervision of employees is desirable and will lead to profit.

I probably could have come up with a few more assumptions, but I’d be stretching. The point of this exercise—indeed, the whole point of the AWA Argument task—is not to identify every questionable assumption, but to identify the main assumptions. From these few assumptions, you can build your essay. Remember, the instructions explicitly tell us to do the following:

“…what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion.”

Therefore, we need to take those first three assumptions and build off of them by offering alternative explanations and/or counterexamples.

1.  Profitability had one cause: having all operations centralized in one location.

Alternative explanation:

Profitability could have resulted from a number of different factors.

Counterexample:

For instance, Apogee could have focused on just one product, one that did well in the market and boosted company sales. The fact that operations were all under one roof did not impact the success of the company’s product. Indeed, Apogee could have continued to be profitable when it expanded its operations. We only know that at some point it was no longer profitable.

At this point, I could list another counterexample for the alternative explanation and house it under the same paragraph. This will help you add the much-needed length that many students struggle to provide in the essay. By coming up with realistic counterexamples, you can not only write a longer essay, but also a more persuasive one.

A good approach is to repeat the above for each of the questionable assumptions so that you are able to come up with five paragraphs (introduction, three bodies, and a conclusion). First, practice writing one solid paragraph, containing alternative explanations and realistic counterexamples. Once you can confidently do that, repeat two more times and you will be well on your way to a competitive essay score.

Takeaway

You must be able to pinpoint questionable assumptions upon which the argument hinges and you must generate original counterexamples. No amount of learning cookie-cutter language (“the argument is unconvincing because it fails to account for several notable….”) will help you think of ideas specific to the argument you see on test day.

MBA 5 Fatal Flaws

This post was written by Chris Lele, resident test prep expert at Magoosh and a leader in GMAT prep. For more advice on taking the GMAT, check out Magoosh’s GMAT blog.

Related Resources:

• The GMAC, the GMAT, and the MBA Degree
• Get Accepted to Top B-Schools with Low Stats
• Analyzing Your GMAT Score: 4 Questions to Ask Yourself

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Columbia Applicants – Have You Registered? http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/21/columbia-applicants-have-you-registered-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/21/columbia-applicants-have-you-registered-2/#respond Thu, 21 May 2015 15:54:42 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30584 Hey future Columbia students, have you signed up for our upcoming webinar, Get Accepted to Columbia Business School? The webinar will take place at 10:00 AM PST/1:00 PM EST on Wednesday, May 27, 2015. During the webinar, Linda Abraham, Accepted’s CEO & Founder, will explain the do’s and don’ts of applying to CBS. This is […]

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Want to get accepted to Columia? Click here to reserve your spot for the webinar!

Hey future Columbia students, have you signed up for our upcoming webinar, Get Accepted to Columbia Business School? The webinar will take place at 10:00 AM PST/1:00 PM EST on Wednesday, May 27, 2015. During the webinar, Linda Abraham, Accepted’s CEO & Founder, will explain the do’s and don’ts of applying to CBS. This is important stuff folks – you don’t want to miss it!

It’s not too late (though it will be soon), so grab your seat by registering now!

Save your spot!

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UCLA Anderson Bags $100 Million Gift http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/20/ucla-receives-the-gift-to-keep-on-giving/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/20/ucla-receives-the-gift-to-keep-on-giving/#respond Wed, 20 May 2015 16:13:32 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30916 UCLA’s Anderson School of Business has announced a $100 million gift from philanthropist Marion Anderson, whose late husband John Anderson is the school’s namesake. Sixty million dollars of the gift will go towards an endowment supporting student fellowships, faculty research, and innovative program development, while the remaining $40 million will go towards the construction of […]

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Be sure to visit our UCLA Anderson Zone page! UCLA’s Anderson School of Business has announced a $100 million gift from philanthropist Marion Anderson, whose late husband John Anderson is the school’s namesake.

Sixty million dollars of the gift will go towards an endowment supporting student fellowships, faculty research, and innovative program development, while the remaining $40 million will go towards the construction of a new building.

Judy Olian, Dean of UCLA Anderson and the John E. Anderson Chair in Management, said, “From student fellowships to faculty recruitment and retention, to innovative research programs and the state-of-the-art facilities that will house them, Marion Anderson has enabled our future and empowered us with her confidence in the path we are taking.”

Marion Anderson, chair of Topa Equities, is an active member of both the UCLA and broader Los Angeles communities. She is a member of the UCLA Anderson Board of Visitors executive committee and the Centennial Campaign for UCLA executive committee, as well as the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles board of trustees. An endowed professorship and a courtyard at UCLA Anderson are named in her honor.

This substantial gift (the largest in the school’s history) launches the Anderson School’s “Into the Next” campaign—a $300 million fundraising campaign that is part of UCLA’s broader $4.2 billion Centennial Campaign, set to culminate in 2019 with the university’s centennial. It brings the total donated by Marion Anderson and her late husband to $142 million.
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Related Resources:

• UCLA Anderson Student Interview: Enjoying the MBA Whirlwind
Columbia B-School Receives $100 Million Gift from Wharton Alum
• U.S. News 2016 Best Graduate Business Schools

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MIT Sloan 2016 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/20/mit-sloan-2016-mba-essay-tips-deadlines/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/20/mit-sloan-2016-mba-essay-tips-deadlines/#respond Wed, 20 May 2015 15:38:13 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30678 This year’s MIT MBA application is significantly different from last year’s — and those that preceded it. No cover letter, which was part of MIT’s application for years, and no letter of recommendation from you about you. That was last year’s twist.  This year’s application has one required essay and another short-answer question that applicants […]

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Check out the rest of our school-specific MBA essay tips!

Stata Center at MIT

This year’s MIT MBA application is significantly different from last year’s — and those that preceded it. No cover letter, which was part of MIT’s application for years, and no letter of recommendation from you about you. That was last year’s twist. 

This year’s application has one required essay and another short-answer question that applicants invited to interview will need to address. Both these questions are new. Plus the request for additional written information from those invited to interview is not only new, but unique. To my knowledge, MIT is the only school with this requirement. HBS has its post-interview reflections, but that again is post interview and is not a response to a specific question.

Finally, MIT Sloan for years had only two rounds. The second round deadline last year was January 8. This year MIT is adding a third round which extends its application season to April 11.  There may be many reasons for this change, but one result: it increases total application volume and reduces the acceptance rate while giving MIT Sloan a chance to admit excellent applicants who may just decide to apply late in the application cycle.

My tips are in blue below. 

Resume:

Please prepare a business resume that includes your employment history in reverse chronological order, with titles, dates, and whether you worked part-time or full-time. Your educational record should also be in reverse chronological order and should indicate dates of attendance and degree(s) earned. Other information appropriate to a business resume is welcomed and encouraged. The resume should not be more than one page in length (up to 50 lines). We encourage you to use the résumé template provided in the online application.

Go beyond mere job descriptions to highlight achievement. If your title is “consultant.” Saying that you “consulted on projects” is redundant and uninformative at best. Writing that you “Led a 6-member team working on a biotech outsourcing project to Singapore with a budget of $X; it came in on time and under budget.” conveys infinitely more. Quantify impact as much as possible. You want the reader to come away with a picture of you as an above average performer on a steep trajectory

We have one required essay at the time of submission:

Tell us about a recent success you had: How did you accomplish this? Who else was involved? What hurdles did you encounter? What type of impact did this have? (500 words or fewer)

The really effective response will tell a story about a success. Yes that means one success.

The story can start with the moment of success or a moment of challenge, maybe even of failure or tension. Then describe your role in turning that situation or challenge into an accomplishment.  To provide context and indicate the magnitude of your accomplishment, as well as fully answer the question, talk about impact. What were the results or benefits of your success? Quantify as much as possible.

If you are lucky enough to have several accomplishments to choose from, review “What We Look For,” and choose an experience that presents what MIT seeks.

A second, short-answer question will be asked only of those invited to interview:

The mission of the MIT Sloan School of Management is to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and to generate ideas that advance management practice. Please share with us something about your past that aligns with this mission. (250 words or fewer)

Congrats! If you’re reading this after you applied you’ve been invited to interview at MIT Sloan! Of course now you need to respond to this question. Get ready. Get set. Think!

When have you had an innovative idea that in some small way improved the world?  When have taken your idea and led the implementation of it or persuaded others to go in with you on this project or initiative? You only have 250 words so you can’t write a long story here.  Focus on the elements of your achievement that show you as an innovative leader who has improved the world and has the ability to advance management practice.

Some of you may thing “I already wrote about my best example in the required essay. What am I supposed to do know now?” Choose your second best example. Or choose an impressive example from a different arena of your life, perhaps sports, religion, politics, the arts, community service, or a hobby.

I’m sure you’re not a one-trick pony. Don’t leave them thinking that you have only one achievement that you feel is worthy to share with MIT Sloan’s admissions committee. 

Optional Question

The Admissions Committee invites you to share anything else you would like us to know about you, in any format. If you choose to use a multimedia format, please host the information on a website and provide us the URL.

I discussed this question a few years ago with someone in MIT Sloan’s admissions office. First of all realize that you can choose an essay or multi-media presentation. The media option is there so you can express yourself in the way you find easiest and most revealing. MIT does not want a recycled essay from another school. The person I spoke to was explicit about that. If you choose the multi-media format, realize it should be something viewable in about a minute — no 20-minute videos or 100-slide expositions or lengthy orations. Keep it short. It’s also fine to link to something you have created for a club, event, or cause that’s important to you.

What’s behind the option? A deep and sincere desire to meet you as a human being. A genuine, animated, real live human being. So don’t regurgitate your resume or spew stuff found in the required elements of your application. Have the confidence to share a special interest or deep commitment. I’m not suggesting Mommy Dearest or True Confessions; use judgment. I am suggesting that you allow the reader to see a good side of you not revealed elsewhere in the application.  Let them see what makes you smile, motivates you to jump out of bed with joy, and gives you a feeling of satisfaction when you turn out the light at the end of the day.

MIT Sloan has an excellent video with advice on its optional essay. Here it is:


I think the key phrase in the video is “We really want to get to know you guys as people.” What else would you like MIT Sloan to know about you? Share it here.

MIT Sloan 2016 Application Deadlines:

Application Deadline Decision Notification
Round 1 September 17, 2015 December 16, 2015
Round 2 January 14, 2016 April 4, 2016
Round 3 April 11, 2016 May 18, 2016

If you would like professional guidance with your MIT Sloan MBA application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our  MBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the MIT Sloan application.

Learn How to Choose the Best MBA Program for You!

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

Related Resources:

• School-Specific MBA Application Essay Tips
• MIT Sloan B-School Zone 
Is My Personal Statement Too Personal?

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Business School Gender Balance Improving http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/19/business-school-gender-balance-improving/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/19/business-school-gender-balance-improving/#respond Tue, 19 May 2015 15:49:36 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30500 Women now make up 60% of university graduates, but most business schools have lagged behind when it comes to gender balance—impacting not just women’s experience of b-school, but the composition of the workforce afterward. A new report from gender consulting firm 20-first looks at the numbers of women MBA students and faculty at top programs, […]

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Berkeley Haas

UC Berkeley Haas takes the lead with a 43% female student body.

Women now make up 60% of university graduates, but most business schools have lagged behind when it comes to gender balance—impacting not just women’s experience of b-school, but the composition of the workforce afterward. A new report from gender consulting firm 20-first looks at the numbers of women MBA students and faculty at top programs, and finds that while there has been some improvement in the last few years, we still have a ways to go before achieving gender balance.

Lesley Symons, one of the authors of the report, points out that this “balance” is not merely an issue of numbers—currently, the curriculum at most b-schools is defined and driven by male faculty, male-dominated case studies, etc. She suggests that a deeper issue of cultural change is at stake, in order to make business education “gender bilingual” and effectively train the next generation of business leaders.

The report found that gender balance among students at top programs is improving (with several top US programs near or over 40% representation for women), while faculty numbers are slower to budge.

Here are some of the report’s findings regarding female MBA students and faculty:

Check out our b-school zone pages to learn more about these top schools!
Are You Misusing the B-School Rankings?

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Related Resources:

Best MBA Programs and How to Choose the Right One
Leaning in While Pursuing Your MBA: The MBA Mama Story
Forte Helps Women In Business Thrive: Interview with Elissa Sangster

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How To Pay For Your MBA: Free Webinar TOMORROW http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/18/how-to-pay-for-your-mba-free-webinar-tomorrow/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/18/how-to-pay-for-your-mba-free-webinar-tomorrow/#respond Mon, 18 May 2015 17:13:18 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30486 B-school applicants stressed by future tuition bills…listen up: We’ll be hosting a webinar loaded with tips on how to pay for business school TOMORROW, Tuesday, May 19, at 4pm PT/7pm ET. Guest presenter Julianna Young, VP of Operations at CommonBond, will show you: • How to understand the full cost of attendance • How to […]

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B-school applicants stressed by future tuition bills…listen up: We’ll be hosting a webinar loaded with tips on how to pay for business school TOMORROW, Tuesday, May 19, at 4pm PT/7pm ET.

Click here to watch the webinar.

Guest presenter Julianna Young, VP of Operations at CommonBond, will show you:

• How to understand the full cost of attendance

• How to identify sources of support—scholarships, loans, and more

• The mechanics of lending – the terms and calculations you need to know

• And much more!

The webinar is free but you do need to register.

Reserve your spot before it's too late!

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The Applicants That Stand Out At Columbia Business School http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/18/the-applicants-that-stand-out-at-columbia-business-school/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/18/the-applicants-that-stand-out-at-columbia-business-school/#respond Mon, 18 May 2015 15:54:38 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30841 My observation as a former insider at CBS is that Columbia is looking to build a diverse class of high-achieving world citizens who’ve got a bit of grit. World Citizen  What do I mean by a world citizen? For a small fraction, it means applicants who are internationally famous due to their own achievements or by […]

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Learn how to get accepted to Columbia Business School!My observation as a former insider at CBS is that Columbia is looking to build a diverse class of high-achieving world citizens who’ve got a bit of grit.

World Citizen 

What do I mean by a world citizen? For a small fraction, it means applicants who are internationally famous due to their own achievements or by association. Let’s say, the guy who won an Olympic medal, or the gal who gets a call from the former president of “X” country and says, “Hi, Dad.”

A world citizen also means someone who will add their own confident, distinct vibe to a cosmopolitan student body. Columbia wants to admit people with strong intellects and big ideas. They want confidence, but not arrogance. They like people who thrive in large group settings and don’t need a lot of handholding. They’re looking for admits with resilience and who exude a joie-de-vivre — kind of like the city itself.

The Greatness of Grit

And what do I mean by grit? That means someone who has achieved extraordinary things in the context of his or her job. It’s someone who has mapped out a plan for his or her future, and has done the hard work of really getting to know Columbia’s program and can prove it’s a good fit.

It can also mean someone who doesn’t have good test scores or a glossy international background.  But that person (usually a New York local) builds a relationship with an adcom member (though is not annoying!), retakes tests and makes efforts to improve at work or have an impact in the community. He or she might have to reapply, but showing that grit can eventually mean an admit.

 The New York Connection 

Finally, Columbia is looking for that New York connection. Why this city? Do you know what it has to offer? Can you thrive in its hyper-competitive business scene? Have you ever lived or worked here? A campus visit can be a huge plus–confirming for the adcom that you’re serious about attending.

New York can break your heart, or fulfill your wildest dreams. It will absolutely affect your experience at Columbia. They want to know you’ve got the right stuff to make the most of it.

Register for the webinar

Michelle Stockman Michelle Stockman is a professional journalist, former Columbia Business School admissions insider, and experienced MBA admissions consultant.

 

Related Resources:

Columbia Business School 2016 MBA Essay Tips and Deadlines
What Not to Include in Your Columbia Business School Application
Columbia Business School Zone

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Indian School Of Business 2016 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/17/indian-school-of-business-2016-mba-essay-tips-deadlines/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/17/indian-school-of-business-2016-mba-essay-tips-deadlines/#respond Mon, 18 May 2015 02:04:26 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30846 The Indian School of Business is an excellent program for those interested in advancing to management roles in a broad spectrum of industries and those seeking positions in the consulting industry (20% of graduates earn consulting placements) and technology field (28% of graduates choose this industry upon graduation). Interestingly, while median salaries for graduates of […]

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Check out ISB's bshool zone pageThe Indian School of Business is an excellent program for those interested in advancing to management roles in a broad spectrum of industries and those seeking positions in the consulting industry (20% of graduates earn consulting placements) and technology field (28% of graduates choose this industry upon graduation). Interestingly, while median salaries for graduates of a top US program like Stanford and Harvard only exceed the US national average by 240%, graduates of ISB can expect to earn 522% of the Indian national average wage upon graduation*.

ISB has overhauled its essay questions this year, only maintaining their standard of 3 required essays and one optional while changing the phrasing of all of the essay prompts and increasing the total word limit by 200 words (ISB is one of the few schools that actually require the strict adherence to its word limits). My comments are in blue.

Essay 1 (400 words maximum)

If we were to admit just one more student, make a compelling argument as to why that student should be you by describing an (only one) achievement in your personal / professional life that you are most proud of. What did you do that sets you apart from others? What did you learn?

This is a great question because it allows you to shine the spotlight on whatever aspect of your candidacy you feel makes you exceptional. Look at your career and extracurricular activities and identify the area in which you have achieved the greatest impact, ideally reaching a level that few other applicants can match. This is not just about a title or award you earned; the essay needs to highlight the obstacles you navigated and the challenges you overcame to reach that pinnacle. Don’t forget to discuss some of what you learned about yourself, leadership, and management.  

Essay 2 (300 words maximum). Choose one of the following 2 options:

Describe a (only one) defining moment in your personal / professional life when you had to make a risky decision, and explain what you did, why and the outcome.

A risky decision means there was a lot to lose and there was no clear path forward. This essay offers applicants an opportunity to demonstrate their appetite for risk and their decision making process – was it based on data, market research, networking with experienced mentors in the field, gut instinct, or some other technique? A good essay will be able to point to significant results and impact from the risk.

or

Describe a (only one) situation in your personal / professional life when you had to interact with people from diverse backgrounds. How did it affect you and what did you learn?

Similar to option 1 above, this potential topic includes an element of the unknown: when faced with a diverse team, a leader must analyze how the cultural and/or professional backgrounds of the people involved may affect the project and take action to smooth the interactions. This is a great opportunity for applicants with international work experience to share the cultural insight they have gained.

Essay 3 (300 words maximum)

What are your post ISB career plans and how will your past experiences and the Post Graduate Programme in Management (PGP) contribute to taking you there?

This question is similar to last year’s essay prompt about career goals but is much more focused on what you have done (compared with last year’s emphasis on why you chose those paths). This essay demands a clear definition of what field and role you hope to enter upon graduation, the business skills and insight you have gained that will be essential to succeeding in that role, and how ISB will complement that knowledge.

Essay 4 (Optional) (200 words maximum)

Please use this space to explain any career breaks / provide any other information not covered elsewhere in the application that could significantly impact your candidature at ISB.
Note: It is not necessary to write this essay. Please use this space only if there is something really significant that you would like us to know.

Use this space to explain any gaps in your career but also take advantage of this opportunity to grant deeper insight into any leadership role or impact you have gained, emphasizing how this experience has prepared you for ISB and your future career.  

ISB Application Deadlines:

Round 1: October 15, 2015 (11:59 pm India Standard time)

Round 2: January 5, 2016 (11:59 pm India Standard time)

Download your free guide: Navigating the MBA Maze

Jennifer Bloom As a consultant with Accepted for nearly 17 years and a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), Jennifer Bloom has gained great experience in crafting application materials that truly differentiate you from the rest of the driven applicant pool. If you would like help with your ISB application, there are a variety of options for working with her on any budget.

Related Resources:

Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One
Writing About Overcoming Obstacles in Your Application Essays
• 4 Ways to Show How You’ll Contribute in the Future

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Should I Reapply To B-School? And To Which Programs? http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/17/should-i-reapply-to-b-school-and-to-which-programs/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/17/should-i-reapply-to-b-school-and-to-which-programs/#respond Sun, 17 May 2015 15:52:14 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30806 This time of year, we gets lots of  reapplication queries. Should I reapply? To which programs should I reapply? Let me give you a few tips on successful MBA reapplication: 1. Coldly and objectively analyze your profile. Do you have competitive qualifications for the schools you applied to? I just yesterday spoke to a former admissions […]

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Check out more reapplicant tips on this tip page!This time of year, we gets lots of  reapplication queries. Should I reapply? To which programs should I reapply? Let me give you a few tips on successful MBA reapplication:

1. Coldly and objectively analyze your profile. Do you have competitive qualifications for the schools you applied to? I just yesterday spoke to a former admissions committee member at a top school, and she emphasized how talented the applicant pool is. “It’s so hard to choose!” she said.

2. With the same cool objectivity evaluate your application: Did you present your qualifications well? This step is more difficult than #1, because you rarely have the perspective necessary to evaluate your presentation via your application.  And it’s even harder to be objective about something inherently subjective.

3. Did you apply to the right schools given your goals and interests?  Or did you just look at rankings and brand? (The latter is the wrong way to choose schools.)

4. Did you apply early in your target schools’ application process? For most programs “early” translates into an application submitted during or prior to January the January deadlines.

Once you have evaluated your qualifications, your presentation of those qualifications, and your school choices, you should also have the direction necessary to go forward. You may need to improve your profile, polish your presentation, adjust your school choice, and apply earlier. Or you may need to work on one of the above areas. But there is one approach you should not take: The same one you took last year.

If you aren’t confident of your objectivity or your ability to take the above steps, then consider an MBA Application Review. It will cost you a lot less money (and time) than another bunch of rejected applications.  

MBA 5 Fatal FlawsAccepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

• Create a Better Sequel: How to Reapply Right to Business School
Got Dinged? You Can Handle it!
• 5 Ways to Clean Up & Optimize Your Online Presence Before You Apply

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Harvard MBA Essay Question: Now Required and New http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/15/harvard-mba-essay-question-2016/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/15/harvard-mba-essay-question-2016/#respond Fri, 15 May 2015 18:54:18 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30829 And the Harvard MBA essay question is… It’s the first day of class at HBS. You are in Aldrich Hall meeting your “section.” This is the group of 90 classmates who will become your close companions in the first-year MBA classroom. Our signature case method participant-based learning model ensures that you will get to know […]

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Harvard Business School

Harvard Business School

And the Harvard MBA essay question is…

It’s the first day of class at HBS. You are in Aldrich Hall meeting your “section.” This is the group of 90 classmates who will become your close companions in the first-year MBA classroom. Our signature case method participant-based learning model ensures that you will get to know each other very well. The bonds you collectively create throughout this shared experience will be lasting.

Introduce yourself.

Note: Should you enroll at HBS, there will be an opportunity for you to share this with them.

We suggest you view this video before beginning to write.

You can read Dee Leopold’s full thoughts on this question at on her blog, Direct from the Director, as well as her reasons for making this required as opposed to optional, as its been for the last 2 years.

Dee also reviews the purpose of the essay. On one had its a chance for you the applicant to reflect, organize your thoughts, and relate them as you embark on the adventure of business school.  In addition and something that is critical for you to realize as you start that reflection process and choose what to write: The essay is “a chance to get to know you beyond the elements of the application that feel fixed and stationary. Can also be a starting point for interview conversations.”

Check out our free webinar: Get Accepted to Harvard Business School!

 

Linda AbrahamBy Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools

 

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Can You Get Into B-School With Low Stats? http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/15/can-you-get-into-b-school-with-low-stats-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/15/can-you-get-into-b-school-with-low-stats-2/#respond Fri, 15 May 2015 16:26:47 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30001 Yes! Not everyone who goes to Harvard scores a perfect 800 and has a GPA of 4.0 (in fact, very few actually hit those perfect scores). If you’re stats are less than ideal, that doesn’t (always) mean that you need to cross your top schools off your list! Now’s your chance to catch up on […]

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Yes! Not everyone who goes to Harvard scores a perfect 800 and has a GPA of 4.0 (in fact, very few actually hit those perfect scores). If you’re stats are less than ideal, that doesn’t (always) mean that you need to cross your top schools off your list!

Now’s your chance to catch up on valuable information you may have missed during our webinar, Get Accepted to Top B-Schools with Low Stats. B-school applicants with low GPA and/or GMAT scores – you don’t want to miss this! View Get Accepted to Top B-Schools with Low Stats for free now!

Watch the Webinar!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

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Stanford GSB 2016 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/14/stanford-gsb-2016-mba-essay-tips-deadlines/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/14/stanford-gsb-2016-mba-essay-tips-deadlines/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 17:17:04 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30673 There is very little change between last year’s and this year’s Stanford GSB MBA essay questions.  One minor change to note: You get an entire 50 extra words for your two essays. Last year the total word count was 1100 words. This year the maximum length is 1150. This is noteworthy only because it represents one […]

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Want to learn more about Stanford? Check out our Stanford GSB B-School Zone!There is very little change between last year’s and this year’s Stanford GSB MBA essay questions.  One minor change to note: You get an entire 50 extra words for your two essays. Last year the total word count was 1100 words. This year the maximum length is 1150. This is noteworthy only because it represents one of the few  times in recent years that schools are allowing you to provide a little more information about yourselves than they allowed previously.  Stanford is bucking the trend here.

Stanford gives a lot of advice and guidance on its website as to what it’s looking for in the essays. You should access that advice. 

Stanford moved its Round 1 deadline up about a week (from Oct 1 to this year’s Sept. 22.). It moved its Round 2 deadline to January 12 from last year’s Jan 7. Round 3’s deadline for 2016 is April 5; last year’s final deadline was April 1.  As I said in a recent podcast, the MBA application cycle — like some sports’ seasons and certain individuals’ waistlines, is expanding.

My tips are in blue below. 

Stanford GSB 2016 MBA Application Questions:

Essays help us learn about who you are rather than solely what you have done. Other parts of the application give insight to your academic and professional accomplishments; the essays reveal the person behind those achievements.

When writing your essays, resist the urge to “package” yourself into what you think Stanford wants to see. Doing so will only prevent us from understanding who you really are and what you hope to accomplish. The most impressive essays are the most authentic.

Essays:

We request that you write two personal essays. The personal essays give us glimpses of your character and hopes. In each essay, we want to hear your genuine voice. Think carefully about your values, passions, aims, and dreams prior to writing them.

Essay A. What matters most to you, and why?

For this essay, we would like you to:

• Focus on the “why” rather than the “what.”
• Do some deep self-examination, so you can genuinely illustrate who you are and how you came to be the person you are.
• Share the insights, experiences, and lessons that shaped your perspectives, rather than focusing merely on what you’ve done or accomplished.
• Write from the heart, and illustrate how a person, situation, or event has influenced you.

This superficially straightforward question has been Stanford’s first for the last several years, and it is actually one of the most difficult, if not the most difficult MBA essay questions to answer. It demands introspection. Before you put finger to keyboard or pen to paper, really reflect on what you value, how you have acted upon those principles, and why you value them. Stanford’s advice urges reflection. The question requires it.

When I reflect on our many successful Stanford clients, initiative in the face of need is the common thread among them. They are always the ones who revealed, especially in Essay A, that they do not turn away when they see a problem or need for action. They grab the initiative when faced with an opportunity to contribute. They are comfortable expressing emotion and their values, and their actions reflect both, but particularly the latter. Think purpose-driven, principle-driven lives.

More than anything else, initiative and self-awareness characterize the successful Stanford applicant. Implication: You have to know your values and those times you have acted upon them. Yes I wrote that a few seconds ago, but it bears repeating. Climbing Mt. Everest or suffering from terrible social ills is not a requirement of admission, but you do have to know the person occupying your skin.

Essay B. Why Stanford?

Enlighten us on how earning your MBA at Stanford will enable you to realize your ambitions.

A strong response to this essay question will:

• Explain your decision to pursue graduate education in management.
• Explain the distinctive opportunities you will pursue at Stanford.

Now that question is succinct, and really says what they want to know.

Similar to  questions that have occupied this Stanford application slot for years, this question is a variation of a standard MBA goals question, as revealed in the two bullet points after it. For this forward-looking question, you say why you want an MBA. The best way to do so is in terms of your desired post-MBA professional direction. Then explain how Stanford’s program specifically will help you travel down that path.

Understand the flexibility inherent in Stanford’s curriculum, its integrated approach to management, its entrepreneurial culture, and how both will help you learn what you need to know to achieve your career goals. Realize that the curriculum allows for personalization based on your goal and your past experience, specifically your previous business education. Two pieces of information are required to answer this question: A clear MBA goal and an in-depth understanding of Stanford GSB’s curriculum. (Folks: It’s not just the ranking, brand, or location.)

Essay Length:

Your answers for both essay questions combined may not exceed 1,150 words. Below are suggested word counts per essay, but you should allocate the maximum word count in the way that is most effective for you.

      •   Essay A: 750 words
      •   Essay B: 400 words

Formatting

• 12-pt. font size
• Double-spaced
• Recommended font types: Arial, Courier, or Times New Roman
• Indicate the question you are answering at the beginning of each essay (does not count toward the word limit)
• Number all pages
• Upload one document that includes both essays

Be sure to save a copy of your essays, and preview the uploaded document to ensure that the formatting is preserved.

Additional Information:

If there is any information that is critical for us to know and is not captured elsewhere, include it in the “Additional Information” section of the application. Pertinent examples include:

• Extenuating circumstances affecting academic or work performance
• Explanation of why you do not have a letter of reference from your current direct supervisor
• Work experience that did not fit into the space provided
• Academic experience (e.g., independent research) not noted elsewhere

This is optional. Respond if you have something to explain or need the additional space because you can’t fit in your work experience or all academic info. Responses should be succinct and to-the-point and should provide the context necessary for Stanford to understand the circumstances surrounding whatever difficulty you are writing about. 

If you would like professional guidance with your Stanford GSB application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our  MBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the Stanford GSB application.

Stanford GSB 2016 MBA Application Deadlines:

Application Round  Submit Your Application By  Notification Date
Round 1 22 Sept 2015* 09 Dec 2015
Round 2 12 Jan 2016* 30 Mar 2016
Round 3 05 Apr 2016* 11 May 2016

* Applications and Letters of Reference are due by 5:00 PM, Pacific Time

Get Accepted to Stanford Graduate School of Business! Click here to learn more!

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

Related Resources:

• What Stanford is Looking for: Personal Qualities and Contributions
• What Stanford is Looking for: Demonstrated Leadership Potential
Valentine’s Day, Economics, and Stanford GSB

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How Do I Choose The Right MBA Student Loan? http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/14/how-do-i-choose-the-right-mba-student-loan/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/14/how-do-i-choose-the-right-mba-student-loan/#respond Thu, 14 May 2015 16:30:33 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30789 Student loans are an essential part of many students’ b-school financing strategies, but they’re rarely user-friendly. You’ll face a multitude of options, and it’s up to you to decide the right loans for your situation. We’ll help you determine the right amount of student loans for your situation in our upcoming webinar, but for now, […]

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Register for the webinar!Student loans are an essential part of many students’ b-school financing strategies, but they’re rarely user-friendly. You’ll face a multitude of options, and it’s up to you to decide the right loans for your situation. We’ll help you determine the right amount of student loans for your situation in our upcoming webinar, but for now, let’s take a look at the different loan options for MBAs and the general pros and cons of each.

At the highest level, you could borrow three types of loans to pay for your MBA: family loans, personal loans, and student loans. Not everyone has access to the first option of course, but if you do have a family member willing to provide the cash upfront, you could negotiate a great, low-cost funding source. Meanwhile, personal loans are usually far less preferable to student loans: Personal loans rarely offer interest rates lower than 9%, and most importantly, rarely offer in-school payment deferment options, meaning you’ll need to start repaying your loan as soon as you start school. Therefore, we’ll focus on student loans, the category of loans that are most broadly available and effective for MBAs.

There are two types of student loans: federal and private. U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible to apply for federal student loans and many private student loans, while international students cannot obtain financing from the U.S. government and should look to their schools’ financial aid office and private programs for financing sources.

The key federal loan programs are Direct Unsubsidized Loans (commonly known as the “Stafford for grad students”) and Direct PLUS Loans. Both offer fixed interest rates, which are set annually following the government’s auction of the 10-year Treasury note in May. At the time of writing, the interest rates are 6.21% and 7.21%, respectively, for these loan programs, and each comes with an added origination fee. This fee is common when borrowing both federal and private student loans, and is usually charged as a percentage of your total loan principal. For example, a 2% origination fee on an $80,000 loan means that a fee of $1,600 is added to your loan balance before your interest rate is applied. The origination fee is 1.073% for the Direct Unsubsidized Loan and 4.292% for the Direct PLUS Loan. Another federal loan program for which some borrowers may be eligible is the Perkins Loan program (which has no origination fee), but this is only available for those with exceptional financial need. If you’re eligible, you’ll be notified after you complete your FAFSA, or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Completing the FAFSA online is the first step to obtaining any federal aid.


Why would someone choose federal loans, or choose one loan program over another? Federal loans feature the government’s borrower protections, such as Income-Based Repayment to help those who struggle to meet their monthly payments under the standard loan plan. You can read all about these loan options and protections on the Department of Education’s website. When it comes to the specific federal loans mentioned above, you can only borrow up to $20,500 annually in the lower interest rate Direct Unsubsidized Loan – a limit that many MBAs will easily exceed given the costs of business school. Therefore, aside from the relatively few borrowers eligible for a Perkins Loan, it can make sense to borrow the first $20,500 of your loans via the Direct Unsubsidized Loan program before looking at other loan options.

The other option that many MBAs consider is private student loans from a financial institution like a bank or credit union, or a lending platform such as CommonBond. Private student loans come in more shapes and sizes than federal loans, including fixed and variable rate options. When taking out a loan through a private lender, as a rule of thumb, you’re likely to get lower interest rates on loans with shorter terms. (Lenders charge less interest for shorter terms because they assume less risk in lending for a shorter period.) Depending on the lender, you may find that private loans offer lower rates than the government options, so you might opt for private loans if you want to lower overall interest costs.

The tradeoff when choosing a private lender is that private loans do not come with the same borrower protections as federal options, e.g., you might get deferment and forbearance with a private lender, but you probably will not have an option to adjust your monthly payments based on your income (as you can using the government’s Income-Based-Repayment plan, for example). You should spend time researching private lenders to make sure that it offers basic borrower protections you need, such as in-school deferment. Our recommendation: Call up a lender’s customer service team and talk to someone there. This is a great way to explore your options and make sure you feel comfortable with the lender, especially if you need to ask questions in the future.

In the case of CommonBond, we offer an MBA Student Loan with two options at rates of 6.40% or 6.85% APR, respectively. As mentioned previously, CommonBond borrowers forego federal loan protections but have access to CommonBond-specific protections, like CommonBridge, a program where we help borrowers who are in-between jobs. If you have any questions at all about private loans, get in touch with our Care Team at care@commonbond.co or give us a call at 800-975-7812, and we’ll be happy to help.

MBA 5 Fatal Flaws

Kaitlin Butler is Content Manager at CommonBond, a student lending platform that provides a better student loan experience through lower rates, superior service, a simple application process and a strong commitment to community. CommonBond is also the first company to bring the 1-for-1 model to education and finance.

Related Resources:

Know Before You Go: Paying for Your Columbia MBA
• CommonBond’s Story: A Revolution in Student Loans
• Is it Worth it to Get an MBA?

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5 Mistakes To Avoid In A Cover Letter http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/14/5-mistakes-to-avoid-in-a-cover-letter/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/14/5-mistakes-to-avoid-in-a-cover-letter/#respond Thu, 14 May 2015 15:55:35 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30704 You only have one chance to make a first impression. If the first impression you need to make is through a cover letter to a prospective employer, school admissions office, or internship sponsor, make sure it shines a light on your qualifications and displays your enthusiasm for the position or that seat in the class. […]

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Think of your cover letter as the appetizer for what you know will be a great meal.

You only have one chance to make a first impression. If the first impression you need to make is through a cover letter to a prospective employer, school admissions office, or internship sponsor, make sure it shines a light on your qualifications and displays your enthusiasm for the position or that seat in the class. Unfortunately, too many cover letters I see are dull as dust, containing only generalities or jargon and lacking confidence. These letters hurt your cause.

Here are 5 common mistakes in cover letters. Don’t make them in yours!

1. Sound as if you’re bored.

“I am writing in response to your opening for a marketing manager, listed on Job Site website.” This response is honest and to the point, but it also lacks a sense that you really want this gig. Better: “I am enthusiastically applying for the position of marketing manager for Best Company Ever. My experience as a top saleswoman for the last three years for an organic beauty supply is an ideal match for your needs.” Feel the energy of the second sentence? The reader will, too.

2. Don’t make any effort to get inside knowledge about the company or school, or explain why you want to attend their program/get hired by them. Also omit your most relevant experiences that should make them want to give careful consideration to your resume.

There could be a dozen different reasons why you’ve chosen to apply for this job or to attend this program. For example, if it’s a start-up, you’ll have more opportunity to perform multiple roles and gain a broader view of small businesses. In a larger company, you may have more chances for travel or longstanding career growth. Perhaps the company has innovated a technology, product type, or employee-friendly atmosphere that you strongly admire. Identify these things, as well as your most relevant experience/qualifications that match what they are looking for. Don’t go into too many details; keep it short. For example:

“My friend Bonnie V. told me how much she learned about digital media sales and marketing as a result of her internship with Best Company Ever last summer. My experience with the Streaming Live Network in building their salesforce over the last year will make me an ideal fit for your team.”

“As a future entrepreneur in green technology, I admire Live Green Now’s innovations in environmentally friendly plastics and am eager to learn more about these innovations from the inside. My master’s degree in Environmental Studies and research into new techniques for recycling plastics without water makes me a strong candidate for this position.”

3. Ignore the stated requirements for acceptance or position.

If a company says that knowledge of a particular software knowledge, skillset, or academic record is required for a position, don’t waste your time or theirs by submitting a letter if you don’t have it. If you feel you are still qualified, you had better have a compelling explanation and say so up front. Otherwise move on. Pay attention to what companies and schools say they are looking for. They mean it.

4. Sound needy or wishy-washy about getting a call back for an interview. 

A recent cover letter I edited – by someone whose professional experience spanned more than 20 years, numerous awards and 10 patents in his name – ended his letter like this: “If after reviewing my materials you believe that there is a match, please contact me.” This sentence is passive and sounds insecure, as if he doesn’t really expect them to call. And they probably wouldn’t.

I suggested he end the letter like this: “I look forward to the opportunity to meet you to discuss this position and how I can add value to Best Company Ever.” See how the simple change of writing in active voice (“I look forward. . . “) exudes confidence in his ability to demonstrate value.

5. Make them take the extra step of going back to you to get references.

This is one of the mistakes that drives me crazy every time I see it, which is often. Why in the world would you write “References available upon request” instead of providing the actual references in the letter, and/or the resume? List names, titles, phone numbers and emails. If a reference doesn’t have a title, put the person’s relationship to you so the caller will know in what context he or she is providing the recommendation.

Finally, keep the letter short – preferably only a half to three-quarters of a page. This is an appetizer only to get them to want to give your resume careful review, and then call you for the next step. Using active voice, specific facts about your qualifications and the reasons you like the company or school, will demonstrate you are not sending cover letters in a scattershot way, but in a thoughtful, carefully considered manner. And this should help you bring your job search to a swifter and happier conclusion.

Download your free copy of the Quick Guide to Admissions Resume now!

Judy Gruen

By , MBA admissions consultant since 1996 and author (with Linda Abraham) of MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

 

Related Resources:

5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Application Essay or Personal Statement
Ten Do’s and Don’ts for Your Resume 
Sample Resumes and Cover Letter

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To GRE Or Not To GRE? That Is The Question http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/13/to-gre-or-not-to-gre-that-is-the-question/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/13/to-gre-or-not-to-gre-that-is-the-question/#respond Wed, 13 May 2015 15:55:40 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30730 Before your dream of getting accepted to graduate school comes true, you’ll have to face – and conquer – the GRE. Listen in on our conversation with Dr. Lydia Liu, Managing Senior Research Scientist at the ETS and Tom Ewing, Director of External and Media Relations, for GRE advice, their perspective on the GRE vs […]

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Listen to the show!Before your dream of getting accepted to graduate school comes true, you’ll have to face – and conquer – the GRE.

Listen in on our conversation with Dr. Lydia Liu, Managing Senior Research Scientist at the ETS and Tom Ewing, Director of External and Media Relations, for GRE advice, their perspective on the GRE vs GMAT debate, and more.

00:03:22 – An overview of the GRE.

00:05:18 – Don’t stick with your first instinct: The GRE’s changing score feature and how it helps you snag a higher score.

00:09:13 – Paid and free GRE study tools.

00:12:16 – The GRE as a predictor of success in b-school.

00:13:18 – Why MBA applicants should take the GRE and not the GMAT.

00:17:24 – GRE prep strategies.

00:19:57 – Ongoing research studies at ETS.

00:21:09 – The latest news from ETS (and it doesn’t reflect well on US grad students).

00:25:58 – Tips for graduate school applicants.

Listen to the show!

Related links:

ets.org
takethegre.com
Should You Take the GMAT or GRE?
GRE vs. GMAT: Trends
GMAT vs. GRE: Harvard Business School Weighs In

Related Shows:

The GMAC, the GMAT, and the MBA Degree
The GMAT, the GRE, and the Guy Who Knows them Well
GMAT, GRE, SAT, and All Things Test Prep
Interview with Chris Ryan of Manhattan GMAT 

Leave a Review for Admissions Straight Talk:

Check Out Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes! Check Out Admissions Straight Talk in Stitcher!

Get Your Game On: Preparing for Your Grad School Application, a free guide

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Columbia Entering Class Profile http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/12/columbia-entering-class-profile/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/12/columbia-entering-class-profile/#respond Tue, 12 May 2015 17:37:05 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30719 This year’s entering class at CBS reflects the school’s interest in building a class composed of  “intellectually driven people from diverse educational, economic, social, cultural, and geographic backgrounds.” According to the class profile, 41% of the class are international students, 36% are women, and 32% are minorities. They come from a range of previous industries […]

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Learn how to get accepted to Columbia Business School!

This year’s entering class at CBS reflects the school’s interest in building a class composed of  “intellectually driven people from diverse educational, economic, social, cultural, and geographic backgrounds.”

According to the class profile, 41% of the class are international students, 36% are women, and 32% are minorities. They come from a range of previous industries (Financial Services 28%; Consulting 25%; Marketing/Media 10%; Private Equity 8%; Technology 7%; Non-profit 5%; and smaller numbers from other fields), and studied a range of fields in college, from Social Sciences, to Business, to the Humanities.

They share a strong record of achievement and leadership, whatever field they are coming from. They are also strong academically: applicants’ average undergraduate GPA was 3.5 (middle 80%: 3.1-3.8) and their average GMAT was 716 (middle 80%: 680-760). Of 5799 applications received, 1056 were admitted, for an ultimate entering class of 743.

Are you planning to apply to CBS? Register for our FREE WEBINAR for vital guidance on the application process!

Want to get accepted to Columia? Click here to reserve your spot for the webinar!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

Columbia Business School 2016 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines
• Podcast Interview With the Columbia Business School Admissions Team
• Columbia Business School Zone

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An Interview With Our Own: Todd King http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/12/an-interview-with-our-own-todd-king/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/12/an-interview-with-our-own-todd-king/#respond Tue, 12 May 2015 15:50:51 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30697 Curious about the life and times of our spectacular admissions consultants? Please enjoy our newest blog series in which we interview the fabulous people who make up the Accepted.com staff. Next up is…Todd King. Accepted: Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Do you hold […]

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Click here to read Todd's bio!Curious about the life and times of our spectacular admissions consultants? Please enjoy our newest blog series in which we interview the fabulous people who make up the Accepted.com staff. Next up is…Todd King.

Accepted: Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Do you hold any graduate degrees? Where do you currently live?

Todd: I grew up mostly in Virginia, but have lived many places as an adult: Georgia, Utah, California, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, even China for five years. These days I’m in the Boston area, but I’m frequently in Virginia to visit my octogenarian parents and in Beijing to visit my wife’s parents.

I served in the Army to save up for college. In my Military Intelligence role I did a lot of work involving computers and graphics, and truly enjoyed it; so after the Army I attended one of the best computer graphics college programs, at the University of Utah. I graduated with honors despite holding down a job throughout school to support myself, and that helped me land a job with IBM, despite graduating during a recession. A short time later I found work that was more truly graphics-related, at Walt Disney Feature Animation.

Accepted: Can you tell us about your work with Disney?

Todd: Lots of people ask if I was an animator; no, I was one of the people who kept the process moving. Even at that time, during Lion King days, technology played a huge role in the making of animated films and there was much for a technologist to do. I did a bit of everything: front-line support for the animators, system administration to keep movie data backed up, software programming, project leading, maintaining aspects of the system across multiple sites in multiple countries, and more. Every frame of film for six Disney animated features went through my hands at some point, and knowing that my work has helped to make many millions of children happy is something that will always bring me a great sense of satisfaction.

Accepted: How did your experience with the US Army, as well as your Disney experience (and any other jobs), pave your path to business school?

Todd: My work in the Army led to my study at college, but it was my work at Disney that led to my study at business school. My time in the Army no doubt served to make me a more attractive business school candidate, since military people tend to have held significant responsibility, but it also served to make me older than the traditional candidate, since my military career came before college.

My Disney experience led me to business school in an unusual way. Before Disney, I had a strong interest in China, and that grew greatly during the making of Mulan. Making that movie got me thinking about making animation for a Chinese audience, something no one seemed to be doing at the time, despite China’s rapid growth. I wanted to combine my Disney experience with my passion for China to explore the possibility of creating an animation business there. I had no knowledge of business fundamentals though, so I truly needed an MBA to pursue such a venture, and as we wrapped up work on Mulan I started looking at business schools.

Accepted: How was MIT Sloan the best MBA program for you? What are some of your fondest Sloan memories?

Todd: Sloan was right for me for a number of reasons. Animation relies heavily on cutting-edge technology, and no school was better at teaching the management of technology than Sloan.

Business in China is unique, and Sloan was one of the very few programs then with significant knowledge of China. A studio in China would likely involve entrepreneurship, and that was another Sloan strength. It all made the school a great fit for my needs; visiting the school and seeing its many smart but laid-back students reinforced that feeling of a good fit. Other business schools could have been a good fit as well – UCLA and NYU in particular – but I needed to be in the Boston area at that time, so I focused on getting into Sloan.

This may sound strange, but my fondest memories of Sloan involve the times that I was not there: I spent around six months of my Sloan tenure in China, an opportunity I never would have had without the school. I interned for Sloan’s international MBA program in China, assisted a venture in China partially funded by a professor at Sloan, and finally got to explore the animation scene in China, which turned out to have many significant issues. I spent spring and winter breaks in China as well. All of that led to my work after graduation as a consultant for a Chinese firm that also had Sloan connections.

Accepted: When and why did you become an admissions consultant for Accepted?

Todd: My Chinese firm was hit hard by the dot-com bust a year after I joined, and it laid off all its consultants. I contacted many former classmates then, but they were in similar situations, so my prospects for new employment were few. Around the same time, I was helping friends and acquaintances with their business school applications, and discovering that I had a knack for it; I enjoyed advising them and they kept getting accepted. So, when an opportunity arose to join a professional admissions consultancy, I took it. I meant for it to be temporary, so I’m shocked when I think that nearly fifteen years have passed since then, the past three of them at Accepted. It shows how much I enjoy admissions consulting.

Accepted: What’s your favorite thing about consulting?

Todd: Professionally, my favorite thing about consulting is that thrilling moment when a truly deserving person I have guided over the past six months gets accepted to a top school. It’s particularly satisfying if that person was rejected the previous year, not only because of their sheer relief, but also because they can see the value of my guidance very clearly. Getting someone accepted is not quite the same as seeing for the first time the completed version of a Disney movie I worked on for years, but it’s close.

Personally, my favorite thing about consulting is the flexibility it gives me. I’m not tied down by geography, so I can consult whether I’m in China or in the US. I’m also not tied down by schedule, so I can spend a great amount of time with my family, something that proved particularly beneficial when my wife needed to spend a lot of time in China during our daughter’s high school years in the US. Consulting allowed me all the time I needed to raise her, and though she’s off at college now, we’re still very close.

Accepted: What are your top 3 admissions tips?

Todd:

First: When writing an essay, answer the question. If you give your essay draft to someone to read and they can correctly guess the question you’re answering, that’s a good sign. You’d be surprised by how rarely that happens, though.

Second: When writing about why you want to attend a school, write about your needs, not just about the school’s offerings. Admissions committee members already know their school’s offerings; what they don’t know is what you need in order for you to reach your goals. So tell them; they’ll see a fit if it’s there.

Third: Be sincere. Admissions committees ask their questions in different ways not to trick applicants, but simply to find ways to get applicants to reveal who they really are. You’d be surprised by how far sincerity will carry you with an admissions committee. I give all this advice freely, because it’s far easier said than done; guiding applicants to do these things is how I spend much of my time as a consultant.

Learn more about Todd and how he can help you get accepted!

MBA catalog CTAAccepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

• MBA Admissions Consulting and Editing Services
Top MBA Programs: How To Answer Them Right
• Why MBA?

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MBA Maze: Application Timing http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/11/mba-maze-application-timing/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/11/mba-maze-application-timing/#respond Mon, 11 May 2015 17:26:25 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30466 “Application Timing” is the first post in our series, Navigate the MBA Maze. Should you apply Round 1, Round 2, or Round 3? Do not try to win the admissions game through timing. Quality—not timing—trumps all. Submit your application when it is at its best. When in doubt, listen to Linda’s rule: “Apply in the […]

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“Application Timing” is the first post in our series, Navigate the MBA Maze.

Download our guide: Navigate the MBA Maze

Apply in the earliest round possible PROVIDED you don’t compromise the quality of your application.

Should you apply Round 1, Round 2, or Round 3?

Do not try to win the admissions game through timing. Quality—not timing—trumps all. Submit your application when it is at its best.

When in doubt, listen to Linda’s rule:

“Apply in the earliest round possible PROVIDED you don’t compromise the quality of your application.”

The R1 vs. R2 Dilemma:

“Lisa,” who has been struggling with her GMAT, wants to attend a top 15 program. She is unlikely to be admitted with her current score and she wants to apply Round 1. She is better off raising her GMAT and postponing her application to Round 2.

Or take a look at John’s profile: “John” has good scores, grades, and work experience, but is in a common applicant sub-group and wants to apply Round 2 because he believes competition will be less intense. Big mistake. Competition is intense both rounds. Instead of focusing on this timing question, he should be working to improve his profile, differentiate himself, learn about the schools, and start on his essays so that he can submit Round 1 when there are more spots available.

Is there an advantage to applying early in a round, especially Round 1? I don’t think so. More importantly, there is an advantage to holding onto a completed first application and submitting it closer to the deadline.  (Any school, CBS for example, with rolling admissions could be an exception to this.) As you work on subsequent applications, you will improve your essays and relate experiences and goals with greater clarity. If you just put that first completed application away while you work on applications 2, 3, and N, then you can go back to application 1 before that school’s R1 deadline and tweak it before you submit. That first application will then benefit from your recent writing experience and greater clarity.

Don’t, however, wait until the 11th hour to upload your app and press SUBMIT. Servers are often overloaded on deadline day. You don’t want to miss a deadline on an application that was completed weeks earlier because you waited too long.

Should you apply R3?

If you belong to the following groups, I advise you not to apply Round 3:

• You do not have a clear post-MBA goal and competitive stats, work experience, and community  service. In other words, you’re not really ready.

• Your target schools are not reapplicant friendly.

• You are not a US permanent resident and you anticipate visa issues or problems if accepted by the later notification dates.

• You are a card-carrying member of an over-represented group.

However, you should apply during the third or later rounds if you are among those who:

• Just missed the Round 2 deadlines due to circumstances beyond your control, but have your GMAT and a clear idea of where you want to apply and why you want an MBA.

• Are a non-traditional applicant or member of an under-represented group or have diversity elements in your profile.

• Prefer to have a slight chance of acceptance over no chance, which is what you will have if you don’t apply.

A third round application has the following advantages over waiting until Round 1 next fall:

• You have a chance of acceptance this year, even if it isn’t as good as it would be earlier in the application cycle.

• Some programs give feedback so that you will be better prepared for Round 1 in next year’s application. Don’t apply just to obtain feedback, but the opportunity to receive feedback could make applying educational and worthwhile, even if you are rejected.

The main disadvantage: The cost and time required to apply.

Download your free copy of Navigating the MBA Maze!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

Related Resources:

Round 3 or Next Year: When to Apply to Business School
I was Accepted…But Can I Do Better?
• Application Timing: When Should You Submit?

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MBA Admissions A-Z: E Is For Essay http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/10/common-mba-application-essay-mistakes/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/10/common-mba-application-essay-mistakes/#respond Sun, 10 May 2015 15:55:10 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30425 4 Common MBA Application Essay Mistakes Here we are going to focus on 4 critical MBA admission essay mistakes. Make sure that your essays DON’T include any of these: 1. Buzzwords Try this on for size: “I plan on penetrating the B2C e-commerce bubble by starting my own synergistic company. Additionally, I want to lead […]

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MBA Admissions A-Z: 26 Great Tips

4 Common MBA Application Essay Mistakes

Here we are going to focus on 4 critical MBA admission essay mistakes. Make sure that your essays DON’T include any of these:

1. Buzzwords

Try this on for size: “I plan on penetrating the B2C e-commerce bubble by starting my own synergistic company. Additionally, I want to lead empowering seminars about diversity awareness in the workplace for the human resources space.”

Unfortunately, creating an MBA application essay isn’t as simple as piecing together a string of keywords. Many applicants think that if they include industry buzzwords in their essays, then they’ll come off sounding like experts in the field. Recipe for success? More like recipe for disaster. Buzzwords don’t make you look smart; they make you look unoriginal. (Of course, you can use a few buzzwords when absolutely necessary. Just make sure they clarify and inform as opposed to confuse and obscure.)

2. Grandiose Statements

Don’t merely discuss a value or belief; illustrate it. “I want to give back to my community.” Okay, thanks for the info…now tell me something else: HOW? Or WHY? When have you lived this value in the past? How do you plan on focusing your energy on helping your community in the future? Furthermore, why do you feel a calling to contribute to your community? Give me some details here!

Maybe this is what you meant: “When I was suddenly orphaned at 16 years old, my local church bent over backwards to help revive me and my twin brother after the paralyzing tragedy. The community members went beyond simply feeding and clothing us, by caring for us and loving us in the absence of our parents. Their boundless kindness inspired me to found my not-for-profit organization; it helps teenage orphans keep their heads above water after tragedy strikes by supplying material as well as emotional support.”

3. Whining

Complaining about your application blemishes only draws attention to them. If you aren’t happy with your GPA, then take responsibility for your low grades, and if relevant, provide context that explains why you did poorly…and then move on. If possible, portray your liabilities as assets by discussing the ways in which you’ve grown from your experiences, or  point to times when you excelled in similar circumstances. But please, keep the tone mature. Nobody likes a crybaby.

4. Typos

This is one of the most common MBA essay mistakes, and yet is also one of the easiest errors to fix. Rule of thumb: Don’t hit “Submit” until you’ve edited and proofread your application essays. For the best results, read your essay aloud so you can identify errors with your eyes, as well as your ears. And remember, the only thing better than one set of eyes and ears, are multiple sets. Have your mom, best friend, neighbor, co-worker, or Accepted.com editor help you identify and then fix all spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, and stylistic blunders.

MBA Admissions A-Z: 26 Great Tips - Download your free copy!Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

Related Resources:

• 5 Fatal Flaws: Eliminate the 5 Most Common Flaws in Your MBA Application
What Should I Write About? Making a Difference
4 Ways to Show How You’ll Contribute in the Future

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Magoosh Guide To The TOEFL eBook http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/08/magoosh-guide-to-the-toefl-ebook/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/08/magoosh-guide-to-the-toefl-ebook/#respond Fri, 08 May 2015 16:21:15 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30184 Feeling overwhelmed by the TOEFL test? Don’t know where to start? Or have you taken the test 5 times before and just need a quick refresher before you take it for (hopefully!) the last time? Either way, it can be tough to find quality resources that provide everything you need to know for the test […]

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Click here for help on your TOEFLFeeling overwhelmed by the TOEFL test? Don’t know where to start? Or have you taken the test 5 times before and just need a quick refresher before you take it for (hopefully!) the last time?

Either way, it can be tough to find quality resources that provide everything you need to know for the test while also being easy to understand. But that’s where our friends at Magoosh TOEFL come in!

They’ve put together this new (and free!) TOEFL iBT eBook to help you prepare for and succeed on your TOEFL test! So no need to spend hours browsing the web for TOEFL practice questions, test strategies or problem explanations–you can find all these resources and lots more in the Magoosh TOEFL eBook.

Go ahead and get to studying–and of course, good luck on your test!

Click here to download your TOEFL iBT eBook!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

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A Nigerian Woman’s Journey to MIT Sloan Acceptance http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/08/mba-iv-with-ginika-agbim-okelly/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/08/mba-iv-with-ginika-agbim-okelly/#respond Fri, 08 May 2015 15:43:45 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30640 This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. And now for an interview with Ginika Agbim O’Kelly… Accepted:  We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What are a […]

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Click here for other MBA student interviewsThis interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. And now for an interview with Ginika Agbim O’Kelly…

Accepted:  We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What are a couple of your hobbies?

Ginika: My name is Ginika Agbim O’Kelly. I am Nigerian, grew up in Atlanta, and am married to an English-Irish man. I studied Economics & Strategy, Finance, and Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis. I was interested in studying human behavior and decision-making from multiple angles. For fun, I started a fashion column in the school newspaper and organized African fashion shows every year. Today, I also run a blog on my website, run for exercise, and travel at every chance I get!

Accepted: Can you tell us a bit about your path to business school? What were you working in previously? What made you decide to pursue an MBA?

Ginika: Business school is interesting for me, because at one point in my life, I actually wanted to become a doctor. Through working in consulting after graduating from Wash U, I still find myself exercising those same diagnostic and problem solving skills. I knew that I wanted to pursue an MBA because, now that I have analyzed issues in real organizations, I want to improve my skills as a leader and strategic thinker, and also meet many incredibly innovative people changing the world.

Accepted: How did you decide on MIT?

Ginika: I chose MIT Sloan for two main reasons. First, there is the flexible curriculum and the action-learning philosophy. MIT’s motto is Mens et Manus (Mind and Hand), and having the ability to apply concepts that I learn in the classroom to help real organizations move forward fits with my learning style. After the first, rigorous core semester, I can choose the courses I take and engage in Action Labs, which allow me to advise global organizations on pressing issues. Second, not only are the students and alums at MIT Sloan impressive, but they are also collaborative and very humble. I knew this dynamic environment would challenge me to grow both professionally and personally.

Accepted: What was the most challenging part of the MBA application process? How did you approach that challenge and overcome it?

Ginika: The most challenging part of the process is managing your own psychology. Applying can be quite emotional sometimes, and you may find yourself doubting your abilities. To deal with the emotional stress, I relied on my husband and our families, as well as prayer, meditation, yoga, running, and lots of tea! These resources helped me focus, stay true to myself, and put things into perspective. If you’re going to be great in life, it will happen, with –or – without the MBA degree.

Accepted: What are your top three tips for applicants preparing for the MBA application process?

Tip 1:  Start early. Things can go wrong on GMAT test day, the essays will definitely take longer than anticipated, and if you’re anything like me, you want to get all your applications completed by Round 1 so that you can enjoy Christmas vacation. Take the GMAT as early as you can. Life happens, but if you start early, you give yourself the best possible chance to reach your personal application deadlines and submit applications that best capture who you are.

Tip 2:  Talk to people. Though it may seem daunting to reach out to friends or strangers about your MBA ambitions, just do it. People who have “been there and done that“ know more than you regarding business school and succeeding in your future career, so it’s always best to research, reach out, and listen. I talked to my mentors, admissions advisors, current students, alumni, business executives, etc. Talk to people in the careers you hope to enter and at the schools you wish to attend.

Tip 3: Find healthy ways to relieve stress. Applying while working is tough because you can’t give excuses in the office and you have to give 100% in your applications. Re-assess how you spend your time in a 7-day period. Find a support system and know that someday, you’ll be on the other side. And if business school doesn’t work out, keep pushing for your dreams anyway.

For one-on-one guidance on your b-school applications, please see our MBA Application Packages.

Thank you Ginika for sharing your story with us – we wish you loads of luck!

Download your copy of Navigating the MBA Maze

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One
MIT Business School Zone Page
Video Tips: MBA Application Advice From Linda Abraham

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Show Me The Money http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/08/show-me-the-money-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/08/show-me-the-money-2/#respond Fri, 08 May 2015 15:38:00 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30003 On a day like today, I’m doing my happy dance.  My MBA clients have been contacting me with good news from the schools to which they applied.  Several of them have multiple offers with scholarships attached, which immediately present the question:  Can they negotiate their scholarship offers? Since most of you have yet to take […]

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You may get accepted. You may get rejected. Either way, you need to answer one question: "Now what?"

I’ll give you a little advice…everything is negotiable.

On a day like today, I’m doing my happy dance.  My MBA clients have been contacting me with good news from the schools to which they applied.  Several of them have multiple offers with scholarships attached, which immediately present the question:  Can they negotiate their scholarship offers?

Since most of you have yet to take your MBA negotiations class, I’ll give you a little advice…everything is negotiable.  You have an offer of admission and unless you did something egregious that the schools discover in their background research, the school will not take that offer away from you.  In fact, the schools want you to come to their programs so much that they’ve offered you scholarships, tuition discounts, or graduate assistantships to entice you away from other schools.  You are in the power position, but you have limited time to act.

If you have multiple scholarship offers, you have even more power.  So play the schools off each other.  You will need to provide proof of funding and develop a clear statement of what it would take to have you deposit and attend that school.  If school A matches school B’s offer, go back to school B and ask for more.  Many schools have some wiggle room with scholarship offers.  And the worst-case scenario is that school A will say “no” to your request and then there is no harm and no foul.

Caution: While you may be in the power position, remain likeable, respectful and courteous. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by coming off as arrogant.  And if you have deposited at a school, you have diminished your position of power.

If you need additional consultation on this matter, we are available to help you construct the communication that in the words of one of my former clients made his “investment in Accepted.com a very positive ROI.”

Download your copy of MBA Admissions A-Z: 26 Great Tips

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein By , an accomplished Accepted.com consultant/editor (since 2008) and entrepreneur. Natalie is a former MBA Admissions Dean and Director at Ross, Johnson, and Carey.

Related Resources:

• How to Pay For Your MBA Webinar
• Alumni Funded Student Loans: An Interview with Daniel Macklin of SoFi
• MBA Choices: Dream School vs. Scholarship School?

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Know Before You Go: Paying for a Columbia MBA http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/07/know-before-you-go-paying-for-a-columbia-mba/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/07/know-before-you-go-paying-for-a-columbia-mba/#respond Thu, 07 May 2015 18:21:01 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30608 Financing a degree that costs around $200,000 is a daunting task, and personal finance can be a challenging topic to discuss among young professionals. We know how hard it is to start this conversation, so before we show you how to pay for your MBA in our upcoming webinar, we’d like to share the perspective […]

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How will you pay for your MBA?

How will you pay for your MBA?

Financing a degree that costs around $200,000 is a daunting task, and personal finance can be a challenging topic to discuss among young professionals. We know how hard it is to start this conversation, so before we show you how to pay for your MBA in our upcoming webinar, we’d like to share the perspective of Sonya*, a Columbia Class of 2015 MBA. Here’s how she’s thought about financing her MBA since the time she was first admitted and how she’d revisit her strategy with a second chance.

First, here’s more on Sonya’s background: She came to business school with an audit background from a New York City firm and “felt fine about [her] finances, comfortable enough” when she decided to apply for her MBA. She knew she’d be paying her own way through school. She chose her schools based on location, opting for East Coast programs in order to have better access to New York’s tech startup scene. Sonya submitted her three applications in Round 2 and ultimately received her acceptance to Columbia Business School in February. By April, she decided to attend and put down an approximately $2,500 deposit for tuition.

“For two months, I was basking in the glow of ‘hey, I’m going to business school,’” Sonya said. “Then the financial aid office rained on my parade.” Columbia’s financial aid office reached out in June to remind Sonya of loan application deadlines and upcoming payment due dates, and that’s when the cost finally clicked. “I hadn’t really thought of financing until then,” said Sonya. “It certainly wasn’t a factor in my school selection at all,” though she did make sure she applied before Round 3 in order to be eligible for scholarships at her target schools.

Sonya quickly crunched the numbers and reviewed her existing savings, including brokerage accounts and retirement savings. She decided to use student loans to cover all of her tuition costs and her savings to pay for her living expenses, keeping some retirement and brokerage accounts intact to provide a cushion post-MBA.

After one year as an active MBA student at Columbia – “I loved it!” – Sonya sat down to review her finances again, this time with a crystallized career objective: join one of a handful of NYC fintech startups after graduation. After both summer and in-school internships, Sonya had a realistic idea of what her salary would be on this career track, and salary, she advised, is a number that all prospective MBAs should start with when planning to finance their degrees.

“I can still join a startup despite my loan burden, but everyone’s situation is different of course,” Sonya said. The savings she hadn’t touched as an MBA would become a big asset in transitioning to her full-time role.

Now that Sonya is just weeks away from graduating Columbia, what’s her advice for new MBAs? “Think about the costs much earlier than I did, perhaps before even applying for school or taking your GMAT. Think, ‘What’s the financial cost involved, and am I pursing a field that will be able to sustain this debt? Is it worth it to get an MBA?’” Sonya has realized that while she’ll be able to pursue her target salary within her preferred startups, there’s a wide, wide range of startup salaries out there for MBAs, and she’s encountered peers who will need to make tough decisions about their chosen paths come graduation given their student loan costs. Also, Sonya advises new admits to think about financing earlier in order to leave time for a scholarship hunt. In her own experience, starting this search during the June before matriculation eliminated the majority of her potential outside scholarship options.

“For me, it was an amazing two years, and I wouldn’t have changed my decision at all,” she said. “But while I’m okay financially, I should have been more proactive and really looked at my salary after graduation when deciding to get my MBA.”

*Name changed at interviewee’s request.

Download your copy of MBA Admissions A-Z: 26 Great Tips

Kaitlin Butler is Content Manager at CommonBond, a student lending platform that provides a better student loan experience through lower rates, superior service, a simple application process and a strong commitment to community. CommonBond is also the first company to bring the 1-for-1 model to education and finance.
Related Resources:

Is it Worth it to Get an MBA?
How Much Will a Top MBA Earn You
• CommonBond’s Story: A Revolution in Student Loans

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What Not to Write in Your Columbia Business School Application http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/06/what-not-to-write-in-your-columbia-business-school-application/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/06/what-not-to-write-in-your-columbia-business-school-application/#respond Wed, 06 May 2015 17:29:02 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30581 Let’s face it, even if Columbia weren’t smack in the middle of NYC, it would still be an amazing business school, so you need to make sure that when you explain why CBS is the school of you, you don’t focus exclusively on the city, but include attractive aspects of the school itself. 2 Reasons […]

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GetAcceptedToCBS_lpLet’s face it, even if Columbia weren’t smack in the middle of NYC, it would still be an amazing business school, so you need to make sure that when you explain why CBS is the school of you, you don’t focus exclusively on the city, but include attractive aspects of the school itself.

2 Reasons You Should Keep to Yourself:

1. You love the underground world of tunnels and subways.

2. Sony Theater has the world’s longest free-standing escalator, and it’s only 11 minutes from CBS.

2 Reasons You Could Share:

1. You’re excited about the access and opportunities Columbia provides because it is at the center of an international business hub. And you can give specific examples of how you intend to take advantage of that accessibility.

2. You love the cultural richness that Columbia pulls from its central location in NYC – from Nobel Prize winning professors to unique consulting projects to clubs relating to the arts.

Listen, the fact that Columbia is in NYC is a perk – a huge perk – but remember, you’re applying to the school, not to the city!

Want more tips about how to apply successfully to Columbia Business School? Register for our upcoming webinar, Get Accepted to Columbia Business School, which will air live on Wednesday, May 27, 2015 at 10:00 AM PST/1:00 PM EST. Spaces are limited – grab yours now!

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An Interview with Our Own: Jennifer Weld http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/05/an-interview-with-our-own-jennifer-weld/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/05/an-interview-with-our-own-jennifer-weld/#respond Tue, 05 May 2015 18:02:23 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30522 Curious about the life and times of our spectacular admissions consultants? Please enjoy our newest blog series in which we interview the fabulous people who make up the Accepted.com staff. Next up is…Jennifer Weld. Accepted: Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Do you hold […]

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Learn more about Jen and see if she is the consultant for you!Curious about the life and times of our spectacular admissions consultants? Please enjoy our newest blog series in which we interview the fabulous people who make up the Accepted.com staff. Next up is…Jennifer Weld.

Accepted: Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Do you hold any graduate degrees? Where do you currently live?

Jennifer: I spent most of my formative years in Michigan, with the exception of my junior and senior years of high school, which I spent in Japan. My father worked at Ford, and we moved there for the Ford/Mazda joint venture. I graduated from an international school in Kobe.

By no means while living in Japan did I master the Japanese language, so I majored in it at the University of Michigan. My first job after college was at a Japanese trading company, but since then I haven’t used the language much and have gotten rather rusty!

I have an MBA from Cornell University (The Johnson School), and currently live in Durham, North Carolina.

Accepted: What’s your favorite book?

Jennifer: Since I have two young children, I don’t have time to read much other than children’s books these days, so I’d have to say, The Gruffalo, The Pout Pout Fish, and, Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent.

Accepted: What was your role with the Cornell Executive MBA program? How has that experience contributed to your role as an Accepted admissions consultant?

Jennifer: I was the Assistant Director of Admissions and Marketing, so in addition to serving on the admissions committee and all that entails (vetting prospective students, interviewing, making decisions on applicants, etc.), I also was responsible for the marketing messaging that we put forth to prospective students.

As a result of my role at Cornell, I am confident I have a good sense of what makes a successful applicant, and I make sure to get to know my clients well enough so that they present a multi-faceted view of themselves, not one that they “think” an admissions committee wants to hear (because trust me, they don’t!).

Admissions committee members read A LOT of essays, and you want yours to be the ones they can’t put down, not the ones that put them to sleep!

Accepted: Can you talk about the road that led you to becoming an admissions consultant for Accepted? What jobs and experiences led you to this point?

Jennifer: My road to Accepted was a bit unexpected. After I received my MBA from Cornell, I was happily developing a career in brand management at Unilever when my husband decided to go back to Cornell for his PhD. Since I didn’t want to have a long distance marriage, as well as the fact I wanted to support him in this endeavor, I looked for a job in Ithaca. With the emphasis on marketing with the Cornell EMBA position, it was a good fit. While in the role I discovered how much I enjoyed my part in helping others reach their goals.

Once I had kids, and after my husband graduated, I wanted to find something more flexible than a traditional 9-5 job. Natalie Grinblatt Epstein, who was at Cornell when I was a full-time student, was already working at Accepted, and suggested I consider a position there. And the rest, shall they say, is history!

Accepted: What’s your favorite thing about consulting?

Jennifer: My favorite thing is when some advice or knowledge I share with clients really hits home, and they take it to heart. As I mentioned earlier, one of the common misconceptions applicants have is that essay topics should always stick to work-related experiences. While the content provided in those types of essays is always informative, it might not be very attention-grabbing.

When I challenge clients to come up with alternative topics they are almost always spectacular. For example, one of my recent clients came back to me with an answer to “What’s the most challenging experience you’ve ever faced?” with a perfectly reasonable work story about developing the first app in his company, which wasn’t app-savvy. It showed all of the hurdles he surmounted and that he no doubt was a valuable employee, but the essay was thoroughly boring. When I encouraged him to share with me some other examples of challenging experiences in his life, one of them was a time he broke his ankle on a remote hiking trail with his family. Pay dirt!

Accepted: What sorts of applicants do you mostly work with?

Jennifer: I work with MBA applicants, those looking to enter full-time, part-time or EMBA programs.

Accepted: What are your top 3 admissions tips?

Jennifer:

1. Be sure. If at all possible, visit the schools you are considering applying to. Sit in on some classes, speak with students, and see what environments feel right to you. That is the best way to decide if the school is a good fit, and those visits often provide rich material for essays where you are supposed to discuss the whys of a particular school.

2. Be yourself. Own up to who you are, warts and all. No one is perfect, and don’t try to present yourself as such in your application. If you have extenuating circumstances that can help explain a poor semester, share them. If you have a gap in your resume, clarify it. If your GMAT score is not as high as you’d like it, present other evidence as to why the lower score should not be a concern.

3. Be selective (with your recommenders). Choose people who know you well and can speak to your strengths, weaknesses and how an MBA will help you succeed in your chosen profession, not those who may have impressive titles but have little to no insight into you as a working professional.

Learn more about Jen and how she can help you get accepted!

MBA catalog CTAAccepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

Related Resources:

• MBA Admissions Consulting and Editing Services
Grad School Admissions 101
• Why MBA?

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Learn The Ins And Outs Of B-School Funding http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/04/learn-the-ins-and-outs-of-b-school-funding/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/04/learn-the-ins-and-outs-of-b-school-funding/#respond Mon, 04 May 2015 18:50:42 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30484 Whether you’re just starting the process or have already received your acceptance, you know one thing for sure about b-school: it ain’t cheap! Join us for our free webinar on How to Pay for Your MBA, when guest presenter Julianna Young, VP of Operations at CommonBond, will show you: • How to understand the full […]

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Click here to watch the webinar.Whether you’re just starting the process or have already received your acceptance, you know one thing for sure about b-school: it ain’t cheap! Join us for our free webinar on How to Pay for Your MBA, when guest presenter Julianna Young, VP of Operations at CommonBond, will show you:

• How to understand the full cost of attendance

• How to identify sources of support—scholarships, loans, and more

• The mechanics of lending – the terms and calculations you need to know

• And much more!

The webinar will air LIVE on May 19th at 4pm PT/7pm ET.

Register now to learn How to Pay For Your MBA! B-school may be expensive, but the webinar is FREE!

Register for the webinarAccepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

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Columbia Business School 2016 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/03/columbia-business-school-2016-mba-essay-tips-deadlines/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/03/columbia-business-school-2016-mba-essay-tips-deadlines/#comments Sun, 03 May 2015 16:59:29 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30322 Columbia tweaked last year’s questions for this year. Relatively minor changes. Specifically: • Its short-answer question about your immediate post-MBA goal has gone from 75 to 50 characters. Yes, that was  characters, not words. Two years ago it was a generous 100 characters. And those applicants thought they had it tough.  • There are wording changes to all […]

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Click here for Columbia Business School's zone page.Columbia tweaked last year’s questions for this year. Relatively minor changes. Specifically:

• Its short-answer question about your immediate post-MBA goal has gone from 75 to 50 characters. Yes, that was  characters, not words. Two years ago it was a generous 100 characters. And those applicants thought they had it tough. 
• There are wording changes to all the questions. The central focus is the same as in previous years; but nuances have changes. 

Other than cutting 25 characters from the goals question, CBS has not cut essays or essay length. Still, you will need to make every word, indeed every character, count to really allow your essays to effectively and compellingly present your qualifications.

My tips are in blue below.

Applicants must complete one short answer question and three essays.

Short Answer Question:

What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (50 characters maximum)

Note the character limit. Your response must be less than a tweet. Actually it must be just about one third of a tweet. What do you want to do professionally and in which industry immediately after earning your MBA?  Here are CBS’ examples of possible responses:

“Work in business development for a media company.”
“Join a strategy consulting firm.”
“Launch a data-management start-up.”

Warning: This question is not asking about intended area of study while in business school or a non-professional goal or even a long-term goal. And the subject is assumed to be you. No need to waste characters by including “I.”

Essays:

Essay 1. Through your resume and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals going forward, and how will the Columbia MBA help you achieve them? (Maximum 500 words)

They already know what’s in your resume. Don’t repeat “your career path to date” here. That’s a waste of essay real estate and means you’re not telling them anything new or answering their question.

Do tell them what you want to do after your MBA and what aspects of the Columbia MBA experience will prepare you to do it. Keep in mind that the MBA is a bridge between your past and desired future. Show Columbia why its program is the right bridge for you and now is the right time for you to be traverse this bridge. 

To answer this question well,  you will need to really know the Columbia program thoroughly along with why you want a CBS MBA at this point in your career. The essay that shines will do a great job of showing both fit and self-awareness.

Essay 2. Columbia Business School’s location enables us to bridge theory and practice in multiple ways: through Master Classes, internships, the New York Immersion Seminars, and, most importantly, through a combination of distinguished research faculty and accomplished practitioners. How will you take advantage of being “at the very center of business”? (Maximum 250 words)

Please watch this video before attempting to answer the question and then keep it in mind as you write.

Really think about the points it’s making in terms what being at the center means: Access to an infinite variety of opportunities. Proximity to thought leadership and executive leadership. Convergence of theory and practice. NYC as an — if not the — international business center. Also note the emphasis in the question on bridging theory (the classroom) and practice (the opportunities that New York City provides).

After watching the video, think about how you intend to take advantage of the infinite opportunities and energy that reside at Columbia University and in New York City. How will you take advantage of the entrepreneurial eco-system in New York and Columbia University? The ties to bio science and pharma? Madison Avenue? The cutting-edge research and thought leadership? Not to mention the practitioners who lead Wall Street and teach at Columbia. Or will you explore the cultural riches of NYC and take advantage of the incredible business opportunities present in the arts and media?

Be careful not to speak of those opportunities in the generalities that I have. If you are interested in luxury goods marketing, as stated in your short answer, then write here about how you will take advantage of Madison and 5th Avenues as well as Columbia’s offerings. If you are interested in finance or consulting, Manhattan and all the businesses in it are at your feet. How will you benefit from this incredible location as well as the practitioners teaching at CBS? 

Final point: you don’t have to address all the points raised in the video, but you do have to write persuasively about at least one. 

Essay 3. CBS Matters, a key element of the School’s culture, allows the people in your Cluster to learn more about you on a personal level. What will your Clustermates be pleasantly surprised to learn about you? (Maximum 250 words)

Please watch this video to have an idea of what “CBS Matters” is about.

Make sure you understand Columbia’s Cluster System.  And if you have any lingering doubts whether this question is about professional achievement, watch the video again. It’s not.

You can use this essay to bring out something fun that you like to do. Would you try to get your cluster to train for a marathon? Set up a karaoke night? Plan a ski trip? Explore New York’s museums? Or you can reveal something non-professional that is important to you.  How have you contributed to social groups or causes in the past? Relate you plans to a past successful initiative, and you will enhance your answer to this question.

Or you could take a more serious approach to this question and discuss a challenge overcome. Show that you are a survivor, not a victim and far stronger as a result of this experience. If you take this approach, be careful to avoid TMI (too much information). You will have barely met these people.

Optional Essay. An optional fourth essay will allow you to discuss any issues that do not fall within the purview of the required essays.

Clearly you can use this optional essay question to address a weakness in your profile or qualifications, but in my mind, this question is also open-ended enough to allow you to discuss a diversity element in your personal background or simply some unique area of interest. Also, tucking a weakness explanation somewhere else would allow you to end the application with a strength and not a flaw.

Don’t use this essay as a grand finale or wrap up. And definitely don’t use it to rehash your reasons for wanting to attend Columbia; those reasons should be perfectly clear from the required essays. If you decide to respond to this essay, use it to educate the reader about another talent, interest, or commitment of yours. As always try to show leadership and impact. In short, give them more reasons to admit you.

If you would like professional guidance with your Columbia Business School MBA application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our  MBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the CBS MBA application.

Columbia Business School 2015 Application Deadlines:

January 2015 Entry: October 7, 2015

Early Decision: October 7, 2014

Merit Fellowship Consideration: January 6, 2016

Regular Decision: April 13, 2016

*All deadlines are 11:59 p.m. New York Time on the date listed.

Want to get accepted to Columbia?  Click here to reserve your spot for the webinar!
Linda Abraham By , president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

Related Resources:

Podcast Interview With the Columbia Business School Admissions Team
Columbia Business School Zone
• Experiences & Advice from Columbia MBA Student Kendall Miller

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Applying To Business School Next Year? http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/30/applying-to-business-school-next-year/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/30/applying-to-business-school-next-year/#respond Thu, 30 Apr 2015 15:48:51 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29049 Then you’ll want to check out the recording of our recent webinar, Get Accepted in 2016: 7 Steps to a Strong MBA Application. In the webinar, Linda Abraham paves the way to acceptance to b-school by exploring the things you can do NOW to increase your chances of acceptance later on. When those applications are […]

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Then you’ll want to check out the recording of our recent webinar, Get Accepted in 2016: 7 Steps to a Strong MBA Application.

In the webinar, Linda Abraham paves the way to acceptance to b-school by exploring the things you can do NOW to increase your chances of acceptance later on. When those applications are released, you’ll be ready to tackle them head-on and complete them efficiently and successfully.

Watch the webinar now!

You’re just 7 steps away from creating your super-strong application (and getting accepted!). Get started now!

view the webinar

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

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Jon Medved And OurCrowd: The Remarkable Story Of An Entrepreneur http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/29/jon-medved-and-ourcrowd-the-remarkable-story-of-an-entrepreneur/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/29/jon-medved-and-ourcrowd-the-remarkable-story-of-an-entrepreneur/#respond Wed, 29 Apr 2015 17:57:22 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30381 Time flies. The Admissions Straight Talk podcast has hit the 100-episode mark! And in honor of our big milestone we invited a  most exciting guest yet. Want to know what one of the most prominent entrepreneurs of our times has to say about leadership, graduate education, and bodysurfing? For all this and more, listen to […]

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Listen to our conversation with Jon Medved!Time flies. The Admissions Straight Talk podcast has hit the 100-episode mark! And in honor of our big milestone we invited a  most exciting guest yet.

Want to know what one of the most prominent entrepreneurs of our times has to say about leadership, graduate education, and bodysurfing?

For all this and more, listen to the recording of our interview with Jon Medved – CEO and founder of Our Crowd, venture capitalist, and serial entrepreneur.

00:03:43 – Jon’s solution to having too many shoeboxes: The world’s largest equity crowdfunding platform.

00:08:14 – What really matters to a VC when choosing a company to invest in.

00:10:17 – How a history major made it to the top of the business world with no formal business education.

00:14:09 – Qualities that young professionals need to cultivate. (Is luck quality?)

00:21:08 – Graduate education vs. common sense.

00:22:33 – Exciting new partnership between Wharton’s Social Impact Initiative and OurCrowd.

00:24:02 – A preview of the future of business and the world.

00:27:11 – Why Jon loves his job. (Who helps more people, Jon or Linda? Linda says “Jon.”)

00:28:28 – Entrepreneurs: Here is the best piece of advice you are going to get!

Want to leave us a Happy 100th message? We’d love to hear from you!

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

Related Links:

Our Crowd
OurCrowd Partners with Wharton Students to Launch Impact Investing Platform
• Wharton Essay Tips
Jon Medved, OurCrowd CEO, Interviewed (Video)

Relevant shows:

The Stanford MSx Program for Experienced Leaders
Which Schools are Good for PE/VC and VC-Backed Entrepreneurship
• Entrepreneurship at UCLA Anderson
Jeff Reid on Entrepreneurship
• Business, Law and Beyond: An Interview with John Engelman

MBA Admissions A-Z: 26 Great Tips - Download your free copy!

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An Interview with Our Own: Robbie Walker http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/28/an-interview-with-our-own-robbie-walker/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/28/an-interview-with-our-own-robbie-walker/#respond Tue, 28 Apr 2015 15:53:33 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29072 Curious about the life and times of our spectacular admissions consultants? Please enjoy our newest blog series in which we interview the fabulous people who make up the Accepted.com staff. Next up is…Robbie Walker. Accepted: Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Do you hold any […]

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Learn more about Robbie and how she can help you get accepted!Curious about the life and times of our spectacular admissions consultants? Please enjoy our newest blog series in which we interview the fabulous people who make up the Accepted.com staff. Next up is…Robbie Walker.

Accepted: Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Do you hold any graduate degrees?

Robbie: I grew up in northern Illinois in an area that my mother’s family homesteaded when they immigrated to America back in the early 1800s. We were a multi-generational household, and my six siblings and I shared many childhood adventures.

For college, I chose to attend Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and studied Political Science. After earning my degree, I joined Real Estate Research Corporation (RERC), a consulting firm which, at the time, specialized in urban economics. I primarily advised governments at all levels (local, state, national) on how to develop and implement projects that would serve as a catalyst for implementing broader objectives. For instance, I led a groundbreaking project for a Chicago suburb that wanted to identify how to equitably assess fees on residential land use developers for the necessary schools, parks, water and sewage use that additional residents would require. I also helped lead a national study to assess the cost-benefit implications of active solar energy usage in residential developments across the United States for the US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development.

While working as a consultant, I found I needed a more structured approach to solve related business and financial issues, so I decided to get an MBA. My choice of an MBA program was predicated on a quite specific and individual calculation. First, since I would continue working full-time, my job tied me to a Chicago area school, which limited my choices. Second, I had already earned one degree at Northwestern and wanted to experience a different academic environment. Result: Chicago Booth was my best option. This is not a decision making process I necessarily recommend to my clients! Nonetheless, after several years of hard work and study, I earned my MBA.

While working at RERC, I met my future husband, a Japanese citizen who also earned his MBA at Chicago Booth and who subsequently moved his career into a different industry. We married, and when his new company asked him to move back to Japan to direct their Tokyo operations, we decided to accept the offer and moved our growing family to Japan. We lived in Tokyo for about 15 years.

During this time, I had to switch my career focus away from consulting, primarily due to language issues but also because I wanted to concentrate on the needs of our young children. I chose to teach English to adults (my clients were primarily career diplomats in the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and C-level executives of major Japanese corporations) and freelance writing (for whichever publication that accepted my work!). Eventually, my freelance writing expanded to include editing the work of others, with a focus on business and scientific papers. To this day, I continue to write and edit on a freelance basis. I currently write a regular column for two publications, one in Japan and one in Mexico, and contribute to several blogs and news sources.

Accepted: What’s your favorite non-school/non-work book?

Robbie: It’s impossible to identify my favorite book in any context! Since I’ve always loved reading, I am fairly well read, so all I can say is that in the past few years, I’ve preferred non-fiction to fiction, tend to focus my reading on history and science, and have a particular love of biographies. I do have several favorite fiction authors and, if they’re alive, will read anything new that they publish, and I will also typically take a chance with a new author, especially women, whose book descriptions intrigue me.

Accepted: Can you walk us through your journey to becoming an admissions consultant for Accepted?

Robbie: My freelance editing work led me to becoming an Admissions Consultant. It started with a friend who handled applications for Japanese applicants to graduate school. She needed help handling her work load during a family crisis and asked if I’d be willing to assist her. Once I said yes, that was it – I was hooked!

I loved how admissions consulting combined my knowledge of graduate programs with my ability to advise individuals regarding their particular needs. Most especially, I loved how I can help clients zero in on telling their story in a way that made them unique. (In my opinion, that is the key to the success of my clients.) When my friend decided to leave the business, I explored my options at other firms and was fortunate to be “accepted by Accepted.com.” In the past 8 years with Accepted.com, I’ve developed my expertise in business, law (including LLM), public policy and PhD programs at universities in North/South America, Europe and Asia, as well as expanding my network among AdCom Directors and fellow consultants throughout the world.

A consultant’s value is measured in part by providing the most informative, comprehensive and detailed information needed by a client. I work hard to offer my clients all the necessary information and insights necessary to their individual needs.

Accepted: What’s your favorite thing about consulting?

Robbie: My clients! (That’s an easy question!) Each is unique, each makes me optimistic about the future of business, and each teaches me something, however small.

Accepted: Do you miss teaching ESL? How do you think your teaching skills contribute to your work as a consultant?

Robbie: When we returned to the US (we naturally returned to the Chicago area, given my close family ties to the area), I taught ESL to adults as an adjunct Professor at a local college. My students came from everywhere in the world; in one class, 16 countries were represented among my 17 students, including the Republic of the Congo, Chile and Bulgaria, to name only three.

We moved to Baja, Mexico, when our youngest entered college, but I still teach ESL, although my teaching is now limited to children who are part of the Baja Scholarship Foundation (BSF). I’ve always believed strongly in giving back to my community, wherever I live, and this volunteer work is part of “acting on my word.” The children I teach weekly are quite poor but academically gifted; the mission of BSF is to help them become active participants in their community through funding of their education costs, and my English language instruction is provided as part of that mission.

It’s a joy to teach bright, motivated children. And that’s where I see one connection with my clients, who are also bright and motivated, albeit older. I would say that both groups (BSF students and Accepted clients) are among the smartest, most motivated people I’ve ever encountered in my life. It’s a real pleasure to work with them.

One major part of teaching is knowing how to draw people out, to get them to experiment with a new idea or concept or way of expressing themselves, so whether it’s with learning a different language or helping people uncover something in their background that is pertinent to a goal they want to achieve, my teaching experience contributes greatly to my work as a consultant (and vice versa).

Accepted: What are some of your favorite business school memories?

Robbie: My favorite business school memories include the day a professor won the Nobel Prize in Economics, a few life-long friends I met in the process of earning my degree, and my satisfaction at earning decent grades in quant-heavy courses given my decidedly non-quant background. I learned that Chicago Booth is truly oriented to the individual and open to giving a chance to those of us who don’t fit their typical profile.

Accepted: What are your top 3 admissions tips?

Robbie: I’m going to sound like an AdCom interview here, but learning the answers to these questions is, to me, key to helping my clients gain admission.

Number 1: I’m a big believer in goals and demonstrating how an MBA suits a career vision. ‘Why do you really need an MBA’ is almost always my first question for prospective clients.

Number 2: Why this school? All of the top schools know what they can do for you, the question is, what can you do for them? Show your fit.

Number 3: Why you? What makes you unique? Everyone has a story, and how you tell that story matters a lot. This is where I think I, as an admissions consultant, can make the biggest difference.

Learn more about Robbie and how she can help you get accepted!

View our catalog of MBA School AdmissionsAccepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

MBA Admissions Consulting and Editing Services
Law School Admissions Consulting and Editing Services
Why MBA?

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4 Things To Do If You Can’t Define Your MBA Goals http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/27/4-things-to-do-if-you-cant-define-your-mba-goals-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/27/4-things-to-do-if-you-cant-define-your-mba-goals-2/#respond Mon, 27 Apr 2015 16:18:36 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30122 Top MBA programs are looking for candidates who’ve got their heads on straight and have a clear idea of how a business degree will help shape their futures. It’s for this reason that the MBA goals essay is such an important element in the b-school application. So what do you do if you don’t know […]

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Your post-MBA goals should be a guiding light in the application process.

Top MBA programs are looking for candidates who’ve got their heads on straight and have a clear idea of how a business degree will help shape their futures. It’s for this reason that the MBA goals essay is such an important element in the b-school application.

So what do you do if you don’t know what your post-MBA goals are? What should you do if, say, you are a career changer and know you want to acquire the skills that a business program will provide, but aren’t exactly sure which career direction you want to take post-graduation?  And finally, is it worth it to spend time exploring your post-MBA options (trying out different jobs or shadowing people in different professions) so that you can apply with a confident MBA goal, or is it better to try and jump right into a program, even if your goals are undefined?

Whoa. You have a lot of questions! Here are the answers: Yes, your post-MBA goals should be a guiding light in the application process, certainly the school selection part of it. And it’s not only worthwhile to spend time determining a post-MBA direction, it’s mandatory. You need to know why you want to devote time and money to an MBA before you apply. Undefined goals could transform your MBA investment into a painfully large expense.

Consider the following 4 tips to help you sort through the no-goal conundrum:

1. Think about what you like and dislike in your current and past jobs. Make a list of what you would like more of and what you would like less of.

2. Talk to people in positions you find attractive. Talk also to those who work in fields different from your own. Take friends out for coffee and conduct informal interviews or email a list of questions to people you know who have jobs that interest you.

3. Consider hiring a career counselor. (We can send a few names your way if you contact us – just mention that you read this post so we know how you got to us.)

4. Once you have narrowed down the number of possible goals or have some direction, look at the career listings of the larger employers in those areas. Read a few profiles of younger employees hired for those jobs, and see if you can network your way into talking to someone in the positions you find attractive.

In short, having no direction at all will make adcoms wonder why you’re putting the time, effort, and money into pursuing an MBA. They will also be very concerned that you will have difficulty finding an internship and ultimately a full-time position when you arrive on campus, floundering or mystified as to what you want to do. They don’t expect your goals to be carved in stone and they know you may develop new goals, but flexible is not the same as clueless. They want the former, not the latter.

Get clear, practical guidelines for answering the MBA goals essay question. Click here to download our free report.

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

Why MBA, a free admissions guide
• Hone Your MBA Goals, a short video
What You Must Know Before Meeting Admissions Directors

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Catching Up with Dartmouth Tuck Student Dominic Yau http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/24/catching-up-with-dartmouth-tuck-student-dominic-yau/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/24/catching-up-with-dartmouth-tuck-student-dominic-yau/#respond Fri, 24 Apr 2015 15:51:56 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29949 This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. And now for a follow up interview with Dominic Yau, who is about to complete his first year at Dartmouth Tuck. (We first met Dominic last year – you can read our […]

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Read more interviews with MBA student bloggersThis interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. And now for a follow up interview with Dominic Yau, who is about to complete his first year at Dartmouth Tuck. (We first met Dominic last year – you can read our first interview with him here.)

Accepted: Since we last spoke you applied to a bunch of b-schools. Where did you end up getting accepted and where are you currently attending?

Dominic: I ended up being accepted to the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, and I am currently a first year there.

Accepted: How has it been so far? Is b-school as you expected it to be? Any surprises? 

Dominic: First year has been phenomenal. It has been everything I expected and more. On the academic front, I have definitely been challenged both from a breadth perspective. Tuck is a general management program and therefore the core curriculum covers all the key facets of a general manager’s toolkit.

On the recruiting side, it has been a very intense but rewarding experience. I knew going in that I wanted to go into management consulting but also explore a couple of other things. Tuck has given me the opportunity to explore and understand what I wanted out of my career.

Outside of the classroom and recruiting, I have been involved with a lot of clubs and other events from playing (tripod) ice hockey to hosting a UK table at the international dinner during our Diversity Conference. There is such a wide variety of things to get involved that the hardest thing is to pick and choose what you want to do.

Overall, my first year so far has been fantastic. Looking back, one thing that I am surprised by is some of the non-technical skills that I have learnt. One example is being more efficient at making trade-offs when you have limited time. Rather than waste time thinking about what I could be doing, I have gotten much better at deciding on what I want to do and how to use my time most effectively. I think this will be a valuable lesson in my life and in my career going forwards!

Accepted: Why did you choose Tuck? How is it the best fit for you?

Dominic: I chose Tuck because of its location, size, and community. I did my undergrad at a campus university and I knew I wanted a similar experience. Also coming from a large city like London and most likely working in large cities post-MBA, it was a great way of taking two years and doing something slightly different.

Tuck’s size was also a big draw for me. I know pretty much all of the first years and I have had interactions with a large percentage of the second years. This simply is not the case at some other schools. Tuck’s size also closes the gap between the school and its students. I can drop into our program office with any queries or reach out to meet one-on-one with another of the faculty at very short notice.

Finally, the community at Tuck is very strong. People go out of their way to help each other and support each other. I am surprised by the strength of the community on a daily basis.

Accepted: If you could change anything about the program, what would it be?

Dominic: There is not a lot I would change about Tuck. One area that I think Tuck is addressing and needs to continue to address to focus more broadly on global issues. It is great that the Class of 2017 will now have a requirement to undertake at least one trip or project globally during their two years. I think as globalization continues, it is deeply important to have the cultural sensitivity and the ability to work across borders.

Accepted: Are you involved in any clubs on campus? How central to student life is club involvement?

Dominic: I am a wine aficionado and I will be a co-Chair of the Wine Club next year. I also play tripod hockey. Overall clubs are an important part of the Tuck experience but I find that some of my best experiences are typically more ad hoc. Due to our class size, I know the folks who have similar interests as myself so it is very easy to find others who want to go for a hike, play pond hockey, try out local eateries, etc.

Accepted: Do you have an internship lined up for the summer? What role did Tuck play in helping you secure a position?

Dominic: I will be interning this summer with one of the Top 3 consulting firms in New York. I have had great support during my internship recruiting from the Career Development Office (CDO), my classmates, and the alumni network. The CDO has been instrumental in helping me over the last few months from practising cases and fit questions to more general advice about managing the recruiting process. As for my classmates, the second years have devoted a lot of time to first years in helping them get ready for case interviews.

Finally, I cannot say enough about Tuck’s alumni network. Typically, I get a response within 24 hours of reaching out to an alumni. They are also very gracious with their time. I had a call with an alum during his layover at an airport between flights back from a client. I also had mock interviews with several alums during the Christmas break when they should have been relaxing. I think this speaks volume to Tuck’s alumni network.

Accepted: Now that you’ve successfully applied to and gotten into b-school, you must have some good advice for our readers. What are your top 3 admissions tips?

Dominic: My 3 top tips are:

1. Be yourself

2. Be prepared

3. Find the right fit

For one-on-one guidance on your b-school applications, please see our MBA Application Packages. 

To read more about Dominic’s b-school journey, please check out his blog, Domotron. Thank you Dominic for sharing your story with us!

Download our free special report: Best MBA Programs
Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

The Tuck School of Business and the Global Insight Requirement
• Dartmouth Tuck 2015 MBA Questions, Deadlines, Tips
MBA Student Interviews

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Making Friends with the GRE: How To Overcome Test Anxiety and Perform at Your Best http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/22/making-friends-with-the-gre-how-to-overcome-test-anxiety-and-perform-at-your-best/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/22/making-friends-with-the-gre-how-to-overcome-test-anxiety-and-perform-at-your-best/#respond Wed, 22 Apr 2015 16:13:48 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30227 “I can’t stop trembling….can’t eat….cry for little or no reason….I am so nervous.”  All of this from Janelle, a prospective graduate student on her response to scheduling a GRE test date.  I was not surprised that Janelle was nervous as almost all prospective graduate students are a bit anxious about admissions’ tests.  However, Janelle took […]

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Click here for more GRE tips“I can’t stop trembling….can’t eat….cry for little or no reason….I am so nervous.”  All of this from Janelle, a prospective graduate student on her response to scheduling a GRE test date.  I was not surprised that Janelle was nervous as almost all prospective graduate students are a bit anxious about admissions’ tests.  However, Janelle took “anxious” to a whole new level.   It was clear to me that I would need to develop a somewhat different plan of action to successfully help Janelle perform at her very best on this exam.

My first step was to listen carefully as Janelle shared all her feelings and fears. She said that she actually felt better just by having someone listen without judgement.  I told her that I would brainstorm some options and we scheduled a follow-up meeting.

I decided to “borrow” some of the techniques I use to deal with speaker anxiety in the public speaking classes that I teach at the undergraduate level. I was planning to use cognitive restructuring– changing the way we think about something.

At our next meeting I told Janelle that I had developed a three stage strategy to position her for success. I asked her to think about the GRE process like the development of a relationship.  In other words going from the acquaintance level to friend level to intimate level.   We were going to “Make Friends with the GRE.”  Here’s how we did it:

STAGE 1: Acquaintance Level—-This is the “getting to know you” stage of the process.

• Understand the GRE Testing program- Research the GRE general test and the discipline-specific subject tests especially in terms of available test administration dates, time limitations on retakes, score delivery options, etc.

• Determine which tests are required by the schools/programs of your interest—Check the admission criteria and the application deadlines to determine which tests are required and the application deadlines so that you can schedule the appropriate exams to meet all of the criteria of the school/programs of your choice. Keep in mind that while the GRE general test has multiple test administration sites and dates, the GRE subject test administrations are often scheduled only 2 or 3 times per admission cycle. Advance and careful planning is necessary to meet these deadlines so that you do not find yourself in a situation where your application is not complete by the deadline date.  Many programs will only review complete applications.

• Learn even more by surveying and requesting feedback from others who have taken the exam.  They may well have some tidbits of advice for you.   They may alert you to specific pitfalls to avoid.  Keep a list for future reference.

STAGE 2: Friendship Level— This is the “let’s become friends” stage of the process.

• Visit the ETS website to learn about the GRE subject tests offered and to access the associated subject test review books which will provide details on the content areas for the test, the weights assigned to each topic, as well as a practice test. This will provide you with a guide on what to study as well as how much time to allocate to specific topics. The subject test practice book can be downloaded from the web free of charge or will be mailed when you register for the exam.

• To prepare for the GRE general test, you should invest the time to diagnose the skill areas that need the most attention by identifying areas of weakness that require intensive review. These may include, but are not limited to, reading for meaning, analyzing and general organization of your ideas in short essay format, general mathematics, algebra, geometry, charts, etc.

• Take advantage of the diagnostic services offered by ETS which includes GRE’s Diagnostic Tests and Score It Now!, the online writing practice. Check out these low cost options on the ETS website.

• Make use of the GRE Powerprep software for reviews of the verbal and quantitative measure sections of the GRE exam.

• Be prepared to write 2 timed essays. One essay will present your perspective on an issue and the second essay will assess your ability to analyze an argument.  You can practice typing an essay response under timed conditions using GRE Powerprep software or you can pay for Score- it -Now! for online writing practice. The analytical writing measure serves as an assessment of critical thinking and the following analytical and writing skills:  articulation of complex ideas, clear and effective examination of claims and evidence, supporting ideas with relevant reasons and explicit examples, preparing a well-focused and coherent discussion, and displaying mastery of standard written English.

• Throughout this entire stage use positive self-talk as a confidence booster.  Place the emphasis on all of the progress you have made and continue to make.

(On a side note, I made sure that I was always available for confidence boosting and positive feedback)

 STAGE 3Intimate Level—- this is the commitment stage of the process.

• Become comfortable taking a computer delivered, timed, online exam by practicing in that type of environment.  If you only practice using a review book, the new delivery format may increase your level of anxiety and, as such, may impact your performance.

• Look back at how far you have come and continue to invest in the relationship you have established.  You may even learn to enjoy the challenge and the rewards that the relationship may bring.

• Last but not least, allow yourself enough time for the relationship to strengthen (prepare and study for the exam) and take hold.

At this point I am sure you are wondering if Janelle was successful.  Yes she was–she handled the stress very well and was accepted to her top choice schools. I was certainly proud to have helped her achieve her goal.

Learn how to use sample essays to create an exemplary essay of your own!Carol DrummerBy Carol Drummer, Former Hofstra University Dean of Graduate Admissions, who for 10 years reviewed and signed off on over 4500 admissions decisions per year and has taught communications and rhetoric since 1991.

Related Resources:

The GMAT, GRE and the Guy Who Knows Them Well
Should You Take the GMAT or the GRE?
Why You Don’t Need a Perfect GRE Score

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The Admissions Team At The Very Center Of Business http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/22/the-admissions-team-at-the-very-center-of-business/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/22/the-admissions-team-at-the-very-center-of-business/#respond Wed, 22 Apr 2015 11:00:44 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30273 If Columbia Business School is the name you doodle on back of your notebooks, then you’ll want to get to know the folks who hold the key to acceptance. Click here to listen to the recording of our conversation with the CBS admissions team – although they sound more like a family- and find out […]

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Listen to the show!If Columbia Business School is the name you doodle on back of your notebooks, then you’ll want to get to know the folks who hold the key to acceptance.

Click here to listen to the recording of our conversation with the CBS admissions team – although they sound more like a family- and find out what the masterminds who shape the MBA class have to say about the admissions process and Columbia B-School.

00:03:18 – Meet the Columbia Business School Admission Team and hear why they love their jobs!

00:08:00 – An overview of the 2-year MBA Program at Columbia.

00:11:04 – What the J-Term is and who it’s for.

00:14:55 – A preview of the 2015-16 application, and what they’re looking for in this year’s essays.

00:18:07 – No longer a pilot program: No-consignor loans available for international students.

00:20:58 – Why apply early decision.

00:24:13 – The journey of a submitted CBS application.

00:27:07 – The format and purpose of a CBS interview.

00:30:00 – Great features of CBS that the adcom members wish prospective students would know about.

00:36:47 – Suggestions for waitlisted applicants.

00:39:44  – Rejection does happen. What next?

00:44:27  – Ingredients of a successful application.

00:48:38  – The most common MBA application mistake. (But you won’t do this, right?)

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

Related Links:

Columbia MBA Admissions
• Columbia J-Term
• Columbia JTerm app to be Released Early
• Experiences & Advice from Columbia MBA Student Kendall Miller
• Columbia 2016 MBA Essay Tips and Deadlines
• Get Accepted to Columbia Business School – free webinar

Related Shows:

Making International Student Loans a Prime Investment
• The Facts About Financial Services
Exploring the Part-Time MBA Options at NYU Stern
At the Nexus of Business & Law: Penn/Wharton’s JD/MBA
• Bruce DelMonico on The Yale School of Management

Check Out Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes! Check Out Admissions Straight Talk in Stitcher!
Want to get accepted to Columbia?  Click here to reserve your spot for the webinar!

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An Interview With Our Own: Dr. Rebecca Blustein http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/21/an-interview-with-our-own-dr-rebecca-blustein/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/21/an-interview-with-our-own-dr-rebecca-blustein/#respond Tue, 21 Apr 2015 17:55:40 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29919 Curious about the life and times of our spectacular admissions consultants? Please enjoy our newest blog series in which we interview the fabulous people who make up the Accepted.com staff. First up is…Dr. Rebecca Blustein. Accepted: Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Do you […]

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 Learn more about Rebecca Blustein and how she can help you get accepted!

Rebecca and Alex Trebek. Rebecca was a contestant on Jeopardy in March 2012. She came in second place!

Curious about the life and times of our spectacular admissions consultants? Please enjoy our newest blog series in which we interview the fabulous people who make up the Accepted.com staff. First up is…Dr. Rebecca Blustein.

Accepted: Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Do you hold any graduate degrees?

Rebecca: I earned my BA at UCLA (with a double major in English and Comparative Literature). After that, I went to Ireland for my MA in Old and Middle Irish. Then I returned to UCLA for my PhD in Comparative Lit. I’m a California native – I grew up in Oakland and now live in Los Angeles with my husband and two cats.

Accepted: What’s your favorite non-school/non-work book?

Rebecca: Hmm…that’s tough – there are too many to choose! I read almost constantly. (My Kindle is my insomnia buddy!) For light reading, I like mystery novels. To cheer me up if I’m having a bad day, PG Wodehouse is unbeatable. (I have a shelf full of his books.) And every once in a while I come across a book I think is so good I flip right back to the beginning and read it again as soon as I finish it. (Most recently: Hilary Mantel’s Bring up the Bodies.)

Accepted: How have your travels around the world influenced you as a writer?

Rebecca: In addition to living in Ireland for a year, I spent a summer in Russia and a month in Israel, and backpacked around Europe. I think that studying languages made me a better writer, and traveling made me a sharper observer.

Accepted: Can you talk about the road that led you to becoming an admissions consultant for Accepted? What jobs and experiences led you to this point?

Rebecca: During grad school, I took a job working as a counselor at the scholarship office on campus. That work – leading workshops, coaching students on their personal statements, helping them find funding for school, etc. – made me realize I really love working one-on-one with students to help them improve their writing and achieve their goals.

Accepted: What’s your favorite thing about consulting?

Rebecca: I enjoy working with people who are really excited about their plans for grad school – and it makes me happy to be able to help them through the process.

Accepted: How did funding applications become one of your specialties?

Rebecca: I worked at UCLA’s Scholarship Resource Center for four years before joining Accepted. I also successfully applied for various types of funding myself – so I know, first of all, what goes into the process, and second of all, what a big difference scholarships can make. With tuition rates what they are – across all disciplines and at all levels of study – scholarships are a great way of lowering loan debts and increasing access.

Accepted: What sorts of applicants do you mostly work with?

Rebecca: Master’s and PhD, across all fields. I also often work with medical and dental school applicants.

Accepted: What are your top 3 admissions tips?

Rebecca: Research your options. Plan ahead. And stay organized.

Learn more about Rebecca and how she can help you get accepted!

Download our free guide: GET YOUR GAME ON: Preparing for Your Grad School ApplicationAccepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

Related Resources:

Graduate School Admissions Consulting and Editing Services
Med School Admissions Consulting and Editing Services
Plotting Your Way to a PhD: 6 Topics in PhD Admissions, a free admissions guide by Dr. Rebecca Blustein

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6 Tips for Applying to Business School with Low Stats http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/21/6-tips-for-applying-to-business-school-with-low-stats/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/21/6-tips-for-applying-to-business-school-with-low-stats/#respond Tue, 21 Apr 2015 16:09:46 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30160 For most business school applicants, “low stats” are GMATs and GPAs at the lower end of or below the mid-80% range for a given school. It may be difficult to find average GPAs, but if you have a 2.6, you know it’s low for almost any MBA program. Except for the most elite schools, where […]

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Webinar: Get Accepted to Top B-Schools with Low Stats!

Can you show the adcom an upward trend?

For most business school applicants, “low stats” are GMATs and GPAs at the lower end of or below the mid-80% range for a given school. It may be difficult to find average GPAs, but if you have a 2.6, you know it’s low for almost any MBA program. Except for the most elite schools, where the number is higher, a GPA below 3.0 warrants a deliberate effort to counterbalance.

Here are 6 tips for applying with low numbers:

1. Analyze your situation. Which numbers are low – test score (GRE or GMAT), GPA, or both? If your GPA is low, did you have an upward trend that would show the committee you improved during college? Did you have one bad semester that pulled you down? If the problem is your test score, is there one section that is stronger than the other?

2. Address low quant scores (GMAT/GRE and transcript) by: taking additional courses for higher grades; highlighting your quant-oriented achievements in your essays; and asking recommenders to confirm your quantitative ability.

3. Address low verbal scores (GMAT/GRE and transcript) by: writing fantastic essays; taking additional courses that focus on business communication or involve substantial writing; and asking recommenders to comment on your communication skills.

4. Make your essays count! Draw on examples of your accomplishments, leadership skills, and exceptional impact to counterbalance the low scores.

5. Pick the right schools to apply to. Some schools are more focused on numbers, while others are known for a more holistic review.

6. Consider the optional essay. If your scores are below the 80% range, you’ll probably want to acknowledge and provide context for your situation. The optional essay provides an opportunity to briefly explain the circumstances behind your scores. If you write the optional essay, make it short and straightforward. Provide a brief explanation, take responsibility, and focus on evidence of your talents that counters the impression made by the low stats. Also, explain (or, ideally, show through example and anecdote) that either you have dealt with the problem causing the poor grades, or the circumstances no longer apply.

Download our free special report: Best MBA Programs

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Related Resources:

Navigate the MBA Maze
Do Low Stats Sink Your App?
Should You Retake the GMAT?

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Exclusive Low Stats MBA Webinar Airing Live on Wednesday! http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/20/exclusive-low-stats-mba-webinar-airing-live-on-wednesday/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/20/exclusive-low-stats-mba-webinar-airing-live-on-wednesday/#respond Mon, 20 Apr 2015 17:26:50 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29999 You have just a few days left to register for our upcoming webinar and make time to focus on what we promise will be an enlightening, practical, and helpful presentation on how to get into top business schools despite low GMAT/GPA scores.Register ASAP for Get Accepted to Top B-Schools with Low Stats to reserve your […]

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You have just a few days left to register for our upcoming webinar and make time to focus on what we promise will be an enlightening, practical, and helpful presentation on how to get into top business schools despite low GMAT/GPA scores.Register for the webinar!Register ASAP for Get Accepted to Top B-Schools with Low Stats to reserve your spot.

Grab Your Spot! We’ll see you at 10:00 AM PST/1:00 PM EST on Wed morning (April 22nd).

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Small San Diego B-School Gets Big Boost http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/19/small-san-diego-b-school-gets-big-boost/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/19/small-san-diego-b-school-gets-big-boost/#respond Sun, 19 Apr 2015 16:39:14 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30135 On April 9, the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego announced a new $100 million gift from philanthropists Evelyn and Ernest Rady—one of the largest donations ever to a US business school, and especially significant given the small size of the program, which was founded only a decade ago. The Rady Family Foundation […]

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Click here to download a free copy of "Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One" On April 9, the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego announced a new $100 million gift from philanthropists Evelyn and Ernest Rady—one of the largest donations ever to a US business school, and especially significant given the small size of the program, which was founded only a decade ago. The Rady Family Foundation has previously made several large gifts to the school, including $30 million in 2004, which helped establish and grow the business school at UCSD.

According to Robert Sullivan, the Dean of the Rady School, the new gift will go towards attracting top faculty, endowing scholarships and fellowships to bring in high achieving students, developing institutes, and creating a new master’s program in “Big Data.” The school hopes to continue capitalizing on UCSD’s strengths in innovation and the health sciences.

The Rady School is a small program (only 57 entering MBA students in 2014), with a high proportion of international students. For the most recent class, the median GMAT score was 680 and median GPA was 3.4. Tuition for California residents is $44,000, and $49,000 for out-of-state students. In addition to the full and part-time MBA programs, the school also offers a PhD and Master of Finance, and will soon launch master’s degrees in Business Analytics and Accounting.  The most recent Rady gift will help develop these programs as well.

Evelyn and Ernest Rady are active in the San Diego community and have funded many organizations, including the Rady Children’s Hospital, Scripps Health and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

The Rady School has been steadily rising in the rankings—placing 51st overall in BusinessWeek’s B-School rankings in 2014, and 1st for Intellectual Capital. With this substantial gift, the university and the Rady School will have the means to grow their young program and continue to build their reputation.
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Related Resources:

Best MBA Program: A Guide to Selecting the Right One 
Business School Zones for Top Programs
MBA Rankings: What You Need to Know

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Do Low Stats Sink Your App? http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/19/do-low-stats-sink-your-app/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/19/do-low-stats-sink-your-app/#respond Sun, 19 Apr 2015 15:55:28 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30165 Applicants and Admissions Directors almost always seek the same thing. Applicants want to be desired by Admissions Directors and Admissions Directors want their schools to be desired by applicants. Applicants want to optimize their ability to gain admission to the highest-ranking school that fits their education/career needs, and Admissions Directors want to optimize their ability […]

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Got low stats? Join our webinar, Get Accepted to Top B-Schools With Low Stats!

If you have low stats, you’ll have to be strategic about your application choices.

Applicants and Admissions Directors almost always seek the same thing. Applicants want to be desired by Admissions Directors and Admissions Directors want their schools to be desired by applicants. Applicants want to optimize their ability to gain admission to the highest-ranking school that fits their education/career needs, and Admissions Directors want to optimize their ability to climb in the rankings, so that applicants will continue to find their schools desirable.

Logic has it that if Admissions Directors can change the input of the rankings by increasing test scores and GPA (a metric that fails to take into account the school of origin and the rigor of the curriculum), then the school should climb in the rankings. However, in a year like 2015, where 20% of the schools that consistently see 80% of the applicant pool all had double-digit application increases, we know the schools will stay relatively the same in the rankings. In fact, the USNews ranking hasn’t changed dramatically over the years for this very reason:  the schools move in a group.

It’s a vicious cycle that often leaves incredibly gifted and desirable applicants in the dust. It’s also a vicious cycle that leaves incredibly forward thinking/innovative schools in the dust.

If you are an applicant with high aspirations and low statistics, you need to be strategic about your actions and your application choices but there are also several things you can do to improve your chances of acceptance.

1. Request an assessment: Obtain a realistic assessment from an admissions officer or an admissions consultant.  The assessment should give you an indication of schools that would be stretch for you, schools that match your qualifications, and schools that you should select as safeties.  You would be surprised to learn the number of C-level executives and successful entrepreneurs who attended safety schools.

2. Cast your net widely: Note that the larger the class, the better an admissions director can hide his or her lower statistic candidates. Look at the Forbes wealthiest individuals and aside from the over-proportional number of drops outs (note: I believe in education opening doors and do not condone dropping out of school even if you are Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Marc Zuckerberg or Sheldon Adelson), you will see a lot of billionaires that attended schools that many prospective students don’t have on their radar.

3. Be proactive:  if your grades tanked, take classes to mitigate concerns before you apply.  If your scores tanked, obtain tutoring you need to bring your score up (tutors have helped my clients increase their scores dramatically in just a few hours of intense study).

4. Show your interest:  Visit the school.  Get to know students and alumni who can go to bat for you on your behalf.

5. Be interesting:  One-trick ponies don’t make for interesting reading. The Art of Admissions is very much like blind dating.  It’s up to you to get the admissions committee interested in eating a 5-course meal with you rather than speeding through a cup of coffee.

6. Make a compelling case of acceptance.  Show fit with the school’s culture, strengths, and values. Reveal leadership, contribution, impact, innovation, and a track record that will cause the admissions readers to say “Wow!”

As an admissions director, I was more likely to invite the person behind an interesting, well-written application for an interview – regardless of stats.  If a candidate could engage me in the interview, I would recommend a well-spoken, witty candidate over someone who had high numbers and offered only one dimension.

Of these lower statistics students whom I accepted, many have become successful business people – and some of the most prestigious alumni.
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Natalie Grinblatt Epstein By , an accomplished Accepted.com consultant/editor (since 2008) and entrepreneur. Natalie is a former MBA Admissions Dean and Director at Ross, Johnson, and Carey.

Related Resources:

That GMAT Score: Implications for Your MBA Application, a free webinar
Low GPA? Don’t Panic…Yet.
MBA Rankings: Why Should I Care?

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4 Tips for the New MBA Admit http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/17/4-tips-for-the-new-mba-admit/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/17/4-tips-for-the-new-mba-admit/#respond Fri, 17 Apr 2015 16:20:12 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29789 Do you think you’re done with my advice now that you have received that acceptance letter? Not so fast. I still have a tip or two for you. There are a few things you can do to prepare for your MBA studies and enhance your chances of getting a great internship and ultimately post-MBA job. […]

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Download 12 Terrific Tips for MBA Applicants now!

Prepare now and hit the ground running when classes start.

Do you think you’re done with my advice now that you have received that acceptance letter? Not so fast. I still have a tip or two for you. There are a few things you can do to prepare for your MBA studies and enhance your chances of getting a great internship and ultimately post-MBA job.

Take note of the following 4 tips:

1. Consider a pre-MBA internship. Especially if you are a career changer, consider asking your employer if she can give you an internship more related to your post-MBA goals. I know there aren’t too many employers that will do so, but some will. If yours is one of them, take advantage of the opportunity. Your employer will have a motivated employee until the last day and you will have a valuable learning experience…along with a satisfied employer.

2. Use the next several months to explore your intended fields. Set up information interviews with people in your field to find out what courses they found most valuable when they were in b-school. Ask about good internship options and typical career paths. Remember: You are not asking for a job or internship at this point, just information. But I have heard of informational interviews leading to internships and jobs.

3. Allow yourself time to unwind and have some down time before starting your MBA.  Financial reality may dictate that you work until the last minute, but if you can, give yourself time to vacation, travel, or relax.

4. Plan living logistics at business school before business school starts. Set up your apartment, open a bank account, figure out where the supermarket, post office, dry cleaners, and hairdresser are.

Follow these tips to hit the ground running when classes actually start.

Career Strategy for MBA Applicants WebinarAccepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

Related Resources:

CommonBond’s Story: A Revolution in Student Loans
• How to Find the Ideal Internship
• The MBA Family: A Roundup and Overview

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So, Your GMAT Score Isn’t Quite A 780… http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/16/so-your-gmat-score-isnt-quite-780/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/16/so-your-gmat-score-isnt-quite-780/#respond Thu, 16 Apr 2015 19:45:51 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29996 What?! You have a low GMAT/GPA score and still haven’t signed up for the Get Accepted to Top B-Schools with Low Stats webinar? Consider this post your personal reminder to reserve an hour of your time and attend THE webinar that will help you overcome your less-than-desirable GPA or GMAT score and apply successfully to […]

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What?! You have a low GMAT/GPA score and still haven’t signed up for the Get Accepted to Top B-Schools with Low Stats webinar? Consider this post your personal reminder to reserve an hour of your time and attend THE webinar that will help you overcome your less-than-desirable GPA or GMAT score and apply successfully to your top choice MBA programs!

Register for the webinar!The Details:

Date: Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Time: 10:00 AM PT/1:00 PM ET

Registration link: Get Accepted to Top B-Schools with Low Stats (Registration is free, but required.)

Click here to reserve your spot for the webinar!
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MBA Admissions A-Z: U is for Undergrad Grades http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/15/mba-admissions-a-z-u-is-for-undergrad-grades-3/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/15/mba-admissions-a-z-u-is-for-undergrad-grades-3/#respond Wed, 15 Apr 2015 18:15:39 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30105 3 Steps for Handling a Low Undergraduate GPA Grades show whether you previously performed well in an academic setting. If your college GPA is low, then you need to provide evidence that even though you may have faltered back then, now you’ve got you’re A-game and are capable of academic excellence. But how? The following […]

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U_is_for_undergrad_grades3 Steps for Handling a Low Undergraduate GPA

Grades show whether you previously performed well in an academic setting. If your college GPA is low, then you need to provide evidence that even though you may have faltered back then, now you’ve got you’re A-game and are capable of academic excellence.

But how?

The following 3 steps will help you overcome a low GPA and present a solid case to the admissions board that you mean academic business:

1.  Identify.

First, identify the cause of your low GPA.

Is it low because you partied a little too hard your first two semesters, but then buckled down after that and worked to pull up your low freshman GPA? Or did you start out high and then get really lazy and bored with school your senior year and let things spiral out of control? Or is it possible that your low GPA is truly an indication that your workload was too challenging and that you’re not school material? Or perhaps you were dealing with a serious illness or family problems? Or maybe back then you just weren’t motivated to succeed?

Once you understand why you have a less-than-impressive GPA, you’ll have an easier time figuring out what to do next (Step 2) and how to explain the situation (Step 3).

2.  Ameliorate.

Once you determine that you are motivated this time around and are capable and competent academically, then it’s time to take action to improve your profile. (And if after deep introspection you decide that school is just not for you, then consider yourself lucky that you figured that out now and not after you’ve paid $100,000+ on even more schooling.)

Obviously, you can’t go back and raise your undergraduate GPA, but there are steps you can take NOW to show the adcom that your undergrad GPA doesn’t define your current academic abilities:

• Take a few business-related, college-level courses and earn A’s in them.

• Ace the GMAT.

3.  Explain.

There are three places in your MBA application where you may want to address a low GPA: the optional essay, the required portions of the application, and your letters of recommendation.

In a non-whiny, non-defensive tone, you can clearly and straightforwardly explain why your GPA is lower than it should be in the optional essay. Perhaps there was a death in the family one semester or maybe you had emergency surgery that left you on bed rest for three weeks mid-semester. Or maybe you just didn’t realize the importance of grades until halfway through your sophomore year and by then your GPA had taken a serious hit. Or maybe you worked thirty hours a week to support yourself. Let the reader know the context of your grades. Write honestly and write well.

In other parts of the application, show the skills that your transcript hides without drawing attention to the grades. For example, if you did not do well in Econ 101 or college math classes, but now are do some really heavy lifting in terms of financial modeling, then either in your resume or in a required essay, write about a quantitative challenge that you handled with elan.

Regarding letters of recommendation – getting a supervisor to vouch for your maturity and abilities is probably one of the best things you can do to bolster your case. Again, if you had poor grades in classes requiring a lot of writing, ask your boss if she can comment positively on your communications skills. If you had poor quant grades, ask if she can praise your quantitative analysis of a complex project. In either case, your boss doesn’t have to reference the negative you are trying to overcome – just the positives you want to bring out.

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Related Resources:

• MBA Admissions Tip: Dealing with a Low GPA
• How to Handle a Low GMAT Quant Score
• How to Handle a Low GMAT Verbal Score

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What Are My Chances? Research Analyst Interested in Luxury Corporate Strategy http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/15/what-are-my-chances-research-analyst-interested-in-luxury-corporate-strategy/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/15/what-are-my-chances-research-analyst-interested-in-luxury-corporate-strategy/#respond Wed, 15 Apr 2015 18:03:27 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30067 This blog post is part of a series of MBA profile evaluations called “What are My Chances?”  by Michelle Stockman. For this series Michelle, who started consulting for Accepted in 2007 and worked previously in the Columbia Business School admissions office, provides selected applicants with school recommendations as well as an assessment of their strengths […]

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This blog post is part of a series of MBA profile evaluations called “What are My Chances?”  by Michelle Stockman. For this series Michelle, who started consulting for Accepted in 2007 and worked previously in the Columbia Business School admissions office, provides selected applicants with school recommendations as well as an assessment of their strengths and weaknesses.

If you would like Michelle to evaluate your profile at no charge and as part of this series, please provide the  information requested at http://reports.accepted.com/what_are_my_chances.

PROFILE: Akanksha, Indian research analyst at consulting firm seeks future in luxury corporate strategy.

Download Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One

It’s not enough to be a leader in an extracurricular role.

– PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: 20-something Indian female who graduated in 2012 from University of Delhi with a business finance degree. Describes herself as a “quasi-consultant” currently working at a professional services consulting firm in Delhi for a US-based client.

Why do you describe yourself as a “quasi-consultant?”  Either own the full term “consultant”, or drop it. It makes you sound young and whimsical.

From what I can gather, you’re a smart, eager businesswoman. That shows both in the awards you’ve racked up at work and from your go-getter attitude as an entrepreneur.

You’re in a tricky situation as a research analyst, however, as it’s sometimes difficult to describe leadership experiences, and quantify how much impact your work has had.

First of all, leadership. You are a leader in an extracurricular role where you work. But what about the money-making part? Have you ever stepped up to take the place of a manager on a project? Did you ever disagree with a superior on the direction of a project and have to win him/her over as a stakeholder? In your essays, you want to show how you punched above your weight as an effective, yet diplomatic leader on actual client work.  Also, be sure to highlight if you have received any promotions in title in the two years you’ve been at the consulting firm.

Next, your impact. Can you check back with your clients to see if any of your research has been acted upon? Also, in your recommendations, your recommenders need to comment on how you stood out above and beyond your peers in terms of smarts and leadership. You can’t write these letters for them–but there’s no harm in giving them a one-page achievement summary as a reminder of why you’ve won all those awards.

– GOALS: Move into a corporate strategy role at a large CPG or luxury firm.

With your work trajectory and your sideline in jewelry, this appears to be a solid goal. You need to draw a closer connection to any consulting work you have done on consumer products to show experience. Also, try to spruce up the website for your jewelry sales. Right now it doesn’t look very luxury. The pieces are attractive (a bit difficult to see because the photos are so dark), but more of a casual style instead of high end. If you’re going to highlight that as evidence of a trajectory toward the luxury market–it’s not quite there yet.  

– GMAT: Not taken yet. Aiming for 700-720.

Aim for a 720 or above. That will give you more options.

– GPA: 71%. First class honors.

This is a solid, respectable GPA. No worries here.

– EXTRACURRICULAR: Heads the ‘fun’ employee engagement club at her firm, comprising a team of >10 individuals. In October 2012, undertook a 5 day, 55 km trek in Northern India. Also holds a junior diploma in Hindustani Classical Music.

These are great, but nothing truly special or stand out. However, depending on the schools you end up choosing, you could talk about the discipline you developed in training in Hindustani music, and how that drive has bled into other aspects of achievement in your life.

– EXTRAS: Runs a bespoke jewelry business with mother, serving clients in India and overseas.

See above, under goals.

– SCHOOLS:

Because you haven’t taken the GMAT yet, I will only recommend schools that you should research: Wharton, Kellogg, NYU, Tuck, Ross, HEC, Emory.

Overall I find your profile intriguing, and I’d send you on for a second read if you’ve got convincing stories of leadership and ingenuity in your essays.

MBA in Sight: Focus on Finance - click here to download for free!
Michelle Stockman Michelle Stockman is a professional journalist, former Columbia Business School admissions insider, and experienced MBA admissions consultant.

 

Related Resources:

• Your 3-Part Plan to Dominate the GMAT
• How to Show the Adcom that You are a Leader
• What are My Chances? Latina Software Developer Moving to Marketing

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Leaning In While Pursuing Your MBA: The MBA Mama Story http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/14/interview-with-two-on-the-way-to-business-school/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/14/interview-with-two-on-the-way-to-business-school/#respond Tue, 14 Apr 2015 16:37:38 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30048 This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with MBA applicant bloggers, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at the MBA application process. And now for a chat with Nicole Ponton and Divinity Matovu… Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? […]

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Nicole Ponton and Divinity Matovu

This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with MBA applicant bloggers, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at the MBA application process. And now for a chat with Nicole Ponton and Divinity Matovu…

Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What is your favorite non-school book?

Nicole Ponton: Born and raised in Pasadena, CA. I studied International Relations and Religion at the University of Southern California, Class of 2010. If I had to pick one book, it would be 100 Years of Solitude.

Divinity Matovu: I’m from a small town in Wisconsin, and I’m a first-generation college graduate. I studied Political Science at the University of Southern California, Class of 2008. I am a fiery entrepreneur and independent thinker who will begin my MBA at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business in Fall 2015 with a focus on finance and entrepreneurship. I’ve launched four start-ups: a fashion company in Los Angeles, a youth development non-profit in Uganda, a consulting firm with clients in Africa and the US, and now my latest venture, MBA Mama. I am a mother to two wonderful children, Nyah and Shafiq. I’ve lived and worked in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania and pride myself on being a global citizen and an advocate for women. I am passionate about start-ups, technology, women’s empowerment and African affairs. Interestingly enough, I did not know Nicole during undergrad. We are both 2015 Social Innovation Fellows with StartingBloc. We had instant chemistry when we met in February at SB’s Los Angeles Institute. My favorite non-school book is “The Alchemist.” I’ve read it at least once a year since 2009.

Accepted: Can you tell us a bit about your MBA application process? How did your experience inspire you to develop your new venture, MBAMama.com? And where do you see MBAMama going in the future?

NP: I actually went through the application process twice, back to back, with only the support of friends. It has been a character building experience, to say the least, and when I heard about Divinity’s concept, I knew that I had to help other women going through that process. I know that this platform has amazing potential and it has received an excellent response and support from people of all walks of life. I envision MBA Mama growing into a powerful network, becoming the go-to website for women balancing family planning and career advancement, and becoming the host of an exceptional annual conference.

DM: My MBA application process began Fall 2013 when I applied, and was admitted, to Forte Foundation’s MBA Launch Program and Management Leadership for Tomorrow’s (MLT) MBA Prep Program. Completing both programs in 2014 kept me focused, helped me be strategic, and held me accountable for advancing towards my goal of matriculating to a top-tier MBA program in 2015. I struggled for months with the GMAT, taking the exam 3 times before I received a score I felt confident with. After the recommendation of my amazingly supportive MLT coach, Kendra Crook, I took supplemental courses in Statistics and Calculus to boost my quantitative profile.

While researching MBA programs, I often had to dig deep within school websites to find common-sense information applicable to me as a pre-MBA mama. In my experience, the images many schools project of “students with families” are predominantly male students whose wives are stay-at-home mothers. I know taking care of children is a full-time job, so I certainly respect stay-at-home mothers; however, it was frustrating to not see images of women MBAs who had children. At some moments, I doubted whether my goals were attainable. I reached out to some programs specifically requesting to be put in contact with an MBA mom who could talk to me about childcare options in the area, and I’d be connected with a woman whose retired parents lived in the same city and cared for the child full-time– thereby eliminating childcare concerns. While we certainly both had children, our situations and needs were completely different.

I had my “aha moment” for MBA Mama after receiving a text message from Derek, one of my MLT MBA Prep colleagues. Derek texted me saying he admired my perseverance, and my ability to balance Forte, MLT, GMAT prep, running my own business and being a single mother. I was extremely touched by Derek’s text. As an entrepreneur, I immediately started to think about how I could impact more people like I’d impacted Derek. The concept for MBA Mama was born within 1 week of Derek’s text.

MBA Mama is a dynamic blog featuring exclusive, inspirational content that provides Millennial Mamas with tools and resources to pursue a graduate business degree. As Nicole mentioned, the goal for MBA Mama is to evolve as the premier website for young women balancing family planning and career advancement. While pitching this idea over the past few months, I’ve received overwhelming support from Millennial women – like Nicole – who do not have children yet. Nonetheless, the message that an MBA, career advancement and children are not mutually exclusive resonates with them.

Accepted:  How have you been able to integrate your commitment to social justice into your career?

NP: In addition to running Communications for MBA Mama, I currently work full time for a social justice nonprofit called Life In Abundance, International. We are an African-founded and African-led organization that carries out sustainable community development in urban and rural impoverished areas, empowering the most vulnerable families to become self-sustaining and help others to do the same. It has been an incredible experience to work for this organization and witness the transformation that takes place throughout the 10 countries we work with, and I am fortunate that social justice is a part of my day-to-day life. I also continue to give back to programs in my hometown that promote education initiatives and gang prevention which I volunteered with during my time in California.

DM: As a social entrepreneur, I am always thinking about social impact within the context of my career. Ultimately, I plan to monetize MBA Mama and build equity in this brand. It is a win-win scenario if I can build a revenue model that works, and simultaneously inspire women by sharing stories of MBA mamas, and giving them actionable steps they can take to pursue their MBAs and career goals relentlessly while balancing family commitments. I want to see women’s enrollment in business school on par with men’s enrollment within the next 5-10 years. Admissions officers are missing out big time if they are not targeting, recruiting, and supporting talented women with children to their MBA programs.

Accepted: Can you talk about your experience so far with the Forte Foundation? Would you recommend that other women interested in business check them out?

DM: I recommend Forte Foundation’s MBA Launch Program to any woman who is interested in the MBA. Last Fall, I published a full blog post about my experience on Forte’s Business360 blog titled: ROI on MBA Launch Program Has Had Exponential Benefits.

NP: Though I am not a Forte Fellow (yet) like Divinity, the Forte Foundation has provided me with access to excellent resources and advice during my application process and transition preparation. I highly recommend that other women interested in business check out the site and everything they have to offer.

Accepted: Is there anything else you think we should know about you and your work?

DM: MBA Mama’s blog officially launches April 15, 2015. We’d love Accepted’s network to visit the site, www.mbamama.com – engage with us on social media @MBAMamaDotCom and sign up for our newsletter. We’d also love for your readers to support our ThunderClap campaign which runs through April 15:  Anyone interested in learning more about MBA Mama can contact me at divinity@mbamama.com.

Thank you Divinity and Nicole for sharing your story with us – we wish you loads of success!

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Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

• Why MBA?
Wharton 2015 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines
• Forte Helps Women in Business Thrive: Interview with Elissa Sangster

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Which B-School Admission Offer Should I Accept? http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/13/which-b-school-admission-offer-should-i-accept/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/13/which-b-school-admission-offer-should-i-accept/#respond Mon, 13 Apr 2015 16:07:36 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29357 You’ve just received the best news ever: Not only have you been accepted to b-school, but you’ve received offers of admission from more than one program. Congratulations! Now you have the delightful dilemma of choosing among suitors. Here are factors to consider when deciding among multiple acceptances: Factor #1: Which institution best supports your future […]

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Click here for career strategy tips.

Good luck with your delightful dilemma!

You’ve just received the best news ever: Not only have you been accepted to b-school, but you’ve received offers of admission from more than one program. Congratulations! Now you have the delightful dilemma of choosing among suitors. Here are factors to consider when deciding among multiple acceptances:

Factor #1: Which institution best supports your future goals and most likely career path? 

This criterion is paramount when you have clear, well-defined goals, for instance, “I want to run an IT consultancy serving financial services firms.” If financial aid is an issue, calculate whether the full tuition program will increase your earning power by more than the amount of the scholarship or whether your preference for the more expensive school is worth the difference in cost.

Factor #2: Which educational approach do you prefer?

Look at methodology, curriculum, and flexibility. For applicants with more general goals, this criterion plays a more significant role.

Factor #3: Where would you rather live for X years? 

Do you want to live in a big city or small college town? What region do you want to live in? Do you prefer a big university or a small college? Urban or rural? Religious or secular? Liberal or conservative?

Enjoy your great options and use these criteria to guide you as you make your decision.

If you would like guidance from any of our experienced, dedicated consultants, please browse our services and contact us for more information.

Career Strategy for MBA Applicants Webinar
Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

Show Me the Money!
Interviews with Current MBA Students
MBA Scholarships: How Do I Apply and What Should I Emphasize?

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Selling Yourself Short? http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/12/selling-yourself-short/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/12/selling-yourself-short/#respond Sun, 12 Apr 2015 16:05:45 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29932 “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 […]

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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

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First HEC Paris Case Study Competition http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/12/first-hec-paris-case-study-competition/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/12/first-hec-paris-case-study-competition/#respond Sun, 12 Apr 2015 14:46:25 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30040 HEC Paris held its inaugural student-organized international case study competition the weekend of April 10-11, which involved masters students from 33 top universities in a series of business-focused challenges. The HEC Business Game (HBG) was developed by a team of 20 HEC students in partnership with top companies, including Lufthansa, Crédit Agricole Corporate & Investment […]

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HEC ParisHEC Paris held its inaugural student-organized international case study competition the weekend of April 10-11, which involved masters students from 33 top universities in a series of business-focused challenges.

The HEC Business Game (HBG) was developed by a team of 20 HEC students in partnership with top companies, including Lufthansa, Crédit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank, Crédit Agricole S.A, and Gameloft.

Participating students were selected via online test and competed in five challenges, set by the companies, in fields such as innovation, corporate evolution and strategy. Prizes included tuition fees for HEC’s summer school, as well as the opportunity to be invited to visit the partner company’s offices. The project also provided opportunities for students to network with their peers, meet with top firms and gain hands-on experience of real, practical case studies.

The HBG was organized as part of the Alliance of European Business Games (AEBG), a European network composed of five business schools (Solvay School of Economics, St Gallen, Durham University, Nova University and HEC Paris) dedicated to fostering the creation of new business games across Europe.

More information about the competition can be found at www.hecbusinessgame.com, via Facebook or via Twitter.

Click here for financial aid and health insurance for the international student

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Related Resources:

HEC Paris: Why to Go and How to Get In
Tips for Applying to European B-Schools
• HEC Paris 2015 MBA Essay Tips

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Insights Of An International Student At MIT Sloan http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/09/insights-of-an-international-student-at-mit-sloan/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/09/insights-of-an-international-student-at-mit-sloan/#respond Thu, 09 Apr 2015 17:09:20 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29969 This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. And now for a chat with Christian Marek who is in his final year at MIT Sloan. Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you […]

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Read more MBA student interviewsThis interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. And now for a chat with Christian Marek who is in his final year at MIT Sloan.

Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Do you hold any other degrees?

Christian: Originally I’m from the scenic Vienna in Austria. There I completed Bachelor’s in Software Engineering and a Master’s in Information Systems Management. Because I wanted to immerse myself even further in the tech industry, I decided to pursue an MBA.

Accepted: Where are you in business school? What year?

Christian: I’m currently a second-year MBA student at MIT Sloan and will be graduating June 2015.

Accepted: Why did you choose MIT Sloan? How is it the best program for you? Which other MBA programs had you considered?

Christian: When I chose my MBA program, the primary factors I considered were quality of the school, entrepreneurial ecosystem of the university, school affinity for technology (and data), class size, and location. This lead me to consider MIT Sloan, Berkeley Haas and UCLA Anderson. All programs were almost equally amazing. However, once I saw the MIT campus I knew this was the place to be for me. The geekiness and culture was impossible to match. Coming from an engineering background this is where I wanted to be.

Accepted: Can you share some advice to incoming first year students, to help make their adjustment to b-school easier? What do you wish you would’ve known when you were just starting out?

Christian: Adjusting to b-school is a great experience but it’s definitely challenging – there are so many variables. Being an international student adds an additional challenge as it takes some time to get used to local communication style and culture. Here are a few things that make the adjustment easier:

Keep reaching out after your acceptance: The MBA years are among the best in your life. Having a rough sense of what you want to get out of the MBA is really helpful. Obviously as an incoming student you do your research online. Additionally, I recommend reaching out to a variety of current MBAs at your school that are doing what you are looking to do. This should be even easier after acceptance. For example if you’re interested in entrepreneurship try to talk to a club VP over the phone. They can tell you if the club a good choice for your, help develop your interest further and intro you the others who might have similar interests.

•  Attend post-admission events: I find that the admission events (weekends, seminars, etc.) I attended really helped me in making my decision. You get to know your potential future classmates. Doing so, let’s you figure out if you’re kind of on the same wavelength and even find roommates. Furthermore the schools will showcase what the programs have too offer in even greater detail.

•  MBA communication classes: These classes are amazingly helpful, especially for international students. As I said communication in the U.S. can seem very different. The communication classes at Sloan taught me a lot about American communication standards in business personal interactions.

Accepted: Are you involved in any clubs on campus? How central to student life is club involvement?

Christian: I’m a co-president of the European Business Club at MIT Sloan and I really enjoy the experience. However, I think club involvement is a personal choice. I know classmates who are members in up to eight clubs and I know classmates who are in zero clubs. Some classmates are VPs and presidents, others just aren’t. Personally, I think clubs can offer a lot of value in terms of making friends, finding classmates with common interests and taking on leadership opportunities. Just like everything in life it helps aligning your decision on the extent of your club involvement to what you want to accomplish. If you want to be an entrepreneur, joining the Entrepreneurship club makes sense. If you want to do something for the overall community, join a culture club. See if you like it and then you can typically still decide whether or not to go for a VP position.

Accepted: Can you tell us about your internship at Google last summer? What role did Sloan play in helping you secure that position? 

Christian: My internship at Google last summer was amazing. The internship program is run by an amazing team at Google that makes the experience at Google unique. On a weekly basis leaders in the organization gave us their inside scoop on leadership and the tech industry. Google offers a variety of MBA internship roles. Over the summer you take responsibility for executing your very own project. Sloan helped in a variety of ways. First, the internal network at Sloan is extremely helpful to learn about a company. As I was in the internship recruiting process, I reached out to former Googlers and former Google MBA interns at Sloan. They were extremely helpful in telling me about their experiences at Google. Second, the various clubs at Sloan help you with the internship process by doing resume reviews among other things. Coming from Europe, I found this particularly helpful because the U.S. job application process is very different. Third, the MIT Sloan Career Development office collaborates closely with Google to host coffee chats and recruiting events. In that way Sloan MBA students can connect directly to Googlers to learn more about the company and the internship.

Accepted: Looking back, what was the most challenging aspect of the MBA admissions process? How did you approach that challenge and overcome it?

Christian: For me personally the most challenging part getting connected to the schools. I was the first in my network to pursue an MBA. However, from reading online I got the sense that insights from current students are extremely valuable to the application. Even though the notion of writing cold emails was completely foreign to me, I researched Europeans (particularly Austrians) that were attending my target schools. I was surprised how quickly they responded. Even though arranging these chats and conversations was a lot of work, I do believe building those connections contributed to my admission offers. Talking to current students is irreplaceable and it helps you get a feel for the school.

Accepted: Do you have any other advice for our med school applicant readers, especially for international applicants?

Christian:

1. Connect to your target school: Your future school is probably a couple thousand kilometers away. Still connecting to current students is the best way to learn about your school.

2. Make a well-rounded application package: Show who you are personally and professionally. Ideally you’ll be able to tie this to together and paint your future to the reader. Also, use data points to quantify the impact you had. I think for internationals (or at least Europeans) – this is particularly unusual. Still, you need to get over it and do it.

For one-on-one guidance on your b-school applications, please see our MBA Application Packages. 

You can follow Christian on Twitter and by checking out his blog Producteria.

Thank you Christian for sharing your story with us – we wish you loads of luck!

Download your free copy of Navigating the MBA Maze!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

Related Resources:

• Navigate the MBA Maze
MIT Sloan 2015 Executive MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines
IV With an Overrepresented Minority MIT Sloan Admit!

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