Choosing From Multiple Business School Acceptances

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Multiple acceptances: Congrats! But what now?

Choosing From Multiple Business School Acceptances” is the final post in our series Navigate the MBA Maze.

You’ve been accepted at two solid schools. Great! Or, you’ve been offered admission to an OK school with a significant scholarship and your #1 choice with no  financial aid. Or, you’ve been admitted to a top-tier program, but you really wanted to go to Harvard. You should be celebrating, but instead you’re worrying.

What do you do now? What criteria do you use in making your decision? Here are the factors that should guide you:

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.

2. Which educational approach do you prefer?  Do you prefer to learn through case study or analysis, or a combination of the two?

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? Religious or secular? Liberal or conservative?

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

Navigating the MBA Maze - Download your free guide today!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

Related Resources:

• How To Pay For Your MBA [webinar]
Show Me The Money
• MBA Choices: Dream School vs. Scholarship School?

MBA Admissions Decisions: Should You Go Full-Time Or Part-Time?

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Full-time or Part-time?

When I was applying to b-school, I contemplated part-time vs. full-time, and one of my best friends, Colleen, had to make the same decision at the same time.

Ultimately, I decided to attend the full-time program at the University of Michigan. Colleen decided to attend a part-time program at the University of Michigan. We shared 60% of the same classes, 40% of the same professors and even had a class together (Michigan offered, at the time, courses where they reserved half the registrations for full-time students and half the registrations for part-time students). Since that time, they dramatically changed the full-time curriculum and it is unlikely that we would overlap now like we did then. However, I graduated two years before Colleen with a unique internship, an opportunity to begin a new career and a lot of debt. Colleen advanced quickly with the company that hired her upon our graduation from college and graduated without debt because her company sponsored her education. We both have the same degree.

Now as an Accepted.com consultant and as a former Admissions Director and Dean of full-time, part-time and EMBA programs, I lend you my insight and guidance from the other side of the table in this brief analysis of programs.

Full-time programs: Traditional full-time programs are the media darlings of MBA programs. A school’s reputation relies mostly on its full-time program rankings. They consume the largest portion of the school’s budget, and they rarely make revenue for a school. More than 90% of all scholarships and fellowships are dedicated to full-time students. Full-time programs are perfect for career-changers in the 23-30 year old age range that can afford the opportunity cost of leaving work to immerse themselves in education and experience. If you choose this experience, you will feel like you are an undergraduate again with clubs and activities, but the workload will be greater. You will have access to on-campus recruiting (I always recommend you conduct your own off-campus job search in parallel with on-campus recruiting), company presentations, fellowships and scholarships and a lot of fun. Full-time students prioritize the job search and school. Family often gets the short stick, but there are typically resources to support a spouse. If you are single, it’s a great opportunity to form a romantic relationship. My grad school roommate found the love of her life in our core operations course.

Part-time programs: Part-time programs are the cash cow of MBA programs and have to live in the shadow of their smaller full-time counterpart. They take very few resources, but they often share the same faculty as the full-time program. Many professors would rather teach at night or on the weekend to lighten their teaching load and dedicate their days to research. Schools will also complement the faculty with adjuncts in part-time programs. Aggregated, the part-time applicant pool is not as competitive or as diverse in terms of admissions as schools typically receive fewer applications, and they are limited to their immediate region and the industries that dominate that industry. Furthermore, schools have the capacity to serve at least as many and often more students than their full-time counterpart.

As much as schools say the quality of the full-time students and the part-time students are the same, the quality is dependent on location and how that location generates applications. Bigger cities have an easier time of attracting great applicants to their part-time program and can maintain higher quality standards, but full-time programs generate applications from around the globe and it’s much easier to pick and choose candidates for admission.

Part-time programs are perfect for the 24-35 year old career enhancer, but rarely serve the career changer. Part-timers typically do not have the same access to comprehensive career services as full-time programs because company presentations and interviews are typically held during the day. At one school for whom I worked, we dedicated one career services staff member to all of our professional programs (part-time, EMBA, on-line) serving over 1000 students and 5 career services staff to the small 200-student full-time program.

Part-time students can often get full or partial sponsorship from their company lessening the financial burden, but do not typically have access to fellowships or scholarships from the school. It typically takes students longer than 2 years to complete a part-time program and part-time students prioritize work first, school second and again, family gets the short end stick. Part-time students often feel like the stepchild of the full-time counterparts.

EMBA programs: EMBA programs are also lucrative for schools, but they typically are not as large as full-time programs, and schools charge a premium to attend an EMBA program. They are perfect for students in the 30-year-old to 42-year-old age range that have been supervising employees and that have the support of their executive management to attend a program because executives view these students as fast-trackers in their company. These programs are typically held every other weekend and offer no fellowships or scholarships because schools expect the student’s company to sponsor the student partially or completely. EMBA students typically prioritize work first, family second and school last. While EMBA students may cross from technical supervisory roles to business supervisory roles in their companies, EMBA programs do not cater to the career changer only the career enhancer. Schools take care of their EMBA students for their tuition premium. However, these students rarely interact with either the part-time or full-time students, but bond well with their cohort and the faculty.

Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One - Download your copy today!

 

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:

• Ace the EMBA
Tips for Applying to Part Time MBA Programs
• The MBA Family: A Roundup and Overview

UC Berkeley Haas 2016 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

Check out other school specific essay tips!

UC Berkeley Haas

The supplemental information that Haas requests is almost unchanged. The essays are different from last years. For #1 they have an essay question very similar to one from two years ago. And for #2, they give you a choice of prompts.

My tips are in blue below.

Essays:

At Berkeley-Haas, we seek candidates from a broad range of cultures, backgrounds, and industries who demonstrate a strong cultural fit with our program and defining principles. Our distinctive culture is defined by four key principles — Question the Status Quo, Confidence Without Attitude, Students Always, and Beyond Yourself. Please use the following essays as an opportunity to reflect on and share with us the values, experiences, and accomplishments that have helped shape who you are.

(Learn more about Berkeley-Haas’ Defining Principles)

Please use the following essays as opportunities to reflect on and share with us the values, experiences, and accomplishments that have helped shape who you are.

As you are answering the following four questions really think about Haas’ defining principles and when possible tie your answer and experiences to those principles. As I frequently do, I want to warn you against simply repeating the principles or stuffing them into your essays. That’s a waste of time and space. Use your essays to reveal that you share those values and have those qualities.

1. If you could choose one song that expresses who you are, what is it and why? (250 word maximum)

If it’s heavy metal, go for it. And if it’s a Beethoven Sonata, let it sing forth. And if it’s a classic folk song that you learned as a child in a non-Western country, don’t hesitate to share that information too. The “what” isn’t nearly as important as the “why.” Be authentic and tell them which song best expresses your essence, whatever it is. And then tell them why you believe it reflects the true you.  

2.  Please respond to one of the following prompts: (250 word max)

• Describe an experience that has fundamentally changed the way you see the world and how it transformed you.

• Describe a significant accomplishment and why it makes you proud.

• Describe a difficult decision you have made and why it was challenging.

First question: Which to choose? Select the one that you can answer most easily and enthusiastically and that complements the other essays and information found elsewhere. 

Please note that each option is asking for one experience or one accomplishment, or one difficult decision. Haas seeks an example that you find meaningful and illustrative of how you approach situations and events. they want a window into how you act and think. Whatever option you choose, don’t omit answering what comes after the “and.”

Try to choose an event that illustrates you identifying with at least one of Haas’ 4 Principles.

3. Tell us about your path to business school and your future plans. How will the Berkeley-Haas experience help you along this journey? (500 words max)

This is a connect-the-dots goals question.  What do you want to do after you earn your MBA? How has what you have done in the past convinced you this is the right path for you? How will the Haas MBA experience prepare you to achieve your goals for your MBA? 

You don’t have to answer the questions I posed in the order I posed them, but the strong answer to this question will answer all three questions if you want to answer Haas’ question. And to answer the about the Berkeley-Haas experience, you must thoroughly understand Haas program and culture.  How will take advantage of its strengths?

Supplemental Information:

1.  If you have not provided a letter of recommendation from your current supervisor, please explain. If not applicable, enter N/A.

Keep it short and sweet. This is primarily for those of you who don’t want to tell your boss yet that you plan to leave.

2. List in order of importance all community and professional organizations and extracurricular activities in which you have been involved during or after university studies. Include the following information for each organization or activity using the format below:

• Name of organization or activity
• Nature of organization or activity
• Size of organization
• Dates of involvement
• Offices held
• Average number of hours spent per month

Whenever possible, quantify your impact or contribution. Please note that Haas is not interested in high school grades or activities. Note also that they want the list not in chronological order, but in order of importance — however you define “importance.”

3. List full-time and part-time jobs held during undergraduate or graduate studies, indicating the employer, job title, employment dates, location, and the number of hours worked per week for each position held prior to the completion of your degree.

Again, quantify as much as possible your responsibilities and impact. Focus on achievements. Avoid  job descriptions that are obvious from your job title.

4. If you have ever been subject to academic discipline, placed on probation, suspended, or required to withdraw from any college or university, please explain. If not, please enter N/A. (An affirmative response to this question does not automatically disqualify you from admission.)

Please, please, please don’t “forget” to answer this question if it applies to you. It’s far worse to ignore it than to answer it.

Optional Essay: Is there any other information you would like to share that is not presented elsewhere in the application? You may also use this essay to provide further explanation of employment gaps or your quantitative abilities. (500 word maximum)

A bonus! If there is an element in your background, be it personal, academic or professional, that you have not revealed elsewhere and would like the adcom to know about, this is the spot. Give them another reason to admit you, but don’t submit the grand summary, appeal, or closing statement. Keep it succinct and focused.

Obviously, you could use this essay to explain a weakness, but that would leave your application ending on a weakness, which is less than optimal. Try to fit the explanation in somewhere else in the app or if necessary tuck the weakness into this essay, but have the main focus of this essay be something positive. For example: Your pride in working your way through undergrad, the challenges, and the ultimate satisfaction of learning to manage your time. 

If you would like professional guidance with your UC Berkeley Haas 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 Haas MBA application. 

UC Berkeley Haas 2016 MBA Application Deadlines:

UC Berkeley Haas 2016 MBA Timeline

Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One - Download your copy today!

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:

• 2016 MBA Application Essay Tips
• UC Berkeley Haas Zone Page
Why MBA? [Free Guide]

Short And Sweet: Tips For Writing “Mini” MBA Essays

Click here for school specific MBA essay tips and deadlines!

Make sure you’re answering the exact question asked.

What is an admission committee’s message, intent, behind limiting an “essay” answer to 100, 200, or 300 characters? Just the facts, please. In fact, just the key facts.

No adornment, no backstory, no extended rationale.

Columbia Business School has had such a goals question for a few years, Darden has had a 140-character Tweet question, and now HBS has a couple of these mini-essay questions. Yes, it’s a trend.

In working with clients on such questions, I’ve been struck by how hard providing “just the facts” really is – it’s counterintuitive, it’s letting go. It makes the writer feel, well, a little naked out there. Adornment, backstory, rationale – those are the comfortable “clothes” now in a heap on the floor.

OK, but how do you give them what they want – while simultaneously serving your goal of creating a compelling application that differentiates and distinguishes you?

Here are some unadorned tips to answer that question.

• Read the question carefully and weigh each word, to make sure you’re answering the exact question. (Seems obvious? I’ve witnessed many very smart people misread the question, with predictable results.)

 Short doesn’t mean easy. The opposite is often true. Allocate and devote some up-front thinking time to what you’ll say. The fewer words you have, the greater weight each word has.

• In this thinking process, decide the 1-3 key points you must convey. Don’t even consider anything else.

• Also in this thinking process, consider the application overall. These mini-essays must work within a larger whole. For example, if you only have 200 characters to write about your goals, and you’re planning to shift careers, look for other places in the application to indicate that you have relevant skill sets, understand the industry/function, etc.

• In drafting, write a little over the limit and pare down.

• Make sure each word is meaningful. Stick to nouns and verbs. Use short, direct sentences, which allow you to “squeeze” the most out of the limited characters.

• Avoid repeating the question (if it’s about post-MBA goals, the reader will know what you’re referring to, you don’t have to say, “Post-MBA I plan to…).

You know the expression “short and sweet.” Turn brevity to your advantage. A short statement can have great power, propulsion. The key is to do it right.

5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid In Your MBA Application Essays - Download your free guide!

 

Cindy Tokumitsu By , Cindy Tokumitsu, co-author of The Finance Professional’s Guide to MBA Admissions Success, and author of numerous ebooks, articles, and special reports. Cindy has advised hundreds of successful applicants in her last fifteen years with Accepted.com.

Related Resources:

• Twelve Terrific Tips for MBA Applicants [Free Guide]
School-Specific MBA Application Essay Tips
• Choosing Topics For The B-School Essay

Kellogg 2016 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

In September 2014, Kellogg “rebranded” itself and adopted a more concrete (and in my opinion better) mission statement: “Inspiring growth.” The video below explores and clarifies this mission as well as the values Kellogg holds dear. I highly recommend that you watch it to grasp Kellogg’s fundamental principles. 

A couple of key takeaways from the video: Kellogg seeks individuals who:

Have a growth mindset (for details, please see Caroline Dweck’s Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, one of my favorite books).

Work well in a collaborative environment while striving to grow individually and at the same time inspiring growth in individuals, organizations, and markets.

Kellogg also changed both its questions this year and #2 certainly reflects the new emphasis on growth.

My tips are in blue below.

Essays:

1.
 Leadership and teamwork are integral parts of the Kellogg experience. Describe a recent and meaningful time you were a leader. What challenges did you face, and what did you learn? (450 words)

First things first: Kellogg is asking for ONE experience. Not more. It also reflects Kellogg’s belief that teamwork and leadership go hand-in-hand. Unlike last year’s similar essay question, Kellogg is not limiting your professional settings. You do have the option to use a non-professional leadership experience.

 You can use a STAR framework for this response (Situation, Task, Action, Results). Start with the situation and simply describe what was situation/problem/opportunity you were asked to respond to. Then relate your group’s task and your responsibility. How did you motivate the others to move in one direction? How did you influence and persuade? Finally what were the results for the group? And what did you learn about leadership, collaboration, and influence?

While it isn’t a requirement, and I can imagine instances where this may not be true, examples where you led by virtue of your stature and others’ respect for you will be more compelling than those where you led by virtue of station and title. 

2.
 Pursuing an MBA is a catalyst for personal and professional growth. How have you grown in the past? How do you intend to grow at Kellogg? (450 words)

This is a difficult question that should provide Kellogg with real insight into the individuals applying to its MBA program. Before responding do your homework on the Kellogg program and what you want to do after you leave Kellogg. The latter will tell you how you want to grow and the former will tell you how you will do so at Kellogg.

First think about the times you have grown either professionally or personally. Which of those instances would you like Kellogg to know about? Ideally the event you choose to focus on will relate in some way to the growth you want to have at Kellogg.

Then reflect on how you intend to grow while at Kellogg. I think this the strong answer to this question will really go beyond mere skill acquisition, although that can be part of your response. How are you going to take advantage of what Kellogg offers to become more like the people in the video: able to see opportunity when faced with challenge, to envision a beautiful finished structure when staring at a bare shell, and to harness your emotional intelligence and acquired skills to lead collaboratively and with clarity of purpose? 

Certain applicants will respond to additional questions:

Dual-degree applicants: For applicants to the MMM or JD-MBA dual degree programs, please explain why that program is right for you. (250 words)

A straight-forward response is required here.  What do you want to do that requires both degrees? Why is this joint program the right one to fill in the gaps in your education and take you to a point where you can go down your desired professional path.

Re-applicants: Since your previous application, what steps have you taken to strengthen your candidacy? (250 word limit)

No trick questions here. How are you a better candidate today than when Kellogg rejected you? Have you addressed weaknesses in your previous application? Check out MBA Reapplicant 101 — a lot of (free) resources. 

All applicants have the opportunity to provide explanations or clarification in Additional Information:

If needed, use this section to briefly describe any extenuating circumstances (e.g. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, etc.) (no word count)

This is a true optional question If necessary, use it to provide context for possible negatives. Take responsibility for mistakes if necessary and discuss what you have changed so that you don’t err in the same way again.

Keep this section short and to-the-point. Don’t be fooled by “No word count.”

Video Essay: 

The Video Essays provide applicants with an additional opportunity to demonstrate what they will bring to our vibrant Kellogg community – in an interactive way. Each applicant will complete two short video essay questions. The questions are designed to bring to life the person we have learned about on paper.

After submitting a completed application, each applicant will be asked to complete two Video Essay Questions. One will be about the candidate’s interest in Kellogg and the other will be a “getting to know you” type of question.

There are 10 practice questions which candidates can complete as many times as they like to get comfortable with the format and technology. The practice questions and experience will simulate the actual video essay experience, so this is meant to be a useful tool and help applicants feel prepared.

There is not an opportunity to re-do the answer to the official video essay questions. We encourage applicants to practice so they are comfortable with the format once it is time to complete the official questions.

Candidates will have 20 seconds to think about their question and up to 1 minute to give their response.

We estimate the Video Essays will take 15-20 minutes to complete – which includes time for set-up and answering all the practice questions.

To prepare for your webcam session, you need to practice for the experience of talking to a video camera with no responses from another human being. For tips on how to prepare and behave during the webcam session, please see Kellogg’s “Video Essay” on its Application Components page as well as my Tips for Video MBA Essay Questions.

If you would like professional guidance with your Kellogg 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 Kellogg application. 

Kellogg 2016 MBA Application Deadlines:

Round     . Due Date*            . Decisions Released
Round 1 September 22, 2015 December 16, 2015
Round 2 January 6, 2016 March 23, 2016
Round 3 April 6, 2016 May 11, 2016

*Your application must be received by Kellogg no later than 5p.m. CT on the deadline for the round in which you are applying.

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

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:

• 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your MBA Application Essays [Free Guide]
• 2016 School-Specific MBA Application Essay Tips
• Optional Essays: When and How to Write Them [Short Video]