Stranger Things Have Happened!

How to Get Accepted to Top B-Schools with Low StatsHBS published their class of 2016 profile and if you look closely, you’ll find something very strange…

Someone was admitted with a 510 GMAT score!

While this probably WON’T happen to you (we need to be realistic!), it sure is nice to know that anything is possible in the world of MBA admissions. You just gotta give it your all!

Learn how to present yourself spectacularly, despite your low scores, when you attend our upcoming webinar, How to Get Accepted to Top B-Schools with Low Stats!

Date: Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Time: 10:00 AM PST/1:00 PM EST

Space is running out! Reserve your spot for How to Get Accepted to B-School with Low Stats now!

Save my spot! Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

GMAT vs. GRE: Harvard Business School Weighs In

HBS’s admissions director, Dee Leopold shares a helpful post on how HBS approaches the GMAT versus GRE issue. I’ll preface this with her preface: Please don’t over-crunch!

In short, the HBS view is agnostic. It’s not about which exam or even the overall score, but about the component scores and how they play into the individual applicant’s profile. For example (and this is her example), an engineer with highly quantitative work won’t need to prove her quant score as much as she’ll need to show off her verbal abilities with a high verbal score (either GMAT or GRE). An English major, on the other hand, will need to step up the quant component of his exam (again, either one) to show that he’ll be able to handle the quantitative work he’ll encounter at HBS.

Here’s a little chart from the original post:

Check out our GMAT 101 Page for great advice and info!

While this data may cause some of you quant jocks to jump to the conclusion that HBS really prefers the GMAT, remember the preface: “Don’t over-crunch.” If you only look at the stats in the table, you may conclude that GMAT takers have a slightly higher acceptance rate and that the GMAT is “preferred.” However that increased rate is probably more reflective of the make-up of GMAT-takers versus GRE-takers. People in the business world who are only pursuing an MBA (and not other degrees) are more likely to take the GMAT. It’s possible that applicants with weaker scores may lean toward the GRE or applicants with liberal arts backgrounds (and weaker quant skills) may have already taken the GRE. Hence the lower acceptance rate may not reflect any preference on Harvard’s part, but more a preference in the applicant pool.

Last point: HBS applicants need to choose to submit either the GRE or GMAT – and not both.

For more info, see the original post.

Applying to Harvard Business School? Check out our HBS 2015 application tips!

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Related Resources:

• GMAT, GRE, SAT, and All Things Test Prep
• That GMAT Score: Implications for Your MBA Application, a free webinar.
• Harvard Business School Zone

Top 10 Most Expensive Private Business Schools in the U.S.

In 2013-2014, b-school prices at private, elite business schools in the U.S. increased about $3,000 since the previous academic year. The average tuition for these 10 costly programs is almost $13,000 more than the average tuition of all ranked programs.

By contrast, one of the least expensive schools (not listed below) is Brigham Young’s Marriott School of Management with tuition and fees at $22,560 (and only $11,280 for students of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints faith).

Check out our B-School Zones to learn more about the top MBA programs!

Source: U.S. News “The Short List”

Check out our free webinar: How to Pay for Your MBA

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Related Resources:

• Which B-Schools Offer the Most Scholarships?
• CommonBond’s Story: A Revolution in Student Loans
• MBA Scholarships: How Do I Apply and What Should I Emphasize?

Snag Your Harvard Business School Class of 2017 Seat

If you’re aiming to attend Harvard Business School or another top 10 MBA program in 2015, then you’ll want to view our most recent webinar, Get Accepted to Harvard Business School.

In her presentation, Linda Abraham, CEO & Founder of Accepted.com, offers loads of advice on how to gain a competitive edge to a top b-school in general, and Harvard Business School in particular.

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View Get Accepted to Harvard Business School on-demand now!

Watch 'Get Accepted to Harvard Business School'!

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Top MBA Programs Using Shared Letter of Recommendation Questions

Looking for application essay tips? Click here!

A Shared LOR = Good News for Applicants, Recommenders, and B-Schools

The number of top-ranked MBA programs now asking the exact same questions for the letters of recommendation is growing, which is good news both for recommenders and for candidates. LORs are very important to an applicant’s case, providing an objective assessment from a supervisor, former manager, or other professional that helps affirm (or not) what the applicant has stated about her own skills, traits and abilities. But different questions with different word limits were onerous for both applicants, who had to ask the same people to write varying assessments for their multiple applications, as well as the recommenders.

This year, Harvard, Darden, Yale, Stanford, Columbia and Wharton are asking these questions:

 • How do the candidate’s performance, potential, or personal qualities compare to those of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? Please provide specific examples. 

 • Please describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response.

Harvard, Wharton, and Yale have word limits for both questions, though the other programs do not. Not all schools had released their LOR questions for the 2015 application season as of this writing, so this list is not comprehensive, and other schools may be added to the list. Stanford has a helpful link to a transcript of a podcast on what elements make for successful and effective LORs. This advice is certainly applicable to LORs for any other MBA program as well.

Some schools also ask recommenders to fill out a personal qualities and skills grid form, evaluating applicants in a variety of areas. Currently, there is no unity among the schools on the use of a grid, so carefully check each school’s requirements.

Graduate school admissions consultants have lobbied to streamline this LOR process for years, and this convergence around shared questions is a direct outgrowth of those efforts. Last year, at the annual conference of the Association of International Graduate School Consultants (AIGAC), the topic of LORs became unexpectedly lively, with school admissions directors expressing concern over the integrity of what they were reading in LORs, and AIGAC members arguing that using shared questions would enhance the integrity of the process because it would take pressure off both applicant and recommender.

Anna Ivey, president of AIGAC, is pleased with the development of more schools converging around shared LOR questions. “Applicants have for years found themselves in quite a pickle because they have had to dump so much work on their recommenders. In some cases, their recommenders have had to write more words than the applicants do in their essays. That has created all kinds of distortions, despite good intentions.

“As AIGAC’s MBA Applicant Survey has shown since its inception, a sizable minority of recommenders ask applicants to write their own letters, and we suspect that’s because there’s only so much bandwidth they can dedicate to someone else’s application, let alone for multiple people for whom they might be writing letters. That multiplier effect makes for a daunting amount of work. Any convergence around common recommendation questions not only makes the application process easier for applicants and their recommenders, but also helps preserve the integrity of those recommendations and the application process. Cutting down on the duplication and extra work for recommenders will make it more likely that recommenders write their letters themselves, and that’s a great outcome.”

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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.