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”

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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?

Stanford GSB Class of 2015 Profile

Here’s a glance at Stanford GSB’s class of 2015 (from Stanford’s website):

Get Accepted to Stanford Graduate School of Business! Click here to learn more!• Total applicants: 7,108
• Total new students: 406
 Women: 41%
 International students: 35%
 U.S. minorities: 21%
 Range of years of work experience: 0-12
 Average years of work experience: 4
 Average GMAT: 732
 Complete GMAT range (lowest and highest scores): 550-790 (note that there were no perfect scores)
 Advanced degree holders: 15%
 Undergraduate majors:

-  Business (14%)
-  Engineering, math, or natural sciences (35%)
-  Humanities or social sciences (51%)

 Industry experience:

Industry_Experience_StanfordGSB

Are you looking to join the next Stanford GSB class? Join us for our upcoming webinar, Get Accepted to Stanford Graduate School of Business, to learn key strategies to help you get accepted!

Date: Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Time: 10:00 AM PT/1:00 PM ET

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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.

How Can I Get Accepted to Stanford GSB?

Stanford GSB is the most competitive MBA program in the United States. Before you apply, make sure you really know what Stanford is looking for – and how to show the adcom that you’ve got it.

Looking for advice on how to write the Stanford application essays? Check out our Stanford GSB 2015 MBA Essay Tips!

If you have any questions please let us know.

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Stanford GSB 2015 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

Want to learn more about Stanford? Check out our Stanford GSB B-School Zone!Stanford cut its essays from 3 to 2, actually returning to the same two essays it asked for several years (or slight variations of them) before it increased the number of  essays for the 2007 entering class. 

The other change in these questions is that Stanford has done away here with the behavioral questions that it added for the applications for the classes entering in 2007 – 2013. It will be interesting to see if those types of questions show up as short answer questions within the application or if they are used a lot more in the Stanford interview. 

Stanford gives a lot of advice and guidance as to what it’s looking for in the essays. You should access that advice. My tips are in blue below. 

Stanford GSB 2015 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?

A strong response to this question will:

• Focus on the “why” rather than the “what.”
• Reflect the self-examination process you used to write your response.
• 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.
• Be written 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 attain them.

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 1,100 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: 650-850 words
      •   Essay B: 250-450 words

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 2015 MBA Application Deadlines:

Application Round  Submit Your Application By  Notification Date
Round 1 1 Oct 2014* 10 Dec 2014
Round 2 7 Jan 2015* 25 Mar 2015
Round 3 1 Apr 2015* 6 May 2015

* 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.