All posts by Avi Gordon

FT reports on Anderson’s audio essay experience

FT.com / Business education – A word in your ear this week reports: “At the Anderson school at UCLA, applicants this year were asked to submit their essays in audio format. Although the scheme was voluntary, some 70 per cent of applicants for the class of 2011 chose to record their essays rather than submit them in a text format, says Mae Jennifer Shores, admissions director. …

“The audio clips have been useful on a number of fronts, says Ms Shores: they show how well the applicants can communicate, how well they have grasped the use of English and how they perform under pressure. Also they demonstrate how creative students can be: some added music – either commercially produced or self-generated.

“It also enabled some students to demonstrate a sense of humour. “It was a joy for us,” says Ms Shores…

“Ms Shores says the Anderson school may choose to make the audio clips compulsory next year, or alternatively it may consider using video clips instead.”

MBA Studio’s take on this:

(1) If given the option of audio or video – Take It! You don’t need to overly interpret “it was a joy for us,” to know what their preference is. Not doing it is almost a red flag.

(2) In the original article the FT reporter also suggests the audio essay is a way of nulliflying the effect of admissions consultants. That’s poor reporting. Consultants can just as easily help applicants with communication in any media.

Responsible admissions advisors advise and edit and coach, like any advisor in any field. MBA Studio, for one, would never cross the line and prepare a candidates submission for them whether written, audio, or video.


Best MBA blog awards 2008-09

Clear Admit has released its 2008-2009 MBA blog awards see here. It is a good guide to what’s out there, particularly from MBA students and current MBA applicants. There’s some great on-the-ground advice in there, and lots of shoulders to cry on. Good stuff!

Top 10 Applicant Blogs
1. TienyChesney – mbaveggie.blogspot.com
2. D.G. – www.managingmagic.com
3. Ahembeea – trystwithmba.wordpress.com
4. MissionMBA – missionmba.wordpress.com
5. Soni – sonismbaadventure.blogspot.com
6. PaloAltoForAwhile – paloaltoforawhile.blogspot.com
7. Choc Heaven – dreamer-choc.blogspot.com
8. Helen – lifelessordinary.typepad.com/my_weblog
9. Samantha – bestmbablogever.blogspot.com
10. OMGParisHilton – omgmbaapps.blogspot.com

Most Entertaining Applicant Blog
OMGParisHilton – omgmbaapps.blogspot.com

Best GMAT Preparation Advice
Soni – sonismbaadventure.blogspot.com

Best School Selection Advice
Alex – pinchthebubble.blogspot.com

Best Essay Advice (tie)
MissionMBA – missionmba.wordpress.com
The Teacher – pulyanithinks.blogspot.com

Best Interview Advice (tie)
ChocHeaven – dreamer-choc.blogspot.com & D.G. – www.managingmagic.com

Best Single Post by an Applicant
Ahembeea: MBA Applications – Lessons from the journey

Top Ten Student Blogs
1. MaybeMBA – tombaornot.blogspot.com
2. JulyDream – julydream.blogspot.com
3. Paragon2Pieces – paragon2pieces.blogspot.com
4. Hairtwirler – mbajamey.blogspot.com
5. Iday – i4iday.blogspot.com
6. TinyDancer – tinydancermba.blogspot.com
7. CS – www.computersexy.com/blog
8. Andrew – www.andrewmchoi.com
9. Mandy – mandylozano.blogspot.com
10. M@ – speedywithchicken.wordpress.com

Most Entertaining Student Blog
July Dream – julydream.blogspot.com

Best Resource for Applicants
Iday – i4iday.blogspot.com

Best Job/Internship Advice
MaybeMBA – tombaornot.blogspot.com

Best Representation of Academics
MaybeMBA

Best Representation of Student Life
MaybeMBA

Best Single Post by a Student
MaybeMBA had a number of posts recognized, but Farewell was particularly popular.

Some Harvard puffery, but good insight into what HBS looks for

Harvard Business School has a promotional video up at http://www.hbs.edu/mba/academics/

The video can also been seen here.

It’s an ad for HBS of course, highlighting its main point of distinction: the case method, which, according to HBS creates “special moments that pull everything we have learned into focus. When theory, practice, experience and talent all come to one sharp point — a decision.” And so on.

For the MBA admissions applicant this is a worthwhile watch for a few reasons

1. It is good insight into how b-schools work and think. It is good background on the culture and attitudes at play, including overall assumptions and ethics, and therefore what would be expected of the next class too.

2. It is good insight into the dynamics of the business school classroom, and the requirements of individual and group-based learning. The applicant positioned well to work in this way, is well positioned to be admitted.

3. It is good insight into the case method of teaching. HBS is “ground zero” of the case method, but actually almost every school uses cases to a significant degree, so it is useful for understanding all schools.

By the way, the case method has been under a bit of scrutiny, and voices have been raised that Harvard did not adequately prepare its graduates to assess risk / business failure (the credit crunch and fallout). See example stories in Forbes and Bloomberg News. But, to me it doesn’t look like HBS did worse than anywhere else …

Note also how HBS focuses on its distinctive marker – the case method – in branding and advertising itself. Same principles apply to MBA applicants.