Archive for the 'International MBA' Category

Mar 03 2011

Profile Image of Avi Gordon

To be, or not to be, an MBA applicant in Round Three?

As readers of this blog site and its wider resources will know, I most value information from the horse’s mouth. When it comes to admissions, if this or that “expert” says it, it’s like-yeah-whatever; if an elite Adcom says it, it’s worth listening to.

We are in round 3 of the class-of-2013 MBA admissions cycle. On the current topical question of should you or shouldn’t you waste your time and money on R3 apps, here’s what the HBS Admissions Director has to say:

“As the Class of 2013 application season rounds the corner toward the finish line, you may be asking yourself whether it’s worth your time and money to submit an application. Is it too much of a long shot?

“You may be surprised to learn that we ask ourselves the same question every year. Should there even be a round 3? Why can’t we just wrap the class up in two rounds? Answer: even though we could – we always conclude that we like Round 3 enough to keep it as an option.

“Although we have admitted about 90% of the class by this time, we always – ALWAYS – see enough interesting Round 3 applicants to want to do it again.

“I know you wish I could define “interesting” with pinpoint accuracy but I can’t. Sometimes it’s work experience, sometimes it’s an undergraduate school we wish we had more students from, sometimes it’s a compelling recommendation and sometimes it’s just ‘something’.

“I will say that it’s always that we have absolutely no doubts about a candidate’s leadership talent, character or academic capabilities – the same hurdle we have for the earlier rounds…

“Don’t apply to HBS in Round 3 if:

  • You are an international candidate and have serious concerns about the likelihood of getting a visa in a timely manner.
  • You really want to come in September, 2012 and are hoping to be granted a postponement.
  • You are counting on getting on-campus housing.
  • You are using this as a “trial” application and are hoping for feedback on this application to increase your chances of success next year.”

Postscript: You may say, “what do they have to lose? – of course they would advise me to apply anytime!” and you’d be right there. Round 1 and Round 2 remain undoubtedly a better time to apply to most elite MBA programs, including the Harvard MBA. But if you’re faced with the reality of R3, and you’re objectively special for one reason or another, it’s you vs. the waitlist — so the door is not yet closed.

No responses yet

Jan 12 2011

Profile Image of Avi Gordon

Top-3? Top-6? Among elite MBAs does it really matter where you go?

I found myself following a discussion on the Businessweek “Getting into B-School” forum. The thread is headed: “Does rank really matter among top 6?”

I select extracts to present here because the comments — before they descend into the flaming and slanging that bedevils these forums — deal with important (and corrective) thinking about what matters with rankings, and to whom, and helps understand how US program rankings are perceived internationally too. It finishes with common sense that I endorse.

Original question: “Does rank really matter among Top Business schools? With my European point of view, I consider that there are only 6 Top Schools (in descending order): HBS, Stanford, Wharton, Columbia, Booth and Kellogg. Actually, I don’t really care about rankings here: my only criteria is prestige (which in my view is the only thing you can’t ignore when applying to business schools). In Europe, these schools are famous: if you say Stanford or Columbia, everybody knows what you’re talking about. [But]If you say Tuck business school (at random), very few people will have heard of it regardless of the quality of the school.

“So my question is: among this prestigious top, does is REALLY matter if you go to one or another? On this forum we can often read that if you go to HBS it is infinitely better that if you go to Wharton but Wharton will change your life so much more than Kellogg, and so on and so forth.”

Response: “In France [among] 100 person taken randomly in the street and educated in France, 100 will know about HEC, 90 about Harvard, 3 to 5 about Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, Columbia and 10 maybe will know about INSEAD. But I would say that 90 will know about Yale, Princeton, 100 about Oxford, Cambridge.”

Response: “As a Frenchman I feel the need to throw in my 2 cents on this one. INSEAD is hands down the strongest MBA brand in France. Does every random person on the street necessarily know the name? No, but who cares? The employers do.”

Response: “I would like also to add that the education at the top business institutions is quite the same. I highly doubt that you will learn better investment management in Chicago or Wharton than in Yale, Haas or Fuqua. If you visit those schools, you might get surprised by the background of the faculty. You might take a class at Berkeley taught by a Yale alumni or even receive Michael Porter at Tuck.”

Response: “Although I agree with the notion that the value of an MBA drops as the ranking drops, I do not agree that there is a substantial difference between similarly ranked programs. Every objective metric I can think of (starting salary, quality of recruiting companies, average salary of graduates after 20 years etc.) clusters most top 15 programs closely together. The main exception seem to be HBS and Stanford. Another objective metric are the GMAT and the GPA. Those two metrics are hardly distinguishable in the top 15 programs, including HBS and Stanford.”

Original: “I’ve reached my conclusion I believe: go where you think you belong regardless of what people say/think. I chose to apply to Wharton and CBS finally even if i totally agree HBS/GSB are more famous and Booth/Kellogg are great schools simply because i think it will teach me what i want to learn in my specific field…And education among them is NOT that different, apart from some specialties that should ultimately lead your choice.”

No responses yet

Jul 23 2010

Profile Image of Avi Gordon

‘Ivy League East’ MBAs unite to brand themselves as ‘Top 4 Asia B-schools’

Many industries have seen a shift from the US / Europe to Asia, yet, somehow, education has been one of the slowest sectors to make this transition. Certainly at the elite level there has always been, and remains, a significant migration westward to attend brand-name universities. Institutions such as Harvard and Oxford have unbelievable prestige across the Orient and this is not going away any time soon.

But there are straws in the wind, and the wind is blowing the other way.

As an admissions advisor I’ve started to hear Americans and Germans and Canadians and Italian nationals saying this kind of thing: “My target schools are Harvard, MIT, LBS, and HKUST, and Nanyank.”

top 4 asia mba Ivy League East MBAs unite to brand themselves as Top 4 Asia B schools

Now four Asian schools have gotten themselves together under the banner “Top 4 Asia B-Schools” to solicit applicants from North America and Europe. The Top 4 are the Indian School of Business (ISB), Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST), China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), and Nanyang Technological University (NTU, Singapore). The programs are all well-ranked, all accredited by AACSB (US) or EQUIS (Europe) or both, and feature prominent Western faculty.

The admissions implications: First, none of these schools are easy to get into. Part of their growing exclusiveness, part of reaching the top-tier and staying there, is having admissions policies that turn away similar percentages as those dinged by top US / EU schools (about 85% on average.) So there won’t be any “gimmee’s”. But, having said that, the Asian programs are very keen to balance their intake between East and West, so for now a foreigner stands a much greater chance of admissions than a local, all other things being equal.

Second, these four (and other) Asian schools are going to grow further in prestige. This is similar to what I said about the new Johns Hopkins Carey School MBA here. Look ahead and realize that while CEIBS et al does not sound as good as UCLA now, during the span of your career it no doubt will, and the MBA branding, alumni network etc., will be just a strong.

Footnote: According to the CEIBS site, teams from the Top 4 Asia B-schools will attend QS MBA fairs this fall as a group. The dates are:

North America
• Los Angeles: September 11th, Wilshire Grand Los Angeles
• San Francisco: September 12th, The Fairmont San Francisco
• Toronto: September 19th, Metro Toronto Convention Centre
• New York: September 25th, Hilton New York

• Paris: October 9th, Palais des Congres
• London: October 23rd, QEII Conference Centre
• Madrid: October 26th, Husa Princesa

No responses yet

May 31 2010

Profile Image of Avi Gordon

Look ahead and count the Carey School among the top-10 MBA programs

The Carey School? Never heard of it? It is Johns Hopkins University’s school of business, as renamed in 2006 when the university received a $50 million endowment from banker William Polk Carey.

It’s well known that JHU has been a bit of an oddity — a top-tier university with relatively little offering in business management. It has had a part-time program available at its Washington, D.C., campus, but nothing that attracted serious attention. Now that’s all changed. As reported in BusinessWeek, Johns Hopkins University is launching a new MBA program in August, in Baltimore, and it intends to become one of the world’s best.

The admissions implications are this: for a while — a few years — Carey will be relatively easy to get into. It will quickly move up the ranking based on the stellar JHU brand (it is particularly renown medical and public health schools) and soon will be as hard to gain admission as at any top program. If you’re prepared to think a little creatively, and move quickly, you can have a top-tier MBA ticket even if you’re likely to face a lot of dings from the established schools.

As BW reports, the Carey School is seeking to distinguish itself by designing a curriculum that will capitalize on Johns Hopkins’ strength in medicine and public health, have a focus on emerging markets and ethics, and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship.

Yes, there will be challenges. As a prospective student you should be aware that the Carey alumni network will be nascent at best, and career services won’t have a lot of clout in the market. The school’s inaugural dean, Yash Gupta, is busy recruiting top faculty and still working on AACSB accreditation, and this could all fail. But, brand capital in the bank says chances are it will succeed. And, as with Oxford-Said and Cambridge-Judge in the early days, top-tier admissions is currently there to be had even if you’re a long-shot applicant.

One response so far

Feb 22 2010

Profile Image of Avi Gordon

An MBA application journey, from GMAT prep to acceptance

Today I thought I’d share the extended journey of an MBA Studio client, as reported here and here. Not only is it a worthy and heartwarming success story in which I’m most gratified to have been able to play a part — helping this applicant with a 640 GMAT get into a top European school — but it is also instructive as to the ups and downs of elite MBA applications…

“Hard work certainly goes a long way. These days a lot of people work hard, so you have to make sure you work even harder and really dedicate yourself to what you are doing and setting out to achieve.” — Lakshmi Mittal

“The above quote by the great Mittal is really my matra and this is what i believed in when i started on this journey. There were a great deal of challenges and difficulties that i faced but what kept me going was the ultimate goal! MBA is what i wanted to do, this would take me to my destination and i wanted to give in my 100 percent to get there!

“I started this blog back in February, 2009 and at that time I had no idea what was ahead of me. I still remember my first post on 9th February 2009. That was the day when I first laid my hands on the “Official Guide for GMAT Review”. That was the day I promised myself that I’ll put in my sole(sic) into the GMAT preparation and give-in my best shot towards my business school application.

“So without further ado here is a timeline representation of some of the important events that followed that day:

Feb 9, 2009 – I prepared a GMAT gameplan – a time table of how I’ll be taking on the GMAT. Ordered 5 books and dowloaded the beatthegmat flashcards by Eric. More Info
Feb 18, 2009 – Took my first Diagnostic test from the official guide. Did pretty well!
Mar 2, 2009 – Took my first GMAT CAT (GMATPrep 1 downloaded from – didn’t go well.
Mar 16, 2009 – Took my first Manhattan GMAT CAT
Apr 1, 2009 – Found out about GMAT Focus – that was a true gem!
Apr 20, 2009 - My first 700 score in a practice test!
Apr 22, 2009 – Influenced by all the GMAT gurus in the Beatthegmat community, I started an Error Log to record all my errors and started going throu’ them once every 2 days along with the flash cards.
May 1, 2009 – A very anxious day indeed with GMAT in 24hrs!
May 2, 2009 – GMAT Day (Attempt 1) – scored a 640 (Q44 V34). Was disappointed with the score and decided to re-take.
May 4, 2009 – Back on with preparation! Analyzed what went wrong and tried to come up with solutions. (You can read about it here)
May 7, 2009 – Scheduled my GMAT (attempt 2) for 19th June.
June 1 to June 8, 2009 – Took 4 practice CATs and averaged around 720! It was a real moral boost.
June 19, 2009 – One of the worst days of my journey – GMAT attempt 2 – 620!! Herez some realization.
June 24, 2009 – Back in the game for another attempt. This was the first time i met Charles – the best tutor in NYC.
July, 2009 – Rigorous practice. And this time with tougher materials such as LSAT critical reasoning book, GMAT Focus, and others. (More info)
August 8, 2009 – Realized something – I’m a horrible standardized test taker. GMAT (Attempt 3) – 640, Again! (More Info) I decided to stop wasting any more time on GMAT started the b-school hunt with my 640!
August 9 to 11, 2009 – Prepared a list of parameters that would help me select 6-7 b-schools that i’ll apply to. Shortlisted a few schools in Asia and Europe. (More Info)
August 15, 2009 – Prepared an outline for essays. First stop – INSEAD! Quite a bold move eh! icon smile An MBA application journey, from GMAT prep to acceptance
August 24, 2009 – INSEAD essays first draft – ready!
Sep 1 to 24, 2009 – went over 4 more drafts of INSEAD essays.
Sep 28, 2009 – After 6 drafts of essays, finally submitted my INSEAD application.
Sep 29, 2009 – Submitted my application to University of Hong Kong (I still haven’t heard back from them icon smile An MBA application journey, from GMAT prep to acceptance )
Oct 4, 2009 – ESADE Application submitted – after 3 drafts of essays!
Oct 6 to12, 2009 – IESE essays – done with my 3rd draft of essays.
Oct 15, 2009 – ESADE invited me to interview – this was one of my happiest moments since it was my first interview invite!!
Oct 23, 2009 – IESE Application submitted.
Oct 26, 2009 – IESE Invites me to interview within 3 days – That was the fastest response i’ve got.
Nov 1 to 20, 2009Interview preparation along with NUS Business school application essays.
Nov 5, 2009 – INSEAD dings! I kinda expected that.
Nov 13, 2009 – NUS Application submitted.
Nov 22, 2009 – ESADE Admissions interview (face to face with adcom). I still remember that day. It went amazingly well and I was quite confident on making it.
Nov 23, 2009 – IESE Interview – My longest interview but was a fantastic experience with a super friendly adcom!
Nov 25, 2009 – IESE Waitlists me and invited me to an Assessment Day on Jan 31st! It was a 2 months wait!
Nov 27, 2009 – ESADE dings me! I was totally shattered. I still have no idea why but now i understand that there is someone up there who controls your reins. Everything happens for the best!!
Dec 4 to 10, 2009 – HKUST application essays – draft 1,2 and 3.
Dec 12, 2009 – HKUST Application submitted.
Dec 15 to 31, 2009 – The dreadful WAIT!
Jan 1 to 15, 2010 – Applied to Tsinghua University in China, Interviewed and Waitlisted icon sad An MBA application journey, from GMAT prep to acceptance
Jan 29, 2010 – Two days before the big event – IESE Assessment day, I get dinged by HKUST!
Jan 30, 2010 – IESE Case presentation – Sample class by Prof. Mike Rosenberg from IESE B-school.
Jan 31, 2010 – IESE Assessment day – A fantastic experience interacting with 30 brilliant applicants from over 15 countries. A whole day of team activities.
Feb 1 to 10, 2010 – Waited impatiently for the IESE results!
Feb 11, 2010 – The day my dream came true – Got accepted to IESE Business school!

“Like World cup is to soccer, Wimbledon is to Tennis, an acceptance is to an applicant blog. I waited 12 months for such a post and I can’t be happier. I couldn’t have done any of this without the love, support, and encouragement of my parents and my girl friend. I would like to dedicate this admission to them. Amma, Appa and Vrush – this one is for you!

“I also want to thank many people who have played an important part in my journey:

Eric Bahn for Beatthegmat
Charles Bibilos - my tutor
Rocky for all the support
Avi Gordon - MBA Studio and his wonderful book.
Richard Montauk, for his book
All the GMAT Gurus at Beatthegmat
ClearAdmit and Accepted for their amazing resources
The entire MBA blogging community
All my readers for their constant support and encouragement.
Alumni and Students of IESE
Nick Vujicic for inspiring me when i was low. (Check this out)
Guy Kawasaki for sharing his knowledge and teaching me a lot.

“My apologies for making this post so long. If there is one take-away from my MBA application journey (apart from persistence) that I’d cherish life long is this acquired addiction of Blogging. So I’ll be back here soon with another post. Till then, hang in there and have fun! Muchas Gracias!”

One response so far

Jun 08 2009

Profile Image of Avi Gordon

Adcom members’ backgrounds and personalities – who are they really?

As an MBA applicant one of the things to get straight is who you are talking to, in general, when you write your essays. This doesn’t mean you should be looking to target or “game” your essays in a narrow sense. But getting your head around who is on the other end is a crucial part of your role in creating effective communication and therein getting admitted.

I was struck by this introduction to a Business Week interview with UCLA Anderson director of MBA admissions, Mae Jennifer Shores. [The full text of the interview is here: UCLA Anderson: Admissions Q&A – BusinessWeek.]

“The assistant dean and director of MBA Admissions at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, says she ended up an admissions officer the way most people do—unintentionally. She went to Russia to teach public policy, but was assigned to teach negotiations at a business school at the last minute. After two years, she wanted to continue her Eastern European stay and almost took a job teaching in Kazakhstan. Her graduate school loans, however, forced her back to the U.S. There, Shores’ international and business-school experience eventually led her into the admissions department at Anderson.”

Every admissions officer is different of course. But what they have in common is, well, it is unlikely that a person plans and studies for this career. Most come to it “sideways.” They typically have broad interests, are people-focused, and are good communicators. They have lived life in more than one industry and often more than one country. They are generally not business trained, although many have some background in HR or marketing.

This makes the MBA applicant essay writer’s job harder and easier. It’s easier to engage an interesting person. Almost anything topic you raise will be “valid” for them. But it’s harder if all your stories are highly technical, or closely work-oriented. If your life experience or perspective is limited, and so your ability to reflect deeply and persuasively on your life and career path is therefore also limited, you’re not going to fool the likes of Mae Jennifer Shores.

No responses yet

May 08 2009

Profile Image of Avi Gordon

Some great interview advice between the lines in “Harvard is my hump”

There’s a heartwarming story in today’s Philippine Star ( by Gina Valerie Chua, who tells the story of her March HBS interview and April admission to Harvard. See the full story at this link.

Other than the feel good factor, for admissions purposes there are two takeaways. First is she beat out many apparently better candidates – as she puts it: “those NASA astronauts and genetic scientists who are dreaming of the exact same thing.” She says: “Only 900 applicants are admitted out of 10,000 from all over the world: investment bankers, UN diplomats, cancer-curing surgeons — and little old me somehow found my way through.”

I’m sure she is being modest about her own competitive profile, but the point remains. You don’t need to be a superstar. You just need to be competitive and apply well.

The second takeaway concerns reflections on the HBS interview.

Says Chua: “I remember my interview. They asked me why I insist on writing despite my career in investment banking, an anomaly in this world of perfectly drawn certainties. What I told them is the very reason you are reading this now: I wish to write about possibility. Whether we are meant to find it at home or some 9,000 miles away, there is a world waiting for us, waiting for our courage and our lack of self-restriction. We cannot help but be creators — of books, skyscrapers, wars or dynasties — and the best of who we are can only be found in the hope they leave behind.”

Idealistic waffle wouldn’t you say? Puke? Well, that’s the point. For better or worse most Adcoms like idealism. Harvard perhaps more than most. They don’t want naivete, but they do like world-changing visions. If you are not something of a dreamer at 25, you’ll never be, and they are not looking to put the HBS brand on (more) money-grabbing cynics.

And, reassuringly, they don’t penalize anomalies, nor seek a world of perfect certainties. Be yourself.

No responses yet

Apr 21 2009

Profile Image of Avi Gordon

The “World MBA Tour” MBA essay advice session transcript

Getting previous MBA Studio resources up on the blog site, where they can be permalinked, so here is the transcript of a World MBA Tour online admissions essay advice service, where Avi appeared “live” as expert essay advisor. The text is “as was,” verbatim.

world mba tour The World MBA Tour MBA essay advice session transcriptMBA Studio Says
Hi, welcome to the Forum on MBA Admissions Essays. We’ll get started right away. I’ll answer as fast as I can …

Question asked by Brenda Sun
Hi. I’d like to know what the adcomm focuses the most in the MBA essays- The good writing style, the touching stories, or the logical reasoning behind. Does it need to be concise or detailed with strong supporting?

Answered by MBA Studio
What does adcom focus on the most — good writing style, the touching stories, or the logical reasoning behind – actually none of these three specifically. Style is important, but just so you can be clear enough. Touching stories bring your argument to life. Logical reasoning helps to build your argument. The most important thing is the argument – why you are an excellent candidate, what you contribute, why you fit with the school and the program. Everything follows from that.

Question asked by Graeme Lockwood
Hi, I am now writing my essays for London Business School MBA. there are 2 questions I am not sure how to tackle . What well known historical event would you have liked to have been involved in and why? (500 words) First, I don’t know what the adcom tries to know from this essay and I am not sure what kind of events I can talk about. Also, I think that expressing some opinions may be risky. On the basis of your experience of working in and leading teams (either in your professional or personal life), please reflect on how you plan to contribute to your study group and the wider school community. (500 words) In this question, I want to be sure of the kind of contributions that can be made to the school community.

Answered by MBA Studio
I’ll take these one by one. First, “What well known historical event would you have liked to have been involved in and why?” This is one of the classic types of question (The question “archetypes” — as I’ve defined in my book) This question wants to get to know more about you as a person — what’s important to you, and why. The trick is to pick something that is in itself valid and significant, but also allows you to make one of your theme points.

MBA Studio Says:
As to the second part of the question: they are asking you plain as daylight “plan to contribute to your study group and the wider school community” Tell them. Never mind what you think they want you to contribute. As long as it’s a valid contribution and you can credibly make it, they want it. What they want is diversity of contributions, not one thing.

Question asked by shruti singh
How to write a good essay in MBA application

Answered by MBA Studio
Wow, you’ll have to focus this a bit for me icon smile The World MBA Tour MBA essay advice session transcript I have written a whole book on this … which part of the essay process would you like me to address?

Question asked by Alexander Sorge
HI Avi, nice to meet you! I´m new here! I found this TOP MBA Forum very helpful and would like to join Forum members. The problem is that I´m a Spanish native speaker interested in Chinese Culture.. to request the scholarship from Taiwan requires an appealing essay, writing an essay is a very hard-job!. what shall I probably write that possible works to get the Taiwan scholarship. Or what should never mention when writing an essay.

Answered by MBA Studio
Hi Alexander, again you’ll have to focus the question, or tell me more about yourself. Try to figure out what type of candidate gets the scholarship and emphasize your overlap with that kind of candidate.
What never to mention in an essay …? Never apologise, never denigrate yourself. If you’ve messed up at something, say so. Say what you learned, and move on to the positive

Question asked by Verma Vertika
Dear Avi, As an international student and a person who is not good at writing, I want to know whether it is a big problem. Now facing the essay topics, I think I have some good ideas. But to convey them effectively and beautifully is not my strong point. Compared to some essays I have read, I feel very worried and ashamed with my writing. What should I do now? I want to give an example of what I mean here: When telling about getting out of shyness, someone who is good at writing may write “I no longer wanted to hide under the shell of a lethargic tortoise, or act as a pariah”, a sentence which seems impossible to come to my mind!

Answered by MBA Studio
Schools “get it” that applicants come with different English writing levels. It’s business school, not literature school. So all you have to do is be clear. You don’t have to have beautiful prose, or literary allusions to tortoises etc. Having said that, clarity is very very hard, as you can see by all the turgid writing all around. What I do when I help candidates with their essays and application strategy, is I help them clarify their ideas. Why are they a valuable candidate? Why does what they bring fit with the school? What are their career goals and why do they need an MBA to fulfil them? If you have a clear mind you writing will be good (or good enough.)

Question asked by Verma Vertika
Sorry Avi, let me ask one more question. Some colleges ask us to write extra essays. One of the most common topics is why we choose it (a college). We are international students, although we have try to find as much information about the college as possible, we don’t have any chance to visit the college or see things in real life. That is the reason this kind of essay is difficult. We can’t tell with all our heart! How could we make our essay effective?

Answered by MBA Studio
No problem Verma, ask away. In this question, are you asking me about the extra essay “If you want the committee to know anything and you have not had a chance to say it, say it here” … or by college do you mean the business school? They do want to know what you know what you know about their school because, for them, it’s about the FIT between you and them. If you don’t know what they are about, you can’t explain the fit. You don’t need to visit the school (it does help) but if you can’t do your best to speak to people who are there, or from there. One great way is to phone or email current students — expecially the heads of clubs and societies you are interesed in– and ask them any/all questions you like.

Question asked by DongDong Cui
Hello Avi, I am done with tests (GRE and TOEFL) and now the final thing I need to prepare is a dreaded admission essay (I need to write two, in fact) I am applying to M.Sc. program in Business Administration (Management Information Systems) and one of the questions for the essay is as follows: Describe two events in your life to date that demonstrate your ability to do well in business. I am puzzled by the word “event” in this question. I am really not sure what to write about because I can’t think of any single event to demonstrate my business abilities. I participated in several important projects and advanced quickly from one position to another at my last job but I can not call it “an event” as it was prolonged in time. Maybe you could help me to think of an idea of event that could demonstrate someone’s ability to do well in business. Something fictions is fine, I just need to understand what kind of event it could be. Many thanks for you advice

Answered by MBA Studio
Ha ha I like it “dreaded admissions essay”! And I do them for a living icon smile The World MBA Tour MBA essay advice session transcript (btw, I don’t write anyone’s essay for them) Anyway: Them asking for “events” is a way of focusing you on a story. Even if the demonstration of your business ability came as a part of a long process, there was probably some moment, some interaction, some turning point the brings the process to life and shows you off well. That’s your event. Giving that doesn’t mean you can’t also decribe the whole prolonged time as well. In terms of selecting your event, you’ll have to tell me more about you — either here or offline. I’m at

Question asked by Nikolas Pearson
Hello Avi! I have been asked to write an essay on post MBA career goals. I am not clear on how specific I should get. Also since I am interested in finance, should I talk only about finance about the MBA experience as well?

Answered by MBA Studio
Hi Nikolas, be as specific as possible. Details are the golden highway to admission. (Most people give generalities, and therefore they all sound like each other.) If you give details you will sound like a guy who knows what he is about, and where he’s going. That’s the kind of person who gets in.
I’m not sure I understand the second part of you question — can you reframe it? One more point on goals: make them big and ambitious. If you have small life and career goals you don’t need an MBA.

Question asked by samuel li
Hi! As a part of a business school essay I have been asked to evaluate a situation and communicate my decision. I wanted to know if business schools expect the case study format i.e analysis, alternatives and then recommendations or if there is some other way of structuring it. Secondly in my case the decision can be either yes or no. So the only way make my case stronger would be to give support to my decision? Have I understood it correctly? Can you tell me where I could find sample studies? I’m interested in knowing how better I could structure my essay. Thanks a lot!

Answered by MBA Studio
Hi Samuel, Which school is this for? Generally, schools don’t want you to follow formula — and it won’t help you to do it, or to seek out samples that “do it right”. They want to see how you think, and evidence of your intelligence, education, and training. You format – analysis, alternatives, reco’s sound right, or right enough. The content will be more important than the form on this one. ps when you get to interviewing, if you interview with big consulting firms, they will have cases that need to be tackled in a highly codified way. But not for admissions

Question asked by william Lee
hi Avi, I have to write a cover letter for my application stating highlights of my objectives and qualifications for admission. Could you help with links or suggestions, Thanks in advance!

Answered by MBA Studio
Hi William, Is this MIT? A cover letter is a test to see if you can extract the salient points. (Senior managers need to be able to do this — executive summaries, etc.) It forces a clarity on you — you have to be able to reduce your argument for admission into a few paragraphs. That means you have to really understand what your argument is! Again clarity is the key. The scaffolding is “These are the three reasons I should be admitted to MIT … 1; 2; 3″ Then take away the scaffolding.

Question asked by Sana Tajammul
I have this question to fill out in an application for MBA at the university of Amsterdam? Now could you please provide a few hints on how I can assess self critically? Do I have to mention negative ideas in order to stress positive ones? or should I only list positive ideas? well I hope you can help me!

Answered by MBA Studio
Sana, what’s the question for Amsterdam? Generally, don’t put negative points unless they ask for them. If you mention negative things / characteristics, also say how you intend to fix them, or how B-school will help you fix them.

Question asked by Nazli Unsur
Hi Avi! I was reading up articles on the web about writing a personal statement and some of the websites suggest writing the SOP in third person while others say that its better to write it in first person so that the SOP doesn’t look too wordy….What would you suggest????? As this is one thing which can sometimes make or break my application I just want it to be THE BEST!! Thanks in advance.

Answered by MBA Studio
Nazli, You are right that the essays make or break the application: Why is that? Because there are always too many people with great scores, great work exp., and great refs. Essays are the tie-breaker between top applicants. As to the Statement of Purpose: always always always in the 1st person. You must be personal. Try to come across as if this is a “fireside” chat with the head of the admissions committee. You get 15 minutes to tell her why you should be admitted rather than the other excellent candidates who are also wanting in.

MBA Studio Says:
All right, I’ll take advantage of a break in the questions to try to summarize a few key points, valid for all competitive MBA applications.
1. You must have a clear “argument” as to why you are a worthy candidate and should be admitted.
2. Your argument will rest on a few key points or themes. While answering the questions you have to also clearly — over a number of essays — make your argument
3. Clarity is your friend. Don’t worry about being a literary buff. Just have an organized position and communicate it in an organized way.
4. Stories help you by bringing your theme points to life. Admissions readers are human — they read stories better than analysis.
5. Be personal. They want to get to know things about you that you can’t know from the Gmat, refs, transcripts etc. Essays must add value to what’s already in your file.

MBA Studio Says:
Okay, that’s the end of the hour — let’s wrap it up here. Thanks for participating. Any more questions. We’re at

No responses yet

SEO Powered by Platinum SEO from Techblissonline