• Magoosh
    Magoosh
    Study with Magoosh GMAT prep

    Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

    MORE DETAILS
    Magoosh
  • PrepScholar GMAT
    5 Day FREE Trial
    Study Smarter, Not Harder

    Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

    MORE DETAILS
    PrepScholar GMAT
  • Economist Test Prep
    Free Trial & Practice Exam
    BEAT THE GMAT EXCLUSIVE

    Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

    MORE DETAILS
    Economist Test Prep
  • e-gmat Exclusive Offer
    Free Resources for GMAT Preparation
    Practice Questions, Videos & webinars

    Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

    MORE DETAILS
    e-gmat Exclusive Offer
  • EMPOWERgmat Slider
    1 Hour Free
    BEAT THE GMAT EXCLUSIVE

    Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

    MORE DETAILS
    EMPOWERgmat Slider
  • Kaplan Test Prep
    Free Practice Test & Review
    How would you score if you took the GMAT

    Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

    MORE DETAILS
    Kaplan Test Prep
  • Veritas Prep
    Free Veritas GMAT Class
    Experience Lesson 1 Live Free

    Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

    MORE DETAILS
    Veritas Prep
  • Target Test Prep
    5-Day Free Trial
    5-day free, full-access trial TTP Quant

    Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

    MORE DETAILS
    Target Test Prep

Ask MBA Apply

This topic has 121 member replies
Goto page Previous Next
ashman843 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
03 Sep 2012
Posted:
5 messages
Post Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:50 am
MBAApply wrote:
Where are you based - in the US or India?

Also, what kinds of jobs are you looking for post-MBA and which part of the world do you prefer to live/work post-MBA (US, India, Europe, other parts of Asia, etc. - and "no preference" is not an acceptable answer)
I'm based in India. Post MBA, I'd like to work in either the USA or Europe in the technology consulting space and eventually move on to start my own company in the same area.

Need free GMAT or MBA advice from an expert? Register for Beat The GMAT now and post your question in these forums!
MBAApply Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
28 Apr 2011
Posted:
203 messages
Followed by:
6 members
Thanked:
51 times
Post Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:29 am
ashman843 wrote:
MBAApply wrote:
Where are you based - in the US or India?

Also, what kinds of jobs are you looking for post-MBA and which part of the world do you prefer to live/work post-MBA (US, India, Europe, other parts of Asia, etc. - and "no preference" is not an acceptable answer)
I'm based in India. Post MBA, I'd like to work in either the USA or Europe in the technology consulting space and eventually move on to start my own company in the same area.
Focus on the following:

Stretch: Ross, Darden, Duke, UCLA

Sweet spot: Tepper, Texas, USC

These schools are in range for you, and should allow you to transition into tech consulting post-MBA given their reputation within technology and consulting.

_________________
Alex Chu
alex@mbaapply.com
www.mbaapply.com

Post Thu Sep 27, 2012 11:14 am
Hi

I am a female software developer from India, with 5 year work experience at microsoft.
My gmat score is 740.
I would like to pursue program management after my mba, would kellog and mit sloan be good colleges to apply with my profile. What are the other colleges that I can aim for?

MBAApply Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
28 Apr 2011
Posted:
203 messages
Followed by:
6 members
Thanked:
51 times
Post Mon Oct 01, 2012 6:52 pm
abstar246@gmail.com wrote:
Hi

I am a female software developer from India, with 5 year work experience at microsoft.
My gmat score is 740.
I would like to pursue program management after my mba, would kellog and mit sloan be good colleges to apply with my profile. What are the other colleges that I can aim for?
Program mgmt where? What kinds of companies? Which part of the world are you looking to live/work post-MBA? Are you currently working in the US at MSFT, or in India?

Also, it's Kellogg (not Kellog, Kellogs, Kelloggs, Kelog, etc.).

_________________
Alex Chu
alex@mbaapply.com
www.mbaapply.com

Post Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:32 pm
MBAApply wrote:
abstar246@gmail.com wrote:
Hi

I am a female software developer from India, with 5 year work experience at microsoft.
My gmat score is 740.
I would like to pursue program management after my mba, would kellog and mit sloan be good colleges to apply with my profile. What are the other colleges that I can aim for?
Program mgmt where? What kinds of companies? Which part of the world are you looking to live/work post-MBA? Are you currently working in the US at MSFT, or in India?

Also, it's Kellogg (not Kellog, Kellogs, Kelloggs, Kelog, etc.).
Hi Alex,

I would like to pursue program management in tech Companies like Microsoft, Cisco, Google.
I would like to live in the US after MBA; currently I am working in India.

Thanks

MBAApply Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
28 Apr 2011
Posted:
203 messages
Followed by:
6 members
Thanked:
51 times
Post Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:11 am
abstar246@gmail.com wrote:
MBAApply wrote:
abstar246@gmail.com wrote:
Hi

I am a female software developer from India, with 5 year work experience at microsoft.
My gmat score is 740.
I would like to pursue program management after my mba, would kellog and mit sloan be good colleges to apply with my profile. What are the other colleges that I can aim for?
Program mgmt where? What kinds of companies? Which part of the world are you looking to live/work post-MBA? Are you currently working in the US at MSFT, or in India?

Also, it's Kellogg (not Kellog, Kellogs, Kelloggs, Kelog, etc.).
Hi Alex,

I would like to pursue program management in tech Companies like Microsoft, Cisco, Google.
I would like to live in the US after MBA; currently I am working in India.

Thanks
Keep in mind that you're up against a LOT of other Indian engineers who are already working full-time in the US, and these folks will have a significant leg up on you because of that. As such, the top 16 schools are going to be a stretch for you.

Focus on top 30 schools like Texas, Tepper, USC, Purdue, Georgetown, Indiana, Emory, and UNC (choose 3-4: given your interests in tech, you can focus on Texas, Tepper and USC).

For your stretch schools, I'd focus on Ross, Darden and Duke. Schools in the top 8 such as Sloan, Kellogg, Booth, Columbia, Tuck and Haas are going to be long shots to be honest.

Again, given your career interests, you'll still be able to attain them without an issue by attending schools like Ross, Duke, Darden, Texas, Tepper and USC.

_________________
Alex Chu
alex@mbaapply.com
www.mbaapply.com

luckyagarwal Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
27 Dec 2011
Posted:
3 messages
Post Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:18 pm
Hi Alex,

I was wondering if you can help me shortlist the college based on my profile.

670 Quant 49 and Verbal 31 AWA 3.5 and IR 5

I will have a total work experience of 42 months by fall 2013 and I am currently in US for last 18 months.

I work at Accenture(IT) and did my under-graduation from Mumbai University in India with 74% (top 5%). I was actively involved in extra curricular activities during my graduation: Technical head of college,head of entrepreneurship cell. I would want to pursue a course in general management or consultancy.

Though I am not in direct managerial role but have a good hands on handling project delivery end to end and coordinating among different teams.I am in a direct client facing role and most of my job profile is to do consultation work for client in my related technology and then drive the project to its end both from technical as well as management perspective. I can list out numerous example where in I got to show the leadership skills and that has made a difference to the over all delivery of my company in a positive way. All my projects our client facing and I have regular Knowledge Transition and presentation for clients.

I was promoted with the top ranking among my peers and that is the reason I got the opportunity to be on an onsite role in the first year of my job after graduating which is unusual in our company.I have won awards for best performer among my peer groups.

With regards to my international experience. My role shifted from more technical to managing projects, handling client requirements, provide consultation for the technology I work in, Drive initiatives that makes the existing process efficient and handle end to end delivery and help bring in more work for my company. I was lucky enough to get the opportunities to show my leadership skill at and early stage in my career and have been doing so on regular basis. The driving factor for me be on an client facing role is I managed and delivered a particular project that was long due from our company. That project required to co-ordinate among various team and my work was highly appreciated both by client and our internal leadership. Since then I have delivered many projects.

During my stay here is US I have also enrolled in community services. There is a program called Meals on Wheels. We deliver food to old people. Active member of Corporate Citizen Group (CSR)

Also during my undergraduate course I received scholarship from JRD Tata trust based on my academic performance. I was Technical head for my college and represented college at National Tech Festivals.
I was also the co-founder of Entrepreneurship Cell in my college.

While in high school, I was awarded the Student of the Year award in my 10th Standard for my overall academic results and conduct in school.

The schools I have shortlisted are :

Kelley
Terry
Georgetown
Emory
Fisher
Tippie
Cox
Vanderbilt
Michigan State University(Broad)

Let me know if my choice of school is reasonable as per my Profile.

Thanks,
Lucky

MBAApply Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
28 Apr 2011
Posted:
203 messages
Followed by:
6 members
Thanked:
51 times
Post Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:46 am
luckyagarwal wrote:
Hi Alex,

I was wondering if you can help me shortlist the college based on my profile.

670 Quant 49 and Verbal 31 AWA 3.5 and IR 5

I will have a total work experience of 42 months by fall 2013 and I am currently in US for last 18 months.

I work at Accenture(IT) and did my under-graduation from Mumbai University in India with 74% (top 5%). I was actively involved in extra curricular activities during my graduation: Technical head of college,head of entrepreneurship cell. I would want to pursue a course in general management or consultancy.

Though I am not in direct managerial role but have a good hands on handling project delivery end to end and coordinating among different teams.I am in a direct client facing role and most of my job profile is to do consultation work for client in my related technology and then drive the project to its end both from technical as well as management perspective. I can list out numerous example where in I got to show the leadership skills and that has made a difference to the over all delivery of my company in a positive way. All my projects our client facing and I have regular Knowledge Transition and presentation for clients.

I was promoted with the top ranking among my peers and that is the reason I got the opportunity to be on an onsite role in the first year of my job after graduating which is unusual in our company.I have won awards for best performer among my peer groups.

With regards to my international experience. My role shifted from more technical to managing projects, handling client requirements, provide consultation for the technology I work in, Drive initiatives that makes the existing process efficient and handle end to end delivery and help bring in more work for my company. I was lucky enough to get the opportunities to show my leadership skill at and early stage in my career and have been doing so on regular basis. The driving factor for me be on an client facing role is I managed and delivered a particular project that was long due from our company. That project required to co-ordinate among various team and my work was highly appreciated both by client and our internal leadership. Since then I have delivered many projects.

During my stay here is US I have also enrolled in community services. There is a program called Meals on Wheels. We deliver food to old people. Active member of Corporate Citizen Group (CSR)

Also during my undergraduate course I received scholarship from JRD Tata trust based on my academic performance. I was Technical head for my college and represented college at National Tech Festivals.
I was also the co-founder of Entrepreneurship Cell in my college.

While in high school, I was awarded the Student of the Year award in my 10th Standard for my overall academic results and conduct in school.

The schools I have shortlisted are :

Kelley
Terry
Georgetown
Emory
Fisher
Tippie
Cox
Vanderbilt
Michigan State University(Broad)

Let me know if my choice of school is reasonable as per my Profile.

Thanks,
Lucky
Given your profile (solid Indian IT professional with a high 600s GMAT), I think you're targeting exactly the right range of schools. You should be able to get into at least a few of them.

Here's some extra incentive for you: if you retake the GMAT and score a 700+, you may want to look at adding 1-2 schools from the top 16 (Ross, Duke, Darden, Yale, Cornell, NYU or UCLA).

_________________
Alex Chu
alex@mbaapply.com
www.mbaapply.com

MBAApply Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
28 Apr 2011
Posted:
203 messages
Followed by:
6 members
Thanked:
51 times
Post Sat Nov 03, 2012 8:12 am
HOW TO APPROACH THE WHARTON GROUP INTERVIEW

As many of you are well aware, Wharton has implemented a group interview this year, which has caused some applicants a bit of stress - as it may seem to be a bit of a lab experiment.

The key principle to keep in mind with this kind of group interview is simple:

WE > ME

Don't go into it with a "lone wolf" mentality where you're supposed to stand out, or competing to be teacher's pet. The purpose of the interview after all to see how effective you are in a group discussion. And that means going in there with the mentality that you want the *the group* to succeed, and not just yourself. That is what the adcoms will pick up on.

_________________
Alex Chu
alex@mbaapply.com
www.mbaapply.com

salamander87 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
06 Nov 2012
Posted:
3 messages
Post Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:21 am
Hi Alex,

I am a Canadian Chartered Accountant (CA)-bound auditor with 3 years experience at Grant Thornton, with the professional designation to be awarded by the time of application. I have interned with the firm in the past and have specialized largely in the audits of start-up and smaller sized public companies in technology, natural resources and financial institution (funds, financing, securitization etc.) sectors. I will have been promoted twice by 2013, ahead of peers who have joined the firm at the same time as me, in recognition for my work evaluation ratings and internship experience at the firm, leading the aforementioned audit engagements for several clients listed on the Canadian and US stock exchanges.

Some work highlights:

- Extensive experience in working in smaller groups of teams in a project setting (typically 1-2 months long, 3 to 6 people on the team) with tight deadline and regulations
- Spearheaded some of the office's largest engagements as the in-charge auditor, dealing with complex accounting issues in different industries and dealing with drastic changes in cross-border regulations
- High work evaluation ratings from both periodic (i.e. annual) and project-specific reviews

Here is my academic profile:

Age: 24 (at application - 25 by matriculation), male

Undergraduate degree in mathematics from a top Canadian university
Master's degree in accounting from the same university (linked 5-year joint degree program)

GPA (undergrad): 3.93/4.00 (91%), with honours (equivalent to summa cum laude by US convention)
GPA (graduate): 3.90/4.00 (89%), with honours

GMAT: 740/97pct (50Q 41V 6AWA, all 92th percentile each)
*I slipped a little on the actual GMAT as my test scores consistently turned out around 760-770 (around 42-45 range for verbal), but to my understanding there is little implication due to such difference. If in your opinion such difference will matter, please let me know whether I should consider retaking the test.

Designations:
CA, external audit
CFA Level III student

Extracurricular involvement:

- Board member of the faculty's endowment fund for 2 years (Undergraduate student representative)
- University representative in several national competitions in corporate finance, venture capitalism and accounting, ranging between 1st and 3rd nationally
- Income tax return preparation volunteer for low income families in the past 5 years
- Walking tour guide of the city on a volunteer basis during the summer months

Target schools, in my opinion (from more stretch to reaching):

Wharton
Tuck
Booth
Kellogg
Columbia
Sloan
INSEAD

Also considering:

Yale
Haas
Stern
Ross
Fuqua

My biggest concern is whether I will be overshadowed by other "comparable professionals" in the financial services sector - i.e. the bankers and consultants, since there will certainly be a significant cohort of people applying to these schools from such backgrounds.

I plan on switching into either consulting or a corporate strategy role after obtaining my MBA.

Please advise on whether the above schools are reasonable targets from where I currently stand, and the kinds of improvement that in your opinion that I can focus on over the next year or so - I am also willing to delay for one additional year in application (i.e. applying at age 25 and matriculating at 26), if it will help increase my chances of being accepted.

MBAApply Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
28 Apr 2011
Posted:
203 messages
Followed by:
6 members
Thanked:
51 times
Post Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:39 am
salamander87 wrote:
Hi Alex,

I am a Canadian Chartered Accountant (CA)-bound auditor with 3 years experience at Grant Thornton, with the professional designation to be awarded by the time of application. I have interned with the firm in the past and have specialized largely in the audits of start-up and smaller sized public companies in technology, natural resources and financial institution (funds, financing, securitization etc.) sectors. I will have been promoted twice by 2013, ahead of peers who have joined the firm at the same time as me, in recognition for my work evaluation ratings and internship experience at the firm, leading the aforementioned audit engagements for several clients listed on the Canadian and US stock exchanges.

Some work highlights:

- Extensive experience in working in smaller groups of teams in a project setting (typically 1-2 months long, 3 to 6 people on the team) with tight deadline and regulations
- Spearheaded some of the office's largest engagements as the in-charge auditor, dealing with complex accounting issues in different industries and dealing with drastic changes in cross-border regulations
- High work evaluation ratings from both periodic (i.e. annual) and project-specific reviews

Here is my academic profile:

Age: 24 (at application - 25 by matriculation), male

Undergraduate degree in mathematics from a top Canadian university
Master's degree in accounting from the same university (linked 5-year joint degree program)

GPA (undergrad): 3.93/4.00 (91%), with honours (equivalent to summa cum laude by US convention)
GPA (graduate): 3.90/4.00 (89%), with honours

GMAT: 740/97pct (50Q 41V 6AWA, all 92th percentile each)
*I slipped a little on the actual GMAT as my test scores consistently turned out around 760-770 (around 42-45 range for verbal), but to my understanding there is little implication due to such difference. If in your opinion such difference will matter, please let me know whether I should consider retaking the test.

Designations:
CA, external audit
CFA Level III student

Extracurricular involvement:

- Board member of the faculty's endowment fund for 2 years (Undergraduate student representative)
- University representative in several national competitions in corporate finance, venture capitalism and accounting, ranging between 1st and 3rd nationally
- Income tax return preparation volunteer for low income families in the past 5 years
- Walking tour guide of the city on a volunteer basis during the summer months

Target schools, in my opinion (from more stretch to reaching):

Wharton
Tuck
Booth
Kellogg
Columbia
Sloan
INSEAD

Also considering:

Yale
Haas
Stern
Ross
Fuqua

My biggest concern is whether I will be overshadowed by other "comparable professionals" in the financial services sector - i.e. the bankers and consultants, since there will certainly be a significant cohort of people applying to these schools from such backgrounds.

I plan on switching into either consulting or a corporate strategy role after obtaining my MBA.

Please advise on whether the above schools are reasonable targets from where I currently stand, and the kinds of improvement that in your opinion that I can focus on over the next year or so - I am also willing to delay for one additional year in application (i.e. applying at age 25 and matriculating at 26), if it will help increase my chances of being accepted.
First of all, if you really want to go this year, then apply this year. You have enough work experience now that it's worth at least applying now. That way, you give yourself more opportunities to apply (this year and next year to reapply if necessary).

With that in mind, given your overall profile, here's what I suggest:

Stretch (choose 2-3 schools): Wharton, Tuck, Booth, Kellogg, Columbia, Sloan, INSEAD, LBS, Haas. These range of schools are going to be big stretches for you even with the strongest possible applications (and no, an even higher GMAT won't help you). Nothing wrong with you; it's just that you're up against more blue chip folks with IB/PE and top tier mgmt consulting backgrounds. Again, you have enough of an outside shot that they're worth at least applying to 2-3 of them, but you shouldn't focus exclusively on this tier.

Sweet spots (choose 3-4 schools): Yale, Stern, Ross, Fuqua, Darden, UCLA, Cornell. These are the range of schools that folks with your kind of background tend to have more success getting into, and therefore you should focus more of your efforts on this range, especially when mgmt consulting firms still recruit pretty extensively at these schools.

Safety schools will be top 30 US schools (Tepper, Texas, USC, UNC, Georgetown, Maryland, etc.) as well as the Canadian schools (Rotman, Ivey, Queen's), and Oxford/Cambridge.

_________________
Alex Chu
alex@mbaapply.com
www.mbaapply.com

MBAApply Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
28 Apr 2011
Posted:
203 messages
Followed by:
6 members
Thanked:
51 times
Post Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:44 am
SUGGESTED CHANGES TO THE MBA APPLICATION

Over the past eight years, I have been an admissions consultant, having reviewed thousands (if not tens of thousands?) of applicant profiles on various discussion forums as well as with clients who elect to sign up for my service.

And I know that some admissions committee members also read these boards as well as my blogs.

There have been gripes from admissions committee members that applicants are being "over coached" or that that it's more difficult for them to really get a sense for who the applicant is as a person (i.e. that the applicant's essays are inauthentic).

And there's a straightforward fix to that:

1. STOP ASKING THE WHY MBA/WHY NOW/GOALS QUESTION.

Theoretically, this may make sense. However, the reality is, everyone knows that b-schoolers don't know what they want to do. They are going to school to figure that out. Furthermore, having been an MBA student myself and know a lot of MBAs, having a strong narrative for this question has ZERO bearing on that person's caliber as an MBA student or in the recruiting process. In reality, we take it as it comes - it's not entirely in an applicant's control, because what job they take is as much a function of the job offers they get. That is why so many applicants trip up on this question because it forces them to make stuff up, or to be more specific than they really are about their goals.

Same with the "why MBA" - what are you adcoms hoping to get from this that won't sound cliche, boring, or simply just BS? And if they do say something truly original - it's likely gimmicky. There are only so many reasons why someone wants an MBA -- and the *real* reasons you don't want to hear are often personal ones: they are lonely at work and want to be around folks their own age; they want to find a soulmate; they want to re-live their college years, last chance to feel like a young student again before settling down post-MBA as a soon-to-be-married adult, etc. They feel stuck or bored in their careers and lives and want a change.

As for "why now?" - because they want to go... now! I want to go now because I hate my job. I want to go now because you adcoms don't like older candidates. And so forth. If you don't want applicants to bullsh*t you, then stop asking this question, because for 99% of the applicants who actually do get in - their responses to this essay was mostly BS or some standard issue narrative that doesn't really reveal their "authentic self." If adcoms don't bullsh*t answers, then stop asking questions like this.

Ironically, b-schools seem all about ethics these days, and yet, they ask a question that puts many applicants in a position to misrepresent themselves in order to "play along." Or they end up admitting the best bullsh*tters. Again, speaking from real experience as a b-school grad, the why MBA/goals narrative has ZERO to do with caliber, talent, or focus.

Thankfully, HBS and Sloan don't ask this anymore. It's about time other schools stop as well. It's a waste of time for everyone involved.

2. STOP ASKING THEM TO KISS YOUR ASS

Essays about "how will you fit into our culture" or questions about how the school's mission and values fit with the candidate's own history will naturally lend itself to plenty of ass kissing. It ends up being this BS story parroting the school's so-called values (give me a break... what's next - "mission statements" and "mantras"? Or "pillars"?).

I understand that adcoms want to identify candidates who may be a fit for a school. But you don't find that out by asking them directly to comment on your silly catchphrases that you call "values" or "culture," because you'll get plenty of empty platitudes and insincere compliments about how amazing the school is.

I mean, are the essays more about applicants telling the school how wonderful the school is, or is it more about finding out more about the applicant?

3. STOP ASKING ABOUT LEADERSHIP.

I know b-schools like to think they are training leaders, but come on, most people applying are in their mid-20s in junior positions at work. And even if they do volunteer somewhere outside of work, they aren't exactly General Patton. I know, there are different "models" of leadership or whatever linguistic gymnastics you use, but the fact is - you're dealing with YOUNG ADULTS. Or those in their 40s and above like to say - THEY ARE KIDS.

The more you push them to talk leadership, the more BS, embellishment and so forth you will get. Most of the incoming students don't have much *real* leadership experience simply because they're young and very early in their careers (and frankly they are *barely* adults). And whether they do or not at this point in their lives has little to do with the kind of leader they will be in their 40s should they be senior execs by then.

So cut this crap about leadership. It's pure BS, or you end up with students with their head up their ass talking about the kind of "leaders" they are (while they troll for undergrads at sorority parties on the weekends). These applicants are not CEOs. They are kids a few years out of college. Even those in their later 20s - they are still young in the grand scheme of things.

Asking b-school applicants about leadership is akin to asking high school kids about marriage. The overwhelming majority are not in a position to really know that firsthand, and that's okay. They very well could be amazing leaders later on, but there's no way of judging that right now because they are young, and they will not be the same people in their 40s.

4. ESSAYS SHOULD FOCUS ON WHO THEY ARE OUTSIDE OF WORK.

Thankfully, more schools now are doing this, but they could go further by getting rid of essays that deal with work entirely.

Why?

As an admissions consultant, I can predict reasonably accurately where people tend to get into based on a raw profile alone. And frankly, so can most adcoms. A resume, GMAT, GPA can pretty much tell you whether the applicant is even in range. I'm sure there are "diamonds in the rough" but even then you can probably spot that in their resume (i.e. they have something that makes them unique or intriguing).

You don't need to hear about yet another work project about how they worked in cross-functional teams and went above and beyond, led a group of people towards a common goal, blah blah blah. Again, you can pretty much get a gut feel for their career progress and overall caliber as a professional based on their resume (and a quick read through of their reference letters).

The essays should ideally focus on finding out who they are outside of work. It's not just about "extracurriculars", but about their personal backgrounds, what they love doing (even if it's a hobby), some important or formative moments in their lives.

By asking these questions, you will get the opportunity to really see the person behind the resume/profile -- and likewise, the applicant can write from a place of expertise - THEMSELVES. They are writing about their own personal history and what makes them tick, what their priorities are. You are then giving the applicants the opportunity to truly reveal more about who they are.

For example:

What are the three most joyous moments in your life thus far and why?

What have been the two lowest moments or biggest setbacks personally - how did you deal with it and what did you learn about yourself?

Aside from family, who or what is most important to you and why? (a version of "what matters most and why").

What personal experience in the last five years has changed you, and in what way?

What have you done or experienced in your personal life that you're most proud of?

If there was one moment that you could take back, what would it be and why?

What has been the biggest surprise (good or bad) in your life, and how has that surprise shaped who you are or your values?

And so forth. If schools want to build a class full of mature, thoughtful people with integrity and a sense of values, ask them to talk about who they are outside of work. The level of depth (or lack thereof) shown in these essays can be revealing. Adcoms can gain insight into who the applicant in ways that no resume can (but is a good complement to the resume, or "professional profile"). Also, asking them about their non-work self allows each applicant to reveal more of their personality, which gives the adcom a better sense of whether they are a fit for the school or not, because the applicant is *revealing* who they are (through the tone of their writing and what they are writing about), and not *telling* the adcom or parroting what they think the school's culture should be. It's about the applicant, and not about the school. A lot of the kinds of things adcoms are looking for (personality, team/people orientation, curiosity, exposure to different kinds of people, etc.) can be inferred or revealed in these kinds of essays in a more meaningful way.

Finally, adcoms hate jargon. Asking about non-work stories has a way of cutting out jargon entirely (because jargon is often used in work contexts).

5. CUT DOWN ON THE REC LETTER QUESTIONS

Some schools (Haas and Columbia in particular) ask way too many questions which often seem to be repetitive.

HBS, Stanford and Wharton are a good model to follow. 4-5 short questions is all you need. Maybe even 2-3: in what capacity do they know the applicant; what is their greatest strength or talent, and what is their weakness.

If you want rec letters written by the recommenders that are substantive, make it easy for them to do so. Cutting down on the question and/or even better - standardizing them so they are similar across all schools will ensure that recommenders can spend the quality time to be thoughtful, rather than rushing to submit 6-7 different rec letters for the 6-7 schools the applicant is applying to.

The written application and the essays in particular can still be useful -- so long as they are asking the kinds of essay questions that minimize BS in the first place.

_________________
Alex Chu
alex@mbaapply.com
www.mbaapply.com

ajun519 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
05 Feb 2013
Posted:
2 messages
Post Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:21 pm
Hey Alex,

I've been following your responses to fellow MBA prospects and I was very impressed with your assessments. I thought I'd reach out to see if you could give me a personal review. I am just starting my research and embarking on my MBA journey and I am targeting 2014 Fall admissions. Any insight will help!

Age: 25

Race: Korean-American

Additional Languages: Korean (full comprehension | limited read/write)

Undergrad: California State University

Major: BS Advertising

Minors: Graphic Design and Business Administration

GPA: 3.34

GMAT: Signed up for the Spring course at Manhattan GMAT (SF).

Practice tests: 600

Work Exp:

Internships Undergrad
Top Financial-Investment Firm: Marketing Intern
Local Advertising Agency: Marketing Intern
SF Advertising Agency: Lead Creative Intern
Local Ad agency full-time hire after graduation: Marketing Coordinator (10 months)
Top Video Game Company: Marketing Coordinator (1 year)
Top Video Game Company: Product Marketing Manager (Current)
This was a two-tier promotion within one year of working at the company.
One of the youngest Product Marketing Managers at the company.

Extracurricular:

Social Fraternity
Executive board for 3 years
Very involved in philanthropy (Boys and Girls Club, Sean Kimerling's Testicular Cancer Foundation, Red Cross)
Order of Omega Honor Society
Advertising/Marketing Club
Active part in company philanthropies
Youth Leader within the Catholic Community

Target Schools: USC Marshall, UW Foster, CMU Tepper

Goals: I want to obtain my MBA so I can build upon my career and compete with the flooded and cut-throat job market in my field. I want to make a positive impact and I feel an MBA can give me the foundation to succeed and reach my goals. I eventually want to take my skills and start my own business with roots in technology and charity.

I understand my situation and I feel have been setting my goals appropriately (if not, I welcome a reality check!). I have not thought about applying to a top 25 program as I don't think I have what it takes. My strengths are not in my undergrad and GPA, but there were personal experiences that can help shed some light. I feel my background reflects how I thrive in professional settings and I am holding on to that as my strength for admission.

What would my GMAT score need to be to get a chance at admissions to my target schools?

Would love to see a break down of schools that you think would be a good fit for me.
Stretch:
Sweet spots:
Safeties:


Thanks so much for taking the time to review my profile. I look forward to hearing from you!

MBAApply Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
28 Apr 2011
Posted:
203 messages
Followed by:
6 members
Thanked:
51 times
Post Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:34 pm
ajun519 wrote:
Hey Alex,

I've been following your responses to fellow MBA prospects and I was very impressed with your assessments. I thought I'd reach out to see if you could give me a personal review. I am just starting my research and embarking on my MBA journey and I am targeting 2014 Fall admissions. Any insight will help!

Age: 25

Race: Korean-American

Additional Languages: Korean (full comprehension | limited read/write)

Undergrad: California State University

Major: BS Advertising

Minors: Graphic Design and Business Administration

GPA: 3.34

GMAT: Signed up for the Spring course at Manhattan GMAT (SF).

Practice tests: 600

Work Exp:

Internships Undergrad
Top Financial-Investment Firm: Marketing Intern
Local Advertising Agency: Marketing Intern
SF Advertising Agency: Lead Creative Intern
Local Ad agency full-time hire after graduation: Marketing Coordinator (10 months)
Top Video Game Company: Marketing Coordinator (1 year)
Top Video Game Company: Product Marketing Manager (Current)
This was a two-tier promotion within one year of working at the company.
One of the youngest Product Marketing Managers at the company.

Extracurricular:

Social Fraternity
Executive board for 3 years
Very involved in philanthropy (Boys and Girls Club, Sean Kimerling's Testicular Cancer Foundation, Red Cross)
Order of Omega Honor Society
Advertising/Marketing Club
Active part in company philanthropies
Youth Leader within the Catholic Community

Target Schools: USC Marshall, UW Foster, CMU Tepper

Goals: I want to obtain my MBA so I can build upon my career and compete with the flooded and cut-throat job market in my field. I want to make a positive impact and I feel an MBA can give me the foundation to succeed and reach my goals. I eventually want to take my skills and start my own business with roots in technology and charity.

I understand my situation and I feel have been setting my goals appropriately (if not, I welcome a reality check!). I have not thought about applying to a top 25 program as I don't think I have what it takes. My strengths are not in my undergrad and GPA, but there were personal experiences that can help shed some light. I feel my background reflects how I thrive in professional settings and I am holding on to that as my strength for admission.

What would my GMAT score need to be to get a chance at admissions to my target schools?

Would love to see a break down of schools that you think would be a good fit for me.
Stretch:
Sweet spots:
Safeties:


Thanks so much for taking the time to review my profile. I look forward to hearing from you!
It's really simple.

Do whatever it takes to boost that GMAT. Enroll in a test prep class, hire a private tutor - anything. A high GMAT isn't an asset, but a low one is a big liability.

If you get a 680 or higher, schools such as USC, Tepper, Texas, Georgetown etc. are within reach. Stretches would be schools like UCLA, Cornell and Yale. Safeties would be those outside the top 30 (Irvine, Pepperdine, etc.). Beyond that, your professional profile is solid (and good thing that you're not in finance - most Asian-American guys who apply go to the top b-schools tend to be in finance, so you at least have that as an asset). Your GPA won't be an issue for the range of schools you're targeting.

Without at least a 660, you'll have a tougher time getting into a top 30 school. Remember that there's a lot of Asian-Americans applying, many of whom will have strong GMATs.

Good luck on the GMAT!

_________________
Alex Chu
alex@mbaapply.com
www.mbaapply.com

eki Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
15 Mar 2010
Posted:
38 messages
Thanked:
7 times
Target GMAT Score:
740
GMAT Score:
710
Post Tue Mar 12, 2013 7:23 am
Hi Alex,

My Background:

Indian Male, age 36.
Engineer from National Inst of Technology
PG in telecom management

Experience :
All 11 years in sales as Account Manager / Sales Manager in leading MNCs (Microsoft, Oracle, IBM etc.) Have a successful career so far.Fast track growth in company. One of the youngest Regional sales managers, top gun award etc. Managed large accounts, competitive customer base, increased market share etc.

GMAT : 710 (Q 49 , V 39)

Extra carricular :

Nothing great. Usual stuff like quizzing, dramatics, leading college committees, work with NGO etc.

Acads : 78% in engineering. In top 10% of class in Post graduation.

International Exposure :

Been to 9 countries but never studied or worked there. All of them were short visits (sales planning, account meets, leisure etc). Worked with colleages from other countries.

Target Schools :
LBS, INSEAD.

Why MBA :
a) Get into strategy consulting or work as strategist in a tech major b) work outside India

I know that my profile has following limitations :
1. Over aged
2. No international experience
3. Indian IT applicant (though I am in sales)

I request for your feedback and my chances of getting into LBS or INSEAD.

Regards,
Eki

Best Conversation Starters

1 Vincen 111 topics
2 lionsshare 53 topics
3 AbeNeedsAnswers 45 topics
4 Roland2rule 38 topics
5 lheiannie07 27 topics
See More Top Beat The GMAT Members...

Most Active Experts

1 image description Rich.C@EMPOWERgma...

EMPOWERgmat

125 posts
2 image description Brent@GMATPrepNow

GMAT Prep Now Teacher

118 posts
3 image description GMATGuruNY

The Princeton Review Teacher

108 posts
4 image description DavidG@VeritasPrep

Veritas Prep

105 posts
5 image description Jay@ManhattanReview

Manhattan Review

98 posts
See More Top Beat The GMAT Experts