How to answer the why b-school question?

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How to answer the why b-school question?

by kdn508 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:50 am
So as I'm gearing up for the GMAT and the application cycle in the fall, I'm not sure what stance I should take for, why business school!
I'm a recent graduate of a small private university in Boston 2013 (Biology). Before transferring to my matriculating university I started at a state university and there I was working insane hours. My Overall ugGPA is around 3.4 but, excluding those two years at my state school I had a 3.7 GPA my school in Boston and graduated magna cum laude.

So here's my story.

In my senior year, I was contemplating on pursuing medical school, after a series of conversations with my mentors, I decided against that. Instead I wanted to do some type of aid work & travel as a way to one buy time and figure out what I want to do with myself in the future. I was preparing an application for the peace corp until I found out my student loans couldn't be deferred. So I looked at other alternatives...I came across Teach for America and sent in an application. I was admitted to the NYC corp and currently finishing my 1st year.

Education has always been something I held close to my heart because, I firmly believed that education has ignited a curiosity in me about the world. I grew up in urban setting and it was due to an amazing non-profit that helped me stay on track in high school to get to college. I would return and work at that non-profit for 3 summers and have held various other positions in the education as a way to pay it forward. TFA is an extension of paying it forward but, Im ready to jump into something different.

A career path that I'm now interested in is Consulting. Along with my education-related work experience I've held various leadership positions in undergrad where I was a leader in strategic planning or founding club member. I thought going through these phases in an organization was exciting and how would we create a unique brand.

How can I leverage this to be considered as a serious applicant?
I'm afraid that my streak of non-profit work in education might make me too different.

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by pegasus99 » Sun Feb 23, 2014 6:00 am
Hi kdn508,
You have a very interesting story!
I recommend this page - it has some guidelines regarding writing the "why MBA" essay and some essay examples that may help you. All the best!

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by classic5 » Thu Apr 24, 2014 11:21 pm
The best advice is probably to dig deep and find an honest answer to why b-school or why MBA. You can't go wrong with a good honest answer!

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by yigaloran » Mon May 05, 2014 3:22 am
True. No one on this forum can tell you why YOU need an MBA :wink:

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by tinarey12 » Tue Jun 10, 2014 7:30 am
pegasus99 wrote:Hi kdn508,
You have a very interesting story!
I recommend this page - it has some guidelines regarding writing the "why MBA" essay and some essay examples that may help you. All the best!
Obviously it is not recommended to copy essays from other candidates or to use their reason for wanting to do an MBA, you need to come up with your own reason or explanation. The adcom would like to hear your voice!

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by KDogg87 » Wed Jul 02, 2014 12:02 pm
The key, although boring and obvious, is just be honest with yourself and the admissions committee. Do some deep introspection and trust in your truth. I mention this in my video blog:

Getting into Stanford GSB - Tips:
Latest video blog about my application:

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by fxmbaconsulting » Fri Jul 04, 2014 10:04 am
When adcoms ask you Why an MBA now? They want to know:

1. How your past, present & future career connects in a logical way (and does an MBA logically fit in that story?)
2. Does their program have the resources to help you achieve your career goals? If so which/how so?
3. Will the people in the career office be able to find you a job / will the companies that recruit at their school appreciate a candidate like you?

It is not about just 'digging deep' as if going to b-school were some sort of philosophical question. An MBA is a professional degree and it is necessary but not sufficient to just let your personality shine in this essay.

I hope that helps. I would highly recommend Avi Gordon's book MBA Admissions Strategy if you aren't in a situation to work with a consultant.

Leah Derus
MIT Sloan MBA 2010
Senior Admissions Consultant
[email protected]

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by SH_Aus » Sun Jul 13, 2014 3:44 am
I wouldn't feel at all worried that your time in education NFP will hurt you - if anything it's a nice point of difference!

If you want to see how admitted HBS students answered questions like these in their interviews, check out the Unofficial HBS Admissions Guide, published by HBS students at the Harbus student newspaper.

(Full disclosure, I'm the Managing Editor of the Harbus this year and an incoming member of the HBS class of 2016.

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by jambainsomba » Tue Jul 15, 2014 3:21 pm
Hey, to answer your question, I don't think that your streak in non-profits will negatively affect your chances of getting into the program. Different schools look for different things in their prospects and I think EssayScoop would be of enormous help to you. What they do is essentially apply data mining techniques to admissions essays in order to find out what it is that objectively makes an essay successful on a per-school basis. These are the same techniques that Facebook and Twitter use to analyze their user behavior and cater their content to their users. Hope this helps, and best of luck to you!

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by Kaneisha Grayson » Fri Jul 18, 2014 5:15 pm

You are definitely not "too different" to get into a top MBA program. If you are able to turn in authentic, compelling, airtight essays, they will LOVE you. I help lots of TFA folks get into business school (and policy school / joint degree programs) and Harvard and Stanford especially love TFA - turned - MBAs.

One of the very first blog posts I ever wrote for my company was "Why Artists, Social Activists, Entrepreneurs, and Other Interesting People Should Get an MBA":

I wrote this post specifically for people applying to Stanford's MBA Africa Fellowship, but the questions I give for essay writers to answer are still relevant to you as you write your "Why an MBA?" essay: ... ellowship/

What I recommend you do is find some people via LinkedIn who fit your profile: TFA turned top MBA. Reach out to them with a brief email and see if they would be willing to chat with you for 15 minutes. The more people you see similar to yourself that are students and recent alumni of your target schools the more confident you will be in your application process rather than feeling like you'll only get admitted if they make a clerical error. (I know that feeling though!)

As a person who came from a nonprofit / educational background, I can assure you that you will have plenty to contribute to the MBA community in and outside of the classroom. It's up to you to let the AdCom know exactly how you will do that, and the best place to start is getting a clear idea of how other people have done it before you.

Best of luck with your process!
Harvard Business School MBA 2010, Harvard Kennedy School MPA 2010
Founder, The Art of Applying
Admissions Consulting for MBA, MPP, Joint Degrees, and Fellowships

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My clients have earned over $3.1 million in fellowships from Harvard and other top MBA, MPP, and JD programs since 2010.

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by juggared » Fri Jul 25, 2014 4:05 am
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