With applicants for the round one deadlines putting the finishing touches on their applications, the question of how strictly applicants need to adhere to word limits is perhaps more popular than ever. MBA candidates naturally have a good deal of information they want – and need – to convey in their materials, and getting the important ideas down under restrictive word counts is a difficult task. While it might be tempting to run a bit beyond the guidelines to slip in that one extra thought, it’s important to keep the reasons for word limits in mind. Continue reading…
With MBA programs’ R1 deadlines past or just around the corner, we wanted to offer some words of advice about an often overlooked element of one’s file: the application data forms. All too often, we see candidates leave these online application forms for the last minute, even rushing to enter all the required information from work on “deadline day.” The truth is that a weak effort on these forms can do serious harm to one’s candidacy, as it might reflect poorly on the applicant’s professional polish or commitment to the application process. This being the case, here are a few tips for those who are in the midst of completing this component of the application:
1) Don’t be lazy. We know that many applicants feel “burned out” from their essays and that it’s tempting to zip through the application data forms and provide a bare minimum of information. While it’s fine to use your resume as a starting point, make sure that you think beyond this ready-made content and consider other information that might be of interest. In many cases, the forms are a great opportunity for you to list outside activities in depth, offer a quick explanation of a bad semester, share the significance of some professional awards you’ve received, and so on. In fact, your application forms will often be the starting point for the admissions officer’s review of your file, so it’s important to put your best foot forward. Continue reading…
The Clear Admit team knows that many of our readers are in the midst of finalizing their HBS applications as Tuesday’s first round deadline approaches. While we’re confident that our HBS essay topic analysis has been helpful and we know that you’re working hard, we wanted to make one more tool available to you before the deadline. As such, we are pleased to announce that for the next 72 hours, the critically acclaimed Clear Admit Harvard Business School Guide is free! Just download it from our shop and start reading on your desktop, laptop, iPad, Kindle or any other device you have.
Here’s what you’ll need to do:
1) Go to the HBS School Guide page and add it to your cart
2) Use this code at checkout: HBSSG14
3) Send us flowers, chocolates, or leave us a nice comment on this blog post to thank us
4) Tell your friends!
For those of you who don’t already know, the Harvard Business School Guide features 48 pages of in-depth information about life at HBS. Reading it will help you to:
- Become an expert on HBS overnight and use your knowledge to fine-tune a personal statement that will stand out in the admissions process
- Compare HBS head-to-head with Stanford, Wharton and other leading programs using objective data that goes beyond rankings and school-published marketing materials
- Prepare for your HBS admissions interview (and post-interview reflection essay) by knowing the school inside and out
As Round 1 deadlines approach fast, applicants are coming to understand that applying to business school is an incredibly demanding process. In addition to taking the GMAT, assembling academic transcripts and providing recommendation letters, candidates are required to draft multiple essays, job descriptions, lists of activities and more.
With the obvious incentive to save time wherever possible, it’s understandable that many applicants simply cut and paste content from an existing resume and write about their work in the manner that comes most naturally. However, in doing so, countless candidates each year assemble their materials without ever asking a fundamental question:
Who will read my application? Continue reading…
With Round One deadlines for a number of programs just around the corner, it’s the time of year when many applicants are working hard on their application essays and learning more about their target programs in the process of rounding out their “why MBA/why school X” discussions. Keeping this important component of the admissions process in mind, we wanted to take the time today to offer some advice on how to polish this element of one’s file and get the most mileage out of this section.
1. Make it personal. Schools look for applicants who seem genuinely excited about their program, and the best way to bring this across in your essays is to come right out and say it. Many applicants are well-researched but present their findings in the form of objective facts. The adcom will already know whether their program features a flexible curriculum, is very strong in marketing, or offers an international focus. What they don’t know – and what you should be explaining in your essays – is what you find exciting and appealing, and why. Stating your interest in a school by connecting its offerings to your goals and interests is a great way to help the adcom understand (and ideally get them to agree with) your opinion that you would be a good fit with the program. Continue reading…
We realize that the questions of whether to answer an optional essay and, if so, what to say are ones that loom large for many b-school applicants at this time of year. While we’ve been offering a great deal of school-specific essay advice over the past few months, we wanted to take some time to suggest a few considerations that applicants might want to take into account when making this call.
Is it relevant?
Perhaps this goes without saying, but the only information worth sharing in an optional essay is that which will make a material difference in your candidacy. Whether you wish to comment on an exciting leadership role you’ve just taken on or explain that you were overextended extracurricularly during that one bad semester in college, make sure to think carefully about whether this information will affect and enhance the reader’s perception of your business school candidacy. Continue reading…
For all those applicants who have recently opened a calendar to plot out the next few months only to realize they can’t possibly fit in campus visits on top of full time jobs and essay writing, never fear! It’s true that traveling to a school’s campus is the ideal way to learn about their MBA program, but visiting is often not a viable option for applicants who are located remotely or unsure of their level of interest in a given school. The good news is that business schools might very well come to them. Many b-schools are getting ready to hit the road and embark on worldwide tours to dispense information and recruit qualified applicants. Such events offer a great opportunity for interested students to meet with admissions staff (and sometimes with current students and/or alumni), learn about the program and ask specific questions.
Some of the top schools are already on the road, so we recommend looking into the travel schedules for programs of interest and planning accordingly. Keeping in mind that these schedules are updated and amended throughout the fall, here are some of the top programs’ itineraries for the months ahead: Continue reading…
As many of our readers know, it has become increasingly common for younger individuals to apply to MBA programs. Whereas the average age and years of work experience at the leading business schools has traditionally hovered at around 28 and five respectively, many programs are now carefully considering the more youthful end of the applicant pool. Of course, the fact that admissions officers are taking a closer look at younger applicants does not mean that getting accepted to a top program is easy for this group. In fact, it may be difficult for younger applicants to present themselves as fully prepared to contribute to an MBA program because they often lack leadership experience and extended business exposure. This is especially true as they will be compared to their fellow applicants who have more years in the working world (often translating to more leadership experience and professional accomplishments). With this in mind, we’d like to offer a few tips that will help younger MBA candidates leverage the strengths of their candidacies and become increasingly competitive applicants at their choice schools. Continue reading…
Anyone who’s familiar with the MBA application process knows that August moves forward at an accelerated pace, and come September, entire weeks seem to disappear. To help this year’s Round One applicants avoid the classic time crunch, today’s blog post offers some basic advice on how to approach the Round One deadlines at a reasonable pace.
There are numerous sources that can knowledgeably rank the “top” MBA programs. However, because business schools receive different rankings depending on the sources’ criteria, it can be difficult to understand which are the “best” schools. Therefore today we’d like to talk about how b-school applicants can use rankings to discover the “best” schools—for them. Although the general merits of each school are important, we also believe that it is important for MBA applicants to rank schools based on their individual needs and interests. Therefore we encourage students to use official MBA school rankings in the following ways:
1. Use rankings to create a consensus. Sources rarely have the exact same rankings as each other, and therefore trying to determine the “top five” schools can be frustrating. However, it’s best to compile these different sources of rankings to form a consensus regarding the top schools. For example, if your target program is consistently listed in the top 15, regardless of its individual ranking among different sources, you should feel confident that it is regarded as a top school by industry professionals and future employers. You may not be able to pinpoint the ultimate “number one” school, but you will be able to distinguish between the different tiers of schools. Continue reading…
As the summer progresses and applicants begin researching their target schools in more depth, we would like to highlight a valuable research tool: school-hosted blogs. The last few years have seen a significant increase in the number of MBA student blogs hosted by schools’ admissions offices, as well as in admissions offices’ use of blogs to keep applicants informed of deadlines, admissions policies and events. Both types of blogs are useful throughout the admissions cycle; the factual information in the admissions office blogs is helpful in understanding and planning for the application process, while the student blogs offer valuable insights into student life, culture and academics.
Below we’ve provided links to some of the active blogs hosted by the leading MBA programs.
Admissions Office Blogs: Continue reading…