When applying to the top schools, it is important to avoid “red flags” in your application. For the uninitiated, red flags are negative items that stand out in your file and may result in rejection from business school. While most applicants understand the basic red flags, like a 2.4 GPA or a recommendation letter that raises serious concerns about the candidate’s maturity, there are many less obvious triggers.
Some time ago, an Admissions Director Symposium organized by the Graduate Management Admissions Council produced an interesting publication on the subject of admissions policy and red flags. Here is an excerpt from their report: Continue reading…
While we devoted time last week to advice on addressing weaknesses in one’s academic record, today we wanted to explore the other side of the issue: the strengths that lie in your undergraduate record.
Beyond issues of aptitude or previous achievement, there are a number of other things that your academic profile might say about you. For instance, if you have a range of quant-focused classes in your record, this might create the impression that you are well prepared for the sort of coursework you would undertake in business school. Meanwhile, if you have pursued extensive coursework in an area beyond the more traditional disciplines of economics, business administration or engineering, this could indicate some unique interest or perspective that you would bring to the classroom. Continue reading…
To follow up on last month’s advice about GMAT preparation and timing, we wanted to offer some general comments about the role of academics in the admissions process. Many candidates considering business school focus on the credentials they will hold and the network that they will join upon graduation, but it is important to keep in mind the academic experience at the heart of any MBA program. Because a business school is, after all, a school, it makes sense to begin your consideration of your profile by thinking about your academic aptitude and track record to date. Your performance in your educational endeavors up to this point will be treated as a predictor of your success in business school.
While this is all well and good for applicants whose undergraduate GPAs and GMAT scores are close to the average of students at their target schools—about 3.5 and 710 for the top programs—things become a bit trickier for candidates who fall below the pack in either or both of these categories. Continue reading…
Each year thousands of individuals begin journeys that they hope will ultimately lead to an acceptance offer from top-tier business schools around the world, and for the majority of these applicants one of the first steps on the b-school path is studying for and taking the GMAT exam. With the 2012-2013 application season wrapping up, a whole new cohort of aspiring MBA students are beginning to get serious about their own school choices and application materials. Most schools won’t be releasing their updated application requirements until later in the summer, so one concrete element of their application that they can start working on now is properly preparing themselves for taking the exam. We sat down with the founders of the major online GMAT communities (Beat The GMAT and GMAT Club) as well as the Director of Academic Programs at leading GMAT test prep firm, Veritas Prep. These individuals have a combined wealth of experience to draw upon when providing helpful tips and insights to share with anyone contemplating an application to business school in 2013-14. In the article that follows, readers will have the opportunity to learn about common misconceptions many test takers have about the exam, successful approaches to creating a study schedule, specific tips that can help those who struggle with either the verbal or the quant sections, and valuable insights on how to approach retaking the test. We additionally have checked in with the official information provided by GMAC, the organization that creates and administers the GMAT exam.
Because it’s the time of year when applicants aiming for Fall 2014 intake are just beginning to think about the admissions process, we wanted to focus today on one element of the application that candidates often underestimate: extracurricular activities.
In order to understand why this category is important, candidates should keep in mind that the adcom is responsible for crafting a dynamic class each year. The aim is to admit individuals who will support a vibrant campus community and step into leadership positions. In other words, as admissions officers consider each applicant, they ask themselves “what’s in it for our school?” An applicant who has previously demonstrated a talent for writing, for example, by contributing to a nonprofit’s newsletter, will really catch the adcom’s attention if she also expresses her intent to contribute to a specific publication on campus. Continue reading…
For all you “early birds” who are planning to apply to business school this fall, we wanted to offer a few tips on managing your time as it relates to the GMAT exam. Because this is an important element for many applicants in determining at which schools they will be competitive, it’s best to prep intensively and get this out of the way early in the process.
You should ideally be finished with the GMAT by mid-summer. The reason for this is that you will want to reserve the months of August, September and October for essay writing, school visits, managing your recommenders and other miscellaneous application-related tasks. The last thing you want to be doing in September is juggling the demands of GMAT prep alongside your MBA applications, your responsibilities at work, your extracurricular involvements, etc. Continue reading…
After a relatively sleepy February, March will soon be upon us with its extensive list of application deadlines and decision notification dates. Let’s take a look at part of the long list of Round 3 (or 4 or 5) deadlines spread over the next two months:
February 25 (today!): IESE R4
February 28: LBS R3
March 4: Tepper R3, Ross R3
March 5: Wharton R3
March 8: Cambridge/Judge R4, Oxford R3
March 12: Haas R3
March 13: INSEAD R3 (Sept. intake)
March 15: Kenan-Flager R3, Marshall R3, NYU R3
March 21: Fuqua R3
March 26: McCombs R4
March 27: Johnson R4
March 28: Darden R3
April 1: McDonough R3
April 2: Tuck R4
April 3: Stanford R3
April 4: Booth R3
April 8: HBS R3, IESE R5
April 10: CBS RD, Kellogg R3
April 17: LBS R4, UCLA R3
April 18: Yale R3
April 23: Tepper R4
While it’s always best to apply as early as possible, the difference between applying in Round 1 and applying in Round 2 is, for most applicants, a marginal one. However, the later rounds are a very different game. Because most of the seats in the incoming class will have been given away by the time Round 2 decisions are released, the acceptance rate in the third round is dramatically lower than that for the first two deadlines of the season. Continue reading…
Test preparation firm Varsity Tutors recently interviewed Clear Admit co-founder Graham Richmond for its “Ask an MBA Admissions Expert” blog series, and a transcript of that interview posted live to the company’s education blog yesterday.
In the interview, Richmond shares insights he has gained advising prospective applicants to top MBA programs here at Clear Admit, as well as in the years he spent before that working in admissions at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Continue reading…
As many of our readers are aware, letters of recommendation are a central part of the application process. We would like to take a look at how to handle the snags that often arise for applicants in unique employment situations.
The applicant who is most likely to have trouble finding a suitable recommender is either self-employed or works in his or her family’s business. First, self-employed entrepreneurs by their very nature do not have a direct supervisor. Similarly, an applicant who works for the family business may have trouble finding a non-related supervisor, or someone who can offer a truly objective opinion.
Applicants who find themselves in this dilemma should not despair. Some applicants might be in a position to solicit a letter from a client or customer with whom they have worked extensively. 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.
Let’s start by taking a quick look some of at the published Round One deadlines for the top MBA programs:
September 15: ISB (for Indian Passport Holders)
September 19: Duke / Fuqua (Early Action)
September 24: Harvard
October 1: Wharton
October 2: Chicago / Booth
October 3: Stanford GSB, Columbia (Early Decision and January Term)
October 4: Yale SOM
October 10: Dartmouth / Tuck (Early Action), Michigan Ross
October 17: Berkeley / Haas, Cornell / Johnson
October 15: UVA Darden
October 16: Northwestern / Kellogg
October 19: UNC / Kenan-Flagler (Early Action)
October 24: Duke / Fuqua (Round 1), MIT / Sloan, UCLA / Anderson
November 7: Dartmouth / Tuck (November Round)
November 15: NYU / Stern
Though some schools have yet to announce their deadlines (such as London Business School), one can still get a general sense of the lineup of R1 deadlines. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when creating your personal timeline:
1) Plan to be busy in August and September. Yes, it can be tempting to work on one’s tan instead of one’s essays. However, many MBA applicants squander the month of August only to wake up in September and realize that they cannot make their target deadlines. If not bogged down by professional obligations in August, this makes for a great opportunity to devote time to working on your MBA applications in the evenings. The last weeks of summer can easily be split between resume drafting, essay writing, recommendation coaching, GMAT prep, school research, and more.
2) Think carefully about the timing of the R1 deadlines. Looking at the deadlines above, it becomes clear that some deadlines may be easier to make than others. A candidate applying to Wharton and MIT Sloan could have a leisurely October when compared to someone targeting Wharton, Yale, and Tuck. Look at the deadlines, assume about three weeks of research and writing for each school’s application and count backwards to determine a start date for each. It is entirely possible to meet back-to-back deadlines, such as Booth and Kellogg, but doing so requires a well-planned schedule and consistent progress.
3) Consider taking some time off from work. We realize that many MBA applicants work 70 hours/week and haven’t had a day off in months. For such applicants, a day or two out of the office can really do wonders for focus and organization. Applying to business school is a serious undertaking, and in the long term you won’t regret having given yourself enough time to prepare strong applications. Many successful candidates take a week off in late September to make the final push. It’s not a glamorous way to spend your vacation time, but an offer to attend a leading MBA program can make the sacrifice well worth it.
4) Get your recommenders on board early. While many of the schools have not yet made their online applications and recommendation forms available, it’s a good idea to engage your recommenders early and inform them about the process and your timeline. Sit down with each recommender in August, perhaps over lunch or coffee. Present them with a rough sketch of the deadlines and the process. It’s then a wise idea to meet again once the forms are available, and by that time many applicants are in a position to share their background materials (a résumé, career goals essays, etc.) to help their recommenders understand—and support—their message.
Happy planning! For more information on the application process and school selection, we encourage you to contact us for a free consultation.
- MIT / Sloan Deadlines 2012-2013 (clearadmit.com)
- Duke / Fuqua Deadlines 2012-2013 (clearadmit.com)
- Clear Admit Welcomes New Admissions Counselor from University of Chicago Booth School of Business (clearadmit.com)