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Application

Deciding to reapply to a MBA Program from a school from which has previously rejected your application should never be undertaken lightly. There is usually a good reason (or a few) why you were not accepted to a particular business school program.

  • Fact: Applying in different years or semesters to the same school will NOT significantly alter your chances of acceptance. While there are slight variations in the acceptance rates from year to year, overall competition to graduate programs is increasing exponentially.

It is also important to keep in mind that merely having been rejected once before immediately puts you at a disadvantage in comparison with other applicants in your pool. Reapplying without making significant changes and improvements to your application and profile, as a student is a waste of time and money.

Admissions boards will often scrutinize a student who has previously applied more harshly than others simply on the basis of precedent. They will want to see exactly how you have improved your candidacy, spelled out clearly, with detailed anecdotes and progress from your last application.

Above all, be sure that you are objectively evaluating your reasons for reapplication. Applications are expensive and time consuming and you ARE at a distinct disadvantage, having previously been rejected.

In order to ensure that you are accomplishing this effectively, stick to these three main rules if you do decide to reapply to an MBA program:

  1. Make significant changes to your previous application- in form and content
  2. Use only specific examples and anecdotes when detailing your achievements or skills.
  3. Attempt to identify the parts of your application that were the weakest (the reasons for your rejection) and address how you have overcome or improved on them.

For more information, please read our MBA Admissions Rejection Analysis.

Posted on November 28, 2011 by Manhattan Review

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Applying for college is a crucial step in a person’s personal and professional developments. As an applicant, what do you hope to get out of your college years and what expectations do you want to send along with your applications? Be sure to think seriously about the environment that will be most likely to bring the best out of you:

  • Know Yourself and Set Your Goals Clearly

If you haven’t decided on a college major, start taking inventory of your academic successes and interests – which were your best classes?  Favorite classes?  Also think about your favorite extra-curricular activities, sports, music, and even your favorite weather.

  • Student Body Characteristics

Do you want to be surrounded with type-A go-getters, or coffee-shop philosophers?  A highly competitive student body isn’t to everyone’s taste, and neither is a laid-back one.

  • Class Size and Dynamics

What type of relationship do professors and students have with one another at your favorite schools?  Large classes may mean little contact with your professors, which can be unappealing for students who want a personal relationship with their favorite academics.  However, just because your favorite school is a large one, that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to slip through anonymously! 

  • Advisory System

Will you have an advisor at your favorite school?  How much do advisors guide the students’ choice of classes?  Think about how much help you’ll really need – or want!

  • Social Groups

How are social groups organized at your favorite school?  Does Greek life dominate, or do athletics, clubs, classes, dorms, or local hangouts determine who your best college friends will be?  If the social structure is different from your high school, do you think you’ll easily adjust?

  • Feedback from Current Students.

What do current students really appreciate about this school?  What is their biggest complaint?  Are these issues you can handle?

The best way to answer all of these questions is to visit your favorite schools in advance, and keep a checklist of the most important issues for your education.  If you can’t afford to visit, or the school is too far away, try to speak with as many people as you can by phone or email about the school.

A quick way of learning about university statistics is by checking out ranking websites, such as the National Association of College Admissions Counseling (www.nacacnet.org) or College Navigator (http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/).  These sites can help you sort schools by tuition, scholarship/financial aid opportunities, available majors, student body demographics, sports, even the quality of campus security.  Also check out books like the Fiske Guide to Colleges, which have even more information about schools, quizzes, and student testimonials.

With the high price of college tuition in today’s uncertain economic climate, most students who apply for university admission will attempt to secure some financial aid.  The most common form of financial aid is based on need, and is determined by the FAFSA form submitted by the student along with his or her application.

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) determines a student’s eligibility for federal loans and other aid packages; much like submitting the application itself, sending in your FAFSA early increases your chances of receiving aid from this limited amount of funding.  If you are applying for college entry shortly after high school graduation, your parents’ finances will be examined in addition to your own.

Many colleges and universities offer Merit-Based Scholarships.  These are sometimes offered to students on the basis of their academic achievement in high school, or for exceptional SAT scores.  Frequently, lower-ranked colleges will offer merit-based scholarships to encourage good students to attend, which improves the quality of the student body, and often makes college affordable for good students with less money.  Do inquire about school-specific scholarships through your guidance counselor at school, or through the university’s financial aid office – you may need to do more than just keep earning good grades!

This brings us to Non-Institution-Based Scholarships and Grants – the least-understood source of funding for college applicants.  These scholarships and grants vary widely and can be researched in many different ways.  Did you know that you might qualify for a scholarship because…

  • You plan to pursue a specific major?
  • You belong to a specific ethnic or religious group?
  • You have a specific career goal?
  • You or your family has worked at a specific company?
  • You have participated in specific volunteer work?
  • You have a disability?
  • You can speak a particular foreign language?
  • You are an athlete?
  • You or a family member is a veteran?
  • You and/or your family have experienced a particular hardship (Hurricane Katrina, 9/11, etc.)?

You, as an individual, may qualify for many different scholarships, many with quickly approaching deadlines, so it is important to stay on top of things.  Check out some scholarship books, like the College Board’s Scholarship Handbook, or Peterson’s Scholarships, Grants and Prizes.  Register yourself on scholarships.com, fastweb.com, finaid.com, or any of the many scholarship websites right away; they may notify you when a new scholarship that fits your profile appears, so don’t forget to keep your profile up-to-date with all of your latest successes!  Scholarships listed on these websites are frequently nationwide or international, and receive many applications, so don’t forget to research Local Scholarships as well, such as grants from:

  • Alumni of your high school
  • Local businesses and corporations
  • Community groups, like the Elks, the Rotary Club, the Lions Club, or Masons
  • Your local Department of Education

The best way to learn about Local Scholarships to ask your school or the organizations directly in a respectful and mature way – don’t have a parent write or telephone on your behalf!

What do both National and Local Scholarships frequently require?  ESSAYS!

Scholarship Essays must not only be interesting and well-written, but must address the specific nature of the scholarship itself, and answer in a clear, decisive way any question that may be asked in the scholarship application.  Sometimes these questions are very explicit: “Why do you deserve this scholarship?”  To be quite frank, even less direct questions, like “What does being a Polish-American mean to you?” or “What is the most important lesson you have learned as a high school student?” or “How do you think your education has prepared you to enter the field of engineering?” all require you to answer: “Why do you deserve this scholarship?”  Persuasion is the goal of scholarship essays.  Remember: even though there may be fewer applicants for a specific scholarship than for your favorite college, frequently there is only ONE winner.

Some tips to make that ONE winner YOU:

  • Use very specific examples from your life experience (this may help you with your SAT writing section as well!)
  • Adhere to the length requirements of the essay – your 500-word essay might be great, but will lose out when the word requirement is 1000 – or 250!
  • Learn about the organization that sponsors the scholarship, and not just the basics.  You want to appeal specifically to the attitude of the organization.  Read the website, get in touch with employees, or, even better, last year’s winner.
  • Make sure your style of writing matches the style of the essay question.  Some organizations ask light, informal, or even humorous questions, and others are deeply earnest and serious.  Don’t mix them up!
  • Even if you write one hundred scholarship essays, don’t send out a single one without proofreading and asking a teacher or mentor to read it first.
  • Don’t expect to do double-duty with your scholarship essays and win over the deciding committee; they’ll know if you just swapped a sentence or two from your college personal statement!
  • Don’t lose out because you didn’t submit a neat, organized, attractive application!

Writing scholarship essays may seem like a daunting task, especially with the busy lives of most students, but remember this: the more essays you write, the easier it becomes.  Practice will not only improve your writing, but improve your chances at winning the scholarship you need to afford college.

Posted on July 27, 2009 by Manhattan Review

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Making a Compelling Application

When your application arrives at your favorite college, the officers are not deciding whether to accept or reject you, but rather your application. Therefore, you need to make your application reflect your abilities, personality, background, interests, and past performance.

Don’t Hesitate – Starting Early Pays Off

Don’t wait until senior year to download the applications you need.  Ideally, you will begin familiarizing yourself with your college applications and their requirements during the spring of your junior year.  You will need time to carefully gather the necessary information and compile lists of activities and honors.  If you can begin writing your essays over the summer, you will save plenty of time; just make sure to ask the admissions offices whether or not they plan on changing the essays in the fall.  

Submitting your application as early as possible is always beneficial.  Close to the deadline date, admissions officers must read close to 100 applications a day, but early in the season, they read only a handful a day.  If the admissions officer has more time to consider your application in a thoughtful way, your chances are greatly improved.  Also, an early submission suggests that you are quite serious about your interest in the school, even when you do not select Early Action or another similar option.

Extracurricular Activities and Your Application

You cannot fool college admissions officers by presenting an extremely long list of extracurricular activities in your application.  While it is true that colleges want to make sure that you are doing something worthwhile in your spare time, it is not necessary to be a member of 20 different clubs, sports, or organizations.  However, if you spend 20 hours a week at one particular activity, and you have become the mainstay of that organization, that’s impressive. 

Extracurricular activity lists should demonstrate:

  1. Dedication and Loyalty
  2. Well-Roundedness
  3. Social Awareness and Sophistication
  4. Leadership Capacity

First Jobs and Student Resumes

As a high school student, it is not expected that you will have a lengthy resume.  However, having a job in high school can impress admissions officers.  It is a good idea include the number of hours per week you normally work at your job, and any leadership positions that you’ve held.  Your job doesn’t need to be unusual, but your dedication is what matters.  Some schools permit additional recommendation letters from job supervisors, and a glowing report of your maturity, work ethic, and problem-solving skills can be a real boon.

Look after your applications! If you apply online, always save a copy of your essays on your hard drive, and also a backup copy on CD or other removable drive.  Take your time, and do your best to present yourself in the best light possible.

Manhattan Review is proud to announce an industry-first ground-breaking MBA Application Boot Camp. The goal of the boot camp is to help students prepare for every aspect of the MBA Application process. It will also give them the right guidance they need in polishing up their MBA Applications.

The entire admissions process can be overwhelming, especially for young business professionals with full schedules. But with customized guidance, they can navigate successfully from writing their application essays to deciding what school to finally attend.

Manhattan Review will host boot camps on a monthly or bi-monthly basis in New York, London, and Real-Time Online. Students can register for a 2-day weekend Crash Boot Camp or a week-long Intensive Boot Camp. Participants will learn all the strategies, go through practice interviews and start essay drafting after the weekend crash boot camp. Students will complete the essential parts of all applications for three schools of their top choice after the week-long intensive boot camp.

MBA Application Boot Camp will feature programs led by top admissions experts who will share with prospective MBA students their over 12 years of admissions experience. The boot camp will address several topics including Career Goal-setting, Career Planning, Application Strategy Formulation, Preparation for Great Interviews, Crafting of Persuasive Essays, and Solicitation of Effective Recommendation Letters. The boot camp will also provide additional application guidance, such as advice on scholarship or loan applications and strategies on dealing with waitlist, deferral, re-application and dual-degree programs.

MBA Application Boot Camps – Details

-Crash Courses (Selected Cities & Online; 8-Hour One 2-day Weekend)

Cost: Regular – USD500; Promotional – USD450; MR Students – USD400

All attendees receive 20% off Admissions Consulting (AC) services subsequently; 25% off AC and GMAT at the same time subsequently.

-Intensive Courses (Selected Cities; 28-Hour One Week; 3-School Elite Pack Included after the course for complete end-to-end guidance)

Cost: Regular – USD5000; Promotional – USD4500; MR Students – USD4000

More details and registration can be found at our MBA Admissions section.

You are more likely to be successful in your attempt at getting into school if you follow a few simple rules in the process. Through honesty, self-knowledge of goals, desires, and abilities, a readiness for the school itself, and a realistic understanding of those reading your application you will be more likely to succeed in gaining acceptance to the school of your desire.

1: Honesty

In your application you will be asked intimate questions about personal motivation and what draws you in a particular direction. Try to answer these with as much truthfulness as possible. Admissions officers can often detect falsehood, so show your genuine reasons and motivations without disguise. Being yourself makes all the difference.

2: Matching Yourself

Admissions officers don’t just look at whether or not you have a great academic and professional background, your recommendations, and your interviews. They are also keen on finding candidates that would fit in well with their school. So look into not only ranking and GMAT medians, but also what kinds of students attend a particular program, what their backgrounds and goals are and how those match up with yours. Finding a school with likeminded people will contribute to both the success of your application and your future career path.

3: Determining Goals and Motivations

Defining your goals and motivations needs to happen well before you step onto campus for classes. You need to know where you want your MBA to take you. The process of figuring out your own goals and motivations will enable you to create focused, thoughtful, and clear applications that will make sense to admissions officers. Admissions consultants are often helpful in assisting candidates in the process of self-evaluation. Meeting with people who are further along in career paths that interest you may also prove helpful in determining your own path.

4: Don’t apply before you’re prepared to

It is better that you submit a clear, concise, well-thought out application rather than submitting a rushed application in the early rounds. Sending in an application that shows you at your best (the best GMAT you can achieve, the best recommendations you can have, the best essay statements you can compose) is most likely to be successful one, regardless of the round in which it is submitted.

5: Realistic Understanding of the Admissions Officials

Many people think admissions staff are extremely scrutinizing and perfectionists; in other words, machines with little understanding of the possibility for human error or mistakes. In fact, admissions officers are more likely to pay attention to interesting applications from a human perspective. So do not hesitate to show your true self to the readers of your application.

Posted on March 3, 2009 by Manhattan Review

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Getting on the wait list can be frustrating, especially when you’ve been wait-listed at one of your top choices. You should still congratulate yourself on the accomplishment because it means you’re close to being accepted. Many candidates are denied admission outright, so pat yourself on the back.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that with most business schools, you still have more work to do. Begin with the following steps:

· Be sure to contact the number provided by the school, if they’ve provided one, and let them know you are still interested.

· Let them know in writing of your continued interest.

· Write down the contacts you have at the school, whether they’re alumni, students, faculty, or admissions committee members. You may consider contacting them about your waiting list status later in the process.

· Some wait-listed applicants also visit the schools and meet personally with admissions committee members regarding their candidacy. This also shows great interest and drive to attend the school.

Just sitting back and waiting for an acceptance letter won’t help your candidacy, but well-thought-out moves based on why you were not originally accepted can. In order to figure out the reason for not being accepted, contact the school by phone or simply reassess your application based on statistics available on the school’s website for their class profile.

Weak GMAT. If based on GMAT scores, retake the GMAT. Each person is allowed to repeat the test up to five times a year. Take a course, if you didn’t originally. They are likely to improve your score. Send the updated scores to the school.

Weak Transcript. There is little you can do to dramatically improve a weak transcript. However, enrolling in courses and receiving good grades in business school preparatory classes shows initiative, interest, and improvement. Also consider sending in an additional recommendation from a professor that can attest to your academic strength.

Weak Work Experience. Let the school know about any added responsibilities or roles you have taken on since applying. Leadership or management roles may be especially helpful.

Weak Community Service. Send updates about leadership roles you’ve taken within community service organizations. Consider sending a recommendation related to your community service work, especially from a current student.

Weak Professional Goals. Consider telling the admissions committee more concisely where you have been and are going. You may do this in an interview, especially if you have yet to interview, or in a letter directed to an admissions committee member.

For a few schools—such as HBS or Wharton—that ask that you do not contact or update them, it’s best to follow their directions. Do not contact them. A concise, thoughtful recommendation from an alumnus or student may help, but otherwise allow them to simply make their own decision based on your previously submitted application.

With any school, be sure all correspondence is substantive and be careful not to overdo it. Use your people skills to understand when you have done enough.

At most top MBA programs, interviews are a required and important part of the application. Even where they are not required, they are generally recommended by admissions staff.

The interview offers admissions committees the opportunity to access a candidate’s ability to verbally communicate who they are. They see a candidate’s charm, beyond their written expression and their ability to think on their feet. Overall, a candidate should aim to behave in a manner that encourages conversation and open discussion. However, this requires practice. A few guidelines are the following:

· Aim for consistency with the written application. Candidates should be sure to review essay questions prior to the interview and make responses align with their written responses.

· Research the school. You may even want to have knowledgeable questions in mind for the interviewer related to the school’s program.

· If you tend to be nervous in interview situations, find a way to relax yourself.

· Be honest!

· Be prepared especially to explain your weaknesses and make them strengths. Avoid using the old, “I’m a perfectionist line.”

· Support your answers with examples.

In practice sessions with friends or co-workers or individually (ideally still aloud), practice the following themes:

College and (Graduate education if applicable). Why did you attend the college you did? What was your experience like? How were your classes? Which ones in particular stand out? What were your college extracurricular activities?

Job. Why did you choose the job(s) you chose?

MBA. Why? Why now? Why at ___? Where else did you apply? What is your top choice? Where would you like to work in short and long term? What curriculum methods interest you?

General. Tell us about yourself, according to your resume. Where do you see yourself in five years? Why do you leave the house each day? What is your opinion on random business issues (ethics, current markets)? How would people describe you, including friends, co-workers, and supervisors? Describe your style of leadership, your approach to ethical questions. Describe your strengths and weaknesses. Rate yourself in terms of motivation, teamwork, organization, loyalty, work ethic. If money was not a worry, what would you do?

Step 4: Application Components

Although there are many components to the application, the following are common concerns of applicants and admissions committee members.

· Essay. Overall, tell your story honestly and with humanity while always answering the question. Describe your teamwork successes and work both in and out of the workplace.

· GMAT. Take a practice test and assess your scores against the ranges of your target schools. If your score is not up to par, consider a professional test preparation course. Give yourself adequate time to reach your target score and practice.

· Interview. Interviews are generally relaxed, but it’s recommended that you practice prior to your interview. Review your application, the school’s website, and come ready to have a good conversation. Avoid extreme wordiness, shyness, and poor eye contact, which all can come across as poor preparedness.

Step 5: Choosing Your School

· Consider attending the weekends for admitted students, which will give you a chance to meet admitted students and might help you decide on a school.

· You also may consider getting in touch with current students, faculty members and admissions staff.

· Reassess location benefits, reputation and your goals.

Step 6: Summer Before School

Take advantage of the opportunity to get to know members of your class at local events or online forums. In addition, if you’re in need of preparation consider taking refresher courses. Some students also take this opportunity to travel or visit friends and family, as school and work may not allow for extended trips or visits in the near future.

Step 7: Getting a Job

The process varies according to the school and your interests. Generally, if you are interested in a field that is typical of students in your program, you will find that the business school has its own process you can follow as soon as 1-3 months after you begin your study. If you are interested in an atypical path, you might have to do additional legwork on your own in terms of making contacts and getting interviews. Yet, each school will help you perfect cover letters and resumes and tailor them to the jobs you want.

Posted on February 3, 2009 by Manhattan Review

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