Applying to MBA programs takes time and money – and it may seem like getting a result of “waitlisted” is just about as bad as receiving a death sentence. That’s not always the case, and knowing the right strategy to undertake in this case may tremendously improve your chances of getting off the waitlist and into your dream school.
Tom Kania, one of our top admissions consultants and a former admissions board member for the Wharton Business School, points out some key tactics to improve your chances of successfully getting off the waitlist and accepted into your school of choice:
- Have an experienced second opinion to help advise and refine your application materials. This will greatly increase your chances of acceptance, and make the most of the additional time spent on your application.
- Maintain communication with your school of choice and make it immediately clear, following the notification of your waitlist assignment, that you are serious about your attendance in the program if accepted. IMPORTANT: You may be asked to make a deposit to hold your place in the program that is nonrefundable if you are accepted and decide not to attend. Therefore, be sure that you will absolutely ready to attend should you get accepted off the waitlist. Also, be aware, that because you are in a holding position, if another previously accepted student declines admission, even only 1 day before commencement and you are selected off the waitlist to fill that slot, you must attend or forfeit the deposit.
- Decide what supporting materials you will submit to the board in hopes of getting them to select you. Tom warns that, “Applicants should be careful to censor what materials they send to their desired school. Flooding them with additional letters and notifications of small achievements can ultimately work against you, as the admissions board is already attempting to sift through application materials from thousands of students”.
- Make sure that you are prepared for the additional time and emotional energy that will go into the uncertainty of acceptance for the next few months. Are you willing to put yourself through this? Or, might it be better to move on and make a decision amongst the schools you were accepted to. This is a highly personal decision, but the stress and uncertainty of choosing to pursue a waitlist assignation are not to be undertaken lightly.
For more information, please read our MBA Waitlist Strategy
Harvard Business School has been implementing many new changes that all focus on collaboration. Every admitted student is given a face-to-face interview with the admission committee to get a better idea who they are as people, and how they work with others. Collaboration is ultimately the tool to making a difference in the world.
HBS MBA classes are always diverse. There is no ideal HBS student. The admissions committee is looking for students from a variety of backgrounds to present a host of perspectives and get students thinking creatively. Sure they will share common traits such as strong analytical skills,and good leadership qualities. But the important thing is that the students can work well with each other and bring their own unique perspective to the table, ultimately creating a more comprehensive and beneficial program.
New Initiatives at HBS
Harvard is encouraging undergraduate seniors to apply to HBS throughout the year instead of the usual just during the summer now that Harvard 2+2 Program is up and running. In keeping with these new changes, Harvard has added new course requirements for first year students emphasizing small group collaboration and hands-on application of the material. The new course series, called The Field Immersion Experience for Leadership Development (FIELD) is detailed in the 3 Modules below.
1) Leadership Module
The Leadership Module emphasizes small group work and close collaboration with the faculty to provide insight into the best leadership qualities.
2) Module 2
Module 2 will place new student in 14 different cities in 11 emerging economy countries to receive hands on experience in product development exercises. THe 11 countries will include China, South Africa, and Vietnam, among others.
3) Integrative Exercise in Entrepreneurship
In this module, the student start their own companies, focusing on marketing and customer service.
HBS Financial Aid Information
Harvard Business School encourages all undergraduate students to apply no matter their financial standing. Financial Aid is not applied for until after the acceptance of the student. Further, the Harvard Alumni have been very receptive to supporting new HArvard students and their education.
Some Quick HBS Admissions Facts
- Harvard looks at their prospective student holistically, never using a point system or structured formula to judge the quality of the student
- Harvard Business School class is about 39 percent women
- About one-third of the class members are non-U.S. citizens
For more details, please also read our Harvard Business School Admissions Tips.
Obtaining an Masters of Business Administration can provide you with a world of possibilities in you career. As Dave Wilson, president and chief executive officeer of the Graduate Mangement Admissions Council and a 1965 MBA grad from University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, says, ”An MBA opens the door,” ”When you get in there, it gives you a sense of perspective, a balance, a world view that is often different from what you would have had before you took the degree.”
Most student will give credit to the success they have had in the working world, to the material and lesson they learned in business school. Further, business school gives students the opportunity to really find themselves and learn what they are truly passionate about, ultimately translating this passion into a career. Under this pretense, Bloomberg Businessweek has tracked the growth of the top MBA grad of 1991 and examined what an MBA and 20 years of work has done for them. We have copied the five examples that they include below. Their stories show what an MBA can really give and what doors this degree can open.
Then: MIT Sloan School of Management Class of 1991, Seley Scholar, the most distinguished of Sloan’s achievement awards honoring outstanding leadership, professional promise, high academic achievement, and contributions to the school
Now: CEO, Education Dynamics
Tom Anderson graduated from Dartmouth in 1984 with a math degree and a plan to go into medicine. But after speaking to some doctors who expressed regret with their career choices due to the HMO mess that characterized the 1980s, Anderson changed his mind. He took a job teaching high school math for a few years and then joined Paine Webber as a stockbroker. He spent three years at the firm, and in that time he found himself drawn to asset management. But to make the job switch, he was going to need an MBA.
Anderson went out on a limb and applied to only one school: Sloan. “Fortunately I got in,” he says. “I went there expecting to go into asset management, but one of the great things about the top business schools is that you get incredible exposure to a bunch of different companies and different fields in different professions.”
After earning his MBA, Anderson signed on at McKinsey & Co. He worked there for the next decade, moving up the corporate ladder and eventually becoming a partner. He left McKinsey and joined Capital One, where he successfully ran, then sold, one of its medical lending businesses. Then, after taking on a similar role at three other businesses, Anderson gained a reputation as a star CEO in the private equity world.
Anderson now fuels a passion for education as the CEO of Education Dynamics, which aims to help adult learners find the right schools and the right degree. “Sloan was a life-changing experience for me on many dimensions,” he says. “If I could have figured out how to get paid and do that my whole life, I would have been a permanent student.”
Then: University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School Class of 1991, Valedictorian
Now: Co-founder, Real Change Strategies
Martha Blue’s career began in fixed income sales and trading at Goldman Sachs after she graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in December 1986 with an accounting degree from the Wharton School. She stayed at Goldman for two years before deciding it wasn’t for her.
Blue took a six-month break in Florence, Italy, then returned stateside with a plan to earn her MBA. After spending a weekend in Chapel Hill, N.C., she knew that UNC’s Kenan-Flagler School of Business was her MBA destination. “The school had so much energy and so many people dedicated to making it a world-class program,” Blue says. “It was the most realistic preparation for a work environment you could get at a business school.”
Upon graduating from Kenan-Flagler, Blue spent four years at McKinsey & Co., while trying to decide which industry she could bear spending the next 20 years of her life in. She ultimately settled on the nonprofit sector. After working for a conservation group for a year, she founded Blue Consulting in 1996, which served a mix of for-profit and nonprofit clients. Then, in 2007, she co-founded Real Change Strategies, which only serves nonprofit organizations.
Two decades later, Blue says her MBA was “crucial” to her career development. “It gave me a broad view that I would not otherwise have gotten,” she says.
Then: Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business Class of 1991, Valedictorian
Now: Founder, Bellwood Capital
South African by birth, Peter Ebell earned an engineering degree in 1986 from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He served in the navy for two years after graduation and then found a job at Johannesburg Consolidated Investments, focused on the gold and platinum mining industry.
After a year and a half, Ebell began to wonder what it would take to move up the corporate ladder into a “top job.” It was quickly evident he needed a strong background in finance to get those kinds of positions, so he decided to enroll in a one-year full-time MBA program at Southern Methodist. While there, he became especially impressed with the finance program, specifically the training in derivatives.
Once he obtained his MBA, Ebell returned to South Africa and became an equity analyst, eventually convincing the higher-ups at his firm that derivatives were something important to get involved in. Four years ago he moved back to the U.S. and is now in the process of seeding his own hedge fund, Bellwood Capital, in Massachusetts. “I’m very happy with my career path as it’s turned out,” Ebell says. “I wouldn’t say I learned a lot at Cox. It indicated to me where my interests lay, effectively, and because of that I was able to develop those interests.”
Then: UCLA Anderson School of Management Class of 1991, Edward W. Carter Fellow, awarded to the top 2 percent of each full-time graduating class at Anderson
Now: CEO, Neuraltus Pharmaceuticals
Andrew Grengos graduated from MIT in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering only to find that he didn’t think it would make for an interesting career. He worked for Morgan Stanley for two years before deciding he needed to be more well-rounded, having never taken a business or economics class in his undergraduate studies.
The Australia native looked at graduate schools on the West Coast and settled on Anderson after hearing about its strong finance program. “I truly had these big functional expertise blank spots,” Grengos says. “Knowing those blank spots and filling them, I absolutely think it was very helpful to me.”
After paying for his MBA completely out of pocket, Grengos spent more than six years working for McKinsey & Co., before moving into the biotech industry. He served as the chief business officer and head of corporate strategy for companies such as Chiron, Dynavax Technologies (DVAX), and Amgen (AMGN), before he decided he was ready to try his hand at running a company. He chose Neuraltus Pharmaceuticals based on its work in the neurodegenerative disease space, an area of interest to him because of his father’s bout with Alzheimer’s. “I thought there’d be some good karma spending a chunk of my career working in a place that was trying to help people like my father,” he says.
Then: Georgia Institute of Technology MBA Class of 1991, Student of the Year
Scott Moyer graduated from University of California, Riverside in 1987 with a degree in administrative studies, a “fairly generic degree,” he says, that lacked specificity.
After working for an engineer for a short while, Moyer followed his fiancée to Atlanta and enrolled in Georgia Tech’s full-time MBA program in 1989. He tested out of three of his core MBA courses and was able to take electives with the second-year MBAs. “Many of the (second-year students) were seriously trying to get into a full-time job,” Moyer says. “I figured out early on that if I could get straight A’s my first quarter, that would get me an internship.” And he did, with former Big Five accounting firm Arthur Andersen.
Moyer graduated with his MBA and CPA in 1991 and was hired full-time at Arthur Andersen. He worked there for four years before deciding he wanted to do more consulting work. He later worked with Coca-Cola (KO) and Siemens One (SI), where he became chief financial officer in 2001.
A recovering serial CFO, Moyer now works as a director at PricewaterhouseCoopers overseeing consulting projects. “I wouldn’t be anywhere if I hadn’t gone back to get an MBA,” Moyer says. “I was drifting in the wind trying to figure out what I wanted to do, and going to Tech made it very easy for me to focus on an area of expertise.”
“Standing Out” in a Business School Application
The desire to “stand out” (while inherent in all applicants), is not what the admissions committee wants you to be thinking about during your application process. The most important aspect is to answer the questions clearly, making sure you are doing the best job you can to tell YOUR story; instead of constantly trying to put yourself in a context outside of where you think the other applicants are.
I have heard admissions committee members say numerous times that over-thinking and over-crafting your application can ultimately hurt your overall chances of acceptance. Often times, students attempt to say exactly what they think the admission committee wants to hear, when what the admission committee REALLY wants to hear is the student’s story told truthfully and thoughtfully.
The Role the GMAT in your MBA application
The GMAT Exam is a chance for the student to prepare for an exam and take on a challenge. Of course, no student walks into an exam without preparing first. Use your GMAT efforts and scores to highlight the areas that you think may be missing from you undergraduate and work experience. If you do not have much quantitative experience, focus on that area of the GMAT to portray to admissions committee that you can do great work in that area as well. Remember it is still just one piece of the mosaic that is your application.
Many students get very anxious about the essay portion of an MBA application because they believe that this is the section that they have the most control over (unlike the recommendations, undergraduate records, and your job). However, it is important to remember that the essay is just another portion of the holistic presentation of your application. It is not a writing contest, but more so, another tool to present YOU as a prospective business school student. So personalize it. Focus on the areas of your life that you are most proud and passionate about. These items will ultimately be your strongest point in conveying your growth over time and your ability to succeed.
Try to pick a person to recommend you that you have known for a long time. Admissions Committees look for recommendations that are personalized and give somewhat of an inside look into how the student works and presents themselves.
Diversity on an Application
Diversity is an important factor to consider when applying to business school. However, it must be done so in the right way. Many times, students think they must emphasize the diversity that they have been exposed to in the workplace or at school. However, there are many different types of diversity to consider and a very important one is the way in which you lead. From the student leader who wants to be president of the United States, to the entrepreneur who likes to work in small teams and getting a new business up and running, business schools look for Diversity of Character and want to find student who can lead in effective and creative ways.
Hope these tips help! For more tips, please visit our MBA Admissions Advice.
Manhattan Review GMAT Prep is into its eleventh year of helping students achieve high GMAT scores and get into top MBA programs. Now, more than ever, GMAT score is essential to the strength of a business school application. With an MBA degree from top schools becoming ever more in demand, and thus the MBA application processes becoming ever more competitive, students are always looking for a way to make their application stand out. A high GMAT score is instrumental for any student who wishes to be accepted to a top MBA program. With a decade of experience, more than any other comparable GMAT prep company, Manhattan Review is continuing to educate students on how to get the top scores necessary to get into the top schools.
The story of Manhattan Review began in an Ivy-League MBA classroom in summer 1999. Dr. Joern Meissner, while teaching at Columbia Business School, heard from his students that they and their friends were frustrated with conventional GMAT preparation options. In response, he started to create original lectures that focused on presenting the GMAT content in a coherent and concise manner. Dr. Meissner then shared his new approach with students preparing for the GMAT, and it proved immediately popular. Based on these methods, the company Manhattan Review was created with the purpose of providing higher quality GMAT preparation.
Throughout Manhattan Review’s history, the GMAT has changed in many ways. Since the development of those original lectures, the team at Manhattan Review has expanded and adapted its teaching methods to reflect the changes in the test. Students who are retaking the GMAT after a few years need to be aware of the ways in which the test differs from when they originally took it. And any student preparing to take the GMAT needs up-to-date information on the test and the ways it has been modified.
“Over the last ten years,” said Manhattan Review’s founder, Dr. Joern Meissner, “we’ve seen the GMAT becomes more important to the MBA admissions process. We’re proud of the work we’ve done, and we look forward to providing help to students in need of GMAT preparation for many years to come.” She added, “This milestone of being a premier GMAT provider for a decade gives us a chance to reflect on the current landscape of highly selective programs.”
Meantime, students are increasingly seeking the knowledge and support offered by Manhattan Review MBA admissions consultants to gain acceptance into the top business schools around the world. A combination of former admissions committee member experience, insightful advice and customized service distinguishes Manhattan Review’s admissions consulting services. Manhattan Review’s various MBA admissions consulting services are designed to cater to the needs of GMAT students seeking an additional edge in the MBA application and admissions process.
Manhattan Review is proud to announce its popular MBA Gate event is now available in New York City, Chicago, Boston and Washington DC! Our unique Business School admissions event, MBA Gate, has been well attended since its launch in 2000. The tour focuses on honing young professionals’ career building skills and providing face-to-face in-depth interaction with business schools around the world.
Why Should You Attend?
- No Entrance Fee to A Popular Event with Nearly 10-Year History
- Career Building Skills Crash Course at a Central Location (Typical Topics – Interview Skills, Presentation Skills, Business Writing, Resume Building, Negotiation Skills, Cultural Sensitivity, etc)
- Face-To-Face Interaction and in-depth Discussion with key recruiters from top schools around the world
- Short-Listed for a dedicated Q&A with admissions officers (Invite Only)
- Learn From Experts And Successful Professionals
- New York (Wednesday, September 9, 09: 6pm-10pm)
- Chicago (Saturday, September 12, 09: 1pm-5pm)
- Boston (Wednesday, September 16, 09: 6pm-10pm)
- Washington DC (Saturday, September 19, 09: 1pm-5pm)
Who Should Attend:
- College Grads (up to 5 years of work experience)
- Young Professionals interested in honing in career building skills
- Anyone interested in MBA (Full- or Part-Time or Executive) program
- Anyone interested in Continuing Education Programs
Register here or call (212) 375-9600 directly
For more information about our GMAT preparation courses and MBA Admissions Consulting services, please feel free to email us directly. Thanks!
This week we’d like to share some emails we’ve received from students in the UK!
I did a weekend crash course with Manhattan Review in London, and found the rigorous practice we did in class very helpful in exposing each of our weaker points. Our tutor gave us lots of useful advice about techniques for tackling specific question types and noting common cognitive errors which would have been much more difficult to gather from studying alone. I also took some private tuition with the crash course tutor, who helped me with areas that I particularly needed to focus on. The tutor gave frank feedback about my weak areas whilst at the same time offering encouragement and showing a good sense of humour. The Manhattan team were also willing to accommodate my availability and quick to respond to requests. I got 720 in the GMAT – many thanks to Manhattan for all their support!
All the best,
Hello Henry, or as people say around these parts, ‘Howdy’!,
I am e-mailing you in between marketing and accounting classes at the McCombs Business School (University of Texas at Austin), so you could definitely say that I have progressed in terms of my MBA plans!
I took the MR crash course with David Chambers as my instructor. I found David’s tuition to be first-class; and this definitely helped me get a good score first time (710, 5.5AWA) in the GMAT exam that I took about a month after the course.
I was accepted into the University of Texas on a Nippon Foundation Scholarship. I resigned from my job and I haven’t looked back since!
Like many business schools, London Business School (LBS) is receiving an increasing number of applications for the 2008-2009 school year. Applicants to LBS recognize the advantages of studying in London, a center of world finance and business, and many are interested in not only learning from a highly knowledgeable faculty, but also surrounding themselves with students who have significant professional experience. The LBS program lasts between 15 and 21 months, during which time the school offers a broad range of academic and professional opportunities.
For applicants to LBS, it is important to consider that LBS places a great deal of weight on work experience. Getting in to LBS without any significant work experience, e.g. straight from college, is quite unlikely. It seems from a recent chat on Business Week with David Simpson of the Admissions team at LBS that 2 years is almost a minimum for admitted students. One reason for this is that LBS is interested in business people who have not only worked for companies, but also led teams or managed projects. These students then have their own valuable experiences to share in the classroom so that they can learn from each other’s past successes and stumbles. Since gaining such insights takes time, LBS generally admits students with around five years of work experience. When they evaluate applicants, their number one interest is to develop an understanding of what the applicant has done professionally beyond academics and extracurricular activities. Therefore, those applying to LBS should have a solid base of professional experiences to drawn on and to delineate in their application.
However, work alone is not the only key to LBS admission. The school also seeks high GMAT scores, a median of 690, and strives for diverse international representation in each class.
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- Three ways to ace your MBA Admission interview through proper prep
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- The Ten Toughest Business Schools to Enter
- Basic Strategies to Conquer the GMAT
- The Profile of the 2011 GMAT Test Taker Demonstrates Growing Diversity.
- Business School Scholarship Application Advice
- The Changing Face of Executive MBA programs
- Business School Reapplication: To do, or not to do?