Doing the appropriate research prior to your MBA Admissions Interview is of utmost importance.Here are three solid keys to ace your face-to-face!
- Know how you fit the program
Chances are you have already demonstrated your interest in the particular program in your application and essay – so go over those again. Refresh your memory on why your professional and educational background matches the school’s methodology, strengths and career opportunities. Dig out your old essays and re-read them from beginning to end. This solid written document will remind you of why you were interested in the school in the first place. Remember that there will be some hard questions about why this program is the right fit for you – ex: If you were accepted to this school as well as your other top choices, why would THIS MBA Program suit your professional needs best? Be prepared with an answer.
It is important to remember that you might not have much time with the interviewer and the interview might be cut short and asked more specific questions about how you will contribute meaningfully to the program. Dig deep for this research by talking to current and former students who are involved in a club or extracurricular that you are interested in. A little contact can go a long way and shows that you have done your homework.
- Know yourself
This is hugely important. You can talk about the school for hours, but how your personality would add to the patchwork of students for a particular admission cycle. Once a Harvard applicant who had listed singing as her passion was asked to singe DURING the interview. This unique skill can be just enough to push the needle for admission, so have a strategy about how much you want to share and when. Be prepared with a list of your top five skills, experiences, accomplishments and have examples ready to back up your point. In addition, don’t forget to drill on the common questions like: what are your weaknesses, what are your plans for right after graduation, your personal contributions to a team environment and explaining a career change.
- Know the school
Much like you prep for the particular program, you need to know the school. What is their history of admitted students? Do they value innovation, leadership, teamwork and challenging conventional thinking? Many school claim they do this, but find articles and information about how they are practicing what they preach. Knowing how they define their core values and how your admission will contribute to that shows that you have done your appropriate homework and are ready for a well-rounded MBA Admissions Interview.
Now go do the research, hone your talking points and nail that interview! Email us for a free MBA candidacy evaluation.
Applying for a business school is quite daunting and it is hard to know what the admissions committee of a prospective business program wants from you as an applicant. This is an obvious statement but one that has been tackled by Melissa Korn of The Wall Street Journal. Last year, she interviewed Derrick Bolton, Assistant Dean and M.B.A. Admissions Director at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and asked a lot of questions about what he and his colleagues look for in an applicant. We included parts of the interview below as well as highlight some important points to keep in mind.
(The original WSJ interview can be found here.)
WSJ: Do you check out the GMAT score and if it’s below a certain number, put that application aside?
Mr. Bolton: That would rob us of a lot of talent. The GMAT is helpful in terms of understanding how someone can perform in the first year, but that’s one small piece of the overall M.B.A. We [look at candidates] holistically [academic, professional, personal]. That depends on the candidate being authentic with us, which I recognize is hard because it takes a degree of self-confidence to be able to tell your story to total strangers.
- Notice while the GMAT is important, it is not the end-all, be-all; admissions looks at all the things you have demonstrated and see if you are fit for the program.
WSJ: What do applicants worry about too much?
Mr. Bolton: They worry most about scores, they worry about essays. I think they should spend more time thinking about references. They often think about it from the perspective of, ‘I need to pick three references who show different aspects of my personality,’ not from the perspective of, ‘I need to pick three people who are going to be my strongest advocates.’
- Mr. Bolton stresses the importance of your references and what they say. They can support you 110% and are able articulate that well on paper, but if they all say the same thing then it will not count for much. Each reference should be able to tell the admissions committee different reasons why they are rooting for you.
For more expert opinions and advice, contact Manhattan Review today.
Manhattan Review provides its students with topnotch prep courses that will allow students to tackle the challenges found in the GMAT. For young and aspiring entrepreneurs, entry into a top business school is vital to their future success. You have us on your side and quite frankly, our courses are more than capable of pushing you over the top. Assistance like that is valuable and necessary if you want to enter one of the ten toughest business schools in the country:
|School name (state)||Full-time applicants||Full-time acceptances||Full-time acceptance rate||U.S. News rank|
|Stanford University (CA)||6,618||466||7.0%||1|
|Harvard University (MA)||9,134||1,013||11.1%||1|
|University of California—Berkeley (Haas)||3,444||420||12.2%||7|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)||4,490||599||13.3%||4|
|New York University (Stern)||4,416||601||13.6%||11|
|Columbia University (NY)||6,669||1,062||15.9%||8|
|Dartmouth College (Tuck) (NH)||2,744||492||17.9%||9|
|University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)||6,442||1,209||18.8%||3|
|Yale University (CT)||2,823||539||19.1%||10|
|Northwestern University (Kellogg) (IL)||5,305||1,119||21.1%||4|
If the school you were seeking a nod from was not on this list, you can expect a 50-50 chance of getting accepted. While that may seem low to you, it does not beat the extremely low acceptance rates that Stanford University, Harvard University, and UC-Berkley are known for. Manhattan Review’s founder, Prof Dr. Joern Meissner, received his Ph.D in Management Science from Columbia University, which currently boasts an acceptance rate of 15.9%. With this in mind, you can use years of knowledge and prep expertise collected by him and his staff to assist you in preparing for the business world.
Much of the information above can be found in the original U.S. News article here.
For more information on a Free admissions consultation and GMAT preparation, contact Manhattan Review today.
For MBA applicants, it is already well known that obtaining their advanced degree will be costly and most likely require some combination of loans, financial aid and personal investment.
Some employers still fund or at least partially fund their employees graduate business education, however the number of companies still practicing this has dwindled in lieu of the our current economic state. Unlike a lot of private undergraduate schools, the offers of MBA scholarships based on merit are much harder to come by. While many student loan brokers are willing to approve much larger amounts of money for graduate students than undergraduate, it is important to know that there ARE scholarships out there, if you are willing to do some in depth research into a lot of different organizations, both public and private.
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:
- Make significant changes to your previous application- in form and content
- Use only specific examples and anecdotes when detailing your achievements or skills.
- 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.
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.
Time to explore the emerging popularity of the specialized MBA! This may come as a surprise to those you wanting to pursue a more general MBA, but it appears for some people something more specialized is preferable.
In an article a while ago, the author gives us the example of Adam Krueckenberg, 37, who had a great job as a vice president at Fidelity, but who wanted to return to school for his MBA. Boston College was the school that sparked his interest and not for any other reason than it offered exactly what he was looking for: a dual MBA/MS in church management and pastoral ministry. This program has been offered at Boston College since 2005.
Krueckenberg goes onto say: “I wanted a career that was more spiritually fulfilling. I wouldn’t have been able to train for that in a more traditional setting.”
This recent trend, indicated by the Journal, “has crept into most field over the past few decades, but few have embraced it more enthusiastically than the graduate business schools.” Since 1990, there has been a shift in MBAs becoming more and more specialized, ranging from subjects such as aerospace, wine management, luxury goods, real estate, and energy management.
The percentage of business school students enrolled in specialized programs has risen by about 4% each year since 2001. All in all, more than 1/5 of business schools students are seeking a specialized degree.
How does a specialized business degree work? Evidently, such programs don’t focus on the big picture of their focus, rather they zero in on practical and commercial applications. There are schools such as the University of Chicago and Columbia, which have rather broad business degrees with concentrations like finance and marketing, but then there are schools like the University of Wisconsin in Madison that has made a niche for itself as being a specialized MBA Mecca.
The University of Wisconsin eradicated its general MBA in 2004, focusing, instead, on 13 specializations – some of which include market research and real estate. Students who know exactly what they want to do are often attracted to specialized MBAs, in addition to older applicants with business experience who wants to change fields altogether.
Other specialized programs, such as the University of Oklahoma’s Price College of Business, are at an advantage because of their location. The University of Oklahoma is right in the midst of pure oil country and many graduates pursue a career in the oil field as executives. Rutgers University, on the other hand, within such proximity to Johnson & Johnson as Mereck, has a pharmaceutical focus, which often attracts students to work in New Jersey after graduation.
On an international level, such specialized schools were adopted early, especially in France. The Essec Business School near Paris focuses entirely on international luxury and brand management, accepting only 40 students a year and conducting classes in English. The Bordeaux Management School attracts students interested in the wine and spirits field with the location enriching their studies dramatically.
Does this seem contradictory in an economic environment where a general MBA might be smarter than a specialized one? Hess concludes: “…going deep instead of wide seems to fit right in with an increasingly segmented world.”
MBA curriculums nationwide are making some changes, many say due to the recent ’08 economic crisis in an attempt to focus more on business ethics and areas that MBA programs have previously neglected.
According to a recent article from Bloomberg Businessweek, written by Francesca Di Meglio, Haas School of Business at UC-Berkeley is among these schools to make such notable changes, which Dean Richard Lyons hopes will ultimately cause a “revolution” by producing what he terms as “path-bending leaders.”
The biggest change to Haas’ program is the new emphasis in analytical thinking, flexibility and creativity. Additionally, two primary courses have been restructured: “Leadership & Communication” and “Leading People.” Also, a new one-unit course has been added called “Problem Finding and Problem Solving.” Workshops and coaching sessions on leadership skills are also now included in the new Haas curriculum.
Why the new changes? Lyons and the Haas community created these changes from a very personal standpoint. Lyons is quoted with saying: “Society faces a host of [issues] – be it in health care, energy, materials use, demographic implications, safe water, etc. If paths continue in a straight line, they will hit a wall in our kids’ lifetime, if not our own.”
Other schools have also been seeing somewhat of a dramatic course overhaul – some of which include Yale School of Management, Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Ross School of Business.
According to an article by Greg Bordonaro from HartfordBusiness.com, the University of Connecticut School of Business is trying to create a more student-centric curriculum that gives students a larger say in their overall academic plan. In the long run, the school eventually plans to cut its traditional concentrations, such as finance, marketing, information technology and real estate to allow students to make for themselves a more individual plan of study within those majors or disciplines.
UConn hopes its business school will climb into the top 20 rankings of MBA programs in Forbes Magazine, as it currently remains 27th.
John Fernandes, president and CEO of The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, insists that allowing students more ability to choose their curriculum is a must. According to HartfordBusiness.com, Fernandes also claims B-Schools are attempting to churn out more well-rounded students, who have an ethical compass to guide them in future business decisions. He says, “It’s not enough to just make money anymore. You must also be a good citizen. Many MBA programs are focusing their curriculum on building individuals with enhanced ethical capacity and a stronger commitment to society.”
Many students at Hass felt like the changes in the program were a long time coming. Other business schools, such as Yale, implemented a change in curriculum as early as 2006 with interdisciplinary courses around particular organizations or customers and investors. Stanford began a new curriculum that was focused around customization and flexibility, allowing students to tailor their coursework to their previous education, work experience and future ambitions.
While some critics may question the usefulness of an MBA in today’s society, these curriculum changes seem to be the answer to that question. Businessweek quotes David Garvin, a professor at Harvard by saying, “We talked to many deans and executives and they all say that there’s a greater need for self-awareness on the part of MBAs.”
Looks like these changes are here to stay.
There seems to be an interesting trend happening amongst undergraduate liberal arts programs all across the country. While it seems a course in finance or general business was hardly what undergrads were looking for, there is now a higher demand for such courses.
Business Week’s reporter Adam Fusfeld claims: “For liberal arts students, a little bit of business knowhow is a powerful thing, giving them the confidence they need to work in a business setting.” For students vying for full-time jobs after graduation, schools don’t want them to appear at a disadvantage. Hence, courses like Introduction to Accounting, Business Management, Human Resources Management and Business Communications are becoming options for Philosophy, English and History majors. Why the sudden interest in business courses? Could it be the recent ongoing economic recession?
Some schools, like Northwestern, which terminated its undergraduate business program 41 years ago, are offering certificate programs for students who have fulfilled a certain number of credits with a B-average GPA. Such types of certificates appear to appeal to students, as it’s something they can add to their resumes when applying for internships and full-time employment. Since the start of the economic downturn in 2008, there has been an increased interest in such business certificate-like undergraduate business programs all over the country.
While the United States still holds a firm stance on the importance of a broad liberal arts education during one’s undergraduate years, perhaps a basic understanding of finance and business would be advantageous to all students, no matter what their eventual focus may be. While the recession has certainly caused some negative effects on the workplace, perhaps this is an unusual advantage for all undergraduate-bound students in the future.
- Pace It to Ace It – Test Taking Tips for the SAT
- Specialized Business MS Degrees on the Rise
- Three ways to ace your MBA Admission interview through proper prep
- Applying for an M.B.A.: Reading Between the Lines
- 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?