30 05, 2017

MBA Application Deadlines for 2017-2018

By | 2017-05-30T14:01:26+00:00 May 30th, 2017|Columbia, Dartmouth Tuck, Harvard, HBS, INSEAD, MBA, MBA Admissions, MBA Essays, NYU Stern, Ross, Wharton|0 Comments

The top MBA business school deadlines for the 2017-2018 admissions cycle are starting to come in!

I will be updating the MBA IVY LEAGUE  blog as Round 1 dates and essay questions continue to be announced, but for now, the big changes from last year include Harvard (HBS) moving their deadline up to Sept 6 (R1) and Jan 3 (R2) respectively, and Wharton now more aligned with other “Top Ten” MBA programs, with a Sept 19th deadline for Round 1.

As mentioned, essay questions for some of the MBA programs have also already been announced, so while we still wait for others, check the list out below and check back soon!

And remember, if you need extra help or advice on this year’s application:

I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer and a Harvard grad, and run the top MBA admission consulting firm www.MBA IVY LEAGUE.com  Contact me today and get into the school of your dreams!]

27 01, 2017

Your EMBA Strategy: Should You Apply for an Executive MBA?

By | 2017-04-17T17:05:52+00:00 January 27th, 2017|Chicago Booth, Columbia, Darden, Dartmouth Tuck, EMBA, Fuqua, GMAT, GRE, Harvard, HBS, INSEAD, Kellogg, MBA, MBA Admissions, MBA Essays, MIT Sloan, NYU Stern, Ross, Stanford, UC Berkeley Haas, UCLA Anderson, Uncategorized, Wharton|0 Comments

The Executive MBA (or, as it’s more commonly know, EMBA) is for those professionals applying to business school who already have more than a few years experience under your belt.  You’ve graduated from good college, you have a strong job, and you’ve been working in your career now, on average 8-10+ years.

You’ve also probably reached a level in your specific industry where you know you want more out of your career.  Or, perhaps you simply want to go in a completely new direction, and you know you need to first reinforce your skill-set, knowledge base, contacts and networking in order to get you to the next credentialed level.

This is exactly what the EMBA was designed for: people like you who have already achieved a level of professional success: whether that’s on the corporate side, in entrepreneurship, the finance industry, energy industry, or whatever your cup of tea is.  You simply know you now want to take your career someplace even more interesting.

There are a few thing you need to know first though, about applying to this type of executive business school program, in order to make sure you first have all your ducks in a row:

  • EMBA programs usually work on rolling admissions.  That means research your schools early, and know their deadlines.  Then, map out a game plan that gets your applications in earlier rather than later, as spots in EMBA programs (versus the regular MBA) start to fill up (and thereby get more competitive) as the deadline nears.
  • You may not need a GMAT or GRE score!  This is great news to some, and at times the #1 reason for applying for the EMBA over the regular, full-time MBA.  Each school is different though, and some programs (like Wharton) still require it, so as with the above point, do your research on your schools and check early.
  • EMBA programs are usually almost always part-time.  This is usually a plus for busy, successful professionals who fully intend to keep working full-time while they attend school — and for most people who are at the EMBA level, that’s a work week that’s already pretty darn full, so this is good news.
  • The EMBA program is slightly easier to get into than the full-time MBA.  Not really true.  You have to be qualified, and of course, it will depend on the school.  Wharton’s EMBA program, in my opinion, (and I have been working as a top MBA & EMBA admissions consultant now for a very long time), is that it is just as difficult to get into as their regular, full-time MBA program, and is one of the most competitive EMBA programs around.  Not to discourage anyone, but if you are going to apply, just make sure you don’t skimp on anything: your resume, the essays, your interview.  You simply always want to put forth your absolutely best.
  • They’re not going to care about your undergraduate grades. Probably true!  Of course everything always matters and counts when admissions is evaluating your overall profile, and you want to make sure you’re as competitive as possible, in every given area, to give yourself the best chance, but that “C” you got 10 years ago now in Chemistry or Advanced Calculus while you were an undergrad…not going to make much of a difference!
  • The EMBA is all about now:  what are you doing in your career now?  Today? What does your resume look like? How many people do you manage?  Do you have any direct reports?  What level of responsibility do you have within your department, or perhaps this is your own company! How do your application essays, your interview, your profile, and your resume add up?  And what about your rec letters?  Do people speak highly of you, and do you present yourself as a natural innovator and leader? These are the things that will get you in!

The Executive EMBA is all about helping today’s business leaders and visionaries move higher by giving them the tools and relationships they need, and some of the best schools out there for today’s top EMBA include: Wharton, Columbia, MIT Sloan, NYU Stern, Chicago Booth, and Kellogg on top of many more.

Thinking about applying for your EMBA and want more information?  Feel free to contact me before for an initial consultation. Current EMBA deadlines for Fall 2017 matriculation are coming up, depending on your school, but there is still ample time to apply! Happy to take your calls:

[I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer and a Harvard grad, and currently run the MBA & EMBA admissions firm: MBA Ivy League. Contact me today for a free consultation and get into the business school of your dreams: www.MBAIvyLeague.com  / MBAIvyLeagueInfo@gmail.com / (646) 276-7042 ]

13 06, 2016

The Best Test for Your MBA: GMAT or GRE?

By | 2017-04-17T17:05:52+00:00 June 13th, 2016|Chicago Booth, Columbia, Darden, EMBA, Fuqua, GMAT, GRE, Harvard, HBS, IE, INSEAD, Kellogg, LBS, MBA, MBA Admissions, MBA Essays, MIT Sloan, NYU Stern, Ross, Stanford, Wharton|0 Comments

If you’re applying for your MBA this year, you’re probably in the midst of starting to study for the GMAT – the traditional test needed to apply to U.S. business schools.

However, what you may not be aware of, is that more and more business schools are now using the GRE and valuing it just as equally within the MBA admissions process.

So, what’s the difference between the GMAT and the GRE, and does taking one over the other have any benefits or disadvantages?

In the U.S., having a GMAT score is going to be more common than an GRE score in terms of MBA admissions.  However, the GMAT is very heavy on quant and math skills, and if you’re interested in getting your MBA so you can continue to excel in your career in an industry like communications, social media management, strategy consulting, HR, advertising, entrepreneurship, or something that requires strong verbal and written skills OVER mathematical ability to succeed, then you seriously may want to consider if taking the GRE instead of the GMAT is the better test for you.

That’s right:  the GRE is the stronger test to take if you think you can score very high on verbal.

In this same vein, the GMAT is the test to take if you’re a financial analyst, use numbers in your everyday role at work, or are working or planning to work in the investment banking industry on Wall Street, or in anything related to finance.

Need a good GMAT to GRE score converter? Or simply want to see how your scores measure up?  Try this chart here:

Your GRE verbal scores run across the top of the chart, and your GRE quantitative scores run down the left-hand side. This chart can be used backwards too, so if you know what you got on the GMAT you can find that number first and find out how it compares to the GRE, and then make the best choice from there!

GMAT-GRE-conversion-chart-MBA-Ivy-LeagueGMAT-GRE-Conversion Chart-2-MBA-Ivy-League

GMAT-GRE-conversion-chart 3-MBA-Ivy-League

I will also say that the GMAT is still the most common business school test for U.S. business schools, including HBS, Wharton, Stanford, Chicago Booth, Kellogg, and Columbia but that’s starting to change, while the GRE is still the more common of the two tests in the U.K., Canada, Asia, and Europe.  

So, if you’re living overseas, or thinking of applying to a non-U.S. MBA or EMBA program, INSEAD, Said (Oxford), and Judge (Cambridge) with the exception of The London School of Business (because it draws so heavily from the financial industry in terms of its applicants) all prefer the GRE.

The “Top Ten” though in the U.S. is making the change, and depending upon where your skill set lies, consider which test – the GMAT or the GRE –  is going to give you the best possibilities!

[I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer, and a Harvard graduate and run the MBA & EMBA business school admissions firm MBA IVY LEAGUE.  Contact us for a free profile evaluation today, and get into the school of your dreams!]

12 03, 2016

The Hail Mary MBA Pass! Final Deadlines Still Exist!

By | 2017-04-17T17:05:53+00:00 March 12th, 2016|Darden, EMBA, Fuqua, GMAT, GRE, Harvard, HBS, IE, INSEAD, Ivy League, Kellogg, LBS, MBA, MBA Admissions, MBA Essays, MIT Sloan, Ross, Wharton|0 Comments

So, let’s say you applied to business school this year and…you didn’t get in.  Yet, you really, really want to start an MBA program in September of THIS year, and not have to wait an entire full year before even being able to begin. However, it’s late in the game.  Really late as most of you know: most deadlines have passed…but noticed I used the word “MOST” = as of today’s date (March 12, 2016) there are still schools out there – top schools – top MBA programs, with deadlines you can still make if you start now.

So, what are these schools, and should you even really bother?  Most will be surprised to learn that some of the Round 3 deadlines still out there, are at some of the most competitive MBA programs around, and even though most of these schools have already compiled their incoming class list there is still room for “adjustments.”

People will decide to go to other schools, saying yes to one means saying “no” to others and that leaves OPENINGS.  Schools will also “hold” spots until the very last date of the admission process, and even if you are wait-listed, getting in off the wait-list and not having to wait an entire FULL YEAR just to be able to begin the MBA program of your dreams that you would rather start THIS September than next…makes an MBA application now a “Hail Mary” end-of-game pass into the endzone, but a pass that I recommend.

It’s like this: if waiting another year is going to be more annoying to you than anything, if you can’t stand having to put your life on hold, then throw that ball and take the chance that maybe, just maybe you can actually get in.  All you stand to lose is the price of the application.  What you can gain could save you TIME, a lot of time, by putting your career and education right on track, and we all know that time and opportunity is something you can’t exactly get back.

So, the schools with deadlines still open as of today’s date (March 12, 2016):

Round 3_1

Round 3_2

Screen shot 2016-01-27 at 11.27.03 AM

So. again, let me stress, there are still spots. Every admissions officer I’ve ever talked to tells me, year after year, that they always hold at least “a few” spaces for the student who comes to them late, yet who they know would make a strong contribution to the class.  If the admission committees didn’t believe this, and put action behind their words, there would be no “Round 3!”  The schools would have a Round 1 and Round 2 and that would be it. Round 3 is there for a reason, and yes, people do actually get in.

So, wouldn’t it be nice if that was YOU?  Remember: it’s not over until it’s over. So, if you’re depressed about not getting in this year and the idea of having to spend yet another year at your current job before you can even BEGIN to make headway into your future, then just look at the list, choose your schools, and take the step and apply.  Throw another hat into the ring. Make that pass into the end zone. Take your application, give it your best shot in these weeks to come and you may just be pleasantly surprised.  Sometimes that pass wins the game!

And, worst case scenario, you that much ahead for a serious start to your MBA future next year.

[Considering an MBA or EMBA? I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer and a Harvard graduate, and currently run the MBA admissions firm MBA IVY LEAGUE out of New York.  As one of the top MBA admissions firms in the country, we help the most competitive students and professionals get into the business school of their dreams.  Contact me for a free initial consultation today!  www.MBAIvyLeague.com ]

27 01, 2016

The Round 3 MBA: Should You Apply?

By | 2017-04-17T17:05:53+00:00 January 27th, 2016|EMBA, GMAT, HBS, INSEAD, Kellogg, LBS, MBA, MBA Admissions, MBA Essays, MIT Sloan, Ross, Wharton|0 Comments

The Round 3 MBA: is it worth it?  Whereas most of you think it’s probably too late in the game to apply for your MBA at a top school if you’re even looking at Round 3, and that you would just be wasting your time, I’m here to say that isn’t necessarily true. While most students have in fact already submitted their MBA applications and got them in either right before or right after Christmas, applying for a Round 3 MBA can still work and actually be a valuable strategy and course of action in certain situations.

The biggest deterrent here is that, yes, most of the top business schools have already made a large chunk of their admission decisions, so by the pure math alone, the smaller number of spaces left for Round 3 students are going to make admission in this round more cut-throat and harder, BUT there are still spots left at every single one of the schools, and if you’re qualified, have strong professional experience, a viable GMAT score for the school you’re targeting, and perhaps just didn’t apply Round 1 or 2 because of various time-intensive projects you were involved in at work, excessive business travel for a global client, finishing up your time in the military, or were in the process of switching jobs…a Round 3 MBA can and does make perfect sense, and will to the admissions committee too.

In other words, there are still spots, and if your reasons for waiting seem perfectly professionally understandable and valid then wouldn’t it be so much better to apply now and get your life going in the direction you want it to go in (a Fall 2016 admission to a solid MBA program) versus waiting an entire full year in order to even begin the process and try again.

There is a lot to strategy in this too – if for some reason you don’t get in this Round, you will have something to examine and go over for months (and at that point, I would recommend a consultant who can help you fortify your application as well as analyze what happened and what perhaps went wrong) before you then apply again. In other words,  if needed, it gives you a second chance to make the best application possible.

Again though, let me stress, there are spots. Every admissions officer I’ve talked to tells me, year after year, that they always hold spaces for the student who comes in late, yet they know would make a strong contribution to the class.  If the admission committees didn’t believe this, and put action behind their words, there would be no “Round 3.”  Everyone would apply Round 1 and Round 2 and that would be it. It’s there for a reason, and yes, people do actually get in.

So, wouldn’t it be nice if it was you?  Don’t delay another year.  Worst case scenario, all you lose is your application fee, but what you can gain by taking the challenge is a serious start to your future THIS year.

Remaining MBA deadlines for 2016:

Header

Round 3_a,jpg

Round 3_1

Round 3_2

Screen shot 2016-01-27 at 11.27.03 AM

[Considering an MBA or EMBA program? I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer and a Harvard graduate, and currently run the MBA admissions firm MBA IVY LEAGUE out of New York City.  As one of the top MBA admissions firms in the country, we help the best students and professionals get into the business school of their dreams.  Contact me for a free initial consultation today!  www.MBAIvyLeague.com ]

 

26 03, 2015

“DINGED” : Why Your MBA Application Didn’t Make It

By | 2017-04-17T17:05:54+00:00 March 26th, 2015|Darden, EMBA, Fuqua, GMAT, GRE, Harvard, HBS, IE, INSEAD, Ivy League, Kellogg, LBS, MBA, MBA Admissions, MBA Essays, MIT Sloan, Ross, vanderbuilt, Wharton|0 Comments

If you applied for your MBA degree this past year, you might (unfortunately) be all too familiar with what the word “dinged” means in the context of MBA applications.

To put it bluntly for those who don’t know, it means that you didn’t get in – that you were rejected from your ideal school.  Turned down.  Cast aside.  Thrown away. Stripped of your dreams, and basically told in no uncertain terms: NO.

And, if you’re like most MBA applicants, especially those who applied to some of the most competitive MBA or EMBA programs around (including but not limited to HBS, Wharton, Kellogg, Booth, Stanford, Columbia, or MIT Sloan) and THEN got rejected when you thought you were really in the running…you probably actually have no idea at all what happened, or why you were, in fact, turned down at all.

Admissions committees leave you in dark when it comes to not getting in.

But, if you are now thinking of applying again for next year, after you already got rejected and you have already made this failed first attempt, you really need to understand:

1). Why you were “Dinged,” and

2). Exactly what you need to do to repair and improve your chances this year when you submit your application again.

Too many applicants simply try again with the same application!  This is a horrible, horrible, plan of action as getting “dinged” was not just an oversight of the admissions committee.  It means that there was something wrong with your application that you, now, absolutely need to understand, repair, and fix.

So, it’s not just all about taking the GMAT again and trying to raise your GMAT score (though that’s always a good thing), BUT your GMAT score more than likely truly didn’t make or break you.  Something else did, either in your essays, your job experience, your interview or perhaps you have something on your social media sites online that really shouldn’t be out there if you’re trying to make a good impression (and, yes, they do look).

Most of the time though, it’s usually about knowing how to add more detailed examples to your MBA essays that better exemplify your points, fine-tuning your “story” or career narrative so it really shows your “journey,” and either gaining extra experience on the job, or better highlighting and emphasizing certain experience you already have but perhaps overlooked along with discussing your goals and skills in a way that can make you look even more valuable as a potential candidate to admissions.

However, you MUST first understand why you were turned down.  You can’t improve if you don’t know.

I am currently offering a flat rate “Ding Evaluation” if you have been turned away from one or perhaps many of your choice schools.  Understanding what happened before you apply again is key, so you have the time to make the serious improvements you need.

You can contact me through my website below, and specify “Ding Evaluation” in the note and we will figure out what went wrong for a great new application and chance at your dreams!

I’m a former Harvard interviewer and a Harvard graduate and currently run the MBA admissions firm MBA IVY LEAGUE in Manhattan. I work with students all over the world, and you can reach me through my website:  www.MBAIvyLeague.com 

27 02, 2015

Interested in a Top EMBA Program? What You Need to Know

By | 2017-04-17T17:05:54+00:00 February 27th, 2015|Darden, EMBA, Fuqua, GMAT, Harvard, HBS, IE, INSEAD, Ivy League, LBS, MBA Admissions, MBA Essays, Ross, Wharton|0 Comments

So, you’re interested in an EMBA degree. How do you know though if you’re right for an EMBA degree versus a regular, full-time MBA program? Obviously, the better the school the better your future professional career, and graduating from a top EMBA program like Kellogg, MIT Sloan, or Columbia University’s joint-EMBA with the London School of Business means you’ll be headed for success in your field.

You have experience, solid experience, and that’s what makes the EMBA different from those with only 3-4 years lower level experience who are applying for a regular MBA. In other words, if you’re even thinking about an EMBA – an Executive MBA – you are already at the top of your game; the higher reaches of your career.  You are already at an executive level within a known-name firm, or perhaps you’re a very successful entrepreneur with your own company, and you have the drive and ambition to push your vision even further.

The following is what the top EMBA programs look for in a candidate:  solid, committed professionals who have strong and proven experience in their industry, that they can bring to the table.

An EMBA degree is all about forming connections – putting the best of the best in the same room, so strategies can be shared, ideas brainstormed, future business plans made, and networks shared.  The EMBA is more than just a degree where the meat of what you learn comes from a professor or from a case study or book.  The EMBA is a place where you are interacting and associating with a group of extremely impressive and successful peers – classmates who are already at the highest levels of their career and now want to go higher.

An EMBA, especially from a top school can put you there.  The degree is an experience that helps fill in any gaps in your business education; that gives you a credential that perhaps is now necessary for you to move up in your company or firm.  It is meant as a platform from which you can jump off even higher in the business world.  It’s meant for leaders who still fully intend to be a part of their current company and business growth full-time.

So, again, the top EMBA programs for 2015:  Wharton, Booth, Kellogg, Columbia, NYU Stern, and Fuqua, just to name a few (and, again, Columbia’s joint program with LBS (London School of Business) makes it one of the best in my opinion, as you get incredibly interesting global experience and the ability to form serious contacts in both NY and London).

In summary, the EMBA is a serious degree that can make a serious difference.

[I’m a former Harvard interviewer and a Harvard grad, and currently run the MBA & EMBA consulting firm: MBA IVY LEAGUE out of Manhattan. Contact me for a free consultation today! www.MBAIvyLeague.com]
5 11, 2014

Top MBA Interview Questions – What Can You Expect?

By | 2017-04-17T17:05:54+00:00 November 5th, 2014|Darden, EMBA, Fuqua, GMAT, GRE, Harvard, HBS, IE, INSEAD, Ivy League, Kellogg, LBS, MBA, MBA Admissions, MBA Essays, MIT Sloan, Ross, vanderbuilt, Wharton|1 Comment

Top MBA Interview Questions  – What Can You Expect?

Are you one of the lucky ones?  Have you been invited to interview at one of the top-tier MBA programs you applied to in Round 2?  Even if you’re now just applying Round 3, the below can help you learn what kinds of questions admission officers are asking this year, and what tips can help you give the best impression possible!

1. “Tell me about your career choices since leaving college?”

What interviewers are looking for here, is what I call a “logical progression.”  They’re looking to see a focused path regarding both how and why you moved from point A to point B, to point C, and if you don’t have a focused path (which accounts for a large amount of applicants, so don’t worry) they simply want to see and understand the reasons you jumped around.  It has to sound LOGICAL.  It has to add up to who and where you are NOW.

The main thing that will get you dinged here?  Impulsiveness – that’s what this question is trying to screen out.  They want to make sure you’re just not all over the place and flaky, because then, you know, you may leave the program, too.

2. “What accomplishment are you most proud of at your current job?”

Here, the interviewer is trying to get a sense of the amount of responsibility you hold in your current position, as the thing you are most proud of will not only (most likely) show off your best strength as an employee, but will show what character trait you actually value most – and that gives them great information about YOU.

The main thing that will get you dinged with this question? Not speaking up with confidence or failing to explain or back up your answer.

3. “When have you strongly differed in opinion from someone at work?”

Give your best example that had a positive outcome!  Admissions is trying to see if you have what it takes to speak up and make a serious difference in your workplace, but also are looking for you to describe how there was a positive solution to the difference that ended up working in your favor.  If your example didn’t work out in your favor – choose another example!

4. “What is an example of something really difficult you’ve had to go through, or important event in the last 5-7 years?”

Again, here the committee is trying to get a sense of your professional journey and what stands out in your mind, which is going to parallel highly with what you most value.  They are simply trying to understand who you are professionally, and how you see yourself in relation to others.

The one thing that will get you dinged on this question?  Not having a strong and solid answer.  It’s really not so much what you say, but how you say it.  Always speak with confidence as the fastest thing to get you dinged on all of your questions is a wishy-washy, weak, one-word response.

5. “Why an MBA now,  and why our school?”

Most likely, you already wrote an essay for this question, so just review all of your essays before going into your interview.  Your answer to the first part, “Why an MBA now?” should really take into consideration why NOW is, in fact, the most logical time to get your degree. The word “now” is key.  They want to see the logic behind your decision.

The second part, “Why HBS, Wharton, Columbia, Booth, Kellogg, MIT Sloan or NYU Stern?” just to name a few, should focus on the particular program’s attributes that are specific to your career.

What they are trying to screen for in this question, is again, impulsiveness = they don’t like it.  Everything you do, even if your career so far hasn’t been as smooth or uninterrupted as you would like, should still have a reason, an explanation, an arc, a journey as if everything you’ve done to get you where you are still has value – value that can be used and drawn upon now in your current career.

In the end, your interview should be conversational, dynamic, and engaging!  In other words, just try to have a very real and engaging conversation.  If you’ve gotten this far, it’s a very good sign that you are already on your way!

[I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer and a Harvard graduate.  I currently run the MBA admissions firm: MBA IVY LEAGUE out of NYC.  I provide expert advice on MBA essays and applications to students all over the world, and offer free initial consultations, so please contact me today! www.MBAIvyLeague.com]
3 11, 2014

MBA INTERVIEWS – WHAT SHOULD YOU EXPECT?

By | 2014-11-03T12:21:32+00:00 November 3rd, 2014|Darden, EMBA, Fuqua, GMAT, GRE, Harvard, HBS, IE, INSEAD, Ivy League, Kellogg, LBS, MBA, MBA Admissions, MBA Essays, MIT Sloan, Ross, Wharton|0 Comments

Scheduling your MBA interviews?

2 10, 2014

Top Five Things That Will Get You Dinged on Your MBA Applications

By | 2017-04-17T17:05:54+00:00 October 2nd, 2014|Darden, EMBA, Fuqua, GMAT, Harvard, HBS, IE, INSEAD, Ivy League, Kellogg, LBS, MBA, MBA Essays, MIT Sloan, Ross, vanderbuilt, Wharton|5 Comments

HBS, Wharton, Columbia, NYU Stern, Kellogg, Booth, they’re all the same when it comes to one thing: “dings.”  If you’re applying for your MBA degree this year, you’re probably all too familiar with what that little word means. “Dings” are the marks made against you on your MBA application, the things you’ve done wrong, your failings, the things that will keep you from the MBA degree and business school and career of your dreams.  “Dings” are MBA slang for really, really bad.

What if you knew ahead of time though, the top five things that you could avoid that would make sure an MBA admission officer’s “ding” on your application never happened?  What if you could in fact, avoid the “dings” altogether and create a stellar application, by avoiding the most common dings, below?

Again, these are the top five things NOT to do:

1. DING #1:  Speaking in a general versus personal matter = don’t do it.

This happens way too frequently among MBA applicants.  In the essays, the applicant makes very general and sweepingly broad statements about “society” or “the global climate,” or “the issue” and goes on and on from their soapbox making a broad, generalized point, without really letting the admissions committee see them and who they are personally as an applicant.  So, if you never use the word “I” in your essay and you find yourself talking about the various “ills of society” too much = DING.

2. DING #2:  Not following though with your examples

Let’s say the question is, “Tell Us About A Time You Overcame Failure.”  You have an example, you state where you were working at the time; you state what happened…the failure…and then you just stop on the negative.  You’ve stated your answer as if it’s a fill-in-the-blank question.  However, you have failed to provide any kind of self-reflection in the essay about why this “failure” occurred, how it influenced your life and career, and what you learned and took away from it that was positive (you always want to end on the positive).  So, not stating these things, not following through on your examples is akin to answering someone in monotone = DING.

3. DING #3:  Not knowing how to write well

You don’t have to be Shakespeare, you do have to be able to write well.  Think about it, you’re applying for an MBA degree, and if all goes well, in the future you will be an executive or manager in charge of various employees, teams, and divisions.  You better know how to write, regardless of your field.  At the management level you represent the company.  The MBA essays are the first place they look for clear, concise, logical and properly structured writing.  If you can’t do it, get help.  If you can’t do it, and you go ahead and turn bad writing in, thinking it doesn’t really matter and your essays are convoluted, unclear, grammatically incorrect or just plain confusing and/ or sounds like your eight year old wrote it = BIG DING.

4. DING #4: Not building a logical bridge

Often people use the MBA degree to bridge the gap between their past career (possibly even in a different field), and their future plans.  “Dings” happen on this front however, when applicants fail to make their journey from point A to point B very clear and laid-out.  How are you going to go from a mechanical engineer to a strategy consultant focused on tech investments?  How does all your past experience figure in? Tell us.  Tell us in detail.  Make sure your plan is accurate. People switch careers all the time, and what the admission committees look for is simply:  is your plan LOGICAL, does it make sense? Have you laid it out?  Fail to show the necessary steps, or worse, not be clear about the steps yourself = HUGE DING.

5. DING #5: Not speaking with confidence

This one seems self-explanatory, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across applicants who write in a very self-deprecating way.  They say things like, “if it’s possible for me to become a (fill in the blank) and go to your great school…”  In other words, they put the school way up here on a pedestal, and themselves way down here in the plebeian mud.  Don’t do it.  The men and women who will one day be the top executives and leaders in their field KNOW they belong at these schools.  There’s no self-deprecation, because they know they have just as much to contribute to the school as they will receive.  There is no pedestal.  Think otherwise and  = DING.  Show them you know you belong!

Avoid these five “dings” and you will be in much better shape than most of the MBA applicants out there. Master the essays, and you will have an excellent chance at success!

[I’m a former Harvard interviewer and a Harvard graduate and currently run the MBA admissions firm: MBA IVY LEAGUE.  Like assistance with your MBA essays?  I offer free phone consultations so contact me today: www.MBAIvyLeague.com ]