17 04, 2017

Stand Out From The Pack: Making Your MBA Application Even More Competitive

By | 2017-04-17T19:07:43+00:00 April 17th, 2017|MBA Admissions|0 Comments

Business schools like leaders. High GMAT scores are great, pedigree experience at well known-name firms will get you attention, but business schools…especially if you’re looking at the famed  ‘Top Ten’ and targeting places like HBS, Wharton, Kellogg or Chicago Booth for your MBA or EMBA degree, want to see that you also bring something actively interesting to the table.

What do I mean by “actively interesting?”  Something that demonstrates you are ambitious, innovative and using every ounce of your time to creatively push your career forward.

The best way to do this?  In my opinion, it’s to start your own side business, and/or not-for-profit organization.

It doesn’t matter how big it is, it doesn’t matter how successful.  What matters is that you ACTIVELY decided to take a step forward and tried something perhaps outside your comfort zone. Even while working a full-time job.

For example:

  1. I worked with an applicant who started a humanitarian organization raising just a mere $1,000 USD initially to buy school supplies for girls in India. This non-profit is now bringing in over $250k annually, and its founder, who really didn’t have much truly outstanding on her resume to begin with that would get her noticed, got into HBS, Stanford, and MIT.  She thought of an idea, built a website, enacted a marketing plan using nothing but social media, and MADE A DIFFERENCE in other people’s lives and her own.  All while working a “regular” job. This shows leadership, and is exactly what the top MBA programs want to see.

This strategy of building your own side project or business, and just putting it out there, also works particular well for those MBA business school applicants who might be straddling the fence in terms of not quite breaking a 720 on the GMAT, or not quite having “known name” firms on your resume, or not having enough years of what the MBA committee would deem “significant” industry experience…in other words, your MBA application could use a little boost to the next level.

Time and time again, I’ve had clients who decided to push forward by starting something new — however small it might be!  It doesn’t need to be this great big thing.  Really.  They put it on the web, took the necessary steps to market their new idea, maybe wrote a business plan, and regardless of profitability…did you read that?  If not, read it again to make sure you really get it… regardless of profitability, they demonstrated to admissions that they were willing to stretch, to take a risk with their time outside of work, to be ambitions, to try out their ideas even if they failed, because even failing could lead to the next great idea, and no experience in terms of MBA admissions is ever really wasted.

So, build a website, no matter how simple.  Think of an idea. Profit or non-profit. Create a landing page, or create something larger. Start something, anything, work on it, improve it as you go along, and just get it out there.  This will give you something else to talk about in terms of your business experience in your essays and in your MBA admissions interview. It will add color and interest to your entire MBA or EMBA application. It will make you more original, and original leaders are who the top schools want.

So far, the best site I’ve seen in terms of tech support and  minimum investment is: BLUEHOST:


For only $5.95 a month (and sometimes they have monthly specials that bring the cost down even lower) the company will host your site, and more importantly, provide tech support in helping you get your site up and running.

So, no matter if you choose to go the humanitarian route with a non-profit, or if your idea is a money making business that could be the next big thing, adding something “extra” and on-the-side to your MBA & EMBA business school application can make all the difference between an MBA admissions committee seeing you as just an average so-so applicant who doesn’t really stand out from the pack, to someone who has initiative, takes charge of their own future by actively DOING, and wants to make things happen.

So, want to get in to HBS, Wharton, Booth, Kellogg, or MIT Sloan this year?  THIS is the type applicant you need to be.

[I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer and a Harvard grad, and currently run the MBA & EMBA admissions consulting firm MBA IVY LEAGUE.  My firm specializes in helping students get in to the Top Ten business schools. Contact us today at www.MBAIvyLeague.com 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 ]

8 10, 2016

MBA Rec Letters: Making Your Business School Application Strong!

By | 2017-04-17T17:05:52+00:00 October 8th, 2016|Chicago Booth, Columbia, Darden, Dartmouth Tuck, EMBA, Fuqua, Harvard, HBS, Ivy League, Kellogg, LBS, MBA, MBA Admissions, MBA Essays, MIT Sloan, NYU Stern, Rec Letters, Stanford, UC Berkeley Haas, Wharton|0 Comments

MBA REC LETTERS (or, in other words, recommendation letters).  What makes a good MBA or EMBA business school application rec letter, and what will help you gain your coveted acceptance letter from the MBA or EMBA admissions department of your choice?

Whether you’re applying to HBS, Wharton, Chicago Booth, Kellogg, Stanford, Columbia, NYU Stern or one of the other “Top Ten” MBA or EMBA business programs in the U.S., who you ask in terms of gaining a strong MBA application recommendation letter, and how you prepare that person to write a good MBA rec letter for you, can easily  in the end make or break your MBA business school application.

On the positive side, a strong rec letter can make an MBA admissions committee take you more seriously – especially if your recommender is a well-known thought leader or innovator in his or her field.  That’s like the golden key, because by writing you a rec letter for your MBA admissions application, they are putting their own reputation on the line.

Even if your company is smaller though, based outside the U.S., or if your boss or supervisor is not well-known at all, don’t worry because most MBA (and EMBA) applicants are actually in that same position, as fame is not a prerequisite.  What your recommender says about you though, regardless of how high up they are, can and will make a difference.

So, where to start in all this? Who, for example, do you ask to write your MBA rec letter (and usually you need to ask two)?

The best choice is going to be the person you directly report to in your current position.  They are the ones who know your work habits and strengths (as well as your weaknesses) best, and a great supervisor or boss who speaks highly of you can do wonders for you in terms of the MBA admissions committee as they know few bosses would agree to recommend someone they didn’t really believe in or support.

Some MBA applicants however don’t want to ask their supervisor because maybe they don’t really want the company to know that they are thinking of leaving to get their MBA, or maybe they fully do intend to tell them, but only if and when they actually get in (so as not to risk their professional future at the company if they don’t).

This too is common, so don’t worry.  If this is your situation, be prepared to be asked “why didn’t you ask your supervisor” in the MBA interview, but if you relate the true reason, everyone will understand. So, who do you ask if you can’t go to your boss?

A long-term client perhaps, a supervisor at your former place of employment if you still maintain a friendly connection.  A colleague who knows you well, though someone in a position higher than you is always going to be a better choice.

Once you have decided who to ask, what kind of guidelines should you give them?

Give them your MBA resume.  Make them aware of the MBA programs you’re applying to, as well as your short-term (immediately post-MBA degree) and longer term (down the road, post-MBA degree) goals.  most people know to speak to your strengths, and most at this level will be happy to share what they’re written about you, as more often than not you, yourself, will have to send it in with the rest of your business school application.

If for some reason though you get a rec letter back that doesn’t sound very supportive or glowing don’t send it in.  If the letter truly doesn’t show you off in a good light, thank the person, always be polite as they have sacrificed their time and most people don’t really want to write a letter but are happy to do so anyway to help you get ahead…but if for some reason it doesn’t sound great:  ask someone else.

No one has to know about the “bad” or “not that shiny” MBA rec letter that so-and-so wrote for you.  Don’t risk your entire MBA application because you’re afraid to be at least slightly selective.

Do your best and ask the best people – the ones you know understand what it takes to get into a top business school, whether on the MBA or EMBA level. Do that, and in terms of the MBA with a stellar MBA rec letter you should have no problem getting to the next level.

You also might like this article here: The GMAT Score You Need to Be a Top MBA Candidate!

[I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer and a Harvard graduate and currently run the MBA & EMBA admissions firm: MBA IVY LEAGUE.  Contact me today for a free initial MBA or EMBA consultation and get into the business school of your dreams! www.MBAIvyLeague.com * (646) 276-7042 * MBAIvyLegaueInfo@gmail.com]

11 08, 2016

The 10 Best MBA Business School Programs for Entrepreneurs

By | 2016-08-13T14:03:37+00:00 August 11th, 2016|Babson, Darden, Dartmouth Tuck, IE, IE Business School, IESE Business School, LBS, MBA, MBA Admissions, Stanford, UC Berkeley Haas, UCLA Anderson, Wharton|0 Comments

MBA business school admissions is up this year, and one of the strongest MBA & EMBA admission categories is for those interested in becoming successful entrepreneurs.

Most entrepreneurs and business owners know it takes more than just a good idea to build a strong company.  Success is built on networking, forming strong business connections, knowing how to raise capital, as well as how to properly plan, research, brand, and strategize your company and product, and only THEN launch your business…all while protecting your idea.

And what better place to do this than within a top MBA or EMBA business school where you will be able to access all the support you need for both a successful launch AND future growth!

Staying ahead of the game is what gives you an advantage, and what some of the most successful business leaders, MBA students  and entrepreneurs already know is that the elite innovation labs at some of the best MBA business school programs in the country (and around the world) can certainly give you and your new business a great start in the process of becoming successful.

These MBA programs WORK, and they work because they strive to give you the exact tools and advisory support you need to put your idea out there and succeed.

As one of the top MBA admissions consultants in the U.S., let me advise you that there is nothing better than taking the opportunity to learn from the best.   This means not just from the other entrepreneurs who are your classmates, but from your professors and industry lecturers as well who are often the top leaders and experts in their field.

So, if you’re looking for the best MBA business school programs for entrepreneurship look no further, as they are as follows:

  1. Stanford Graduate School of Business
  2. Babson College’s Olin Graduate School of Business
  3. University of Virginia Darden School of Business
  4. Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business
  5. UCLA Anderson School of Management
  6. UC Berkeley Haas School of Business
  7. University of Pennsylvania Wharton School
  8. IE Business School
  9. London Business School
  10. IESE Business School

Taken from the Financial Times ranking of the Top 25 Business School MBA Programs for entrepreneurship, these MBA business schools can really put you ahead of the crowd.

More importantly though, they teach you how to get that very same crowd behind you and your company by teaching you how to develop the skills you need to launch and sustain your business well into the future!

Looking for MBA or EMBA admissions consulting?  MBA IVY LEAGUE is run by a Harvard graduate as well as a former Harvard admissions interviewer. Contact us for a free profile evaluation today and get into the bschool of your dreams! MBAIvyLeague.com * (646) 276-7042 * MBAIvyLeagueInfo@gmail.com 

19 06, 2016

GMAT Score Averages for the Top Ten MBA Business Schools

By | 2017-04-17T17:05:52+00:00 June 19th, 2016|EMBA, GMAT, MBA Admissions, Wharton|2 Comments

Are your GMAT scores good enough to get you in to a ‘Top Ten’ MBA business school?  How about if you’re interested in getting your EMBA? Do you even know what the average GMAT score for your target school IS?  You should.

That is the magic question after all, and what everyone wants to know: is my GMAT even competitive for the programs I’m targeting?  What if I’m targeting Stanford, MIT, or Harvard and the Ivy League?  Can I even get in?

Obviously, the higher your GMAT or GRE score the better chance you have of gaining admission to a strong MBA or Executive EMBA program, and crossing over that 720 GMAT line truly does put you in a different league with MBA business school ad com around the world.

The highest score of any client I ever personally worked with as an MBA admissions consultant was a 780.  The applicant, a young man in his mid-twenties from NYC, didn’t have much in terms of professional experience.  In fact, due to downsizing at his company after the last economic downturn, he was forced to take a job, just to survive, in an entirely unrelated career!  He had been in finance and now he was in straight tech.

In other words, though very smart, this guy’s resume was a mess.

BUT…he took the GMAT and got a 780.  With that alone, regardless of his professional experience, regardless of a career that seemed pretty disjointed and fragmented and not too stable right from the start, our 26 year old guy in point got in to all 3 of his target schools:  Columbia, Kellogg, and Booth.

My point?  A high score can mean an awful lot.

So, what are the average GMAT scores of the Top Ten MBA programs in the U.S.?  This great chart put together by the website Poets & Quant shows the average GMAT’s from the most competitive business schools around, including HBS, Stanford, Booth, Wharton, Kellogg, Columbia, MIT Sloan, Berkeley Haas, along with many more.

Remember though, these are GMAT averages.  That means there were GMAT scores both above and below what you see here, which means people got in with higher scores than this, and people got in with lower GMAT’s than this.  Not hitting this exact score in other words doesn’t mean you can’t get in,

So, take a look below and see how your own GMAT scores compares!  Do you make it on the list?

GMAT-MBA-Ivy-League

In terms of the non-U.S. schools, I did the following research, and came up with these, again average, GMAT’s for the top non-U.S. schools:

  • INSEAD    704
  • LBS    700
  • Cambridge (Judge)  690
  • Oxford (Said)  690

Slightly lower than the U.S. schools, but still breaking 680 (in averages).

So, what does all this mean?  Overall, if you want to go to a highly competitive MBA program, you want to be hitting around 680+ on your practice tests and the higher the score the better, so studying and preparing truly helps and there are a lot of good online GMAT courses and books out there.

So, do your best, take the test, and get the GMAT score of your dreams!

[I’m a former Harvard interviewer and a Harvard grad and currently run the MBA & EMBA admissions consulting firm www.MBAIvyLeague.com. Contact me for a free consultation today and get into the business school of your dreams! MBAIvyLeagueInfo@gmail.com ]