14 05, 2023

When Should You Retake the GMAT?

By |2023-05-14T17:48:58-04:00May 14th, 2023|EMBA, GMAT, MBA, MBA Admissions|0 Comments

When Should You Retake the GMAT?

When Should You Retake the GMAT or how do you know when you have a high enough score for the most competitive schools?

When it comes to applying to top MBA programs, a high GMAT score can make all the difference. The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a standardized test that evaluates a candidate’s quantitative, analytical, and verbal skills. Many business schools, including those ranked in the top ten, require a high GMAT score for admission. But what happens when a student’s score falls short of the mark? When should they consider retaking the GMAT?

The decision to retake the GMAT is not one to be taken lightly. There are several factors to consider before signing up for another test date:

  1. First, it’s important to understand the average GMAT scores for the programs you’re interested in. For example, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, which is consistently ranked in the top three MBA programs, has an average GMAT score of 732. Harvard Business School, ranked number one by US News & World Report, has an average score of 730. If your score falls significantly below these averages, it may be worth considering a retake.
  2. Another factor to consider is your overall application profile. While a high GMAT score is important, it is just one piece of the puzzle. Admissions committees also consider factors such as work experience, leadership potential, and extracurricular activities. If you have a strong application profile in other areas, a slightly lower GMAT score may not be as big of a concern.
  3. Timing is also important when considering a retake. MBA programs typically have multiple application rounds throughout the year, and it’s important to know when these deadlines are. If you plan to retake the GMAT, you’ll need to give yourself enough time to study and prepare for the test. Ideally, you should aim to take the GMAT at least a few months before your application deadline.

One important thing to keep in mind however, is that some business schools have a limit on the number of times you can take the GMAT. For example, Harvard Business School states on their website that “there is no limit on the number of times you can take the GMAT or GRE, however, we strongly recommend that you limit yourself to no more than five tests in a twelve-month period.” Other schools may have different policies, so it’s important to check with each program individually.

If you do decide to retake the GMAT, it’s important to have a plan in place.

You’ll need to assess your strengths and weaknesses and develop a study plan that focuses on areas where you need improvement. There are many resources available to help you prepare for the GMAT, including online courses, study guides, and private tutors. It’s important to find a study method that works best for you and stick to it.

When it comes to top MBA programs, a high GMAT score can be the difference between acceptance and rejection. But if your score falls short of the mark, it’s not necessarily the end of the road. By carefully considering your options and developing a solid study plan, you can increase your chances of success on a retake.

In addition to Wharton and Harvard, there are several other top MBA programs to consider when deciding whether to retake the GMAT. Stanford Graduate School of Business, for example, has an average GMAT score of 733. The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University has an average score of 728. The Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago has an average score of 727. Each of these programs has a highly competitive applicant pool, and a high GMAT score is often necessary to stand out.

It’s worth noting that some business schools, such as the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, have recently moved away from requiring the GMAT or GRE altogether. Instead, they are placing greater emphasis on applicants’ work experience and other factors. However, the majority of top MBA programs still require the GMAT or GRE, making it an important factor to consider when applying.

When deciding whether to retake the GMAT, it’s important to remember that the test is just one aspect of your overall application.

While a high score can certainly help, it’s not a guarantee of acceptance. Admissions committees look at the whole package, including your work experience, academic background, leadership potential, and personal qualities.

If you do decide to retake the GMAT, make sure you give yourself enough time to prepare and develop a solid study plan. It’s also important to take care of yourself during this process, as studying for the GMAT can be stressful. Make sure you get enough sleep, exercise, and take breaks as needed.

Ultimately, the decision to retake the GMAT is a personal one.

If you feel that your score does not accurately reflect your abilities, or if you believe that a higher score will significantly improve your chances of acceptance, then it may be worth considering a retake. However, if you feel confident in your overall application profile and believe that your GMAT score is competitive, then there may not be a need to retake the test.

In conclusion, when it comes to top MBA programs such as Wharton and Harvard Business School, a high GMAT score is often necessary for admission. However, a slightly lower score may not necessarily disqualify you from consideration.

Before deciding whether to retake the GMAT, consider your overall application profile, the average GMAT scores for the programs you’re interested in, and the timing of your application. By carefully weighing your options and developing a solid study plan, you can increase your chances of success on a retake.

[Want more bespoke help and advice?  I’m a former Harvard interviewer and Harvard grad and run the MBA + EMBA admissions firm: www.MBAIvy.com. Contact me today for a free consultation and get into the school of your dreams!]

Check out my other blog articles too:

  1. How to Get Into Columbia Business School (CBS)
  2. The Best MBA Programs in NYC

Also, Poet & Quants link to my consultant profile here

6 05, 2023

How to Get Into Harvard Business School

By |2023-05-06T08:53:31-04:00May 6th, 2023|Harvard, HBS, Ivy League, MBA Admissions|0 Comments

How to Get Into Harvard Business School

Harvard Business School (HBS) is one of the most prestigious business schools in the world, with a reputation for producing some of the most successful business leaders. If you’re considering applying to HBS, you’re not alone; each year, thousands of applicants compete for a spot in the program.

However, with careful planning, hard work, and a bit of luck, you can increase your chances of getting accepted into this prestigious institution. Here are some tips on how to get into Harvard Business School.

1. Prepare Early

The admissions process for HBS can be very long, so it’s best to start early. Typically, you’ll need to take the GMAT or GRE and submit your application in the fall. But the preparation for the application process should begin months or even years ahead. Start by researching the school, its curriculum, and the student body. Understand what HBS values, its mission, and its culture. Attend information sessions, talk to alumni, and visit the campus. By doing this research, you will gain a deeper understanding of the school, which will help you tailor your application to the school’s values.

2. Score High on Standardized Tests

Your GMAT or GRE score is one of the most critical components of your application. HBS has a highly competitive applicant pool, so a high test score can make all the difference. Aim for a score of 730 or above on the GMAT or 165 on the GRE.

3. Craft an Outstanding Application

Your application is your chance to showcase your strengths and convince the admissions committee that you’re the perfect candidate for HBS. A well-crafted application includes a strong resume, a compelling essay, and persuasive letters of recommendation. Your resume should highlight your academic achievements, professional experience, leadership skills, and community involvement. Your essay should be authentic and tell a story that showcases your unique perspective, passion, and goals. Your recommendation letters should come from people who know you well and can speak to your strengths and potential.

4. Highlight Your Achievements

HBS is looking for applicants who have a track record of success in their academic, professional, and personal lives. Make sure to highlight your achievements in these areas in your application. Be specific and provide concrete examples of how you’ve excelled in each area. Use metrics to quantify your accomplishments and demonstrate the impact you’ve made.

5. Demonstrate Leadership Potential

HBS is looking for future business leaders who have the potential to make a positive impact on the world. To demonstrate your leadership potential, highlight your experience leading teams, taking initiative, and making tough decisions. Talk about the challenges you’ve faced and how you’ve overcome them. Show that you’re a strategic thinker who can motivate and inspire others to achieve their goals.

6. Showcase Your Passion for Business

HBS is looking for students who are passionate about business and have a clear vision for their future. Make sure to showcase your passion for business in your application. Talk about why you’re interested in pursuing an MBA, what you hope to gain from the program, and how you plan to use your MBA to achieve your goals. Show that you have a deep understanding of the business world and the challenges that businesses face.

7. Get Involved in Extracurricular Activities

HBS values well-rounded applicants who have demonstrated their leadership skills outside of the classroom. Get involved in extracurricular activities that align with your interests and showcase your skills. Join clubs or organizations related to business, volunteer in your community, or start your own business. These activities will show the admissions committee that you’re a well-rounded candidate who has the potential to make an impact beyond the classroom.

8. Be Authentic

Finally, be yourself. HBS is looking for applicants who are authentic, honest, and genuine. Don’t try to be someone you’re not or write what you think the admissions committee wants to hear. Instead, be true to yourself and your experiences. Share your unique perspective, your background, and your personality. This will help you stand out from other applicants and show the admissions committee what makes you special.

In conclusion, getting into Harvard Business School is a challenging task, but it’s not impossible…

By following these tips, you can increase your chances of getting accepted into the program. Start early, score high on standardized tests, craft an outstanding application, highlight your achievements, demonstrate your leadership potential, showcase your passion for business, get involved in extracurricular activities, and be authentic. If you put in the time and effort, you just might find yourself walking the hallowed halls of HBS, and joining the ranks of some of the most successful business leaders in the world.

Looking for more help with your MBA applications?  I’m a former Harvard interviewer + Harvard grad.  Contact me for a free consultation for your Round 1 or Round 2 MBA applications and get into the school of your dreams! www.MBAIvy.com

Like these articles?  Check out some more of my MBA blog posts here:

  1. The Best MBA Admissions Blog
  2. How to Apply to a Top Ten MBA Program
  3. The Top Ten MBA Programs in the U.S.

Ready to begin?  Start the HBS application here: https://www.exed.hbs.edu/admissions/admissions-process

5 05, 2023

How to Apply to a Top Ten MBA Program

By |2023-05-05T13:47:29-04:00May 5th, 2023|Chicago Booth, Columbia, EMBA, GMAT, HBS, INSEAD, Kellogg, LBS, MBA, MBA Admissions, MBA Essays, MIT Sloan, NYU Stern, Ross, Stanford, UC Berkeley Haas, UCLA Anderson, Wharton|0 Comments

How to Apply to a Top Ten MBA Program

A Top Ten MBA business school can open up a plethora of opportunities and career advancement for professionals. However, getting into a top ten MBA program requires more than just a good GMAT score and work experience. It demands meticulous planning, thoughtful research, and exceptional execution. In this article, we will guide you through the steps of applying to a top ten MBA program and help you prepare for the journey ahead.

  • Start Early and Research Thoroughly

The first and foremost step in applying to a top ten MBA program is to start early and research thoroughly. It is imperative to begin the application process at least a year in advance to ensure that you have enough time to complete all the requirements. Researching the various MBA programs, their curricula, faculty, and admission requirements will give you an understanding of the program’s suitability for you.

  • Focus on Your GMAT/GRE Score

A high GMAT/GRE score is one of the most important components of your application. It is the first impression that the admissions committee gets about your academic ability. A score of 700+ is considered competitive for top ten MBA programs. However, a high GMAT/GRE score alone does not guarantee admission. It is essential to balance your GMAT/GRE score with other components of your application.

  • Highlight Your Professional Experience

Your professional experience is another critical component of your application. It is essential to highlight your accomplishments, leadership skills, and your contribution to the organization. It is also essential to explain why you want to pursue an MBA and how it will help you achieve your career goals. The admissions committee looks for candidates who have demonstrated leadership, teamwork, and problem-solving skills in their professional roles.

  • Write a Compelling Personal Essay

The personal essay is an opportunity to showcase your personality, values, and unique perspectives. It is essential to write a compelling essay that captures the attention of the admissions committee. The essay should explain why you want to pursue an MBA, your career goals, and how the program aligns with your aspirations. It should also highlight your achievements, challenges, and how you overcame them.

  • Secure Strong Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation play a vital role in the admissions process. It is essential to select recommenders who know you well, can speak to your abilities, and provide examples of your accomplishments. It is also important to brief your recommenders on your career goals, strengths, and weaknesses, so they can provide a comprehensive picture of you as a candidate.

  • Showcase Your Extracurricular Activities

Extracurricular activities such as community service, volunteering, sports, and hobbies can add depth to your application. It demonstrates your ability to manage time, work in teams, and pursue interests outside of work. It is essential to highlight activities that align with your values and showcase your leadership potential.

  • Prepare for the Interview

If you are selected for an interview, it is essential to prepare well in advance. Research the program, the interviewer, and prepare answers to commonly asked questions. It is also essential to dress professionally, arrive on time, and make a good first impression.

In conclusion, applying to a top ten MBA program requires meticulous planning, thoughtful research, and exceptional execution.

It is essential to start early, focus on your GMAT/GRE score, highlight your professional experience, write a compelling personal essay, secure strong letters of recommendation, showcase your extracurricular activities, and prepare well for the interview. By following these steps, you can increase your chances of getting accepted into a top ten MBA program and embark on an exciting career journey. 

Want more advice about apply for a Round 1 or Round 2 MBA at a Top Ten school?  What about an EMBA program?

Contact me today for a free consultation and get into the program of your dreams! www.MBAIvy.com

Check out these other articles too:

  1. Tips To Writing A Better MBA Resume
  2. Should You retake the GMAT?
17 05, 2022

Top Ten MBA Programs

By |2022-09-29T23:59:12-04:00May 17th, 2022|MBA Admissions, Uncategorized|0 Comments

The TOP TEN MBA Programs for 2022

Getting into  a Top Ten MBA Program in the US Today:


Applying for your MBA this year?  Here is an expertly compiled list ranking the best business schools in the U.S., in order, including average GMAT scores, acceptance rate, and number of currently enrolled students.

So, read on, and see what it takes to get into the MBA program of your dreams!

1. Harvard University

The Holy Grail: Harvard Business School (HBS).  Students had a 727 GMAT score (average) + the school had an acceptance rate of 11.5%. HBS currently enrolls 1,593 full-time MBA students.
Harvard Business School

Harvard Business School (HBS) – Top 10 MBA

2. Stanford University

Stanford’s Graduate School of Business average incoming MBA student had a 733 GMAT score with an 8.9% acceptance rate. Stanford currently enrolls 840 students.
Stanford University

Stanford University – Top Ten MBA Programs

3. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)

Similarly, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania accepted MBA applicants had a 722 GMAT score with a 27% acceptance rate.  The school currently enrolls 915 full-time MBA students.

Wharton (Penn) – Top 10 MBA

4. University of Chicago (Booth)

Likewise, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business’ average incoming MBA student had a 724 GMAT score. There is no officially published acceptance rate, but the school currently enrolls 1,220 full-time MBA students.

5. Northwestern University (Kellogg)

Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University has a 727 average MBA applicant GMAT score, and a 27% acceptance rate.  Kellogg currently enrolls 1,016 full-time MBA students.

Kellogg (Northwestern) – Top 10 MBA

6. Columbia University

In the same vein, Columbia Business School has a 726 GMAT score, an acceptance rate of 16%, and there are currently 1,521 full-time MBA students enrolled at Columbia.
Top Ten MBA Programs

Columbia University – Top 10 MBA

7. New York University (Stern)

NYU’s Stern School of Business has a 723 average GMAT score, admitted 29% of applicants last year, and currently enrolls 668 full-time MBA students.

NYU Stern – Top 10 MBA

8. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT Sloan)

MIT’s Sloan School of Management has a 720 average GMAT score, though last year the GMAT + GRE was OPTIONAL!  The school did not disclose its acceptance rate for last year, but it currently enrolls 887 full-time MBA students.

MIT Sloan – Top 10 MBA

9. Yale University

The Yale School of Management’s MBA applicants had an average 720 GMAT score, a 29% acceptance rate, and currently has 692 full-time MBA students enrolled.

10. Dartmouth College (Tuck)

Finally, Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business applicants reported a 720 average GMAT score, a 34% acceptance rate, and the school currently enrolls 575 full-time MBA students.

Need more information, or accordingly, not sure which school or application round is right for you? 

I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer, and a Harvard grad and currently run the TOP TEN MBA admissions firm: MBAIvy.com

Contact me today for a free consultation, and get into the business school of your dreams! www.MBAIvy.com

Applying for an EMBA instead?  Check out my MBA Admissions Blog for great Executive MBA tips and advice as I regularly work with EMBA candidates, too!

Articles you might like include:


29 01, 2020

Rejected From HBS or Your Top Ten MBA Program?

By |2022-09-18T13:09:03-04:00January 29th, 2020|EMBA, GMAT, Harvard, HBS, MBA, MBA Admissions, MBA Essays, Rec Letters, resume, Stanford, Wharton|0 Comments

Rejected From HBS or Your “Top Ten” MBA Program?

What should you do now?  Should you even think about reapplying for an MBA next year?

It’s January, and it’s cold in most parts of the country, freezing cold depending where you are, but nothing quite matches the cold sting of rejection you feel, if you got rejected from all of your MBA or EMBA programs this year.

Yup, sadly to say, it happens.

You took the time to apply, you really wanted to get in to a “Top Ten” MBA or EMBA program, your GMAT scores or EA (Executive Assessment) scores were strong, you’ve have a good job, with a prestigious, known-name firm in your field, and your recommenders were more than happy to help you out and write your rec.

So, let’s just say, in terms of gaining admissions to not only the MBA or EMBA business school program of your choice, but ANY MBA or EMBA program…you really don’t know exactly what went wrong.

And, then the next question that comes to mind is, “should I even try to apply again this year?”

That’s where I come in with some strong advice.  I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer, and a Harvard graduate myself.

I know how this stuff works!  First off, you need some eagle eyes on your actual applications — the ones that DIDN’T get you in to your school.

An experienced MBA admissions counselor will be able to take one look at your application (MBA resume, essays, recommendations, GMAT scores) and in a quick instant give you a run down of where the real problem lies.

Having been working in MBA admissions myself now for over 12 years, I will tell you, that most often rejections happen because of the following, and in this order:

  1. GMAT scores are too low for the MBA program you’re targeting
  2. The Resume: Not enough years of work experience, or work experience at non known-name firms (only relevant in certain fields, like finance…but there VERY relevant).
  4. Number 3 above is so important, I’m going to say that again: POORLY WRITTEN MBA ESSAYS are the #1 reason that almost 95% of people will get turned down from even interviewing at their top MBA or EMBA schools.
  5. Weak recommendations.
  6. Weak Interview (if you even got one, which if you didn’t, is a worse sign (but nothing that can’t be rectified next year, when you reapply!)
  7. Everything you have is “good enough” but there is not one single thing in your application that makes you stand out, or appear more interesting or unique than the person who just applied before you, or the person whose application they will read after, and so then you it simply becomes a random shot in the dark.
As a public service, let me now go through these most common reasons for MBA or EMBA business school admission rejections,  so everything becomes even more clear:

GMAT SCORES: The top business schools like HBS, Stanford, Wharton, and MIT can obviously have their pick of applicants, and the very first thing they look at is your GMAT score.  If you don’t know, or aren’t clear where your score fits on the hierarchy of business school candidates, take a look at my article here: The GMAT Score You Need To Get In To A “Top Ten” MBA!

WORK EXPERIENCE: Aside from what I have already said above, allow me to add that HOW your MBA resume looks is equally important.  The schools, and especially the more conservative (traditional) MBA programs like HBS, Wharton, Chicago Booth, MIT Sloan, NYU Stern, UC Berkeley, etc., do not, under any circumstance, want to see a resume that doesn’t look like the person took the time to make it neat, easy to read, devoid of weird embellishments (like odd fonts – believe me, I’ve seen it), or they somehow make the font so small to cram everything in on one page, that you can’t read anything.  Don’t do that.

So, yes, your actually work experience is important, how many years, etc., but also do pay attention to how a formal MBA resume should look.  For a good article on MBA resumes check out my previous article here: How To Make Your MBA Resume Shine!

Now, on to my most important MBA admissions tip:

Don’t write weak MBA essays.  Don’t know what makes a GREAT MBA essay?  Do your research!  Get help!  Ask other MBA admissions consultants like me (as I offer a FREE consultation here: Click here for your FREE MBA consult!).

Make sure you know what a GOOD MBA essay looks like, or better yet 10 GOOD MBA essays, before you strike out on your own, unaware.  Poorly written, or just plain bad essays that don’t fully address the question, or (in the case of HBS) don’t give the MBA admissions committee anything at all close to what they are looking for…only makes it more likely that you, my friend, will get the big rejection.

And, nobody like that.

Brrrrr, did it just get cold in here?

YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS: Very important, and perhaps more important than you realize, as someone who writes you a “nice” recommendation, is not going to hold water to someone who writes someone else a “the best employee I’ve ever had, he/she saved my life when we had to go to China for a business trip unannounced, sealed the deal singly-handedly, made the presentation, and brought our firm more revenue than we’ve seen in the last 100 years combined” recommendation.

In other words, you really need to make sure you’re choosing the best WRITER possible, when you’re looking to see whom to ask for recs. It makes a difference.

THE MBA INTERVIEW: I’m going to write an entire MBA admissions blog post on this one topic alone, so stay tuned, but basically, if you didn’t get offered an interview, that’s a bad sign, and if you were offered an interview, but it didn’t go well, or you don’t know how it really went, when it comes down to it, because you thought you did “okay enough” — just know that “okay enough” isn’t really okay, and that’s something I offer too, in terms of MBA or EMBA interview prep, so 1). You actually GET the business school interview in the first place, and 2). You don’t blow it when you do.

The interviews are extremely important.  On campus interviews are actually even more advantageous than alumni interviews (unless you are overseas), but this is something I will speak more about in my MBA interview blog post.

INDIVIDUALITY: Lastly, you really need to have something in your MBA application that makes you STAND OUT.

This can be anything — it can be a project you worked on, a perfect GMAT score, a humanitarian organization you founded, a business you run on the side, an interesting trip you took, or sport you participate in.  Basically, ANYTHING that makes the adcom (i.e. MBA admissions committee) say, “Oh yeah, I know who you’re talking about, I read that application too.”

Be memorable, stand out, have something, anything, that makes you just a little, itty bit “unique” and you’ll be way ahead of the business school admissions game.

And, remember, if the reason you didn’t get in was, in fact, one of the above, the best thing you can do for yourself is get a second pair of eagle eyes on your rejected MBA application, and have someone like myself give you an overview and an analysis  — because most problems are fixable, and with the right MBA admissions coach and help, you absolutely should fix the problems, get more work experience under your belt, raise your GMAT scores by taking classes or buying books, and apply again.

Each year I work with applicants who are actually reapplicants, and I get them in to HBS, Wharton, and Stanford.

There is no reason, with the right help, this can’t be you.

[I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer and Harvard grad, and currently run the top MBA & EMBA admissions consulting firm: www.MBAIvy.com  Contact me today, and get into the bschool of your dreams!]

For other great MBA admissions tips and advice, you can read through my other blog posts here:

3 12, 2019

The 5 mistakes That Will Ding Your MBA Application!

By |2019-12-03T09:58:14-05:00December 3rd, 2019|Chicago Booth, Columbia, Darden, Dartmouth Tuck, EMBA, Fuqua, GMAT, GRE, Harvard, HBS, Ivy League, Kellogg, LBS, MBA, MBA Admissions, MBA Essays, MIT Sloan, NYU Stern, Ross, Stanford, Wharton|1 Comment

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” = 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: www.MBAIvy.com Contact me today for a free phone consultation, and get into the school of your dreams!]

1 12, 2019

How To Get In to a Top Ten MBA Program

By |2022-09-18T12:47:38-04:00December 1st, 2019|Columbia, Darden, Dartmouth Tuck, EMBA, Fuqua, GMAT, Harvard, HBS, Ivy League, Kellogg, MBA, MBA Admissions, MBA Essays, MIT Sloan, NYU Stern, Ross, Stanford, UC Berkeley Haas, UCLA Anderson, Wharton|0 Comments

How to Get In to a Top Ten MBA Program: What You Need to Know…

Applying to a Top Ten MBA program this year?

The ability to be concise is a gift. It’s also one of the business skills MBA admissions committees look for in an applicant. Not just at Harvard and Stanford, mind you, but at any of the Top Ten highly competitive business schools.

What MBA and EMBA program admissions committees look for is this:

  1. Can you convey your assets and talents in a clear, crisp, concise professional way, and
  2. Can you be consistent?

The real question is, can you get your message across in a moderate amount of words? That means, under or near, but not over the maximum.  Can you do it in a way that’s succinct, and yet shows the MBA committee who you are as a future successful business leader and innovator? Can you do this in a way that will make you stand out?

In other words, are you up for the challenge?  If so, than allow me to relate the following as an example:

This year’s Harvard MBA essay question is:  “As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA Program? (no word limit).”

Most of the applicants who are successful in getting in to HBS have, on average, essays that come in with a word count of 1,000 words. Not 1,500 words, and not 2,000 words or more.

In other words, listen to me: write a manifesto, and it will get you dinged!

The goal, especially at an Ivy League or “Top Ten” business school, is to present who you are, personally and professionally in the strongest way possible.

That means:

1. Know what you want to do. “Undecided” as a career move is weak. The schools (and the business world) doesn’t like weak.

2. Know how your current background and expertise fits in with what that particular school can UNIQUELY offer. In other words, know what makes that school DIFFERENT

3. Know what you, yourself, intend to give back to the school. The adcom wants to know what you bring to table, not only for your fellow classmates, but what you see in yourself, right now, that will set you apart, and indicate that you already have the potential to succeed in the future.

Successful MBA essays usually revolve around a candidate’s unique vision, background, and passion

Drive is also an important trait. All that said, you don’t need to have conquered the world (yet) to get into HBS or a comparable school like Kellogg, Chicago Booth, Wharton or MIT Sloan. You just need to show the admissions committee that you have the intense drive and vision to succeed, at whatever it is you uniquely are setting out to do.

A focused VISION, and a logical, thought out road map in terms of how you’re going to get there, makes you different and stands out.

Top Ten students, as a whole, are competitive, ambitious, driven, and interesting…and, they care about their fellow students and community.

Harvard, for example, values leadership, and those who have the demonstrated potential in their background to become leaders in the future succeed. However, equally important, are those who can demonstrate that they care about their community. In other words, you need to show that your drive isn’t all about YOU.

MBA and EMBA “Top Ten” business school candidates who can show a larger, global, or even (especially for HBS, in particular) social humanitarian interest, and zone in what they do, or want to do with an actionable plan — have, throughout the years that I personally have been working with clients, have had the best possible outcome of success.

The MBA admissions essay therefore  is your place to shine, so don’t hold back.  Top Ten business school adcoms don’t just want to see a reiteration of your resume though. Your resume is an outline, the plate your application sits on. The foundation, but the MBA admissions essays, if you think of them this way, becomes the meat or centerpiece of your meal.

[Looking for help on your MBA or EMBA applications? I’m a former Harvard interviewer, and Harvard grad and run the award-winning MBA & EMBA admission firm: MBA Ivy League Contact me today for a free consultation, and get into the school of your dreams!]

Check out my other related MBA blog articles here: The Harvard 2+2 Program: Is it Right For You?

29 11, 2019

The Harvard 2+2 Program: Is it Right For You?

By |2022-09-18T13:02:36-04:00November 29th, 2019|2+2, Harvard, HBS, MBA Admissions|0 Comments

HBS’s 2+2 program looks for students who have already demonstrated that they have strong promise to succeed. This can come from a bunch of different areas — maybe you have a really high GMAT score (over 720). Maybe you are an entrepreneur and started your own business already and are scaling it for continued growth. Maybe you have some unusual or impressive internship or mentors, or summer job, or professional experience in your background.

All these things make you stand out to admissions, especially at the top schools that offer 2+2.

AS Harvard’s own website states:

The 2+2 Program is a deferred admission process for current students, either in college or full-time master’s degree programs. It is comprised of at least two years of professional work experience followed by two years in the regular HBS MBA Program. We’re looking for innovative thinkers who have demonstrated leadership and analytical skills and want to develop their knowledge and passion to make a difference in the world. Upon graduation, admitted 2+2 students spend a minimum of two years (maximum of four years) working in a professional position in the public, private, or nonprofit sector.

College seniors from any academic background are eligible to apply. Preference will be given to high potential individuals on paths that aren’t as well established in leading to graduate business school, including applicants:

If you can get in, these programs are great. If you want help on your applications, I successfully get students into these programs every year. Contact me below if you’d like a free consultation today! www.MBAIvy.com

Check out my other blog posts as well, such as:

[I’m a former Harvard interviewer, and Harvard grad and currently run the top MBA + EMBA admissions firm www.MBAIvy.com out of NYC. Contact me today, and get into the school of your dreams!]

6 06, 2019

Stand Out From The Pack: How to Make Your MBA Application Extremely Competitive!

By |2022-09-12T15:04:40-04:00June 6th, 2019|Harvard, HBS, MBA Admissions, MBA Essays, MIT Sloan, Uncategorized|0 Comments

How to Make Your MBA Application Extremely Competitive

Stand out from the Pack! Taking your MBA Application to the Highest Level

Business schools like leaders. High GMAT scores are great, cultivated experience at well known firms will get you attention, but business schools…especially if you’re looking at Top Ten MBA programs and targeting places like HBSWharton, 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, knowledgable, 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 your business is, and 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, 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

My firm specializes in helping students get in to the Top Ten business schools. Contact us today at www.MBAIvy.com and get into the school of your dreams!]

30 05, 2017

MBA Application Deadlines for 2017-2018

By |2019-01-03T17:04:14-05:00May 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 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.MBAIVY.com  Contact me today and get into the school of your dreams!]

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