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MBA Admissions Mashup: Recommendations, Careers, and Off-Campus Housing

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Every Wednesday, we share a round-up of the latest news from admissions blogs at the top business schools. As Round 2 interview invitations are being finalized, we turn our focus to Round 3 admissions tips as well as what MBA admissions blogs are posting regarding preparing for housing for the year(s) ahead in addition to how b-schools prepare their MBAs for the career search.

In her admissions video update, assistant dean of admissions Sara Neher expressed excitement about the makeup of the Round 1 candidates who have already submitted their deposits to attend UVA / Darden: “Class as it’s shaping up for next year. Excited about those of you that decided to pay a deposit! The group that has committed so far is 43% women!” As for Round 2 applicants, the adcom at Darden is still reviewing final invitations as well as already getting a jumpstart on reading all of those interview reports. Stay tuned for more!

For Round 3 applicants, the deadlines are going to be here before you know it. There are many things we wouldn’t advise you wait until the last minute to complete. Recommendations are definitely at the top of that list. They’re out of your control and giving your recommenders ample time to provide a detailed recommendation is in your best interest! The Dartmouth / Tuck and London Business School admissions blogs provided some advice on who to reach out to regarding this aspect of the application.

The Tuck adcom recommended (get it) that applicants “consider reaching out to the person you reported to prior to your current boss. Other options may be current clients, a colleague who led a team for a project you worked on or the director of your department or team. The key thing to remember is when selecting recommenders, focus on people who can really speak to your strengths (and weaknesses) in key areas such as leadership, teamwork, and aptitude. Steer clear of asking former professors, family members or your little league coach.”

Should you try and reach for the sky when it comes to recommendations? Many try to get the most “impressive” recommendations, failing to provide a substantive analysis of one’s candidacy. Greg Moore, Recruitment and Admissions Manager at LBS, notes that he “advises that candidates consider their referee’s knowledge of their skills and experience before their relative seniority. Ultimately it is more important that they are able to provide full and insightful answers about your strengths and weaknesses.”

In our Q&A with Georgetown / McDonough’s associate dean and managing director of career services, Doreen Amorosa, we provided an inside look into the innovations that are happening in terms of the MBA job search. In fact, the job search starts well before MBAs end up on campus.

On U. Chicago Booth’s Booth Insider Blog, Senior Associate Director of Admissions and Analytics Nima Merchant notes that “for anyone considering business school, part of the research you do should focus on your desired future career, and how the MBA experience will prepare you. The admissions committee doesn’t expect your goals written in stone, but it’s important to know you have some clear ideas of what you want your future to look like.”

Wondering whether your non-traditional background will hinder your advancement post-MBA? McDonough second-year student blogger Zach Smith takes us through his career progression from the Peace Corps and education nonprofit work to a future in consulting. “Making the switch from the education industry to strategy consulting hasn’t been as challenging as I thought. There are many career switchers here and the Career Center is well oriented to coach you and position you for success. You may be interested in the successful career paths that some of my fellow returned Peace Corps volunteers have taken with the help of Georgetown McDonough.”

As you think of the next two years, don’t forget about housing. Many rental markets can be tough, especially when location, location, location are extremely important. You don’t want to miss out on campus happenings because you opted for an apartment off the beaten path. Harvard Business School MBA Joe Kiernan advises anyone looking to live in Cambridge, MA on the HBS MBA Voices Blog: “Finding off campus housing can be hard if you are not in town. The Boston housing market tends to really pick up around April/May and the vast majority of the leases are for September 1st. Also, check out the new Continuum building. Those apartments seem pretty nice and are super close.”

That’s all for this week! Catch you next week for another MBA Admissions Mashup.