In their desire to make their case to their target MBA programs, many applicants devote sentences and even paragraphs to explaining why the school in question is their “first choice” and arguing its superiority over other schools. Though certainly understandable, this is actually not a very productive exercise. Let’s consider a few reasons why from…
We realize that the questions of whether or not to answer an optional essay—and, if so, what to say—are ones that loom large for many MBA applicants. In addition to our school-specific Essay Topic Analysis, we wanted to suggest a few questions that applicants might want to consider when making this call. Is my MBA…
The deadline is looming and you’re making one final pass through your application before hitting submit. This isn’t the time for drastic changes – but there might still be an opportunity for small improvements. Read on for three big picture, “crunch time” tips! Keep It Professional It’s true that many schools ask “fun” questions and…
MBA candidates naturally have a good deal of information they want – and need – to convey in their materials, and getting the important ideas down under restrictive word counts is a difficult task. While it might be tempting to run a bit beyond the guidelines to slip in that one extra thought, it’s important…
Communicating with insiders (current students, alumni, and faculty members) can be beneficial to your MBA applications for a number of reasons. In addition to learning about a given school and your potential fit, you’ll also generate material for your essays, demonstrate your interest in the program, and perhaps even make an ally or two. As…
In terms of application strategy, one of the biggest questions prospective MBA applicants wrestle with is whether to apply in Round 1 or Round 2 to the school they most want to attend. Overall, if you are an outstanding candidate and have had adequate time to prepare your candidacy, then you should apply as part…
As anyone who’s undergone the MBA Application Process knows, applying to business school is an incredibly demanding journey. In addition to taking the GMAT, assembling academic transcripts and providing recommendation letters, candidates are required to draft multiple essays, job descriptions, lists of activities and more. With the obvious incentive to save time wherever possible, it’s…
For many applicants, the essays (or personal statements) are the most daunting aspect of the MBA application process. But really, MBA application essays present a true opportunity to tell your story and showcase your strengths. Below are a few key tips for presenting yourself and your experiences as advantageously as possible. Take time to reflect.…
When thinking about the cost of getting an MBA, what immediately comes to mind is tuition, moving to a new city, books, supplies, and possibly some new attire. But often overlooked are the numerous fees and associated costs of the MBA application process. Individually, the numbers appear small, but as you complete your application(s), your…
Your MBA application résumé is a key component of your written submission – and a great place to start when crafting your overall positioning strategy. The exercise of condensing your entire work and educational history forces you to distill your candidacy into a concise document, focusing on key strengths and themes. This document, combined with…
As many of our readers know, it has become increasingly common for younger individuals to apply to MBA programs. Whereas the average age and years of work experience at the leading business schools has traditionally hovered at around 28 and five respectively, many programs are now carefully considering the more youthful end of the applicant…
Given the emphasis that schools place on a candidate’s work experience, it is important to be proactive in addressing unemployment or gaps in employment. When applying to business school, many candidates worry about how the adcom might perceive gaps in employment. Read our ‘MBA Admissions Tip: Addressing Unemployment Gaps in Employment’ to learn strategies for…
While there are many elements to the MBA application, there is one that candidates often underestimate: volunteer experience. Why volunteer experience is important in your MBA application In order to understand why this category is important, candidates should keep in mind that the adcom is responsible for crafting a dynamic class each year. The aim…
Having clear and realistic post-MBA career goals is essential to the business school application process. Though essay prompts tend to vary year to year, the two things that nearly every prospective student can count on being asked are “What are your short-term and long-term post-MBA goals?” and “How will Business School X help you achieve these…
There are many factors that go into deciding whether to apply to a specific school, one of which is the physical place where you’ll be spending 1-2 years. Whether speaking with current students or touring the campus for yourself, it’s helpful to approach these information-gathering experiences with as clear a sense of what matters to…
You’ve decided the MBA is the next stop on your career path. What now? The smartest applicants are those who take the time to create an informed MBA application strategy—a well thought-out game plan that can help you obtain your goals as effectively as possible. This includes making a list of your target business schools.…
Pre-MBA courses offer applicants a chance to bolster their academic records, prepare for the rigor of business school and more. As you prepare for the MBA admissions process, you might want to consider whether you should undertake additional undergraduate-level coursework before you apply. Who Should Take Additional Pre-MBA Courses? There are two reasons that it…
Thinking about reapplying to business school? It hurts to get a “no” from all the MBA programs you applied to, but it happens to a lot of applicants – especially those who apply to the very best business schools in the world. The good news is that it’s quite common for unsuccessful applicants to apply…
You’ve got your grades and (maybe) your test scores. You’ve put in the time and effort at work, and have accomplishments and skills to show for it. You’re also active and involved in your community. You have the raw materials. So how do you put them together into a compelling MBA application? Join us for…
When decisions are released, excitement among the applicant pool can be palpable. After months of hard work and significant introspection, many candidates are rewarded with offers from their dream programs. Some of those offers come with scholarships; money that helps defray the significant financial burden of taking two years away from work, while also paying…
The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is consistently at the top of best business school rankings. Its prestigious MBA program is notoriously competitive, with acceptance rates between 18 and 21 percent. An MBA from Wharton represents leadership skills, the ability to collaborate, intellectual curiosity, and a global business mindset to potential employers and…
Does it matter where you get your MBA? The short answer is: Yes! The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is one of the most popular graduate degrees in the world. Business professionals seek this degree to enhance their business and management skills, boost their career prospects, or transition into a new field. With so many…
A brief look at MBA DecisionWire shows leading MBA programs offering scholarship money, either need-based or merit-based, to encourage admitted candidates to enroll. This may be the result of competing for a smaller pool of top applicants amidst declining application volume (particularly in the USA and Europe). This scholarship money reduces the price of the MBA,…
Many successful MBA applicants face the enviable – but often agonizing — decision of choosing between programs. Though we know that those of you in this position will already be juggling an overwhelming amount of information about the schools on your short lists, we wanted to offer a few pointers to consider as you identify…
As Round 2 decisions roll out and several candidates report being waitlisted on MBA LiveWire, we have some guidance for candidates who find themselves placed on a waitlist. Before we get to that, let’s look first at why schools use a waitlist. First and foremost, while schools now know the quality of their Round 1…
Post-MBA Target Industry:
Years of Work Experience: 5
Post MBA Location: Bay Area
Alex and Graham,
Huge fan of the podcast – I listen every day during my commute! Thank you for all the valuable insights you share. I'd love to get your thoughts on my profile:
First-generation college student, underrepresented minority (URM).
Almost failed out of high school (2.54 GPA) due to a combination of apathy towards education and not realizing what opportunities were available to me if I actually put in a modicum of effort towards my studies.
Associate Degree in Engineering (Community College, 3.61 GPA)
B.S. in Chemical Engineering (Public State School, 3.64 GPA)
M.S. in Computer Science (MCIT Online, University of Pennsylvania)
Just recently accepted. Started in January
5 years as a Naval Officer, Currently a Nuclear Power School Instructor.
Lead a team of instructors (20 direct reports) that is responsible for training the next generation nuclear reactor operators and outputs 900 sailors annually.
Extracurriculars & Volunteering:
Engineering Student Government Senator- impacted 2000+ students through legislation.
Vice President, ChemE club
Big Brothers Big Sisters mentor (1.5 years).
Consultant for a non-profit supporting first-time entrepreneurs.
Short-term: Pivot into the tech industry, ideally gaining experience in product development at a big tech company.
Long-term: Contribute to the edtech space, leveraging AR/VR to transform education.
GRE score: 320 (163Q/157V) after my second attempt. I'm not the greatest at standardized exams and feel like I'm approaching diminishing returns. Going to retake in a few months. Currently working through a GRE course to hopefully make some incremental gains. Open to feedback on the reasonableness of target schools with my current profile.
Additionally, I'm curious how schools would view my application considering I'm already pursuing a master's degree. I've heard that some schools may take this as a signal that I will not be fully committed to their program? My intent is to pivot into tech, and I wanted to complement the MBA with a technical foundation.
Degree in Education and have worked as a teacher in various school settings over the past 5 years in Chicago, Hawaii and Dubai.
I'm thrilled to share a bit about my journey thus far. My professional trajectory has been centered around education, where I've infused sustainability into the heart of my teaching philosophy. From developing innovative curriculum modules to orchestrating immersive field trips, I've strived to cultivate authentic learning experiences that foster environmental awareness among students. I have also wrote and published a children's book on climate change.
In college I volunteered with Alternative Spring Breaks where I was a board member for 3 years and also participated in a cross country cycling trip from NYC to San Francisco as part of a cancer fundraiser with my university.
Beyond the classroom, I've ventured into entrepreneurship and have started two businesses: a Hawaiian shirt company with a women's social enterprise in India and a lemonade business operating at large scale events in the midwest one summer.
Looking ahead, I'm eager to explore opportunities within climate consulting or as a product manager at a climate tech firm.