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Getting Into Kellogg School of Management

With so many quality colleges in Chicago, MBA Podcaster takes you to Evanston, IL to get a behind-the-scenes view of one of the most prominent business schools in the world: Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management. Join Linda Abraham, founder and president of, as she provides expert application advice specific to Kellogg. Linda shares how you can put your best foot forward and how to attack each of the essay questions. You'll...

How to Manage Word Limits and Deadlines

Dealing with Application Deadlines: Set yourself a schedule and work backwards from your deadlines. Allow time for the holidays, sleep, exercise, and of course work. Focus first on the applications with the earliest deadlines. Work on applications one at a time. Adapt essays from your first application, when possible, to later applications. However never merely paste in an essay because the question is similar. Customize it for this

Essay Tips: Indian School of Business


The Indian School of Business has become one of the strongest graduate business programs in Asia: it ranks 13th in the Financial Times’ MBA rankings – only two Asian programs surpass it according to FT, more than 98% of its graduates secure job offers within 3 months of graduating, and the salaries those graduates receive are high – 187% above their pre-ISB earnings! Competition for seats in this esteemed 1-year program is steep and the

Essay Tips: Michigan Ross


Michigan Ross has released its 2013 application essays. Unlike most programs this year, it has not shortened its essays or reduced the number of required essays. It has removed options from its fourth essay and focused the question for Essay 2. ESSAYS Essay 1: Introduce yourself to your future Ross classmates in 100 words or less. What’s your elevator pitch? What do you want them to know first about you? That’s not what do you think they

Does Private Equity as a Career Goal Help or Hurt for MBA Admissions?

Among the clients I’ve had over the past three years, at a rough estimate I’d say about half came to me stating that (a career in) Private Equity was their Why-an-MBA goal. I could shake some from it, but not others. This year again I’ve already seen a number of ‘PE applications’ and am fielding the question that inevitably comes with it: “Is PE a strong-enough goal? Is it too common?” To answer this, and offer a perspective on career goal

Essay Tips: INSEAD


INSEAD’s essays require quite a bit of information on your job history, not to mention extensive detail about how you envision your future. The key here is to highlight the aspects of your career that you are most proud of, that show you on a multi-cultural stage, and then to explain how that experience, along with an MBA from globally-focused INSEAD, will allow you to pursue your career goals in the future. JOB DESCRIPTION ESSAYS 1. Briefly

Essay Tips: The Wharton School

To earn a spot at this globally-ranked business school, you’ll need to prove that you are worthy of learning from and among top business minds from around the world. Your qualifications should shine through well-written prose that also exhibits your passion, skill, and excitement towards what you do now and what you plan on doing in the future. Wharton first-time applicants and reapplicants are required to complete the same set of essay

Essay Tips: Stanford GSB

Stanford has shortened its app, removing one required question, but the overall structure is the same as it was last year. Unlike most schools, Stanford gives a lot of advice and guidance as to what it's looking for in the essays. INTRO We read your essays to get to know you as a person and to learn about the ideas and interests that motivate you. Tell us in your own words who you are. In other parts of the application, we learn

Essay Tips: Columbia Business School

 Columbia has released its 2013 application essays. It has changed the format somewhat, but the changes are more evolutionary than revolutionary. SHORT ANSWER QUESTION What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (200 characters maximum) Note the character limit. This response must be short and sweet. What do you want to do professionally in which industry immediately after earning your MBA? You may want to provide a geographic

Consider Your Audience in Your Business School Application

I recently attended a workshop at the Stanford Graduate School of Business on pitching business plans to entrepreneurs. The experts there kept hammering it home: consider your audience. An MBA application is like any sales pitch.  Your audience will not only determine what you have to say, but how you are going to say it. Your audience is your target market.  The audience can be one person, it could be hundreds, or it could be a small

Should I Write the Optional Essay?

This is a question I receive all the time. Sadly, there is no definite yes or no answer to this one (I know, as usual), so I always answer with the only accurate answer I can give, which is: "It depends." After writing 3-5 required essays for your target business school application, you're probably not interested in writing anything more, especially if it has the word "optional" tacked on to the front of it. But that's definitely not a reason

HBS Admissions Director Speaks Out on Application Process

There are those who revere her and those who fear her--but one thing is certain about Dee Leopold, director of Harvard Business School admissions—she tells it straight. After the May 22 announcement that HBS would modify its admissions process, Dee made herself available to answer questions. She granted an exclusive interview with Poets & Quants and immediately scheduled a webinar to explain the new process. I’ve posted highlights of that

The MBA Goals Essay MAP refers to the process of writing the MBA goals essay as "mapping." To "map" your MBA goals essay you need to follow our unique MAP strategy. There are two MAP tactics which will be explained below. Make sure your essay responds to the exact wording to the question, but most MBA goals essays are like a roadmap. The adcoms want to see where you have been, where you are right now, and where you plan on going in the future – that is,

Stop Being Overwhelmed by Your Overrepresentation!

Take a deep breath. Being a member of an overrepresented group is not an MBA admissions death sentence. Most applicants find themselves relating to one (at least) label or group, and that doesn't exclude them from the adcom pickings. What do you think – that the adcom readers only choose candidates who have no associations to any larger group or label? Obviously that would be impossible – if nothing else, applicants fall into either the "Male" or

The Myth of the Flawless Applicant

Once upon a time there was a beautiful b-school applicant who had a perfect GMAT score, a 4.0 GPA, a dazzling resume, and glowing recommendations. She devoted all her spare time to serving her community, that is, when she wasn't dabbling in her hobby of bassoon-tuning or spinning wool into gold to hand out to needy orphans. To top it all off, she had the glossiest, longest hair, to-die-for eyelashes, and the straightest, whitest teeth – and she

How to Turn “Boring” to “Brilliant” When Crafting a Business School Essay


In “Anatomy of a Really Bad M.B.A. Essay (Part Three),” we discussed some of the clues that reveal you’ve written a really bad essay. One clue was: You lack excitement after you’ve read your essay a number of times! Sure, you can take a breather after working on your personal statement for hours, but when you return to it, you should still get a few goose bumps. If you don’t, and you feel your essay is just one boring piece of gook, here

Anatomy of a Really Bad MBA Essay- Part III


In “Anatomy of a Really Bad M.B.A. Essay (Part One),” we discussed “Rambling” as a common characteristic of really bad M.B.A. essays. In Part Two, we discussed “Big Words-erization.”   Now, we’ll discuss the following... 3. Blandness – Remember all those nights in undergrad when you had to read the most lifeless texts known to man, and you wondered why anyone would ever torture you so badly? Well, that’s exactly how admissions officers feel

Anatomy of a Really Bad MBA Essay- Part II

In “Anatomy of a Really Bad M.B.A. Essay (Part One),” we discussed “Rambling” as a common characteristic of really bad M.B.A. essays. Now, we’ll discuss the following... 2. Big Words-erization – Imagine if we told you to “terminate the utilization of intemperate confabulations,” rather than just telling you to: “stop using unnecessary words!” You’d be slightly agitated, rather than impressed, right? Well, too often, we see applicants litter

Anatomy of a Really Bad MBA Essay- Part I


Admissions essays are designed to help you reveal your uniqueness and get your foot into that heavily guarded M.B.A. door! Yet, admissions essay questions can be very broad. For example, an admissions essay question can ask you to: “discuss the factors that influenced your career decisions,” or “discuss your career plans” or “describe why you want to obtain an M.B.A.” Because of the open-ended nature of such questions, so many applicants write

4 MBA Application Insights for IT Applicants


Applicants with a background in information technology (IT) find themselves in unique situation: While often highly qualified and accomplished applicants who would seem to have their first pick when it comes to applying to top MBA programs, these applicants are also a dime a dozen. This means that Super Impressive Techie Applicant #6559 is going to need to humanize his application if he wants top b-school adcom to notice him. Here's

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