Friday, August 29, 2008

INSEAD Names New Dean of MBA Program

Last week INSEAD announced it has named named Professor Jake Cohen as the new Dean of the school's MBA program, effective September 1. Cohen has been with INSEAD for more than five years as a professor, and has also served as Director of the school's joint research program with PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Cohen currently teaches a variety of finance, accounting, and business law courses at INSEAD's campuses in France and in Singapore. He founded the Business Foundation program, a pre-matriculation program that prepares the incoming MBA class for INSEAD's quant-heavy subjects. Before INSEAD, he was a Senior Teching Fellow at Harvard Business School.

Cohen will succeed Professor Antonio Fatás, who has served as the Dean of the programme since 2004.

To learn more about INSEAD, visit the Veritas Prep INSEAD information page. If you are just starting your application, find out how Veritas Prep MBA admissions consultants can help you get in to INSEAD.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

NYU (Stern) Application Deadlines for 2008-2009

NYU's Stern School of Business has released its online application for the 2008-2009 admissions season. Here are Stern's deadlines for the coming year:

NYU (Stern) Application Deadlines
Round 1: November 15, 2008
Round 2: January 15, 2009
Round 3: March 15, 2009

Stern's deadlines (esp. Round 1) come a bit later than most other top schools' deadlines. That will give you some nice breathing room in terms of workload if Stern is one of your target MBA programs.

To get a feel for your chances of getting into Stern, try Veritas Prep's Business School Selector, a fun tool that serves as a good starting point when researching which MBA programs you want to target.

Monday, August 25, 2008

INSEAD Application Essays and Deadlines 2008-2009

INSEAD has released its application for the 2008-2009 season. The following are INSEAD's deadlines and essays for the coming Sep. 2009 intake, with our italics in comments:

INSEAD Application Deadlines
Round 1: October 1, 2008
Round 2: November 26, 2008
Round 3: February 11, 2009
Round 4: April 1, 2009

INSEAD Application Job Essays

  1. Please give a detailed description of your job, including nature of work, major responsibilities; and, where relevant, employees under your supervision, size of budget, number of clients/products and results achieved. (250 words)

  2. Please give us a full description of your career since graduating from university. If you were to remain with your present employer, what would be your next step in terms of position? (250 words)

  3. (No changes since last year. INSEAD is unusual in that it explicitly separates out applicants' job-related and personal-themed essays, and this practice remains for 2008-2009. Question #2 is interesting because they really want to see that your career is on an upward trajectory, and that you're not pursuing an MBA just to bail out of a dead-end job.)

INSEAD Application Personal Essays

  1. Give a candid description of yourself, stressing the personal characteristics you feel to be your strengths and weaknesses and the main factors, which have influenced your personal development, giving examples when necessary. (400 words)

  2. Describe what you believe to be your two most substantial accomplishments to date, explaining why you view them as such. (400 words)

  3. Describe a situation taken from school, business, civil or military life, where you did not meet your personal objectives, and discuss briefly the effect. (250 words)

  4. Discuss your career goals. What skills do you expect to gain from studying at INSEAD and how will they contribute to your professional career? (500 words)

  5. Please choose one of the following two essay topics:

    a) Have you ever experienced culture shock? What did it mean to you? (250 words)

    b) What would you say to a foreigner moving to your home country? (250 words)

  6. (Optional)Is there anything that you have not mentioned in the above essays that you would like the Admissions Committee to know? (200 words)

  7. (For reapplicants) In case of reapplication, please use this page. Your essay should state any new aspects of professional, international, academic, or personal development since your last application. We would also like you to explain your motivation for re-applying to INSEAD. (400 words)

  8. (Again, no changes since last year, but note INSEAD's emphasis on cultural awareness and the value of mixing international cultures. More than just about any other business school, INSEAD puts a very deliberate focus on the value of an international perspective.)

For more advice on applying to INSEAD, visit the Veritas Prep INSEAD information page.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Veritas Prep Provides MBA Admissions Tips for Forbes

Earlier this week Tara Weiss at Forbes interviewed me for a piece she was doing called Tips For Getting Into A Top Business School. It was the third time Tara has interviewed me on the subject of MBA admissions, and I really enjoyed our talk once again.

In the interview I told her about how many of our admissions consulting clients are afraid to discuss past failures or weaknesses in their applications. If you don't have any weaknesses or failures to discuss, then what makes you interesting?

I know one applicant who pursued a pro sports career, only to have to give it up and go on to a successful "normal" career and then apply to business school. Pretty interesting, but she was extremely reluctant to talk about her whole sports experience. "But I don't want them to think I'm a loser who didn't accomplish my goals," she argued.

Do you think that everyone at Harvard or Wharton has achieved every one of his or her goals? Do you think that the admissions office at those schools believes that's the case? Of course not! An applicant without any failures or faults or like a movie plot with no conflict -- not very interesting or believable.

For more MBA application advice, see an interview that Tara did with me and Omari Bouknight earlier this year.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

More on the Uptick in MBA Applications

In what has become a common theme in the media, The Economist recently wrote a piece showing further evidence of an upwsing in MBA applications in the face of a slowing economy. The piece takes a look at business school applications as a predictor of future economic performance, saying, "Worryingly for those betting on a swift economic recovery, business schools reckon that next year could yield an even bigger crop of applicants."

According to a chart cited in the article, three-quarters of MBA programs are expected to reprt an increase in applications this year -- approaching the record levels seen in 2001-2002, right after the dot-com bubble. Adding on to the effect of a slowing economy is the continuing surge in applicants from India and other developing markets.

As far as the GMAT is concerned, the Graduate Management Admission Council expects at least a couple more years of strong growth for the exam. Registrations are expected to rise to 249,000 this year, yet another record.

If you're already planning on applying, don't depair. Stay the course, do your best to ace the GMAT, and then focus all your energy on perfecting your mba application. Don't worry about timing the market... Just focus on making your application as strong as it can be.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Cornell (Johnson) Application Deadlines for 2008-2009

The Johnson School at Cornell Univerity won't release its 2008-2009 MBA application for a couple more weeks, but the school has released its deadlines for the upcoming year:

Cornell (Johnson) Application Deadlines
Round 1: October 6, 2008
Round 2: November 17, 2008
Round 3: January 12, 2009
Round 4: March 23, 2009

For advice on applying to Cornell, visit the Veritas Prep Cornell (Johnson) information page.

Friday, August 15, 2008

MIT Sloan 2008-2009 Application Now Live

MIT Sloan applicants, get ready! The school's online application is now live for the 2008-2009 admissions season. Last month we posted our analysis of MIT Sloan's 20082-2009 admissions essays.

In other news, Sloan announced that it will roll out a new course in ethics, moving away from the case study approach in this area. While the topic of ethics isn't as hot on business school campuses as it was a couple of years ago, it's clear that top programs have no forgotten about the importance of ethics in a graduate business education.

Hopefully this will always be the case as other management education philosophies and fads come and go.

For advice on how to tackle your Sloan application, visit the Veritas Prep MIT Sloan information page. And for more information on deadlines, visit our business school admissions deadlines page.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

UCLA Anderson Application Essays & Deadlines for 2008-2009

UCLA's Anderson School of Management has released its online application and announced its application deadlines and admissions essays for the 2008-2009 season. Here they are, with our comments in italics:

UCLA Anderson Application Deadlines
Round 1: October 9, 2008
Round 2: January 8, 2009
Round 3: April 2, 2009

UCLA Anderson Admissions Essays

  1. How has your family and/or community helped shape your development? Please include information about where you grew up, and perhaps a highlight or special memory of your youth. (750 words)

    (This question is a rework of last year's more unusual "Tell us about your parents and siblings" essay, although the "highlight or special memory" part remains. Our guess is that they've reworded the question to make sure your response is more focused on you, rather than on your family. This is a good rule of thumb with all of your essays -- keep the focus on YOU as much as possible.)

  2. What experience has had the greatest impact on who you are today and why? (500 words)

    (Interestingly, this question replaces last year's "Tell us about a time when you took a leadership role" essay. Given the overall movement of MBA programs towards putting more emphasis on leadership, we're a little surprised to see that question replaced. But this is another question where they really want to know more about the real you. Don't feel the need to impress them with your example. If you have a great leadership story to tell here, then great. Otherwise, answer the question honestly -- what experience really changed you, and why?)

  3. Discuss your short-term and long-term career goals. What is your motivation for pursuing an MBA now at UCLA Anderson? (750 words)

    (While reworded from last year, this question pretty much remains the same, and should be approached the same as most other "Career Goals" / "Why an MBA?" essays.)

  4. Audio or text: Select and respond to ONE of the following questions. We would like you to respond to the question by recording an audio response (up to 1 minute). If you are unable to submit your response via audio, then please upload a written response (250 words) instead. The supported file types for audio files are: .avi, .wav, .mp3, .wmv, .midi, .wma, .aiff, .au, .mp4

    a. What does entrepreneurial spirit mean to you?
    b. What global issue matters most to you and why?
    c. What is something people will find surprising about you?

    (Whoa! Now that's thinking outside the box. While Chicago GSB generated much hoopla when they added a PowerPoint question, we think this is an even more interesting departure from the standard MBA essay topic. We suspect that the Anderson admissions committee is interested in hearing how you communicate as much as they want to hear your specific answer. Have a little fun with it this one. Prepare well and make sure you deliver your answer smoothly, but we suspect that a more impromptu-sounding response will sound warmer and more authentic than something read from a script.)

  5. OPTIONAL: Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? (250 words)

    (Our advice for this type of question is always the same: Only use this question as necessary. No need to harp on a minor weakness and sound like you're making excuses when you don't need any.)

For more advice on applying to Anderson, visit the Veritas Prep UCLA Anderson information page.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) Application Deadlines for 2008-2009

Carnegie Mellon's Tepper School of Business has announced its deadlines for the 2008-2009 admissions season:

Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) Application Deadlines
Round 1: October 27, 2008
Round 2: January 5, 2009
Round 3: March 9, 2009
Round 4: April 27, 2009 (U.S.-based applicants only)
Round 5: June 1, 2009 (FlexTime/FlexMode applicants only)

For more advice on applying to Tepper, visit the Veritas Prep Carnegie Mellon information page.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Dartmouth (Tuck) Application Deadlines 2008-2009

We posted information about Tuck's 2008-2009 admissions essays a couple of weeks ago. Now, here are the school's application deadlines:

Dartmouth (Tuck) Application Deadlines
Early Action: October 15, 2008
November Round: November 12, 2008
January Round: January 7, 2009
April Round: April 1, 2009

Note that Early Action is not binding, but successful Early Action applicants must submit a $3,500 deposit by January 12, 2009. You will barely start hearing Round 1 decisions from most other top schools by this date, so only apply to Tuck via Early Action if you're sure that the school is right for you. (We happen to think it's a terrific program.)

To get a good feel for your chances of admission to Tuck and other top MBA programs, try the Veritas Prep Business School Selector.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Chicago GSB Application Deadlines for 2008-2009

While we earlier posted Chicago's application essays for 2008-2009, we wanted to get the word out about Chicago's deadlines for this season:

Chicago GSB Application Deadlines
Round 1: October 15, 2008
Round 2: January 7, 2009
Round 3: March 11, 2009

To get a feel for your chances of gaining admission to Chicago and other top MBA programs, try the Veritas Prep Business School Selector. And for more information on business school application deadlines, visit our MBA application deadlines page.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Wharton 2008-2009 Application Now Live

As promised in a post on the Wharton admissions blog, the school's online application is now live for the 2008-2009 admissions season.

Last month we posted advice on Wharton's admissions essays for this coming year. Be sure to take a look at our comments before you dig into your application.

If you'd like more help in perfecting your Wharton application, talk to one of Veritas Prep's MBA admissions consultants, many of whom have MBAs from Wharton and other top-ten business schools.

Duke (Fuqua) Application Essays and Deadlines for 2008-2009

Duke University's Fuqua School of Business has released its admissions essays and application deadlines for 2008-2009. Our comments are in italics:

Duke (Fuqua) Application Deadlines
Early Action: October 15, 2008
Round 1: October 27, 2008
Round 2: January 7, 2009
Round 3: March 16, 2009

Duke (Fuqua) Application Essays

Short Answer Essays - Answer all short answer essay questions. (single page each)

  1. What do you hope to gain from The Duke MBA? How does it fit into your short- and long- term goals? If you are interested in a joint degree or the Health Sector Management program, please address in this response.

  2. How will you contribute to the overall experience of your peers at The Duke MBA?

  3. Discuss a person, event or experience that has significantly shaped your life and explain why. Note: The goal of this essay is to get a sense of who you are, rather than what you have achieved professionally.

  4. (The first two questions are substantially the same as those in last year's application. The third question is new, and is interesting because it is so explicit in targeting your personal growth, not your professional development.)

Long Essay - Answer the long essay question below. (two pages)

  1. Today, companies must navigate through complex and interdependent issues. They must deal with health and security matters, environmental impact questions, and diversity and cultural concerns. Leaders need adaptability, imagination, and emotional intelligence as well as business acumen.

    Upon graduation, a Duke MBA will be a leader of consequence - able to deal simultaneously with complex matters and engage skillfully with colleagues, clients, and community. What impact do you hope to have as a leader of consequence?

  2. (This question is new this year. It replaces last year's "choose one topic" essay question. This new question highlights Duke's new emphasis on developing "leaders of consequence," and is a clear sign that Duke will put more emphasis on the leadership dimension in this year's application. This question is very wide open and will probably cause many applicants to go astray by "talking big" rather than telling a personal story. Do the latter here. Don't feel the need to be grandiose... Simply answer the question about how you hope to make an impact in your life going forward.)

Optional Essay (not required)

  1. If you feel there are extenuating circumstances of which the admissions committee should be aware, please explain them here (e.g. unexplained gaps in work, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, significant weakness in your application).

  2. (Only use this essay if needed. Don't stress about a couple of C's in college... Only use this for the bigger things.)

Reapplicant Essay (two pages)

  1. Write an essay describing how you are a stronger candidate for admission compared to the previous year's application.

For more advice on applying to the Fuqua School of Business, visit the Veritas Prep Fuqua information page.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Columbia Application Essays for 2008-2009

Columbia Business School's online application is available for the 2008-2009 season. Below are are this year's Columbia application deadlines and admissions essays (our comments are in italics):

Columbia Business School Application Deadlines
Jan. '09 Accelerated Program: October 8, 2008
Sep. '09 Class, Early Decision: October 8, 2008
Sep. '09 Class, International Applicants: March 4, 2009
Sep. '09 Class, U.S. Applicants: April 15, 2009

(Remember that Columbia uses a rolling admissions process. No need to get your application in before it's ready, but don't wait until the last minute, either. As you should with other schools, you should assume that Columbia's class starts to fill up as you approach the deadline, making it that much harder to get in.)

Columbia Business School Application Essays

  1. What are your short-term and long-term post-MBA goals? How will Columbia Business School help you achieve these goals? (Recommended 750 word limit)

  2. Essay 2: Master Classes are the epitome of bridging the gap between theory and practice at Columbia Business School. View the link below. Please provide an example from your own life in which practical experience taught you more than theory alone. (Recommended 500 word limit)

    Columbia Application Video

    (This is new, and replaces last year's question that had applicants read a speech by Dean Glenn Hubbard and write a reaction. Columbia's emphasis on its Master Classes is clear -- the admissions committee seeks applicants who have rolled up their sleeves and made thing happen, rather than pure theorists. They'll also looking for introspection -- ideally you can illustrate what you learned, the impact it had on you, and how it made you a better business manager or leader.

  3. Essay 3: Please provide an example of a team failure of which you’ve been a part. If given a second chance, what would you do differently? (Recommended 500 word limit)

    (This is also new this year, replacing last year's "entrepreneurial mindset" and "passion" questions. We the fact that Columbia made this a required question -- every year we talk to many clients who ask, "Are you sure I should discuss any failures in my application?" Yes, you definitely should, as long as you can show how you grew from the experience. In this way, your answer could end up overlapping with your answer to #2. So, it's best to not use a failure story for #2, and to save your failure story for this question.)

For more advice on applying to Columbia, visit the Veritas Prep Columbia Business School information page. And for more information on MBA application deadlines, visit our business school application deadlines page.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

HBS 2+2 Interview Invitations Sent

According to some of our own clients, last Wednesday Harvard Business School sent interview invitations to select HBS 2+2 Program applicants. (Congrats, folks!)

HBS also sent rejection letters to applicants on the same day, and in the letter the school explained that there were over 600 applicants to the program. Given the estimated number of applicants Harvard will accept, this would put the projected acceptance rate of the HBS 2+2 Program in line with the general school's acceptance rate (in the low- to mid-teens).

Interviews are happening shortly. Good luck, everyone!

If you are an undergrad considering applying to an early MBA program, be sure to visit the Veritas Prep HBS 2+2 Program information page.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Yale SOM Application Essays and Deadlines for 2008-2009

The Yale School of Management recently released its application essays and deadlines for the 2008-2009 admissions season. Our comments are in italics:

Yale SOM Application Deadlines
Round 1: October 22, 2008
Round 2: January 7, 2009
Round 3: March 18. 2009

Yale SOM Application Essays

  1. Why a Yale MBA?

    What is the impact that you wish to have on the world? How will your previous experiences and a Yale MBA enhance your ability, in the short-term and long-term, to pursue a career that will allow you to achieve this impact? (500 words maximum)

    (This is very different from last year's more standard "Why an MBA?" question. Like many other top schools, Yale seems to be moving away from that common question and trying to dig deeper. But don't reach too far here... Be honest about what impact you see yourself having on the world. Yale does not expect to fill its class with a couple of hundred people who will stop global warming and end famine. Be honest about what you think an MBA will help you achieve, and why this is so. In that respect, this question is still the same as last year's. We think Yale is simply looking for a more personal introspective bent, beyond just your career goals.)

  2. Leadership Example

    Describe a professional accomplishment that exhibits your leadership style. The accomplishment should include evidence of your leadership skills, a description of the actions you took, as well as the impact you had on your organization. (500 words maximum)

  3. (This is reworded from last year's question, but the substance is very similar. You need to describe a time when your being there made something happen -- something that wouldn't have happened if it weren't for you.)

  4. Personal Statement 1

    Choose one of the following topics and answer it in essay form. Please indicate the topic number at the beginning of your essay. (500 words maximum)

    (1) A central premise of our teaching about leadership at the Yale School of Management is that true leadership – leadership that helps to address a significant problem in a new way – is necessarily personal. It is only when personal passion aligns with meaningful aspirations that individuals are able to inspire others to act in support of an important goal or cause. What are you most passionate about, and how have you demonstrated a commitment to this passion?

    (2) What personal achievement are you most proud of and why?

    (3) Describe a situation in which your values were challenged. How did you respond to the situation and what did you learn from it?

    (4) A phrase often heard among SOM graduates is that they aspire to lead a life that is an “SOM Story” – that of a broadly engaged, values-based leader who owns and solves hard problems that matter. How will you create your own SOM Story? Describe a situation in which you devised and implemented a creative or innovative solution to a difficult problem. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?

    (5) The Yale School of Management is a community of individuals with diverse backgrounds and interests. What unique attributes would you bring to the Class of 2011?

    (6) What is the most difficult feedback you have received and how did you address it? Looking forward, what skills are you most eager to build or improve upon in business school?

    (7) Required for reapplicants: What steps have you taken to improve your candidacy since your last application?

  5. (Last year Yale asked for a personal statement and let the applicant choose the topic, which they still do this year, in the next question. The fact that they now give you a menu of questions is a strong hint that they're looking for at least some of the above traits and experiences in your application.)

  6. Personal Statement 2

    Choose one of the topics listed in Essay 3, or create a topic of your own about a subject that is meaningful to you, and answer it in essay form. Please indicate the topic number (or state the topic if it is not one of the ones listed) at the beginning of your essay. (500 words maximum)

  7. (You still have this chance to exercise your own creativity. It's completely fine to use one of the above questions if you don't have a more interesting topic of your own. Ideally your choice here will allow you to touch on a dimension of your application that you haven't fully covered with the above questions.)

For more advice on applying to Yale, visit the Veritas Prep Yale SOM information page.

Friday, August 1, 2008

UT Austin (McCombs) Application Deadlines for 2008-2009

While the UT Austin (McCombs) admissions office won't release the school's full MBA application until next month, the school has recently posted its 2008-2009 application deadlines.

McCombs uses a rolling admissions process (i.e., applications are evaluated as they come in, not in discrete batches based on rounds), but the admissions office normally publishes "suggested" deadlines:

UT Austin (McCombs) Application Deadlines
First suggested deadline: November 1, 2008
Final deadline international applicants: February 1, 2009
Final deadline for all applicants: April 1, 2009

For more advice on applying to McCombs, visit the Veritas Prep UT Austin (McCombs) information page.