Tuesday, December 30, 2008

HBS Admissions Podcast

Recently the Harvard Business School admissions office posted a podcast interview with Dee Leopold, Managing Director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid.

The interview started off with the question that Leopold hears most often: "What are you looking for in an applicant?" Leopold broke it down into "qualities" and "experiences," and explained that they look for common qualities but diverse experiences in the incoming class.

For qualities, Leopold highlighted the following:

  • Solid values and integrity -- No surprise here. HBS and all other programs won't even consider someone who may seem unethical.

  • Ability to thrive in an analytical environment and academic setting -- As described in Your MBA Game Plan, this is one the key dimensions that you must show in your application. We at Veritas Prep refer to this as "Innovation."

  • Initiative -- How can you show you how you go above and beyond what's normally expected of you?

  • Curiosity -- Another part of what we call "Innovation." Show that you want to learn more about what makes the world tick.

  • Maturity -- This is another one of the four important dimensions that we describe in Your MBA Game Plan.

  • Perspective -- Do you have self-awareness? How have your experiences shaped your outlook on the world?

  • Sense of humor -- Yes, even HBS wants to see applicants who don't take themselves too seriously. We believe this a sense of humor is a clear sign of maturity, humility, and self-confidence.

Note that Leopold didn't mention "leadership." She went on to explain that, "We're looking for leaders who have these qualities (above). We don't think that 'leadership' as a one-size fits all or something that is a list of things on your resume. We think that leadership, and the way you lead, is as exciting a dimension of diversity as any of the other things I mentioned."

There's a lot of great information in the podcast, and this is just a sample. Go here to listen to the entire podcast.

One other note: Leopold mentioned that HBS is visiting a lot of college campuses this year, to open more undergrads' eyes to HBS and the value of an MBA. This is just one more sign of HBS' effort to attract and accept more candidates with very little job experience. Take note of this if you've been out of college for a couple of years and are wondering whether you should apply now or in a couple of years. "We are encouraging people to think about business school earlier in their lives," Leopold said.

While she also went on to say that this is not bad news for more experienced applicants, we believe that HBS' vision of the typical first-year student has permanently changed vs. ten years ago (i.e., it has become younger). If you apply later in your career, expect that HBS will have a lot of questions about why you waited.

Visit Veritas Prep for more information on Harvard Business School and the HBS 2+2 Program.

Monday, December 29, 2008

MBA Admissions Tips from Yale

Recently the Yale School of Management admissions office posted some admissions tips for those applicant who are working on their Round Two deadlines. Among the tips that they offered:

  • Review Your Essays -- Before you submit your application, it's important to review your essays to be sure your goals are well articulated and you've covered all the points you want to convey. You may also want to have a friend or family member proofread them because it's always helpful to have a second pair of eyes to catch things you may have missed. Just remember essays should be entirely your own work.

  • Send Your Official Test Score Reports -- If you haven't already, designate Yale SOM to receive your score reports electronically. If we don't receive your report close to the admissions deadline, the review of your application may be delayed.

  • Make Your Resume Stand Out -- Instead of just listing your job responsibilities, be sure you've highlighted special projects and new initiatives that have contributed to the success of your office.

Also, the Yale admissions office reports that they have sent out about two-thirds of the total candidates whom they plan on interviewing from Round One. So, if you haven't yet heard anything from Yale about an admissions interview yet, don't worry -- they may just not have reviewed you application yet. And, they may keep sending out interview invitations right up until the decision deadline, so there's still plenty of time to hear from Yale!

Just a reminder that Yale SOM's Round Two deadline is January 7, 2009. If you would like some last-minute help on your Yale essays, take a look at Veritas Prep's MBA essay editing services.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays from Veritas Prep!

All of us at Veritas Prep want to with you a wonderful holiday season. For those of you who are rushing to get your business school applications done before the second-round deadlines take a look at our sample MBA essays for some inspiration and an idea of what works and what doesn't.

Beyond that, take a breather, relax, and treat yourself to some R&R before the deadlines come!

Best wishes,
The Veritas Prep Team

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

NYU Stern Searches for a New Dean

Thomas Cooley, NYU Stern's dean, has announced that he is stepping down from the post that he has held since 2002. The school has started its search for Cooley's replacement. While Cooley's announcement may seem somewhat abrupt, it sounds as though he simply wants to get back to more research and teaching.

It will surely take a lot of work for Stern to replace Cooley with someone just as capable. Under his leadership, the school hired more than 90 new faculty members and raised $190 million in its most recent fund-raising effort. Cooley also significantly increased NYU Stern's international footprint, setting up join programs with schools in Asia and Europe.

If you're applying this year, take a look at this year's NYU Stern application essays, and visit the Veritas Prep Business School Selector to see what your chances of getting into Stern are.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Kellogg Mistakenly Sends Acceptance Letters to 50 Rejected Applicants

We wouldn't wish this twist of fortune on anyone: This week about 50 applicants to the Kellogg School of Management received an acceptance letter from the school, only to find out later that it was the result of a computer glitch, and that they in fact had been rejected.

The applicants each received an email message with an attached acceptance letter. Kellogg official blamed the mistake on a "technical glitch" that occurred in an automated mail-merge process. The Kellogg web site always had the correct information, which applicants could see when they logged onto the site to check their status.

Understandably, some applicants prematurely started to celebrate. The Chicago Tribune quoted one applicant who excitedly called his parents and enjoyed a celebratory dinner before learning the bad news on the web site. Kellogg is going to refund his and everyone else's $235 application fee, but of course that's small consolation.

Something tells us that Kellogg won't be doing any more mail merges any time soon...

For more information on applying to Kellogg, read about the 2008-2009 Kellogg admissions essays and application deadlines.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Our First Annual MBA Admissions Officer Survey Results

Last week we released the results of Veritas Prep's first annual survey of MBA admissions officers, to uncover what's happening in the field today and to help business school applicants anticipate future trends.

We enlisted the help of an independent third party to survey admissions officers at the top 30 business schools in the U.S. (as defined by BusinessWeek's ranking system). The survey ran in October and November, and covered more than half of the admissions officers at these MBA programs.

Some findings were surprising, while others confirmed what we have been telling our clients for years. Among the most interesting results:

  • The biggest challenges institutions face are attracting more, better-qualified candidates, and supporting cultural diversity in their student bodies. Among desired changes that admissions officers would like to see in their applicant pool, diversity ranks first (87%), while 57 percent of respondents would like to see a larger applicant pool at their institutions.

  • The number of international applicants to leading U.S. business schools has increased over the past five years. Ninety-four percent of responding admissions officers report a moderate to significant increase in international applicants during the last five admissions cycles.

  • The number of admits straight out of undergraduate studies is on the rise. Despite the fact that 63 percent of respondents say professional experience is the most important factor in student selection, almost half (47%) report that the number of admits straight out of college has significantly or moderately increased compared to five years ago.

  • Careless errors ranked as the top faux pas committed by students during the application process. Inconsistency between institutional choice and students' educational objectives and ambitions ranked second, and the inclusion of unrequested items and inappropriate interview conduct tie for the third most commonly witnessed application blunder.

  • Admissions officers view students that enlist the assistance of admissions consultants neutrally. While seven percent of respondents said that they view applicants who use admissions consultants positively, 80 percent view such students neutrally. In general, most admissions officers feel that admissions consultants help students identify the programs with which they fit best and clarify their career goals.

  • Admissions officers anticipate changes in the student application process in coming years. Most respondents believe the student application process will include more face-to-face or telephone interviews in the next five years (60%). While over half of admissions officers foresee the application process becoming less complex (53%), another forty percent predict the application process will become increasingly intricate in the coming years.

We especially found the learnings around diversity and the trend toward younger applicants to be most interesting. And while we were glad to see that nearly all MBA admissions officers view applicants who use admissions consultants neutrally or positively, we will continue to work to ensure that our clients get a great deal of value from their relationship with us -- but only in a 100% ethical way. As always, we will never write our applicants' essays or tell them what to say.

Visit Veritas Prep to learn more about how we can help you in the MBA admissions process.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Dartmouth (Tuck) on MBA Admissions Interviews

Today Tuck's Associate Admissions Director, Karen Marks, wrote a post on the Tuck blog about how the admissions office handles MBA admissions interviews. Her post says a lot about how the schools views applicants and how interviews fit into the overall Tuck admissions process.

Unlike many other top business schools, the Tuck School of Business has an open interview policy, meaning that any applicant can schedule an interview rather than waiting for an invitation from the admissions office. Tuck really looks at whether or not you schedule an interview (and make the trip to New Hampshire) as a strong indicator of your interest in the school. Marks explains that you are by no means ruining your chances of admissions by not scheduling an interview and visiting the campus, especially if you face circumstances that would make the trip difficult (e.g., you live far away, have tight finances, or have other obligations that prevent you from traveling). However, if you're serious about Tuck, know that the most powerful way to show this is by visiting the campus and conducting an on-campus interview.

Regarding interview format, there's a good chance you will be interviewed by a second-year student. Marks makes a point of emphasizing that these interviews carry just as much weight as those conducted by Tuck admissions officers. And meeting a second-year student gives you a great chance to further get a feel for how well you'll fit with the Tuck culture.

Finally, Marks attempts to put an end to anxiety that domestic applicants feel over whether or not they get invited to interview by the Tuck admissions office. She sums up it all up by saying:

The bottom line is that it is definitely a positive sign if we invite you interview, in that it indicates our desire to learn more about you, but don't read too much into it if we don't extend an invitation. Most domestic candidates schedule their own visits, and we are unlikely to prompt you to do so.

So, don't stress over whether or not you're invited to interview with Tuck. But, if you follow their (and our) advice and schedule your own interview with the school, then this should be a moot point!

If you're preparing for your interview with Tuck or any other top business school, Veritas Prep's MBA admissions interview preparation service can help you maximize your chances of success.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Free Law School Admissions Webinar - Dec. 15

This Monday, Dec. 15, Adam Hoff will host an online law school admissions seminar for those who are considering applying to law school this year.

Adam, who is Veritas Prep's Director of Law School Admissions Consulting, is a law school admissions expert, former admissions officer, and University of Chicago Law School graduate. He will discuss:
  • Admissions trends for the 2008-2009 application season

  • What law school admissions officers look for in an application

  • The increasingly popular JD/MBA dual degree program

  • Strategies for dealing with rising applicant numbers

  • What to do if you're waitlisted by your dream school

  • Q&A and general discussion

This free online event will run this coming Monday, Dec. 15., from 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM PST. All you need to need to access it is a PC or Mac with an Internet connection and sound capabilities.

Register for our online law school admissions seminar here!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Top Ten Common MBA Application Mistakes from Stanford GSB

Last week LaNeika Ward, Acting Assistant Director of MBA Admissions at Stanford GSB, posted the top ten most common mistakes that the admissions committee finds in applications.

Some of them are pretty amazing (e.g., "Enter your name correctly"), but smart people do indeed make mistakes! Other mistakes are very important things that can be easily forgotten while cramming to complete your applications, such as failing to provide a good reason for leaving any of your previous jobs.

Other than these standout mistakes, several interesting things emerge from this list:

  • When discussing experiences, Stanford wants you to only focus on the past three years. In other words, it's great if you were president of your fraternity in college, but the Stanford admissions committee puts much more emphasis on what you've done more recently.

  • The admissions committee asks that you explain any period of four months or more when you were not in school or working. I actually find it interesting that they're not interested in ALL such periods. Perhaps they understand that some fresh college graduates may take some time to land on their feet and get their first job.

  • Ward makes a point of making sure that your letter of recommendation from a peer truly comes from a peer, not a supervisor whom you consider to be a friend.

  • Note the reference to the "application verification process over the summer," which should serve as a clear warning against pulling any shenanigans in your application. Stick to the truth!

All in all, some good advice that applies to any MBA application. But the above points are interesting because they especially shed light on what Stanford GSB looks for in its business school applicants.

For more advice on applying to business school, read about the MBA application process at Veritas Prep.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Yale SOM Applications Rise 4% in Round One

Take Yale Daily news reported on Thursday that Round One applications to Yale SOM increased by 4% vs. Round One last year.

According to Yale SOM Director of Admissions Bruce DelMonico, the school received 928 applications by its October deadline, compared to 894 received in October, 2007. That puts Yale on pace to pace to receive more than 3,000 applications in the 2008-2009 MBA admissions season.

On top of the growing numbers, DelMonino also reports that the admissions office is "seeing not only greater numbers, but also greater quality." As one indicator of this quality, the average GMAT score of Yale's Round One applicants was 698, two points higher than last year's average.

Yale SOM's Round 1 pool also included 78 applicants from The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, reflecting the results of a push by the school to attarct more minority candidates. And while Yale has actually been shrinking its class size recently, the school has publicly stated that it may take on a few more students to increase tuition revenues to offset declining returns from Yale's endowment. DelMonico expects next year's class to have up to 200 students, up from 193 students this year.

For more information on applying to Yale, visit the Veritas Prep Yale SOM information page. And if you're working Yale essays now, see Veritas Prep's sample MBA essays.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Try Sample AWA Essays and Get Paid

For a limited time, the Graduate Management Admission Council will pay you $30 to try out new sample Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) questions.

According to an announcement to registered users of MBA.com:

Participation requires approximately 60 minutes during which you will write two essays online. You may complete these two essays when you register online or at any time within seven (7) days of registration. You can participate from any computer with Internet access and a Web browser comparable to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Participation is on a first-come, first-served basis and is limited to U.S. citizens.

You can register to take the sample AWA exam here. The test makers are only looking for a limited number of participants, so registrations may close quickly!

If you want more practice with sample GMAT questions, try our free sample GMAT exam.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Only Three Days Left to Register for MBA Admissions Blueprint!

Just a quick heads up to everyone to let you know that there are only three days left to register for MBA Admissions Blueprint and meet one-on-one with a Veritas Prep admissions expert this weekend in New York!

Chad Troutwine, one of Veritas Prep's co-founders, will be at NYU to meet with you and discuss the two questions that we most often hear these days: how the current economic client has affected the MBA admissions process this year, and what you can do to get into a top business school in what is shaping up to be the most competitive year yet.

On Saturday Chad will discuss Veritas Prep's MBA admissions philosophy and what you can do now to significantly improve your chances of success, no matter where you are in the application process. He will review in detail our proven MBA Game Plan methodology and how you can use it to your advantage even if you feel you are facing an uphill battle.

Then, on Sunday you will meet one-on-one for an hour with one of Veritas Prep's best admissions experts. You can use this time however you like: to get a candid assessment of your candidacy, to formulate an overall application strategy, or to get some professional help in polishing your essays. And don't worry if you don't know how to use this hour -- you will be in good hands with your admissions expert, who will coach you from start to finish.

Registration costs only $250 -- that's what it normally costs to work with a Veritas Prep admissions consultant for one hour -- and includes the session with Chad Troutwine as well as your one-on-one meeting with an admissions expert.

Hurry... Registration ends Friday!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Stanford GSB Announces Social Innovation Fellowship Pilot Program

Last week the Stanford GSB's Center for Social Innovation announced the Social Innovation Fellowship Pilot Program to support social entrepreneurs.

The Fellowship was created for graduating Stanford MBAs who are ready to spend their first year after business school building a nonprofit venture. Starting this coming spring, a handful of second-year students will be selected to receive a stipend for the following year as well as access to the Center's wide range of resources.

All second-year Stanford MBA students in good academic standing are eligible, and teams of two led by a Stanford MBA are also eligible (i.e,. teams can include non-Stanford members).

If you're interested, learn more in this Q&A on the Stanford GSB admissions blog. And for more advice on applying to Stanford, visit the Veritas Prep Stanford GSB information page.