MBA (B-School) Admissions Consulting - Application Strategy

MBA (B-School) Application Strategy Overview

Applying for business schools involves a huge amount of research, preparation and organization. Knowing where to apply, when to apply and how to apply successfully is the essentials of the task. It is also a process of self-evaluation and self-marketing. Your ultimate success not only is dependent on who you are, what you have done and where you want to be, but also based on how to highlight your most unique experiences in your applications and how to tailor your approach to each school of your choice.

In general, we recommend you first take stock of your major strengths and weaknesses with real-life evidences to substantiate each quality you list. Then you should stop for a moment and ponder on your current stage of life and your short-term and long-term personal and professional goals. Also think about how a business school could enrich your experiences, knowledge and skills and how an MBA degree could help you further your career path. A thorough process of self-exploration will help you prioritize your major deciding factors for choosing schools to apply for. It will also help you tackle the essays and the entire application in a much more organized and effective way.

We typically recommend you to tier the schools of your choice before you start to apply according to your preference and your likelihood of acceptance. In other words, it will be wise to cover all of worst-case, normal-case and best-case scenarios when you select a short list of schools to apply for. However, it will require the same amount of commitment, dedication and hard work for all applications. You should give every application your best effort!

Work with our expert admissions consultants to devise the most effective application strategy that gets you into your top-choice school. Discuss where and when to apply and how to optimally present your candidacy. Gain valuable insights from our team's vast admissions experiences and leverage off our advice to get the most out of your application. We know how to highlight each important detail from your background and experiences to ensure an admissions board notices you. Spend at least a few hours with our admissions consultants and rest assured knowing that an effective admissions strategy has been crafted to match your aspirations.

Distinguish Yourself in a Business School Application

The desire to “stand out” (while inherent in all applicants), is not what the admissions committee wants you to be thinking about during your application process. The most important aspect is to answer the questions clearly, making sure you are doing the best job you can to tell YOUR story; instead of constantly trying to put yourself in a context outside of where you think the other applicants are. I have heard admissions committee members say numerous times that over-thinking and over-crafting your application can ultimately hurt your overall chances of acceptance. Often times, students attempt to say exactly what they think the admission committee wants to hear, when what the admission committee REALLY wants to hear is the student’s story told truthfully and thoughtfully.

The Role the GMAT in your MBA application

The GMAT Exam is a chance for the student to prepare for an exam and take on a challenge. Of course, no student walks into an exam without preparing first. Use your GMAT efforts and scores to highlight the areas that you think may be missing from you undergraduate and work experience. If you do not have much quantitative experience, focus on that area of the GMAT to portray to admissions committee that you can do great work in that area as well. Remember it is still just one piece of the mosaic that is your application.

Essays

Many students get very anxious about the essay portion of an MBA application because they believe that this is the section that they have the most control over (unlike the recommendations, undergraduate records, and your job). However, it is important to remember that the essay is just another portion of the holistic presentation of your application. It is not a writing contest, but more so, another tool to present YOU as a prospective business school student. So personalize it. Focus on the areas of your life that you are most proud and passionate about. These items will ultimately be your strongest point in conveying your growth over time and your ability to succeed.

Recommendations

Try to pick a person to recommend you that you have known for a long time. Admissions Committees look for recommendations that are personalized and give somewhat of an inside look into how the student works and presents themselves.

Diversity on an Application

Diversity is an important factor to consider when applying to business school. However, it must be done so in the right way. Many times, students think they must emphasize the diversity that they have been exposed to in the workplace or at school. However, there are many different types of diversity to consider and a very important one is the way in which you lead. From the student leader who wants to be president of the United States, to the entrepreneur who likes to work in small teams and getting a new business up and running, business schools look for Diversity of Character and want to find student who can lead in effective and creative ways.

Interview Tips

Regardless if it is an MBA Admission interview or a corporate recruiting interview, there are common tips we would like to share with you.

1) Know your interviewer and the entire interview process!

Make a few educated guesses about the interviewer’s personal and professional background such as expertise, rank and experience. Think about the relative importance of each interview in the entire application or corporate recruiting process for the position. Sometimes one person makes the decision. Sometimes, everyone’s opinion counts. In general, modify your answers for each different interviewer and interview process. Try to ace all of them!

Typically senior and more experienced people are more interested in finding out your true characters. Read local and, more importantly, national and international news. Make a few remarks or analogies by using your non-work related knowledge. Demonstrate you are well read and a deep-thinker. Creativity, leadership, loyalty are among the traits most valued for any job. Junior and less experienced interviewers are more interested in your current and past achievements so that they can draw comparisons to themselves or their colleagues. They are looking for signs of dedication, good work ethics, easy to work with and reliability.

2) Remember the basics: be articulate, be energetic and be super prepared!

Mock interviews are one of the best ways for you to practice! Practice with your family members and friends from different walks of life. Their questions will prompt you to think further about how you should present yourself

MBA Reapplication Strategy

Deciding to reapply to a MBA Program from a school from which has previously rejected your application should never be undertaken lightly. There is usually a good reason (or a few) why you were not accepted to a particular business school program. Fact: Applying in different years or semesters to the same school will NOT significantly alter your chances of acceptance. While there are slight variations in the acceptance rates from year to year, overall competition to graduate programs is increasing exponentially. It is also important to keep in mind that merely having been rejected once before immediately puts you at a disadvantage in comparison with other applicants in your pool. Reapplying without making significant changes and improvements to your application and profile, as a student is a waste of time and money. Admissions boards will often scrutinize a student who has previously applied more harshly than others simply on the basis of precedent. They will want to see exactly how you have improved your candidacy, spelled out clearly, with detailed anecdotes and progress from your last application. Above all, be sure that you are objectively evaluating your reasons for reapplication. Applications are expensive and time consuming and you ARE at a distinct disadvantage, having previously been rejected. In order to ensure that you are accomplishing this effectively, stick to these three main rules if you do decide to reapply to an MBA program:

  • Make significant changes to your previous application- in form and content.
  • Use only specific examples and anecdotes when detailing your achievements or skills.
  • Attempt to identify the parts of your application that were the weakest (the reasons for your rejection) and address how you have overcome or improved on them.

We specialize in assisting MBA applicants with

Professional Background

  • College Athlete
  • Entrepreneur
  • Finance / Consulting
  • Engineer / Scientist
  • Military Background
  • Nonprofit / Government
  • Unusual Career Path

Ethnic/Cultural Background

  • European
  • Latin American
  • East Asian
  • South Asian
  • African
  • Oceanian
 

Admissions Consulting Services at a Glance

Comprehensive Packages

  • Dedicated Pack - Includes Application Strategy, Essay Review, Resume Review & Mock Interview
  • Elite Pack - Prompt, 7-day access to educational consultant, Application Strategy, Essay Review, Resume Review, Unlimited Mock Interview

A la Carte Services

  • Essay Review - Options include Single Essay (up to 800 words), Mini Pack (Single Essay + Resume Review) and Essay Review for all essays from one or more schools
  • Application Strategy - 2 hour minimum consultation with our education experts to map out application process
  • Mock Interview - 2 hour minimum preparation with our education expert to prepare for upcoming interview with admissions office
  • Case Interview - 2 hour minimum preparation with our expert to prepare for upcoming consulting case or job interview
  • Rejection Analysis - 2 hour minimum consultation with our education expert to evaluate weaknesses in rejected applications and plan next steps
  • Waitlist Strategy - 2 hour minimum consultation with our education expert to evaluate weaknesses in a waitlisted application, and make recommendations for interim period
  • Scholarship Application Review - Our consultants will identify specific scholarships to apply for, work with you to identify strengths that correlate with the stated objectives of the scholarship and review the applications to ensure your chance of receiving the scholarship is as high as possible
 

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Our highly effective Admissions Consultants have the expertise to help you get accepted to the school of your top choice!

"For my Admissions Consulting service, my consultant provided his expertise on editing and structural arrangement of ideas and helped me product finished final products. I received admissions from both my dream schools which are top tier schools. Today, as I decide to join one of them. I cannot thank Craig enough for his services. He is very experienced and uses his experience to guide user on the right track as far as the flow of the essay is concerned. Well, this is besides the excellent editing skills he has. Thanks Manhattan Elite Prep!" (5 out of 5 Rating on Google+)

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MBA Admissions Student Review

For my admission essays, my consultant provided his expertise on editing and structural arrangement of ideas and helped me product finished final products. I received admissions from both my dream schools which are top tier schools. Today, as I decide to join one of them. I cannot thank Craig enough for his services. He is very experienced and uses his experience to guide user on the right track as far as the flow of the essay is concerned. Well, this is besides the excellent editing skills he has. Thanks Craig! -Eric

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Select B-School Profile: Columbia Business School Overview

Columbia Business School (CBS) offers a top MBA program in uptown New York City. Insights into Columbia (and Columbia admissions) are reflected in its own business school curriculum, academic programs, and faculty and students.

Snapshot of Columbia Business School MBA Program

Columbia has more to offer than careers in finance. For entrepreneurs Columbia has three attractive programs that help enable Columbia graduates to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. The three programs dedicated to entrepreneurship at Columbia include:
o Lang Entrepreneurial Initiative Fund - It provides capital to assist in starting up worthy business plans of Columbia students.
o Entrepreneurial Greenhouse Program - It is a second year course that offers the opportunity for participation in a mentoring program in addition to funding for entrepreneurial projects.
o Lorne Weil Outrageous Business Plan Competition - It is an exciting possibility for the ambitious entrepreneurial spirit. This competition offers grants to students to start up businesses. Awards are granted to the most outrageous, grand and inventive plans.

Making business education relevant and flexible for the global community is crucial. Columbia strives for degree relevance, offering practical approaches to management. According to a recent BusinessWeek Online article, CBS will cut down the length and number of required courses and changed its electives system, allowing students to take courses that are more based on their career interests.
CBS's reason for making these changes is threefold:
o Updates curriculum according to current trends.
o Tailors students' foundational knowledge to ensure that they can get a summer internship after their first year.
o Ensuring knowledge is relevant to the business community after graduation.

With faculty that is recognized for their expertise in the area of Finance, Columbia is an especially good choice for candidates interested in pursuing careers in the banking and finance industries. Required first-year coursework includes:
o Financial accounting
o Corporate finance
o Global economics
For candidates with a clear commitment to finance as well as experience in the finance field, applications should emphasize well-roundedness and interests outside of finance. Essays provide this opportunity.

Focus on Teamwork

Last but certainly not least is character. Columbia admits candidates that are able to understand, work with and lead others.
This emphasis on partnership and teamwork at all levels is apparent in CBS's curriculum.
o Columbia's Program on Social Intelligence (PSI) - This program begins at orientation and continues in much of the curriculum intends to teach students how to read and to understand others and how people relate to them-in other words, it helps increase "social intelligence."
o Clusters - The cluster is a group of 60 students with whom you take all your first year courses. For such a strategy to work Columbia needs candidates cooperate, work well in groups and participate and learn jointly. In fact, Columbia's tendency over the past few years has been to avoid admitting candidates with GMAT scores of 780-800. There has been an increasing focus on well-rounded candidates with well-developed interpersonal, leadership and managerial skills.

 

MBA Application Elements - Columbia Business School

Emphasize interests other than finance, or if you have proven interests in other fields prior to business school, don't hesitate highlighting them even if it involves changing a prior career to one in finance. Extracurricular activities and interests are important. The length of the service could be less important than the extent of active involvement.

Show your willingness and proven success at working with others.

Highlight, if it is a true interest of yours, your entrepreneurial efforts.

Show that Columbia specifically is where you want to be. This can be done by noting specific Columbia programs that interest you in your essays or interviews.

Diversity is strongly emphasized at Columbia. CBS strives to create a balance of students based on background, ethnicity and gender.

There is also a preference for people who can demonstrate that they will integrate some degree of social enterprise in their short and long term career goal

The school encourages taking the GMAT multiple times to attain highest score in order to be optimally prepared for first year study and post-grad jobs. However, Overall suitability is more important than any single element.

They are typically more determined to study at CBS; if no decision is made, then the ED applicant gets rolled into the regular applicant pool. Typically these students are able to demonstrate a strong interest in the Columbia program.

o The numbers can rise and throughout the year based on withdrawals and admissions.
o A waitlist manager tracks all waitlist students' information and profiles.
o The school's ultimate goal is to accept waitlist students and ensure diversity of the student body.

 
 
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