For those MBA applicants who have yet to take the GMAT, the Economist GMAT Tutor is giving an opportunity for applicants to improve on the GMAT and win a scholarship.
Per the Economist GMAT Tutor’s press release:
Economist GMAT Tutor, a product from Which MBA? at The Economist Group, announced the launch of its first ever Brightest Minds MBA Scholarship Contest.
The contest is open to all prospective MBA or EMBA students worldwide. The winner will be the student who scores the highest on The Economist GMAT Tutor simulation test. The simulated GMAT exam utilizes adaptive technology similar to that of the real GMAT, so the difficulty level adjusts according to the test-taker’s ability. The winning student will be awarded a $25,000scholarship towards tuition to one of the premiere business school sponsors:
- The Rady School of Management
- UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School
- International University Of Monaco
- Melbourne Business School
- Audencia Nantes, School of Management
- CEIBS – China Europe Int’l Business School
- University of Virginia Darden School of Business
- National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School
- HEC Paris MBA
- Indiana University Kelley School of Business
- Yonsei University School of Business (Yonsei Global MBA)
- University of Oregon Lundquist College of Business
- Warwick Business School
- University of Florida MBA Programs
- Grenoble Graduate School of Business
- University of Edinburgh Business School
- The St. Gallen MBA
- Weatherhead School of Management Global MBA
“Many of our readers develop a relationship with The Economist as students and early in their careers because they recognize the increasing importance of a global perspective to business success,” said David Kaye, SVP of Economist Media Businesses, who added, “We are pleased to connect students with schools that can help them take the next step in their careers while offering a few outstanding students financial support towards their goals.”
The contest officially opened February 1, 2014 and will close at 11:59pm EDT on April 25, 2014. The winner will be announced on May 15th at the Which MBA? Online Fair. Five runners-up will receive a free GMAT preparation course from Economist GMAT Tutor, worth $550 each.
GMAT® is a registered trademark of the Graduate Management Admission Council™. The Graduate Management Admission Council™ does not endorse, nor is it affiliated in any way with the owner or any content of this web site.
About Which MBA? (economist.com/whichmba )
Which MBA? is a division of The Economist Newspaper Group, NA, which offers a suite of online products serving both prospective MBA students and business schools who wish to reach this audience. Our consumer products for prospective students include a GMAT preparation course, annual MBA rankings, and content on Economist.com. We offer multi-media advertising solutions for business schools ranging from online MBA fairs, to traditional online and print mediums, to custom white-label lead generation tools.
About The Economist (economist.com )
With a growing global circulation and a reputation for insightful analysis and perspective on every aspect of world events, The Economist is one of the most widely recognised and well-read current affairs publications. The paper covers politics, business, science and technology, and books and arts, concluding each week with the obituary. Its website offers articles from the past ten years, in addition to web-only content such as blogs, debates and audio/video programmes. The Economist is now available to download for reading on Android, iPhone, or iPad devices.
*Audit Bureau of Circulations UK and Alliance for Audited Media US, January-June 2013
To enter the contest, click Brightest Minds MBA Scholarship Contest..
If you have recently applied, been admitted, or will be applying to MBA programs with a 2014 start date, please complete the 2014 AIGAC survey and be eligible to enter a drawing for a $500 cash prize sent via PayPal (just make sure to submit your email address upon finishing the survey). Your answers will be completely confidential and the survey only takes 10-15 minutes to complete.
Each year, AIGAC presents its survey on the MBA Admissions Process at its annual conference (this year to be held in New York City). Administered by Huron Consulting Group, the survey compiles anonymous data to provide a better understanding of MBA profiles, information sources, experiences with consulting companies, and other various decision making factors. But in order for the data to be statistically significant, we need many responses and appreciate your help. Again the survey can be accessed here. Click 2013 AIGAC MBA Admissions survey to see last year’s survey.
The Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants promotes high ethical standards and professional development amongst graduate admissions consultants, increases public understanding of graduate admissions consulting, and enhances communication with complementary organizations and entities. Its membership now comprises 71 consultants from 9 countries, including the U.S., Brazil, Japan, China, Russia, Spain, and Israel. Inspired by the collaborative spirit and camaraderie of the consultants who attended Tuck School of Business’s Conferences for International Educational Consultants in 2005 and 2006, Linda Abraham of Accepted.com and Ricardo Betti of MBA Empresarial (Brazil) joined with Graham Richmond of Clear Admit and Maxx Duffy of Maxx Associates to form a not-for-profit association to set industry standards for graduate admissions consultants. In November 2006, AIGAC was officially incorporated in the State of California.”
For most applicants there is no need to mention the GMAT score in the application. Obviously, the score is part of the application, and that should suffice. There is no reason to be redundant with the information in the application. There is limited space to fit professional, educational, and personal experiences, so don’t use vital space to discuss something that is included elsewhere in the application.
But for some applicants, a small few, mentioning the GMAT score will help their application. And not just mentioning the GMAT score, but elucidating the path to the GMAT score. Describing the time, energy, and effort that went into achieving a good GMAT score can help in specific situations.
One situation is when a student re-applies to a program. Often when a student re-applies, the school wants to know what the student has done for the past year. They want to know what has changed and why the student is a better candidate now. For example, Georgetown asks students who are re-applying:
How have you strengthened your candidacy since your last application? We are particularly interested in hearing about how you have grown professionally and personally.
Now if you know that your GMAT score was low and probably a reason that you were not admitted to a program, and you spent the year studying and practicing to retake the GMAT, and you increased your score, then this is something you should explain in your application. Don’t focus so much on technical details of the retake. Rather tell them what you did to improve, about your mental state and your resolution to improve. Admission committees love to hear stories of failure and gumption, so tell them your GMAT redemption story—how it felt to fail and what you did because of the failure.
Speaking of, you might mention your GMAT score on the application if the first time you took the test you did terribly, and had to re-take it to improve your score. Yet I hesitate to mention this scenario since a lot of students probably went through a very similar experience, so talking about it won’t help you to stand out. Just because you went from a bad score to a good one is not enough in and of itself. There needs to be more to a story, something that could answer a question like this from Cambridge’s application:
What did you learn from your most spectacular failure?
Your story really needs to be compelling for you to include it in your application. Spend time really considering other experiences to write about in your application that would stand out as unique and fantastic. There is probably something more gripping than talking about scoring poorly and the month-long GMAT study plan you used to boost your score. Remember that a story about studying for the GMAT is as average as it gets for MBA applicants.
Finally, you may want to mention your GMAT score on the application if there are extenuating circumstances that explain a particularly low GMAT score. Schools will often provide space for students to explain aspects of their application that might need explaining. This is the most likely scenario for discussing your GMAT score. Duke’s application has one such question:
If you feel there are extenuating circumstances of which the Admissions Committee should be aware, please explain them in an optional essay (e.g. unexplained gaps in work, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, or any significant weakness in your application).
For some this might mean discussing a learning disability that makes timed testing not a good gauge of abilities. Or it might mean talking about a history of poor performance on standardized tests that doesn’t correlate to your performance in an academic or professional setting. Some people just naturally can’t handle the pressure of a time test, but excel otherwise.
The vast majority of applicants do not need to include any mention of their GMAT score. Submit the your scores to the school and that’s enough. But in some cases—a low GMAT score, an extenuating circumstances, an extremely compelling journey to a good GMAT score—the applicant would want to mention the GMAT score.
Indian School of Business (ISB) is to offer five Global Scholarships to citizens of North America, South America, Europe, Asia (applicants of Indian Origin are ineligible) and Australia. ISB is also offering five Bridge to India Scholarships for Non-Indian passport holders who are of Indian origin. Scholarship applicants must write a 300-word essay available online.
To apply, log in to Application for the Class of 2014-15, write the essay and submit it along with the application.
For detailed information about the application and selection process, visit http://www.isb.edu/pgp/fees-financing/Scholarships, email Intladmissions@isb.edu or call +91-9949292946, +91-40-23187403/7401.
In a blog post on MBA Application Components, I discussed the different parts of your MBA application, which includes an Employment History section and an MBA Resume. Here, I will answer some common questions about the MBA resume.
How is an MBA resume different from a job resume? You are addressing the MBA Evaluation Criteria which could be different from job criteria, especially if you have a technical resume. So, in an MBA resume you would be emphasizing promotions, accomplishments, leadership, and global impact in professional and community dimensions, and de-emphasizing maybe some of the technical aspects of your job that would be relevant to non-MBA employers, but not an MBA school or post-MBA employers.
Should a resume be one page or two pages? Certain schools like HBS allow two pages, while other schools like Wharton want a one page resume only. One guideline is for younger applicants to use only one page and executives two pages but this guideline can be tailored to the candidate’s professional experience, academic background, community service, etc.
What are the different sections of a resume? The core blocks of a resume are professional, academic and additional sections, although other sections can be added or substituted dependent upon the client background and resume length. For example, if an applicant has published articles then a publication section might be advisable to emphasize the candidate’s thought leadership. The Professional Experience section is usually broken down by organization containing name, employment dates, roles, and accomplishments. Remember to try to quantify the impact wherever possible in terms of dollar amount or percentages. If you saved your company money, how much? If you increased the efficiency of something, by what percent? This section can be organized functionally, if the applicant has similar job functions across multiple companies and wishes to highlight competencies. I advise clients to use the STAR model (Situation, Task, Action, Result) for concisely explaining accomplishments. The Educational Background section contains institution attended, degree attained, year graduated, years attended, GPA (do not include if not high) and other information. This information can include extra-curricular activities (if not a separate section), internships (if not rolled into full-time positions), employment while attending school (a good reason for explaining lower grades) and other items. The Additional section can contain your community service (if not a separate section), certifications (if not a separate sections), awards (if not a separate section), hobbies and anything else relevant. You can see there is flexibility to label sections in a way which best positions your application.
Why is readability important and how do I make my resume more easily readable? Readers or interviewers will skim your resume and then drill down into the areas that interests them, so you should structure the resume in a compelling, but straightforward, manner. That means using logical hierarchies (bullets and sub-bullets), expressing similar ideas with parallelism in structuring items and bullets across the resume, avoiding multi-line descriptions, and maximizing white space wherever possible.
Finally, how do I make my resume standout? Reflect on the unique aspects of your professional background and ensure your resume captures this in a manner easy for the reader to glean. You are investing considerable time to ensure that the reader – who might only spend a few minutes reading your resume – forms the best impression of you possible. Therefore, use strong action words, prioritize the most powerful content first, and create unique sections to emphasize significance. If you have served on non-profit boards, create a section called non-profit board leadership. If you have considerable leadership experience, create either a separate leadership section for the overall resume or within each job.
In closing, whereas in the Employment History section, you answer the work-related questions the school asks, in the MBA Resume you have greater freedom to position the various parts of your background to best meet each school’s MBA Evaluation Criteria as long as you convey the overall professional, academic and additional information.
Economist GMAT Tutor employs adaptive technology (similar to the GMAT’s logic) to help students focus on their target areas in each section of the GMAT. Economist GMAT Tutor’s personalized learning includes private tutoring sessions with expert, accredited tutors. Students can also send messages to tutors while using the course, and keep track of their progress on a customized student dashboard. The course has helped over 80,000 students achieve their best GMAT score.
Students can study online from their homes or offices or with the iPhone app.
NEW YORK, June 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ – The Economist announced today the launch of an iPhone app called GMAT Tutor (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-economist-gmat-tutor/id630426298), which allows students to prepare for the GMAT by focusing on their individual learning needs. The app was developed in co-operation with Mindojo (an Israeli technology start-up) and offers approximately 100 hours worth of content and over 5,000 practice questions. GMAT Tutor employs patent-pending artificial intelligence so the more time students spend learning with the program, the more customized it becomes.
”Future MBAs are on the go, so we wanted to provide an intuitive prep tool that fitted with their lives,” said Isaac Showman, vice-president at The Economist and general manager of Economist Education. “GMAT Tutor combines cutting-edge adaptive learning technology with the portability of an iPhone. The app has a conversational, almost human tone, and for students around the world, the best GMAT instructor they can find is probably in their pocket.”
Access to GMAT Tutor is free for 7 days after which students can pick between two learning plans priced between $475 and $695. Support is offered via a global team of GMAT instructors who are available to answer questions via in-app messaging or live video chats.
The iPhone app is supported by an online version (http://gmat.economist.com) which provides extra features such as full-length Computer Adaptive Testing GMAT practice tests, essay support, and customized progress reports.
The Economist is backing GMAT Tutor’s courses with a comprehensive improvement guarantee. If students’ GMAT scores don’t improve by at least 50 points (or 70 for the advanced program) they will receive a full refund for the course. The Economist plans to release an Android version of GMAT Tutor over the summer.
About GMAT Tutor (http://gmat.economist.com)
GMAT Tutor is an online GMAT preparation course that uses adaptive technology to focus on a student’s areas that need the most improvement. This online service offers a personalized curriculum to covers every aspect of the GMAT exam along with over 5,000 practice questions. The course plans also include practice exams, essay marking and one-to-one online sessions with expert GMAT instructors.
About The Economist (www.economist.com)
With a growing global circulation (now 1.5 million including both print* and digital) and a reputation for insightful analysis and perspective on every aspect of world events, The Economist is one of the most widely recognised and well-read current affairs publications. The paper covers politics, business, science and technology, and books and arts, concluding each week with the obituary. Its website (www.economist.com) offers articles from the past ten years, in addition to web-only content such as blogs, debates and audio/video programmes. The Economist is now available to download for reading on Android, iPhone, or iPad devices.
IESE has announced its MBA Essay Questions.
MBA Essay Questions
(IESE’s questions remain the same as last year and encompass a standard goals, accomplishment, and failure question along with an open-ended question that gives applicants an opportunity to fill in the gaps.)
1. Describe your short-term and long-term career goals (Post MBA). (300-word maximum)
2. Describe two substantial accomplishments and one failure in a professional or private endeavour. (600-word maximum)
3. I wish that the application had asked me… (200-word maximum)
London Business School has released its MBA Essay Questions .
MBA Essay Questions
LBS has reduced the number of questions from six questions to three questions.
1. What will your future look like after completing your MBA? (500-word maximum)
(More open-ended then last year’s question. Candidates have room to be more creative but should still chart a career path that logically makes sense and shows some alignment with their background and goals.)
2. What value will you add to London Business School? (300-word maximum)
(This question is more open-ended then last year’s question about showing impact on just student clubs and campus community events. Candidates have an opportunity to show broader impact – say in an academic context – as well as both as students and alumni.)
3. What is the School’s responsibility to you and what is your responsibility to the School? (400-word maximum)
(This is new question is also open-ended. Applicants will most likely frame their answers in terms of values and ethics.)
What are the different components of an MBA application? These include general information, academic background (test scores included), employment history (resume included), extracurricular activities/community service, awards, essay questions other questions, the application fee, and recommendations. Schools might not ask for all of the information covered here or ask for the information as broken down in these sections.
At the beginning of the online application the school gathers general information about your application, personal and family background.
Application information could consist of desire to apply for merit fellowships, academic focus, intention to pursue a dual degree, future experience (industry and functional area of summer internship and post-MBA employment), whether you have previously applied to the program, contact with the school (admissions representatives, faculty, alumni, or students) and miscellaneous questions about disciplinary action from prior academic institutions and prior criminal convictions.
When filling out this section you wish to have your academic focus, intention to pursue a dual degree and future experience align with your goals essay questions (and the rest of the application). If you have applied previously to the school make sure you follow the reapplicant instructions. Having specific names in the contact with the school section is viewed positively because of the demonstrated effort in learning about the school and the higher perceived likelihood of the applicant attending the program if accepted. This is one of the reasons I encourage candidates to visit the school, attend information sessions and perform outreach to faculty, alumni and students.
Personal data includes information about how to contact you (name, address, email, telephone), biographical (gender, ethnicity, date of birth, country of origin and native language), citizenship (primary and dual), legal state residency (if applying to a public state school), social security number (if a domestic applicant), where you grew up, language fluency (languages other than your native language and fluency per language), and international experience (work, study, and travel).
Your gender and ethnicity determine if you are in any underrepresented minority groups. If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, legal state residency is factored into admissions (schools prefer not to have an overwhelming number of applicants from any one region) and if you are eligible for in-state tuition (if the school is a public state school). If you are not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, then your country of origin determines your applicant group (and its competitiveness). Language fluency and international experience are part of your global profile used by MBA Admissions Committees in evaluating your candidacy.
Family background encompasses the name, occupation, degrees obtained, location and deceased status of each parent as well as whether you are married, have children and whether any of your relatives are alumni of the university.
Per the MBA Evaluation Criteria, MBA Admissions Committees gauge your academic capability from your educational background and test scores.
The Education section asks the applicant to list every undergraduate and graduate institution attended, location (city, state, country), dates attended, level of study (Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate), GPA, major, degree and date degree was awarded.
There is also a place to upload academic transcripts for each of these institutions. Schools not only factor your GPA (or % for certain foreign students), but also the difficulty of school, degree, major, and classes as well.
All applicants are required to submit a valid GMAT or GRE score that was taken within the past five years. Schools ask for the date taken (or will be taken), total score and percentage as well as score and percentage for the quantitative, verbal, AWA sections. If given a choice between the two exams, I advise candidates to test for the GMAT because schools have a track record with the exam. Candidates with GRE scores fall into one of several buckets: (1) have an advanced degree and took the GRE as part of the application process for that advanced degree, (2) are applying for a dual degree and need the GRE as part of the application process for the other program or (3) are applying from a developing nation where the exam is cheaper.
Almost all schools only look at your highest score so you should not worry about the number of times you take the test even if a school asks; some schools like Tuck look at two scores taking the highest quantitative and verbal score from each test. Most schools desire an 80% or higher quantitative score to prove you can handle the quantitative rigors of the coursework.
International candidates must take the TOEFL exam unless they have graduated from an undergraduate or graduate program in which English was the only language of instruction. Schools ask for the date taken (or will be taken), total score as well as your score for each section. MBA Admissions Committees use the TOEFL along with your essays and interviews, to assess your English proficiency.
Schools ask overall employment questions, such as how many months of post-college full-time work experience you will have upon enrolling and to explain any employment history gaps.
Schools also ask for information about each employer: organization name, location, description, position title(s) (as well as promotions), dates employed, direct/indirect reports, compensation (beginning and ending), bonuses, responsibilities, industry, job function, hours worked per week, supervisor name and reason for change. Some schools ask additional questions, such as greatest achievement and/or challenge. One workaround for severe word or character limitations for the responsibilities section is to list multiple positions (or roles) as separate items (unless otherwise instructed in the application).
Almost all schools provide a place for you to upload your resume or CV, usually allowing up to 2 pages. A rule of thumb is that executives use two pages and younger full-time applicants use one page, but this rough rule of thumb depends upon the applicant’s depth and breadth of experience and the word or character limitations throughout the online application.
Resumes comprise professional, education, and additional components, but other sections can be added or substituted dependent upon the candidate and whether the resume is one or two pages. For instance, if a candidate has written articles in multiple publications, then a publications section would highlight the applicant’s thought leadership. Your resume provides MBA Admissions Committees with a quick way to glean your promotions, accomplishments, leadership, and global impact in professional and community dimensions; your academic background and personal characteristics – all important MBA Evaluation Criteria.
For advice on creating a powerful resume and answers to common questions, read MBA Resumes.
Extracurricular Activities/Community Service
This section is labeled different things but comprises your collegiate extracurricular and post-collegiate community service activities. Often you are instructed to list these in order of importance.
Schools will ask for the organization name, description, and location; your dates and frequency of participation; and your role, description of role and whether that role was elected or appointed. When filling out this section remember the MBA Evaluation Criteria and seek to demonstrate promotions, impact, leadership, teamwork, a global element and other characteristics valued by MBA Admissions Committees.
List your awards in order of importance if the schools do not otherwise instruct you. Indicate the date, describe the selection criteria, and the selectivity of the award (if this positions you favorably). Include publications and certifications as well. The awards section shows impact – one of the criteria MBA Admissions Committees use to evaluate your candidacy.
If there is not a separate section for awards make sure to list all of your academic, professional and community service awards in the appropriate sections within the online application (Academic Background, Employment History, and Extracurricular Activities/Community Service).
Schools ask a variety of essay questions pertaining to career goals, school fit (or contribution), personal background, leadership, failure, optional information and more creative types that involve video or PowerPoints.
When addressing these questions remember that your essays complement the rest of your application. So, do not provide redundant information found elsewhere in the application. Also, contextualize your essay answers to your overall positioning with respect to the MBA Evaluation Criteria. Finally, given the essay word limits, MBA Admissions Committees are implicitly testing you on your ability to effectively and concisely communicate your ideas
In a future blog post, I will write in a separate blog post about how to best approach the essays, write effective Business English and tackle common question types.
Schools can ask a range of other questions, such as how you will finance your MBA (included in this is whether your company will be sponsoring your MBA studies) or to describe a personal hobby. You will also often be asked to sign an Honor Code as well.
Schools charge application fees ranging from $75 to $250 that must be paid with a valid credit card. Applicants can request waivers for a variety of reasons ranging from active duty U.S military or U.S. veteran status to current employment by the Peace Corps or Teach for America. If you wish an exemption, make sure to check the specific policies for each school.
Schools generally ask for two recommendations from individuals who can speak directly about your managerial ability and professional promise. MBA Admissions Committees prefer that one recommendation comes from your direct supervisor and usually requests a statement of explanation if you are not able to do so. The other recommendation should be from another former supervisor, someone senior to you, or at least a person who has a direct stake in the quality of your work, such as a client or board member of a non-profit you run. The recommender’s title or position is unimportant relative to that person’s ability to remark insightfully about you substantiated by specific examples. If you are in college or a recent college graduate you may include an academic recommendation, but recommendations from the workplace or community service are usually superior except for in certain circumstances. Stanford GSB asks for a third recommendation from a peer. This recommendation can come from someone on a project or team in your community service, professional, extracurricular or other activities. Just like you did when selecting your other recommenders, choose a person who can remark insightfully about you substantiated by specific examples.
In a future blog post, I will discuss MBA Recommendation Strategy which includes how to optimally select and approach recommenders.
The MBA interview is an opportunity for you to showcase your communication skills, career focus, school fit, gravitas, likeability and more. If you are an international applicant, MBA Admissions Committees will assess your English-language capabilities. For most top schools, the MBA interview is invite only. However, at some programs like Kellogg, candidates schedule interviews off-campus or on-campus. Some schools like Wharton combine team-based discussion with several other applicants and a brief one-on-one interview.
In a future blog post, I will discuss how to best prepare for your MBA Interview.
Cambridge Judge has released its MBA Essay Questions following up from its MBA Admissions Deadlines announced last month.
MBA Essay Questions
1. What did you learn from your most spectacular failure? (200-word maximum)
(Same question as last year.) This question is your traditional failure question with the twist of “spectacular failure”. This sets up a rhetorical burden to describe a failure of consequence and not something trivial. The MBA Admissions Committee is looking for applicants who learn from their mistakes and apply this learning to greater results. Also, one indication of an applicant’s career progression and risk taking is that the applicant has experienced a significant failure.
2. What are your short and long term career objectives? What skills/characteristics do you already have that will help you to achieve them? What do you hope to gain from the degree and how do you feel it will help you achieve the career objectives you have? (500-word maximum)
(Same question as last year.) This is the standard goals question.
3. If you could change one thing about your current organisation, what would you make different? How would you overcome obstacles to this change, and what impact would this change have in the short-term and long-term? (300-word maximum)
(Same question as last year.) I like this question. The MBA Admissions Committee is looking to assess your strategic vision and mindset.
Visit Judge MBA Admissions for more detail.