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Categories : Recommendation Letter

Criteria for Selecting RecommendersWhat are some of the criteria that the candidate should keep in mind while selecting recommenders? Should the candidate manage the recommendation letter writing process? What are some of the best practices?

GyanOne: A recommendation is really an endorsement. Ignore it at your peril. It is very important to be able to ask the right people for a recommendation, people who can talk about your abilities and comment on your achievements at work.

Another important point when it comes to recommendations is whether it is fine to ask a colleague or peer. In most cases, it is not, except for some schools that are simply silent on the issue of whom to ask for a recommendation. Even with these schools, it is better to play safe and make sure that the person recommending you is senior to you in your firm’s hierarchy or is at least clearly seen to be someone whom you cannot influence by way of authority.

It is important to select someone who has worked with you rather than just go for the person with the highest designation who will still agree to write the recommendation. Many candidates feel that if they are able to get a recommendation from the CXO of...

MBA and Law Joint Degree ProgramGetting a Joint Degree MBA program can be tricky. If you are considering a JD/MBA in law, take the route only if you planning to choose career paths that require you to work in industries and job functions that are an intersection of Business and law, or a career in law. Here are 3 Pros and Cons of a JD/MBA program (Law).


1) Senior Position

During the initial stages of the career, there would not be much greater value that a JD program can offer than a regular MBA program but as the candidate reaches a more senior position, a law degree can be useful in positions that require the expertise in Business and law. A JD will give the management the confidence to place the executive to manage attorneys, intellectual properties, regulatory issues, mergers & acquisitions, and other transactions that require knowledge in corporate and finance laws.

2) Two Networks

With a JD, students get access to law school and Business School Alumni networks – a privilege that can be useful throughout the career, provided the students have built a strong relationship with alumni during the program, and are actively...

Categories : Recommendation Letter

Recommendation Letter ReviewMBA Admissions Officers in AIGAC 2013 have hinted that it is all right to give writing guidelines for a recommendation letter but it would be unethical to review the recommendation letter in the same manner as essays are reviewed both by consultants and by the candidate.

This is what Veritas Prep tweeted

“MBA admissions officers in the room are okay with consultants providing upfront guidance on recs, but not with reviewing recs. #aigac2013”

So to what extend should recommendation letter be reviewed by the applicant?

1) Give Clear Guidelines

Start with what you are trying to convey through the essays. The recommendation letter should support the values, and principles that you stand for. It should not be tailor made for your essays though. Let the recommenders convey other aspects of your personality that supports your basic qualities. Like for leadership, communication, most importantly effective communication is a pre-requisite. If you have mentioned effective communication as a quality, the recommender can add...

Categories : Indian MBA Applicant

Q) I am from India. I have average academic score in schooling and in graduation. (59.2%). I am worried about my low academic performance. I would like to know whether this will create difficulties in taking admission in top Canadian, US universities. How I can compensate this. I have 8 years of experience in project Management, now working as a senior project coordinator. What needs to be done to get admission?

Alex Chu (MBA Apply): Two things. First, if you were an engineering major in undergrad, the good news is that adcoms tend to be more forgiving since they know that engineering schools (regardless of country) tend to grade on a much harsher curve than arts/sciences. Secondly, for US b-schools, adcoms tend to focus more on GMAT than GPA for candidates who received their undergrad degrees outside the US (since it's really hard to compare say a Russian GPA to an Indian GPA to a South African GPA!).
For European B-schools, they also focus on the GMAT more than the GPA since their incoming applicant pools are even more diverse than the US.

So in your case, it comes down to one thing: the GMAT. Don't worry about your undergrad grades, because it's...

Categories : MBA Application

MBA Failure EssayQ) Questions about failure are another common set of questions seen in many B-School Applications? Apart from the obvious takeaway of "learning from the mistake/failure", what are some of the other aspects that the MBA Admissions team is trying to learn about the candidate?

GyanOne: Let’s first try and look at why the “learning from mistakes/failures” type of questions are included in the essays package by top schools. The point is not just to understand one event and what how that influenced. The larger objective is to understand how you respond to failures, react to them, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and then got the job done despite challenges. The learning part is the first and the foremost perspective that the admissions committee wants to explore, but it is also very important to realize that this is not the only perspective the admissions committee wants to know about.

To understand this process, take the example of ISB, which has introduced a similar question in its essay package this year (2013 application, 2014 intake). As we have noted in ...

Categories : Round 1 vs Round 2

Round 1 vs Round 2 MBAWe would say that a strong candidate has an equally good chance in either round. What is important is to submit a strong application that one feels puts one’s best face forward, rather than try to rush things just to meet the Round 1 deadline. It is a myth that applying in Round 1 increases one’s chances of acceptance at a top MBA program. If you are ready with the application in time for the Round 1 submission, there should be no reason to delay until Round 2. If you are not ready, do not hesitate to spend additional time polishing up the application till you feel it is as good as it can get.

As we have noted in our earlier post on ISB Admissions on F1GMAT, far too many candidates believe that the number of places at MBA programs is limited and that applying in a later round might mean that those places are already taken. This may be true for later rounds (Round 3 and later at top schools) but is not much of an issue between Round 1 and Round 2.

Some exceptions are top global programs that encourage applicants to apply as early as they can. For example,...

Categories : GMAT FAQ

Opting for a GMAT Waiver is a personal decision. It has its advantages if you are not a good Computer Adaptive test taker.

Scholarships, Fellowships and Other Funding

GMAT Score not only compares your analytical, and quantitative capabilities but it is also used by Business Schools to award scholarships and fellowships, and even play a vital role in qualifying candidates for other funding options.

Undergraduate Degree

If students have completed their undergraduate degree in a similar learning environment as the graduate program, and have excelled in their academics with 3.0+ GPA or 80%+ marks, the admission committee will be willing to consider a GMAT Waiver.

Quantitative and Analytical Courses

When the AdCom evaluates the performance in undergraduate courses, attention is given to grades and performance in certifications related to quantitative and analytical course work. Since an MBA requires students to be strong analytically, this is an important criterion.

Academic Institution

AdCom realizes that the evaluation in universities around...

Kellogg MMM vs Kellogg MBAWe cannot compare Kellogg MMM and Kellogg Full-time MBA, and conclude that one program is better than the other. They are different programs targeted for students with different goals.

Kellogg's MMM is a dual-degree program that incorporates design thinking into every products and services. In addition to that "Process thinking" is integrated into operations management so that the resources are managed efficiently, thus leading to timely delivery of services for clients.

MMM degree covers two curriculum requirements - the Master of Business Administration from Kellogg and the Master of Engineering Management from McCormick. Like Kellogg Full-time MBA Program, students can choose majors from Finance, Marketing, and Strategy. Also, a major in Design and Operations can be acquired with the MMM curriculum.

If you are looking for differences here are a few key ones:

a) Core Courses:
MMM Core Courses covers all the topics from the Full-time MBA Core but the emphasis is given on Core Design and Innovation related courses. Since the students recruited have a strong analytical and a financial degree background, core courses such as Finance, Accounting, Operations and...

Indian IT Male 600 GMAT 2 Year ExperienceI am a Computer Science Engineering graduate from Bangalore. I have been working in TCS from the past 2 yrs as a Programmer Analyst. I recently took the GMAT without any coaching and scored 600 (Q 47, V26). I used to score in 650s in my GMATprep mocks. My aggregate score in the 4 yrs of engg is 68%. The University topper would have an aggregate of 75-80%. I am a people's person and find it exciting to meet new people. I easily share a rapport with them. A voracious reader from a young age, I have diverse interests and have been doing extracurricular activities ranging from Writing, Pencil sketching, learning new Indian languages, playing Indian Classical music on the guitar. I have been actively involved in Charity. I have been volunteering to teach English to underprivileged kids in GOVT run schools. I have helped start a Library in one such school. I really adore my Alma Mater VVSSPHS to whose Library I make frequent contributions of good books that I think would shape the minds of young people. I am planning to do my MBA in Marketing in the US. I am looking at a school with affordable fees, so I chose TAMU - college station, Georgia Terry, UT Dallas, and NUS Singapore. These schools have a mean GMAT...

Categories : Q&A

If you received low marks in important quantitative subjects, you can take classes now and perform well to prove your abilities.  Calculus is the most important class.  After that I would suggest Accounting and Statistics.

Q) I am from India. I have average academic score in schooling and in graduation. (59.2%). I am worried about my low academic performance. I would like to know whether this will create difficulties in getting admission to top Canadian and US universities. How I can compensate this. I have 8 years of experience in project Management, now working as a senior project coordinator. What needs to be done to get admission?

Stacy Blackman: Yes, a low GPA can make it more challenging to gain admission to a top school.  Here are some things that you can do to mitigate this risk:

1) How did you perform in quantitative subjects specifically?  If you received low marks in important quantitative subjects, you can take classes now and perform well to prove your abilities.  Calculus is the most important class. ...

Q) The NEW Harvard MBA Application Essay requires the candidate to submit an essay, 24 hours after the Interview. Is it possible for a candidate to plan for this essay?

Alex Chu (MBA Apply): Many people will fall into this trap of trying to pre-write the essay.


That's why they are asking this essay in the first place. They want to know how you follow up based on what happened in the interview. Adcoms can sense quickly if something is pre-written: it's either too vague and generic, or it's covering material in such a decorated and stage managed way that it's obvious someone spent way too much time trying to manicure every single sentence and to contrive an example that had nothing to do with what happened in the interview.

A strong post-interview essay is one that directly responds to or is a follow up to what was discussed in the interview. And you have no real way of figuring out what that will be. Sure, you can do interview coaching (and you probably should - if not with a consultant, at least...

Interview Tips for Top Business SchoolsHow should I prepare for MBA Admissions Interview? What are the skills, personalities and fit that top schools like Harvard, Stanford and Wharton are trying to figure out through the interview? Are there any additional aspect of my application that should be highlighted in the interview or consistency is the key?

In plain English, through the interview process, they want to know that you can listen, respond and connect with another human being in front of you (not everyone is good at that!). It is not just your ability to talk, but also your ability to communicate effectively face-to-face with another human being.

To do this, practice talking about your candidacy OUT LOUD. Either talking about it to someone (friend, family member, spouse, dog, cat, hamster, etc.) or to yourself (yes, it will sound strange and weird at first).

Interviews are not intellectual exercises. They are not carefully rehearsed speeches. A great interview is one where BOTH the interviewer and interviewee are fully engaged in conversation (but obviously with the interviewee doing most...

"You can successfully research MBA programs by using the following characteristics: Program format, Academic offerings, Faculty, Initiatives, Field studies, Cross-registration opportunities and Clubs"

Each one of my clients asks me this question as they begin to write the “Why Business School?” essay that most MBA programs require.

First, and most importantly, you need to know enough about these MBA programs to know if you should apply. You should not rely solely on USA Today rankings to decide for you. A lot of people do not consider this fact: you are the customer! Business schools are revising their programs, creating brochures, and traveling from state to state to convince you—the prospective candidate—to consider their programs. Each MBA application will cost a few hundred dollars and countless hours, so make sure the business schools have most of the parts you want from a school.

In addition to what you should include in your business school essays. I tend to read first drafts that include the “top notch student body, world-class faculty, and committed alumni network” as the reasons this particular candidate has chosen a certain MBA program. This person has not said anything. You need to be specific in demonstrating that you’ve taken time out to research the...

Categories : Community Service

F1GMAT: Nearly all Business School asks about the applicant’s involvement in community service. What are some of the points to keep in mind while writing about the community service experience? What should an applicant do in cases where he doesn't have any community service experience?

Stacy: Business schools pride themselves in training future leaders, not just educating a bunch of people who know how to calculate an IRR and overuse the word “leverage.” This is why so many ask about an applicant’s involvement in community service. MBA programs look for individuals who are concerned about doing great work and improving the world around them.

Community service experiences are important for the following reasons:

1) They show that an individual is multi-dimensional. They demonstrate, interests, passions, personality. As such, they help the admissions committees get to know you beyond your professional goals.

2) Being involved outside of work shows that you can balance multiple commitments, and that you are the type of person who will be able to balance academics with clubs, conferences, recruiting, and more, once you are at school....

Categories : MBA Application

F1GMAT: What is the ideal time that MBA candidates should spend on their Application. When you talk about application, what are the critical components of an MBA application that needs attention

Right Time for MBA ApplicationThe MBA Exchange: There is no maximum or minimum time that ensures a “perfect” application. Each applicant has a different set of professional, personal and academic experiences to research, describe and refine.  Furthermore, each applicant has a different writing skill that determines how many iterations of the resume and essays may be required to tell his or her story convincingly.  For everyone, the key is to start the process several months before the application process so you don’t have to rush or compromise.  This also allows you time to have an...