Take these 5 steps for your MBA Application Planning (February)

In January, you might have shortlisted top 10 Business Schools. Many have contacted me and sought the chances of getting into each school. If you not done it yet, use our Basic Profile Evaluation service.

GMAT, which many have yet to take, will be a crucial differentiator. I have seen brilliant applicants procrastinate till August to take the test.

650-690 becomes the borderline score that jeopardizes your chances.

1) Prepare for the GMAT

If you are not yet in a study schedule, read our GMAT study plan.

GMAT 730+ has become the safe score for most top MBA programs in the US.

If you want to see which score is safe for European and other international schools, read Top MBA - GMAT and GPA (Average and Median).

Most GMAT preparation for those who are working full-time requires routines and smart-study. For instance, in GMAT Sentence correction, you don't have to know all the rules in English grammar, focus only on these.

For those who are traveling as part of work (sales and consulting), set aside the first-half an hour of your morning routine, for problem-solving (Quant). Allocate another 30 minutes during lunch break for Verbal. Any extra hour(s) for GMAT study will be a bonus, but don't verge away from the routine.

2) Reflect on your current industry

Switching job functions will be a reality for most top programs, but switching industry is tough. So if you a hint of exhaustion or awareness that your industry is on a decline (Energy, Finance), using a creative narrative as a motivation and a post-MBA goal becomes the foundation for your MBA Application.

3) Find out opportunities in your target post-MBA industries

I am sure you might have researched and shortlisted the best programs for General Management, Finance, and Consulting. We have gone further and shortlisted top MBA programs by 19 specializations.

The choice of specialization should be based on your demonstrated performance in work, extra-curricular, strengths/weaknesses, depth of the curriculum (experiential learning opportunities and internship) and opportunities in the target industry.

By 2025, Financial institutions are likely to see profits fall by 20% as more start-ups disrupt the industry with AI, cryptocurrency, contactless payment services, and blockchain implementations.

Most top MBA programs are recruitment machines for Consulting, Technology, and Finance. If you are planning to enter any other industries apart from the three, do extensive research.

Even if you are planning to enter Consulting, Technology, and Finance, there are hidden gems outside the top 10 rankings. Each program has their strengths and weaknesses despite their rankings. You should do your independent research (Global rankings and US rankings)

For career switchers - US MBA programs with their 2-year duration and internships have an edge. Many internships become the launchpad for future job offers.

We have noticed that most applicants don't have the patience nor the knowledge to research about their target industries. I have made it easy for you with our analysis of 24 industries.

Don't get carried away about rankings and forget that the rankings are based on less than 40% alumni survey response. Alumni satisfaction and career switching capability are not a big factor in these rankings.

4) List your base and secondary skills for MBA Admissions

We have covered extensively about how to list your base and secondary skill here.

It is not your interest that dictates your base and secondary skills.

Even if you hated your job, the daily responsibilities would develop a set of secondary skills that will be useful in your post-MBA career.

Your base skills will be based on your experience, passion, and aptitude.

For example, if you are a Technologist with a passion for Finance, secondary skills would include the ability to set up the technological environment for data modeling and analysis.

MBA should contribute towards the base skills.

Your passion through extra-curricular should have contributed in developing at least a few base skills.

We had a client - a technologist, who was passionate about Micro Cap investing even though it was not his day job. He had set up a simulator and tested a few scenarios to find a lucrative winning strategy.

Last year, he received admission to a top MBA program and funded his MBA with the help of the profits he earned by executing the strategy.

His base skills was not a creative interpretation to match with his post-MBA goal, but a real passion that was supported by his action.

5) Find your authentic story

From our experience in consulting, it takes at least 5-6 set of questionnaires with at least 30 questions to capture the strengths and weaknesses of an applicant.

Many weaknesses that the applicant reveals will be different from the real weaknesses.

We had a client who after 3 sessions, found out that he thrives working independently. Not a great result when you are applying for an MBA program that requires team interactions and group exercises. But on digging deeper, he shared a story of a previous failure that resulted from trusting his colleague completely. His reputation was permanently damaged. I assured him that failure was just an event and doubted that his colleagues judge him by his one failure.

Your daily contribution defines your brand.

For the client, ‘Lack of Trust’ was the real weakness and not ‘working independently’

There are so many such aha moments we reach only through a series of questionnaires. Consultants like me depend on your answers to find your true strengths and weaknesses

Be Authentic.

Answer the questions completely. Start here for initial free MBA Admissions consulting.

If you are planning for a long Q&A session, purchase Detailed Profile Evaluation Service.

MBA Application - February Plan (Summary)

  • Prepare for the GMAT
  • Reflect on your current industry
  • Find out opportunities in your target industries
  • List your base and secondary skills
  • Find your authentic story that connects your strengths, weakness, and skills (base and secondary) with your post-MBA goal.

Sample Essays + Essay Writing, Review & Editing Tips + 15 School-Specific Tips = Winning MBA Essay Guide

"Pressed against the deadline, I ordered F1GMAT's Winning MBA Essay Guide as their blogs always had something interesting to say. It was by far one of the best decisions I have made in my life. Going through the Essay Guide, I learned the art of storytelling, using various ploys mentioned in the book. Most important one being the “W pattern,” a strategy of information sharing that creates a sense of excitement in the mind of the reader." -
MIT Sloan MBA Candidate

Only 1 in 900 gains admission to Harvard MBA program. If you write your essay focused only on your achievements, post-MBA goals, and your pre-MBA experience, you will be among the 899 rejected applicants.

ATTENTION is the secret ingredient. How will you get the attention of the essay reviewer?

You know why parables shared 1000 years ago are still shared among us?


Yes, the art of storytelling has won presidency for Obama, transformed Apple from an unknown start-up to a brand synonymous with Quality, and gained admission for the average MBA Applicant.

F1GMAT's Winning MBA Essay guide will teach you how to transform your essay to an epic life journey with trials and tribulations that will move the admission team.

Who Should Buy The Winning MBA Essay Guide?

If your essay looks too bland, our Winning MBA Essay Guide will show you, with examples, on how to use the elements of Storytelling like Incorporating "The Struggle", Using Emotional connectors, narrating the Journey and the use of Chronology, Vividness and Active Verbs to transform your essays.

If you are stuck in the Writing process, our Winning MBA Essay Guide will show you how to silence the Analytic Mind and overcome mental blocks.

If you feel that the essays are not persuasive, our Winning MBA Essay Guide will teach you how to use the W-Pattern narrative, Contexts, Turning Points and "The Show Don't Tell Approach" to write a Winning MBA Essay.

If you don't have enough leadership experience, our Winning MBA Essay Guide will show you how to highlight non-obvious qualities like Trust, Focus, Listening Skills, Personal Responsibility, Humility, Self-Knowledge, and other secondary traits to prove your leadership.

If you don't know how to review your essays, our Winning MBA Essay Guide will demonstrate how to improve readability with the power of iteration, and maintain your original voice by removing review biases.

Pages: 618

Winning MBA Essay Guide Includes
+Harvard MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
    Sample MBA Essay – Gratitude & Giving Back   
    Sample MBA Essay – Entrepreneurship (Influence of Childhood)   

MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
    Sample Essay A
+ Chicago Booth MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
    #1. Modern Art = Make you Think   
    #2. Teamwork and Individual Ambition   
    #3. Adventure   
    #4. Diversity = Creativity   
    #5. Classroom Experience   
    #6. Harper Center   

+ Columbia MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
     Sample MBA Essay – Most Passionate About   
     Sample MBA Essay – Free Day   

+ MIT Sloan MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
     Sample Cover Letter
+ Kellogg MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
     Sample Essay - Leadership and Challenges   
     Sample Essay - How you have grown and intend to grow   

+ Insead MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
   Sample Essay 1: Candid Description, Strengths & Weaknesses
    Sample Essay 2: Achievements and Failures
    Sample Essay 3: Extra-Curricular and How enriched you are

MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
     Sample MBA Essay: Non-Profit   
     Sample MBA Essay: Technology   
     Sample MBA Essay: Marketing   
     Sample MBA Essay: Getting Fired   
     Sample MBA Essay: Diverse and Inclusive Culture   
     Sample MBA Essay: Leadership   
     Sample MBA Essay: Post-MBA Goal & How Pre-MBA Experience will help  
+ Yale SOM MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
     Sample MBA Essay – Investment Banker
     Sample MBA Essay - Consultant  
     Sample MBA Essay - Technologist  
     Sample MBA Essay - Marketer  
     Sample MBA Essay - Entrepreneur  
+ Ross MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
    Sample MBA Essay: Finance Professional who was a former member of a rock band   
    Sample MBA Essay: Technologist (Idea to Action)   
    Sample MBA Essay: Creative Marketing (Idea to Action)   
    Sample MBA Essay: Consulting (Made a Difference)   
    Sample MBA Essay: Losing a Client (Resilience)   
    Sample MBA Essay: Finance to Marketing (extra-curricular)   
    Sample MBA Essay: I am Aware that I am different   
    Sample MBA Essay: I find it Challenging when People   
    Sample MBA Essay: A valuable thing I have taught someone   
    Sample Essay – Part 2 (Short-term & Long-Term Goals, skills relevant to your career goals and how Ross  
    prepares you for the goals)   
+ Wharton MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
    8 Professional Gains

London Business School
MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
    London as the Financial Hub   
    London as the Technology Hub   
    London as the Consulting Hub   
    How to Cite the Curriculum (Example)   
    Sample LBS MBA Essay: Post-MBA Goals - How Prior Experience & LBS MBA will contribute (486   
+ Darden MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
    Case Study Method   
    What is valued at Darden?
    Framework for Answering the Darden Essay Question   
    Sample Darden Essay: When your opinion evolved through discussions (499 Words)

+ Duke Fuqua MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
    Framework for Answering the Duke Fuqua Short-Answer Essay Questions   
    Sample Short-term Goals Essay – Technology to Consulting (100 Words)   
    Sample Long-term Goals Essay – Consulting for Government (100 Words)   
    Sample Long-term Goals Essay – Plan B (89 Words)   
    Framework for Answering the Duke Fuqua 25 Random Things   
    Sample Duke Fuqua Essay: The Fuqua community and you (Max 2 Pages)  
+ NYU Stern MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
     Sample NYU Stern Essay 1: Goals (498 Words)    
     Essay 3:  Personal Expression (a.k.a. "Pick Six")    
          5 Examples with Images

+ Sample Essays
+ The Art of Storytelling 
+ Leadership Narratives
+ Review Tips
+ Persuasion Strategies
+ The Secret to "unleashing" your unique voice
+ How to write about your Strengths
+ How to write about your Weaknesses

Download Winning MBA Essay Guide (2018 Entering Class)

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