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April – The month for MBA Admissions Strategy

For those who are planning to apply for this admission season, GMAT might be the foremost priority. Don’t take your eyes from the practice tests and the iterative tackling of the GMAT sections. However, allocate at least two days to develop a strategy for the next admission season.


Strategy vs Plan

I might be preaching to the choir. A strategy captures the ideal outcome that would help you achieve the post-MBA goals. Whereas planning is the nitty gritty of how you will fulfil the strategy.

For instance, in order to transition into a Marketing job function from your current position as a Consultant, getting admissions to Kellogg should be a strategy.

Post-MBA Goal: Switching career from Consulting to Marketing


Strategy: Get accepted to Kellogg’s 2-year Full-time MBA

First Step: Understand the MBA Landscape

The first step in the strategy is understanding the MBA admission landscape and the historical acceptance trends. Some schools don’t strictly hang-on to GPA if your GMAT score is above 750 while many M7 schools don’t compromise on both the metrics. If you are approaching your target schools without understanding such nuanced preferences, the time, money and effort you put into tuning the essays by yourself or through professional help, would go wasted. That is why we have incorporated brainstorming sessions and resume editing along with the Essay Review service. It is impossible to isolate the motivations, strengths and weaknesses of applicants and set expectations without sharing admission trends.


Second Step: Establish school-specific strategies based on your weakness and strengths


For the consultant planning to switch career into Marketing, breaking down the entry criteria for Kellogg would help him address the weaknesses and accentuate the strengths.

MBA Applicant: Consultant; Male; 27 years; 4 years of experience; GMAT 750; GPA 3.2;STEM background; U.S Minority

Now let us look at the numbers for the latest Kellogg Full-time MBA class

• Average GMAT: 732

• Average GPA: 3.6
• GMAT Range: 590-790
• Average Age: 28
• U.S Minority: 27%
• International: 34%
• Women: 46%
• Work Experience (Middle 80%): 3.5 to 7 years
• Top 3 Pre-MBA Industry: Consulting (24%), Financial Services (19%) and Technology (13%)
• Top 3 Undergraduate majors: STEM (29%), Business/Economics (50%) and Humanities (26%)


Strategy for mitigating weakness in MBA Application

Applicants spend most of their time and effort in creating narratives without any strategy.  Instead, create a list of action items that you must complete to bring authenticity to the narrative.

If the narrative is all about how the applicant has a bias for action and in the months leading up to R1 or R2 deadlines if he has not taken any effort to improve his profile, the narrative means nothing.

For the example above, the applicant’s weaknesses are

1) Below average GPA

2) Experience on the lower side

By joining reputed online MBA core courses or courses in Statistics and Calculus, if the subjects were a weakness, the applicant is showing an eagerness to address them. Most applicants don’t pursue the corrective measure, not from lack of effort, but because they are too late into the admission season (mostly a month before R1 or R2 deadlines). By that time, the enrollment for the online courses would have been closed, or the duration of the course would make it impossible to create a narrative on it.


April is crucial. Plan now. Subscribe to our Career planning & Profile Evaluation or Essay Review service, before it is too late.

Strategy for accentuating strengths in MBA Application

Before filming Godfather, to streamline his thoughts, Coppola annotated the novel with extensive notes on approaching each scene. It was a visual translation of a classic novel. The scribble marks and the instructions on which part to accentuate, play it normal or bring down the tempo were planned with one goal in mind – the visual result should not be something that anyone has ever seen. Coppola painstakingly warned against clichés in several scenes. This is a technique that we found inspiration while editing essays.

Some clichés and stereotypes persist because they are true. The probability that an Indian applicant plays cricket, or a Chinese applicant has mastered Piano, remain because they are true in many instances.

Ask yourself:

1) How should I present myself that is atypical of someone from my background?

2) How should I present myself that reinforces the positive stereotype of my country, race, gender or professional background?


Godfather had several instances of stereotypical Italian mannerism that brought authenticity to the story. Similarly, find what makes your story authentic. That will translate well in the essays.


Third Step: Develop a Winning Strategy for your Demographic


Strategy for Underrepresented and Women Applicants – No room for Complacency

In recent years, the percentage of underrepresented U.S Minority and Women applicants have increased remarkably. With the percentage of women applicant inching closer to 50%, the narratives that we used a few years ago for women applicant has no value this year. So if you are a women applicant, know that gender-specific positive stereotypes would improve your story if it aligns with the school’s values. For underrepresented U.S Minority – find experiences in extra-curricular that is atypical of an applicant from a similar background. That would substantially improve your admission chances.

Strategy for International Applicants – The bets are against you

It might be the turmoil of Brexit and the declining prominence of European economies; International applicants are showing interest in US schools at a rate that we haven’t seen before. The competition is intense. That means the if you have no connection with the US (no siblings as resident or relatives in the school – legacy admissions) be prepared to face an uphill task to clear all the admission rounds. Unlike other application pools, your application is approached as an elimination exercise. The mindset brings little relief to International applicants with below-par GMAT (less than 700) or forgetful experience (the typical roles – Technologists, Investment Banker or Management Consultant) with nothing interesting to add in terms of life experiences or unique professional achievements. On top of that in a booming economy, the popular industries face fewer attrition, discouraging the admission team from accepting applicants from a similar background.

Brainstorm. List out all your unique life, extra-curricular and professional experiences. Seek assistance from experts to frame the story in a unique way.

Fourth Step: Develop application strategy for your Dream Schools

First vs. Second vs Third Round (Dream Schools): Most schools follow a 40-40-20 rule where 40% of the class is selected in Round 1 and 2 each whereas Round 3 is reserved for the last 20%, including the waitlisted from R2.

A popular strategy to reduce the risk of putting all the eggs in one basket is to divide your dream schools into two rounds (R1 and R2). By doing so, the strategies that you adopted to position yourself in Round 1, even if it fails, would not jeopardize the admission chances in all your dream schools.


Round 3 should be reserved for schools where your promotion in March (most multinationals delay the announcement of promotion until Q4) would bring a substantial improvement to your profile. There is no better compliment to storytelling than a measurable metric like ‘increase in salary’ or ‘$ in bonus’ or ‘the exclusivity of the promotion – 2 from a 10-member team received promotion.’

So how to start a strategy session?

Ask - What are the values your dream school appreciates the most?

Sign up for our Profile Evaluation & Career Planning. We will help you Strategize



80+ 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?

Storytelling!

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: 787

Winning MBA Essay Guide Includes

+Harvard MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class) (NEW)

   Sample Harvard MBA Essay – Gratitude & Giving Back (318 Words)
   Sample Harvard MBA Essay – Entrepreneurship (Influence of Childhood) (667 Words)
   Sample Harvard MBA Essay - Volunteering (Mental Health Awareness)  (776 Words)

+ Columbia MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class) (NEW)

   Sample Goals Essay 1: Enterprise Technology to Consumer Marketing (496 Words)   
   Sample Goals Essay 2: Healthcare (Finance to Consulting) (499 Words)   
   Sample Goals Essay 3: FinTech (Product Manager to Strategy) (482 Words)   
   Sample Columbia Good Fit Essay 1: Value from NYC (237 Words)   
   Sample Columbia Good Fit Essay 2: Entrepreneur Mindset (237 Words)   
   Sample Columbia Good Fit Essay 3: Teamwork and Learning (242 Words)   
   Sample Columbia MBA Leader I admire Essay #1 (Elon Musk) (250 Words)   
   Sample Columbia MBA Leader I admire Essay #2 (Father) (244 Words)   
   Sample Columbia MBA Leader I admire Essay #3 (Mother) (243 Words)   
   Sample Columbia MBA Leader I admire Essay #4 (Math Teacher) (242 Words)   
   Sample Columbia MBA Leader I admire Essay #5 (Co-Founder) (250 Words)    

+ Wharton MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class) (NEW)
   Sample Wharton MBA Essay:Gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (473 words)  (Consulting to Finance)
   Sample Wharton MBA Essay:Gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (482 Words) (VC to Consulting (Healthcare))
   Sample Wharton MBA Essay:Gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (497 Words) (Business Development to Finance (Non-Profit in Energy))
   Sample Essay #2: Math Tutoring and Experimental music’s (388 Words)  
   Sample Essay #2: Non-Profit – Obesity Epidemic and Healthy Lifestyle (399 Words)  
   Sample Essay #2: Non-Profit – Energy Efficient Offices (395 Words)   
+ Stanford MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class) (NEW)

    Sample Why Stanford MBA Essay (Consulting)(400 words)    
    Sample Why Stanford MBA Essay (Tech Entrepreneur) (390 words)    
    Sample Why Stanford MBA: Finance to Green Energy Consulting (389 Words)
    Sample Why Stanford MBA: Private Equity to Operations(399 Words)    
    Sample Essay A: What matters most and why? (740 Words)(Balance in Life)    
    Sample Essay A: What matters most and why? (750 Words)(Vulnerability and Learning)    
    Sample Essay A: What matters most and why? (748 Words)(Freedom and Commitment)

+ Chicago Booth MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class)(NEW)   

   Sample Goals Essay #1: Oil & Gas to Consulting (475 Words)
   Sample Goals Essay #2: Social IMPACT to Marketing (Non-Profit) (472 Words)
   Sample Goals Essay #3: Accounting to Entrepreneurship (Fashion)(495 Words)
   Sample Goals Essay #4: Technology (Programming to Product Development) (493 Words)
   Sample Leadership Experience & Choices Essay #1 (492 Words)(Father’s Restaurant Business and Leadership)
   Sample Leadership Experience & Choices Essay #2 (639 Words) (Teach for America and Leadership)
   Sample Leadership Experience & Choices Essay #3 (496 Words)(Opioid Crisis and Healthcare Innovation)  
   Sample Leadership Experience & Choices Essay #4 (500 Words) (Disrupting the Food Supply Chain)

+ INSEAD MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class)(NEW)

    Sample Essay: Candid Description, Strengths & Weaknesses (Marketing Lead) (499 Words)  
    Sample Essay: Candid Description, Strengths & Weaknesses (Consulting to Product Development) (492 Words)  
    Sample Essay: Achievements and Failures (398 Words) (Technology Consultant)
    Sample Essay: Achievements and Failures (395 Words) (International Relations) (Negotiations)
    Sample Essay: Extra-Curricular and How enriched you are (272 Words) (Hiking and Vlogging)
    Sample Essay: Extra-Curricular and How enriched you are (298 Words) (Improv Acting)

+ Haas MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class)(NEW)
     Sample Haas What Makes you feel Alive (Start-up in Cryptocurrency) (294 Words)
     Sample Haas What Makes you feel Alive (Design as a tool for Change) (294 Words)
     Sample Haas What Makes you feel Alive (Flying and AI in Healthcare)(299 Words)
     Sample Haas MBA Enhance Leadership Profile (Trust-Based Leadership)(Team Building – Technology) (292 Words)    
     Sample Haas MBA Enhance Leadership Profile (Need-based Leadership) (Non-Profit for working Mothers) (300 Words)
     Sample Haas MBA Enhance Leadership Profile (Perspective-based Leadership) (Leadership by Trial and Error) (299 Words)       
+ Yale SOM MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class)(NEW)      

     Sample Yale Committment Essay: Business Development (Mobile Phone Start-Up)(485 Words)  
     Sample Yale Committment Essay: Investment Banking (IB)(404 Words)
     Sample Yale Committment Essay: Consulting (447 Words)
     Sample Yale Committment Essay: Technology (448 Words)
     Sample Yale Committment Essay: Marketing (491 Words)
     Sample Yale Committment Essay: Entrepreneurship (496 Words)
     Sample Yale Committment Essay: IMPACT Investing (495 Words)
     Sample Yale Committment Essay: Oil & Gas to Clean Energy (Consulting) (464 Words)

+ Ross MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class)(NEW)      
    Sample MBA Essay: Finance Professional & a former member of a rock band (96 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Marketing Professional with a talent to do Impression (100 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Life Philosophy through an Entrepreneurial failure (94 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Consulting for a Pharma Giant (Made a Difference) (91 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Three-Level Sanitation Campaign (100 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Water Conservation Kit (99 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Losing client (100 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Misreading Market Conditions (93 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Strategic Planning vs. Tactical Dominance in Chess (97 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Out of my comfort zone(extra-curricular) (93 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Out of my comfort zone (Daily Science Show) (99 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Simplifying Operations (extra-curricular) (90 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: I am aware that I am different (Leadership and Culture) (98 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: I am aware that I am different (Technology Project) (98 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: I am aware that I am different (Making Business metrics relevant to a Creative team) (91 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: I find it Challenging when People (Timidity)(98 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: I was challenged when (Change in Scope) (99 Words)  
   Sample MBA Essay: I was challenged when (Team Failed) (100 Words)  
   Sample Essay – Short-term Goals and why the goal is the right choice for you (Private Investment as a Tool for Change) (294 Words)
   Sample Essay – Short-term Goals and why the goal is the right choice for you (Education to Consulting) (299 Words)

   Sample Essay – Short-term Goals and why the goal is the right choice for you (Software Development to Sales to Marketing) (293 Words)
+ Duke Fuqua MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class)(NEW)
    Sample Why MBA Right Next Step for you (100 Words) (Gap in Knowledge in Strategy and Finance)   
    Sample Post-MBA Career Goals (99 Words)(Marketing for FinTech)   
    Sample Why MBA Right Next Step for you (98 Words)(Engineering to Marketing)   
    Sample Post-MBA Career Goals (94 Words)(Marketing Consulting firm and Product Marketing)   
    Sample Why MBA Right Next Step for you (100 Words) (Hobby to Business)   
    Sample Post-MBA Career Goals (99 Words) (Interior Design Business with AR)   
    Framework and Examples for Answering Duke Fuqua 25 Random Things with 5 Samples
    Sample Duke Fuqua Essay: The Fuqua community and you (784 Words)  
+ NYU Stern MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class) (NEW)
     Sample NYU Stern Essay 1: Goals (500 Words) (Finance)
     Sample NYU Stern Essay 1: Goals (495 Words)(Consulting)
     Sample NYU Stern Essay 1: Goals (500 Words)(Product Management)
     Essay 3:  Personal Expression (a.k.a. "Pick Six")    
     5 Examples with Images

+ Darden MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class)(NEW)   

     Sample Darden MBA Essay – Meaningful IMPACT (Fear-based to team-based culture) (199 Words)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – Different Perspective and IMPACT on worldview (Life Experience) (191 Words)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – Different Perspective and IMPACT on worldview (Courage)(199 Words)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – Different Perspective and IMPACT on worldview (Team Diversity) (193 Words)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – About yourself Personal, Professional or Both (100 Words) (Near Death Experience)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – About yourself Personal, Professional or Both (99 Words) (Networking)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – About yourself Personal, Professional or Both (100 Words) (Mountaineering)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay: Short-term Post-MBA career goal (150 words) (Technology to Consulting)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay: Short-term Post-MBA career goal (150 words) (Product Management)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay: Short-term Post-MBA career goal (149 words) (Investment Banking to Private Equity)
     Sample Essay – Where you want to go with Darden (47 Words) (Uganda)
     Sample Essay – Where you want to go with Darden (49 Words) (Sweden)
     Sample Essay – Where you want to go with Darden (48 Words) (China)

+ MIT Sloan MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class)(NEW)   
    Personality Type (Accepted MIT Sloan Students)   

    Cover Letter Checklist   
    Sample Cover Letter – Technology to Consulting (284 Words)    
    Sample Cover Letter – Healthcare Entrepreneurship (297 Words)    
    Sample Cover Letter – Consulting to Technology (298 Words)    
    Sample Cover Letter – Wealth Management to FinTech (299 Words)    
   Sample Cover Letter – Manufacturing to Consulting (Retail) (299 Words)    
   Sample Cover Letter – Strategy to Consulting (297 Words)   

+ Kellogg MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class)(NEW)  
   Sample Essay: Demonstrated Leadership, the challenges you faced and what you learned (Marketing) (449 Words)   
    Sample Essay: Demonstrated Leadership, the challenges you faced and what you learned (Technology) (447 Words)   
    Sample Essay: Demonstrated Leadership, the challenges you faced and what you learned (Non-Profit) (441 Words)   
    Sample Essay: Values important to you and how have they influenced you? (Changing the Traditional Recruitment Formula)(443 Words)
    Sample Essay: Values important to you and how have they influenced you?(Seniority-Based to Performance-based Culture)(444 Words)
    Sample Essay: Values important to you and how have they influenced you?(From machine-centric to Human-centric customer support)(446 Words)
+ London Business School MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class) (NEW)   
    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  (489 Words)(Technology to Consulting)
    Sample LBS MBA Essay: Post-MBA Goals (493 Words)(Hospitality to Consulting)
    Sample LBS MBA Essay: Post-MBA Goals  (500 Words)(Government/Non-Profit to Technology)
    Sample LBS MBA Essay: Post-MBA Goals  (495 Words)(Medical Doctor to Investment Banking)

+ 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

Pages: 787
Sample Essays: 80+
Version: 2020 Entering Class


Download Winning MBA Essay Guide (2020 Entering Class)




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