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MBA Application Checklist – 10 Things to Consider

Business School ChecklistMBA Applicants dread October 1st Week and January 1st week. For Round 2 applicants, say goodbye to the winter break. You will obsessively rewrite the essays, and triple check the required documents, but it is worth the sacrifice. Even if you have all the soft copies of your certificates, transcript, and other awards, DO NOT UPLOAD YOUR ESSAYS, RESUME & RECOMMENDATION LETTER ON THE DEADLINE DATES. Despite the warning, many MBA applicants will upload the documents on the D-Day – a last-minute activity that has frozen even the most reliable online MBA application systems.

Consider these 10 items before submitting your MBA application:

1) Essays

You might have spent 1-3 months writing, and rewriting the essay. With expert advice picked from our essay guide or mentorship from experts, you might have captured the essence of your candidacy in 500 words, but re-read the essay again. You will be tempted to change the phrase to a more believable narrative. STOP. Do not do any last minute changes unless you spot a grammatical error. If you can’t get sleep over a line that sounded perceptive but looks amateurish now, consult the essay reviewer, and rewrite it but avoid the temptation to make several edits on the upload date. Once you found peace with the words that you have captured, upload the essay. Almost all online application systems have the option to upload the essay, and save the application in draft. Do it at least 1-week before the deadline.

2) Recommendation Letter

Request your recommender to upload recommendation letter two weeks before the deadline. MBA application systems offer a different username/password for the recommender. It is not ethical for you to rewrite your recommendation letter, but it is acceptable to plan the recommendation letter according to the strengths and weaknesses that you have covered in the essay. The recommendation letter should confirm the narrative in your essay with either the same experience or preferably a new experience that your recommender had observed. Visit the recommender, and re-read the recommendation letter. Be polite when you spot grammatical errors, and if you feel awkward reviewing the recommendation letter, purchase a recommendation letter review service, and let the professional review your recommendation letter. While purchasing the service, brief the reviewer about the examples you have used in the essays, and the strengths & weaknesses captured in it. Reveal your strategy so that the reviewer will have clear guidelines on what to review, after the basic proof reading.

3) GPA

Schools want the original transcript as hard copy. With a small fee, most universities will provide the transcript – a 1-2 page summary of all your grades/marks. Take at least three scanned copies of the transcript, and back it up in your hard drive. Enter the GPA on a scale of 0-4 and upload the scanned copy of your transcript. For international students, GPA might not be available on a 4-point scale. It is too risky to convert grades or percentage marks to a GPA scale based on a third-party service. Most conversion does not capture the competition, and a faulty conversion table can undermine your grades or marks. Enter 0 for the GPA and the scale like 0/0, and the admission team (AdCom) will convert the grades/marks for you. With data about your university and the performance for your undergraduate year, the AdCom will have a better context on your performance.

4) Family Information

You have to enter Education Qualification & Employer details of your parents. Contact your parents, or preferably ask them to mail you this information to avoid any spelling errors.

5) Personal Information

If your actual date of birth is different from the official one, stick to the official date in the transcript and use the correct correspondence address. If you are in the middle of a job transition or you are planning to take a break before the MBA program, use your parent’s or partner’s address for correspondence. Most communication happens through email, but welcome kit and other information about funding will be sent to your mailing address.

6) Resume


If you are still using the 5-10 page resume, it is time to change it to a concise one, or learn how to convert your standard employment resume to an MBA resume. Business Schools expect a 1-2 page resume. Download the resume guide for 1-2 page MBA resume templates

7) Employment

You have to enter your title, dates of employment, job function, roles & responsibilities and compensation in US dollars (for US Schools). About the employer – you have to add employer’s annual revenue, size of the company, and the official address of the employer with contact details. Some schools will require you to add separate entry for each title, even if it was with the same Employer while others will ask for just the title. Do not include part-time jobs or your volunteer experience in this section. If you had gap in employment, you can address them with the optional essay included in the MBA Application.

8) Extra-Curricular Activities


Schools expect you to submit extra-curricular activity experiences in three broad categories: college-level, community service and Entrepreneurial. Use the latest experience first and conclude with college-level experience. Most schools allow you to include three extra-curricular activities. Add experiences where you have a proof of participation, either in the form of a certificate or an appreciation letter. You will be asked to enter the dates of participation. So don’t include extra-curricular activities where you funded the initiative, but had no active participation or the ones where you supported the initiative with sporadic annual participation (1-2 week). You should only list experiences with the organization where you had worked for at least 3 months.

9) Awards and Recognition

Once you have added the extra-curricular activities, include awards and recognitions, not covered in the extra-curricular. Add activities where your abilities in Music, Writing, Drama, Math Olympiad, Military, Academic (top 1%), Acting, Stand-up comedy, Rock-climbing, Triathlon, or Hiking were recognized. Do not worry if you just had a participatory certificate. Add them anyways. If your achievements & awards are in community service, include them here. You might repeat yourself, but it is better to include all your awards in this section. Most extra-curricular activities section will not have the space to include certificates. Again, the most important award first, followed by other awards in reverse chronological order.

10) GMAT or GRE

You will be asked to submit one of the scores from GMAT or GRE. Do not average your best GMAT scores, or add the best individual section scores (Verbal, Quant, AWA, or IR) and convert them into a total score. The school will ask you to submit the test date and check the score based on the official GMAT score report sent directly to the Business School. So any inconsistencies in the score can be detrimental for your MBA Admissions. There is no GMAT waiver for top MBA programs, and the scores play a key role in Admissions but do not do anything foolish out of desperation. For international students, the same rule applies for the test of English language (TOEFL) scores. Include your best overall test score.

Also, you have to take the GMAT or GRE before submitting the MBA application. Technically, you can get around this by submitting ‘0’ for the scores, but MBA Admissions team might not respond too kindly when they know that you have gamed the system.


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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!

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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: 756

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 (Persistence/Creativity/Opportunity Seeking) (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: What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (473 words)  (Consulting to Finance)
   Sample Wharton MBA Essay: What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (482 Words) (VC to Consulting   
   (Healthcare))
   Sample Wharton MBA Essay: What do you hope to 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 value for the Wharton Community (388 Words)   
   Sample Essay #2: Non-Profit – Obesity Epidemic and Healthy Lifestyle at Wharton (399 Words)   

   Sample Essay #2: Non-Profit – Energy Efficient Offices for Start-ups and value of Design Thinking in the Wharton Community (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: Career Switching (Finance to Green Energy Consulting) (389 Words)
    Sample Why Stanford MBA: Career Switching (Private Equity to Operations) (399 Words)    
    Sample Essay A: What matters most to you, and why? (740 Words)(Balance in Life)    
    Sample Essay A: What matters most to you, and why? (750 Words)(Vulnerability and Learning)    
    Sample Essay A: What matters most to you, 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 in Life Essay #1 (492 Words)(Technologist - Father’s Restaurant Business and Leadership)
   Sample Leadership Experience & Choices in Life Essay #2 (639 Words) (Education - Teach for America and Leadership)
   Sample Leadership Experience & Choices in Life Essay #3 (496 Words)(Physician - Opioid Crisis and Healthcare Innovation)   

   Sample Leadership Experience & Choices in Life Essay #4 (500 Words) (FinTech and App Revolution - 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 (2019 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 (2020 Entering Class)(NEW)      
     Sample Yale SOM MBA Essay: Business Development (Mobile Phone Start-Up)(485 Words)   

     Sample Yale SOM MBA Essay: Investment Banking (IB)(404 Words)
     Sample Yale SOM MBA Essay: Consulting (447 Words)
     Sample Yale SOM MBA Essay: Technology (448 Words)
     Sample Yale SOM MBA Essay: Marketing (491 Words)
     Sample Yale SOM MBA Essay: Entrepreneurship (496 Words)
    Sample Yale SOM MBA Essay: IMPACT Investing (495 Words)
    Sample Yale SOM MBA Essay: Oil & Gas to Clean Energy (Consulting) (464 Words)

+ Ross MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
    Sample MBA Essay: Finance Professional who was a former member of a rock band (96 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Marketing Professional with a hidden talent to do Impression (100 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Life Philosophy through the prism of 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 for Manufacturing (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 and Last-minute change) (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 find it Challenging when People (Laziness)(100 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: I find it Challenging when People (Pessimism) (96 Words)   
   Sample Essay – Short-term Goals and why the goal is the right choice for you (Technology to Marketing)(299 Words)   

+ Duke Fuqua MBA Essay Tips (2019 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 (2019 Entering Class)
     Sample NYU Stern Essay 1: Goals (498 Words) (Finance)
     Sample NYU Stern Essay 1: Goals (494 Words) (Consulting)
     Essay 3:  Personal Expression (a.k.a. "Pick Six")    
     5 Examples with Images

+ Darden MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
    Sample Darden MBA Essay – About yourself (100 Words) (Near Death Experience)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – About yourself (100 Words) (Networking and Job Offer at an Unlikely place)   
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – About yourself (100 Words) (Mountaineering)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – Where you want to go with Darden (47 Words)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – Evolving Leadership Style (198 Words)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – Meaningful IMPACT (200 Words)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay: Short-term Post-MBA career goal (149 words)
+ 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 (2019 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: 760
Sample Essays: 80+
Version: 2020 Entering Class


Download Winning MBA Essay Guide (2020 Entering Class)




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