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  • in reply to: Ask AdmissionsConsultants #26105

    This may be old news to some of you, but I was just informed by one of our full-time MBA admissions consultants that Chicago added a new optional essay yesterday:

    Essay E (Optional) If there is further information that you believe would be helpful to the admissions committee, please feel free to provide it.

    Chicago’s first-round application deadline is November 7.

    Best of luck with your applications!

    Sincerely,

    David Petersam
    @admissionsconsultants.com">DPetersam@admissionsconsultants.com

    Admissions committee experience from the top b-schools

    AdmissionsConsultants
    703.242.5885

    in reply to: please advice #26102

    Hi N and thanks for your inquiry. Since your inquiry is MBA admissions related, I’ll be glad to answer it.

    julie,
    hi , i am a masters in computers. i would like to persue an MBA. because my masters and my bachelors is through distance learning, what is my best choice of colleges?
    N

    I wouldn’t let the fact you earned your degrees through distance learning become the main determinant in selecting a business school. Instead, I’d encourage you to consider factors like your future career goals, the strength of your candidacy, and personal preferences for items such as geography (assuming you are considering non DL programs), campus culture, and teaching methods.

    If you have any more questions about MBA admissions, kindly post them in the MBA section of this site. This will ensure the most prompt response.

    Best of luck with your applications!

    Sincerely,

    David Petersam
    @admissionsconsultants.com">DPetersam@admissionsconsultants.com

    Admissions committee experience from the top b-schools

    AdmissionsConsultants
    703.242.5885

    in reply to: Too Old for Regular MBA at Top 10 SChools #26085

    Hi Mike and thanks for your inquiry.

    Hi: I am 39 years old with about 17 years experience in the work force. I have exceptional leadership and work experiences all around the world, including military experiences in war time. I recently decided I would like to return to school and get an MBA (full time program) from a top 10 b-school. I have been told I have too much experience and am outside the age window for most reg. MBA programs. I have been encouraged to pursue and E-MBA. I was even told 26 years old is pushing it for Harvard.

    The EMBA is a great degree for applicants who have progressed further in their careers. The analogy I like to use (and I’m sure our consultants have their own analogies) is that the campus, full-time MBA teaches you things at the 20,000 foot level. The EMBA, on the other hand, teaches you things at the 50,000 foot level. While age tends to dictate EMBA students are older than campus, full-time MBA students, there are certainly many exceptions to the rule. We have helped many applicants in their 20s gain admission to top EMBA programs and applicants into their 40s gain admission to top 10 full-time programs.

    Most applicants to HBS this past year fell within the 3 to 7 year range. This holds true with the many clients we worked with this past year who gained admission to HBS, and perhaps more importantly, it also comes from notes I have from an interview one of our consultants did with a HBS admission officer over the summer. Whoever told you 26 was pushing it has bad information.

    Is this true? Would I be wasting time to even apply? I think my experience would add greatly to the classroom discussions, especially in a case study situation like HBS.

    The reason age can become a factor is because the b-schools want applicants with senior management potential and normally if you are still working at a junior-level position at some point, you will be deemed not to have senior management capabilities. As I mentioned above, there are some older applicants who get admitted to top schools. In fact, we have a consultant who was 39 when he matriculated into MIT/Sloan. Hopefully, your military experience can be used to help explain why you are still relatively “young” in your business career.

    Any advise would be great!

    THanks

    Mike

    Best of luck with your applications!

    Sincerely,

    David Petersam
    @admissionsconsultants.com">DPetersam@admissionsconsultants.com

    Admissions committee experience from the top b-schools

    AdmissionsConsultants
    703.242.5885

    in reply to: Recommendation letter for LBS #26076

    Hi PR and thanks for your inquiry.

    Hi,
    I’m planning to apply for London Business School. As part of my references I had collated common questions and sent it to my referees. I had sent them a list of guidelines mentioning that wherever possible give instances. However, when I sent the LBS reference letter they claim the space is too little for them to write what they have prepared. On looking at the reference letter for LBS I did notice that they give very little space to write recommendation. However, places like INSEAD, IMD etc say that a separate sheet is to be used.

    Should I ask my referees to cut down the length of the recommendations for LBS?

    You can always call LBS if you think it will be an issue to cut down the length of the recommendation. LBS has certainly shown some flexibility over the years. However, they do want the recommendation confined to the space they provided. I talked to some of our consultants before applying to this thread (they know more about admissions than I do) and they indicated none of their clients have encountered difficulties with adhering to the space requirements. Before calling LBS, you may want to re-examine your letters of reference for any extraneous verbiage.

    Another question that is bogging me down is that I had originally asked a Partner from a Big 5 consulting firm where I used to work to be my referee. However, he had to go overseas on an urgent assignment and will not be able to do it. I have now asked a manager to do the same for me. Both of them know me equally well. Do you think it matters who is writing.

    If both of these recommenders know you equally well and they are equally favorable about your candidacy, then it won’t matter which one writes the recommendation.

    Would greatly appreciate your response.

    No problem! [:)]

    -PR

    Best of luck with your applications!

    Sincerely,

    David Petersam
    @admissionsconsultants.com">DPetersam@admissionsconsultants.com

    Admissions committee experience from the top b-schools

    AdmissionsConsultants
    703.242.5885

    in reply to: Ask AdmissionsConsultants #26074

    Hi Jason and thanks for your follow-up inquiry.

    Thanks for the help David. Your insightful responses are extremely valuable. I do have another question regarding the Duke application. I have my application ready to submit, but I won’t be able to travel to Duke for the interview before their cut-off period. Should I wait and apply in the second round when I can interview, or would I be better off applying in round 1? Do you think I will be penalized without an interview? It appears that the interview is a major part of their application.

    You are correct to state the interview is a major part of the application at Duke. The same is true of most other b-schools as well. Regarding Duke, if you are in the U.S. and do not live on the West Coast, you must now interview on their campus by that deadline. You can feel free to call Duke and explain your situation, but I don’t want to give you false hope about your chances of receiving a waiver. My gut says you will need to be a very solid applicant and have a very good reason for why you can’t visit Fuqua. (I’m thinking something along the lines of you are in the military and about to get shipped off to Iraq.)

    On a related note, Duke is now scheduling Saturday interviews in an attempt to accommodate as many applicants as possible. I don’t know your particular circumstances, but this may allow you to meet their cut-off period.

    In conclusion if your circumstances dictate that you are supposed to interview at Duke before the cut-off date and (1) you can’t travel to Duke and (2) you are not granted a waiver, then we would advise you to submit your application in the second round.

    Thanks again, Jason

    Best of luck with your applications!

    Sincerely,

    David Petersam
    @admissionsconsultants.com">DPetersam@admissionsconsultants.com

    Admissions committee experience from the top b-schools

    AdmissionsConsultants
    703.242.5885

    in reply to: Admissions #26067

    Hi and thanks for your inquiry.

    Hi David,

    I have a few questions regarding the application process….

    Regarding filling application forms, I am wondering whether most people handwrite or type? If type, do most people use acrobat editer or typewriter?

    Most b-school applications are online and utilize either the embark or apply yourself formats. You simply type your information directly into the application.

    I heard that it looks more professional if you type. But I can’t figure out how to use acrobat editer and it’s becoming a hazzle for me because I am running out of time writing up other application items…..

    Most schools allow you to download the .pdf version so you can see their forms and essay questions. There should be online forms available.

    Also, some school ask what other schools you apply to on the form. Do they use that info to judge whether to accept you or not? Do they have a way to verify which schools you did apply to? (through GMAT report perhaps?)

    The GMAC reports tell them the other schools you sent your scores to and the FASFA report tells them other schools you sent to whom your financial aid was sent. They expect that you will apply to multiple schools if you really want an MBA. More often than not, applicants who claim they are only applying to one school aren’t taken seriously. This issue is best addressed in the why XYZ b-school essay — or whatever essay you work that into.

    Also wondering, the GMAT report only 3 latest scores, but retain your score on record for 5 years, so what happens if you squeeze your best score off the record when you take GMAT the 4th time?

    There will be concern about why you took the exam so many times and why you were not able to increase your score over the next 3 attempts. Depending on the exact detail of the scores received and the exact nature of your ‘story’, this will likely need to be addressed in your application.

    Does ETS provide an averaged GMAT score at the end of report sent to schools? Do the schools get the same type of report we get from ETS for our GMAT score? –> I have heard lots of different sayings on this and was very confused…..

    They will see all your scores from the past 5 years.

    Thanks a lot & Look forward to seeing your professional opinion!

    No problem. Don’t hesitate to contact me directly if you would like professional assistance with your applications.

    Best of luck with your applications!

    Sincerely,

    David Petersam
    @admissionsconsultants.com">DPetersam@admissionsconsultants.com

    Admissions committee experience from the top b-schools

    AdmissionsConsultants
    703.242.5885

    in reply to: Ask AdmissionsConsultants #26062

    Hi Jason and thanks for your inquiry.

    David,

    I have a question about the Stern application. They ask for a resume including educational and professional information, as well as an Employment History which includes responsibilities at each position. Its seems that the Employment History will be redundant with the resume. How should the two items be structured, in your opinion, to avoid this problem? Thanks in advance for your response.

    This is a good question. The employment history allows you to provide more details about specific accomplishments, levels of responsibility and leadership accomplishments. It is also the best place to explain your career progression and why you left one employer for another.

    The resume is more of a one page (most of the time anyway) executive summary of your career with some bullet points.

    Jason

    Best of luck with your applications!

    Sincerely,

    David Petersam
    @admissionsconsultants.com">DPetersam@admissionsconsultants.com

    Admissions committee experience from the top b-schools

    AdmissionsConsultants
    703.242.5885

    in reply to: 91% of Harvard Students Graduate with Honors #26045

    Hi and thanks for your inquiry. For future reference, please post your admissions related inquiries to AdmissionsConsultants on the Ask AdmissionsConsultants thread. This will make it easier for me as well as the readers.

    Hello David,

    First of all, having seen your replies across various forums let me convey my appreciation for the honest, to-the-point opinions that you offer to prospective students. I plan to give a real good shot at achieving a position in HBS and Wharton. I would like to know your take on my chances based on my profile.

    Sure. Go right ahead.

    Coming to me, I am 26 years old woman from India. I had an excellent academic background throughout school and passed out as school topper. I was also elected in leadership positions at schools, first the assistant head girl and subsequently, the school head girl. Having a keen interest in fine arts, I won various inter-school art competitions. On the side, I also earned myself a diploma in Art. Throughout school, I took part in sundry extra-curricular activities – singing, essay writing, handwriting competitions, basketball, long distance running etc. In hindsight, it doesn’t sound too focused but at the time, I was too busy enjoying each activity to really care about being focused.

    In 1995, I enrolled in the Master of Management Studies program ( 4 year integrated baccalaureate degree in Management) at BITS, Pilani in India. It has in its foundation years, mathematics, science, engineering science and several analysis and application oriented courses, followed by management courses in the next 2 years. I graduated top of the class with a CGPA (on a scale of 10) of 8.75 and major GPA of 10. While at college, I also managed a 6 month internship at American Express-TRS at New Delhi. Throughout college years, I was part of the organizing committees for various college and inter-college festivals. I was also actively involved in the students’ Art group.

    I have a passion for travel especially trekking. Over the years, I have been hiking and trekking in the Himalayas and other Indian locations up to altitudes of 13000 feet. While on work assignments in Europe, I squeezed in a backpacking trip through Belgium and Holland and hiking in the Tatra Mountains in Poland.

    I like your extracurriculars and other outside interests. There are a lot of opportunities to present you as an interesting and well-rounded applicant. There are probably also some good ‘wow’ factors in here as well.

    I speak English fluently (TOEFL score: 300) and also, some Spanish (completed Level Basico, Course topper). I plan to pursue a more advanced course in Spanish this year end.

    Coming to my career, I have 4.5 years of experience in total in the BFSI (Banking and Financial Services) sector. In the on-campus recruitment drive of COSL at our college campus in 1999, I was one of their first recruits. COSL (Citicorp Overseas Software Limited) is a 100% subsidiary of Citigroup, specializing in developing and supporting in-house banking software solutions for Citigroup. In 2002, COSL merged with Polaris Software Labs (world’s first SEI CMMi Level 5 Company, listed among “Forbes 200 – Best under a Billion” in the World, leader in the BFSI sector). I started out as a Associate Consultant and over the period of 4 years, have been promoted from Team Member to Team Lead to Project Leader. In 2000 and 2001, I did stints in Poland and London for implementation of Citibank projects. After taking over an existing Data warehousing project from Citibank, I set it up from scratch in the company and it is being run successfully by my team for the past 2 years. I have been awarded ESOPs by my company in recognition. Currently, I am handling the application development and support of a core banking system being used 24×7 across 36 countries in the CEEMA region.

    I definitely like this career progression. Remember though that there will be a lot of Indian IT applicants again this year, which will make it even more important to differentiate your candidacy.

    Also, keep your story focused on you and not on the size or prestige of your employer.

    I hold a GMAT score of 740 with an AWA of 5.5. Receiving good recommendations from my clients and supervisor should not be a problem. However, I am unsure as to what non-work related recommendation I can avail. Due an accidental fall while trekking last year, I was seriously injured with multiple injuries, broken upper jaw and wrist. As a result, I was unable to work for nearly 3 months since I had trouble speaking and my right hand was out of action. During this period, while still on physiotherapy and my right hand in a plaster cast, I joined up a Spanish language course, learnt how to write with my left hand, and despite everything, emerged class topper with the highest ever score for the course. I was contemplating whether it is of any consequence to take a recommendation from my Spanish instructor. Can you advise me on this?

    It sounds like you have many choices for recommendations. Choose the recommenders who know you best and can also best substantiate your story. Chances are you have better choices than the Spanish instructor. Particularly since this class does not likely tie into your future career goals or demonstrate such important traits as commitment to community, etc.

    I know I really need to thank you for your patience in reading my rather long mail. :)

    No problem! :-)

    Since I come from the Indian-techie profile, I know I am in for competition galore! So, would appreciate pointers as to how I could best project my achievements and distinguish them from the usual crowd.

    With well-prepared applications (reasons for wanting an MBA, reasons for attending XYZ b-school, etc.) you should be competitive at the top 10 schools.

    Thanks so much!

    Best of luck with your applications!

    Sincerely,

    David Petersam
    @admissionsconsultants.com">DPetersam@admissionsconsultants.com

    Admissions committee experience from the top b-schools

    AdmissionsConsultants
    703.242.5885

    in reply to: Ask AdmissionsConsultants #26042

    Hi and thanks for your inquiry.

    David,

    Question on application submission. Is there any advantage to submitting early in a round as opposed to sumbitting on the last day of the round?

    Good question. The general answer is no. The particulars to consider are:

    1. Be certain your essays, references, etc. are perfected.
    2. Determine if you are the type of applicant who will incessantly tweak your story and applications, perhaps for the worst by second-guessing yourself.
    3. Project the likelihood you will receive a promotion or have some other accomplishment between the date of application submission and the end of that round.

    Best of luck with your applications!

    Sincerely,

    David Petersam
    @admissionsconsultants.com">DPetersam@admissionsconsultants.com

    Admissions committee experience from the top b-schools

    AdmissionsConsultants
    703.242.5885

    in reply to: Admissions #26034

    Hi and thanks for your inquiry.

    Although I scored fairly well on my GMAT (710, 96th percentile quant adn 90+ verbal), my overall GPA was weak at a 2.5, despite a 3.2 finance GPA. I’ve been doing I-banking for the past 3 years for a top international firm and have several extracurricular activities. Do I have any shot at top 20 schools?

    Good question. The short answer is yes. An applicant with an area of weakness but other strong areas (it sounds like work experience and extracurriculars are strengths) can gain admission to a top school. It certainly won’t hurt that you have a good GMAT score to mitigate your GPA and demonstrate you can handle the b-school curriculum.

    Best of luck with your applications!

    Sincerely,

    David Petersam
    @admissionsconsultants.com">DPetersam@admissionsconsultants.com

    Admissions committee experience from the top b-schools

    AdmissionsConsultants
    703.242.5885

    in reply to: Ask AdmissionsConsultants #26030

    Hi and thanks for your inquiry.

    David,

    I took the GMAT in 1997 (the old-fashioned written test) and got a 670. I believe that score is now expired. I took it again in 1999 and got a 640. I feel that the computer format threw me a bit and I think I can get do 50-70 points better if I am more prepared. I am considering taking it again this fall and plan to actually apply to some business schools this time around.

    I have two questions. First, will admissions people think there is something wrong with me because I have taken the test 3 times in 6 years? And second, since one of those past scores is still current, will it be averaged with, or replaced by the new score?

    First of all, ETS (the GMAT test’s administrator) will only send the schools the scores from the past 5 years. As a result, the admissions committees will never see the score from 1997.

    I would strongly encourage you to retake the exam if you are indeed confident you can increase your score by the number of points you suggested above. (Please note I’m assuming your 640 score is well below the mean score of an admitted applicant at the schools you are targeting.)

    If your second score shows a marked improvement, the admissions committees will not think there is anything wrong with you. Furthermore, nearly all schools take your highest score and several will take the highest score from each section of the GMAT. For example, if test A has a higher quantitative score than test B, and test B has a higher verbal score, the school would take the with Q score from test A and the V score from test B. Very few schools will average your 2 GMAT scores.

    Thank you.

    Best of luck with your applications!

    Sincerely,

    David Petersam
    @admissionsconsultants.com">DPetersam@admissionsconsultants.com

    Admissions committee experience from the top b-schools

    AdmissionsConsultants
    703.242.5885

    in reply to: Ask AdmissionsConsultants #26023

    Hi Jack and thanks for your inquiry.

    Hi. I hope you can find the time to answer my question. Your advice is great BTW.

    Thanks! [:I]

    I have heard you are at a big disadvantage at the top schools if you do not attend an ivy undergrad. I hope this is not true but I do look forward to your honest response, however brutal the truth is.

    Jack

    This is another ‘urban legend’ that, unfortunately, continues to propagate itself. There is an ounce — and only an ounce — of truth which is the admissions officers know grade inflation can be a bit rampant at some schools and therefore a 3.3 from a top-tier undergrad may be viewed similarly to a 3.5 in the same major from a lesser-known school.

    If you are looking at statistics that show a large number of applicants to the top schools come from Ivy League undergrads, bear in mind these two points:

    1. These schools tend to attract a disproportionate amount of talented overachievers.
    2. The ‘feeder companies’ for the top b-schools (think the top consulting firms and investment banks) tend to recruit at these schools.

    If you have the same GMAT, GPA, extracurriculars, and work experience as another applicant and the only difference is that you went to Blank State U and the other applicant attended, say, Princeton, you would both have the same chance of being admitted to a top b-school.

    We have seen this time and time again with our own clients.

    Best of luck with your applications!

    Sincerely,

    David Petersam
    @admissionsconsultants.com">DPetersam@admissionsconsultants.com

    Admissions committee experience from the top b-schools

    AdmissionsConsultants
    703.242.5885

    in reply to: Ask AdmissionsConsultants #25989

    Hi and thanks for your follow-up inquiry.

    Thank you very much for your extremely helpful response.

    No problem! [:)]

    Would it be just as good to take two Economics courses that are more related to my Fulbright Project or would it be better, as far as Admissions is concerned, if I took that dreaded Statistics and one Economics?

    Good question. I don’t have quite enough information to give you a competent answer. Chances are your academic qualifications will not be challenged given your Fulbright scholarship and your math minor. In this scenario, the Stats class would be unnecessary and the most important thing (note: I’m wearing my MBA admissions hat) becomes that you position yourself for those future b-school applications. This includes formulating sound reasons why you want an MBA and putting together an action plan to proactively position you for your post-MBA goals.

    As an example: If you spin a story that you want to market economics research via subscription-based Internet access to small mom and pop businesses, then you probably want to take the two Economics classes so you can learn more about your post-MBA craft. (You would also want to spend some time researching this market as well.)

    Don’t hesitate to contact me directly via email or telephone if you would like to schedule a 1 hour pre admissions consultation with one of our consultants to discuss these matters in more detail.

    Best of luck with your applications!

    Sincerely,

    David Petersam
    @admissionsconsultants.com">DPetersam@admissionsconsultants.com

    Admissions committee experience from the top b-schools

    AdmissionsConsultants
    703.242.5885

    in reply to: Ask AdmissionsConsultants #25985

    Hi and thanks for your inquiry.

    In my undergraduate work at Loyola College in Maryland, I majored in Finance and minored in Math. I only had one Statistics Course, however, and it was an Independent Study. While it was a Calculus-based, upper level stats, will the fact that it was Independent Study discredit it in Admissions’ eyes?

    No. The fact that it was an independent study should not discredit you, particularly if you do well on the GMAT. Additionally, Loyola has a good reputation.

    I have plenty of other quantitative courses (multivariable calculus, you name it) but how important do you think it would be to take A non Independent Study Statistics course for looking more desirable in the eyes of the Admissions Officers? Or is this all very trivial?
    Also, I am looking into doing a Fulbright Scholarship for next year. How much of a boost would taking one or two Grad-Level Business Courses while doing research be for me as far as getting into the MBA Program? Should I try to take the Stats there, or would it be better just to stick with Economics Courses, that are more directly related to my Fulbright Project?

    The admissions committees are not going to be too concerned about your quantitative skills given your minor in math. The Fulbright Scholarship is fine and an additional stats class certainly wouldn’t hurt. However, keep in mind that b-schools only give academic qualifications (GPA and GMAT) about a 35% to 40% weighting in their admission decision process. You will need to spin how your project ties to your post-MBA career goals in your application.

    Do you think it might have given me a slight edge if I do have that strong Statistics background? I know Harvard says, “Due to the academic rigor of the MBA Program, applicants are strongly encouraged to complete introductory quantitative coursework such as accounting, finance, economics, and statistics prior to matriculation. Some candidates may have their admission to the MBA Program contingent on their taking such courses prior to their enrollment.” How would you interpret that? Are they just saying Statistics would help you in your First Year (and is not factored into the Admissions Process) or would having that Strong Statistics Background be a boost in the Admissions Process?

    The truth is if you are a U.S. citizen and GMAT is north of 680, you will easily clear the academic qualifications hurdle at HBS.

    At the Graduate School I am in they grade based upon 80 and above being an A. However, they list your number Grade next to your letter. How would an admissions Officer look at a Graduate Level Grade from a foreign country that says 82 A? Would they look down upon it because of the 82? I had wanted to take two Graduate Level Business Courses for Credit to demonstrate added drive during my Fulbright and to show I can do Graduate LEvel Business Studies but do you think the risks (i.e. they do not really give out grades above a 90) outweigh the benifits?

    No, I’m not worried about this. The admissions committees understand how the grading scales work in different countries. I would advise you to take the stats course and one or two business courses for exactly the reason you gave — to demonstrate an interest in graduate business studies. More importantly though, become an active leader on the campus and start taking proactive steps towards attainment of your post-MBA career goals.

    Best of luck with your applications!

    Sincerely,

    David Petersam
    @admissionsconsultants.com">DPetersam@admissionsconsultants.com

    Admissions committee experience from the top b-schools

    AdmissionsConsultants
    703.242.5885

    in reply to: GMAT Requirement #25980

    Hi and thanks for your inquiry.

    This is a good question that unfortunately does not have an easy answer. The schools look at many factors and the GMAT score is just one of them. Two of the most critical factors the admissions committees examine in conjunction with the GMAT are the applicant’s:

    1. Demographic group and
    2. Academic accomplishments

    The only factor within your control is the academic accomplishments. (You can always build an ‘alternate transcript’.) Clearly if your GMAT math percentile is abysmal but you graduated valedictorian from the nuclear engineering program at MIT, the admissions committees will be far more likely to assume the GMAT score is not an accurate reflection on your ability to handle their school’s curriculum than if you have the same GMAT score but a 2.5 GPA from a not-so-challenging liberal arts program.

    A huge ‘wow’ factor in your application story is also helpful although the admissions committees still want assurances you will be able to handle their curriculum. (In their eyes, there is no point in admitting an applicant who single handedly saved a third-world village from famine if he/she lacks the ability to handle the coursework.)

    As a very general rule, you should not feel discouraged from applying to a b-school if your academic accomplishments are good, you have a decent story to tell, and your GMAT is within 50 or 60 points of the average for your demographic group.

    Finally, of the schools that you listed above, Columbia is the least lenient towards low GMAT score applicants and Wharton is the second least lenient.

    Best of luck with your applications!

    Sincerely,

    David Petersam
    @admissionsconsultants.com">DPetersam@admissionsconsultants.com

    Admissions committee experience from the top b-schools

    AdmissionsConsultants
    703.242.5885

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