Monthly Archives: January 2015

MIT Sloan Fellows Program – Interview Preparation

By Vincent Ho-Tin-Noe (last updated: January 19, 2015)

While we regularly write about the MIT Sloan MBA program admissions process, we have also helped a significant number of experienced candidates gain admission to the MIT Sloan Fellows program.

This programs is often described as a 1-year MBA program for leaders who are ready to join the senior leadership ranks at their firm. However, a number of participants (some of which attended classes with me at Harvard – Sloan Fellows can indeed cross-register and take MBA classes there) regularly switch careers after graduation, and several have become successful entrepreneurs over the years.

MIT Sloan just started conducting interviews for the Fellows program, and will continue to do so over the next 10 days. Continue reading

The Wharton Team Based Discussion

By Kyle Watkins (last updated: February 21, 2015)

NOTE: If you’d like to participate in a practice Wharton Group Interview, please find more information here.

Tips to Prepare for the Wharton MBA Team Based Discussion

A few thousand candidates submitted their Wharton applications for the Class of 2017 just a few weeks ago. As Wharton is scheduled to release interview invites for Round 2 applicants on February 11, it’s worth thinking about how Wharton’s group interview format differs from the traditional MBA interview.

We regularly receive inquiries about Wharton’s group interview and have been among the very first to offer mock team-based discussions for those looking to practice. However, we thought it would be helpful to also analyze Wharton’s interview here on our blog as well.

Although quite innovative among U.S. business schools, group interviews have been used for years by other leading MBA programs, including IMD. Because of their increasing importance for applicants to top MBA programs (Michigan Ross announced a similar move towards group interviews recently), we’ve decided to provide our readers with some advice to prepare for their upcoming group interview, using Wharton as an example.

Perhaps the most important — and often forgotten — mindset to have heading into the group interview is this: You aren’t competing against your fellow group members. You are competing against other groups. Those who succeed at the group interview will often do so as a group, with the stock of all five or six team members rising in the eyes of the admissions committee. On the flip side, those who fail often do so as a group as well. Based on estimated acceptance rate at Wharton (more or less 20%), 2 to 3 applicants in each group should receive an offer (the school interviews roughly 40% of its applicants), and groups that work well as a team can expect to be on the higher-end of that range.

This collaborative mindset should help ease the pressure on you to have a brilliant idea. The exercise isn’t about which team members come up with which ideas, it’s about which team members best advance the group discussion. So if you’re struggling to brainstorm ideas that add depth to the conversation, don’t panic. As long as you’re building on the rest of the group’s ideas, asking smart questions, and respecting the other members in the group, you’re doing your part.

To that point, it’s important to appreciate the value of three character traits the admissions committee will look for:

Continue reading

Last-Minute MBA Application Review and Edits

By Kyle Watkins (last updated: January 1, 2015)

The coming week will be the busiest of the year for MBA applications. Almost all of the top business schools have their second-round deadline, which tends to be the most popular among MBA applicants. It also tends to be one of the most stressful weeks of the year, as candidates are always understandably hesitant to finally push the “submit” button.

If you’re looking for one last set of eyes to review your application before you submit, we are happy to help. Many applicants take advantage of our Final Application Review package. For $395, we’ll read your entire application from start to finish, proof read it for any errors, and provide written edits on any last-minute tweaks you can make to improve your odds of getting admitted. We’ll also schedule a 30-minute phone call with you to review any questions you have before submitting. And we’ll do it all before the end of the following day.

If interested, please send us an email, and we’ll get back to you immediately.

Good luck, and don’t forget to check out our must-read advice before hitting submit!

Great MBA Recommendation Letters: Tips and an Example

By Kyle Watkins (last updated: January 1, 2015)

This year’s MBA applicants face fewer required essays and shorter word counts than any recent class of candidates. But applicants haven’t been the only ones facing the squeeze over the past few years. Recommenders, too, have found themselves with less and less space to make an impact: over the past several years, schools not only reduced the number of recommenders a candidate was allowed to have, it also cut the word count allotted to those recommenders. Many of the top programs have also converged around the same two recommendation questions:

  1. How do the candidate’s performance, potential, background, or personal qualities compare to those of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? Please provide specific examples.
  2. Please describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. 

What does this mean for this year’s MBA applicants? First and foremost, applicants need to pick the right recommenders to advocate on their behalf. Second, applicants need to make sure they are adequately preparing those recommenders to write great recommendations.

In this blog post, I’ll illustrate the keys to getting great letters of recommendations for MBA applications by revealing a few snippets of a real recommendation from my own business school applications.

The Keys to Getting Great Recommendation Letters for MBA Applications

Each part of your MBA application should demonstrate different qualities to the admissions committee. Your resume is a place to tell your professional story and to illustrate your accomplishments; your essay is a place to show the admissions committee who you are and what you value. Your recommendations, then, must be reserved to demonstrate characteristics that you yourself cannot credibly speak to:

Continue reading