Category Archives: MBA Admissions Application

Wharton Round One Decisions

By Vincent Ho-Tin-Noe (last updated: December 10, 2016)

Having helped a number of first round applicants prepare for their Wharton interview, we are excited about the school’s round one decision notifications on Thursday, December 15, 2016.

Notification time Continue reading

How to Write a Resume for MBA Admissions Applications

By Kyle Watkins (last updated: December 10, 2016)

Applicants often spend months cramming for the GMAT; they obsess over every word in their essays; they rehearse scores of answers to potential interview questions. Yet their resumes remain woefully under polished, despite the fact that top MBA programs are putting a greater emphasis on a candidate’s CV while slashing essay requirements.

I’ve found that MBA applicants typically underinvest in their essays for a combination of two reasons:

  1. Most applicants already have a resume that they’ve used in their professional life. As such, they (mistakenly) feel like they only need to update and tweak it a bit to reflect their latest positions and accomplishments.
  2. Preparing a resume isn’t a brand new endeavor like taking the GMAT, writing essays, or practicing for admissions interviews might be, and so applicants (again mistakenly) feel more comfortable with it.

Underinvesting in preparing your resume can fatally damage your application, and unfortunately it is a mistake applicants make far too often. So, as you consider your application to business school, here are a few tips on how to write a resume that will impress admissions committees.

How to Write a Resume for MBA Admissions Applications

While we’ve provided some good tips in our 10-step guide to preparing a resume, there is a lot more to consider.

Start from scratch. I can appreciate that applying for business school is a lot of work. You have to invest a ton of time in writing essays and studying for the GMAT, and one corner you can easily cut is recycling an old resume with a fresh coat of paint. But you shouldn’t. First, resumes are often documents that are built over time, and the content at the bottom tends to linger a little longer than its optimal shelf life. We become better writers with practice, and our narrative changes over time. Your resume – your whole resume – needs to reflect both of these evolutions. Second, resumes for MBA applications need to be written through a whole different lens. Consider the following bullet point, some version of which I see on almost all candidates’ resumes:

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HBS Round One Interview Invites

By Vincent Ho-Tin-Noe (last updated: October 22, 2016)

Round One Interview Invites for HBS Class of 2019 Applicants

The Harvard Business School Admissions Committee recently sent out interview invitations to its first round applicants in three distinct waves. The first went out at 12pm noon ET on October 4th, 2016. A second batch of interview invites was sent on October 6th, 2016, and a final one on October 12th, along with “releases” for unlucky candidates as well as “further consideration” notices. Interviews will be taking place across a variety of locations worldwide, between October 23 and November 18, 2016.

What are the odds of being admitted after receiving an interview invitation?

Our estimate is 55% to 60%. It’s high, but low enough to make a lot of applicants have regrets… Every year, brilliant candidates call us after their HBS interview wishing they had better prepared for it… Unfortunately, there is no second chance.

To help you be on the right side of the applicant pool, we wanted to put all our interview prep resources in one place. These resources should help you get ready:

Mock HBS interviews: Interviewing is a skill, and the unfortunate truth is that many of us think we are better at interviewing than we really are. It requires practice, which is why we would encourage every candidate interviewing at HBS to take advantage of our interview preparation services:

  • Email us if you are interested in a mock HBS interview.
  • One mock interview plus personalized feedback is $295, and two mock interviews plus personalized feedback is $495.
  • Kyle or myself — both HBS alumni — will work with you personally during the mock interview, which will mirror the HBS admissions interview process as closely as possible: first, we will review your application prior to the interview; second, we will conduct a 30-minute mock interview with you via Skype; and finally, we will provide you personalized feedback immediately after the mock interview or at a time of your choosing.
  • Slots fill up quickly, so please email us to express your interest or get more information.

Alternatively, you can secure your spot directly by signing-up via paypal. We will get back to you within 24 hours to arrange a suitable time slot. Simply use the form at the end of this post.

What it’s like to interview at HBS: Kyle’s personal account of what it is like to interview at HBS, from receiving the email inviting him to interview to receiving the phone call congratulating him on his admittance.

Mastering Every Admissions Interview Question: Advice and tips on how to best prepare for an MBA admissions interview — at HBS or any other MBA program.

Post-Interview Reflection: Guidance on how to approach preparing for, drafting, and sending HBS’s 24-hour post-interview reflection email.

Should you have questions about our ability to help you, we’d like to invite you to visit our “client feedback” page. We have pasted a few emails from past clients at the end of this post.

If you’re looking for additional guidance on your application or have any questions about the MBA admissions process, please reach out to us via our free consultation link.

We also offer a comprehensive “HBS ding analysis” package, along with hourly consultations to discuss round two strategies for unsuccessful round one applicants.

We’re happy to help, even with last-minute questions and requests. Good luck!

“Dinged by Stanford, accepted by HBS! Thank you guys SO much for all of your help. Really appreciate it. As for the service- excellent! You guys took your time answering all my questions and really grilling me hard. I loved the experience and would definitely recommend it to anyone else interviewing at HBS. Regarding [your competitor] Sandy [the hbsguru] I had a pretty good, but completely different experience. (…) But if I had to pick one I think I’d choose you guys. From you and Kyle I got the traditional mock interviews, and fantastic specific feedback on my style, tone, answers, etc. and 2 interviews was great. I had a fantastic experience.” O., HBS MBA Class of 2016

“I wanted to follow up with good news: I got into HBS! The interview itself was, as everyone says, totally impossible to predict (60-70% focused entirely on me describing my current company’s technology and business model), but the practice of being nervous and answering impossible-to-predict questions with you guys was valuable and let me push past my (high) stress level.Thank you!” A., HBS MBA Class of 2016

“On December 11th I found out that I was admitted to HBS. Prior to my actual HBS interview, I had conducted a mock with Vincent of MBA Admissions Advisors. Our session made a huge difference in the preparation process, but it was only after the actual interview [at HBS] that I realized how well I had been prepared. Vincent made very detailed observations about my performance, and after our debrief session I had a very clear picture of my strengths and areas for improvement. Perhaps the most important thing I worked on with MBA Admissions Advisors was how to think on my feet in order to answer any question, as opposed to preparing answers to a laundry list of publicly available questions from past HBS interviews, a much less valuable exercise. During our mock interview, although Vincent had a list of targeted questions based on my profile, he did not seem to be following a script. He built on my responses with follow-up questions to constantly challenge me. This was exactly what happened during my actual HBS interview. Last but not least, Vincent remained engaged throughout the admissions process, and he by far exceeded my expectations. He gave me access to valuable interview preparation resources, remained available to answer questions, and systematically responded to my emails promptly. I was delighted to receive ‘good luck’ messages the day before my actual HBS interview and on the school’s first round decision day. These little things made working with him a great experience. “ I.S., HBS MBA Class of 2016

 

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The MIT Sloan Fellows, Stanford MSx, and LBS Sloan Masters: one-year alternatives to regular MBA programs

By Vincent Ho-Tin-Noe (last updated: October 19, 2016)

* October 2016 update*
LBS, MIT, and Stanford are organising several information sessions about the Sloan Programmes this fall. Directors from each school will provide an overview of their programme and alumni will share their experiences.

The Sloan Programs, exciting MBA alternatives for experienced leaders

Over the last few applications cycles, we have received an ever increasing number of inquiries regarding three 1-year MBA programs aimed at senior managers:

  1. The MIT Sloan Fellows program (probably the most popular amongst our clients)
  2. The Stanford MSx program
  3. The London Business School Sloan Masters program

In this post, we will review what makes these programs particularly attractive to some of the most experienced MBA applicants. We will also highlight the key facts that candidates should consider before starting the application process. Continue reading

Introduce yourself: the new HBS application essay

By Andreanne Leduc (last updated: August 28, 2015)
The Baker Library

The Baker Library at HBS

HBS changed its essay question this year and made it no longer optional.

At MBA Admissions Advisors, we thought that it would be useful to provide our readers with fresh recommendations to tackle Harvard’s new question. We also tried to summarize what the web is saying about it.

Here is the new Harvard Business School’s essay prompt:

“It’s the first day of class at HBS. You are in Aldrich Hall meeting your ‘section’. This is the group of 90 classmates who will become your close companions in the first-year MBA classroom. Our signature case method participant-based learning model ensures that you will get to know each other very well. The bonds you collectively create throughout this shared experience will be lasting. Introduce yourself.”

Answering the Introduce Yourself question:

You should consider these five pieces of advice when tackling the HBS essay: Continue reading

Tuck School of Business Application is now live (2015/2016)

By Vincent Ho-Tin-Noe (last updated: August 6, 2015)
Aerial view of the Dartmouth Campus

Aerial view of the Dartmouth Campus

The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth just announced that its application for the 2015 / 2016 season is now open. There were no significant surprises this year.

Tuck offers four application deadlines