Monthly Archives: July 2013

Are You Too Old For HBS?

By Kyle Watkins (last updated: December 17, 2013)

As a 32 year old MBA applicant, I was extremely concerned that my age would prevent me from attending a top business school. Although my stats were quite strong, several admissions “experts” almost convinced me that a candidate well into his 30s had almost no chance of getting into a top MBA program in the US.

Baker Library at night

Harvard Business School – Baker Library at night

Not only did I prove these people wrong by getting into HBS, but many other students entered the program with 8+ years of professional experience (47 students to be precise, close to 5% of our class). Some of them had served in the military, but many others had worked for more traditional employers. Our most senior student was a former university professor, well into his fifties.

A few days ago, the admissions director at HBS released some stats about the last 3 incoming classes (2013 to 2015). It turns out that the class of 2015 will welcome 64 students with more than 8 years of work experience. 23 of them completed their undergrad education 10 or more years ago. These numbers are significant, as we’re not talking about just a couple of exceptions.

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Analyzing the Applications: the Wharton Essays (Part II)

By Kyle Watkins (last updated: October 15, 2019)

In Part I of this post, we looked at how a small change to Wharton’s first essay question will affect answers in a meaningful way. Today, we’ll focus on the second of Wharton’s two essay questions:

“Academic engagement is an important element of the Wharton MBA experience. How do you see yourself contributing to our learning community?”

A good answer to this question will accomplish four things.

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Analyzing the Applications: the Wharton Essays (Part I)

By Kyle Watkins (last updated: December 17, 2013)

A few weeks ago, Wharton released its essay questions for the Class of 2016. Most of the analysis and new coverage that followed seemed to revolve around the same basic theme: business schools are shortening their essay requirements.

This theme is important, and it’s one we’ve discussed before. However, it’s far from the most significant change that Wharton made this year, and keen applicants must take note if they want to be successful. Juxtapose the first essay question from this year’s application with the first essay question from last year’s, and the big difference will probably jump out you:

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Getting into IMD, An Elite 1-Year MBA Program at the Heart of Europe

By Kyle Watkins (last updated: July 28, 2013)
IMD Campus

IMD is one of the leading MBA programs in Europe.

While recruiting season is just starting in North America for the class of 2016, several European schools are still recruiting candidates for their class of 2014. This is the case of IMD (International Institute for Management Development), arguably one of the best European business schools along with London Business School and INSEAD. The Swiss school has 5 application deadlines every year (February 1, April 1, June 1, August 1, and September 1).

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Inside the Harvard Business School Case Method

By Kyle Watkins (last updated: December 17, 2013)

When deciding between MBA programs, applicants should understand that different schools may use different teaching methods. While most B-Schools rely on a mix of lectures, cases, and projects, a few elite schools rely almost exclusively on cases to teach business skills, including for classes such as accounting or finance.

Because case discussions require active participation from students, people uncomfortable with that method may struggle academically at schools with a case heavy teaching style.

At Harvard Business Schools more than 80 percent of classes are built using the case method. A few years ago, the school released a fascinating video (below) that accurately describes what the case method looks like.

Do you think that a school’s teaching style should indeed be a decisive factor when deciding whether to apply to a specific program? Feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a reply below!

Liked what you just saw? Asses your odds of success at some of the top U.S. and international business schools.