Monthly Archives: July 2008

Chicago GSB Application Essays for 2008-2009

Although Chicago GSB hasn’t yet released its full 2008-2009 application, the school recently announced its admissions essays for the upcoming year. Our comments are in italics:

Chicago GSB Application Essays

  1. Why are you pursuing an MBA at this point in your career? (750 word maximum)
  2. (This is similar to last year’s first question, although the maximim word count has been cut in half vs. last year.)

  3. Please select one of the following two questions to answer. (1000 word maximum)

    Option 1

    a) Please provide an example of a time when you had to make a choice between two equally important obligations. How did you decide which obligation deserved your attention?
    b) Did you try and predict other people’s reactions to your decision? If so, how accurate were you? Why do you think you were or were not accurate in your prediction?
    c) Reflecting on this experience, how do you think an MBA from Chicago GSB might have aided in your decision making process?

    -or-

    Option 2

    a) Have you ever made a decision that caused you to go against popular opinion? Please describe that situation and your rationale for you decision.
    b) Did you feel at any point that people misperceived your motives? Explain.
    c) In retrospect, how do you think an MBA from Chicago GSB would have affected your decision?

(These questions replace last year’s “If you could step into someone else’s shoes for a day” question. We wouldn’t be surprised if they weren’t quite getting the information they wanted — i.e., true introspection on the part of applicants — and so they’ve replaced that with questions that are more explicitly about the applicant. We think this was a good change. The takeaway for you is to remember to keep the focus on YOU, how you’ve grown, what tough decisions you’ve made, what setbaks you’ve faced, etc. This is what the admissions committee needs in order to evaluate your candidacy, not a bland statement about being in some world leader’s shoes for a day.)

Chicago GSB PowerPoint Presentation

We have asked for a great deal of information throughout this application and now invite you tell us about yourself. Using four slides or less, please provide readers with content that captures who you are.

We have set forth the following guidelines for you to consider when creating your presentation.

  • The content is completely up to you. There is no right or wrong approach this essay. Feel free to use the software you are most comfortable with. Acceptable formats for upload in the online application system are PowerPoint or PDF.
  • There is a strict maximum of 4 slides, though you can provide fewer than 4 if you choose.
  • Slides will be printed and added to your file for review, therefore, flash, hyperlinks, embedded videos, music, etc. will not be viewed by the committee. You are limited to text and static images to convey your points. Color may be used.
  • (This is a tiny change, but “Color may be used,” is new this year. Don’t go crazy with color, though.)

  • Slides will be evaluated on the quality of content and ability to convey your ideas, not on technical expertise or presentation.
  • You are welcome to attach a document containing notes if you feel a deeper explanation of your slides is necessary. However the hope is the slide is able to stand alone and convey your ideas clearly. You will not be penalized for adding notes but you should not construct a slide with the intention of using the notes section as a consistent means of explanation.
  • (Stick with the PowerPoint presentation. Resist the urge to spill your story into a verbose extra essay. The challenge here is to present yourself succinctly. Rise to that challenge!)

Optional Essay

If there is any important information that is relevant for your candidacy that you were unable to address elsewhere in the application, please share that information here.

For more advice on applying to Chicago, visit the Veritas Prep Chicago GSB information page.

Dartmouth (Tuck) Application Essays 2008-2009

Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business has confirmed that its 2008-2009 admissions essays will be the same as those in last year’s application:

Dartmouth (Tuck) Application Essays

  1. Why is an MBA a critical next step toward your short- and long-term career goals? Why is Tuck the best MBA program for you?
  2. Tuck defines leadership as “inspiring others to strive and enabling them to accomplish great things.” We believe great things and great leadership can be accomplished in pursuit of business and societal goals. Describe a time when you exercised such leadership. Discuss the challenges you faced and the results you achieved. What characteristics helped you to be effective, and what areas do you feel you need to develop in order to be a better leader?
  3. Discuss the most difficult constructive criticism or feedback you have received. How did you address it? What have you learned from it?
  4. Tuck seeks candidates of various backgrounds who can bring new perspectives to our community. How will your unique personal history, values, and/or life experiences contribute to the culture at Tuck?

Tuck is one of the few top schools that won’t give you specific word limits for its admissions essays, but the school does “recommend” that you aim for about 500 words per essay. We suggest that you heed this target and treat it as you would any other school’s word limit, going significantly beyond 500 words only if absolutely necessary.

For more advice on applying to Tuck, visit the Veritas Prep Tuck information page.

NYU (Stern) Round One Application Deadline for 2008-2009

NYU’s Stern School of Business has not yet released its application for 2008-2009, but the admissions office wanted to give a nod to the early birds in the applicant pool. A recent message on the school’s web site announced that Stern’s Round One deadline will be November 15, 2008. The full Stern MBA application will be available by late August.

For more advice on applying to NYU Stern, visit the Veritas Prep Stern School of Business information page.

Specialized MBA Programs Keep Growing

A recent BusinessWeek article explored the growth of specialized MBA programs, especially at schools outside of the top ten MBA programs. These programs are one way for lesser-known schools to stand out from the pack, but are they always a good choice for business school students?

“Not necessarily,” writes Fancesca Levy for BusinessWeek. “While established programs have placement records on par with those of their general MBAs, many newer programs have not yet established the kind of recruiting relationships that guarantee students high-paying jobs at graduation. And graduates always run the risk of getting hamstrung by their specialties later in their careers, when an industry downturn forces them to look outside their specialties for opportunities.”

While specialized programs are often very valuable, their recent growth reminds us of the wave of e-commerce programs that appeared in business schools eight to ten years ago. Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management, for example, made a big push with its e-commerce MBA, only to scale back its offering after the dot-com party was over. (A recent search for “e-commerce” on Owen’s site turns up just one Internet Marketing Strategy class.)

We’re not knocking Vanderbilt or any of these schools for rolling out these programs. The market for management education always changes, and it’s often these smaller schools that create real curriculum innovation. Just be careful that you don’t chase any fads or trends that may not suit your goals five years from now, once the next fad comes along (real estate fit that description a couple of years ago, and “green” MBA programs just might be next).

Also, consider what you really expect to get out of your business school education. For many, an MBA is a chance to learn how to think like a CEO, regardless of the industry or function. Other applicants, meanwhile, enroll in business school to learn specific skills that can help them flourish as soon as they graduate. If you’re in the former camp, you may want to skip these specialized programs in favor of a more general management-focused curriculum. If you’re in the latter camp, however, then a specialized program may be a good fit for you.

For more help in choosing a business school, try the Veritas Prep Business School Selector.

UVA (Darden) Application Deadlines for 2008-2009

The University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business has released its deadlines for the 2008-2009 application season:

Darden Application Deadlines
Round 1: October 28, 2008
Round 2: January 7, 2009
Round 3: March 4, 2009

Note that Darden traditionally offers an Early Action (non-binding) round for applicants who are especially interested in the school. Darden has not yet released Early Action info for 2008-2009.

Also, the school has not yet released its 2008-2009 application essays, but see last year’s Darden essays if you want to get a feel for what to expect in this year’s application.

For more advice on applying to Darden, visit the Veritas Prep Darden information page.

Michigan (Ross) Application Essays for 2008-2009

University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business has released its application essays for the 2008-2009 season. Our comments are in italics:

Ross Application Essays

Long Answers: (500 word max)

  1. Briefly describe your short-term and long-term career goals. Why is an MBA the best choice at this point in your career? What and/or who influenced your decision to apply to Ross?
  2. Describe your most significant professional accomplishment. Elaborate on the leadership skills you displayed, the actions you took and the impact you had on your organization.

(These questions are the exact same as those in last year’s application. Note the emphasis on leadership skills in the second question.)

Short Answers: (300 word max)

  1. If you were not pursuing the career goals you described in Question 1, what profession would you pursue instead? (For example, teacher, musician, athlete, architect, etc.) How will this alternate interest contribute to your effectiveness in solving multidisciplinary problems?
  2. Describe your experience during a challenging time in your life. Explain how you grew personally, either despite this challenge or because of it.

(Also the same as last year. The “other profession” question provides a good opportunity to show another side of you that may not otherwise come out in your application. As long as you can tie it back to one of the core dimensions in your application, don’t be afraid to write about something that seems to be off the wall here.)

Optional Question

  1. Is there anything else you think the Admissions Committee should know about you to evaluate your candidacy?

(The natural tendency is to explain a weakness here, but no need to do that here if your application doesn’t have an obvious weakness. If you do feel the need to explain something, then address it and move on. In other words, don’t dwell on it or provide that weakness with more stage time than it deserves!)

For more advice on applying to Michigan, visit the Veritas Prep Ross School of Business information page.

New Dean at UNC (Kenan-Flagler)

What’s in a name? Plenty, if your last name is “Dean.” Last week UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School named Professor James W. Dean, Jr., as its new dean, pending approval by UNC’s Board of Trustees. The appointment is expected to take effect August 1.

Dean has been at Kenan-Flagler since 1997, serving as a professor of organizational behavior and strategy. His work focuses in the areas of leadership, organizational change, strategic decision making, international management, and organizational performance improvement. He has also served in multiple leadership roles at the school, including Associate Dean of Executive Development, Associate Dean of the MBA Program, and Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affiars.

Dean succeeds Steve Jones, who had been dean of the school since July, 2003.