Monthly Archives: July 2009

Duke (Fuqua) Admissions Deadlines for 2009-2010

Duke’s Fuqua School of Business hasn’t yet released its new MBA application, but Fuqua has released its application deadlines for 2009-2010 (click on the “When to Apply” tab on the Fuqua site):

Duke (Fuqua) Application Deadlines
Early Action Round: October 6, 2009
Round 1: November 12, 2009
Round 2: January 7, 2010
Round 3: March 9, 2010

(Note that, although Fuqua calls its early round “Early Action,” which normally is non-binding, the decision is in fact binding. We only recommend applying via Early Action if your heart is set on Duke. If you are admitted, you must submit a non-refundable $3,000 deposit by December 10, 2009. Interestingly, you only need to submit an official transcript once you are admitted.)

For more advice on applying to Fuqua, visit Veritas Prep’s Duke (Fuqua) information page, and be sure to follow MBA Game Plan on Twitter!


Dartmouth (Tuck) Admissions Essays for 2009-2010

The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth won’t release its full 2009-2010 application until mid-August, but the school has already announced its application deadlines for the coming year, and has also announced that its admissions essays will carry over unchanged from last year.

Our comments are below, in italics:

Tuck Application Deadlines
Early Action Round: 10/14/09
November Round: 11/11/09
January Round: 1/6/10
April Round: 4/2/10

(Tuck is one of the few top business schools to offer an Early Action admissions option. The decision is non-binding, although if you are admitted you will need to send in a deposit by mid-January, or else you will give up your seat. If Tuck is your first choice, or at least a very close 2nd or 3rd choice, Early Action is a great way to signal your enthusiasm for the school.)

Tuck Application Essays

(There are no hard word limits for Tuck’s essays, but Tuck does provide some guidance. According to the school’s web site, “Although there is no restriction on the length of your response, most applicants use, on average, 500 words for each essay.”)

  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?

    (This is the fairly standard “Why an MBA? Why this school?” question that most schools ask. Tuck takes the concept of “fit” very seriously when evaluating candidates — maybe more so than any other top school, given its small class size and remote location — so you need to craft compelling argument for why Tuck in particular is the right place for you to earn your MBA.)

  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?

    (Wow, this is a lot of ground to cover in about 500 words! You will keep your response focused on one single situation, what action you took, and what the results were. The last part, about areas that you need to develop, could make for a whole separate essay by itself, but you will need to succinctly respond to this. Your response here may or may not relate directly to the situation you describe earlier in the essay, although ideally you won’t introduce an entirely new theme with only 100 words to go in your essay.

  3. Discuss the most difficult constructive criticism or feedback you have received. How did you address it? What have you learned from it?

    (We tend to like this question better than “What is your biggest weakness,” because it starts with an actual experience — the feedback you received — and asks you to reflect upon it. As with all “weakness” responses, you want to give an honest, real response, but you also don’t want to give an answer that could ruin your entire candidacy. The best answer will address a true weakness, but will be backed up by progress you have made in overcoming 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?

    (Here is your opportunity to specifically highlight any strengths or themes that may need more emphasis in your application. Everything in your background is fair game here: your work experience, your personal life, and your hobbies all make you unique!)

For more advice on applying to Tuck, visit the Veritas Prep Tuck information page, and be sure to follow us on Twitter!

UC Berkeley (Haas) MBA Admissions Essays for 2009-2010

Recently we posted the Haas School of Business’ application deadlines for 2009-2010. The school’s admissions essays for the coming year are also now online. Here they are, followed by our comments in italics:

Haas Application Essays

(Note that we present these essays in a different order than what you will see on the Haas web site.)

Required Essays:

  1. Give us an example of a situation in which you displayed leadership. (500 words)

    (This question carries over from last year. Note how directly Haas hits on leadership with this question. This should give you a clear idea of how important this trait is to the Haas admissions committee. You don’t need to have a big job title or have a team of ten people reporting to you. Think about any time when you showed leadership — maybe by overcoming an obstacle, or by helping a colleague or was struggling — regardless of your role or the circumstances.)

  2. What are your post-MBA short-term and long-term career goals? How do your professional experiences relate to these goals? How will an MBA from Berkeley help you achieve these specific career goals? (1000 words)

    (This question carries over from last year, with the addition of “post-MBA” to the question. This is the fairly typical MBA essay question: Where do you see yourself in a few years (and beyond that), and why do you need an MBA to get there? Specifically, why do you need a Haas MBA to get there?)

Short answer:

  1. What are you most passionate about? Why? (250 words)

    (This question is new this year. It reminds us a little bit of Stanford’s “What matters most to you, and why?” question. The key here is to write about something that you really care about. A good litmus test is this: How knowledgeable are you about the subject? Many applicants will be tempted to go bold and say something like “Fighting hunger is what I’m most passionate about,” because they feel like that’s just what one is supposed to say here, but then can’t back it up with facts… and passion. MBA admissions officers will see right through this, so you need to discuss your true passions!)

  2. Tell us about your most significant accomplishment. (250 words)

    (This question carries over from last year. All things being equal, a story from your professional life will serve you best, but don’t feel that your significant accomplishment MUST be from the workplace.)

  3. At Haas, we value innovation and creativity. Describe a time when you created positive change in a group or an organization. (250 words)

    (This question also carries over from last year, although it’s worded a bit differently to take the emphasis off of an “innovative solution” you created and instead emphasize the impact you had on those around you. We consider this type of impact to be one of the real signs of leadership, so it’s not surprising that Haas asks for it in this essay. Ask yourself: What real, tangible impact did your solution have?)

  4. What steps have you taken to learn about the Berkeley MBA program, and what factors have influenced your decision to apply? (250 words)

    (This one also carries over from last year. Regular readers of this blog know how we feel… You’d better have better reasons for applying than “Because it’s a top-ten program!” The Haas admissions team seeks evidence that you’ve really done your homework on the school, and that you understand what about Haas makes it a great fit for you.)

Supplemental questions:

  1. If you have not provided a letter of recommendation from your current supervisor, please explain; otherwise, enter N/A.
  2. List in order of importance all community & professional organizations and extracurricular activities in which you have been involved during or after university studies. Indicate the nature of the activity or organization, dates of involvement, offices held, & average number of hours spent per month.
  3. List full-time and part-time jobs held during undergraduate or graduate studies, indicating the employer, job title, employment dates, location, and the number of hours worked per week for each position held prior to the completion of your degree.
  4. Please explain all gaps in your employment since earning your university degree.
  5. Beyond the courses that appear on your academic transcripts, please discuss other ways in which you have demonstrated strong quantitative abilities.
  6. If you have ever been subject to academic discipline, placed on probation, suspended or required to withdraw from any college or university, please explain. If not, please enter N/A. (An affirmative response to this question does not automatically disqualify you from admission.)
    (Note the comment following that last question. If you have a black mark in your past, don’t try to hide it. Better to address it directly, explain what you learned and how you’ve changed, and move on.)

For more advice on applying to UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, you can visit Veritas Prep’s Haas information page, and be sure to follow MBA Game Plan on Twitter!

Chicago Booth Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2009-2010

The Chicago Booth School of Business recently published its admissions deadlines and application essays for the coming year. These will help you start planning your Chicago Booth application. Our comments follow in italics:

Chicago Booth Application Deadlines
Round 1: October 14, 2009
Round 2: January 6, 2010
Round 3: March 10, 2010

(These deadlines haven’t changed much vs. last year’s. Note that, like other top MBA programs, Booth is is pushing to get all of its Round 1 decisions out before the holiday season. If Booth is your top choice, this will give you a chance to know your status with the school before you decide whether or not you need to work on Round 2 applications at your backup schools.)

Chicago Booth Application Deadlines

  1. How did you choose your most recent job/internship and how did this experience influence your future goals? What about the Chicago Booth MBA makes you feel it is the next best step in your career at this time? (750-1000 words)

    (This is a new question for Booth his year, although, at its core, it’s still the same “Why an MBA? Why now?” question that every business schools asks. What’s interesting is how much emphasis this question places on your most recent job. This suggests that Booth wants to know more about your career choices to date, rather than just your future goals. If your experiences don’t all line up into a perfectly neat, well-thought-out career trajectory, that’s okay. But be prepared to show some introspection and communicate credible reasons why a Booth MBA is a logical next step.)

  2. For reapplicants only: Upon reflection, how has your thinking regarding your future, Chicago Booth, and/or getting an MBA changed since the time of your last application? (250 words)
  3. (Ahh, “reflection.” Notice a theme here? Again, Booth looks for true introspection in its admissions essays this year. What makes this different than many other schools’ reapplicant questions is that it asks what’s changed about your thinking, not what new jobs you have taken on or achievements you have earned. A strong answer to this question will still highlight these things, but the school also again wants to see evidence that you’re really digging deep to understand why a Booth MBA is right for you.)

  4. Please choose one of the following (500 – 750 words):

    Describe a time when you wish you could have retracted something you said or did. When did you realize your mistake and how did you handle the situation?


    Describe a time when you were surprised by feedback that you received. What was the feedback and why were you surprised?

    (Both of these options are new this year. Usually, when a school replaces or changes its essay questions, it’s because the old ones weren’t giving the school what it needed in terms of really getting to know applicants and distinguishing one from the next. Both of these questions are a little different than the norm, and we even consider the first one a bit risky. However, that’s a good thing — don’t shy away from discussing a serious mistake you made and what you learned from it, because such an experiecne can make for a terrific essay. The key, as always, will be to not only discuss the mistake, but also write about what you learned from it.)

Slide Presentation

In four slides or less please answer the following question: What have you not already shared in your application that you would like your future classmates to know about you?

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 to 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 four slides, though you can provide fewer than four 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.
  • 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.

(Here Chicago Booth asks you to present yourself creatively and succinctly. Almost nothing is out of bounds, but you really must ensure that these slides add something new to your application. Be creative, and show some personality!!)

For more help with your applications, take a look at the dozens of free sample MBA essays that MBA Game Plan offers. And, be sure to follow us on Twitter!

Berkeley (Haas) Admissions Deadlines for 2009-2010

UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business recently released its admissions deadlines for the 2009-2010 admissions season. Haas has not yet released its new admissions essays, although you can review the Haas site to see last year’s essays and get a feel for what the school looks for in its applicants. Our comments follow in italics:

Haas Admissions Deadlines
Round 1: October 20, 2009
Round 2: December 10, 2009
Round 3: February 2, 2010
Round 4: March 10, 2010

(Haas has always managed its deadlines a little differently than other top schools, keeping four main application rounds. Like other top programs, Haas has moved up its Round 1 deadline this year by a couple of weeks, although its deadline falls in late October, rather than earlier in the month. However, note that Round 2 deadline on December 10 — that gives you a nice opportunity to pace yourself if you want to apply to Haas along with a handful schools that have Round 1 deadlines in October. However, if Haas is your first choice, we still recommend applying in Round 1 if you can.)

To plan your application strategy for Haas, visit the Veritas Prep UC Berkeley (Haas) information page. And, be sure to follow us on Twitter!

Yale SOM Application Essays and Deadlines for 2009-2010

Yale SOM has posted it application essays and deadlines for the coming season. This year Yale has significantly overhauled its essays for the coming year, going with shorter essays that will require brevity and focus.

Key information is below, followed by our comments, in italics:

Yale SOM Application Deadlines
Round 1: October 8, 2009
Round 2: January 7, 2010
Round 3: March 10, 2010

(Note that, like other top MBA programs, Yale will release its Round 1 admissions decisions in December, before the holidays. This is a tremendous help if Yale is your top choice, and you want to know your status with Yale before deciding to dive into a whole batch of Round 2 applications over the holidays. We expect this trend of earlier decision notifications will continue among the top programs.)

Yale SOM Application Essays
Please answer each of the four questions below with a short paragraph of no more than 150 words. This is an opportunity to distill your core ideas, values, goals and motivations into a set of snapshots that help tell us who you are, where you are headed, and why. (600 words total)

  1. What are your professional goals immediately after you receive your MBA?
  2. What are your long-term career aspirations?
  3. Why are you choosing to pursue an MBA and why now? (If you plan to use your MBA experience to make a significant change in the field or nature of your career, please tell us what you have done to prepare for this transition.)
  4. What attracts you specifically to the Yale School of Management’s MBA program?

(Wow, these are short! This will really challenge you to be succinct and get right to the point. But, we think this is a good thing. Each of these “micro-essay” questions covers a topic that you should be well prepared to answer by now. Yale is just asking you to cut the fat and get right to it, so the best thing you can do is answer these questions head-on. Career switchers should take special note of the additional instruction in Question #3. In this economic climate, Yale, like all schools, is especially interested to know how well you will do in the post-MBA job market. Career switching is fine, and is even a great reason for pursuing an MBA, but you need to show that you’ve done your homework and are realistic about your intended career.)

Personal Statement 1

Describe an accomplishment that exhibits your leadership style. The description should include evidence of your leadership skills, the actions you took, and the impact you had on your organization. (500 words)

(This is almost exactly the same as last year’s question, with one notable omission: Last year’s question asked for a professional accomplishment, but this question asks for any achievement that demonstrates your leadership style. Yale especially wants to learn how you did it, and what impact you ultimately had on the group. The “what” is important, but so are the “why” and the “how” of the story.)

Personal Statement 2

Choose one of the following topics and answer it in essay form. Please indicate the topic number at the beginning of your essay. (500 words)

  1. A central premise of our teaching about leadership at the Yale School of Management is that true leadership—leadership that helps to address a significant problem in a new way—is necessarily personal. It is only when personal passion aligns with meaningful aspirations that individuals are able to inspire others to act in support of an important goal or cause. What are you most passionate about, and how have you demonstrated a commitment to this passion?
  2. What achievement are you most proud of and why?
  3. What is the most difficult feedback you have received from another person or the most significant weakness you have perceived in yourself? What steps have you taken to address it and how will business school contribute to this process?
  4. Describe a situation in which you devised and implemented a creative or unique solution to a difficult problem. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
  5. Required for reapplicants: What steps have you taken to improve your candidacy since your last application?

(Of all of the questions, we still really like Question #1: “What are you passionate about?” Giving a standout answer to this — including concrete examples of your passion — is a great way for you to stand out vs. other applicants. Note that Yale has removed its “SOM Story” and “What unique attributes will you bring to Yale?” questions… These must not have been giving the Yale admissions team enough in terms of what it needs to distinguish applicants from one another.)

Additional Information (Optional)

If any aspect of your candidacy needs further explanation, please provide any additional information that you would like the Admissions Committee to consider. (250 words)

(As always, only use this essay if absolutely necessary. If there’s a weakness that you feel you must address, then do so succinctly and then move on. Do not make this a catch-all bucket for excuses about holes in your candidacy!)

For more information and advice on applying to Yale, visit Veritas Prep’s Yale SOM information page. Also, be sure to follow MBA Game Plan on Twitter!

Stanford GSB Application Now Online

In a brief note on the school’s web site, the Stanford Graduate School of Business announced yesterday that its application is now online for the 2009-2010 admissions season. You can access Stanford’s application here.

As we previously noted, Stanford has moved up its Round 1 application deadline to October 7th. In yesterday’s announcement, Stanford said that it may also extend interviews earlier this year. We expect that the school may send out invitations as soon s late October.

For more advice on applying to Stanford, take a look at our Stanford MBA essay analysis for the coming year. Take some time to study the changes in this year’s essays vs. last year’s… These should provide some clues as to what Stanford GSB looks for in its applicants.

To stay on top of all Stanford-related admissions news, follow us on Twitter!