Monthly Archives: April 2011

HBS 2+2 Program Essays and Deadlines for 2011-2012

Last week the the Harvard Business School admissions committee released its application essays for the HBS 2+2 Program for next year. Today we’ll take a look at the program’s application deadlines and essays for students applying to the Class of 2016.

Note that there is a big change in deadlines since last year: There are now four deadlines, vs. one single summer deadline for the program. Even though the window in which you can apply is now more wide open, note that the program is still designed with current college juniors in mind. (HBS phrases it as anyone who will “be graduating from your college or university between October 1, 2011 and September 30, 2012,” which mostly applies to those who are just wrapping up their junior year in college.)

HBS 2+2 Program Admissions Deadlines
Summer Round: July 6, 2011
Round 1: October, 2011
Round 2: January, 2012
Round 3: March, 2012

Right now, only the Summer Round has a specific date attached to it, although that will likely change soon. Also, be aware that applying by the July deadline (which used to be the only 2+2 deadline) means you will notified by September, which gives you plenty of time to make plans in your senior year. You can apply as late as March of your senior year, but that will probably mean finding out your status no sooner than when you graduate. Many students may not be comfortable with this arrangement. We recommend getting your application in by the July or October deadlines to give yourself enough time to plan things out on the back end.

HBS 2+2 Program Admissions Essays

  1. Tell us about three of your accomplishments. (600 words)

    This question used to ask, “What are your three most substantial accomplishments and why do you view them as such?” which was exactly the same question that was on the traditional HBS application. Although they’ve rephrased it (probably to try to sound a little less stuffy and intimidating to 20-year-old college kids), the meat of the question remains the same: They don’t explicitly ask for your “most substantial” accomplishments, but of course you’re not going to want to tell them three mundane stories. While you are obviously younger than the typical HBS applicant, the school still expects to see several separate, concrete examples of how you made a positive impact on the organization, community, or people around you. Having a hard time coming up with many? That may be the first sign that you’re not yet ready to apply to Harvard Business School. If that’s the case, don’t despair… You just may want to consider the more traditional route of working for several years before applying to business school.
  2. Tell us three setbacks you have faced. (600 words)

    Okay, fair enough. First they ask for three accomplishments, and now they want to hear about three “setbacks” (which is sort of admissions speak for “failures,” although these don’t need to be spectacular disasters). Last year, the question “What have you learned from a mistake?” which was also taken directly from the two-year Harvard MBA program’s application. In some ways we’re a little surprised that they’re asking for three, since the most important part of a “failure” essay is showing what you learned and how you grew as a result, and 600 words doesn’t give you a lot of space in which to tell three such stories (and do it well). Still, your mission will be to show introspection (What did you learn?) and a motivation for self-improvement (How did you use what you learned to better yourself and avoid that mistake again?). While you won’t have the same experiences as a twenty-five-year-old applicant to draw upon here, look for experiences in all aspects of your life where you learned a valuable lesson. There’s a good chance that your richest story will come from outside of your academics. However, academic stories are indeed okay. The admissions committee knows you’re young and don’t yet have much professional experience.
  3. Why do you want an MBA? (400 words)

    Believe it or not, while this might question seem like a must, HBS never asked this in its 2+2 Program application until now. While you’re still young, your answer to this may have as much to do with your past as your future. You may have some ambitious plans, but those will be meaningless unless they fit within the context of your background. For instance, you could write, “I want to get an MBA so that I can launch a global non-profit organization to wipe out illiteracy,” but if philanthropy and an interest in education don’t show up anywhere else in your background, this may seem like nothing more than a bunch of hot air. Also, be sure to demonstrate that you’re mature and realistic as far as what an MBA can do for you. Graduating from HBS in a few years won’t immediately launch you into the world of private equity stardom… There are a lot of other things you will need to do to get there, and you want to show admissions officers that you understand this. Talking to current MBA students and recent business school grads can help you a great deal here.
  4. What would you like the MBA Admissions Board to know about your undergraduate academic experience? (400 words)

    This question carries over from last year. Being that you probably don’t yet have any full-time work experience, the admissions office needs to dig a little deeper into your undergraduate experience to learn more about you. Don’t simply rehash your transcript here! Why did you choose your major in college? What motivated you to choose certain course? Were there any instances when you really pushed yourself out of your comfort zone? Focus on just one or two themes here, ideally showing how you have grown academically over the past three years. HBS wants to transform you from young raw ingredients into a polished, finished product. Showing glimpses of such a transformation in the first three years of college can help the Harvard admissions office picture you thriving at HBS.

To learn more about HBS and other top-ranked MBA programs, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!


Four Things You Should Know About Ross

The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business is one of the top-ranked MBA programs in the world, and we get inquiries about it every week. And, if you’re reading this, odds are that you’re interested in it, too. But, how well do you really know the school? How do you know if you and Ross are a good fit? More to the point, how do you know if the Ross admissions committee will decide that you’re a good fit for the school?

Today we look at four things that might make Ross your first choice among MBA programs:

Ross Multidisciplinary Action Projects
A lot of programs talk about hands-on learning, but Ross embodies this philosophy perhaps better than any other school. The hallmark of the action-based learning approach is the cross-functional Multidisciplinary Action Project. Ross is working hard to break down silos, and MAP projects are an experiential learning opportunity for students to apply theory to the real world. Every spring, Ross MBA students break from traditional coursework and focus entirely on the MAP program, which is a required component of the Michigan curriculum.The school fields opportunities from a variety of sectors, including corporate America, nonprofit organizations (NGOs), and start-ups. MAP teams are composed of between four and six Ross students who are tasked with solving a very real, very current organizational problem. Projects end with both a formal written report as well as an oral presentation.

Active Social Responsibility
More than many other schools, Ross, and especially its students, has embraced the responsibility of being advocates for the earth and its people. This is evident in the approach the school takes to constructing new buildings, and to constructing new programs. About a third of full-time MBA students are members of the Ross Net Impact Club. RNI initiatives have shaped the student experience at Ross, including corporate responsibility units and practicums in the core curriculum and the annual Leadership Crisis Challenge, a real-time simulation of an environmental or ethical crisis that unfolds over 12 hours. Boston Consulting Group has also partnered with RNI for the Mission-Driven Case Competition. The Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise, jointly managed with the School of Natural Resources and Environment, and to a lesser extent, the William Davidson Institute for emerging-market economics, are key resources for Ross students interested in this dynamic area of study.

Ross Leadership Initiative
It is difficult for an elite business school to distinguish itself with regard to leadership training, since leadership is at the core of all MBA programs, but Ross has a unique offering in this regard: the Ross Leadership Initiative (RLI). A program that lasts for the entire MBA experience and is required of each MBA student, the RLI attempts to put students into situations where leadership strengths are fostered and weaknesses are exposed (and addressed). If the description or mission of the program sounds vague, know that Ross has a very detailed roadmap for how RLI develops students.

It begins with what is called a “foundation session,” which is a six-day orientation process (mandatory for all students) that starts with theory, ideas, and self-analysis. From there, students are exposed to a variety of leadership opportunities (variously known as challenges, odysseys, exploratories, workshops, and programs), highlighted by the Leadership Odyssey, which is an outdoor training program held at a new location each year (2009 was at the Utah Canyonlands). All of these activities are buttressed by a student advisory board and an ongoing peer feedback program. Again, “leadership” is a buzzword at all top schools, but Ross really does take it to another level.

Location & Size
Attending business school in Ann Arbor is the best of both worlds: students are part of one of the largest university populations anywhere (41,000 students, 5,200 faculty), while being conveniently located just blocks from the abundant dining, shopping, and entertainment options of Ann Arbor. While the entire student population at Ross is much larger than many schools, because of all the undergrads, the full-time MBA program is about the same size as Stanford’s, with about 400 graduates in each year’s class. The Ross administration feel that students benefit from the location because there are fewer distractions than would be found in the big cities of Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, or New York, which means that students are able to focus more, and get more involved in the campus community. If you’re interested in going to Michigan for business school, you should think about how Ross and Ann Arbor might be an advantage for you, and try to express that succinctly in your essays.

To learn more about Ross and other top-ranked MBA programs, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Five Things We Like About Columbia Business School

Columbia Business School attracts no shortage of competitive applicants. It’s no wonder, given the school’s strong ties to the banking sector and its Ivy League heritage. You would be surprised, however, by how many applicants don’t really know the school before they apply. We always urge these applicants to go back and do their homework a bit more before they start crafting their Columbia applications.

Are you thinking about applying to Columbia Business School? How do you know if Columbia really is a good fit for you? And, perhaps more importantly, how do you know if the Columbia admissions committee will decide that you’re a good fit for the school? Today we look at five things that set Columbia apart from other top-ranked MBA programs:

The New York Advantage
This used to be Columbia’s tagline, and we feel it still holds true for this school. The wealth of resources available — and the wealthy resources — are all potentially advantageous to a student at Columbia Business School. Columbia had over 400 speakers on campus last year. While the “other” New York business school is perhaps better situated in terms of the geography of the Isle of Manhattan, the reputation and clout of Columbia Business School continues to pull New York’s movers and shakers up to Morningside Heights.

Master Classes
These project-based electives are superlative in terms of offering the ability of second-year students to roll up their sleeves and apply what they have learned. This is one element of Columbia’s focus on combining theory with practice.

Value Investing
A cornerstone of Columbia’s finance program is the Value Investing Program in the Heilbrunn Center for Graham and Dodd Investing. Perhaps the most famous value investor in the world is Warren Buffett, a graduate of this program. The basic approach of value investing is evaluating fundamentals against market price to determine intrinsic value for a long-term buy-and-hold strategy. A variety of Value Investing classes and resources are available to Columbia’s entire MBA and EMBA student bodies, however the Value Investing Program is only open to MBA students, with a competitive application process for admission. The advantages? It’s taught by more than 25 investors who serve as adjunct faculty. These are practitioners, not just academics. Students also benefit from an impressive roster of guest speakers, and invaluable mentorship and recruiting support. About 40 students are selected based on interest and “aptitude” for investing as expressed in an application essay, mandatory interview, and a two-page writeup of a proposed long or short investment. Many classes in the Value Investing Program require students to pitch ideas, usually multiple pitches per class. This type of hands-on training — and the exposure students get to marquee Wall Street firms – puts Columbia’s Value Investing Program in a category by itself.

An Accelerated Option
Columbia is the only full-time day MBA program in the U.S. that offers two intakes, September and January — and the J-Term allows students to progress through in the quickest possible time, at just 16 months end to end. No other American business school makes its same full-time MBA curriculum available in such an accelerated format. If you’re interested in accelerated MBA options and want to study in the U.S., Columbia is a must for your short list.

A Broad Range of Excellence
While certainly Columbia is known for finance — after all, value investing was invented here — it also has well-regarded faculty from, and deep connections to, media, real estate, marketing, and other fields.

To stay on top of all the news and trends in MBA admissions, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Five Reasons Why Kellogg Might Be a Great Fit for You

Every year the Kellogg School of Management attracts thousands of applications from hopefuls around the world. If you’re researching top-ranked MBA programs, Kellogg is almost certainly on your radar. But how do you know if Kellogg really is a good fit for you? And how do you know if the Kellogg admissions committee will decide that you’re a good fit for Kellogg? Today we look at five reasons why Kellogg might be your first choice among MBA programs:

You like the idea of a larger program.
There’s a lot going on at Kellogg, not just with all the various types of students attending in different degree programs, but because it’s one of the largest class sizes of any business school in the world. About 650 students are in each full-time two-year class, which is double the size of many more intimate programs like Yale, Tuck, or Stanford. It’s a great opportunity to make a lot of friends and really expand your network, however it’s also possible to get a little lost in the sea of students.

You’re a little older.
While some top business schools are trending younger, Kellogg continues to prefer applicants with several years of full-time work experience; the average is 5.3 years. Those coming straight from college or with limited work experience may still apply however they will need to present exceptional achievement and readiness in order to be seen as competitive at this school.

You want to work in the tech sector.
Kellogg’s MMM degree is a joint MBA-MEM (Master of Engineering Management) with the McCormick School of Engineering. This is a unique program that supports a variety of careers in operations and design for manufacturing industries, especially technology-based products. Those with previous careers in engineering (and even with advanced degrees) may find special value in the MMM program if they are interested in continuing their career in technology.

You’re thinking about management consulting.
Kellogg sends more graduates into the field of consulting than almost any other school – they are even comparable to Harvard, which both placed about 200 consultants out of the Class of 2010 (31% at Kellogg, versus 24% of Harvard’s larger class).

You’ve got a great work history from a strong career — and that’s it.
If you have extensive professional experience with demonstrated responsibility and results, but you never completed your undergraduate studies, you can still pursue an Executive MBA. Surprisingly, Kellogg does not require a bachelor’s degree — or a GMAT score — for admission to their EMBA programs (those without a bachelor’s must take the GMAT, but it is not otherwise required). The Kellogg EMBA is appropriate for those with significant work experience, in the range of 12 to 15 years. The EMBA programs are separate from the MBA programs and there is little student interaction between the two, however students in both tracks are granted with the same MBA degree upon graduation.

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