There’s no shortage of MBA admissions advice available to you as an applicant. From current students and alumni, to professional admissions consultants, to the swirling online rumor mill on b-school forums, you can get lots of secondhand information but one of the best information sources is often the last one students read — the admission director’s blog.
This is your opportunity to get application tips and admission advice directly from those tasked with making these difficult decisions. Admissions blogs contain a treasure trove of valuable information and insights — they allow you to get a peek behind the curtain, learn more about a school’s admission philosophy, and get to know the real people who shape these philosophies. And, while you still won’t be privy to any “magic” formula to guarantee admission (there isn’t one, we swear) you will be able to craft a more a purposeful application.
We’ve compiled a handful of the best admissions blogs from great MBA programs, and some of their words of wisdom.
1. Direct from the Director – Harvard Business School – Written by Managing Director of Admissions and Financial Aid Dee Leopold
On standardized test scores:
“We care less about the overall score than we do about the components. And we look at the subscores in the context of the candidate’s profile. For example, an engineer with top grades who’s been doing highly quantitative work doesn’t need a high GMAT/GRE-Q to convince us he/she is capable of doing the quantitative work at HBS. But an English major whose transcript shows no quantitative coursework and has not done anything quantitative professionally or in post-college academics would be helped by a strong GMAT/GRE quant score. The corollary is true too: candidates who don’t have a background that demonstrates extensive practice in reading and writing may be helped by strong verbal subscores.”
2. Admissions Director Blog – University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business – Written by Director of Admissions Soojin Kwon
On often-overlooked application components:
“The resume! Applicants think the essay is the part they have the most control over and can best distinguish themselves through. But the resume is a key differentiator too. It’s the first thing we look at when we open an app, so it’s the “first-impression-maker.” It’s your opportunity to tell us where you’ve been, what you’ve accomplished, how you’ve made an impact and what you’re interested in (yes, we like the “Additional” or “Interests” section at the bottom). We look at it through the lens of, “How clearly and effectively does this candidate present him/herself?”
3. From the Desk of the Admissions Director – MIT Sloan School of Management – Written by Director of Admissions Dawna Levenson
On evaluating applications:
“We evaluate characteristics on two dimensions: Demonstrated Success and Personal Attributes. For Demonstrated Success we look for evidence of academic abilities and professional success. Personal Attributes we look for include: ability to work on a team, ability to challenge the status quo or solve complex problems, innovative ways to make an impact, and a drive to achieve goals.”
4. The Berkeley MBA Blog – University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business – Written collaboratively by Haas admissions officers
On the hidden perks of attending business school:
“In b-school, you may find yourself chatting with founders about the life of a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, taking in a marketing VP’s tales from the trenches, or hearing Al Gore’s thoughts on the role of business leaders in our world’s future. Enrolling in a top-ranked MBA program gives you access to top executives who have faced leadership challenges of all kinds and who share what they’ve learned along the way. “
5. Tuck 360: MBA Blog – Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth – Written collaboratively by Tuck admissions officers and student contributors
On an essential interviewing skill:
“Listen. Remember to listen carefully and answer the questions being asked. Some applicants are so excited to make particular points that they don’t offer them at the appropriate times. Further, your answers should be specific and include sufficient details to make your point, but remember to be concise. The interview is short, so make the most of it. Once you have made your point, stop. You don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to provide a complete picture of yourself. (On the contrary, be aware that your interviewer will know when you’re avoiding a question.)”
Have you found great pieces of advice on a school’s admissions blog? Do you find school blogs valuable? Share your favorites with us below.