I had been in the admissions business for three years at Carnegie Mellon University when I moved to Cambridge to take on an assistant director role at the Harvard Business School. From the open houses and information sessions to the countless phone calls that barraged our offices every day, one thing was clear: MBA candidates were stressed out about their applications. It’s safe to say that with rejection numbers in the 80-to-90 percent range at the best schools, applicants recognize that they are up against significant odds to get an acceptance letter from a top program.
I took away one important lesson from my ten years in admissions: The successful candidates are highly memorable. It wasn’t until I left Harvard and launched my consultancy firm, EXPARTUS, that it dawned on me that the successful applicants to business school had figured out what many consumer goods companies know too well: the importance of selling a value proposition to a customer. I authored The Best Business School Admissions Secrets, and now counsel MBA applicants to help them find the right value proposition to get into their dream schools. Some of my advice can be found here at Poets&Quants, including Understanding the MBA Admissions Cycle and GMATs and GPAs: What You Need to Know About the Raw Numbers.
In any case, I’ve agreed to help anxious applicants with difficult questions at Poets&Quants. No question is out of bounds. Worried about your undergraduate record? Concerned about your GMAT score? Not entirely certain where you should apply to get your MBA? Unsure of how to answer the essay questions? Wondering who you should ask to write your letters of recommendation?
Fire away. I’ll do my best to answer your queries.