Most Popular Stories Of All-Time At Poets&Quants

4) The Presentation Only Elite MBA Applicants See: Want to close a sale? It’s Psychology 101: Appeal to exclusivity. Tell your target that they are part of a select few. With your solution, you can give them that little extra advantage – one that makes them an insider…an elite.

In 2011, P&Q caught a break. In conjunction with Inside MBA Admissions, P&Q published PowerPoint slides previously reserved to high potentials. This was the information given at seminars hosted by the likes of McKinsey, Goldman Sachs, Boston Consulting Group, and Morgan Stanley. And now that same information was available to Poets&Quants readers, free of charge.

Alas, it was a little more complicated than that. After all, P&Q did include a link to a free seminar conducted by the firm’s founder. Still, the story leveled the playing field, to an extent, giving candidates a taste for how the other half lives. In reality, the presentation covers the usual ground, such as academic requirements and leadership expectations (not to mention framing career goals and extracurricular activities). It also gave some exclusive insights into the process at programs like Wharton and Chicago Booth.

Best of all, the insights still hold up nine years later. They may no longer be exclusive, but they remain fundamental to getting accepted into your top choice.

5) The MOOC Revolution: How To Earn An Elite MBA For Free: Remember 2013? Back then, MOOCs – Massive Open Online Courses – were going to revolutionize education. Just imagine: you could access graduate-level coursework anytime with just an internet connection. Better yet, you could learn alongside anyone anywhere in the world.

On top of that, MBA royalty like Wharton and Michigan Ross were jumping on the bandwagon. Rock star business professors like Yale SOM’s Robert Shiller quickly followed suit. Translation: prospective students could list a certificate of completion from a top-tier business school on their resumes. The selections were so diverse that you could theoretically complete MBA coursework using just MOOCs for under $1,000.

Yes, MOOCs were supposed to upend the status quo and democratize education. Seven years later, they have been folded into school offerings – an online ad that enables prospective students to experience MBA-caliber lectures and concepts. Instead of MOOCs, you’ll find upstarts like Harvard Business School’s HBX delivering academic rigor and professional credentials for minimal cost.

In 2013, “The MOOC Revolution” broke new ground, featuring 19 of the most popular business-themed MOOCs. In one spot, readers could access information on (and register for) MOOCS covering Business Strategy (Darden), Corporate Finance (Wharton), Statistics (Princeton), Entrepreneurship (Northwestern), and Sustainability (Columbia). These days, MOOCs have become one path for MBAs to expose themselves to new fields or freshen up their quant skills. They may have become part of the system, but they increased access to it in the process. That’s an enviable legacy to leave.

poets and quants handicapping odds

6) Your Chances Of Getting Into An Elite Business School: Sandy Kreisberg is an acquired taste. A former writing teacher at Harvard and communications head at MIT Sloan, Kreisberg is an admissions consultant who has placed hundreds of students in M7 schools. Along with his encyclopedic knowledge of admissions processes, expectations, and preferences, he brings something indispensable to the table…


Salty. Nitpicky. Dismissive. That’s how some readers have described Kreisberg in P&Q’s exclusive ‘Handicapping’ series (which technically snagged a second spot in P&Q’s all-time Top 10). In reality, Kreisberg doesn’t accept excuses or suffer fools. This blunt style has knocked readers off-balance in video interviews, but the guy has seen it all. And he understands how to simplify matters with his trademark irreverent wit. He knows what works and what sells – and his counsel is certain to make candidates better.

What can you expect when Sandy looks over your credentials? Here are a few of Sandy’s best observations from the ‘Elite Business School’ story:

Schools have a hard time reading the careers of people who work for unknown companies. It’s very important in your application to stress how selective they are, how important they are, and what they do.”

“Business schools are like doctors. They don’t like complex stories. What doctors want is for you to go in, give your symptoms, then diagnose you and say here is a pill that can fix this.”

“The people who read admission folders are not veterans as a rule. They don’t have an understanding of what people do in the Armed Services. They have a very hard time determining whether you have a Gold, Silver or Bronze military career. They do understand that a military pilot is an elite thing. They understand that being a Navy Seal is an elite thing…If you are in the military, it’s very important that you give them a flavor of your career in terms they can understand. Unfortunately, what happens with military applicants is that your GPA and GMAT wind up counting a lot because those are easy elements for admissions people to understand.”

7) 2016 Poets&Quants’ MBA Ranking: A rankings story cracks the Poets&Quants Top 10? What’s next – gambling in Casablanca?

Readers love rankings. Deluged by data and messaging, rankings take applicants to a starting point, a place to filter contenders from pretenders. More than that, rankings provide comfort, a reinforcement that their instincts and decision-making were sound. Problem is, rankings weigh variables differently, making them reflective of certain sources’ priorities. Forbes, for example, strictly measures post-graduation pay for MBAs. In contrast, U.S. News & World Report hones in on inputs and survey responses from administrators and recruiters. The Economist, however, places greater emphasis on student feedback. Problem is, they incorporate so many criteria that their rankings fluctuate wildly.

That’s why P&Q combines the major rankings into one annual ranking, which is traditionally released in late November or early December. Each ranking is given a specific weight, with U.S. News earning the biggest share at 35%. As a result, according to John Byrne, the P&Q ranking fills gaps and reduces variations between rankings to boost their credibility as a whole.

“Combining the five most influential rankings doesn’t eliminate the flaws in each system, but it does significantly diminish them,” Byrne writes in the 2016 story. “When an anomaly pops on one list due to either faulty survey technique or biased methodology, bringing all the data together tends to suppress it. So the composite index tones down the noise in each of these five surveys to get more directly at the real signal that is being sent.”

As a rule, the annual ranking generates the highest number of clicks for P&Q each year. Better yet, the story draws new readers in the following year. How strong is the story’s pull? Both the 2016 and 2013  variations of the story rank among P&Q’s Top 10 all-time. And the 2011 and 2014 editions don’t trail far behind them, either. That’s a virtuous circle if there ever was one.

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