Harvard Business School’s Case Method Is Officially 100 Years Old

Want to End the Year Strong? Here’s a Checklist.

With 2021 wrapping up and round two deadlines approaching, ending the year strong is critical. Stacy Blackman, founder of Stacy Blackman Consulting, recently offered a year-end to-do list for applicants to stay on track and avoid becoming overwhelmed.


Your recommendation letters play an essential role in how admissions officers assess your candidacy. Some experts say that a strong recommendation letter can even make or break an application.

To ensure your recommendation letters are top-notch, Blackman suggests equipping your recommenders with helpful information, such as key attributes you want them to highlight in the letter.

“Spell out precisely what you hope they will convey in their recommendation,” Blackman writes. “MBA programs want to see examples of leadership, teamwork, and management potential. Additionally, you can make things easy for your recommender by providing a list of at least three strengths with supporting anecdotes. Remind your supervisor of your career goals as a reference.”


Essays are another critical component of your application. Blackman recommends that applicants allow six weeks for the essays portion—including revisions.

“Many candidates find it helpful to start by writing rough drafts that go 50% or more above the required word count,” Blackman writes. “While that seems like more work, it ultimately creates a better final product. The revision process helps you hone in on the best topics or anecdotes to support your overall application.”

You’ll want to ensure that your essays speak to who you are outside of the GPA and test scores and what makes you different.

“Applicants from over-represented industries such as finance, information technology, engineering, or consulting should use the essays to focus on the aspects of your personal life that make you unique,” Blackman writes. “Include hobbies, community service activities, passions and interests that make you stand out.”

Sources: Stacy Blackman Consulting, Fortune

Next Page: Big Changes At Columbia Business School

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.