U.S. News & World Report today released the 2016 Best Graduate School rankings. As our friends at mbaMission have reminded us, all rankings should be approached with skepticism. “Fit” (be it academic, personal, or professional) is a far more important factor when choosing a school.
That said, here’s how the top 15 American business schools stack up this round:
1. Stanford University
2. Harvard University
3. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
4. University of Chicago (Booth)
5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)
6. Northwestern University (Kellogg)
7. University of California, Berkeley (Haas)
8. Columbia University
9. Dartmouth College (Tuck)
10. University of Virginia (Darden)
11. New York University (Stern)
11. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Ross)
13. Duke University (Fuqua)
13. Yale University
15. University of California, Los Angeles (Anderson)
See the full list and check out the rankings by MBA programs and specialties, here.
Choosing the right MBA program for your needs can be challenging. How do you identify the best one for your specific personal, educational, and professional goals?
An important element of your business school experience will be your fellow students—the other aspiring MBAs with whom you will be living and studying every day. Using Class of 2016 profile statistics from the top ten U.S. programs (according to U.S. News & World Report 2015), we at mbaMission have created this infographic to help show how the different programs compare. Enjoy!
We’ve invited mbaMission to share their Business School Essays Analyses as they’re released for the 2014-2015 application season. Here is their analysis for University of Pennsylvania (Wharton).
The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania has decreased its number of application essays to just two this year and is giving candidates a whopping 900 words with which to distinguish themselves. We surmise that the influx of application essays can be overwhelming for the school’s overworked admissions officers, who find them somewhat deadening over time. So, by cutting back the program’s application requirements, they are able to stay sharp and still get what they need from you as an applicant. While this change may be helpful on the school’s end, the limitations make your job much harder. Wharton gives you a mostly boilerplate personal statement and a rather Harvard Business School–esque “discuss what you want” style prompt—seemingly not a lot of latitude with which to make an impression, but the key word here is “seemingly.” The smart applicant will make use of Essay 2 in particular to stand out from the pack. Our analysis follows…
This year we require one essay, with a second being optional. For the second optional essay, we recommend that you to use your best judgment and focus your energy on highlighting new information that we are unable to ascertain from other sections of the application.
We’ve invited mbaMission to share their Business School Essays Analyses as they’re released for the 2013-2014 application season. Here is their analysis for University of Pennsylvania (Wharton).
Wharton’s essay prompts for this application season may seem a bit perplexing. At first glance, the two questions seem rather similar. However, the first is basically a question about what you hope to get from your MBA experience at the school, and the second is mostly about what you can give to the Wharton program. With only 500 words for Essay 2 to give the school a sense of your personality and experiences, you will need to think especially carefully about what you want to say. At other schools, an interview will give you the opportunity to share these parts of your profile, but Wharton’s group interview will not be the place for you to talk about yourself, so this essay is your opportunity instead. Proceed thoughtfully
Essay 1: What do you aspire to achieve, personally and professionally, through the Wharton MBA? (500 words)
This essay prompt has the markings of the classic personal statement question, though it differs slightly in that it includes your personal aspirations in addition to your professional aspirations. With respect to your personal aspirations (note that the phrasing is through Wharton’s program), your goals can be anything from advancing your intellectual development while at the school to experiencing new cultures and personalities after graduating with your degree. The goal you claim is not as important as truly owning it and connecting it directly to what Wharton offers, revealing a very clear understanding of the school’s strengths and resources and of how you will use them. Avoid vague statements about how great the school is and focus on demonstrating a clear connection between your aspirations, what you need to achieve them and what Wharton in particular offers that will enable you to fulfill those needs.
Because Personal Statements are generally similar from one application to the next, we have produced the mbaMission Personal Statement Guide, which helps applicants write this style of essay for any school. We offer this guide to candidates free of charge. Please feel free to download your copy today.
For a thorough exploration of Wharton’s academic program/merits, defining characteristics, crucial statistics, social life, academic environment and more, please check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Essay 2: Academic engagement is an important element of the Wharton MBA experience. How do you see yourself contributing to our learning community? (500 words)
Here, Wharton gives you a chance to discuss how your past activities, professional experiences and, in some cases, even personal adventures could be harnessed for the benefit of others at the school. Consider identifying and exploring one or two specific instances in your life that were extraordinary or formative and allowed you to claim specific knowledge or expertise. Then connect them to specific elements of the school’s MBA program, revealing that you have a thorough understanding not only of the school itself but also of how your personal strengths could enhance the experience for your fellow students.
Your experiences need not be totally unique, but they must be conveyed in a way that paints them as specifically yours, and they need to be capable of being leveraged academically. Note that the school’s question specifies a contribution to the learning community. However, this does not mean that you must have some sort of strictly academicknowledge. In fact, most essays written from that angle would end up being quite boring: I worked on discounted cash flows modeling, so I can help others with such models would be an almost sure loser. Unless you can claim a truly exceptional academic achievement that has direct application in class (My PhD in nanotechnology would advance discussions on the topic of emerging technologies), you would be better off delving into how you developed particular skills or traits and then explaining how they could be applied. For example, if you have experience managing flexible teams, you would be well equipped to facilitate discussions on your learning team and thereby add value in that capacity.
As you approach this essay, be sure to not simply tell the admissions committee how great you are at something. Instead, use a narrative to illustrate that you have certain applicable experiences, skills and/or qualities and fully understand their value to others.
Our good friends at mbaMission have released their 2012 Essay Analyses for Columbia Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, Wharton, Stern School of Business, Yale School of Management, and the Ross School of Business. We’ve compiled these six analyses into one handy 2012 Essay Analysis Resource for you. Enjoy!
Applicants to Columbia Business School (CBS) this year must complete one short-answer question and two essays. Perhaps CBS is returning to the mind-set that less is more by getting rid of the third full essay from last year and adding a 200-character, career goal mini essay instead.
The Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) has tweaked its essay questions and word limits this year, moving from an 1,800 word count across four essays to a 1,600 word count across three. Some quick math will reveal that you have more words per essay now”maybe the admissions committee felt it was not getting the true depth of candidate experiences previously? The most important broad advice we can give you is to be sure that you keep the reader learning. Keep your audience in mind”your admissions reader will be going through hundreds of essays this application season. If he/she gets to your essay three and has to read about the same theme yet again, he/she will be bored or frustrated or both. So as you write, be sure that you are introducing new experiences and dimensions of your profile. This will greatly improve the likelihood that you will be able to hold your reader’s attention throughout.
This is part 8 of a series featuring b-school advice gleaned from one of Manhattan GMAT’s own. Until recently, Patty managed marketing and student services for our sister company, Manhattan LSAT. But she chose to return to business school and started at Wharton last fall. She has agreed to share her application experiences with us in a series called, “Patty’s Path to Wharton.” Read Part 7 here.
Today, we talk to Patty about the dreaded waiting period. The process was agonizing, because you have nothing else to do, she says.
This is part 6 of a series featuring b-school advice gleaned from one of Manhattan GMAT’s own. Until recently, Patty managed marketing and student services for our sister company, Manhattan LSAT. But she chose to return to business school and started at Wharton last fall. She has agreed to share her application experiences with us in a series called, “Patty’s Path to Wharton.”
Read Part 5 here.
This week, we’re chatting with Patty about the admissions interview. She compares the experience”especially when it takes place at a coffee shop”to a first date. You wonder what they look like, but you don’t want to be creepy and you don’t want to ask every person in the cafÃ©. Should I have worn a rose? As for the awkward question of who buys, she says there are two solutions. You can get there early and buy your own, or just pay if you arrive at the same time. Offer politely, but if they say no and insist, that’s fine. Like a date.
This is part 5 of a series featuring b-school advice gleaned from one of Manhattan GMAT’s own. Until recently, Patty managed marketing and student services for our sister company, Manhattan LSAT. But she chose to return to business school and started at Wharton last fall. She has agreed to share her application experiences with us in a series called, “Patty’s Path to Wharton.”
Read Part 4 here.
Recommendations are one of the more fraught aspects of your b-school application, because you’ve got the least control over the process. But, once again, Patty’s experiences can provide some guidance.
If you’re wondering who to approach, here’s her advice:
People always want to know who to ask for recommendations, the person you work with or the person with the best titles. I already knew who I wanted because I’d worked with them closely. I just knew I wanted people who knew me best as a person and as a professional. My only advice for people who do have that question is to think about it: If you’re on the ad com, do you want a generic form letter or a genuine note? And which one do you think is going to distinguish you from a sea of a thousand.
Once you’ve selected recommenders, be sure to Read more
This is part 3 of a series featuring b-school advice gleaned from one of Manhattan GMAT’s own. Until recently, Patty managed marketing and student services for our sister company,Manhattan LSAT. But she chose to return to business school and started at Wharton last fall. She has agreed to share her application experiences with us in a series called, “Patty’s Path to Wharton.”
Read Part 2 here.
Once Patty had finished the GMAT, it was on to the essays!
Her first move was to formulate her working process. She spoke to friends who’d attended business school and collected their essays. Then, she printed out various essay questions on heavy cardstock and began carrying them around so she could jot down ideas on the go.
She explains her decision: Read more
This is part 2 of a series featuring b-school advice gleaned from one of Manhattan GMAT’s own. Until recently, Patty managed marketing and student services for our sister company, Manhattan LSAT. But she chose to return to business school and started at Wharton last fall. She has agreed to share her application experiences with us in a series called, “Patty’s Path to Wharton.” Read Part 1 here.
Today, Patty’s advice for the GMAT: Take it as soon as possible. Everyone always says take the GMAT early, but no one actually does that”unless you are me and kind of crazy! Patty studied on her own before taking her first crack at the exam, and she didn’t get the score she wanted. I was so traumatized, I was like, forget it, she tells us. She knew she had to retake the test, but it was tough to overcome the inertia after a disappointing first result. You get so dejected”I shelved it for like 3 months.
But after taking a short break, she steeled herself for another try and took a Manhattan GMAT class. I was glad I did it, she says. A lot of people do the GMAT and then applications, and you just get so burned out. I could take a mental break and then focus on my story. In the beginning you’re so exhausted you don’t even have the energy to focus on another big task.