Articles published in Apps and Admissions

Mission Admission: Are You Employable in the Eyes of the MBA Admissions Committee?

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Mission Admission: Are You Employable in the Eyes of the MBA Admissions Committee? by mbaMission

Mission Admission is a series of MBA admissions tips from our exclusive admissions consulting partner, mbaMission.


We believe that asking MBA candidates about their goals is plainly absurd, because so many students change their goals while they are in business school. Further, the pursuit of an MBA is supposed to be about career development and exploration, right? Regardless of how we feel regarding the subject, though, you must ensure that if a school asks about your goals in its essay questions or an interview, you have a compelling story about where you believe your MBA will take you. Several years ago, getting a banking job may have sounded compelling to you—are you really capable of making that transition today? Certainly, fewer jobs are available now in the real estate world—is this a likely next step for you during a prolonged real estate drought? Venture capital and private equity jobs are challenging to land even during the best of times—are you able to compete with the elite during a downturn? Read more

Ross School of Business Essay Analysis, 2017-2018

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Ross School of Business Essay Analysis, 2017-2018 by mbaMission

How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.


Last year, one of our observations about the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan’s main essay question was that the 400-word limit did not offer a lot of room to expound on the topic. Thankfully, applicants also had a second essay (albeit also quite short, at just 250 words) in which to address their professional aspirations. This season, Michigan Ross has tightened the reins even more, asking applicants to provide 100-word responses (or shorter) to three “complete the sentence” prompts and to write a 300-word-maximum essay answering three career-related questions that actually encompass four topics. The scope of the main essay prompt has also been drastically narrowed, from a discussion of a personal event or attribute of which the applicant was proud to a rather prescribed rundown of the candidate’s career goals and plans to attain them. Read more

MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: You Need a 750 to Get In!

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: You Need a 750 to Get In! by mbaMission

What have you been told about applying to business school? With the advent of chat rooms, blogs and forums, armchair “experts” often unintentionally propagate MBA admissions myths, which can linger and undermine an applicant’s confidence. Some applicants are led to believe that schools want a specific “type” of candidate and expect certain GMAT scores and GPAs, for example. Others are led to believe that they need to know alumni from their target schools and/or get a letter of reference from the CEO of their firm in order to get in. In this series, mbaMission debunks these and other myths and strives to take the anxiety out of the admissions process.


We often hear MBA applicants ask some form of the following question: “Do I need a 750 to get into a top MBA program?” Although a 750 on the GMAT can only help, it is definitely not a prerequisite. We wanted to dispel this myth and put some who believe it at ease. Here are a few simple reasons why this is just not the case:

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I Am a Freelancer—My MBA Resume Looks Like I Cannot Hold a Job!

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - I Am a Freelancer—My MBA Resume Looks Like I Cannot Hold a Job! by mbaMission

Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips from our exclusive admissions consulting partner, mbaMission.


If you do mostly short-term, project-based work, you might struggle with how to structure your MBA resume so that it does not give the impression that you switch jobs every few months. If you list each job separately, not only will your MBA resume be too long, but you also run the risk that your reader will think you have not had a stable career—when in fact, if you are a successful freelancer or contractor, the opposite is the case. So how can you organize your MBA resume so that it showcases the strength of your work and avoid having the variety and number of your work experiences come across as a weakness instead? Read more

Avoiding MBA Essay Pitfalls

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Avoiding MBA Essay Pitfalls by mbaMission

Each week, we are featuring a series of MBA admission tips from our exclusive admissions consulting partner, mbaMission.


Understandably, b-school candidates have an almost endless number of questions about how to master their MBA essay. Here, we present our advice on several facets of this challenging portion of the MBA application, in hopes of helping you craft compelling submissions that will stand out to the admissions readers. Read more

Yale School of Management Essay Analysis, 2017-2018

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Yale School of Management Essay Analysis, 2017-2018 by mbaMission

How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.


The Yale School of Management (SOM) is staying the course this year with its single application essay, joining both Harvard Business School and Columbia Business School in using the same essay queries as last season. The school has made no modifications to its one prompt, whose 500-word limit does not offer a lot of room to make an impression on the admissions committee. Having commented last year in a Yale SOM blog post that the “seemingly simple and straightforward question” was composed with assistance from one of the school’s organizational behavior professors, Assistant Dean and Director of Admissions Bruce DelMonico added in a more recent post that the admissions committee “is interested not just in the commitment itself but also in how you [applicants] approach the commitment and the behaviors that support it.” Clearly, the Yale SOM has invested some truly purposeful effort into constructing a query that will reveal something specific from and about the individuals targeting its MBA program. In our Yale School of Management essay analysis, we explore how you can maximize your opportunity to shine with this forthright prompt… Read more

Harvard Business School Essay Analysis, 2017-2018

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Harvard Business School Essay Analysis, 2017-2018 by mbaMission

How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.


Last year (after just one season), Harvard Business School (HBS) did away with its incredibly broad “introduce yourself” essay prompt in favor of one that at first glance seemed to have almost no parameters at all—and, interestingly, was more or less the same as the one from 2013–2014, when Dee Leopold was running the show. Now with a full year under his belt as HBS’s director of admissions, Chad Losee must feel that the essay question was effective in eliciting the kind of information the admissions committee finds valuable in evaluating the program’s potential students, because it remains exactly the same this year. Read on for our Harvard Business School essay analysis for the program’s 2017-2018 prompt and advice on the best way to approach it… Read more

MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: If I’m Not Accepted in Round 1, I’ll Just Apply in Round 2

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: If I'm Not Accepted in Round 1, I'll Just Apply in Round 2! by mbaMission

What have you been told about applying to business school? With the advent of chat rooms, blogs and forums, armchair “experts” often unintentionally propagate MBA admissions myths, which can linger and undermine an applicant’s confidence. Some applicants are led to believe that schools want a specific “type” of candidate and expect certain GMAT scores and GPAs, for example. Others are led to believe that they need to know alumni from their target schools and/or get a letter of reference from the CEO of their firm in order to get in. In this series, mbaMission debunks these and other myths and strives to take the anxiety out of the admissions process.


As you enter the upcoming application season, what kind of strategy do you have in mind? More than a few candidates, having likely read about the supposed advantages of applying in Round 1 on various websites and discussion boards, plan to submit all their applications in Round 1—with the idea that if no acceptances are forthcoming, they will just submit another set of applications in Round 2. If this is your plan, we would like to explain why it is probably not your best course of action. Read more

MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: They Will Not Notice My Weakness!

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: They Will Not Notice My Weakness! by mbaMission

What have you been told about applying to business school? With the advent of chat rooms, blogs and forums, armchair “experts” often unintentionally propagate MBA admissions myths, which can linger and undermine an applicant’s confidence. Some applicants are led to believe that schools want a specific “type” of candidate and expect certain GMAT scores and GPAs, for example. Others are led to believe that they need to know alumni from their target schools and/or get a letter of reference from the CEO of their firm in order to get in. In this series, mbaMission debunks these and other myths and strives to take the anxiety out of the admissions process.


Our clients frequently ask, “If I write the optional essay about my [low GMAT score, low GPA, bad semester in college, long stretch of unemployment, etc.], will it call attention to that weakness and overemphasize it?” In short, no. Writing the optional essay about a weakness will instead allow you to control the narrative and thereby better mitigate any negative effects of that weakness.

The admissions committee very likely will take note of a low GMAT score or a low GPA and will be left with unanswered questions about that weakness if you do not use the optional essay to address the issue. Rather than putting the committee in the position of having to guess at an explanation, take control of the situation and grab the opportunity to explain the details behind the weakness. Read more

Columbia Business School Essay Analysis, 2017-2018

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columbia-business-school-essay-analysis-2017-2018-mbamissionHow can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.


For years, Columbia Business School (CBS) has been at the front of the pack of MBA programs that have been gradually shortening their application essays and requiring candidates to be direct and concise in their submissions. It was even the first school to incorporate a micro essay into its application. Last season, CBS gave applicants a bit more wiggle room with the essays, increasing the word count for each by a pretty significant margin (up to 100% in one case), but it has tightened the reins back down for this year’s applicants. Still, with a goal statement, three required essays, and an optional essay, you should have plenty of opportunities to convey a well-rounded impression of yourself for the admissions committee. Read on for our Columbia Business School essay analysis for the program’s 2017–2018 prompts… Read more