Articles published in Apps and Admissions

UCLA Anderson MBA Application Insider: Why Pursue an MBA Degree?

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - UCLA Anderson MBA Application Insider: Why Pursue an MBA Degree? by UCLA Anderson

Manhattan Prep and UCLA Anderson will be co-hosting upcoming MBA information events. We hope you’ll sign up to learn about the Anderson MBA program’s admissions process, student life, career options, and curriculum, directly from their admissions staff and esteemed alumni:

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Managing Your MBA Interview

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Managing Your MBA Interview by mbaMission

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


“What if I don’t know the answer to a question I’m asked?” This is probably the number-one anxiety among business school candidates facing an MBA interview. Thankfully, however, it is largely an unnecessary one, because your interviewer will always be asking questions about a topic you actually know very well—you!—not questions that require applied knowledge or research. So, in an MBA interview, you will not need to know how to calculate a discounted cash flow or express your opinion about the U.S. interest rate policy. Instead, you must be able to reflect on and discuss your life experiences, why you want an MBA, the value you can add to your target program and how you expect to engage with it, and your reasons for wanting to attend the specific school at which you are interviewing. Read more

MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: The Admissions Committee’s Glass is 99% Empty

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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: The Admissions Committee's Glass is 99% Empty 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.


“I was the first in my class to be promoted at McKinsey. I have a 710 GMAT score and completed Level 1 of the CFA exam, but I had a B- in calculus during my freshman year. Will that grade ruin my chances for admission?”

“My company has been under a hiring and promotion freeze for the past three years, but during that time, I have earned pay increases and survived successive rounds of layoffs. Will the admissions committee accept someone who has not been promoted?”

“I have been promoted, but my company changed names. Will the admissions committee think I am going somewhere at a sketchy company?” Read more

Berkeley Haas Essay Analysis, 2017-2018

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Berkeley Haas Essay Analysis, 2017-2018 by mbaMission

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


One look at the first application essay question for the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley this year may make applicants think the program has finally embraced the less-is-more movement in essays that so many other top schools have been joining lately. And to be fair, the total number of words allowed for Berkeley Haas’s essays this season has gone down, but not by all that much—dropping from 1,000 to 806—so candidates still have a comparatively good amount of space in which to present a well-rounded impression of themselves to the school. Although the prompts have changed in wording, the kind of information the school wants to elicit seems largely the same. As always, you want your essays as a whole to encompass a range of stories and qualities that complement each other so as to provide an accurate representation of who you are today, the student you expect to be in business school, and the professional you will be for the rest of your career. What follows is our full Berkeley Haas essay analysis, featuring their updated essay questions… Read more

When to Submit an Optional MBA Essay

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - When to Submit an Optional MBA Essay by mbaMission

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


Virtually all the top business schools offer applicants the opportunity to address anything unusual or problematic within their profiles, using either the additional information section of the application or the optional MBA essay. This way, MBA candidates can proactively explain any irregularities or inconsistencies so that the admissions committee understands the circumstances behind these issues and is not left to guess or make assumptions. Commonly, applicants will write an optional MBA essay to explain or reveal one of the following kinds of issues:
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Mission Admission: Will I Get into Business School?

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Mission Admission: Will I Get into Business School? by mbaMission

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


Not surprisingly, one of the most common questions we receive from MBA candidates is “Will I get into business school?” Of course, this is an important question to consider before applying, and we suggest that you honestly assess and understand your candidacy and risk profile within the context of your target school’s typical student body before completing or submitting an application to that school. However, once you have determined that you will in fact apply to a particular school, you should not let this question haunt you or halt your progress. Many applicants spend too much time worrying and not enough time working. Your admissions decision is ultimately out of your control, so just focus on submitting the best application you possibly can. Read more

Chicago Booth Essay Analysis, 2017-2018

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Chicago Booth Essay Analysis, 2017-2018 by mbaMission

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


For the third year in a row, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business is maintaining its rather unique “essay” question in which it asks applicants to select from a group of images depicting key moments in the Chicago Booth MBA experience and explain why the chosen image “best resonates” with them. When this prompt was first introduced in 2015–2016, the school offered a collection of 16 photos from which candidates could choose; last year, the group was reduced to ten. This season, Chicago Booth is presenting just six image options. We are unaware of the exact reasons behind this continued minimizing, but we theorize that certain types of photos were rarely chosen or did not elicit the kind of response the admissions committee ultimately felt was helpful in evaluating candidates. Another possibility is that multiple photos may have inspired very similar essays, so only one such picture was needed. Or Chicago Booth may have wanted to focus applicants on specific aspects of its program and therefore eliminated any images not related to those elements. This year’s photos again come with captions describing the depicted scene—an important factor in this equation in that an individual might be strongly drawn to a particular image, but the associated caption might influence his or her initial interpretation of it in some way. The bottom line is that with this nontraditional prompt, the school puts a significant amount of power in candidates’ hands in letting them select from a group of options, which thereby lets them better control the impression of themselves they want to present. We hope that you will find the essay question exciting and inspiring, rather than intimidating, and offer the following Chicago Booth essay analysis to help you plan your response. Read more

Stanford Graduate School of Business Essay Analysis, 2017-2018

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Stanford Graduate 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.


Like several of the other top MBA programs that have released their essay questions for this year, the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) has remained faithful to the prompts it presented last season. But with a total maximum word count allowance of 1,150, the school gives its applicants a little more room in which to express themselves. Although the Stanford GSB is an institution well known for generating and encouraging  innovators, the school uses its application essays not to ask candidates to share their imaginative new ideas but rather to look inward and examine their motivations and values. These are your opportunities to demonstrate the parts of your personality and profile that are not readily conveyed through transcripts, scores, and lists of professional accomplishments. In our Stanford Graduate School of Business essay analysis that follows, we present advice on how you might do so effectively… Read more

Mission Admission: Use Your Judgment on MBA Application Essay Details

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Mission Admission: Use Your Judgment on MBA Application Essay Details by mbaMission

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


“Should I use Calibri or Times New Roman font for my essays?”

“Should I list my GPA to the third or fourth decimal place?”

“I don’t have enough space to enter my full title, so should I write ‘Vice President’ or ‘VP Sales’?” Read more

NYU Stern Essay Analysis, 2017-2018

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - NYU Stern 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.


After making no changes to its application essay questions last year from the year before, New York University’s (NYU’s) Stern School of Business has this season made a rather drastic overhaul to its prompts. Some candidates may be pleased to see the school’s longstanding “personal expression” creative essay go away, but they will still need to rely on their imaginative side to give the admissions committee what it wants for its new “Pick 6”prompt. One big application change has also precipitated the addition of a totally new—though not overly intimidating, we hope—essay: applicants may use a single application to apply to multiple MBA programs at the school (Full-time, Tech, Fashion and Luxury, Part-time), so NYU Stern asks candidates to specify their top choice(s) and explain the reasoning behind their selection. Read more