Articles published in Apps and Admissions

Stanford Graduate School of Business Essay Analysis, 2018-2019

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Stanford Graduate School of Business Essay Analysis, 2018-2019 by mbaMission

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


If we were to choose an MBA essay question that we felt could be considered iconic, it would certainly be the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) mainstay “What matters most to you, and why?” For at least two decades, the program has asked this question, slightly tweaking the wording and word count over time, but always maintaining its spirit. We waited to see if the school might ultimately make a change this year, but the admissions committee clearly feels it is getting exactly what it needs out of candidates’ essay responses. The GSB has likewise made no changes to its somewhat standard “Why Stanford?” prompt (or its maximum word count allowance of 1,150 for the two essays combined). Our Stanford Graduate School of Business essay analysis of both follows… Read more

MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: Reapplicants Shouldn’t Reapply

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: Reapplicants Shouldn't Reapply 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.


You applied to business schools once and did not get in. It took a lot of effort and caused a lot of heartache. Now what do you do? You cannot apply to those schools again, can you? What would be the point? They already rejected you once, so they will definitely do the same thing next time, right? Not quite so. Read more

NYU Stern Essay Analysis, 2018-2019

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - NYU Stern Essay Analysis, 2018-2019 by mbaMission

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


New York University’s Stern School of Business has simplified its application essays this season, dropping last year’s “Program Preferences” prompt, which asked candidates to choose which of the school’s MBA programs they would attend. We imagine this deletion may have been so the admissions committee can focus more fully on the information it is getting from its other, more revealing essay prompts and its intriguing EQ (emotional intelligence) endorsements, which Associate Dean of MBA Admission Isser Gallogly told Poets&Quants have delivered “some very interesting and useful information about people—things that people don’t necessarily talk about themselves.” At NYU Stern, you have a mix of the old and the new. The admissions committee has kept the somewhat classic personal statement and maintained the somewhat forward-looking “Pick Six,” which is truly an “essay” for the Instagram era. In your application, you should have a broad opportunity to offer the best of your professional and personal self. Our NYU Stern essay analysis follows… Read more

MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Should Worry Because My Coworker is Applying Too!

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Should Worry Because My Coworker is Applying Too! 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.


You look around your office and think to yourself: “I wish my coworker were not applying to the same school as I am. They can’t take two people who sit at the same desk. Also, his GPA is 0.15 higher!” On the surface, this reasoning may seem logical, and it can thus cause anxiety for some candidates—especially for those who are in positions for which an MBA is virtually a “must have” to move forward, such as in consulting and banking.

However—not to worry—this thinking has two significant flaws: Read more

Mission Admission: Set the Tone Early and Use Active Verbs in Your MBA Application Essay

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Mission Admission: Set the Tone Early and Use Active Verbs in Your MBA Application Essay by mbaMission

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


As any good journalist will tell you, the key to writing a good newspaper story or opinion piece is to make sure the very first line grabs the reader’s attention. Many authors employ this tactic when writing books. Perhaps few of us have actually read Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, but many know that the novel begins with three famous words: “Call me Ishmael.” A powerful first line can stick with readers long after they have finished reading—and sometimes even when they have not read something firsthand. For example, we all likely recognize the phrase “It was a dark and stormy night,” but few of us may know that it is the opening line of a book by an obscure writer (Paul Clifford by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton). Read more

How to Use Parallel Construction in Your MBA Application Essays

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - How to Use Parallel Construction in Your MBA Application Essays by mbaMission

Longer and more complex sentences often require parallel construction. Simply put, parallel construction ensures that any given longer sentence has a standard rhythm or construction. With parallel construction, each pronoun corresponds with another pronoun, each verb corresponds with another verb, each adjective matches with a corresponding adjective, and so on. Parallel construction can certainly be found in shorter sentences as well, and to great effect. Read more

MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: My Work Performance is All That Matters

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: My Work Performance is All that Matters 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.


Because you spend so many of your waking hours at work, and the MBA is the vehicle you are choosing to use to drive your career forward, you may naturally believe that your professional experiences are all that matter to the admissions committees. Do not get us wrong: you need to have strong professional stories to share, but top-tier business schools are looking for much more than just examples of professional excellence. If you discuss only your work experiences in your application, you will present yourself as a one-dimensional character, and today’s managers need to demonstrate that they can handle a multitude of tasks, situations, and personalities—both inside and outside the workplace. Read more

How to Approach Overrepresentation and Old Achievements in Your MBA Essay

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - How to Approach Overrepresentation and Old Achievements in Your MBA Essay by mbaMission

Many MBA applicants worry that they are overrepresented—male investment bankers and Indian software engineers, for example. Applicants cannot change their work histories, of course, but they can change the way they introduce themselves to the admissions committee in their MBA essay. Consider the following examples: Read more

Mission Admission: How to Build the Ideal MBA Resume

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Mission Admission: How to Build the Ideal MBA Resume

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


Present Both Responsibilities and Results

In your MBA resume, be sure to showcase your accomplishments, rather than merely stating the responsibilities of your position. When your responsibilities are presented with no accompanying results, the reader has no understanding of whether you were effective in the role you are describing. For example, consider the following entry, in which only responsibilities are offered: Read more

Mission Admission: Begin Your MBA Essay with Your Strongest Accomplishments

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Mission Admission: Begin Your MBA Essay with Your Strongest Accomplishments by mbaMission

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


When preparing personal statements that require significant information about career progress, many MBA applicants choose to discuss their accomplishments in chronological order. Although the simplicity of this approach makes it an attractive one, we encourage you to consider an alternative to showcase your more recent and thus potentially stronger accomplishments first in your MBA essay. By choosing this alternate approach, you may capture your reader’s imagination more quickly and reduce the risk of being lost amid similar candidates. Read more