Articles published in mbaMission

mbaMission Releases INSEAD Insider’s Guide and Updated Interview Guides for 2017-2018

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - mbaMission Releases INSEAD Insider's Guide and Updated Interview Guides for 2017-2018 by mbaMission

We at mbaMission are proud to announce a new addition to our extensive trove of free Insider’s Guides: the INSEAD Insider’s Guide! Informed by firsthand insight from students, alumni, program representatives, and admissions officers, the INSEAD Insider’s Guide offers detailed descriptions of the following: Read more

Duke Fuqua School of Business Essay Analysis, 2017-2018

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Duke Fuqua 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 Duke Fuqua 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.


Unlike a number of the top U.S. business schools, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business has made no changes at all to its application essay questions this year, meaning that it is again posing its rather unique “25 Random Things” prompt. This decision will likely make some candidates happy but dismay others. If you are among the dismayed, we encourage you to view this submission as the generous opportunity it is to provide a comprehensive picture of yourself as a well-rounded candidate. Few application essays provide such a broad platform through which to share your most meaningful values, experiences, interests, and accomplishments. Fuqua’s second required essay focuses on candidates’ expectations of their role within the school’s MBA program. You must discuss how you anticipate engaging with and being a benefit to others in the Fuqua community. The school also poses a few short-answer goal questions concerning the basic professional elements of the applicant’s profile. In our Duke Fuqua School of Business essay analysis, we offer our advice for approaching each of Fuqua’s prompts for this season… Read more

Northwestern Kellogg Essay Analysis, 2017-2018

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Northwestern Kellogg Essay Analysis, 2017-2018 by mbaMission

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


The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University has made minimal changes to its application essay prompts this year. The school’s required first essay has maintained its focus on leadership, but gone is the reference to teamwork, replaced by a request for evidence of “lasting value.” Kellogg also no longer stipulates that the incident candidates share be “recent,” thereby allowing applicants to plumb the full range of their history as needed to identify the most compelling or appropriate story. As for the video essays, we note that Kellogg is not stating this season that one of the questions will definitely be about a challenge, though we take this to mean merely that some applicants may receive such a question while others may not. The bottom line with Kellogg’s video questions is that they have no wrong answers and are intended to help the admissions committee get a more authentic impression of your personality (not to intimidate you!), so we hope applicants are not too concerned by that part of the application. In our Northwestern Kellogg essay analysis, we present our thoughts on how to address all the school’s prompts for 2017–2018. Read more

Securing Effective Letters of Recommendation

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Securing Effective Letters of Recommendation by mbaMission

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


Letters of recommendation are a vital element of every MBA applicant’s profile, because they provide a school’s admissions committee with its only truly objective insight into what the candidate has to offer. For this reason, recommenders can play a significant role in helping an applicant gain admission to his/her target business school, but only if the letters they write are credible and compelling. Fortunately, even though your letters of recommendation are technically in someone else’s hands, you still have some measure of control over them. Here, we explain where some of these opportunities lie—and where they do not—to help you navigate this portion of your application with less anxiety and better results. Read more

UCLA Anderson Essay Analysis, 2017-2018

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - UCLA Anderson Essay Analysis, 2017-2018 by mbaMission

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


This season, the UCLA Anderson School of Management has abridged its primary essay question and shortened the word limit from 750 to just 500. However, it has also added a “short-answer” question (read: mini essay) that in many ways recollects the “lost” element of the main essay and reinstates those other 250 words. As the program has been doing for as long as we at mbaMission have been offering essay analyses, it asks applicants about their short- and long-term goals, this time along with the oft-seen “Why our school?” element. And the newly added short answer prompt focuses on what candidates will bring to the school’s community. Given this rather modest essay portion of the UCLA application, you will need to make the most of your recommendations, resume, and interview to ensure that the school gets the full story of who you are as a candidate. We offer our advice on approaching the school’s 2017–2018 queries with this UCLA Anderson essay analysis. Read more

MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: At Least I Don’t Have to Rework My Resume

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: At Least I Don't Have to Rework My Resume 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.


Many MBA candidates do not thoroughly consider and revise their resumes for their applications, often dismissing this element because an existing version may already be saved on their computer. We strongly caution you not to underestimate the value of your resume—the admissions committees, in fact, review applicants’ resumes carefully, because they serve as a road map of each candidate’s career. Read more

University of Virginia Darden Essay Analysis, 2017-2018

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - University of Virginia Darden Essay Analysis, 2017-2018 by mbaMission

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


This application season, the University of Virginia’s Darden School is maintaining its single essay question approach, though the content of the query has changed. The school has been known to later add a few—much shorter—prompts, however, so you will need to stay alert for those, in case Darden does so again this year. In the meantime, focus your efforts on the program’s primary essay question, which prods applicants to discuss a past situation in which their opinion on a matter was changed as a result of input from and interaction with others. At first glance, we assume that with this prompt, Darden’s admissions committee is hoping to gain insight into applicants’ capacity for self-assessment and their openness and responsiveness to other viewpoints. You have only 500 words with which to convey all this, so you will need to be simultaneously thorough and concise. We offer our Darden essay analysis to help you achieve this. Read more

Your Business School Timeline

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Your Business School Timeline by mbaMission

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


At mbaMission, we strongly advise MBA candidates to start the application process early by using the months preceding the release of applications in June and July to get organized and to proactively take steps to competitively position themselves. Here we present a rough business school timeline for the entire MBA application cycle to help candidates better manage the process so that all opportunities are maximized. Read more

Visiting Your Target Business Schools

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Visiting Your Target Business Schools by mbaMission

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


At mbaMission, we get many inquiries from MBA candidates who are curious about whether visiting your target business schools is really worth the time and cost and whether doing so will impress or influence the admissions committees. Of course, one thing to keep in mind is that visiting an MBA program has tremendous import beyond the formal admissions process—doing so is essentially a chance for you to give the school a thorough “test drive.” Imagine, for example, that you were considering buying a $250,000 to $500,000 home. You would certainly want to check it out in person before you signed the mortgage papers, right? You might turn the taps on and off, open and shut the doors and windows, take a walk around the perimeter, and chat with the neighbors. Given that your business school education will likely cost you somewhere in that dollar range—when you take into account tuition, living expenses, and the opportunity costs of leaving your job—you should put forth the same level of effort inspecting and evaluating the place that will be both your work and home for the next two years. Read more

What to Do If You Are an Overrepresented MBA Candidate

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - What to Do If You Are an Overrepresented MBA Candidate by mbaMission

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


These days, the applicant pools for the top MBA programs are overfull with talented and experienced investment bankers, consultants, and software engineers. As a result, they are considered “overrepresented” MBA candidates and may have a much harder time standing out from the crowd. However, if you fall into one of these groups, do not lose hope. Although you cannot alter your work history, you can change the way you present yourself and your candidacy to the admissions committees. We at mbaMission can offer a few suggestions for ways to ensure that your essays grab an admissions reader’s attention. Read more