To continue our “Just do it”-ish theme from a few weeks ago…

After Round 2 deadlines were past, we exhorted everybody to dive in with life. To get out of their comfort zone and step up to the plate and embark on all kinds of other annoying rah-rah cliches.

Today we’ve got a few links to articles we’ve come across to hopefully keep you motivated!

First: 6 Ways to Prove You’re a Genuine Superstar at Work

Next – we’re cheating a bit since this is actually linked from the first article (by the same author): The 8 Qualities of Remarkable Employees

Finally: Regardless of where you are in the process of applying to bschool – submitted in Round 2, getting started on next season, or gloating that you’ve been accepted already – it doesn’t hurt to do some reflection on leadership. Having a good idea of what this means for you – a working hypothesis, so to speak – can serve you well, not just in writing about your own accomplishment stories, and telling them to an interviewer when you are called for that important MBA interview opportunity, but just in general, as a means to figure out what that is to you, and how you can be more of that.

Then, apply it in your life.

Instead of using a Gandhi quote at the top of an essay, why don’t you take this opportunity to go be that change you claim you want to see in the world?
Bonus article, for anyone who’s not planning to resign in a few months to head off to bschool: How to Ask for a Raise

The third quiz has been up for awhile today and some people are breaking out of the pack!

Out of 9 possible points, we’ve got a few people at 4 and others at 3 – though some of them have not completed all three quizzes yet! It’s anybody’s game. The 4-point scorers are:


Right behind them with 3 points are:

Remember, if you take the test more than once, only your first score counts – and you have to enter a real email address to play.

To pass the time… a quiz!

Just call us CourtesySnark – anything we can do to make the wait more bearable!!

Here’s your quiz for the day. If you missed the previous ones, you can get caught up here with #1 and here for #2. Remember, scores from individual quizzes are being aggregated and the BSers who do the best may win some sort of small prizes from Snarkville!!! Stay tuned!

For now… here’s our MBA quiz – The Waiting for HBS edition!

Your Score:  


A reminder of what to expect with Harvard interview invites tomorrow

Yes indeed, it’s here. Tomorrow is the first of the days unofficially known as The Day You Will Get No Work Done.

AKA Harvard Interview Invite Day.

Part One.

Part Two is of course next week.

The bulk of people who will end up with a Golden Ticket at Harvard will be receiving those invitations this week. During the first wave of invites. That’s traditionally how its gone and we have no reason to believe it will go any different this time.

Of course, we have to be Debbie Downer and remind you that the bulk of people simply won’t be getting ANY invite at all.

But that’s a little premature.

Instead of walking you through all of this for the upmteenth time, we are instead going to just give you a list of the relevant posts about Harvard interviews, for you to read up and learn about it … ‘cuz we’ve said it all before:

We’ve probably written even more than that about this, but those should keep you busy for now.

To all the Brave Supplicants who are trying for Harvard in Round 2: GOOD LUCK!!!

Does it matter who the dean is?

Three top schools had/will have a changing of the guard in the corner office this year:

  • Wharton’s Dean Robertson stepped aside and Geoffrey Garrett took over last July
  • Darden’s Bob Bruner will be handing the reins to Scott Beardsley in August
  • Tuck’s longest-tenured dean Paul Damos will be turning things over to Matthew Slaughter in July

Does any of this matter to you, an intrepid wanna-be MBA student?

Yes and no.

“No” in the sense that nobody should be choosing their business school based on who’s running the place. There are many many other valid criteria to be using in selecting your school.

“Yes” in that the person running the place is going to have a dramatic effect on many aspects of your two years attending that school – whether it’s immediately obvious or not.

The best analogy that we can come up with for the role of an elite bschool dean from the student’s perspective is the experience of going to a fancy hotel.

Have you ever been to like a Four Seasons or a Ritz Carlton? Or an Oberoi, or a Taj, depending on where you are in the world? It’s the General Manager of the hotel who’s responsible for your experience there. A good GM sweats the details on everything. Not only does the GM handle the financials of the hotel but they pay attention to all that adds up to your perception of being on property – the vibe or “mood” of the hotel, the amenities offered, how guests are greeted. It’s many many things that in a well-run hotel are actually invisible to the guest.

That’s how it works with a good dean.

A good dean knows what his (or her) school is – and what it can become. A good dean puts systems and processes in place to ensure that the school reaches its potential. A good dean has a blend of the tactical and the day-to-day combined with the vision for the future that is unique to the school – and he (or she) communicates that vision and empowers everyone else to strive for it.

Deans have many constituents that they need to please – and you may be surprised to discover that students are not often the most important on the list. Deans need to keep their faculty happy. They need to keep their big-ticket donors happy. They need to keep the overall school administration happy. They need to make a positive first impression on those applicants who are interested in attending. All of this means that deans have to answer to many – and education is not always their primary focus. Marketing, branding, prestige – and yes, rankings – these things matter just as much. Bschools are political institutions, after all.

The deans taking over at these three schools have wildly varying backgrounds. Tuck’s selection of an internal candidate makes complete sense for that school. The Tuck culture is unique and we can see how it could be more difficult for an outsider to come in and be successful there. We’ve never interacted with Dean Slaughter (or any of these deans) however on paper he looks like a very good choice.

Ditto for Darden: Dean Beardsley is impressive for sure and we believe that Darden scored a major win with him.

What about Wharton? Well not to be snarky or anything but the jury is still out on Dean Garrett. We just don’t know what he stands for or what his agenda will be – and he’s been around long enough to have some of those priorities made public.

Whenever someone takes over a high-profile role they need to be careful on navigating the institution – they don’t want to be announcing big changes just for big-changes’ sake. Yet the arrival of a new dean is a huge opportunity for the school to do SOMETHING.

What we’re seeing out of Wharton is that this new dean seems to be more a figurehead. He’s very good at PR and makes lots of appearances. That’s great – one role of the dean is to be the face of the school – but we also would expect to see some substance. Wharton is a school that has been just sort of hanging out in the bschool ecosystem for the past few years. Like Kellogg, this is a school that can ride its reputation for like forever… but it’s not showing itself to be nimble and quick. We’re not seeing anything but the same as ever before. It’s early days still, sure… but when other deans took over at big bschools we were more impressed with the fresh energy that they brought in. It was obvious what their priorities were. To not get even a preliminary announcement of strategy and focus after six months on board at Wharton just makes us wonder where that ship is headed.

Mostly what’s important, in our opinion, about this whole dean ascension thing is that it gives you a glimpse of what’s REALLY going on at the school. Selection of a new dean is an incredibly political process. Seeing who the school chooses gives you insight into what the ADMINISTRATION is doing and what they value, and how they see their own school and the overall business education landscape – something you only rarely get to glimpse. Looking at who they choose can help you understand a little bit of the long-term game that the school is trying to play.

For Tuck, our takeaway opinion of the selection of Dean Slaughter is that Tuck is very self-confident. Dean Damos has done a great job there for many years, and Tuck is telling us that their current direction is sound. While we expect to see changes coming with Dean Slaughter we’d be surprised if they were anything too radical. It’s more of a keep-going type strategy, which to us, as complete outsiders, makes sense.

The Darden announcement of a McKinsey alum taking over was also received well in Snarkville and we believe that (along with Yale) Darden may now be one to watch. Those are the two schools that are highest on our radar in terms of being agile and flexible and willing to change. We have equal respect for Dean Bruner as we do for Dean Damos and it’s not like Darden needs to be shaken up – UVA has had a tough year or so but the bschool is on decent footing. Still, we can see that they’re hungry, based on who they landed for this appointment. So we’re very interested to see where Dean Beardsley takes things.

Will a new dean impact your experience in attending a bschool this fall? No. Highly unlikely. Except for some pomp and circumstance when they officially arrive on campus, but most of you won’t be physically at school when that happens. The changes, if any, that these individuals may be lining up will more directly have an impact on future cohorts.

We are very excited to see what all these deans bring forth at their respective schools. Watching a leader implement change on a large scale can be interesting. We’ve got plenty of popcorn at the ready.

Here’s where things stand across two quiz results this week:

Out of a possible total score of 6, the highest scorers have only managed to earn 2 points! Apparently we had more trick questions than we realized. Tied for first place are:


Notes: If you take the test more than once, only your first score counts. Also you have to enter a real email address if you want to be considered for prizes! None of this “” nonsense.

Success Story! “Fit was more important to me than rankings”

Over the past several weeks we’ve received quite a few awesome contributions to the blahg from Brave Supplicants whose Round 1 apps were successful. (If you promised us one of those, please don’t forget about us!! We really want to see yours, too!) Today we’re sharing with you one military candidate’s refreshing perspective.


Over the past few weeks, thanks to some inquisitive future MBA applicants I work with, I’ve been forced to reflect back on my journey from “Hmm, maybe I should apply to business school?” to “Accepted!’’ After EssaySnark asked if I’d be willing to write a post, I made a point to peruse old emails and notes to remember the questions I had at each stage of the process. Hopefully I’ll be able to give a bit of guidance to those going through that journey right now.


A bit about me…I’ll be 25 at matriculation, with approximately four years of work experience as a military officer, 3.3 GPA (downward trend, oops) with degrees in Economics and Business Management from a Big Ten school, some international internship experience, one semester of studying abroad, and extremely vanilla hobbies (reading, golf, tennis…negative points for uniqueness).



I started prepping for the GMAT about two months before the actual test. I won’t bore you with the details, but I will say that the is your friend. I used a few books, but mostly just relied on free resources on the web. My first try I got a 720 (44Q/45V) and really wanted to be done with it. Like, really, really wanted to move on and start with applications. I reached out to EssaySnark for a profile review (So helpful, very recommended. Thanks ES!), which forced me to realize that my downward GPA trend plus a low quant score would create a giant question mark within my application. They strongly recommended creating an alternative transcript, retaking the GMAT, or both. I didn’t feel like I had the time to take any classes, but I felt like I was leaving points on the table and ended up retaking it after two months of quant practice. 750 (49Q/42V), cool! Time for applications.


School Selection

When narrowing down schools (the ES guides were really helpful during this), I knew I wanted programs that maximized my GI Bill benefits (I was eligible for Yellow Ribbon, for those familiar with such things), were in a college town (sorry, Stern/Columbia!), had a strong sense of community, seemed like a fun place to spend two years, and hadn’t rejected me for undergraduate (sorry, Booth!). I settled on Kellogg, Darden, and Fuqua. I visited all three and LOVED them all. Really, I was thoroughly impressed with each one and all the great things you have heard are true. Students were helpful, classes were interesting, locations were great — I would have been ecstatic to attend any of them.


I liked Fuqua the most, though, and felt at home there. I had such a great experience, which I won’t bore you with, but I was initially skeptical of all the “Team Fuqua” talk and am now a firm believer. I ended up applying Early Action to Fuqua (I also submitted R1 applications to the other two, in case Fuqua didn’t work out).


On the EA topic, which is something I really wrestled with, I’ll admit I heard a lot of “Not many military guys have a 750, why would you apply early instead of sending out a bunch of apps and seeing how good of a school you can get into?” Fit was extremely important to me, more so than prestige or rankings. I knew any top school would get me the recruiting opportunities that I wanted. I will say I was influenced by somewhat unique military separation deadlines I had to deal with, which made an early decision even more attractive, but I also felt like I would attend Fuqua over any other school. I wouldn’t recommend EA if you aren’t sure about that.

Nope, we wouldn’t either! Solid advice thus far from this successful candidate. This one is running a little long though, so we’ll finish up this guest post for you later… though we bet you can already guess the ending!!! ;-)