Fuqua? McDonough? Kenan-Flagler? INSEAD? Haas? Ever wondered how in heck to say these words? You might want to figure it out before you talk to anybody about them. Like, in an interview perhaps? These are not official phonetic spellings (we’re not sure the rules of all that), they’re just our attempt to help you not…
Well that should be obvious. But apparently it’s not! And, we actually mean it in two ways: 1. There is only one YOU – so if you share who you are with the adcoms, they will see your individuality. This is the essence of the Strategy of Authenticity — which really shouldn’t be called a…
Hey BSers! We’re reblahgging this from 2015 because dang, that was three years ago, and this info is timely for where some of you are at today!!!
And yes, we realize that those answers were unsatisfying to many of you.
“You’re telling me to WAIT, EssaySnark?? Why in heck would I want to WAIT? I procrastinated my way to this point where I missed out on my prime opportunity to apply – but now I realize that that was a mistake! Now I know that I **NEED** to go to bschool. Now I’m ready to do this thing! Why on earth would I WAIT??”
There are in fact a few other options to consider at this time of year. Here are ones for you to consider.
1. A lower-ranked program often still has openings in Round 3.
You don’t even need to go too far down the rankings to find a program that could still be open to an app from you. While we don’t encourage it, we have seen people make it into Cornell, Ross and Darden with a last-round application. If you’re even more flexible (and you have a halfway-decent profile) then a school like Georgetown or USC or Vanderbilt should be in range. It depends on your priorities, and of course on the school. We talked about some bschools where Round 3 is viable before.
2. INSEAD has multiple intakes and rolling admissions.
This means that they sometimes have openings during parts of the season when other schools are full. The more competitive candidate pools will not have the best shot in any INSEAD Round 3 but depending, again, on your profile, there could be an opportunity for you to try for INSEAD right now.
3. LBS also has four rounds – so Round 3 is possible for them.
You’re good to go with a Round 3 on any school that has four rounds. LBS is the main hold-out among top schools that still does this (besides INSEAD but they have a year-round apps, rather than the standard September/October to March/April season). NYU also now has four rounds but their schedule is more like Tuck and Duke, where they all have three deadlines in the timeframe where their peers have two. Anyway: Yes to LBS. It is definitely more competitive than their Round 2 but it’s doable, and you have some time remaining before that date hits, too.
4. Part-time programs are often not yet at capacity. Same with Executive MBAs.
These programs are often still accepting candidates through the summer, and Round 3 is nearly always still feasible. We discussed possible programs where a Round 3 app might work previously.
5. If your profile is ah-maz-ing, you could still make it into a top school.
The problem with this advice is that few people understand what “ah-maz-ing” really means. You can check out our posts here on the blahg about “the Harvard type” as a hint – you need to have a profile that’s near that caliber even if you’re trying for a school like lowly old Tuck in the last round. If you want some guidance on whether you’re all that (or not) – or just get a sense of what you should really be focusing on right now – you can go for our Late Season Strategy Review to get some help on evaluating your chances. And of course, our little booklet-thing called Everything You Need to Know about a Round 3 Application lays all of this out for you in greater detail.
The most important consideration when you’re thinking about applying now: Will it mess up your chances next season if you end up as a reapplicant? That’s a real risk (we go into all of it in the Round 3 booklet). You need to be looking at your cross-season strategy right now. It may seem like you’ve got nothing to lose to submit a bunch of apps at the tail end of the admissions season but that’s not actually how reality works. You need to consider your options carefully.
But yes, every year we see BSers squeak in under the wire in Round 3. We don’t recommend it but if you play your cards right, it can happen. Mostly we see people NOT get in, so don’t get your hopes up too terribly much – but we’re around to help if you want to do the Hail Mary!!!
Today we’ll tell you a story.
This one time, EssaySnark was coming home from a business trip, and we were on that little bus that takes you to the airport after you drop off your rental car. Right when the bus driver was about to close the door, a woman came running up behind. EssaySnark said to the driver, “Hold up, here’s someone else.”
The driver closed the door. We said louder, “Hey, wait a sec, someone’s coming.”
Some of the woman’s friends were already on the bus. “Please wait,” they said. “Our friend.”
The driver started to pull away from the curb. EssaySnark stood up in the aisle – surely he must’ve heard us? – and yelled over the engine noise, “HEY! WAIT!”
He looked back in the rear view mirror. Eye contact. Looked away. Kept driving.
EssaySnark went up to the front of the bus. “Didn’t you see her? That lady was trying to catch the bus.”
“Please take your seat while the bus is in motion.”
Couldn’t believe it.
When we got to the terminal, we called the car rental company, and we narked off the bus driver. We asked for a manager to come talk to us. The bus waited too. The airport was not that busy.
A second shuttle bus arrived with the supervisor, and also the woman who’d been left behind, who was reunited with her friends.
You know what the supervisor said? That he’d done it before. That it was against training.
We were like, “Yeah, you used to have that little recorded message saying something about customer service is important but when you don’t play that anymore then we were wondering if new management took over or something.”
She was all, “We do have a recorded message that plays on the bus.”
We were like, “No, there was no recorded message that played.”
The bus driver had disconnected it. Why? Maybe because the little “Welcome to the airport” recording had an invitation to fill out a customer satisfaction survey at the end of it.
Pretty sure that driver was separated from his job that day.
This is a VERY small and VERY insignificant story — not at all comparable to protesting Nazis — but it’s an incident we remember vividly. Somebody was being mistreated, and we stood up and said something. We had planned to share this with you in the context of essays this week. We expanded this post considerably after what happened this weekend.
You don’t have to be out in the streets protesting. Yet we’re sure you have similar stories.
These are how you can reveal your character.
If you want to be very task-focused: These are the types of stories that, sometimes, when heartfelt and told with conviction*, can move an adcom reader in an essay.
When we talk about values, we’re talking about stuff like this. It’s the small moments that make up your life. Our values let us know when we’re being true to ourselves. They help us make decisions.
Now before you get all indignant: “OMG EssaySnark, you got that guy fired!!” We’ll counter with some advice that we heard from a career coach a long time ago: When you get fired, it’s a gift. Your company is freeing you to go find something you’re happier in. Because clearly, it was not working out, and you weren’t listening to the evidence that was trying to tell you so. If your job is to pick people up and take them to the airport, then that’s what you do, to the best of your ability. You don’t leave them at the curb.
If in your job, you find yourself leaving people at the curb, then hey, that’s a pretty big sign that you’re not happy!! Either change yourself, or change your job!
We’re telling you this today not just because maybe it’ll help you think of new topics for your essays.
We’re telling you because WHEN YOU SEE SOMETHING THAT’S F*CKED UP, YOU MUST SAY SOMETHING.
We’re living in a world where a lot of f*cked up things are happening.
Did that Google engineer deserve to get fired for what he wrote?
Not sure. That’s a hugely complicated situation. His argument about women engineers has some sound science at the beginning (there are indeed biological differences between men and women) but then the reasoning he used to get to his conclusions is twisted (it is not true that those differences are why there are fewer women in tech). The argument is fatally flawed; it is not logical. Is he entitled to his opinion? Sure. Did he make other valid points about the current environment in Silicon Valley tech companies? Yes. Is a company in California allowed to fire at will? Indeed they are.
Should anyone be resorting to threats or acts of violence to defend their point of view? NO — yet the firing of the engineer provoked many on the alt-right to do just that, and now some Google execs are afraid.
That’s the world we’re living in now.
So what’s the connection to that and the shuttle bus driver and your essays?
It’s that some things are black and white. Some issues are easy to see. Some problems do not require debate or “further study” which is what the President said about the Charlottesville violence on Saturday. WTF?
When you see something that is not right, say something.
Let’s all look at how we respond to everyday life.
“Hate never yet dispelled hate.
Only love dispels hate.
That is the Law,
ancient and inexhaustible.”– The Buddha
The airporter bus driver was not spewing hate.
But what he did was not right.
The Google engineer was expressing his opinion. However that view of the world would not exactly create a welcoming environment for women who had to work with him. What’s more, that kind of faulty reasoning is the basis for much of the alt-right’s indignation about being victimized by others (you certainly see massively bad logic and effed-up reasoning on the left, too; this post is not about right or left, it’s about right or wrong).
It’s not your job to change people’s minds. We’re not saying to proselytize or preach.
But what you do owe yourself, and to all of us as a society, is to speak up when you see something going down.
What moments do you remember, however small, where you know what you did was right?
Some schools invite you to talk about that in your essay.
EssaySnark invites you to live that in your life.
The story we shared today is admittedly very “small”; we also used a lot of words to tell it. But it (we hope) reveals a small slice of character. That’s what stories do. That’s why they’re so powerful to use in your essays.
We also hope that you’ll consider the power of words. If you currently are in the habit of posting inflammatory comments on anonymous forums or you like to rile up others by being intentionally combative in how you respond on social media, we ask that you pause. Look at yourself. Ask why do you do it. Strong views are fine, and commendable; it’s good to believe in something. It is not necessary to hurt other people through verbal attacks, no matter how much “fun” you think it is. Getting a rise out of someone by saying something shocking and rude is a very low form of entertainment. That buzz of adrenaline can become addicting, but is that who you want to be? If you’re doing it online, you’re doing it. Doesn’t matter if you think nobody knows. You are as bad as your worst online habits. What you do on the internet is who you are. All of it. If you currently do anything out there on the web that you don’t want someone to know about, we invite you to face up to that, and ask yourself why. And please, NEVER PARTICIPATE IN DOXING. Or revenge-posting of photos. None of it. Seriously harmful. Seriously not cool.
You could be spending your energy on something so much more valuable.
Like working to get into bschool.
Finally: We debated whether to post this. There’s been plenty of posts about values here lately and a charge against us of virtue signaling could have merit. We also like to believe that most BSers reading the blahg don’t need to be preached to about lying or cheating or ramming cars into crowds or taking a gun to an early-morning practice at a softball field. We welcome all belief systems and political views here. Deadlines are coming, and we’ve got plenty to say about apps!
Yet, damn, we just can’t help it. This is a BIG MOMENT in our country’s history. We refuse to say nothing.
Our “new normal” is not normal.
This country has problems, yes. We are also lacking any real leadership that might solve them. Each person individually must stand for their values; after all, you’re interested in the MBA to change the world. Well, this is EssaySnark’s small platform to do that. We hope that someday soon, we’ll be able to go back to talking only about MBA essays.
That UVA Darden essay question sure takes on new significance today:
“When preparing for class at Darden, students formulate an opinion on each case before meeting with their learning teams and class sections. When encountering different views and perspectives from their own, opinions frequently shift. Tell us about a time when your opinion evolved through discussions with others.”
* Please just make sure that the story you’re telling is a fit to the essay prompt.
Ah, joy. The process of writing your essays for your MBA apps. There are simply so many ways for it to go sideways. Many times, an earnest BSer will go through all this effort in introspection and self-reflection — which, by the way, are critical if you want to have any chance at all of…
First it was MIT announcing a new Round 3 this year (for ages and ages, MIT had only two rounds, one in the Fall and one in January).
Cornell has been all over the map with their rounds, going from four rounds through 2012, then down to three in 2013, and back to four again now but with non-standard due dates — and for the past few years, keeping a “rolling” process open to accept new applications even after their final deadline had passed.
Somewhere in there, INSEAD and NYU both went to four rounds instead of three. They claimed it was to standardize their cycle compared to other schools.
Now we hear that Duke’s application “will remain open” (their words) even though their last deadline closed ten days ago. They’ll now accept applications through April 25th.
What’s going on with these schools?
It’s common for schools to send out tickler emails to anyone who’s started an app but not yet submitted it, to nudge them along to complete the form and get themselves in the hopper. Many times you’ll get a school encouraging you to try in Round 3; they always give some type of reassurance that they’ve left seats open for Round 3 candidates. You hear this on their late-season webinars and chats and you see it in the language they send to those straggler candidates who never pulled the trigger on submitting.
Call us skeptical, but EssaySnark is doubtful that these schools are advertising these opportunities to you because they want to give you a seat in their incoming classes. All this promotion of applying in the last round would imply that there is a chance you could actually make it in. Sure, there’s a chance, but…
We’ve called adcoms out on it before, specifically HBS for sending completely contradictory messages about exactly this.
Here’s the deal, Brave Supplicant: The number of applications a school receives has an impact on their rankings.
It is in THEIR best interest to get more of you to apply – even if there isn’t any room for you.
Sure, every now and then a superlative applicant will race in the door breathlessly saying “I only just now decided that I want an MBA and I must start immediately!” and their profile is strong enough (and differentiated enough) that they deserve a spot in an already-crowded class.
Those are the EXCEPTIONS.
Duke says they’re going to accept apps through April 25th – and issue decisions on May 6th. You’re saying that you can go through the entire process, including a mandatory interview, in that period of time?! If Duke is making a good-faith offer to you to apply, then either they’re not expecting to get many applications (since the only way they can realistically process them in such a short period is if they don’t get any) – or they’re not expecting that many of those applications will be worth pursuing.
We keep seeing schools say, “There’s no risk to applying now – we’re reapplicant friendly! It won’t hurt your chances next season [even though we’re going to reject you now].” (They don’t actually state that part in brackets but that’s what they mean.) Some of them even tout their opportunity for feedback as a big benefit. “If you don’t make it in, we’ll tell you why not in the summer!”
Yeah, and you’ll pay about $200 for privilege. And just FYI, while it’s always nice to be able to speak with someone in person about your application, it’s rare that those feedback sessions ever tell you anything directly useful. Heck, EssaySnark will give you a massive report walking through the strengths and weaknesses of your profile for cheaper! (The Comprehensive Profile Review will be MUCH more detailed – and actionable – than any 20-minute conversation with any adcom will be.) Don’t get us wrong, we applaud schools that offer feedback opportunities, but when they emphasize that in conjunction with a last-round app then be realistic that that’s what you’re getting for your app fee, in most cases, rather than a real shot at admission.
If you want to throw your hat in the ring for one of these last-gasp get-in-now-the-doors-are-closing schools, then OK fine, you should do it, but PLEASE manage expectations. If this is a Top 10 school then honestly we’d be shocked to hear that there’s much room left for their respective Class of 2018. If this school is further down on the rankings, then the chances are better, but still.
If you do proceed with this app, then PLEASE don’t stop working on your profile and improving your candidacy. This will be hyperimportant should you end up empty-handed and having to submit more apps in a few months’ time (aka Round 1).
And PLEASE recognize that more likely than not, you’re going to be enriching the school by adding your app fee to their admissions department’s revenue line, and boosting up their standing in the rankings game, and more than likely, for all that trouble, all you’re going to come away with is a stomach ache due to the disappointment.
All of you BSers out there gotta thank one of your peers for this one. A former BSer left a comment on a blahg post recently talking about a study they’d heard of out of INSEAD that showed that GMAT scores were correlated with post-MBA salaries. That was interesting enough that we went to look for it – but we couldn’t find it. Instead, we ended up finding this:
The authors found that one’s attitude in a multicultural environment and the extent to which they engaged with other cultures determined their degree of “integrative complexity”:
[I]ntegrative complexity refers to the willingness and capacity to acknowledge and integrate competing perspectives on the same issue.
And this, the authors claim, predicts future career success. Essentially, the better you are at incorporating others’ viewpoints into your own thought processes, and think things through from different perspectives, the more mentally agile you are – and the more likely you’ll be able to achieve greater success in the professional world as a result. The authors say that those who actively engage in these multicultural environments are better able to exhibit this integrative complexity.
They make it clear that it’s not just being in a new culture, it’s about being active./em>
Now granted, one could argue that that’s a self-serving study for a school like INSEAD, given how their international student experience is such a core component of their offering. EssaySnark is not in a position to critique the academics who put it together; we didn’t study the study and have no background that would allow us to evaluate the way it was put together. We’re just pointing out the obvious, with a reminder to always take into account the source and think of possible biases when you look at outcomes. Again, we’re not trying to cast doubt on it at all, but it did seem worth mentioning, as a little side note.
Also, because we didn’t do a fine-toothed comb review of the study, we don’t know if the results are applicable at all for, say, American students attending an American bschool. Even though most top MBA programs in the States are quick to tout their ~35% international student body, in our experience, there is a lot of segregation among different nationalities in any bschool class. It’s not intentional; it’s just that people tend to flock to those with whom they’re most comfortable. It’s one reason why many of the business schools construct your study group for you. This is of course in addition to the section that they assign you to. The study group is an intentional mix of students based on differing demographics, professional backgrounds, and everything else that they track about you from the application itself.
So, you can expect some degree of international exposure regardless of what school you attend in what geography. However, we cannot extrapolate the findings of this study to most American bschools. There’s really only a few top MBA programs that have this same level of truly internationalism among their students. INSEAD is one, and LBS is another. A few of the schools in Spain may have something semi-comparable.
Perhaps it’s possible that there are Americans at U.S. schools who are sufficiently motivated to engage with their international peers that they have comparable experiences to what were observed in the INSEAD students in that sample. We’re betting, though, that most Americans attending American bschools are not thinking about culture much at all. When you’re at home, you’re not aware of anything about how the world is different or unique based on your specific perspective. You forget those things. While it may be possible that American students at American schools could make a point of seeking out engagement with students from other cultures, the Americans will still be steeped in the American culture, so any positive “integrative” effects seem like they would be hard to come by.
It’s also important to recognize the differentiation that the researchers make. They’re not saying that simply attending a school in a new culture will bring these benefits. They’re saying that it’s the individual student’s psychological orientation to the culture and how they interact with their multicultural peers that dictate this type of mental development.
Thanks again to the former BSer who helped us to stumble across this interesting study!
And another semi-related addendum: Here’s an insightful essay about the study-abroad experience from a position of privilege
London Business School, and INSEAD.
Given that INSEAD just got named #1 bschool by FT, then you can expect their apps to rise, at least a bit. The good news with this school is that they always have another deadline coming up! They have multiple intakes, and multiple rounds, and that means that there’s always an opportunity to apply to INSEAD.
LBS has four rounds so there are two more remaining before you get into the “nope don’t bother” zone with their Round 4. Round 3 at LBS? Sure, that can work. It’s not ideal but it’s not an automatic non-starter either.
We don’t have school-specific pages here on the snarksite for these two though we do discuss them from time to time:
And, we have the Guide to Applying to European Bschools which also may be useful – and look what a bonus, that one guide covers both these schools.
OK, so admittedly, that headline is misleading; we don’t know of any full-time MBA program that’s actually a full two years. When we talk about a “two-year MBA” we literally mean from August of one year, through May of the second year following. So that’s really like 21 months. In the Spring of your second…
You may already be aware that EssaySnark are fanboys of certain schools. Michigan Ross comes up a lot on this blahg. We tell everyone who will listen about how awesome Tuck is. We really like how transparent the Chicago Booth adcom is. One we haven’t been mentioning much lately, but should be, is INSEAD.
The thread that runs through these different schools is that in our experience, they are incredibly fair in the admissions process. That’s not to say that other schools are not, or that these are the only schools in this category. Instead, it’s just a comment on how attainable an admission can be to one of these great MBA programs, for the Brave Supplicant who does her homework and puts in the effort.
One driving factor behind this is the reality that these schools don’t get bombarded with applications. There’s varying reasons for it (which we likely exhausted all of your patience in exploring several months back). What this amounts to for the applicants, though, is often an admissions office that is willing to accommodate.
A great example of this is the fact that INSEAD does not ask for an undergraduate degree as a pre-requisite for admission.
Here’s what they say about it in their application FAQ1:
I don’t have an undergraduate degree. Can I still be considered for admission?
Yes. While the vast majority of our participants have undergraduate and/or advanced degrees, this is not compulsory for admission. Candidates who do not hold an undergraduate degree, but who have an excellent career record and GMAT score are also welcome to apply.
There’s a few other programs out there who also don’t have a strict requirement for a bachelor’s degree. We don’t know of a single Top 20 U.S. school that is flexible on this – certainly the other schools that we’re fanboys of are not. They will need to see that completed undergrad transcript as part of your app.
Michigan is even more restrictive in another aspect, in that they won’t let you apply without some work experience. So policies do vary radically, and a school can be hardnosed about certain things and still be fair. In fact, Michigan’s work-experience-required policy seems to us to be more fair than any other school – other schools will let you apply (and gladly take your app fee) even when they know there’s almost no chance that they’ll accept you. Michigan seems more real about this. They put a stake in the ground, there’s no ambiguity.
We’re calling out this INSEAD policy not because we think that there are scores of BSers without college degrees looking to get into business school. Instead, we feel that this policy is indicative of the overall open-mindedness in play at INSEAD. While they are uncompromising in their standards – they really do need to see evidence of leadership and contribution in your app – they are also very practical. They know that people take many paths to get to success, and they don’t want to be black-and-white in their thinking. If you’re coming at this from a non-traditional angle, you definitely have a chance to be considered here.
That being said… your essays better be damn good.
There’s a Round 3 deadline coming up for INSEAD’s January intake. Round 3 is a no-go at many schools but not the case here (unless you’re an Indian candidate, in which case we recommend you sit tight for Round 1 instead – we covered this in a recent answer on GMAT Club if you want to read more ).
There’s a QuickSnark Guidelette for INSEAD available if you want help with their MBA essays. replaced by our guide for Applying to European Business Schools
1 On 1-15-17 the now-dead link to the INSEAD FAQ (previously at http://mba.insead.edu/faq/) was removed in the text above.