As a follow-on to yesterday’s post on joint MBA + Master’s programs and is it easier to get in, here are some specifics on how things are evaluated. Most universities handle admissions separately for each of their schools. It’s like each school — the business school, the law school — is operating individually within the…
We’ve previously spoken of applying for an MBA along with another graduate degree and today we’ll offer additional points to consider as you’re thinking about dual-degree application strategy, including the perennial question of “Is it easier to get in?????” New programs typically do not get that much interest, so app volumes are usually lower, which…
We often stay in touch with certain former BSers as they go through the actual GOAL of this whole process and launch into their MBA adventure, and it’s so helpful and interesting to get reports back from the field. One comment from a current student in a recent private exchange with us is worth sharing:…
Dang. You didn’t make it in. BUT WHY???
Most schools are explicit with a no-feedback policy. All decisions are final, and they’re unable to talk to you about it because they don’t have the bandwidth to field all of those calls.
But some schools are much more generous with their time and attention and encouragement.
For example, if you didn’t make it in to Darden, they’ve often offered the chance to get feedback in case you want to reapply. Usually they make this available in June (mark your calendar now!).
Only a few schools do this. In the past, HBS would do it if they interviewed you and/or put you on the waitlist before rejecting you, though they don’t advertise this policy very loudly and we’re not clear if it’s a one-off thing or a standing offer that they’ll continue to make available if you ask. Tuck will do it too. Yale does it. We understand that Berkeley-Haas is no longer doing it, which is a bummer.
If you go for one of these feedback sessions, just manage expectations. The stuff they say tends to be pretty standard. Unless you’re one of those super qualified candidates who just couldn’t break into bschool this year because there were too many others in your pool, then the adcom is more likely than not going to tell you stuff that you should already know. By the time you go for a feedback session, then hopefully will be able to predict what the admissions person is going to tell you. You should have a sense based on profile self-assessment (or a simple comparison to the school’s class profile) what the issues are. If your college academics are not that strong, or if your GMAT is a little low, then that’s what your adcom person will say. Predictable.
They may also tell you if your essays weren’t up to snuff. Maybe.
Generally speaking, the reports we hear back from BSers who ask for one of these feedback sessions are largely the same. The value of such calls is usually a bit limited. The adcoms aren’t going to tell you REALLY why you were rejected (especially not if the reason was the you came across like a jerk in your app in some way, or if your recommenders did not say nice things about you – it’s unusual but it happens, and these reasons will definitely not be directly disclosed). The adcom peeps are more likely than not going to give you some vague comments about how you’re qualified but it’s competitive, yada yada yada.
It can still be useful to go through the experience but honestly, you hopefully by this stage of the game have done enough self-reflecting and gone back over your candidacy in a more objective light, that you are aware of the deficiencies that may have been in evidence. And, even more hopefully, you’re already taking steps to fix them, in preparation for the coming Round 1 season.
We’re of course always up for taking a look at rejected apps – we have the formal Post-Mortem (aka “Oh noz!!”) review where we go into great detail on every aspect of your application. Or you can just get the Comprehensive Profile Review which lets you understand how things may be perceived by the adcoms in the upcoming cycle.
We do still appreciate the schools that do this. It’s certainly an attempt to be more transparent, and it’s an applicant-friendly policy. But it’s kind of like when someone is breaking up with you; it’s possible you’re going to get some variation of, “It’s not you, it’s me” – or maybe, “It’s not you, it’s your test score.” Sometimes people need to hear that directly from A Person In Power before they’ll decide to actually do something about it, so if you’re skeptical of the assessments you’ve heard elsewhere, then definitely get some time on the calendar with your friendly admissions person and see what they say. No matter what, it shows that you are motivated, and if you reapply then they will see that you took advantage of this opportunity, which can only be a positive.
Also, there are some schools that offer such conversations at the beginning of the process, before you even put together your application to submit. Schools like HEC Paris and certain tracks at Duke (e.g. the Cross-Continent MBA) and also many EMBA programs invite candidates to reach out and connect with their admissions teams for a detailed discussion in advance of applying. Typically how it works is you submit your resume to them and then schedule a call where they talk about that specific program and how you might be a fit. Sometimes they’ll steer you to another of the degree programs that that school offers, but often it’ll be a way to encourage you to apply to that program specifically. It’s a high-touch approach that they find valuable, since it lets them start to build the relationship and gain exposure to what they offer, and it can be great for you as a potential applicant since they even sometimes coach candidates or steer them in a better direction on issues like which test (GRE or GMAT or for EMBA, Executive Assessment) and what type of score would be needed. This is more common for some of the European full-time programs; it’s not something that most of the top U.S. schools offer since they don’t have the ability to meet all the demand that they would have for it. Be sure to dig through all the pages of your school’s website to see about such opportunities, and if an admissions team offers it, then jump on the chance.
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Happy Groundhog Day, Brave Supplicant! To continue with our Round 3 Reality Check series, today we’ll talk about programs that might be in range for an admit even at this stage of the season. In case you missed them: What about Round 3? To Round 3 or not to Round 3 Who / what situations…
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!!!
If you’re going for a part-time MBA, today’s post is not for you. Many part-time MBA programs REQUIRE students to be working while completing the MBA. Today we’re talking about the “why MBA” essay where you toss out the idea that you’ll do an internship during the school year. This brilliant idea gained a foothold…
This was in a draft we reviewed sometime last season:
It will be and always has been very important for me to contribute as much as possible to the School Community I am studying at, being fully aware that as a part time student the opportunity to do so is limited. As mentioned in my CV, in my former school community I have been active in various functions.
Don’t force the reader to pick up the resume. They have asked you this question for a reason and they expect you to lay out your answer here, not tell them to go look somewhere else. They will already be referencing the resume in conjunction with your application so it’s not useful to make such comments like this. “As mentioned elsewhere” stuff is both distracting (“Hmmm, you mentioned it? I don’t remember.” It sets the reader off thinking about something else), plus extraneous (they already have everything so telling them that they have it seems redundant) and even a tiny bit bossy or scolding (“Are you telling me I should stop what I’m doing and go back? Or are you chastising me for not remembering what you already said, or do you think I should have your background memorized?”). None of these are reactions your reader will consciously have; instead, they’ll just cruise past those words without really stopping. BUT! If there are words your reader will cruise past, then that’s a prime indication that they’re not needed.
Also: “various functions”?
Finally to the point that this person is saying they’re going for a part-time track and so “opportunity to get involved is limited.” Well….. We totally get the sentiment there, and yes it’s true, some schools have fewer opportunities for the part-time students to participate in the full-time student activities, just based on limited time that they’re on campus, and the fact that a lot of the full-time events and meetings are scheduled during the day. That’s a logistical challenge and a drawback of going for a part-time MBA while you’re holding down a full-time job at the same time.
But look at how that’s phrased. It’s almost like the BSer is saying that they won’t get a chance to participate because they’re part-time, which for most schools is not the case at all. The schools invite all students for all things (with some exceptions by program, but those tend to be few). So, if we’re being precise in our language, a better way to say it would be “as a part time student
the MY opportunity to do so is WILL BE limited.” Two tiny changes, but can you see what a difference in tone and feeling it creates?
Yup, word choice matters. Think carefully of what you’re trying to say. Then say it. Then go back over it again later, to make sure that what it says is what you really meant.
With the proliferation of specialized master’s and new application options, more and more bschool applicants are being enticed to expand their horizons and try for simultaneous degrees. There have long been available certain specialized combinations that were geared towards specific industries or tracks, including the MBA / MPH (Master’s in Public Health) or the MBA…
This was originally posted two years ago. We’re reblahgging it now because a) it’s relevant, and b) it’s timely. There’s some comments at the bottom from BSers who have long ago been admitted to Columbia and other programs. We’re inviting you to post your own comments too if there’s anything we can do to demystify the process of applying to Columbia’s MBA program or whether you’re a fit to the specific program formats and options they offer.
Mostly though we’re reblahgging this because, well, Columbia nis always the early bird. Yes indeedy, the Columbia essay questions are available. Today is our chance to tell you about a one-of-a-kind program offered at Columbia Business School. It’s the J-Term.
The J-Term, in case you’re not familiar, means
Used to be, it was a fairly strict profile type who got admitted to Columbia’s accelerated January Start MBA program. Many years ago, in a different era of admissions at Columbia, we heard an adcom person say, “Don’t apply to the J-Term if you’re a career changer. We won’t admit you.” Yes, they were that black-and-white about it.
As a broad statement, the profile that’s a potential fit to the J-Term is still the same, because it’s still a Columbia MBA, but this “no career changer” stance has softened, and as a result, some of you BSers these days may be a good fit to this track without realizing it.
The J-Term is the exact-same full-time MBA curriculum and experience as the August Start, with the only exception being that you get through it a lot faster. You skip out on the summer internship and instead take your second term core courses during that three-month period. Then you join up as a second-year student with the cohort of students who started in August just prior to you, and you graduate with them.
So basically, if you were to join the Columbia J-Term this coming January (2018), you’d be the Class of 2019 and you’d graduate with everyone who’s currently gearing up to begin their MBA this coming fall. You’d be graduating with all the rest who went through the admissions process LAST YEAR. It’s kind of like leap-frogging time, in a way.
It’s especially attractive for anyone who missed out on applying this past season (2016-’17) and/or who just couldn’t crack the MBA admissions nut and is looking to be a reapplicant in the coming season.
But it’s not just any old applicant who’s a fit to the J-Term.
It’s really only appropriate to those who don’t need that internship.
So, if you’re making a radical career jump, then it’s going to be a tough sell to convince the Columbia adcom that you can do it without the advantage of the standard internship experience. That’s really the whole point of the internship, you know: To get you ready for the big post-MBA job that you’re angling for. If you currently don’t have much to build on, in terms of industry or function experience, then it’s not going to be so easy to convince an employer to take that risk on you – especially when you’ll be competing with all the full-time MBAs who DID do the internship (both the ones at Columbia, and at every other school that the recruiter is interviewing at).
However, if you’re using the MBA to advance your existing career path, to jumpstart your advancement in your current industry – say, you’re in PE and want to go back to PE – then the J-Term is absolutely perfect for you.
If you’re already in financial services in some capacity, then we can also see a potentially viable pitch to use the J-Term to transition to another niche within financial services.
Or, if you intend to start a business through the MBA experience, voila. J-Term.
And if you’re lucky enough to be sponsored by your current employer and you will be headed back to them after graduation: J-Term.
Someone ready to join their family business after bschool: J-Term.
And finally: Any true go-getter who is a networking genius and is at the top of his or her field already, who knows how to be the mover and shaker and everyday rainmaker and has accrued some valuable research and CONNECTIONS in her intended target sector… We can see how possibly a J-Term pitch could work out for you, too. Though that one is definitely a case-by-case basis sort of thing.
We specifically wanted to offer some advice for anyone who tried for Columbia August Start last season and didn’t make it, who is now thinking that maybe the J-Term is a better fit:
If you have questions on your situation and whether this might be the program for you, feel free to leave them in the comments section, we’re happy to serve as an initial sounding board.
Columbia candidates, J-Term and otherwise, it’s time to get started!