23 06, 2019

The 2019 Harvard Business School MBA Essay Question!

By |2019-06-23T21:16:36-04:00June 23rd, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

HBS has released the 2019 MBA essay question and deadlines for the class of 2022 business school application, and it’s the exact same question as last year! With no word limit on the 2019 essay, you may think writing more is better — don’t do it!

The ability to be concise is a gift, and is one of the business skills the admissions committee, not just at Harvard, but at any of the “Top Ten” highly competitive business school MBA programs, consistently looks for: can you convey your assets and talents in a clear, crisp, concise way. Get you message across in a moderate amount of words, in a way that’s succinct, yet shows the committee who you are, and that will make you stand out.

So, to relate the following:

The Class of 2022 Harvard MBA essay question is:

As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA Program? (no word count limit)

Most of my clients who are successful in getting in to HBS have, on average, essays that come in with a word count of 1,000 words. Not 1,500 words, and certainly not 2,000 words or more (!)

I’m telling you, it will get you dinged.

The goal is to present who you are, personally and professionally. Know what you want to do, how your current background and expertise fits in with what HBS can offer, and what you, yourself, intend to give back to the school. They want to know what you bring to table, not only for your fellow classmates, but what will set you apart, and indicate that you already have the potential to succeed in the future.

Success HBS essays usually revolve around a candidate’s unique vision, background, and passion. Drive is also an important trait. All that said, you don’t need to have conquered the world (yet) to get into Harvard. You just need to show the committee that you have the intense drive and vision to succeed, and whatever it is you uniquely are setting out to do.

HBS students are competitive, ambitious, driven, and interesting…and, they care about their fellow students and community.

Harvard values leadership, and those who have the demonstrated potential in their background to become leaders in the future, if you’re not there already. However, equally important, are those who can demonstrate that they care about their community. In other words, that your drive isn’t all about you.

The candidates who can show a larger, global, or even (especially for Harvard, in particular) social humanitarian interest, and focus in what they do, or want to do — have, throughout the years I have been working with clients, had the best possible outcome of success.

The essay is your place to shine, so don’t hold back. The adcom doesn’t just want to see a reiteration of your resume though. The resume is the outline, the essay if you think of it this way, is the meat of your novel.

Looking for help on your HBS application and essays? Contact me to learn more about MBA Ivy League.

6 06, 2019

Stand Out From The Pack: Make Your #MBA Application Extremely Competitive!

By |2019-06-06T13:46:14-04:00June 6th, 2019|Harvard, HBS, MBA Admissions, MBA Essays, MIT Sloan, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Business schools like leaders. High GMAT scores are great, pedigree experience at well known-name firms will get you attention, but business schools…especially if you’re looking at the famed  ‘Top Ten’ and targeting places like HBSWharton, Kellogg or Chicago Booth for your MBA or EMBA degree, want to see that you also bring something actively interesting to the table.

What do I mean by “actively interesting?”  Something that demonstrates you are ambitious, innovative and using every ounce of your time to creatively push your career forward.

The best way to do this?  In my opinion, it’s to start your own side business, and/or not-for-profit organization.

It doesn’t matter how big it is, it doesn’t matter how successful.  What matters is that you ACTIVELY decided to take a step forward and tried something perhaps outside your comfort zone. Even while working a full-time job.

For example:

  1. I worked with an applicant who started a humanitarian organization raising just a mere $1,000 USD initially to buy school supplies for girls in India. This non-profit is now bringing in over $250k annually, and its founder, who really didn’t have much truly outstanding on her resume to begin with that would get her noticed, got into HBS, Stanford, and MIT.  She thought of an idea, built a website, enacted a marketing plan using nothing but social media, and MADE A DIFFERENCE in other people’s lives and her own.  All while working a “regular” job. This shows leadership, and is exactly what the top MBA programs want to see.

This strategy of building your own side project or business, and just putting it out there, also works particular well for those MBA business school applicants who might be straddling the fence in terms of not quite breaking a 720 on the GMAT, or not quite having “known name” firms on your resume, or not having enough years of what the MBA committee would deem “significant” industry experience…in other words, your MBA application could use a little boost to the next level.

Time and time again, I’ve had clients who decided to push forward by starting something new — however small it might be!  It doesn’t need to be this great big thing.  Really.  They put it on the web, took the necessary steps to market their new idea, maybe wrote a business plan, and regardless of profitability…did you read that?  If not, read it again to make sure you really get it… regardless of profitability, they demonstrated to admissions that they were willing to stretch, to take a risk with their time outside of work, to be ambitions, to try out their ideas even if they failed, because even failing could lead to the next great idea, and no experience in terms of MBA admissions is ever really wasted.

So, build a website, no matter how simple.  Think of an idea. Profit or non-profit. Create a landing page, or create something larger. Start something, anything, work on it, improve it as you go along, and just get it out there.  This will give you something else to talk about in terms of your business experience in your essays and in your MBA admissions interview. It will add color and interest to your entire MBA or EMBA application. It will make you more original, and original leaders are who the top schools want.

So, no matter if you choose to go the humanitarian route with a non-profit, or if your idea is a money making business that could be the next big thing, adding something “extra” and on-the-side to your MBA & EMBA business school application can make all the difference between an MBA admissions committee seeing you as just an average so-so applicant who doesn’t really stand out from the pack, to someone who has initiative, takes charge of their own future by actively DOING, and wants to make things happen.

So, want to get in to HBS, Wharton, Booth, Kellogg, or MIT Sloan this year?  THIS is the type applicant you need to be.

[I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer and a Harvard grad, and currently run the MBA & EMBA admissions consulting firm MBA IVY.  My firm specializes in helping students get in to the Top Ten business schools. Contact us today at www.MBAIvy.com and get into the school of your dreams!]

12 11, 2017

Your Big MBA Interview: How Should You Prepare?

By |2019-01-03T17:01:50-04:00November 12th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

It’s MBA interview season, and if you’re in the midst of it (and one of the lucky few to actually get a Round 1 or Round 2 interview date from your business school of choice), you’re probably wondering how to best prepare, and what you can do to truly ace the process.

Rule #1:  First understand the process.  Are you on campus or out campus (as in out-of-state, or out-of-country in terms of your school?).  Each scenario has it’s own perks and downfall, so just understand the difference.

On campus, the people who will be interviewing you, are the ones who will actually make the decisions.  This, in my professional view, is the (and your) best case scenario, because there’s no middle ground or intermediary person you have to first wade through in order to get to the actual decision maker(s).  In other words, it’s like meeting with the CEO or the President of a company  = the one who has the actual power to hire you.

Given this, if at all possible, I always recommend going to campus for your actual interview.

If it simply cannot be done however, because you’re in a different state, or a different country than your business school of choice, then you will for all practical purposes, have what the business schools and MBA programs term an “alumni interviewer.”  This alum has usually been briefed on what to look for in an MBA applicant or candidate, briefed on what the school is particularly looking for in that specific Round or year, and the alumni interviewer then meets with you in your country or state of choice and after the meeting, writes a brief report, summarizing their thoughts and opinions about you and the meeting.

This “interview report” then gets added to your file, and sent off to the school’s admissions committee, where the ones who do make the decisions will read the report alongside the other elements in your MBA application (essays, resume, letters of rec, etc).  It becomes another piece of the business school pie, so to speak, versus meeting them in person, where they can actually put a name with a face.  That’s the difference!

The schools do understand though that sometimes it is just impossible, due to finances, work, or family responsibilities to travel to the school. The truth is, the business school MBA (and EMBA for that matter) admissions committee uses the same procedure to evaluate your performance, regardless if you’re on campus for your interview or off.

The first step in preparing for your interview however is to review your own essays. Some MBA programs interview “blind” meaning your interviewer has not yet read your application, and will learn everything about you on the spot, while other top business schools, like Harvard Business School, for example, will have their interviewers read through your application before meeting you, so their questions will be more tailored to your specific skillset and experience.

The second best recommendation for  interview prep is to review some typical questions. Googling this will produce some specific results, and keep in mind that many past MBA applicants post their experiences online in forums such as GMAT Club Forum and Beat the GMAT, as well as my own Harvard admissions blog at: www.MBAIvy.com

Once you understand how the interview process works, what types of questions they most often ask, how to prepare for some of the harder or more challenging MBA questions, and what points you know you most want to share, I’m sure you’ll put your best foot forward and make a strong impression in terms of your MBA candidacy.

Want more specialized help?  Check out my blog at www.MBAIvy.com/blog, or contact me through my website for a free consultation and get into the business school of your dreams!

27 01, 2017

Your EMBA Strategy: Should You Apply for an Executive MBA?

By |2019-01-03T17:07:25-04:00January 27th, 2017|Chicago Booth, Columbia, Darden, Dartmouth Tuck, EMBA, Fuqua, GMAT, GRE, Harvard, HBS, INSEAD, Kellogg, MBA, MBA Admissions, MBA Essays, MIT Sloan, NYU Stern, Ross, Stanford, UC Berkeley Haas, UCLA Anderson, Uncategorized, Wharton|0 Comments

The Executive MBA (or, as it’s more commonly know, EMBA) is for those professionals applying to business school who already have more than a few years experience under your belt.  You’ve graduated from good college, you have a strong job, and you’ve been working in your career now, on average 8-10+ years.

You’ve also probably reached a level in your specific industry where you know you want more out of your career.  Or, perhaps you simply want to go in a completely new direction, and you know you need to first reinforce your skill-set, knowledge base, contacts and networking in order to get you to the next credentialed level.

This is exactly what the EMBA was designed for: people like you who have already achieved a level of professional success: whether that’s on the corporate side, in entrepreneurship, the finance industry, energy industry, or whatever your cup of tea is.  You simply know you now want to take your career someplace even more interesting.

There are a few thing you need to know first though, about applying to this type of executive business school program, in order to make sure you first have all your ducks in a row:

  • EMBA programs usually work on rolling admissions.  That means research your schools early, and know their deadlines.  Then, map out a game plan that gets your applications in earlier rather than later, as spots in EMBA programs (versus the regular MBA) start to fill up (and thereby get more competitive) as the deadline nears.
  • You may not need a GMAT or GRE score!  This is great news to some, and at times the #1 reason for applying for the EMBA over the regular, full-time MBA.  Each school is different though, and some programs (like Wharton) still require it, so as with the above point, do your research on your schools and check early.
  • EMBA programs are usually almost always part-time.  This is usually a plus for busy, successful professionals who fully intend to keep working full-time while they attend school — and for most people who are at the EMBA level, that’s a work week that’s already pretty darn full, so this is good news.
  • The EMBA program is slightly easier to get into than the full-time MBA.  Not really true.  You have to be qualified, and of course, it will depend on the school.  Wharton’s EMBA program, in my opinion, (and I have been working as a top MBA & EMBA admissions consultant now for a very long time), is that it is just as difficult to get into as their regular, full-time MBA program, and is one of the most competitive EMBA programs around.  Not to discourage anyone, but if you are going to apply, just make sure you don’t skimp on anything: your resume, the essays, your interview.  You simply always want to put forth your absolutely best.
  • They’re not going to care about your undergraduate grades. Probably true!  Of course everything always matters and counts when admissions is evaluating your overall profile, and you want to make sure you’re as competitive as possible, in every given area, to give yourself the best chance, but that “C” you got 10 years ago now in Chemistry or Advanced Calculus while you were an undergrad…not going to make much of a difference!
  • The EMBA is all about now:  what are you doing in your career now?  Today? What does your resume look like? How many people do you manage?  Do you have any direct reports?  What level of responsibility do you have within your department, or perhaps this is your own company! How do your application essays, your interview, your profile, and your resume add up?  And what about your rec letters?  Do people speak highly of you, and do you present yourself as a natural innovator and leader? These are the things that will get you in!

The Executive EMBA is all about helping today’s business leaders and visionaries move higher by giving them the tools and relationships they need, and some of the best schools out there for today’s top EMBA include: Wharton, Columbia, MIT Sloan, NYU Stern, Chicago Booth, and Kellogg on top of many more.

Thinking about applying for your EMBA and want more information?  Feel free to contact me before for an initial consultation. Current EMBA deadlines for Fall 2017 matriculation are coming up, depending on your school, but there is still ample time to apply! Happy to take your calls:

[I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer and a Harvard grad, and currently run the MBA & EMBA admissions firm: MBA Ivy. Contact me today for a free consultation and get into the business school of your dreams: www.MBAIvy.com / MBAIvyLeagueInfo@gmail.com / (646) 276-7042 ]

27 08, 2014

MBA ADMISSIONS TIP #3: Build A Great Bridge

By |2019-01-03T17:36:55-04:00August 27th, 2014|EMBA, GMAT, Harvard, HBS, MBA, MBA Admissions, Uncategorized|0 Comments

As a former Harvard admissions interviewer and a Harvard graduate, one of the most important things in creating a strong MBA application that will get you noticed at the top schools, is building a powerful bridge between your past professional experience and your future goals.

Admissions committees — especially at the top schools like HBS, Columbia, Kellogg and Booth want to see that you have a careful and logically thought out plan where, even if you want to use the MBA to change careers and enter a different industry or niche, your overall experience and plan MAKE SENSE.

In other words, “no experience left behind.”  Show the ad com that each step in your journey makes sense in terms of your long-term goals.  Build that bridge for the ad com between your past and your future by demonstrating how each position you’ve held along the way has helped develop and lead you to your current interests and goals.

By paving a clear, logical and solid road that shows you value all your professional experiences and allow nothing to go to waste, you will demonstrate a type of leadership in your own life that the ad com only responds to favorably.

Make this journey very clear in your MBA essays, and you will have a very strong application.

I specialize in helping top MBA  & EMBA candidates get in to the most highly competitive programs:  www.MBAIvy.com

11 08, 2014

How to Create a Great MBA Application!

By |2019-01-03T17:36:35-04:00August 11th, 2014|College Admissions, EMBA, GMAT, Harvard, HBS, MBA, MBA Admissions, Uncategorized|0 Comments


As a former Harvard interviewer and Harvard grad, I thought I would  answer some of my clients’ most frequently asked questions, regarding How to Create a Great MBA Application!


TIP 1Focus on your professional experience

Though obvious to some, it is not obvious to others, which is why I’ll state it as my Number 1 point: MBA programs want to hear about your professional experience.

So, whereas on your undergraduate college applications, it was important to show how well-rounded you were, and how you participated in all kinds of activities and things, when applying to an MBA program admissions committees are looking for PROFESSIONAL FOCUS in almost every question.

They want to hear about your work, your professional life, your level of responsibility, the number of people you manage, the level of finances you or your department handles, your goals, your future, and your long-term career interests… all how they relate to you professionally.

So, keep the fact that you “also play saxophone” out of it, unless you are planning on starting an entrepreneurial saxophone-related business. If that’s the case, they love that, and you should mention it.

TIP 2Demonstrate Vision

Schools want to see that you’re not just applying for an MBA because it’s simply “what people do” in order to advance to the next level in your job. They want to see that you have an overall future plan in place — 5, 10, 20 years down the road. A plan that makes sense in terms of getting your MBA now.

And, “now” is a key word, and one that you will see mentioned on to a lot of the MBA application essay prompts: “Why do you want to get your MBA now?” “Why is now the time to pursue your degree as opposed to next year?”

Most people overlook this little, tiny word when writing their essays, and doing so will cut your chances of getting in. Really.  I know.  Don’t disregard it.

It’s important.

Schools want to see how “NOW” fits perfectly into your overall plan. How “NOW” is absolutely the right move to take for your future goals to come to pass. How “NOW” has been well-thought out, is completely rational, and makes perfect professional sense.

Schools then want to see that you have placed that “now” in the context of your future professional dreams. Again, it doesn’t matter if they eventually come to pass, or not (I hope they do). What matters is that you demonstrate that you have vision, and a concrete plan, and that by walking out that plan, by walking down the professional path you have laid out for yourself, your dream goal, project, or entrepreneurial venture, or career is a very real possibility.

So, again, focus on your professional experience, make sure you answer the question “Why now?” and demonstrate future vision.

I am always happy to answer additional questions or provide further MBA or EMBA consulting advice. You are welcome to contact me through my website:http://www.MBAIvy.com