Illuminations (blog)

Retaking the GMAT: 3 Ways to Know It’s Time

Are you wondering whether your GMAT is “good enough?” Did you nail a 740 total score but bomb one section? Did you fall just short of a threshold you were aiming for? Not long ago, one top-five school examined the profiles of students who struggled in their...

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MBA applicant survey (win $500!)

Calling all recent business school applicants (2013/2014): As a member of the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC), we hope you will participate in an industry-wide survey to hear your feedback on the MBA application process.  AIGAC...

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Insights from the 2013 MBA admissions conference

After attending our annual AIGAC MBA admissions conference in Philly—and tweeting up a storm—I stand before you armed with insights directly from the mouths of the admissions directors who’ll be reading your future applications. In attendance were Wharton, Columbia,...

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Considering an International MBA?

What an interesting and life-changing proposition.  To not only earn an MBA, but to do so in such a unique environment that extraordinary diversity, cultural immersion, and hands-on international experience are a part of your daily life. There are very real factors...

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Spotlight on Duke’s Fuqua School of Business

Last week, in the midst of a vibrant Duke Alumni Weekend, I had the pleasure of spending time at the Fuqua School of Business. It was as if the perfect 70 degree weather and blue North Carolina skies were planted intentionally to impress, however it was my...

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Communicating with the admissions office

You have a question about your upcoming MBA application deadline, so you write up a quick email to the admissions office and hit send.  No problem, right?   Wrong. The email itself may be perfectly innocuous… or it may just have cost you in the admissions process. ...

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Spotlight on DU’s Daniels College of Business

Once again, to pay homage to the MBA programs in our Colorado stomping ground, I am pleased to shed light into the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver.  I recently took the opportunity to sit down with Allison Sharpe, Graduate Admissions Manager,...

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After you’ve hit “submit”

Often, we receive questions from MBA candidates who have completed their applications and are now wondering what to do with their time.  Is it OK to quit my job now and travel?  I was offered a new job; should I take it even though I may be leaving for business school...

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Resources for MBA applicants

In addition to the insights that we provide through our blog, speaking engagements, and 1x1 MBA admissions consulting services, each year we always like to take stock of the additional resources that our clients found valuable in preparing their applications.  Whether...

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Should I apply to business school in round three?

For most candidates, the answer is no.  However, under certain circumstances, it makes perfect sense to submit a 3rd round application.  Here are some ways to gauge whether you should apply this late in the game, or whether you'd be better off waiting until the 1st...

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Gratitude during the MBA admissions process

With Thanksgiving upon us, this seems a perfect time to think about all of the people who have helped you in the MBA admissions process thus far. Very often, in the throes of essay writing and interview prep, we get lost in your own heads.  We’re sleep-deprived,...

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I’ve submitted my round one MBA applications, now what?

Congratulations!  If you’re one of the motivated few to get your business school applications in early, you may be wondering what to do with yourself next.  Here are a few suggestions: Apply to 2nd round schools You’ve already got great momentum from all of your hard...

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Mastering part one of your MBA application

Did you finally finish writing your business school essays--excited that you were at the “end” of your MBA application--only to discover that Part One was actually chock full of enough short-answer questions and mini-essays to put you into a deep depression....

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Networking and the MBA admissions process

Does networking with the staff, students or alumni of your target business schools help you in the admissions process?   The answer is, it depends why you’re networking. If you’re interested in meeting school affiliates to help sway the admissions committee, you’re...

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Your essay is terrible

There I’ve said it.  You’re trying to get off too easy with your choice of essay topics. Be careful not to underestimate the caliber of your competition. They’re using every inch of essay real estate to sell themselves and fight for their precious spots in the class. ...

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Overcoming MBA essay writer’s block

It’s time to start outlining your business school essays, and your mind is a blank.  What do I wish I had done better?  What matters most to me and why?  What has fundamentally transformed the way I think?  Where should you begin? Here are a few tips to jumpstart your...

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International MBA insights

How much do you know about the top European business schools? At our 2012 AIGAC conference in Spain last week, we asked admissions directors from several top European business schools to tell us “three great things” about their MBA programs. Not surprisingly, every...

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Securing the Strongest MBA Recommendations

Did you know that one of the most common MBA application mistakes is making a poor choice of recommenders? Who are the right ones to choose?  Follow these guidelines to ensure that you’ve selected well, and that your recommendations work to your advantage in the...

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How to get into the top business schools from China

As applications to the top business schools in the US continue to increase from China, schools are forced to make difficult admissions decisions amidst this highly competitive applicant pool.  Here are four tips for Chinese applicants to ensure excellence in the...

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Upcoming MBA Admissions Fairs: Making the Most of Them

It’s MBA admissions fair season: a great opportunity for MBA candidates to attend admissions panels in your city, pick up GMAT tips, talk 1x1 with admissions officers from your target schools, and evaluate which programs are the best fit for you. In addition, it gives...

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Writing a resume worthy of a top MBA application

If only the top MBA programs would provide resume examples.  What are they looking for??  One page or two?  Executive summary or not?  Education above or below professional experience?  Can I trust the MBA resume template I found online? Will a top MBA program reject...

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Spotlight on CU’s Leeds School of Business

With our home base in Denver,  I meet a lot of MBA candidates who are considering our local business schools.  So I was pleased for the chance to talk with Jen Smith, head of admissions at the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado – Boulder, to gain...

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Spotlight on Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business

Last week, I was  lucky enough to spend some quality time at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business with admissions team members Kelly Wilson, Hilary Prokop, and Kristen Bautz.  On a perfect sunny Washington DC morning, I got a firsthand look at what...

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The Months Before Applying To Business School

So, you are planning to apply to business school this fall. Anxiously, you’re awaiting the release of the essay questions you’ll have to answer, possibly studying for the GMAT as we speak, and likely feeling a bit hopeless that there isn’t more you can do NOW.  The...

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Getting off the MBA waitlist

You’ve put in your full effort, delivered an outstanding MBA application, and the disappointing decision comes back: waitlisted.  You feel like you might as well have been rejected. Don’t despair.  It’s NOT a hopeless cause.  Every year, at nearly every top business...

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Writing Like a Future MBA

When you think of common business school application mistakes, I’ll bet some of the famed horror stories come to mind: the wrong-school typo, the too-personal essay topic, the inappropriate Facebook photo… What about writing ability? Not the baseline question of...

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When To Re-Take The GMAT

Raise your hands if you’ve ever second-guessed whether your GMAT score is good enough. Now, keep your hands raised if you’ve scored over 720 and wondered the same thing.  Thought so.  Hands down please. There are very few applicants who haven’t at least wondered, if...

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The Road To Be Traveled

The dreaded “career essay" What are your career aspirations and why?   Why do you want your MBA (at our school)? It’s causing you angst to no end.  Of course you don’t know 100% what you’re going to do after you graduate.  Even if you think you do, you probably...

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What To Write About

For my first ever blog entry (which I'd been putting off because I didn't know what to write about), I thought it only fitting to write about...what to write about. It's the concern I've heard most this week from the business school candidates I work with privately. ...

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