The MBA Reality Check: Make the School You Want, Want You [NOOK Book]


A no-nonsense guide to getting into business school at a time when the industry requirements are evolving and competition is at a record level.

MBA programs are redefining their mission and seeking a new generation of business visionaries. No longer simply about grades or test scores, top schools now look for students with a transformative vision. The MBA Reality Check covers everything from the specifics of the application process to how ...
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The MBA Reality Check: Make the School You Want, Want You

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A no-nonsense guide to getting into business school at a time when the industry requirements are evolving and competition is at a record level.

MBA programs are redefining their mission and seeking a new generation of business visionaries. No longer simply about grades or test scores, top schools now look for students with a transformative vision. The MBA Reality Check covers everything from the specifics of the application process to how applicants can position themselves among the crop of tomorrow's business innovators. Through their work with hundreds of MBA hopefuls, Forster and Thomas have shown what it takes to succeed in today's highly competitive marketplace, including:

?How applicants can find their own exceptional story to set them apart

?What to include in an MBA application-and what to leave out

?What b-schools really want to learn about candidates

?How to turn any question into an opportunity to illustrate unique leadership qualities
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101186497
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/6/2010
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • File size: 667 KB

Meet the Author

An admissions coach for 15 years, Evan Forster earned his BS in Speech from Northwestern University and two MFAs from UCLA's film school. David Thomas received his BA in Asian Studies from the University of Texas at Austin and a Masters in Magazine Publishing from Northwestern University.

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Table of Contents

Prologue: Harvard or Bust xv

Part I Kick-Starting Your Candidacy 1

Chapter 1 Ready, Set… Grow! 3

Chapter 2 Stats, Story, and Experience 9

Three Parts Beat as One 15

Chapter 3 Leadership: How to Live as a Leader 19

Ego Versus Mission 24

Chapter 4 Community Service and Extracurriculars: The Extracurricular Equation 27

Admissions Directors on the Role of Extracurriculars in Your Application 30

The Wall Street Myth: “I Don't Have Time” 31

What You Can Do to “Up Your Extracurricular Game” 35

Chapter 5 Gettin' Busy: Beefing Up Your Leadership Legacy 43

Step 1 Choose Something You Care About 45

Step 2 Isolate the “So What!” 46

Step 3 Reinvention 46

Step 4 Create Legacy 47

Standout Service in a Nutshell 48

Chapter 6 Rec Creation: Help Your Recommenders Help You 50

Recommenders 101 52

Recommender Options for Different Professions 54

Help Them Help You: Create Talking Points 54

Six Surefire Rec Killers—and How to Avoid Them 57

Prepping Your Recommender: The Meeting 59

Letters of Recommendation Versus Letters of Support 64

Two Types of Recommender to Avoid 65

The Illustrated Rec: Alanna's Story 69

Admissions Directors on Recommendation Dos and Don'ts 70

Postscript: I Feel Your Pain 73

Chapter 7 Learning Differences: You're Not Stoopid, the System Is 78

Amy, What You Gonna Do? 81

“Multiple Intelligences” 82

Come Out, Come Out 85

Take Your GMAT Well in Advance 86

Part II Zen and the Art of MBA Admissions Essays 89

Chapter 8 The Career Goals Essay 91

“No Essays by Committee” 93

Goals Essay 1 “OPE”—Other People's Expectations 93

Three Blind Mice 96

Jared's Goals Essay 100

The Archetypal Goals-Essay Structure: A Sonata in Six Beats 102

Goals Essay 2 Passion—Finding Your P-Spot 105

Vinod's Goals Essay 108

Tip Sheet: School Research and Visits 112

Goals Essay 3 Get Real—Leveraging Your Personal Story 114

Chapter 9 The Accomplishments Essay 120

Professional Accomplishments—Beyond the Call of Duty 122

Bradley's Professional Accomplishment Essay 125

Service Accomplishments—Consultant, Heal Thyself 126

Anya's Service Accomplishment Essay 130

Personal Accomplishments—Swimmer's Ear 130

Susan's Personal Accomplishment Essay 135

Chapter 10 Leadership Essays 136

Scenario 1 Queen for a Day 137

Vinod's Leadership Essay 142

Scenario 2 From Boys to Men 143

Sample Leadership Essay 146

Chapter 11 Impact/Opportunity Essays: A Beautiful Mind-Set 149

Ziva's Selzing an Opportunity Essay 153

Chapter 12 Ethical Dilemma Essays 156

Ethical Dilemma or Bummer? 157

What Happens in Tokyo Stays in Tokyo 160

Oscar's Ethical Dilemma Essay 164

Chapter 13 Failure Essays 167

White Men Can't Fail 171

Tommy's Failure Essay 175

What If Admissions Officers Hate Me? 176

Mahmoud's Failure Essay 180

Chapter 14 Background, or “What Makes You Unique?” Essays: It's the Little Things 182

Garrett's Background Essay 188

Chapter 15 The Whimsical Essays, or “If You Were a Tree, What Tree Would You Be?” 191

Part 1 The Completely Random Topic 192

A Few Eye Rollers to Avoid When Addressing Whimsical Questions 194

Shehzad's “Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?” Essay 196

Part 2 The Passion Essay 198

Dutch's “What Are You Passionate About?” Essay 200

Part 3 The Open or “Wish” Essay 201

Sadie's Open Essay 203

Chapter 16 What Matters Most: Never Settle for the B-Plan 205

Connect the Themes in Your Life 207

Peeling Back the Onion 211

Gene's “What Matters Most to You, and Why?” Essay 213

Chapter 17 Creative/Slideshow Essays: Finding Your “Wow” 217

Dancing Desi 219

Chapter 18 Culture Shock Is a State of Mind 223

Vijay's Culture-Shock Essay 228

Chapter 19 The Optional Essay: The Dog Did Not Eat Your Homework 230

Other Triggers for an Optional Essay 232

According to Jim 232

Don't Play the “I Can Top That” Game 234

Steps for Building an Optional Essay 236

Jim's Optional Essay 238

Part III Now That You've Hit “Submit” 241

Chapter 20 Interview Skills: Up Close and Personal 243

Interviews Come in Different Flavors 244

Baxter: From Nervous Nelly to Powerful Pro 249

You Are What You Wear 252

Chapter 21 You've Been Waitlisted, or “We Love You, But…” 254

Actions You Can Take to Get Off the Waitlist 255

Anatomy of an Update Letter 256

Profile 1 We Think You're Worthy, but We Can't Remember Your Name 259

Profile 2 We Love You So Much, but We're Not Sure If You'll Even Come 261

Profile 3 We're Madly in Love with You, but Your Stats Are Weak 261

Chapter 22 Reapplications: Guacamole, Meet Lemon 265

Profile 1 You Did Not Demonstrate Quantitative Proficiency 266

Profile 2 You Have Weak Leadership and a Lack of Substantial Extracurriculars 267

Profile 3 You Told the Wrong Story 269

Profile 4 You Chose the Wrong Recommenders 271

Profile 5 You Didn't Differentiate Yourself (You Played It Safe) 271

Epilogue: The Joke's on You 275

Workbook 1 Taking Your Inventory 279

Workbook 2 Your Family Inventory 282

Workbook 3 The Hard Questions 284

Workbook 4 Your Professional Goals 289

Workbook 5 The Impact/Leadership Essay 292

Workbook 6 The Accomplishments Essay 294

Workbook 7 The Background/Diversity Essay 296

Workbook 8 The Failure Essay 298

Workbook 9 The Ethical Dilemma Essay 300

Glossary of Auntie Evan-isms 303

Index 305

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  • Posted February 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Savvy, sassy guide to getting into MBA programs

    This guide to winning a spot in an MBA program is useful and charming - and those two qualities are more closely related than you think. As the title suggests, the book attempts to correct numerous misconceptions applicants have about getting into their target business schools. Some of those myths and self-delusions are pretty tenacious, and education consultants Evan Forster and David Thomas have to be equally pointed to puncture them. That's where the charm comes in. Through vivid narratives of learning experiences (both their own and their clients') and hearty dollops of humor, Forster and Thomas make the arduous process of applying to MBA programs seem less daunting. Along the way, they provide specific advice on everything from how to help the people writing your recommendations to how to fit in the worthwhile extracurricular activities you need to stand out from the crowd. Naturally, getAbstract recommends this sassy but savvy book primarily to those considering graduate education in business, but also to those running MBA programs, to their admissions staffs and to corporate human resources officers who want to help guide their employees' careers.

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