Early Strategies for MBA Admissions Success

Early Strategies for MBA Admissions Success

Please feel free to let us know if you would like to be informed of future chats by sending e-mail to chat@accepted.com. We would also be interested in knowing if you would prefer a different format or different topics.

Chat Transcript:

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:05:58 PM)
Welcome to the first chat of the 2004 MBA application season!

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:06:09 PM)
First I would like to welcome our special guests: Paul Bodine and Cindy Tokumitsu. Paul and Cindy are Accepted.com editors, who have worked with hundreds of MBA applicants to top business school over the last several years.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:06:24 PM)
I encourage dialogue and discussion, but I would like to suggest a structure to make it easier to follow the threads of conversation. So here is the protocol: We will post material to the chat. If you have a question on that material, please type a '?' and then your question. I and/or other participants will reply. If one of you wants to comment on the current topic, please jump right in. If you want to start a different topic, please type '?'.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:06:34 PM)
If the crowd grows, I'll announce that we are switching to a moderated format and make the switch.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:06:43 PM)
Before opening the floor to questions, I would like to start with a few pieces of advice:

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:06:51 PM)
First off, let's discuss what all of you should be doing at this point in time:
1) Prepare for and take the GMAT. Consider retaking if your score is more than 30 points below your target school's average (assuming your GPA is at or near school's average).
2) Think about your post-MBA goals.
3) Research the schools you are interested in.
4) Think about possible recommenders.
5) Domestic applicants: Visit the schools or make plans to visit the schools while they are in session.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:07:39 PM)
Those of you with an academic weakness should also be enrolled in some classes to show that you can handle the academic and quantitative demands of b-school. If you have not previously been involved in your community or devoted time to a non-professional pursuit, you should start doing so now.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:07:49 PM)
Let's focus on #3 -- Researching the Schools for a moment.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:08:00 PM)
In exploring that question, you need to evaluate which schools: 1) Support your goals most effectively. 2) Are likely to accept you. 3) Provide the kind of learning environment you'll enjoy. After you choose where to apply you need to decide how to best market yourself. You know why you want to apply to these schools. Turn the tables around, though, and ask, "Why should the school accept you from the thousands of applications it receives?" "How will you uniquely contribute to the school and classroom discussion?" "What's the fit between your interests and goals and the schools' values and strengths?"

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:08:25 PM)
The key to answering the above questions is demonstrating fit with the school and individuality within the applicant pool. "Fit" implies an ability to compete and contribute based on your academic qualifications and professional experience. "Unique contribution" usually flows from the atypical aspects of your personal and professional experiences.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:08:31 PM)
Now that we've finished that brief introduction, I'd like to open the floor to your questions.

Paul_Bodine (Feb 3, 2003 9:08:54 PM)
Agribio had a question.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:09:07 PM)
What's your question?

Agribio (Feb 3, 2003 9:09:39 PM)
Dear Linda. Thank you for your help tonight. Let's go. I'm from Brazil and my main problem is related to grade average: What is the relationship between grade and leadership at HBS? Is possible to compensate grade with the other stats????

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:09:42 PM)
Others can also post questions.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:09:54 PM)
How low is your GPA?

Agribio (Feb 3, 2003 9:10:04 PM)
6.4 out of 10.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:10:13 PM)
Approximately where were you ranked in class? Was there a reason for the low grades?

lifeandfun (Feb 3, 2003 9:11:15 PM)

Agribio (Feb 3, 2003 9:11:23 PM)
Yes, I had to work to contribute to my budget. I went to another state to study and my family could not support me 100% about money.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:11:25 PM)
Go ahead, lifeandfun.

2004ORBUST (Feb 3, 2003 9:11:35 PM)
?Hi Linda, did the number of apps decrease this year? What do you think will happen with the number of apps next year?

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:12:11 PM)
Agribio, if you have a high GMAT and competitive work and life experiences for HBS, you should still apply. HBS is not getting tons of applicants from Brazil these days. You need to explain the factors that contributed to the low grades and then show excellence both in your GMAT and, as I mentioned, in terms of professional experiences. And of course for HBS, you need to demonstrate lots of leadership.

Ivory (Feb 3, 2003 9:13:22 PM)
? Linda, I'm 30 -- but I don't have much work experience: mostly is academic work (TA, summer teaching). Do you think it's possible to compensate for it? I have 3.9 undergrad GPA and 3.9 MS GPA, I expect to get my PhD in May 2004.

lifeandfun (Feb 3, 2003 9:13:53 PM)
Who do you think is the right/best person to recommend a prospective student to B school? Undergrad profs or a manager/colleague at work? This question is not related to the current thread, of course.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:13:58 PM)
2004, I haven't seen definitive stats for this year. Most schools seem to be saying that applications were slightly below last year. I really can't predict what will happen next year, nor am I terribly sure that it makes a lot of difference.

Paul_Bodine (Feb 3, 2003 9:14:21 PM)
Lifeandfun--definitely your manager at work. They want someone who knows you well and will be enthusiastic. A letter from the president of the company won't help if she doesn't really know you.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:14:46 PM)
life, go with a professional recommendation over an academic one. Choose a recommender who can comment from personal experience on your qualifications. That means your manager.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:15:49 PM)
Ivory, I think you will have difficulty demonstrating the work experience that schools seek and justifying why you need an MBA. At the same time, at 30, postponing an MBA is also not a great idea. Do you have business relevant experience as part of your studies?

alligator (Feb 3, 2003 9:16:32 PM)
About choosing recommenders, is it bad to have all the recommenders from the workplace?

lifeandfun (Feb 3, 2003 9:16:35 PM)
Thank you, and also, if I don't have a decent GPA in undergrad, do I need to emphasize it and explain genuine reasons, if any, in my essay?

Ivory (Feb 3, 2003 9:17:02 PM)
Linda, I have a year of work in social service, plus I served 3 years in the board of a real estate company. I did quite a bit of work in game theory in school.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:17:12 PM)
life, you provide a brief explanation of your low GPA and spend most of your time showing your qualifications and strengths.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:17:22 PM)
Alligator, no.

cindy tokumitsu (Feb 3, 2003 9:17:53 PM)
Ivory, a key aspect will be how well you can link your business and other experience to your business goals and your reasons for pursuing an MBA.

jayant (Feb 3, 2003 9:17:54 PM)
Being an Indian, I probably fall into one of the most competitive categories. What would schools really look for in candidates in the Hi Tech Industry and from India/Asia?

bklynmba (Feb 3, 2003 9:18:09 PM)
Do b-schools hold the CFA or progress towards the CFA in high regard?

hansen (Feb 3, 2003 9:18:15 PM)
? It might be not a right forum for my question. My question is: I applied for 2003, and am waiting for the result. What can I do now to increase my chances?

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:18:48 PM)
Ivory, as Cindy said, if you can relate your experience, both in social service and on the board of a real estate company to management and business, you will be strengthening your case.

Paul_Bodine (Feb 3, 2003 9:18:58 PM)
Lifeandfun--only a few reasons for low GPA will be effective with the adcoms. If it was just immaturity or lack of focus you may be better off creating an "alternative transcript" by retaking and getting A's in the courses you didn't do well in as an undergrad.

Agribio (Feb 3, 2003 9:19:18 PM)
I had a lot of activities to compensate this problem: I was elected 5 times to be the students' representative (1600 students) in different college committees, until I was elected to the board of directors, the main committee, in college. I have a recommendation letter from the dean. I have been running my own company in the biotechnology sector for the last two years. I am a supplier of American fruit production companies operating in Brazil, and before that, in the Arthur Andersen Mergers and Acquisitions area.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:19:27 PM)
As I said above, the schools want people who qualify, and you clearly do, but they also want those who can contribute to class discussion. You will have to show that your academic and life experience will allow you, Ivory, to do so.

Paul_Bodine (Feb 3, 2003 9:20:13 PM)
Jayant--You have to show that, despite the fact that you are Indian and IT, you "break the mold" in every other respect.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:20:13 PM)
jayant, again, you need to show how you can contribute a unique perspective to the class and school. Usually, unless your work has been stellar, your non-professional experiences and interests will distinguish you.

cindy tokumitsu (Feb 3, 2003 9:20:19 PM)
Jayant, it will be important to differentiate and distinguish yourself from your demographic group. There's no formula for doing that, because it means demonstrating your unique individuality in some way. Goals, extracurricular experiences, your perspective and insight are all ways to do it.

lifeandfun (Feb 3, 2003 9:20:35 PM)
I'm an Asian and a woman with 6 years WE in Hi tech industry. Are there any specific top 10 schools that encourage diversity and women?

2004ORBUST (Feb 3, 2003 9:20:38 PM)
?If a person has a low UGPA and he earns a PHD later with a very high GGPA, will schools like Columbia, NYU, Harvard, and Wharton overlook the low UGPA?

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:20:56 PM)
Agribio, you seem to have the experience that top b-schools or looking for. Have you taken the GMAT?

Paul_Bodine (Feb 3, 2003 9:21:37 PM)
Lifeandfun--I believe Columbia has the highest percentage of women students of any program.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:21:44 PM)
2004, if that person also has a high GMAT and competitive work experience, yes.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:22:46 PM)
lifeandfun, Michigan has also been strongly recruiting women. Actually, all the top ten are working to increase the percentage of women in their programs.

Agribio (Feb 3, 2003 9:23:10 PM)
6 out of 10 Brazilian students at HBS come from my college, so I think the Dean letter about leadership will be very important. About GMAT, I will take it in two weeks, but in the powerprep, I am 740. Let's think about 720-730 real; what do you think??

hansen (Feb 3, 2003 9:23:38 PM)
? my question?

bklynmba (Feb 3, 2003 9:23:53 PM)
?I'll post my question again since no one answered it the first time. How much of an advantage is it for an applicant to take the CFA Level 2 exam in June?

Ivory (Feb 3, 2003 9:23:59 PM)
? Whom should I ask for letters? One would certainly be my current PhD advisor, but what about the other one? Another professor, or my senior manager during social service (which I've done in Italy in 98) -- I probably forgot to mention: I'm Italian and did my undergrad in Italy, now I'm in grad school at CMU.

jayant (Feb 3, 2003 9:24:03 PM)
Some of the schools put a lot of limitations on personal essays in terms of # of words and such. Would it be correct to assume that these schools do not put a lot of emphasis on the essays, and instead concentrate on other parts of the application?

cindy tokumitsu (Feb 3, 2003 9:24:16 PM)
Agribio, that range is excellent.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:24:21 PM)
I think that with a 720+ GMAT, strong essays, a competitive interview, you would have a chance at HBS, BUT I encourage you not to get your heart set on Harvard. Don't apply exclusively to HBS.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:24:31 PM)
Hansen, please post.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:24:42 PM)
bklynmba: It is an advantage, particularly if your academic profile is a little weaker.

happyd (Feb 3, 2003 9:24:54 PM)
Hi, Linda, how competitive would you say this year has been compared to years past?

hansen (Feb 3, 2003 9:25:16 PM)
? I applied for 2003, and am waiting for the results. What can I do now to increase my chances? or just sit back....

Paul_Bodine (Feb 3, 2003 9:25:21 PM)
All top 10 programs encourage diversity. CBS has 36% women, HBS has 34%. Those are the two standouts.

Pasu (Feb 3, 2003 9:25:28 PM)
? Hi, thanks for taking my question. I am 35yrs old and I have almost 13 yrs of work exp in hi-tech field as software engr/tech leader. What are my chances (assuming I get a decent GMAT score) for full time MBA? Is age working against me?

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:25:29 PM)
Happyd, it's hard to say, since only r1 applicants are currently hearing back.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:26:07 PM)
hansen, I think you should assess your application and start to work on weaknesses. If your quantitative skills are weak, take calculus, statistics, accounting, or finance and earn an A. If your verbal is weak, join toastmasters, take an English class. If you lack community service, get involved.

2004ORBUST (Feb 3, 2003 9:26:11 PM)
?At what age do applicants start to have the "too old" for an MBA problem? Again, this would be for top schools like Columbia, NYU, Harvard and Wharton.

Paul_Bodine (Feb 3, 2003 9:26:22 PM)
Pasu, your age is working against you in that schools will wonder why you don't pursue an executive MBA.

bklynmba (Feb 3, 2003 9:27:09 PM)
?I have a distant contact who has great clout at Wharton. This person is a relative of a very good friend of mine. Will a recommendation from this person hurt rather then help me?

Paul_Bodine (Feb 3, 2003 9:27:16 PM)
2004orbust. They don't have hard and fast rules, but I would say mid-30s they start to ask "Why doesn't he get an E-MBA?"

cindy tokumitsu (Feb 3, 2003 9:27:27 PM)
2004--although the schools won't cite any age as "too old," there is a point where they start to ask, why aren't you applying for the EMBA? That is roughly in the mid thirties, or over 33-34. You have to really make a solid case for why you want the full-time MBA.

Paul_Bodine (Feb 3, 2003 9:27:45 PM)
Lifeandfun: Fire away.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:27:48 PM)
2004 for HBS, over 26 seems to start being a problem. For Wharton, Kellogg, it seems to be over 30.

lifeandfun (Feb 3, 2003 9:28:07 PM)

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:28:10 PM)
Please note that these are not hard and fast ages. People over these ages are admitted.

hansen (Feb 3, 2003 9:28:26 PM)
? Thanks, Linda, but I already sent my applications last Dec, and targeted for 2nd round. You mean to send extra documents even though the deadline has passed?

Ivory (Feb 3, 2003 9:28:53 PM)
? I haven't taken any calculus course, but I have 2 graduate statistics courses (B and A). Is that enough?

Paul_Bodine (Feb 3, 2003 9:29:04 PM)
Bklynmba--It will help you only if this person knows you well. You say "distant", so it doesn't sound promising to me.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:29:11 PM)
Hansen, I misunderstood you. I thought you meant what if you aren't accepted. However, some of what I wrote still applies. IF you are wait-listed and they have doubts about your quant skills, and you are enrolled in a math class, you will be helping your chances by saying that you are currently enrolled.

Pasu (Feb 3, 2003 9:29:19 PM)
How about part time MBA courses? Do they care about applicant age?

Paul_Bodine (Feb 3, 2003 9:29:42 PM)
Bklynmba--However, you could ask them to casually email the adcoms on your behalf and put in a good word for you. Nothing too heavy-handed, though.

bklynmba (Feb 3, 2003 9:29:58 PM)
Good idea. Thank you Paul.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:30:06 PM)
Ivory, if you had calculus earlier, that's fine. Most schools will require you to have had calculus.

Ivory (Feb 3, 2003 9:30:18 PM)
Nope, Linda, I don't.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:30:32 PM)
Ivory, then take it.

Ivory (Feb 3, 2003 9:30:32 PM)

lifeandfun (Feb 3, 2003 9:30:47 PM)
1. How well is INSEAD's MBA program appreciated/recognized in the US, considering the program's emphasis on Global management and International business?

Paul_Bodine (Feb 3, 2003 9:31:02 PM)
Agribio: Go ahead.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:31:07 PM)
Pasu, they seem less focused on age.

Pasu (Feb 3, 2003 9:31:14 PM)

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:31:24 PM)
lifeandfun, INSEAD is well recognized here, but you have to see if it supports your goals. If you are interested in global business, then it's an excellent choice. Do the companies you want to work for recruit there? If yes, then again, it may work for you.

alligator (Feb 3, 2003 9:31:47 PM)
On lines of questions from another chatter, I wanted to ask about efficacy of unsolicited recommendations.

Agribio (Feb 3, 2003 9:31:58 PM)
Linda, I went to Harvard two weeks ago and attended some classes with some Brazilian friends from my college that are in the MBA classes 2003 and 2004. They told me that some HBS students had had grade problems, but the mix leadership+extra+GMAT compensated and they were accepted!! What do you think, this is real or....???

Agribio (Feb 3, 2003 9:32:31 PM)
By the way, I am going to apply to 6 schools, but HBS is my target.

Paul_Bodine (Feb 3, 2003 9:32:33 PM)
Alligator: You are walking a fine line between giving them more useful info about your qualifications and peeving them off. If you feel that an extra unsolicited letter will TRULY add new info about your application, then my impression is that most schools are OK with that.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:32:43 PM)
Agribio, I do think it is real, but I am also sure that many with similar profiles were rejected, so go for it, but don't count on it.

cindy tokumitsu (Feb 3, 2003 9:33:05 PM)
Alligator, it depends -- some schools disallow it, won't read it, and it will hurt your application; other schools will welcome it IF it says something substantive. Check with the specific program.

Paul_Bodine (Feb 3, 2003 9:33:30 PM)
I agree with Cindy, that you should check each school's policy.

Ivory (Feb 3, 2003 9:33:38 PM)
? Does it make a difference whether an applicant applies for financial aid or not?

hansen (Feb 3, 2003 9:33:38 PM)
? Linda, what you said reminds me of something. I took statistics last year in college, and got an A. But I didn't put its transcript in my applications. Do you think it is still all right to send this transcript at this time?

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:33:50 PM)
Hansen, yes.

hansen (Feb 3, 2003 9:33:58 PM)

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:34:01 PM)
Ivory, most admissions is need-blind.

alligator (Feb 3, 2003 9:34:08 PM)
? How about an unsolicited recommendation after I have submitted my app?

Ivory (Feb 3, 2003 9:34:09 PM)

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:34:19 PM)
Alligator, if you are wait-listed, then submit the unsolicited rec. But check with the schools before submitting something at this time.

2004ORBUST (Feb 3, 2003 9:34:32 PM)
?How do things like holding patents look to b-schools? How about writing books?

jayant (Feb 3, 2003 9:34:52 PM)
When one is applying to four or more schools, how should the recommendation letters be handled? Would getting a letter from the recommender as opposed to having him or her use the school recommended format in any way weaken the application?

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:34:58 PM)
2004, they like patents and books.

lifeandfun (Feb 3, 2003 9:34:59 PM)
2. I'm currently enrolled in UCB's Business and Admin certificate program. I plan to complete it by early next year. Does this add significant value to my profile? I have an engineering background with a not very good GPA. I've been able to make very good grades in Business courses so far.

alligator (Feb 3, 2003 9:35:05 PM)
Thanks, Linda, Cindy & Paul.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:35:17 PM)
jayant, a few years ago, I would have said have your recommender write one recommendation, attach it to the form, and submit. But not today. More and more of the schools want their specific forms used and questions answered. I agree it is burdensome for the recommenders, but this is what they are telling me.

lifeandfun (Feb 3, 2003 9:35:21 PM)
Any inputs/suggestions will be appreciated. Thank you again.

cindy tokumitsu (Feb 3, 2003 9:35:30 PM)
Go ahead, Agribio.

Agribio (Feb 3, 2003 9:35:32 PM)
About age!!! Why is over 26 going to be a problem to HBS???

Paul_Bodine (Feb 3, 2003 9:35:47 PM)
Alligator: unsolicited recommendations after you submitted your app won't help you much or even get read more than likely. Save it for your wait-list letter if you are wait-listed.

Ivory (Feb 3, 2003 9:36:22 PM)
? Linda, I'll probably sign a contract with a publisher as a co-author in April, but there is no way the book will be out before I send out the application. Should I still mention that?

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:36:31 PM)
Ivory, yes.

Paul_Bodine (Feb 3, 2003 9:36:45 PM)
Lifeandfun: Yes, I think that high grades in those certificate courses are very helpful in showing the adcoms that you can handle their program.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:37:19 PM)
Agribio, I spoke with an HBS adcom member about this point. It's not that they don't want people over 26, but they want more people under 26 than they had a few years ago. Given that most applicants are 26+, their chances seem to decline. Please note that no one has stats showing acceptance stats broken down by age, so my comments deductive.

Paul_Bodine (Feb 3, 2003 9:37:39 PM)
Ivory: By all means, yes, mention it. Being an author is a very distinctive factor.

cindy tokumitsu (Feb 3, 2003 9:38:02 PM)
Lifeandfun: your certificate program also shows your commitment to your business career.

bklynmba (Feb 3, 2003 9:38:10 PM)
re: age: Linda, do you find that to be a trend with other b-schools?

alligator (Feb 3, 2003 9:38:14 PM)
If I decide to use your essay service, wouldn't it be obvious to the adcom that I have had some help? especially if I am reapplying to a school?

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:38:22 PM)
bklynmba, much less so. And some schools, like Wharton, Kellogg, Darden, INSEAD (so far) are not following HBS' lead in this case.

Paul_Bodine (Feb 3, 2003 9:38:51 PM)
Ivory: Even if the topic of the book is unrelated to business, being a published author is an important uniqueness factor, like patents, etc.

Agribio (Feb 3, 2003 9:39:03 PM)
Linda, about the grades. What kind of classes are you talking about?? After college?? Private classes?? Calculus, Finance????

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:39:22 PM)
alligator, our clients have had problems with their unedited applications, not the edited ones.

cindy tokumitsu (Feb 3, 2003 9:39:39 PM)
Alligator: on the contrary, I imagine they'll be pleased to have a clear, lively, distinctive picture of you! Our goal is to help you show your best qualities and capabilities, not show you to be something you're not.

Paul_Bodine (Feb 3, 2003 9:39:40 PM)
Olivier: go ahead with your question.

olivier_chevassut (Feb 3, 2003 9:40:03 PM)
What about publishing several technical articles?

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:40:10 PM)
Agribio, calculus is an excellent class to take, as is statistics. After these two, look into accounting and finance. If English fluency is an issue, then take classes in English.

Ivory (Feb 3, 2003 9:40:11 PM)
Paul, alright. Should I also mention some translation I did from English for the most important Italian financial newspaper?

bklynmba (Feb 3, 2003 9:40:49 PM)
? Do b-schools frown upon an applicant who applies to several b-schools?

Paul_Bodine (Feb 3, 2003 9:40:51 PM)
Ivory: yes! Having a proven "literary" side is a strong distinguishing characteristic.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:41:08 PM)
bklynmba, no.

alligator (Feb 3, 2003 9:41:34 PM)
?Do you have an app review where I can send in my previous years apps and get them reviewed to see if I stand a chance at all with my credentials (in case I don't get in this year)?

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:41:47 PM)
alligator, yes, we have application evaluation and admissions consulting.

alligator (Feb 3, 2003 9:42:12 PM)
?how much does it cost

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:42:20 PM)
For information, please visit our catalog at http://www.accepted.com/services/mbaservices.aspx  .

alligator (Feb 3, 2003 9:42:25 PM)
Thanks, Linda!

Paul_Bodine (Feb 3, 2003 9:42:36 PM)
Olivier, yes, publishing several technical articles benefits your application. I would say, though, that articles are a bit more common than published books. i.e., in terms of helping you stand out.

Ivory (Feb 3, 2003 9:42:48 PM)
Paul, back in Italy I was enrolled in the music school for piano performing. I was enrolled in the last (10th) year when I left Italy for the US. My GPA at the music school is low (2.8), and I never took the last exam, so I don't have the final diploma. Would mentioning it weaken my app?

olivier_chevassut (Feb 3, 2003 9:43:40 PM)
What about research articles that have been published in journals?

2004ORBUST (Feb 3, 2003 9:43:46 PM)
?If an applicant has dual citizenship, is there any advantage to applying as an international applicant if you have lived in this country all of your life?

Paul_Bodine (Feb 3, 2003 9:44:04 PM)
Ivory: Quite the contrary. Showing that you are a well-rounded person will only help you. There's no downside in my opinion to earning a 2.8 GPA in a music school if your business-related qualifications are strong.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:44:12 PM)
Olivier, research articles are helpful. They show that you are well regarded in your field, and that's a plus, but they are usually highly technical.

jayant (Feb 3, 2003 9:44:59 PM)
Paul, Linda & Cindy, thanks for your input and time.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:45:06 PM)
Jayant, you're welcome.

Paul_Bodine (Feb 3, 2003 9:45:06 PM)
Ivory--Just be sure you explain why you left and never finished. If there's a reason, it won't hurt you.

cindy tokumitsu (Feb 3, 2003 9:45:17 PM)
You're welcome, Jayant. Good luck!

Agribio (Feb 3, 2003 9:45:33 PM)
? Linda, I just didn't understand where I must take these classes, if I'm not at college anymore. What kind of courses are they going to accept?? Do I have to go to continuing education to take these classes?? Or will non credit classes be ok??

olivier_chevassut (Feb 3, 2003 9:45:56 PM)
What about proposals raising money for a specific project?

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:46:09 PM)
Agribio, in the US, you can take classes at community colleges and many universities have "extension" schools where adults can take classes. If that is not available in Brazil, then look into distance education and US extension programs. I know that UCLA has such a program, as does NYU and the U of Maryland, I think.

Ivory (Feb 3, 2003 9:46:15 PM)
Paul, OK.

cindy tokumitsu (Feb 3, 2003 9:46:26 PM)
Agribio, non-credit classes will not carry as much weight or credibility.

lifeandfun (Feb 3, 2003 9:46:46 PM)
I was involved in educating people in rural areas about the benefits of polio vaccination, immunization, AIDS awareness, etc. in my high school years. That wasn't full time, though. I couldn't continue in the later years. Does it make a point to bring these up in my essay when they are no longer pursued??

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:47:38 PM)
Olivier, if you were able to sell your supervisors on a project, especially one that had a sizeable budget, that, too, is strong experience.

zubie (Feb 3, 2003 9:47:41 PM)
Can great leadership and work experience make up for lower GPA and GMAT numbers at the top schools?

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:47:47 PM)

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:47:55 PM)
zubie, in applying to competitive schools, you need to provide evidence of academic ability -- either GPA or GMAT. If you don't have either, your chances are poor, depending on how low those numbers are.

alligator (Feb 3, 2003 9:48:07 PM)
About application review. I see a per hour fee there. How does it work? Is this not an appropriate forum for this question?

cindy tokumitsu (Feb 3, 2003 9:48:12 PM)
lifeandfun, discussing high school volunteer efforts is questionable, because it raises the question, why aren't you doing it now? I suggest discussing more recent activities if you can.

Paul_Bodine (Feb 3, 2003 9:48:23 PM)
Olivier: The adcoms won't consider those funding proposals in the same way that they would an article or book, i.e., as a "literary" accomplishment. But obviously if you raised significant money through your proposal, then they will be impressed by it.

bklynmba (Feb 3, 2003 9:48:40 PM)
? How specific should an applicant be in an essay and interview regarding what kind of job he/she wants to obtain with the MBA? e.g. I am interested in institutional equity sales, but I don't want to pigeon-hole myself. Is is better to be more broad and give examples of various jobs that I can see myself doing in the future post-MBA?

cindy tokumitsu (Feb 3, 2003 9:48:57 PM)
life--to continue--of course, if your high school volunteering led to important steps in your life, then it's relevant and possibly valuable to discuss. It depends on the "whole picture."

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:49:28 PM)
bklynmba, in general, it is better to be specific. You also aren't signing any contracts. If the school's faculty can prepare you or a career in institutional equity sales, then your specificity is a plus.

bklynmba (Feb 3, 2003 9:49:46 PM)
Thanks, Linda.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:50:10 PM)
I also want to mention that Cindy is making a good point here. It's the whole picture that counts. Yes, a patent is a plus and a low GPA is a minus, but it's the whole package that they look at. You should focus now on weaknesses so you can ameliorate them and minimize their impact, but remember it's the whole picture that counts. And that picture includes the competition.

Paul_Bodine (Feb 3, 2003 9:50:28 PM)
Bklynmba--I agree with Linda, but there is also a downside to having the adcoms think you only need the MBA for ONE specific goal--i.e., that it's a means to a narrow end. You want to show that you have different goals for different stages of your career.

Agribio (Feb 3, 2003 9:51:25 PM)
Ok, we have this kind of program here (extension), at the universities in which we can take specific classes. After this, should I send the class's record and university statement??

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:51:44 PM)
Agribio, yes, send the record of your recent classes to the universities.

alligator (Feb 3, 2003 9:52:05 PM)
What about about trying too hard to market yourself?

zubie (Feb 3, 2003 9:52:17 PM)
Linda, I had a poor start as an undergrad and that is why my GPA is lower than the average at most of the top schools. I hope I can overcome that by showing grade improvement as I progressed in college?

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:52:18 PM)
How do you do that, alligator?

alligator (Feb 3, 2003 9:52:26 PM)
What is the line between marketing and falsifying facts?

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:52:28 PM)
zubie, how low is it? And what's your GMAT?

zubie (Feb 3, 2003 9:52:39 PM)

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:52:40 PM)
And what schools are you interested in?

Paul_Bodine (Feb 3, 2003 9:52:40 PM)
Alligator: Good question.

alligator (Feb 3, 2003 9:52:53 PM)
I have heard quite a few applicants do falsify or at least exaggerate.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:53:13 PM)
Alligator, put your best foot forward... and make sure it's YOUR foot.

zubie (Feb 3, 2003 9:53:14 PM)
GMAT first time I took the test is 620.

Paul_Bodine (Feb 3, 2003 9:53:19 PM)
You do not want to falsify anything.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:53:58 PM)
zubie, with a high GMAT, that GPA isn't a problem, especially with an upward trend. But you would need a higher GMAT to be competitive at top-twenty schools.

2004ORBUST (Feb 3, 2003 9:54:50 PM)
?I would like to begin learning Spanish, and I would like to take classes at a local university. If I take the classes only for audit credit (no grading), will schools have a problem with this? Note: I already have a PHD.

Paul_Bodine (Feb 3, 2003 9:54:51 PM)
Marketing yourself well sometimes means helping you see that an accomplishment you didn't regard as significant actually had several significant dimensions that you overlooked for whatever reason. We would help you present those positive points--but without exaggerating anything. Sometimes you can't see what is significant in your background.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:55:23 PM)
2004, they won't have a problem with it. It doesn't sound like you need to prove your academic abilities.

lifeandfun (Feb 3, 2003 9:55:27 PM)
This is on my friend's behalf, as he is not able to access at the moment. He has an MBA from one of the good management schools in Asia. He plans to do his MBA again from one of the top US B schools. Is it a plus to have a business degree in this case? Is it worth spending a couple of years considering time, ROI, etc.?

alligator (Feb 3, 2003 9:55:30 PM)
Thanks, Linda and Paul!

cindy tokumitsu (Feb 3, 2003 9:55:40 PM)
2004--schools will not have a problem with your learning anything! If you discuss it, do so in the context of its meaning for you.

bklynmba (Feb 3, 2003 9:56:19 PM)
?The GPA on my GMAT score report is wrong. My UGPA was 3.5, but it says 3.9 on my score report. I called ETS and they changed it, but should I resend my score report?

Paul_Bodine (Feb 3, 2003 9:56:23 PM)
Ivory, go ahead.

Agribio (Feb 3, 2003 9:56:26 PM)
Please, sorry for insistence on this point, but in which part of the application should I send the class's record??? Graduate I can't! So???

olivier_chevassut (Feb 3, 2003 9:57:03 PM)
What do you consider as a leadership position in doing community work?

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:57:04 PM)
Agribio, request a transcript from the school at which you take the classes and ask them to send it to the schools where you are applying.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:57:13 PM)
Olivier, there are lots of them. You can lead a fundraiser, launch a project or organization, organize a program or event, serve on a board, publish a newsletter, head a team that develops a Web site, teach, be captain of a sports team, ...

Ivory (Feb 3, 2003 9:57:46 PM)
? The business experience I have is very locally-oriented (real estate in a small town in Italy). What would be the best way to stress that my post-MBA goals are internationally oriented?

olivier_chevassut (Feb 3, 2003 9:58:04 PM)
What about being a volunteer coordinator?

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:58:39 PM)
Yes, being a volunteer coordinator is an example of a leadership position. Obviously, the more people involved and the longer term your commitment, the better.

2004ORBUST (Feb 3, 2003 9:58:53 PM)
? I know it is best to apply for round one if the app is ready. However, is it good to have the app there on the first day that schools start to review apps, or is it better to send it in the middle of the first round?

Paul_Bodine (Feb 3, 2003 9:59:00 PM)
Ivory: By fleshing out a very believable and knowledgeable internationally oriented post-MBA goal in your essays and by showing that you are a multicultural person, through travel, friends, knowledge of languages, etc.

olivier_chevassut (Feb 3, 2003 9:59:00 PM)

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 9:59:29 PM)
2004, I don't see any advantage in submitting it on the first day.

alligator (Feb 3, 2003 9:59:58 PM)
There is a wealth of information on Accepted.com about getting involved in community service. Would you say a few words about community service? Also, if you recently got involved in community service, wouldn't it be very obvious to the adcom?

Ivory (Feb 3, 2003 10:00:13 PM)
Thanks, Paul. You guys are being unbelievably helpful.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 10:00:21 PM)
Alligator, that's an excellent question and one I'm asked frequently. Obviously, if someone has years of community service, it is better than six months. But six months is better than none. And that's why you're better off starting now than not doing anything. Even if you volunteer strictly for admissions reasons, you are at least showing commitment to the admission process and that's better than doing nothing, too.

alligator (Feb 3, 2003 10:01:29 PM)
? Do you know how the adcom views community service?

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 10:02:04 PM)
alligator, it is an important way to show what's important to you, to demonstrate leadership and initiative, and to distinguish yourself from the run-of-the-mill applicant who doesn't take the time to get involved. Also, many school believe that if you actively contributed before b-school, you will do so during and after b-school.

Paul_Bodine (Feb 3, 2003 10:02:54 PM)
Alligator: I think that, like all things, they value community service that's distinctive. They get a lot of Habitat for Humanity-type experiences, so the more unusual your community involvement, the better. You could even consider starting your own community service organization to fill an unfilled need.

Ivory (Feb 3, 2003 10:02:58 PM)
? I think I could get a good letter from my senior manager for whom I worked during my social service back in 98. Would it be too distant in time? Would it be more sensible to send two academic recommendations from people I'm currently working with?

Agribio (Feb 3, 2003 10:03:02 PM)
HBS this year is not requesting official records just after the acceptance. How am I going to send a separate transcript related to my extra classes???

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 10:03:28 PM)
Community service is important. It is also so broad that almost any one can find something to do.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 10:03:40 PM)
I'll get off my soapbox now. :-)

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 10:03:52 PM)
Ivory, I think it would be good to ask your former manager for one recommendation, and then get another one from your current advisor.

alligator (Feb 3, 2003 10:04:11 PM)

Ivory (Feb 3, 2003 10:04:25 PM)
Thanks, Linda

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 10:04:38 PM)
Any more questions...

lifeandfun (Feb 3, 2003 10:04:44 PM)
Thank you, Linda, Cindy and Paul for your time.

2004ORBUST (Feb 3, 2003 10:04:51 PM)
?Are there any plans to do a chat with a Columbia adcom soon?

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 10:04:53 PM)
You're very welcome.

Ivory (Feb 3, 2003 10:04:58 PM)
Thank you so much, Paul and Linda and Cindy.

lifeandfun (Feb 3, 2003 10:05:05 PM)
I had a question regarding double MBA.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 10:05:07 PM)
2004, we haven't started planning our chats with adcom directors for next year.

peru27 (Feb 3, 2003 10:05:10 PM)
Good evening, Linda, I have an "unusual" background (BS in Animal Sciences) with w/e in Marketing/Sales at a well-known American company of animal feed. Do you think that this contrast can be used as a main theme in my essays?

bklynmba (Feb 3, 2003 10:05:11 PM)
Yes, thank you all very much.

Agribio (Feb 3, 2003 10:05:15 PM)
Linda, about HBS, W, S, MIT and Kellogg, what is the difference among them related to grades???

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 10:05:17 PM)
lifeandfun, go ahead.

Agribio (Feb 3, 2003 10:05:53 PM)
Thank you very much Linda, Paul and Cindy!!

cindy tokumitsu (Feb 3, 2003 10:06:09 PM)
It was a pleasure. Thank you for sharing your questions. I wish all the participants good luck with your 2004 applications!

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 10:06:13 PM)
Yes, you should be able to make something of your distinctive work experience.

Ivory (Feb 3, 2003 10:06:18 PM)
Thanks, Cindy!

Paul_Bodine (Feb 3, 2003 10:06:35 PM)
Agribio. Not sure what you mean by 'difference related to grades'?

Ivory (Feb 3, 2003 10:06:48 PM)
? Can I ask a last question?

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 10:06:53 PM)
Sure, Ivory.

olivier_chevassut (Feb 3, 2003 10:06:57 PM)
How would you compare HBS, S, MIT, W, and Chicago in terms of program?

lifeandfun (Feb 3, 2003 10:07:10 PM)
A friend of mine has an MBA from one of known Asian Business schools . He plans to do it again from top US B schools. Is it a plus to highlight it or is it difficult to convince them?

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 10:07:18 PM)
Olivier, they are all top programs, but they have different strengths and approaches.

Ivory (Feb 3, 2003 10:07:47 PM)
I've heard that it's not easy to get a job in Europe with an MBA from a US school. Is that correct?

Paul_Bodine (Feb 3, 2003 10:07:50 PM)
Lifeandfun: It will be difficult to convince them, especially if it was recent and the school is well known.

Agribio (Feb 3, 2003 10:08:08 PM)
How do you compare H, S, MIT, W, and Kellogg in terms of grade sensitivity??

Ivory (Feb 3, 2003 10:08:12 PM)
? Oh, and I have another one :)

olivier_chevassut (Feb 3, 2003 10:08:16 PM)
What do you consider those strengths, weaknesses and approaches?

lifeandfun (Feb 3, 2003 10:08:28 PM)
Thank you.

2004ORBUST (Feb 3, 2003 10:08:30 PM)
?Is there any advantage to applying to Columbia ED or January instead of regular?

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 10:09:11 PM)
HBS is a general management program that stresses integration of subject matter via the case study method. MIT is tops in IT, and strong in finance and entrepreneurship. Stanford is also a general management program with a small, intimate, cooperative feel. It has excellent ties to Silicon Valley and the high tech world. Wharton and Chicago are both known for their outstanding finance programs, but they have strengths in other areas -- international, marketing, etc. Wharton in particular is known for the breadth and depth of its courses.

Paul_Bodine (Feb 3, 2003 10:09:22 PM)
Agribio: Generally speaking, I think that grades are very important for all of those schools, but from my personal experience I know of applicants who've gotten into these programs with weak GPAs because they built an alternate transcript later on and also had many compensating positives--and a high GMAT.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 10:09:37 PM)
Ivory, I read the same article, but I'm not sure if it's true. I really can't answer that one.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 10:09:50 PM)
Last two questions.

Ivory (Feb 3, 2003 10:09:54 PM)
It's OK, Linda.

Ivory (Feb 3, 2003 10:10:01 PM)
? Is it important to contact schools even before applying? What's exactly the point of doing it?

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 10:10:38 PM)
2004, Columbia ED is for people who know they want to CBS. Their January program is for those who do not need a summer internship, usually those returning to the same field, a secure job, or a family business.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 10:10:58 PM)
Ivory, before applying you want to learn about the schools to make sure they're right for you, and to be able to show them that you are right for them.

Ivory (Feb 3, 2003 10:11:06 PM)
I can see that :)

Ivory (Feb 3, 2003 10:11:15 PM)
Thanks a lot everybody! Have a good night!

2004ORBUST (Feb 3, 2003 10:11:25 PM)
?yes, Linda. I am just wondering if it is easier to get into Columbia ED or January.

Agribio (Feb 3, 2003 10:11:26 PM)
Paul. Sorry!! I didn't understand what you meant about alternate transcript later.

Ivory (Feb 3, 2003 10:11:30 PM)

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 10:11:51 PM)
I want to thank all of you for participating and sharing your concerns and questions. I hope you found the answers and input both from the Accepted.com staff and other participants valuable. I especially want to thank Paul Bodine and Cindy Tokumitsu for participating this evening.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 10:12:04 PM)
For more advice on admission strategy, please explore the Accepted.com Web site, especially the MBA section at http://www.accepted.com/mba . To learn about Accepted.com's services, please visit http://www.accepted.com/services/mbaservices.aspx .

2004ORBUST (Feb 3, 2003 10:12:06 PM)
Thank you so much for your help Paul, Cindy and Linda.

zubie (Feb 3, 2003 10:12:06 PM)
Thanks for everything!

cindy tokumitsu (Feb 3, 2003 10:12:13 PM)
Good night, all!

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 10:12:16 PM)
If you want to make sure you are informed of future chats for 2004 MBA applicants, please send an e-mail to mbachat@accepted.com .

peru27 (Feb 3, 2003 10:12:17 PM)
?I have the impression that currently there are better job opportunities for international students with specialized MBAs than "classic MBAs" (even form b-schools from the top tier). Is that correct?

olivier_chevassut (Feb 3, 2003 10:12:19 PM)
Thanks for your help!

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 10:12:24 PM)
If you have any feedback or questions on this chat, please feel free to e-mail chatfeedback@accepted.com.

Paul_Bodine (Feb 3, 2003 10:12:28 PM)
Re-taking courses later in your career that you earlier did poorly in. The tougher the school and the higher your grades in these later courses, the better.

2004ORBUST (Feb 3, 2003 10:12:29 PM)
Take care.

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 10:12:29 PM)
You're all welcome.

Agribio (Feb 3, 2003 10:12:35 PM)
Thank you!!!

Linda Abraham (Feb 3, 2003 10:12:41 PM)
Good luck with your applications!

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