Go to a better blog!

You can find a better version of my blog at http://www.adammarkus.com/blog/.

Be sure to read my Key Posts on the admissions process. Topics include essay analysis, resumes, recommendations, rankings, and more.

August 31, 2009

Forbes' Business School Calculator

If you have not familiar with The Forbes' Business School Calculator, I highly recommend using it. It is an easy and effective way to look at the ROI you can expect from an MBA program. As my readers know, I am a big believer in assessing the market value of MBA programs and Forbes has provided a great tool for that purpose.

August 28, 2009

Japanese Applicants: Booth wants you!

At the Chicago Booth information Session last night in Tokyo, Rose Martinelli (Associate Dean, Recruitment and Admissions) made it perfectly clear that she would like to increase the number of Japanese applicants and admits to Booth. Two years ago, Booth was receiving 100 applications from Japanese. This last year it was down to 50. There are 7 Japanese in both the Classes of 2010 and 2011, but she would like to see that increase significantly because of the need for additional school diversity.

The Tokyo Alum network is strong with 464 alums. A big group of them, around 20, attended the event last night.

By the way, after the event was over, I asked Rose directly (and on-the-record) whether Booth would admit multiple applicants from the same company. She said they would. So for those of you coming from companies where a number of your colleagues (sponsored or not sponsored) are also likely to apply, Chicago is a good choice.

If you are Japanese and have been thinking about Booth, I would highly encourage application. If you view it purely as a finance school and that turns you off, take a second look because it is much more than that.

Questions? Write comments or contact me directly at adammarkus@gmail.com
. Please see my FAQ regarding the types of questions I will respond to. Before emailing me questions about your chances for admission or personal profile, please see "Why I don't analyze profiles without consulting with the applicant." If you are interested in my graduate admission consulting services, please click here

-Adam Markus
アダム マーカス

シカゴ、ビジネススクール, MBA留学

Q&A with The MBA Tour's CEO and Managing Director

Below is an email-based interview I conducted with Peter von Loesecke, the CEO and Managing Director of The MBA Tour LLC. He provides a very good explanation about the value of The MBA Tour is to applicants as well as some interesting information on attendee trends in the US, Japan, and the rest of Asia.

For those who can do so, I strongly suggest attending The MBA Tour as it really is a great opportunity to learn about MBA programs. As a matter of disclosure, my blog is an Asia and North America Resource Partner of The MBA Tour.

Steve Green, my fellow blogger and admissions consultant, and I will be attending The MBA Tour in Tokyo next week (click here for the list of schools participating in that event).


ADAM: What should attendees expect to get out attending The MBA Tour?

PETER: By attending the MBA Tour event, students will have the opportunity to meet with admission decision makers. This is an opportunity to make a face-to-face impression which is far better than what one might achieve with an application. Students attending our events will also have a personal contact with whom to communicate after the event. This communication is much more effective if the student and the school representative personally met and the student shared information about themselves in a conversation or better yet with a resume.
In addition, after the event students who attend will be eligible to apply for a scholarship and use a benchmark facility to compare their credentials with other candidates applying to the same programs.

ADAM: Given the ease at which information can be gathered online, why should applicants attend The MBA Tour?

PETER: School websites share a lot of information about their curriculum and incoming class. Websites rarely share information about the program’s experience with students in the local market. You will only hear about that at an MBA Tour event. Some schools will be making individual school presentations which the presenters should be tailoring to the local market. We ask schools to not use PowerPoint presentations and share information pertinent to the local market.

ADAM: How is the tour schedule determined? Does it change significantly from year-to-year?

PETER: The schedule of the event is determined by the programs attending and the needs of the local market. Tokyo is a sophisticated market and we want to make sure students receive as much information pertinent to the Japanese market. This is one reason we have individual school presentations.

ADAM: Given the record increase in the number of GMAT test takers worldwide is The MBA Tour taking any steps to increase the capacity of its venues?

PETER: We are in other markets. In Japan the test taking activity has actually slowly declined over the past decade. Japanese demographics are one cause for this and the other cause may be fewer sponsored student opportunities.

ADAM: How, if at all, is the current economic downturn impacting The MBA Tour?

PETER: Registration in Asia is tracking as it was last year so the economic downturn has not affected registration across Asia including Japan. That is not true elsewhere. US registration activity for this September is not as strong as last year.

ADAM: Anything else you would like to tell my readers?

PETER: This year we offer students the opportunity to take a survey that was developed by The MBA Tour and 11 MBA programs. Taking the survey will help them discover what is important to them in selecting a program and also match them to some programs they have not even considered. Students who match up to programs may receive emails from one or more of the 11 schools with an invitation to speak to the representative. Students are under no obligation to meet with the school and are free to meet with whomever they want.
I want to thank Peter for taking the time to answer my questions.
Finally, if you still have not registered for The MBA Tour, you can do so here.

Questions? Write comments or contact me directly at adammarkus@gmail.com. Please see my FAQ regarding the types of questions I will respond to. Before emailing me questions about your chances for admission or personal profile, please see "Why I don't analyze profiles without consulting with the applicant." If you are interested in my graduate admission consulting services, please click here.

-Adam Markus
アダム マーカス


August 19, 2009

Dartmouth Tuck MBA Essay Questions for Academic Year 2010-11

UPDATED ON 9/8/2009.

In this post I will analyze the
Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth MBA Application Essay Questions for Academic Year 2010–11 (Fall 2010). The questions have not changed from the previous year, but I have modified my analysis somewhat. To read a testimonial by my client accepted for Tuck for Fall 2009, see here. To read a testimonial by my client accepted for Tuck for Fall 2008, see here.

I should also disclose that I was a sponsor for Tuck's
Japan Trek 2009
. The reader should assume that I like Tuck, but I believe that does not necessarily impact my analysis below.

Anyone really interested in going to Tuck should attend one of their receptions if possible. Visiting is even better, but attending the reception is a good first step. Click here for information about Tuck events. Japanese applicants should also visit the Japanese site.

I attended the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth's September 9, 2009 Tokyo Reception. It appeared that about 50-60 applicants were in attendance as well as a number alums and current students. The evening began with a PowerPoint presentation by Kristine Laca and was followed a reception with food and drinks (I did not stay. I usually try to avoid that aspect of the events because I think it is time for the applicants to talk with alumni and admissions and I don't want to waste anyone's time.).

As both the alums and the admissions officer emphasized Tuck is about being part of a community. The Tuck Reception I attended reflected that. They intentionally hosted an event that would give everyone in the room a chance to mingle and to easily have a chance to talk with the admissions officers and alums. If someone was not comfortable in that cocktail party environment, they have no business applying to Tuck. Each person counts and each person will need to participate. This communicated at least to me, the same message of "friendly community" that had been made by the admissions officer: students, their families, faculty, and staff at Tuck are all part of one community.

Anyone applying to Tuck, should most certainly watch the video series "Applying to Tuck: The Inside Scoop" with Dawna Clarke, the Director of Admissions. I will make reference to Ms. Clarke's advice below.

If you are really interested in attending Tuck, I strongly suggest making a real effort to visit or at least to attend a reception. This will be a great way to meet with admissions officers in a very friendly environment. It is also an amazing way to network with the alum at the event and afterwards. At the Tokyo reception, we were actually provided with a list of alums who would be happy to communicate with potential applicants. In "Tips on Applying," Ms. Clarke emphasizes the importance of getting in touch with Tuck alum. She, in fact, specifically says that mentioning that you met with alum is something you should do both in your essays and interviews. She also mentioned that she considers notes from alum as being in an applicant's favor.

Essay Questions for 2010–11
Let's take a look at the essay questions. I took the questions from the pdf.

Please respond fully but concisely to the following essay questions. Compose each of your answers offline in separate document files and upload them individually in the appropriate spaces below. Although there is no restriction on the length of your response, most applicants use, on average, 500 words for each essay. There are no right or wrong answers.
Please double-space your responses.
I don't suggest writing much more than 500 unless you really need to. That said, admissions will not be counting the words, so anything in the range of 450-600 is safe. Of course, if you need to write more, there is no absolute restriction, but I would tell a client to keep it to 750 maximum.

1. Why is an MBA a critical next step toward your short- and long-term career goals? Why is Tuck the best MBA program for you? (If you are applying for a joint or dual degree, please explain how the additional degree will contribute to those goals.)
This is a very standard version of the Why MBA essay question. See my Stanford GSB and/or Columbia Business School analysis as it applies here. Keep in mind the real importance of the second part of the question. Tuck's program is small, according to Businessweek, there are 506 students in the full-time program. According to the Tuck Class of 2010 Profile, the target class is 240. For the Fall 2008 Class, Tuck admitted 16% of 2898 applicants who applied, so making the case that you really belong is critical. The yield was 54% (admitted who attend). These numbers are worth bearing in mind. On the one hand, Tuck is difficult to enter, but on the other, it is not always the first choice of those it admits. You can be certain that reading your application know this. Under such conditions, clearly showing why Tuck is ideal for you is critical.

2. Tuck defines leadership as “inspiring others to strive and enabling them to accomplish great things.” We believe great things and great leadership can be accomplished in pursuit of business and societal goals. Describe a time when you exercised such leadership. Discuss the challenges you faced and the results you achieved. What characteristics helped you to be effective, and what areas do you feel you need to develop in order to be a better leader?
I suggest looking at my analysis of HBS Option 2, Stanford 3, and Kellogg 2 to craft your initial answer. Keep in mind that according to Dawna Clarke in "Tuck's holistic admissions process" video, leadership ability and/or demonstrated potential is one of three key common characteristics of Tuck students (see my analysis of question 4 for the other two). You should most certainly provide a full answer to this question, one demonstrating that you really understand your strengths and weaknesses as a leader. Weak versions of this essay will focus too much on simply telling a leadership story and not enough on self-analysis of leadership ability. The point of this essay is to show not only leadership capability, but leadership awareness.

3. Discuss the most difficult constructive criticism or feedback you have received. How did you address it? What have you learned from it?
It is possible to write this based on the topic used for a standard failure essay (see my analysis of Wharton 3), but that is only one possibility. The basic structure for this essay is clear enough:
1. Briefly describe the situation where you received constructive criticism or feedback. Who did you receive it from and why? Why was it the most difficult? Explaining why is the most important part of this section of the essay.
2. Specifically state your response to the constructive criticism or feedback. This might take the form of a brief summary of your action steps or description of your change in attitude.
3. Explain what you learned. Often the best way to help your reader understand this is to provide them with a different situation where you applied what you learned.

In addition to the standard reasons for asking this question- a test of ability to show how you learn from feedback, a test of your ability to honestly assess your own limitations, and a test of your ability to think critically about your past actions- this question makes particular sense for a program like Tuck where learning in a community is critical. The structure of the first year program including mandatory study groups of 5-6 students in the Fall and Winter terms, the Cohen Leadership Development Program, and the intensely community-focused nature of the environment certainly requires that all students be open to receiving and issuing positive, but critical feedback.

4. Tuck seeks candidates of various backgrounds who can bring new perspectives to our community. How will your unique personal history, values, and/or life experiences contribute to the culture at Tuck?
Keep in mind that in addition to leadership, the two other common characteristics of Tuck students that Ms. Clarke mentions are teamwork skills and communication/interpersonal skills. So if you have not effectively covered those two categories in another essay, you should address them in one way or another here. Keep in mind that this essay is not just a way for admissions to understand some important aspects of who you are, it is also a place for them to see whether you know enough about Tuck to provide effective examples of the way you would contribute.

One way I like to think about contribution questions is to use a matrix such as the following:


I use the above matrix for all types of contribution questions, modifying the categories to fit the question. When it comes to contribution questions, I think it is important to tell specific stories that highlight specific ways you will add value to your future classmates. Luckily, Essay #3 specifies that you should be looking only for those aspects of your application that really best demonstrate why you should be a part of the Kellogg community.
The number of contributions that can be covered in about 500 words will obviously vary greatly. Consider that some contributions might be fully analyzed and justified in a matter of 20-50 words, while others will require 150-200. I suggest finding something between two and about four contributions to discuss. Just make sure each contribution is meaningful and described effectively enough. Keep in mind that you want admissions to be excited by you, so if you make this a mere summary of why you are good fit, you will be boring them.

Finally, given the small size of the Tuck as well as its relatively remote location, the importance of each member to this community is perhaps greater than at a bigger school located in a more urban area. Therefore, it is particularly important that you are very specific about how you will contribute.

5. (Optional) Please provide any additional insight or information that you have not addressed elsewhere that may be helpful in reviewing your application (e.g., unusual choice of evaluators, weaknesses in academic performance, unexplained job gaps or changes, etc.). Complete this question only if you feel your candidacy is not fully represented by this application.
Like the optional question for Wharton, this is primarily a place for explaining something potentially negative. Under no circumstances include an essay clearly written for another school.

Finally, if you need to prepare for a Tuck interview, please see here. I might update it sometime, but I doubt that much will change.

Questions? Write comments or contact me directly at adammarkus@gmail.com
. Please see my FAQ regarding the types of questions I will respond to. Before emailing me questions about your chances for admission or personal profile, please see "Why I don't analyze profiles without consulting with the applicant." If you are interested in my graduate admission consulting services, please click here.

-Adam Markus
アダム マーカス

ビジネススクール カウンセリング コンサルティング 大学院 合格対策 エッセイ MBA留学

August 16, 2009

Q&A with London Business School MBA Class of 2010 Student

My former client Yoshi Komada, London Business School MBA Class of 2010, was kind enough to email me his answers to some questions I had about the program. Prior to attending London Business School, he worked in financial, consulting and business development roles, including two years in the mergers and acquisitions department of a major securities company. A graduate of Middlebury College, he has lived between Japan and the US and speaks fluent English, Japanese, and Spanish.

I think my readers will find Yoshi's critical perspective on LBS to be enlightening.
ADAM: So what did you learn during your first year at LBS?

YOSHI: I think that business school teaches different things to different people, depending on your personal and professional background. For most of the year, I was disappointed with the academics since I felt like I was not learning anything new. This changed the 3rd (last) semester, and after my internship where I realized that operations management, marketing and managerial accounting were immensely important classes where I did learn valuable things.
Business school claims to teach things like “leadership” and “entrepreneurship”. There are some valiant attempts at this, but in the end I think that they fail. These are things that you just can’t teach. What B-school does give a lot of people, however, is confidence. I came in here with an immense amount of confidence, so was not such a beneficiary. What I did uncover were certain of my weaknesses and a more concrete sense of how my career relates to my personal values. This came from trying to resist the herd mentality in B-school, succumbing to it for a bit, and then finding a comfort zone for myself.
Overall, it was worth it the first year, but I have to take a step back to see the immediate benefits. Hopefully they will last.
ADAM: What part of the program have you liked the most? The least?
Most: social life and living in a new city, as well as classroom debate. There is also quite a bit of flexibility your second year. Following my summer project and previous experience, I am planning on continuing with independent consulting on Asia and Japan market entry this term.
Least: LBS is great because people are supportive, and it does not have that cutthroat cowboy-American mentality that one finds in business stateside. I think a downside of this is reflected in the fact that the classroom dynamics are less intense: less debate, dissent, disagreement and discussion that I had in college and than I would expect from people in business.
ADAM: How would you describe the culture of LBS?
International- the Americans who come here are a self-selecting bunch: many speak another language or have a broader worldview.
Friendly- not cutthroat competition
ADAM: Do you actually have any time for clubs? If so, which ones are you active in?
YOSHI: I played rugby for a while; I enjoyed the sport but lots of the guys in the club have this frat house mentality which gets old after a while.
I am president of the Turnaround Management Club. I am also involved in Japan Interests Club- main activity is planning the Japan trip each year.
ADAM: Are there any common characteristics you find amongst your classmates?
YOSHI: Many are kind of in a middle ground. Not the kind of people with whom you can talk about Turgenev or Andy Warhol, but also not the type that spend all waking hours living or discussing about whatever professional goals they have. Not sure if this is a good or bad thing.
ADAM: How has the financial crisis impacted life at LBS?
YOSHI: Recruiting is down, and this is the most noticeable thing. The dollar tanked as soon as I got here, so it was much cheaper for a while; its stabilized now.
ADAM: Do you have any specific advice for those considering application to LBS?
YOSHI: Come to LBS if you want a different experience from the US and are immune to depressing weather.
ADAM: What are your favorite MBA related blogs (English or Japanese sites)?
YOSHI: God, that was so long ago. I remember the only one I used was manhattanGMAT, beatthegmat.com and a couple of the essay sites (including yours).
I want to thank Yoshi for taking the time to provide me with a very candid set of answers to my questions.
-Adam Markus
アダム マーカス

カウンセリング コンサルティング MBA留学 ビジネススクール

August 14, 2009

Q&A with INSEAD MBA Programme's Assistant Director of Marketing

Deborah Riger, Assistant Director of Marketing, MBA Programme, INSEAD, was kind enough to take the time to answer my questions about the MBA Program. Our interview was conducted both by telephone and email.

By the way, Deborah will attending the World MBA Tour this September (Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, and Taipei). While these fairs can get crowded, this is certainly a good chance to ask her questions. If you are not attending and want more information about the MBA program, please email Deborah.Riger@insead.edu.

ADAM: How important are the application essays in determining who to admit? How about recommendations? Interviews?

DEBORAH: All of the components of the application are equally important and provide the admissions committee with valuable information. I would say that applicants need to take great care when writing their essays, choosing their recommenders, and preparing for our two interviews.

From the essays we need to learn what is unique about you as an individual. Please tell us what experiences and accomplishments you have had thus far and where you would like to see the MBA take you. Spend time clearly identifying goals and articulating why you feel INSEAD is the place for you and be sure your essays are an authentic expression of who you are. One tip is to have your family and friends read your essays to gauge if they sound genuine. The individuals who write your recommendation letters should be people who know you very well in a professional context. We would ideally like to hear from your current manager. Lastly, when preparing for your interview just relax and be yourself!

ADAM: Why does INSEAD require two interviews with alumni?

DEBORAH: The alumni help the admission committee determine if you are a good fit for the programme. Two is a good way to see if views about you are aligned. We expect our alumni interviewers to help us determine if applicants are applying to our program for the right reasons.

ADAM: Sometimes when I read or hear about INSEAD interviews, it almost seems like one interviewer is being intentionally aggressive and the other much less so. Sometimes I think this is probably just a kind of post-facto perception, but is there some real distinction between the two interviewers?

DEBORAH: The interviewers are given the same instructions. We don’t tell one to be more aggressive than the other. However, when possible, we do try to have applicants interview with one older alum and one more junior alum. We expect the more senior alum to have a stronger perspective on the overall leadership potential of the applicant and the future contributions one might make as part of the alumni community. We would expect a junior alum to assess the applicant from the perspective of a peer. i.e. Will this applicant be happy in the INSEAD programme?

ADAM: How important are campus visits? Do you keep track of who visits? Does it impact their chances for admission?

DEBORAH: Campus visits don’t influence admissions decisions. From our point of view, the visits are important for the candidates to allow themselves the time to better understand the programme. I encourage all students that are considering applying to the school to visit the campus, get a feel for the environment and understand if the programme is a good fit for them.

ADAM: How often does INSEAD waitlist applicants? Can you provide some information about that?

DEBORAH: INSEAD runs a short waitlist that is reviewed continuously to monitor diversity of class. The chance of being admitted from the waitlist varies by intake, but we certainly admit some of those placed on the waitlist.

ADAM: Can you provide my readers with some idea of how difficult it is to get into INSEAD?

DEBORAH: While I cannot provide information about acceptance rates, I can say that we had a 20% application increase from last year. Keep in mind that INSEAD attracts a highly self-selecting pool of applicants. Things like our language requirement mean that this program is not for everyone. In some cases applicants have to decide for themselves if they are willing to commit to learning another language. The programme is demanding and fast paced so applicants also have to be committed to completing the MBA over a short period of time.

ADAM: What would you consider to be the minimum iBT TOEFL level required for admission? Regarding English ability in general, it has always seemed to me that INSEAD actually only admits non-native speakers with very advanced English skills.

DEBORAH: A 105 TOEFL is our required minimum and that is sufficient. It is certainly the case that many who apply to INSEAD have very advanced English skills. This seems natural enough given our international focus. One thing that I will say is the admissions committee (faculty and alumni) are very aware of the need to make sure that anyone admitted can keep up in the classroom. The school doesn’t want to see anyone fail so they will try to assess when English ability will be a barrier to success in the program. If an applicant does not think their English skills are strong, they should consider taking more time to prepare for MBA. Still, only 20% of our students are native English speakers.

ADAM: Is it possible to be accepted to INSEAD without having international experience?

DEBORAH: Yes, it is possible to be admitted without significant experience outside of your home country. While it is important for all applicants to show their international motivations in their essays, it is especially critical for those who lack international exposure to do so. Applicants need to share how they are comfortable and confident in their own culture, why they are seeking out the international exposure in the MBA and sharing perhaps how the world has come to them at home.

ADAM: Regarding professional experience, what to do you look for in younger (very early twenties) and older (late twenties or thirties) applicants?

DEBORAH: For all applicants we want to see a track record of professional accomplishments that sets them apart from their peers. For those with only 1-2 years of professional experience, they must demonstrate something distinctive in their profile, perhaps they have started their own company. I would suggest, it is in the benefit of all younger applicants to work for a minimum of two years before applying to business school as they will get more out of the programme if they have experiences to reflect back on. For older applicants, we are looking for a strong professional track record and clear goals toward career change or advancement. If an older applicant has been in the same role for five years that might not demonstrate potential for growth, overall ambition or success relative to his/her peers.

ADAM: Can applicants get in touch with alums and current students? How?

DEBORAH: Yes, we can facilitate that. Applicants should write to us at mba.info@insead.edu. We recommend applicants write in with a profile of an alum they would like to be connected to and very specific questions.

ADAM: How has the financial crisis impacted INSEAD students and the programme?

DEBORAH: Recruiting activities are down slightly. Still, 87% of the Class of 2008 successfully changed their sector, function or geography. The results for July 2009 remain to be seen as we usual poll students 3 months post graduation.

The school has also responded to the crisis by taken action. First, we expanded the class size. The Class of 2010 will be approximately 960 students, up from the 937 for 2009. We added another section in Singapore to make this change possible without impacting the quality of our program. Second, we have made a Business Ethics course a required part of the curriculum. Other courses have been added as the market demands, for example we now have a Managing Corporate Turnaround Successfully elective offering. Lastly, in July 2010, we will be offering a Capstone Course that encapsulates everything studied in the program.

ADAM: I know that INSEAD only encourages reapplication in a very limited number of cases. When you do encourage a re-applicant, what are you expecting?

DEBORAH: We are expecting a significant change in the applicant’s profile. Perhaps it is a promotion, international assignment or change in job. An improved GMAT score is not sufficient however, an improved GMAT score shows initiative, so it is no problem taking it multiple times.

ADAM: Finally, can we expect to see another INSEAD campus in the coming years?

DEBORAH: A favorite question! No, not in the foreseeable future.

I want to thank Deborah for taking the time to answer my questions.

-Adam Markus

I am a graduate admissions consultant who works with clients worldwide. If you would like to arrange an initial consultation, please complete my intake form. Please don't email me any essays, other admissions consultant's intake forms, your life story, or any long email asking for a written profile assessment. The only profiles I assess are those with people who I offer initial consultations to. Please note that initial consultations are not offered when I have reached full capacity or when I determine that I am not a good fit with an applicant.

August 12, 2009


For all my readers in Tokyo, I hope you will be attending the THE MBA TOUR in Tokyo on September 3rd at the Keio Plaza Inter-Continental Hotel. I suggest registering online at www.TheMBATour.com so you can save 500 yen off the 1000 yen admission (You will need the money later for drinks!).

Steve Green and I will be there.

By the way, the folks at The MBA Tour were kind enough to provide me with a list of the schools that will be in attendance. Here it is:
  1. Bocconi University
  2. Carnegie Mellon University
  3. College of William and Mary
  4. Cornell University
  5. Cranfield University
  6. Duke University
  7. Emory University
  8. ESADE Business School
  9. ESSEC
  10. Fordham University
  11. Georgetown University
  12. HEC Paris
  13. Hong Kong Univ. of Science and Technology
  14. Hult International Business School
  15. IE (Instituto de Empresa)
  16. Indiana University
  17. Manchester Business School
  18. McGill University
  19. Melbourne Business School
  20. Michigan’s Ross School of Business Global MBA
  21. Nanyang Technological University
  22. New York University Stern
  23. Purdue University
  24. Rice University
  25. Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University
  26. Temple University Japan
  27. Thunderbird School of Global Management
  28. University of California Los Angeles
  29. University of Dallas
  30. University of Denver
  31. University of Maryland
  32. University of North Carolina
  33. University of Rochester
  34. University of Texas at Austin
  35. Vanderbilt University
  36. Washington University in St. Louis
  37. Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  38. York University - Schulich School of Business
I think this a great opportunity to learn about a range of programs. Feel free to say hello if you see me.

2009年 9月 3日 木曜日
〒160-8330 東京都新宿区西新宿2-2-1


For my clients and blog readers in the US, if you have done so I suggest attending The MBA Tour. It is a great way to learn about a large number of top MBA programs. See below for details regarding the September 2009 Tour.


Do you see an MBA in your future?

The MBA Tour events offer unique formats to explore MBA programs and discover your ideal school

  • MBA Panel Presentations: Cover all your basic MBA application questions before speaking one on one with reps
  • Individual School Presentations: Easily compare schools and match your interests to program options
  • Open Fair: Meet one on one with admission directors and alumni
  • Participating Schools:
    Wharton, Berkeley, UCLA, Cornell, Duke, Michigan (Global), NYU Stern, Carnegie Mellon, UNC, Indiana, Vanderbilt, Emory, Yale, HEC Paris, ESADE & many more!
  • Great opportunity to network with other like minded individuals!

    Not all schools listed participate in every event. Visit school websites to see participating cities.
The MBA Tour
The MBA Tour

USA September Tour 2009

Houston, Sept 3
Hilton Houston Post Oak
2001 Post Oak Bvld
Houston, TX 77056, USA

Chicago, Sept 8

Swissotel Chicago
323 E Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60601, USA

Atlanta, Sept 10

Hyatt Regency Atlanta
265 Peachtree Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30303, USA

New York City, Sept 12
Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers
811 7th Avenue
New York 10019, US

Boston, Sept 13

Taj Boston Hotel
15 Arlington Street
Boston, MA 02116, USA

Washington DC, Sept 20

Grand Hyatt Washington
1000 H Street, NW
Washington DC 20001, USA

Los Angeles, Sept 26
Wilshire Grand Hotel
930 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90017, USA

San Francisco, Sept 27

Grand Hyatt San Francisco
345 Stockton Street
San Francisco 94108, USA

Register online for the Event

$5 if you pre-register online
$10 if you register at the door - CASH ONLY!
Limited space, register soon! www.TheMBATour.com
All registration proceeds will be committed to The MBA Tour Scholarship Fund

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August 11, 2009

Q&A on Streetcanvas, an HBS MBA student venture

Business plan contests and the businesses that emerge out of MBA programs offer students an excellent opportunity to immediately apply what they learn. One such new venture is Streetcanvas , which was started by three HBS students. Streetcanvas was brought to my attention by Akiko Tateishi (Chicago Booth MBA Class of 2011) who is getting an opportunity to intern at this new venture business even before she begins her MBA program. In the interview below, I have asked her about her experience.

Adam: Tell me about Streetcanvas?

Akiko: Streetcanvas (http://www.streetcanvas.com/) is a venture business launched by three HBS students, who were semi-finalists in the school’s business contest and are being sponsored by the school. The business is to first create an online community (the website is in both English and Japanese) for Japanese artists and designers who have an interest to display and share their artwork and gain attention. Streetcanvas is a platform for these artists to gain international recognition, and will provide opportunities for artists to have their artworks displayed in overseas art galleries and select shops, whom we collaborate with and who are interested in Japanese art and design. This online community network will host ongoing T-shirt design contests and the winner’s design will be printed on an American Apparel T-shirt and sold within Japan and abroad. Streetcanvas’ business model is similar to that of Threadless in the US.

Adam: Tell me about your internship.

Akiko: I think it’s a great experience to understand the challenges in setting up a venture and understanding the core of how a business is run. At Streetcanvas, our main activities are split up into Marketing, Operations, and Technology. Interns are allocated to one group, although there is no limit as to how much an intern can be involved. Through research and cooperation with the cofounders, one can learn a great deal not only about the business model, but also experience what it takes to meet business targets in each division.

Adam: What is the expected outcome?

Akiko: The core platform is already built, meaning the website has been launched and the first competition is complete. What remain, are the marketing efforts to recruit as many artists as possible so that there is enough member to keep the competition running. Our CEO, Rie Yano and the interns have been reaching out to artists and art students as well as teaming up with large corporations. Rie, herself, has been appearing in media interviews, including Venture View and Metropolis has introduced us as the “site of the week” (Issue #802). The expected outcome is that we reach our target membership of 1,000 members by the end of August and the competitions are self-sustainable with artwork submissions, evaluations, and voting within the Japanese art community which Streetcanvas has created.

Adam: How many students are involved?

Akiko: At this moment, a combination of 18 university undergraduate students and working professionals who dedicate their free time to the project, are involved, with two thirds of the interns belonging to the former group. (I am the only MBA Class of 2011 student)

Adam: Why are you participating in Streetcanvas?

Akiko: Throughout my career, I have only worked in large corporations and have never worked in a small entity or firm. Although start-ups are popping up in Japan, it’s still not as widespread a phenomenon as it is abroad. I feel it’s still not encouraged in our society (because it equates to risk taking) and people are not as open to such ideas. When I see these HBS students working, I see great potential in their ideas and hopes. They have taught me that good ideas are worth investing in and turning into a business. I think the risks associated with start-ups do not work well in the Japanese society, but I think these are exactly the kind of energy we need to create in Japan to bring innovation.
I want to thank Akiko for taking the time to answer my questions. By the way, Streetcanvas is fun and anyone can join. The website is very easy to use and I encourage you to try it out.

-Adam Markus
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August 03, 2009

UCLA Anderson MBA Essays for Fall 2010

In what follows, I will analyze the UCLA Anderson School of Management's MBA Essay's for 2009-2010.

For Fall 2009 admission, I had the opportunity to work with five clients who were admitted to UCLA. You find testimonials from three of them here.

Here are the questions and instructions taken from UCLA's

GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS: Please be introspective and authentic in your responses. We value the opportunity to learn about your life experiences, aspirations, and goals.
All responses to essays must be on double-spaced pages that are uploaded in document form, except for Essay 4 for first-time applicants, which may be submitted as an audio or video file instead. (Please note the word limits in parentheses.)
First-time applicants -- 4 required essays:
  1. Describe the ways in which your family and/or community have helped shape your development. (750 words)
  2. Describe the biggest risk you have ever taken, the outcome, and what you learned in the process. (500 words)
  3. Describe your short-term and long-term career goals. What is your motivation for pursuing an MBA now and how will UCLA Anderson help you to achieve your goals? (750 words)
  4. Select and respond to one of the two following questions.
    a. Entrepreneurship is a mindset that creates new opportunities in established and new organizations.  Describe an instance in which you exhibited this mindset.
    b. What is something people will find surprising about you?
    We would like you to respond to the question by recording an audio response  (up to 2 minutes) or video response (up to 1 minute). If you are unable to submit your response via audio, then please upload a written response instead (250 words).
    Supported File Types:
    Audio:  .avi, .wmv, .wav, .mp3, .midi, .wma, .aiff, .au, .mp4
    Video:  .avi, .wmv, .mov, .mpeg
  5. OPTIONAL: Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? (250 words)

The first thing you should notice about this set of questions is that it begins with a very unique question that emphasizes personality.
It is fair to say that it is almost the total opposite of application like Columbia Business School's that have a focus on work-related topics. It would indeed be possible to write UCLA's entire set of questions without including a standard "leadership" or "greatest work accomplishment" essay. It is worth considering what UCLA says about its admission criteria:
The Admissions Committee evaluates applicants? prospects as leaders in management and their projected ability succeed in, benefit from and contribute to the UCLA Anderson MBA Program. Committee members carefully consider personal and academic background information, GMAT scores, TOEFL scores (for most international applicants), achievements, awards and honors, employment history, letters of recommendation, and college and community involvement, especially where candidates have served in leadership capacities. The Admissions Committee seeks to create a community of students who bring unique contributions from their diverse backgrounds and experiences and who will collectively enrich the educational experience.

UCLA is very focused on understanding your ability to make a contribution to their community. This very much at the center of the education they offer and how how they differentiate their program:

I mention all of the above because I think it is quite helpful in understanding what UCLA is looking for: Highly collaborative, community-oriented individuals, who are great at networking. The Anderson School is also very focused on entrepreneurship. You should most certainly look at the Harold and Pauline Price Center for Entrepreneurial Studies webpage.

1. Describe the ways in which your family and/or community have helped shape your development. (750 words)
The "UCLA Question" should help admissions understand who you are and what you can bring to their community. They have slightly simplified the wording this year by eliminating wording related to "youth." Now the question does not require you to focus on your childhood, but it certainly requires that you emphasize the past.

Use this essay as way to help admissions understand who you are and where you come from. This might take the form of personality traits connected to your parents, values connected to the community you were raised in, and/or core skills that you can trace to your early development.

Given the length, I suggest providing two to four "stories" that will help admissions understand who you are. The stories may be about you, your family, or other aspects of your background that will demonstrate who you are.

It is not necessary to be explicit about how you might make a contribution at Anderson, but it is important that you tell stories and analyze them so that the adcom will really understand what you could contribute. Therefore, it is critical that you just don't tell stories, but you provide a very clear interpretation of them in order to highlight what makes you a unique individual.

You need to think carefully about what will work here. Always ask yourself whether what you are telling admissions will really help them understand why you should be a part of their community.

2. Describe the biggest risk you have ever taken, the outcome, and what you learned in the process. (500 words)
This question is new for 2010. Depending on how you handle it, it may take the form of a leadership story (See my analysis of HBS and Stanford for how to handle such leadership questions), a failure (See my analysis of Wharton), or an accomplishment (See HBS). The structure for your essay should essentially consist of the three parts mentioned in the question:
1. Describe the risk you took.
2. State what the outcome was.
3. State what you learned.

Given that this is the only essay that can be easily used for discussing a professional situation in detail, most applicants will certainly consider doing so. Generally, that might be a good idea, but just make sure that a real risk was involved. Your essay will fail if your reader cannot accept that you were taking a risk. Clearly state what the risk was.

The outcome might be very simple or complex. It might involve a change within you or a change to an organization/group or both. Whatever it is, make sure that you are identifying the outcome as clearly as possible.

As always with questions that ask about learning, it is really important that you provide clear lesson or lessons learned, and, where applicable provide a concrete application of the lesson to a new situation. If you write on a failure, make sure that the learning takes the form of an application of the lesson learned to a new successful situation.

3. Describe your short-term and long-term career goals. What is your motivation for pursuing an MBA now and how will UCLA Anderson help you to achieve your goals? (750 words)
As I mentioned above, this question is focused on the future. Rather than repeat much of what I have previously written about other versions of this question, I would suggest that you look at my analysis of Columbia 1 as it can be applied here.

A great Essay 3 will clearly answer the "Why now" aspect of the question without focusing too much on past experience. One core focus of this essay should be on how being a part of Anderson's Class of 2012, will contribute to your intended professional future. Make sure that your motivations for pursuing that future are clearly stated in this essay and perhaps explained further elsewhere in your essay set.

UCLA puts great emphasis on applicants demonstrating that they have become informed about The Anderson School, so I strongly suggest that you visit if you can, but at least attend one of their admissions events. Getting in contact with UCLA alums would also be helpful. At a minimum, learn as much as you can from their web page. You really need to convince adcom that you know what you need from UCLA for your future goals. If you have the word count do so, you may also want to address what you can contribute.

Japanese applicants should most certainly take a look at
The Japan America Business Association (JABA) page. In addition, please see LA State of Mind ~UCLA MBA留学記 2009-2011~.


4. Select and respond to one of the two following questions.
a. Entrepreneurship is a mindset that creates new opportunities in established and new organizations.  Describe an instance in which you exhibited this mindset.
b. What is something people will find surprising about you?
We would like you to respond to the question by recording an audio response  (up to 2 minutes) or video response (up to 1 minute). If you are unable to submit your response via audio, then please upload a written response instead (250 words). 
Supported File Types:
Audio:  .avi, .wmv, .wav, .mp3, .midi, .wma, .aiff, .au, .mp4
Video:  .avi, .wmv, .mov, .mpeg
For its Fall 2009 application, the UCLA Anderson School of Business did something completely unique in the annals of MBA application history. For Fall 2010, they now request that applicants provide a  audio or video response to one of two questions. While it is possible to opt out of this audio or video option, only someone wanting to commit "application suicide" would do that. WHATEVER YOU DO, MAKE A RECORDING. If your TOEFL iBT Speaking score is weak, this is your best shot at showing you can say something meaningful in one minute. Get a decent recording device, prep your answer intensively, and get this one right if you want to be part of the Class of 2010. If you are technologically challenged, get someone's help. Unless you lack vocal cords, I am not sure what excuse you could have. If you are shy on camera, just use audio. After all, no other school asks this question, so UCLA admissions will be able to judge how much time and effort you put into their application. I have more to say about this question below.
Basically they are asking you to deliver a one minute speech. Structure your answer so that you are clearly answering one of the three options and that you make a clear point. If you think about it, this is a great way to test an applicant's ability to say something meaningful in the amount of time that one might typically make a comment in a class. My suggestion is that you practice enough so that it does not sound or look like you are simply reading a piece of paper. Record yourself until you are happy with the result. HINT: This may involve many recordings and alterations of your script.
a. Entrepreneurship is a mindset that embraces innovation and risk-taking within both established and new organizations. Describe an instance in which you exhibited this mindset.
As I mentioned above, UCLA has a strong entrepreneurial focus, so if your goals are specifically entrepreneurial, this is a great question to answer. Obviously in one minute you cannot provide a long story. Think about a situation where you showed innovation and/or risk-taking. Obviously don't duplicate the content of Essay 2. One possible structure:
1. State the situation, 15 seconds.
2. Describe what you did, 30 seconds.
3. State the outcome, 15 seconds.

c. What is something people will find surprising about you?
This question is a great opportunity to balance out the rest of your application. Is there something really important about you that would not be clear from your application form, essays, resume, and recommendations? Is there something you really want to emphasize about yourself? Here is the chance to do that. Unless a professional topic would reveal something surprising about you, I don't necessarily think this question lends itself well to most work-related topics. Otherwise, the options here are wide open. Just make sure that adcom understands why this issue is so important to you that you are using one of your precious essay questions for it. Finally, make it surprising! If it is obvious from your application, it will bore them.

5. OPTIONAL: Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? (250 words)
This is a nice open-ended version of the standard "anything negative" optional essay. If everything is good, you don't need to write this one. If it is not, I suggest doing so. See my comments regarding the Wharton optional essay as they apply here.

Questions? Write comments or contact me directly at adammarkus@gmail.com.
Please see my FAQ regarding the types of questions I will respond to. Before emailing me questions about your chances for admission or personal profile, please see my recent post on "Why I don't analyze profiles without consulting with the applicant." If you are interested in my graduate admission consulting services, please click here.
-Adam Markus
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UCLA カリフォルニア大学ロサンゼルス校 のビジネススクール

August 02, 2009

The GMAT versus GRE: Does It Matter for MBA Applicants?

BusinessWeek has a recent article about the fact that the GRE is now being increasingly accepted by MBA programs as an alternative to the GMAT. The article explained the nature of the competition between GMAT (GMAC) and GRE (ETS), but did not actually discuss, in any great detail, the subject that most applicants are likely to be concerned about: Which test is likely to generate the best result for them? The best the article provided on this issue was the following quote from Darden Admissions Director:
"I wouldn't accept the GRE if I didn't understand what it was asking people to do," Neher says. "It's definitely not as complicated of a math test, but it still tests logic, general analytic ability, vocabulary, and reading comprehension in the same way the GMAT does," she says

Still, this is far from enough to make a judgment about which test is better to take. One clear and simple explanation for which test to take is offered by Dr. Joern Meissner, Academic Director at Manhattan Review in an article on the QS TOPMBA website:

Based on Academic Strengths and Weaknesses

Based on Practical Factors

In summary, based on academic considerations, native English speakers with strong writing and verbal skills and weak math skills should take the GRE. Everybody else should probably take the GMAT. Still the $100 price difference between the two tests make we wonder why GMAT should cost $250 while GRE costs only costs $150. If GRE can force price competition, that would be good thing. As someone who hates authoritarian monopolies, I can't help but cheer for the entry of GRE into the MBA application testing market. But those who play with fire might get burned, ETS itself might find TOEFL's dominance of the US English testing market (IELTS is accepted at many US schools, but outside of the UK and the rest of Europe, just not that popular) under attack when Pearson takes on the TOEFL. According to the article in INSIDE HIGHER ED, look for Pearson to start their marketing blitz in October of this year.

-Adam Markus
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