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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.

September 29, 2010



Two clients have sent files in the last couple of weeks using the LBS template that the school provides applicants. I think there is something really odd going on with this template's macros.  In the first case, the essays would not print out completely.  At the time, I did not think this was anything but a highly localized case.  Tonight, I reviewed a clients essays and noticed that the printed version and the version on my computer were not the same.  It appeared that the old version of the essays was showing up on my desktop while an updated version was printing out.  This is totally weird. Is it just me or..? 
Well back to reviewing my clients' stuff.


September 15, 2010

Guest Blogger: 河野太一のGMAT OG12解説 SC18

This is another post from Taichi Kono, author of two textbooks on TOEFL and one on TOEIC and a highly experienced TOEFL, TOEIC, and GMAT instructor. Most of his posts will be in Japanese. This post is on GMAT sentence correction. His other posts can be found here.


河 野塾代表の河野太一です。年来の友人であるAdam Markusさんのご厚意で、"The Official Guide for GMAT Review, 12th Edition"の解説ブログの内容の一部をこちらにアップさせていただくことになりました。オリジナルは河野太一のGMAT OG12解説でご覧いただけます。なお、オリジナルのほうは予告なく内容を変更することがあり、ここに上げたものと相違があることがありますのでご了承ください。私のこれまでの記事やGMAT以外の話題についてはこちらをご覧ください。

(A) efficient atのコロケーションはOK。good at「~が上手だ」という表現があるが、それと似たatの使い方。そこまで判断できない場合は、atがない選択肢が(E)だけなので、取りあえずOKとし ておいて、(E)がよほど良い選択肢であればまた考え直せばよい。than are fungiもOK。まずfungi(発音はファンジャイ)はfungus(菌類)の複数形。意外とTOEFLにも出てきたりするので、難しい単語だが覚え て置いたほうがよい。複数形なので、動詞がareなのはOK。動詞にisを用いている選択肢がないから、そこはポイントではないことがわかる。次に比較の 後ろのSV倒置だが、これは普通の語順でも、疑問文の語順の倒置でもOK。取りあえず目立ったキズはなし。

(B) (A)のare fungiがfungiになっているのが唯一の変化で、この時点でサヨウナラ。これでは比較対象がPlantsなのかcarbonなのかわからないから だ。(A)はareを入れることによって比較対象がPlants areであることを明示している。基本的な比較構文の問題であることが見えてきたように、この時点では思える。

(C) (A)が正解の可能性が高いかと思いきや、(C)も悪くない。fungiの後ろのareはなくなっているが、carbonが後ろに回ったことにより、比較 対象となる名詞がPlantsしかなくなるので、areは必要なし。at ...をefficientに隣接させたほうが良いとはいえ、間に2単語を挟んでいるだけで、この程度の挿入は十分にありえるし、定型表現的なものの間に 挿入を挟むこと自体も英語ではよくあること。また、逆にmoreとthanを近接させているとも受け取れるわけで、これでは差をつけにくい。そこで下線部 の後ろのつながりを見ると、後ろにin the form of carbon dioxideがあり、これはcarbonと近接させたほうがよい。さらに後ろにはand convertingがあり、acquiringが並列対象であるはずなので、これも近づいていたほうがよい。いずれの点においても(C)は問題な く、(A)は後ろの修飾関係が入り組んでしまっていることが見えてきた。(C)が正解。





September 10, 2010

Wharton MBA Essay Questions for Fall 2011 Admission

In this post, I analyze the essay questions for Wharton for Fall 2011 admission.  You can find my post on Wharton Lauder Essays here.  My analysis of Wharton interviews can be found here. I updated my analysis of Essay Option 1 on 12/25.

As a matter of disclosure, I should indicate that I am a sponsor of the Wharton Japan Club. I don't think this unduly biases my perspective. You find testimonials from my clients admitted to Wharton in 2009 and 2010 here.

I must apologize for the delay in putting out my Wharton analysis. I have been working on it and playing with it in mind for a few months. In that time, I also worked on the essay set with one client, which was very useful in helping me think through these questions.  I especially wanted to mention my gratitude to my longtime colleague and friend, Vince Ricci, for discussing the Wharton questions with me.  We were joined by another experienced consultant who wishes to remain anonymous.  Vince videotaped our discussion of Wharton. You can find an edited version of that conversation below:

You might find it helpful to watch the video first before descending into what follows.  The video really is a good summary of some of key points that I will elaborate on below.

I think Wharton's radically changed essay set reflects the fact that Wharton is de-leveraging itself from an over-reliance on placing its graduates into jobs on Wall Street.    As the financial crisis has shown, in such a market Wharton, more than Stanford or HBS (The only schools it really wants to compare itself with), found itself in a weak position. Also adding to the headache for Wharton, has been the rise of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business as real competitor to Wharton’s standing.   "Everyone" always assumed that the Chicago MBA was not as well balanced as PENN’s.  Of course, the job placement numbers and overall ranking at Chicago in recent years suggest that maybe this is not the case.  It did not hurt Chicago to have an admissions director who radically diversified who Chicago accepts and was also really, really good at marketing her program.  Of course, it also hurt Wharton that the person in question, Rose Martinelli, had been head of admissions at Wharton.  After Rose left Wharton, nothing really changed in the admissions office until they hired J.J. Cutler in 2009. For more about J.J. as well as my predication that he would shake things up in 2010, see here.  Now looking back on the staff changes, it seems J.J. was, indeed, brought in to clean house. J.J.  is a consumer marketing guy, not a finance guy.  His MBA is from Wharton.  For the first year of his tenure, he clearly studied what was going on and now he has acted: He blew up the old application that Wharton had been using with for years.  I have also noticed that some of the admissions team have changed.  You can find the admissions team here.  In sum, it is a new day at Wharton.  To add to this change, J.J. now oversees both admissions and career services.  BusinessWeek referred to this change as "a sharp reversal of traditional university administrator roles." The integration of admissions and career services under a single person is worth considering because what might mean is that the actual reality of the job market for Wharton grads is likely to be more directly communicated to admissions staff. Certainly it will be even more present in the thinking of J.J. It is therefore particularly important that one articulates goals in Essay 1 that are highly realistic.  

If you ask generic questions, you get generic answers.  Wharton’s essays had always been one of the easiest for my clients to handle.  In fact, my advice, both in this blog and to my clients,  had been to start with Wharton, Kellogg, or Tuck, but not anymore in regards to Wharton.  Unless you are only applying to Chicago and Wharton, I would never start with Wharton because (1) You will have more word count for your goals for almost any other top MBA program and (2) it is advantageous to have a portfolio of content prior to selecting which of the optional questions to write.  In fact,  this year, I eliminated paragraphs in both my HBS and Stanford analysis about them being bad schools to start with.  Given that MIT (no goals essay), Wharton (as will discuss here), and Chicago (4 pages to do whatever you want with, so better already have some content in place) are such bad schools to start with, I could not possibly tell anyone that the very well formed set of essay questions that Stanford asks is not good to start with.  Even with HBS, the questions themselves provide a significantly greater amount of overall direction and structure than you get with Wharton. 

In the preface to the Fall 2010 Essay Questions (They mean for entering in Fall 2011), the following is stated:
The Admissions Committee is interested in getting to know you on both a professional and personal level. We encourage you to be introspective, candid, and succinct. Most importantly, we suggest you be yourself.

This statement is really important because it provides some guidance as to what Wharton wants:

1.  Provide both personal and professional content.

2. Be personal and analytical, not merely descriptive.

3.  Make sure you are stating things as briefly and effectively as possible.  Don't waste your words.  Use them carefully. Keep your essays within the word count.  That is what "succinct" means! 


Required Question: What are your professional objectives? (300 words) 

You might think that 300 words is not enough to convey your professional objectives, but if you think that you don’t have to explain why you need an MBA in detail, it is not actually bad length.

If Columbia Essay 1 is an “Extended elevator pitch,” Wharton’s Required Question is an elevator pitch.  I suggest you read my analysis of CBS 1 now.  After you are finished, read the rest of this post.


1.     What do you imagine your professional future will look like?  You need to give Wharton admissions a very clear image of your future.  You may or may not include a chronological framework (Short, medium, and long term), but if you don’t, you better make sure that you are still presenting something that effectively combines both ambition and realism.  A purely abstract dream or visionary statement could easily come across as unrealistic or ungrounded if not handled carefully.  However you write this, have a strong first sentence that immediately answers the question.  For most applicants this probably means either stating your ultimate professional objective or a statement related to your professional vision.

2.     What motivates your professional objectives?  That is to say, why are these your objectives? While the question does not say “What are your professional objectives and why are they your objectives,” if you are going to be “introspective, candid” and “yourself,” as per Wharton’s overall instructions, you had better also explain “why.” Clearly a drawn-out explanation based on a detailed examination of your past experience cannot be conveyed here, so provide a clear analytical answer as why your goals are what they are.

3. SHOULD YOU MENTION WHARTON OR WHY YOU NEED AN MBA? Yes, if it helps to explain your professional objectives, but I would certainly keep such “Why MBA?” and “Why Wharton MBA?”  statements to mere logical argument and not focus on the details. Unless it is intuitively obvious why you need an MBA, it may very well make sense to briefly explain why in this essay.  For example, if you are already well on your way along a certain professional path and wish to stay on that path, it does make sense to explain why an MBA is necessary at this point in your career.  If you are changing careers, you might want to briefly mention that you view an MBA as necessary to make this change effectively. Of course a simple analytical explanation is all that I am talking about, not a full elaboration of all the possible benefits of an MBA in general or a Wharton MBA in particular.  Optional Essay 1 is the ideal place to discuss in detail why you need an MBA from Wharton.

Respond to 3 of the following 4 questions:

    Option 1: Student and alumni engagement has at times led to the creation of innovative classes. For example, through extraordinary efforts, a small group of current students partnered with faculty to create a timely course entitled, “Disaster Response: Haiti and Beyond,” empowering students to leverage the talented Wharton community to improve the lives of the Haiti earthquake victims. Similarly, Wharton students and alumni helped to create the “Innovation and the Indian Healthcare Industry” which took students to India where they studied the full range of healthcare issues in India. If you were able to create a Wharton course on any topic, what would it be? (700 words) 
    IF YOU HAVE ENOUGH TIME TO WORK ON THIS ESSAY, I suppose you could treat this one as optional, but frankly I think that would be particularly stupid.  Here is why:

    1. Unlike the other three optional questions, Wharton gives you up to 700 words for this one.  Why, I wonder?  For some reason, they think you will need more words for this one and consider it worth giving them to you.

    2.  This is the only question where you can easily discuss why you want to go to Wharton in detail.  I suppose you could try doing that with another one of these options, but if you did, it would not certainly not be focused on the actual question being asked.

    3.  This question is so unique that it is Wharton specific. That is to say, there really is no way you could have easily written this one for another school.   From my perspective, whenever a school asks such an optional question, it is always best to answer it if you really want to show your passion for the school.

    4.  I can't think of a better question for actually demonstrating both why you want to attend Wharton and also what you can contribute.


    What morons who answer this question will do: They will simply not focus on the actual question, but on the extended explanatory preface. In particular, they will look at the first sample course provided, Disaster Response: Haiti and Beyond,  and feel the obligation to address a pressing political, social and/or environmental issue even though their own goals as stated in Essay 1 have nothing to do with that. (Of course, if your goals relate to such issues, you should most certainly focus on them).   If they think deeply about the second example, Innovation and the Indian Healthcare Industry, perhaps they will avoid this error. This second course, while taking place in India, actually really is focused on a core area of Wharton's curriculum, healthcare management, as well as one of the country's covered by the Lauder program (Actually the newest track at Lauder is Hindi).

    The core question:  If you were able to create a Wharton course on any topic, what would it be? 

    The short answer to this question: A course on a topic that would really relate to your goals as discussed in Essay 1.

    The above sentence is my core strategic advice for this question.  What follows is just a discussion of mechanics.

    Steps for Answering this Question:

    1. Identify a topic that really relates to your goals.

    2. Identify resources at Wharton (faculty, research activities, clubs) that would support this course.  If no such resources exist, ask yourself whether this is really a course that Wharton would or should offer?  Consider that your proposed course represents a really core academic need that you have, if admissions readers at Wharton can't see the connection between your needs and their school, you lose. I would treat this as an opportunity to explain what you want from Wharton, so if Wharton really has nothing to support your proposed class, find another class.

    3.  Think about what research questions the course would address.  YOU DON'T NEED ANSWERS, BUT YOU DO NEED QUESTIONS.  In fact, if you have all the answers, you don't actually need to take the course.  Assume that the questions you wish to address are not only your questions, but ones that would appeal to other students.  If you ask your questions in such a narrow manner that they only relate to your goals,  there is good chance that the admissions reader will decide that you can't actually propose a viable course.  That would be a bad conclusion for the reader to come to.

    4.  Be willing to do some background reading so you sound like you know what you are talking about.  You need not be an expert, but you must have sufficient command of the basic facts to explain what the course would be, why it is worth offering, why it is interesting to you, why it would be interesting to other students, what resources at Wharton could be utilized for it, what core issues would be examined, and what the expected impact of the course might be on the participants.  Here are some possible sources of information:

    From the Business Schools: Feed your brain with cutting-edge ideas from the best business schools in the world. Start with Knowledge @ Wharton. Other great sources of information include Stanford Social Innovation Review, Harvard Working Knowledge, Harvard Business Review, Harvard Business School Publishing, University of Chicago GSB's Working Papers, The University of Chicago's Capital Ideas, and MIT Sloan Management Review.

    You may also want to do a search on iTunes for podcasts: My favorites are Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders (from the Stanford School of Engineering, but totally relevant to MBA), Chicago GSB Podcast, Net Impact, and Harvard Business IdeaCast. INSEAD, IMD, LBS, and, of course, Wharton also has podcasts.

    5. If appropriate, bring your own past experience into your discussion of the course.  This will show how you can contribute not only your perspective, but also your past experience to the course.  If you are selecting something where you don't think your past experience is particularly relavant, that is fine as long as the topic clearly aligns well with your goals, which it should do in any case.  

    Option 2: Reflect on a time when you turned down an opportunity. What was the thought process behind your decision? Would you make the same decision today? (600 words)


    TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
    And sorry I could not travel both
    And be one traveler, long I stood
    And looked down one as far as I could
    To where it bent in the undergrowth;        5
    Then took the other, as just as fair,
    And having perhaps the better claim,
    Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
    Though as for that the passing there
    Had worn them really about the same,        10
    And both that morning equally lay
    In leaves no step had trodden black.
    Oh, I kept the first for another day!
    Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
    I doubted if I should ever come back.        15
    I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.        20
    This must be the single most quoted poem in MBA essays. Don't use it.  Don't use any poems, unless you write it.  I have nothing against poetry. I like Robert Frost and even the sentiment expressed in this poem. You might be wondering why I am starting this, especially because the question is focused on an opportunity that you did take. The reason is very simple, if you did not take one opportunity, you had to have taken another. To connect to Frost, you either choose one road or your choose another.

    This is really a great question because it can be used in so many ways.
    Opportunities take many forms, so to help you focus your thinking about this one:

    1. Think about a situation were you really did have a viable opportunity and choose not to take it.  I stress the word "viable." If the opportunity you turned down was not really viable, it will make for an effective topic.

    2. Think about why choose not to take this opportunity. You must be able to explain your reasoning very clearly. I would say that a least a third of the essay should focus on explaining your reasoning at the time.

    3.  Think about whether you made the right decision.  The interesting thing about this question is that you may or may not have made the right decision.  This essay, can, in fact, be used to discuss a bad decision. If you do so, I don't suggest also writing on Essay Optional Three (Failure) as your overall set would perhaps not necessarily provide you with sufficient opportunity to focus on your accomplishments.  If you think you made the right decision, explain why.  If you think your decision was both right and wrong, be careful because you may find it difficult to provide an effective response in the space provided.

    This topic lends itself well to employment, academic, and personal opportunities (I can't suggest covering romantic opportunities that you turned down).  Your answer may very well have an ethical dimension to it.  Also, depending on the situation, it might very well focus on your leadership abilities.

    I think Wharton is asking this question so that they can really asses the way you think.  Help them understand that you posses the capability for both explaining your past thought process as well your present perspective.

    Option 3: Describe a failure that you have experienced. What role did you play, and what did you learn about yourself? How did this experience help to create your definition of failure? (600 words) 

    The only part of this entire essay that I could really utilize from my analysis of Wharton from prior years was part of the following. The last part of the question is the twist.

    EVERYTHING BUT THE TWIST: Describe a failure that you have experienced. What role did you play, and what did you learn about yourself? 

    It is critical that you learned something meaningful about yourself. And your learning about yourself has to have been be important, otherwise why tell admissions about it? Here is a standard definition of failure:

    FAILURE: 1. The condition or fact of not achieving the desired end or ends: the failure of an experiment. 2. One that fails: a failure at one's career. 3. The condition or fact of being insufficient or falling short: a crop failure. 4. A cessation of proper functioning or performance: a power failure. 5. Nonperformance of what is requested or expected; omission: failure to report a change of address. 6. The act or fact of failing to pass a course, test, or assignment. 7. A decline in strength or effectiveness.

    The key constraint of this question is that whatever the failure is, you have learned something important about yourself from it. While not stated, you may very well find that one way of showing what you learned is to discuss how you applied your lesson to a new situation. I would, in fact, argue that the heart of any sort of "failure question," whether it is an essay question or an interview is what you learned. Also depending on what your role was, how you reacted to the failure or mistake is also very important.
    The basic components of an answer: 1. Clearly state what the failure was.
    2. Clearly state your role. 3. Explain how you reacted to the situation. 4. Explain what you learned about yourself.

    THE TWIST: How did this experience help to create your definition of failure?

    I have intentionally separated out this part of the question because it actually stands apart.  It is a reflection on the prior part of the question. In essence, they are asking you to consider not only learned from this particular failure, but what you learned about failure in general. Now, why would they do that?

    I think the twist can actually looked at as product of our times. The financial crisis that began in 2008, the Lehman Shock, as it is sometimes known, really was a massive failure that we all, to a greater or lesser extent are living in the shadow of.  Such generational business traumas necessarily reflect themselves in the kind of questions that schools ask.  Consider that Enron and similar scandals involving MBAs lead to a rise in ethics questions both in MBA applications and interviews, not to mention in curriculum. We are living in a time of failure. Hence it is reasonable to ask you to reflect on your own definition of failure. 

    The twist can also be looked at as another way for Wharton to determine the depth of your thinking. It is easy to enough for almost anyone to explain what the learned from a failure, but it requires a further level of reflection to actually explain how that failure impacted your overall definition of failure. 

    BUT I DON'T HAVE A DEFINITION OF FAILURE!  Well there are two options:
    1. Don't write on this topic because you avoid it by selecting the other three.
    2.  Come up with definition of failure that aligns well with the failure story and learning that you will discuss in the first part of this essay

    Option 4: Discuss a time when you navigated a challenging experience in either a personal or professional relationship. (600 words)
    After the failure bummer question I just discussed, I think it is time for a musical interlude.

    Just as the title of this classic Jimi Hendrix song, Wharton is asking "Are you experienced?"  If you have never experienced navigating a challenging personal or professional relationship, you are not actually a human being. Which is it to say, that anyone can answer this question.  To be human is struggle in our relationships with other people.  The topics for this one are too numerous to mention, but here are a few likely themes: trust, empathy, courage, ethics, emotional maturity, stress management, teaching others, learning from others, negotiating, ending a relationship, establishing a relationship, repairing a relationship, working in a team, leading a team, interacting with a subordinate, interacting with a supervisor, and disagreeing with someone.  As with Essay Option 2, I can't recommend writing about a romantic personal challenge. If you select this topic, it is important that if you write Essay Option 3 (Failure), you don't make this challenging relationship a failure story.

    This question is  a behavioral question.  For a full discuss of such questions as well as some other examples of such questions, please see my analysis of MIT and Stanford Essay 3.

    This really essay is a great way of focusing on how you interact with other people.  It is perfect designed to highlight soft skills.  Keep the focus of the essay on the relationship itself.  How did you work through whatever personal or professional challenges you faced when dealing with a particular individual or group?  Effective answers will provide a sufficient explanation about who you were interacting with and explain exactly why you found this situation so challenging.

    Given the available word count, there really is sufficient space here to provide a very detailed analysis of the challenging interaction you experienced.   While not applicable to all stories, the leadership grid that discuss in my MIT and Stanford 3 analysis is highly to be applicable to this essay.  While you must explain the challenge you encountered, it is equally important that you explain how you worked through the experience.

    Finally, while it is not necessary to explain what you learned  from the experience, since the question does not ask that, make sure you are providing a strong interpretation and not just a description.

    In my next Wharton post, I will deal with the Lauder questions, after that, I will update (as necessary), my previous post on the Wharton application form.

    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

      September 09, 2010

      Guest Blogger: 河野太一のGMAT OG12解説 SC17

      This is another post from Taichi Kono, author of two textbooks on TOEFL and one on TOEIC and a highly experienced TOEFL, TOEIC, and GMAT instructor. Most of his posts will be in Japanese. This post is on GMAT sentence correction. His other posts can be found here.


      河 野塾代表の河野太一です。年来の友人であるAdam Markusさんのご厚意で、"The Official Guide for GMAT Review, 12th Edition"の解説ブログの内容の一部をこちらにアップさせていただくことになりました。オリジナルは河野太一のGMAT OG12解説でご覧いただけます。なお、オリジナルのほうは予告なく内容を変更することがあり、ここに上げたものと相違があることがありますのでご了承ください。私のこれまでの記事やGMAT以外の話題についてはこちらをご覧ください。

      選 択肢の短さを見る限り簡単な問題で、下線部の前後だけ見れば解けそうに思えるが、筆者はそのような問題でも大きな文構造を、ラフにでもよいから把握するこ とをおすすめする。この問題で言えば、一見して並列がポイントとなっているが、その並列部分が本文のどこと対応するのかを探さなければならない。下線部か ら前に遡って対応箇所を探していくやり方で簡単に解けることもあるが、それは結果論だ。焦りや思い込みのせいで、もっと前のほうに対応箇所があるにもかか わらず、そこにたどり着く以前に他の部分を対応箇所と勘違いをしてしまうこともある。文を前からたどって大きな構造だけでも把握しておけば、そのような間 違いを減らすことができ、かつ結局のところ速く解けることが多い。

      ここではThe commission (S) has directed (V)が主節であること、その後はずっと修飾要素で、that節は動詞がdo not containと複数受けであることと「含む」という意味から、直前のfoodsにかかる関係詞節であることが見抜ければよい。そこまで見れば、下線部が 主節またはその一部と並列されているのではなく、that節の中で働いている可能性が高いことがわかる。

      では何が並列されているのかの検 討に入る。ヒントはカンマ2つに挟まれたchemical preservatives。これで名詞が並列されていることがわかり、containの後ろから始まって、... additives, chemical preservatives, and/or N、というA, B, and Cの構造になることが想定できる。この時点で(B)はアウト。ちなみにcolorの後ろのorはcolorとflavorを結び、「名詞の形容詞化」で後 ろのadditivesにつないでいるだけ。つまり細かくは、1 or 2A, B, and Cという構造。このように大きな並列構造の中に小さな並列構造が含まれていることはよくあるので、どれがどこまでを結んでいるのかを見極めなければならな い。

      残りの選択肢ではnothingかanythingかを選ばなければならないようだ。この2つを選ぶときのコツは下線部以外の部分 に否定語を探すこと。ここではcontainの前にdo notがある。nothingでは二重否定になってしまうので、(A)と(C)はアウト。

      (D) と(E)の選択はやや難しい。andとorは文法的には同じ働きであり、意味もどちらでも通じるように思えるからだ。that has beenの有無がポイントかとも考えるが、(E)はanythingの後ろにdone形容詞が置かれている形と考えれば文法的にはあり得る。逆にthat has beenを不要とする理由もない。やはりandとorの意味的差異がポイント。andだと並列されているすべての要素をfoodの中にcontainする ことになるが、orなら一個だけでもよいことになる。意味的にもorのほうがしっくりくるし、color or flavor additivesの部分にorが使われているのもヒント。



      Dartmouth Tuck MBA Essay Questions for Academic Year 2011-12

      In this post I analyze the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth MBA Application Essay Questions for Academic Year 2011–12 (Fall 2011). Question Three has changed from the previous year and have also updated and/or significantly revised some other parts of my analysis.  To read a testimonial by one my two clients accepted for Tuck for Fall 2010, see here. 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 2010 and 
      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.

       While did not attend a Tuck presentation in 2010, I attended last
      September's Tokyo Reception. It appeared that about 50-60 applicants were in attendance as well as a number alumni 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.

      Especially in regards to the community aspect, I suggest reading the Q&A I conducted with  a member of the Class of 2011.   In particular:

      Adam: What is the Tuck community like? 
      Tuck 2011: The Tuck community is like family. Literally for those who live on campus since they spend most of time together. Everybody is friendly and you don't need to worry about making friends here. From an academic point of view, collaboration between students is highly emphasized in Tuck and you will experience and learn to work together with others.
      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 afterwords. 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 2011–12
      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 analysis as it applies here. Keep in mind the real importance of the second part of the question. Tuck's program is small with a target class  240.  According to BusinessWeek, for the Fall 2009 entering class, Tuck admitted 19% of 2804 applicants who applied, so making the case that you really belong is critical. The yield was 49% (admitted who attend). These numbers are worth bearing in mind. On the one hand, Tuck is relatively difficult to enter, but on the other, it is often not the first choice of those it admits. You can be certain that  those 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?
      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.

      "inspiring others to strive and enabling them to accomplish great things"
      Tuck is specifically concerned with your ability to work effectively with other people and to positively impact them.  A key constraint of the essay is that the story you tell must involve influencing and empowering other people.  Otherwise, it does not really matter whether the story you tell is about a  professional or personal topic.   My suggestion is that you tell your best possible story demonstrating your ability to lead others.

      I have developed the following grid to help you outline a leadership stories. The categories this grid employs may go beyond any particular schools essay requirements. Filling it out completely will help you write about your leadership in a way that will help convince admissions of your leadership potential. CLICK TO ENLARGE.

      How to use the grid:

      1. Decide on a specific story.

      2. Identify the most significant things you did in the situation, these are you action steps.
      3. For each action step identify:

      • What skills or qualities you demonstrated to complete this step.
      • The strengths you demonstrated to complete this step.
      • The kind of leadership you demonstrated.
      • What you still need to learn about leadership.
      4. Think about the results and identify how they relate to your action steps. So, at minimum, you should be able to state the impact on others and/or yourself.

      5. After completing the chart you will see that some aspects of your action steps may be repeated. If there is a total duplication and nothing new is shown, either you need to redefine the action step or you may decide not to focus on it very much.

      6. Once you think you have two to four fully worked-out action steps for two to three stories, start writing your essay.

      7. Next start re-writing. Eliminate duplicate points made between action steps. Make choices about what parts of each action to step to highlight. Given that there are usually word limits, you will have to make some decisions about what to include. Simply providing a description of your actions, is not enough. Consider what it signifies about you. Consider what your actions reveals about your leadership potential.
      Thinking and writing about leadership is an important part of preparing for interviews because you can be certain that you will have to talk about leadership. So, you might find that the parts of the outline you jettison now will become valuable when you will want to have alternative stories for your Tuck interview.

       "what areas do you feel you need to develop in order to be a better leader?"
      I will state the obvious:  You clearly want to link what you need with Tuck!   Think about what you need in relationship to your career goals.  Don't worry if there is some discontinuity between your leadership story and your needs as they may or may not well connect.  This is a test of your ability to honestly assess your own limitations, not just as a leader, but more generally.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. It is important that you demonstrate the self-critical capacity expected at Tuck.

      3. What is the greatest challenge or hurdle you have overcome, either personally or professionally, and how did you manage to do so?
      This question is new for this year.  It is an ideal place to discuss a personal or professional accomplishment that was truly hard.  An effective answer will:

      1. Clearly explain what the challenge or hurdle was.

      2. Answer why you consider it your greatest challenge or hurdle.  I know that many applicants are likely to worry about whether their greatest challenge is impressive enough.  Most applicants should not worry about this as long as they can clearly explain why they considered the situation they faced to be their greatest challenge or hurdle.  While some situations might seem like obvious challenges or hurdles (Overcoming a terrible affliction, facing death in a combat situation, prolonged unemployment, recovering from bankruptcy, etc.), even in such situations, you still must provide an explanation.  The highly subjective  nature of this question requires it.

      3. Explain what steps you took to overcome it. Just as an in my analysis of Essay 2 above, treat each action step that made it possible for your overcome what you faced as an opportunity to not only state what you did, but to interpret it for the purposes of highlighting your strengths. At least 50% of the essay should focus on this. 

      A key question to ask yourself after you have a first draft: Do you really believe what you wrote? 

      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. 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.
      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.
      This is primarily a place for explaining something potentially negative. Under no circumstances include an essay written for another school.  It is fine to write about something positive here, but just make sure that it is something they really need to know.  It really is certainly fine to write nothing here.

      Finally, if you need to prepare for a Tuck interview, please see 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

      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

      September 06, 2010

      Oxford Said Fall 2011 Admission

      For Fall 2011 admission, I have somewhat revised my post on the Oxford Said Business School MBA application essay questions from my previous post. I have taken the questions from the Online Application.

      SHORTER ESSAYS:  The only thing that has changed is the length of the essays.  Essay 1 was 1000 words maximum and now is 750 words maximum.  Essay 2 was 2000 words maximum and now is 1000 words maximum.  

      THERE IS MORE THAN JUST THE TWO ESSAYS DISCUSSED BELOW: Also do keep in mind that the Oxford application form contains significant space to write "essay like" content:

      -FOR EACH PROFESSIONAL POSITION: 5000 characters maximum
      -HOBBIES: 7900 characters maximum.

      My clients have found it helpful to make full use of this space provided.  Considering that Oxford takes a CV as well, there is really plenty of room here to highlight ones professional accomplishments in ways that can't be fully accounted for in the two essays below.

      Oxford has two essay questions.

      1)Explain why you chose your current job. How do you hope to see your career developing over the next five years? How will an MBA assist you in the development of these ambitions? Maximum 750 words. 
      The question actually breaks intro three parts, so we will look at each piece.

      "Explain why you chose your current job."
      I think without being explicit about it, Oxford is engaging in a bit of behavioral questioning here. Behavioral questions (See my analysis of MIT for more about this topic) are based on the idea that past behavior is the best guide to future behavior.  By understanding your rationale for taking your most recent job, Oxford can gain some insight into how you make choices. If they can understand how you make choices about jobs, they gain some insight into how you make other kinds of choices; About your career goals, why you want an MBA, and why you want one from Said.  To provide an effective answer you need to explain what motivated you to take your current position.  Multiple motivations are fine.  The important thing is that you provide an explanation for your decision, not a summary of all your professional experiences.    
      Bad answers to this part of Booth's question will either take the form of general summaries of past professional experience or even an overall interpretation of one's past experience. Said wants an analysis of your decision, not an analysis of all of the wonderful things you have learned from your past work.  Of course you will likely need to refer to a position (or positions) prior to the most recent one, but that does not mean that you should summarize those positions.  You would discuss such experience(s) only in order to explain why you chose your most recent position. 

      "How do you hope to see your career developing over the next five years?"
      Oxford Essay 1 is a completely practical question. Unlike schools like Stanford that ask about the applicant's "career aspirations", Oxford is looking for something more grounded and more specific: A FIVE YEAR PLAN. Note the ambiguity in the question itself, the plan maybe written from the perspective of the present or from the perspective of after one finishes the MBA. I advise clients to treat it as as post-MBA five year plan as I think that is implied by the presence of the third part of the question ("How will an MBA assist you in the development of these ambitions?"), but I would not insist on that. I think most applicants should treat it as a post-MBA five year plan, but if you prefer integrating the MBA directly into the plan, that is fine.

      A plan is practical. It has details. It shows you have really thought about what you want to do. It shows you have done research about your intended future employer and/or future entrepreneurial venture. It shows you are realistic. That does not mean that it should be boring or lack ambition, but it does mean that it has to rise beyond a level of mere abstraction. Treat it as seriously as you would treat a memo to your boss on the future direction of your department, a proposal to a client on an expensive project, or a business plan. Make sure you show how Oxford fits the plan. If you can't establish a tight connection between your plan and Oxford, either apply somewhere else or change your plan. And remember as long as you can speak effectively about your plan in an interview, the second after you are admitted, you have no obligation to stick to that plan.

      "How will an MBA assist you in the development of these ambitions?"
      While this question does not say an "MBA from Said," I would urge you to assume that.
      In this part of the question you need to explain why you need an MBA from Said. To really answer this question you need to know about Oxford. Fullly investigate what the program offers and how it will best help you.  BIG HINT: Find one or more professors and/or research focus areas at Oxford that really meet your needs as well as discussing more general aspects of the MBA program. 

       Which recent development, world event or book has most influenced your thinking and why? Maximum 1,000 words.
      This is "The Oxford Question" and just as Essay 1 is highly practical, this one is the place to think great thoughts, to show your personality, and to establish you fit at a school known for centuries as one of the great centers of scholarship. Over the years, I have worked with great applicants who used this question successfully to win admission to Oxford. For Fall 2010, I had two clients admitted and in Fall 2009, I had five clients admitted. You can find testimonials from four of them here
      In addition, I had the opportunity to work with additional admits on their Oxford interviews. Each told their own story. The things that were common to all, was a willingness to take on a big subject and to show their connection to it.

      THE RELEVANCE TEST: A great answer here will be on something relevant to why Oxford should admit you:
      - A concept or value that has influenced a major decision(s) you have made in your life
      -An important aspect of the way you view an issue critical to your goals
      -Your commitment to something greater than your own personal interest
      -Your inner intellectual life
      -Your ethical values
      -Some other aspect of who you are that will compel admissions to want to interview you

      A number of clients have successfully written on a recent development.  Obviously the impact of a recent development is much more time-limited than a world event or book. Your ability to integrate such a development- technological, environmental, cultural, political, economic, academic or social most likely- into your own experience can be a great way to show Oxford how you think about the changing world around you.  I have noticed that this topic seems to really easily connect to goals and can make for some of the most effective essays that I have read.

      While many recent developments are world events, not all world events are recent developments.  Did some world event in the past deeply impact your thinking?  If so, what was it?   This topic can work extremely well if you want to focus your essay on showing how something in the past impacted you.  This topic will likely make it possible for you to easily integrate your experiences into the essay.

      In many ways I consider this to be the most difficult topic to write on because it involves a question of taste.  You really need to think seriously about what sort of book is appropriate.  Based on working with clients, I suggest you select something that fits well with Oxford.  If the previous sentence is not specific enough, you need to learn more about the academic culture of the place.  Serious literature,  serious non-fiction, academic texts,  and classics are likely to be more effective than popular fiction,  popular business, self-help, or other popular non-fiction.  If  I sound like I am being a snob, it is because, at least based on what I can determine from working with a variety of clients, it is in your interest to follow my snob advice!  Know your audience and act accordingly.  This is not supposed to be a book report, so focus on directly connecting specific aspect(s) of a book to your thinking and most likely your actions.

      The thing that has influenced you is less important then how it is has influenced you.  A good answer will focus less on the recent development, world event, or book and more on its impact on you. Focus on those aspects of the development, world event, or book that specifically impacted you. Show how it has done so.

      Make certain that your explanation of the recent development, world event, or book is very clear as Oxford is using this question to determine your ability to analyze something. Be precise in your explanation and do not assume the reader has extensive knowledge of the subject. Even if the subject is well known, say "9/11" in the US, it would still be critical that you explain the exact impact of particular aspects of that event had on you.

      Finally, effective answers are always personal.  You may or may not be able to write about your accomplishments here, don't worry as long as it clearly helps Oxford admissions understand why they should interview you.

      English Requirements at Oxford
      Please see my earlier post on TOEFL and IELTS requirements for Oxford hereTake these requirements seriously because it seems to be clearly the case that Oxford is not making any exceptions to the minimums (TOEFL 109, IELTS 7.5) that were imposed on Said last year.   Said now joins HBS in having the highest English minimum test scores.

      Questions? Contact me directly at adammarkus@gmail.com. Please see my FAQ regarding the types of questions I will respond to. If you are looking for a highly experienced admissions consultant who is passionate about helping his clients succeed, please feel free to contact me at adammarkus@gmail.com to arrange an initial consultation. To learn more about my services, see here. Initial consultations are conducted by Skype or telephone. For clients in Tokyo, a free face-to-face consultation is possible after an initial Skype or telephone consultation. I only work with a limited number of clients per year and believe that an initial consultation is the best way to determine whether there is a good fit. Whether you use my service or another, I suggest making certain that the fit feels right to you.

      -Adam Markus
      アダム マーカス

      オックスフォード大学のビジネススクール MBA留学
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