ISB Essay Analysis 2020 – 2021

Reading Time: 16 minutes

Let us make a wild guess! You probably googled the words “ISB Essay Analysis” or some variation of that phrase to get here. You have most likely taken the GMAT, and you feel that you have a good shot at getting into ISB this year.

Except, there is one problem: you can’t get your head around the ISB Application Essays.

We get it! You probably haven’t written an essay in a long time—let alone MBA application essays that require you to probe into the deepest corners of your mind. Still, you wrote drafts, rewrote them a couple of times, only to delete them in the end. Now you are so frustrated, you want to give up altogether.

All of this can be overwhelming, but chin up! We are here, and you have come to the right place.

In this article, we will take you behind the scenes to analyze what exactly ISB is looking for through the essays. Then, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to tackle the ISB Application Essays this year.

We will be touching upon the following sections:

  1. Important Dates and Rounds for ISB
  2. ISB MBA Application Essay Analysis
  3. What does ISB look for in Applicants?
  4. Typical Applicant Categories at ISB
  5. How to Write to Impress the ISB AdCom

Let’s get started right away!

1. Important dates and rounds for ISB

Let’s look at the dates released by ISB for this year:

ISB deadlines 2019

A note above this Admission Calendar on the ISB website reads, “Though applying in either round does not impact your chances of securing an admission offer, we encourage you to apply in Round 1 to improve your chances of receiving a scholarship.”

As per the ISB official website, here are a few reasons why you should be doing so:

  • Full tuition fee waivers will be offered only to Round 1 applicants
  • 50% of all merit and need-based waivers will be offered to Round 1 applicants

So, is applying in Round 1 actually advantageous?

One thing is for sure: pushing for applications in Round 1 is a marketing strategy to ensure that ISB is your first choice (plus the added advantages given above).

We recommend that you apply when your chances of an admit are really high. For example, if you think you need to retake the GMAT, then apply in Round 2 or 3, skipping Round 1. On the other hand, if you have a strong profile and a well-written application, the rounds don’t really matter. Your chances of getting in will not be affected by which round you choose.

However, if you decide to apply for Round 1, you will have more time to prepare for your MBA. In case you didn’t know, after your confirmation, ISB will send you prep materials to study. You don’t have to go through it, but if you do, it will help you perform better during your course.

Now, let’s try and understand how to tackle the ISB essays!

2. ISB Application Essay Analysis 2020-21

This year too, as it has done traditionally, ISB has stuck to two themes:

  1. Tell us how you are different from others
  2. Tell us why you want the ISB PGP


On the face of it, the premises seem simple, but let us dig deep into what ISB really wants to see in the essays.

Essay Question 1

There will be 900 students in the Class of 2021. Why should you be one of them? (400 words)


A. What is ISB looking for?

This essay is essentially asking WHO you are.

Think of it this way:

ISB already has your undergraduate transcripts, your GMAT/GRE scores, your work experience, your application form, your extracurricular activities, the awards and recognition you have received, and letters from your recommenders detailing your strengths and weaknesses.

Ask yourself: Why does ISB still want me to write this essay?

The answer is clear:

ISB wants to know more about you than what the numbers, statistics, and records collectively reveal.

What they want to know is what makes you who you are. They want to get a sense of what you would be like in their classroom.

And you have a generous 400 words to show them exactly that.

B. How to approach this essay

There are many ways to approach this essay. But we recommend telling two stories that showcase your personality.

Pick one personal story and one work-related story, so that it presents a holistic picture of your personality.

Now, if you’ve mentioned some achievements in your profile, you might think you shouldn’t talk about the same stuff again.

But here’s the thing:

Sometimes, the story behind an achievement can reveal a lot that the achievement itself does not.

The story can talk about what makes something an achievement rather than it simply being something you once did. But more importantly, the story can show the AdCom what drives you, what you’re capable of, and what makes you who you are.

And, as we said before, that’s what they’re expecting from this essay, too.

The question then is, how do you tell these stories for maximum effect?

We recommend that you should use the START framework to tell your stories in the best manner possible. The START framework is:

Situation: Explain the background in which this story takes place
Task: Highlight what specific requirement had to be addressed
Action: Write about the steps you took to complete your task
Results: Elaborate on the direct outcome of your actions
Takeaways: Talk about what you learned from that experience

Before you start writing the essays, sit down with a bunch of post-it notes and do this:

Write down everything you would like to say about yourself, with one idea per post-it. Ask your friends or family for help if you have trouble recollecting stories that highlight your strengths.

Once you have it all written down, try to pass each of them through these three tests:

    1. Relevancy Test:

– Is it relevant to your application?
– Does it showcase your capability?

    1. Recency Test:

– Is this something that happened in the last 2-3 years?
– If from earlier, does it have an overarching impact on me?

    1. Uniqueness Test:

– Is this something that is different from what my peer group does?
– Does this help differentiate my candidature from others?

In the end, you will be left with the top 2-3 incidents or stories you should write about. Once you decide which stories you’re going to go with, you can start structuring your essay.

It is critical to structure your stories well, otherwise, their entire impact could be lost. In the next section, we take you through the best way to structure your essay.

C. How to structure your essays

We’re pretty sure you know at least one person who is just really bad at telling stories. Some people tend to tell stories so badly that even the most inspiring stories come out sounding insipid and boring.

You do not want to be that person while writing your ISB MBA Application Essays.

To ensure that your stories make a great impression, you will need to structure them carefully. Since there are two stories in your essay, here’s a format that we recommend you should follow:

  • Introduction – 50 words. This is the preamble to the essay.
  • Story #1 – 150 words. Set the context, describe the incident, and highlight the personality trait you want to emphasize through the story.
  • Story #2 – 150 words. Repeat what you did for story #1.
  • Closing – 50 words. In this conclusion, try to come back full circle and tie this to what you opened the essay with.

Note that a well-rounded essay will get you extra brownie points for driving the central point home.

This structure follows a simple pattern:

  • State the traits of your personality that want to talk about.
  • Demonstrate that you have those traits by narrating incidents from your life.
  • Reinforce the idea that it is a trait and not a one-off.
  • Convince your readers by looping to the start and completing the circle.

Here’s the scary part, though:

You could follow all this to the T and still end up sounding ineffectual unless you avoid some critical mistakes people often make.

We discuss the most common mistakes people make on application essays and how to avoid them in the next section.

D. What NOT to do in this essay

Here we describe the most common mistakes that people make. We also tell you how to avoid falling into these same traps.

Let’s take a look!

    • Rewriting from your resume

If there are things you have mentioned in detail elsewhere in your application, do not rewrite include it in the essay. Just focus on the subjective parts of the story to reveal the person behind the numbers.

    • Explaining in too much detail

Wasting valuable space explaining the problem in so much detail that you are left with no space to explain your personal takeaways and contribution to ISB. Remember that the details can be explained in the interview.

    • Stuffing

Trying to mention too many qualities and ending up with nothing memorable. For example, if you say you are empathetic, creative, passionate, honest, responsible, kind, courageous, self-aware, a life-long learner, a good listener, a strong leader. . . You get the drift, right? It’ll never work! Stick to just 2-3 adjectives and drive home the point.

Keep in mind that there is a word limit to this essay. You have to be able to say everything you need within that limit.

Now, let’s move on to the next ISB MBA Application Essay Question.

Predict your Chances of Getting an Interview Call from ISB


Essay Question 2

What will you be doing in 2025 and 2030? How will the ISB PGP help you to achieve these goals? (400 words)


A. What is ISB looking for?

In our opinion, this is nothing but a short-term and long-term career goals essay.

ISB wants to make sure you’re not just another “cubicle rat” who only wants a higher salary and is willing to do anything for it. They don’t want people who have only vague ideas about what they want from their careers.

ISB wants to know if you have enough clarity about your goals to know what you really want.

Here are a few more aspects that ISB will look for in this essay:

    • High Employability – Someone who won’t have to struggle to find a job after graduating.


    • Realistic Expectations – Someone who knows exactly what she can gain from ISB rather than expecting it to be Alladin’s magic lamp.


  • Clarity of Thought – Someone who knows not only where to get to in life but also how to get there.

Given this, it is important that you come across as a person who has a “plan” in place through this essay.

It is also important that you don’t fall for the typical internet-based myths about ISB MBA Applications. You should also read about 14 Post-MBA Career Questions that ISB answers before moving further! (Just to be on the safe side of things.)

The next section details how you should approach this essay.

B. How to approach this essay

There are three parts to this essay:

  1. Your 2025 Goal
  2. Your 2030 Goal, and
  3. How you think ISB’s PGP will help you.

So, you need to figure out three answers.

For the first answer, you need to start by identifying your career goal for 2025.

Here are three things to think about to help you arrive at your answer:

    • Function: Figure out the role in which you see yourself. Do you want to be in Consulting, Finance, Marketing, Operations, or HR? Pick anyone you like!


    • Industry: Since any function will have applications in every industry, pick out the one you want to be in.


  • Geography: Do you want to stay in India or go abroad? In the case of the latter, where exactly do you see yourself?

You can even use LinkedIn for Students in your research to see the kind of positions you could get into after your PGP.

Once you elaborate on your 2025 goal, the 2030 goal becomes sort of self-evident.

That will take care of the second part of the question. We recommend not getting into too much detail on the 2030 goal because you can only write 400 words. The AdCom will be okay with getting an idea that you know where you’re heading.

To address the third part of the question, spend some time researching how ISB will help you meet your goals.

Remember, ISB also wants prospective candidates to know that it can help them meet their goals. So, a significant amount of their own content could give you the answer to how this PGP will help you. Start by taking a look at the ISB website.

Soon enough, you will have answers to the “what you need to say” part of this essay.

Now, we move on to talking about how you should say it for maximum effect.

C. How to structure your essay

The three things to talk about in this essay are your 2025 goal, your 2030 goal, and how the PGP will help you to achieve them.

To do justice to each answer, here’s how we suggest you should divide your essay:

  • 1. Career Goals – 150 to 200 words
  • 2. How this PGP will help you achieve your goals – 200 to 250 words

Now, let’s discuss this in some more detail.

Since this is a rather direct question, you can get straight to the point in your answer. Talk about the job you want to do and the kind of company you want to be working for in 2025. It’s critical to mention the function, industry, company size, and location you’ve thought of.

Do this in about 150-170 words.

Don’t get into too much detail about the 2030 goal; just make sure that it logically follows your 2025 goal. Try to wrap up both the answers within 200 words.

The next part is the most important; it’s about how ISB’s PGP will help you achieve these goals.

Start with the tools you will need in order to achieve your goal. For example, if you have a background in marketing, you’ll need to understand how Finance, Operations, and Logistics work to get into a management role. So, you need cross-functional knowledge.

Similarly, you also need leadership and team management skills. Talk about how the PGP will help you gain these things. Also, mention how ISB’s vast network and brand value will help speed up the whole process of achieving your goals.

Conclude with a single line that summarizes the essence of what your essay is about.

D. What NOT to do in this essay

There are many obvious things that aren’t even worth mentioning here, like making grammatical mistakes or typographical errors. It’s a given that you’ll be avoiding those things.

Here’s the slightly less obvious stuff you need to actively avoid:

    • Set Unrealistic Goals

Make sure your career goals are high enough to make ISB believe that you wouldn’t achieve it without their PGP. But make sure that it’s also realistic enough that it sounds like it can be done. This makes it convincing and makes you look like a person with a plan.

    • Repeating Things

Reiterating something for emphasis is quite different from repeating the same thing. When you reiterate, it is adding more value or significance. But repeating is where you’re adding nothing new by saying the same thing. There isn’t enough space for you to do this!

    • Being Vague

Whether it is in your praise for ISB or in your description of your career goals, make sure you’re specific. Wanting to “dedicate the year to learning, self-discovery, and exploration of possible careers” may sound very cool, but it shows the exact absence of focus that ISB will want to avoid.

Predict your Chances of Getting an Interview Call from ISB

Let’s now turn to what ISB wants in your personality.

3. What does ISB look for in applicants?

To be quite straightforward, there are three basic things that ISB wants from applicants: 

A. Academic Credentials

This would be your 12th standard grades, graduation grades, post graduation and certification scores and, of course, the all-important: GMAT/GRE score. Here is our analysis of the GMAT and GRE scores needed for ISB:

5 Things You Should know about GRE Scores for ISB

The Secret Behind the GMAT Score for ISB

If you’ve scored less than 700 on the GMAT, read about your chances at ISB with less than a GMAT 700

B. Leadership Potential

To quote the ISB site: “Applicants are evaluated on the basis of the impact they have made in their past professional and personal life.”

What this essentially means is this: tell us something that was a big deal. Either at work or outside of it.

This should be quantifiable. Typically this can be measured by out of turn promotions, and/or awards that attest your achievement. 

C. Personal Attributes

To quote from the site again: “At ISB, we would look for versatile and well-rounded individuals who can contribute to the society in positive and meaningful ways.”

Essentially this means: We don’t want self-absorbed people who cannot look beyond their own personal gain. We want people who can be team players because almost all the activities at ISB are organized by students.

Also, given that ISB follows the “case study” methodology, it is important to have a diverse opinion in the classroom so that the quality of participation is higher. This is good news for people who bring in a different perspective.

Here are some of the myths that stop people with lower GMAT scores and higher work experience from applying to ISB.

As long as you have these three attributes, you stand a good chance to get an admit! 

4. How does ISB Categorize Applicants?

ISB has never officially revealed this information, but you need to know the answer to improve your chances of getting in. So, we’re giving you our analysis of the categories that we think you could fall into.

A school like ISB will typically have 4 types of applicants. Let’s take a look at each type: 

A. High Achievers

So you have been a topper/ranker/any-term-that-says-you’re-a-high-achiever all of your life. You typically went to one of the IITs and ended up with a high GMAT score. Moreover, you work for an employer that most people would die (or kill) for.

You have a very high chance of getting in! You already know this.

But, a word of caution:

You need to ensure you navigate through this application process carefully. You don’t want to be misunderstood as either an 800-pound alpha male who suffers from low EQ or an applicant who is aiming for the top 10 US B-schools but wants ISB on “standby” mode. 

B. Diversity Candidates

Let’s say you work for a very underrepresented industry. Say, you are a NIFT graduate working in the merchandising department with Levi Strauss. Or you are a doctor who practices in the Vidarbha region. Or you could be an Army major who served on the Siachen glacier.

ISB would love to have you in the class to improve its diversity.

There is only one thing for you to be worried about:

Most people in this category end up not having great GMAT scores. You might still have a shot if your score is above 600. (Read: Sub-700 GMAT Score – What are your chances at ISB?) So, you need to help address concerns about your ability to manage the coursework. The second part of the concern would be addressing one crucial point: no one in your industry “needs” an MBA so “why” do you. If you can articulate clearly how an MBA is going to help you, then you should pretty much nail the application.

Note: Though women applicants are favored, you won’t be in this group if you are from the typical pre-MBA industries of IT, Finance, etc. 

C. Poor Profiles

You could have one of these three issues in your application:

  • You have a gap in your academic record—typically patchy with “breaks”
  • Your experience level is on the lower side—again with some gaps
  • Your GMAT score is about 50-point lower than your peer group’s

In some cases, you may have more than one issue to tackle.

If retaking the GMAT is out of the question for you, then our recommendation is to focus on the unique traits and characteristics in your personality. Write kicka$$ essays and pray that you get an interview call. And if you do get an interview call, dazzle the interview panel with your wit, personality, and humor. Do you get the drift? So you need to really outshine in the other departments!

D. Demographically Disadvantaged

Suppose you fall in this category. You have a decent GMAT score: 680-720 types. You have decent academics (top 25%) from a decent college (think: DCE, RVCE, PEC, etc). You work in a very traditional industry (IT, Finance, Operations) with an employer who recruits heavily from campuses (TCS, Wipro, Infosys, PwC, Deloitte, KPMG, Reliance, Tata).

There is nothing wrong with your profile, but ISB might be confused on how to evaluate you. There are just too many of your ilk applying this year. With the startup scene slowing down, and tech & manufacturing sector not looking very rosy in the face of automation—there are just a LOT of applicants this year who have similar profiles as yours.

So what do you do:

Here are 3 key things you need to do:

Differentiate! Differentiate! Differentiate!

The biggest mistake people make is that they try to “fit in”. They will say the same things that everyone else is saying and pick the same post-MBA goals (consulting). So the essays read the same “I was working on this tough project, the client was demanding, and my boss had quit—so I stepped up to the task, worked late hours, and won laurels for completing the project on time.

Here is a simple exercise. Create an imaginary character. Let’s call him Amit.

Amit has a profile “similar” to yours but just a little better.

So, if you have 3 years working in Infosys, Amit has 4 years experience working in Microsoft.

If you have graduated from BITS Pilani then Amit has graduated from IIT-Delhi.

If you have a 720 on the GMAT then Amit has a 740 on it.

Do you get the picture? Everything like you—but just a little better.

So, the challenge you have now is: how do I convince ISB that I am better than “Amit”.

Note: For women applicants, just replace Amit with Anjali 🙂

The idea is that you have to fit into one of these four categories. If you haven’t already understood where you fit in, seek help from a friend or another third person. Finding out where you stand will have a major impact on how you need to frame your application. So, make sure you find out before you start writing your essays! 

5. How to write to impress the ISB Adcom

Okay, we know the heading sounds interesting but the answer is quite contrary to what you might expect:

Do not attempt to impress the ISB AdCom!!

Not only will they be able to see that you are not being yourself, but you will also do a great disservice to yourself by sounding similar to all the other applicants!

Being yourself can be a pretty daunting task. Not only do you need to figure out who you are but you also have to be that person!

Still, that’s the strategy we recommend strongly. 

Here are 10 Things to Check Before Submitting Your ISB Application Essays

1. Make sure you have answered the question and that you did not move away from the topic. This typically happens when we write/edit/proofread multiple times.

2. Ensure that you clearly state your point and not leave it to the reader’s imagination. It is important not to let anything be assumed and consequently misconstrued.

3. Remove any sentence that sounds negative (either about people or about organizations or about circumstances).

4. Avoid cliches and superficial ideas: you might use business jargon in an attempt to sound “smart”. Remember to write the way you would speak—using your own unique voice.

5. Do not try to “impress” the admission committee. You will not only come across as shallow but also as someone who is not true to himself/herself. The AdCom can sniff a “fake” from a mile away.

6. Do not rewrite your resume. It is important that you write about facets of your work and personal life that you have not captured elsewhere in the application form.

7. Be honest! Anything you say can and will be used against you. Also, remember not to embellish your achievements. The interview panel is sure to catch you.

8. The last thing you want is to have some silly spelling or grammatical mistakes. This may show you in poor light: as someone who doesn’t have an eye for detail.

9. Talk about different aspects of you that have not been highlighted. What about a story about you growing up that had a profound impact on you? Sure! A difficult part of your life that has shaped who you are today? Of course.

10. Always focus on the personal takeaways you have had through the story. Or else by itself, the story will lack the “soul.” The schools want to know who is behind the story—the real you.

You can take a printout and post it where you will be sitting to write the essays.

The key to drafting a successful ISB application essay lies in your ability to clearly communicate your thoughts in detail yet without exceeding the word limit.

If you have a great GMAT score with an excellent profile and are confident about your way ahead then you should be able to manage the application journey independently.

However, we also realize that people who don’t have a stellar profile and are unfamiliar with writing detailed essays might find it difficult to come up with an amazing essay highlighting their story and adhering to the word limit. You might run the risk of speaking your mind at length or getting to the point too quickly and losing the soul of your story. It’s a tightrope walk all the way!

Don’t lose heart!

That’s about it, folks!

We hope that this blog has given you a fair idea and an outline on how to go about with your ISB MBA application process. This blog is a good starting point but in the end, it’s the execution that matters!

If you have any feedback, do let us know in the comments section below. We will personally answer all your queries.

In case you’re wondering whether you will get an interview call from ISB, try out our ISB Interview Predictor, now!

  • June, 25th, 2019
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Sample MBA Application Essay Questions from Top B-Schools

Sample MBA Essay Questions
Reading Time: 4 minutes

A lot of MBA aspirants who come to us only write MBA essays because the schools they apply to demand it.

If that sounds like the obvious reason to you, too, then you’re in the right place.

There’s so much more to MBA essay writing than just the process, though! If you are only writing it because you have to, it’ll never have the effect it should have.

Instead, if you figured out the real reason you should be writing one, you’ll do MUCH better.

So, here’s the deal:

Your MBA essay is the only impression you’re going to make on Admission Committees (AdComs) when they decide whether you’re worth an interview or not.

You must’ve heard the phrase that says your first impression is your last impression – this is largely true, especially if you don’t do a good enough job on your essays, because your application will simply be dismissed. You’ll be left with no chance to make any further impressions.

That’s why you simply HAVE to write a great MBA essay. Here’s what you need to know:

Do you have a goal in life?

We’re sure you do. And that is exactly what your MBA essay needs to reflect.

Of all the things you need to do during the B-school application process, writing an MBA essay can prove to be quite a complicated task for most applicants. We’re sure you’re here because you aren’t absolutely confident about crafting a winning essay.

Worry not, for we are here to help!

In this article, we will discuss the three basic types of essays along with sample questions from B-Schools:

  1. What are your career goals?
  2. Why MBA?
  3. Why you?

So, let’s get straight to it!

1. What are your goals?


The Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
What are your short-term goals, post-MBA? 
What are your long-term goals?
Life is full of uncertainties, and plans and circumstances can change. As a result, navigating a career requires you to be adaptable. Should the short-term goals that you provided above not materialize, what alternative directions have you considered? (500 words each)

Please give a full description of your career since graduating from university. It should be written as if you were talking to someone at a social gathering detailing your career path with the rationale behind your choices. Discuss your short and long term career aspirations. (350 words)

Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College
What are your short- and long-term goals?
Why do you need an MBA to achieve those goals?
Why are you interested in Tuck specifically? (500 words)

Emory University Goizueta Business School
Define your short-term post-MBA career goals. How are your professional strengths, past experience and personal attributes aligned with these goals? (300 words)

Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University
What are your short and long term goals and how do you see the Cornell MBA enabling you to achieve both? (500 words)

2. Why MBA?

Fisher College of Business
Why do you wish to earn an MBA? Why do you wish to earn an MBA from The Fisher College of Business? How will the Fisher MBA program assist you in achieving your immediate career goals? (750 words)

Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland
Why Smith? Why an MBA? Why now? Be sure to include your short-term and long-term career goals. (300 words)

Washington Foster
Please tell us about an experience that inspired or confirmed your decision to pursue an MBA. (500 words)

IIM Ahmedabad
What do you expect to gain from the PGPX Programme at IIMA? (500 words)

Jones Graduate School of Business, Rice University
Describe your short-term and long-term goals, and how the MBA will help you to achieve those goals. Include in your discussion: Why is now the appropriate time to pursue an MBA and why are you interested in obtaining a Rice MBA? (750 words)

Since this is undoubtedly one of the most frequently asked MBA essay questions, we thought it deserved its own separate blog post. Take a look at our post on how to handle your Why MBA essay for more.

3. Why You?

Said Business School, Oxford
What should Oxford expect from you? (500 words)

Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
List 3-5 attributes or characteristics that best describe you. (3-5 word maximum)

Olin Business School, The Washington University
At Olin, we pride ourselves on our close-knit community and aim to know every student by name and story. In an essay of no more than 500 words, please introduce yourself as you would to your future Olin classmates. (500 words)

Mendoza College of Business
At Mendoza, we encourage our students, faculty, and staff to Ask More of Business. We embrace a threefold commitment to achieve these goals:

Individual Integrity
Effective Organizations
Greater Good

Tell us about an experience in which you lived out one of those values. (Two double-spaced pages)

Indian School of Business (ISB)
If we were to admit just one more student, make a compelling argument as to why that student should be you by describing an (only one) achievement in your personal/ professional life that you are most proud of. What did you do that sets you apart from others? What did you learn? (400 words)

These essay topics are given with the intention of getting to know the real you (not what’s on your resumé but who you are, over and above the details in the application form).

These essays need to be thought out and written with great care. MBA essays help your personality shine through. They communicate why you are a great fit for the school, how you can make the most of your time at college and what you can give back to the university.

We hope that these sample MBA essay questions will help you direct your efforts in a more effective and efficient manner.

Let us know your questions, thoughts, and ideas on this topic in the comments section below!

  • March, 6th, 2019
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Wharton School Of Business Essay Analysis 2018 – 2019

Reading Time: 5 minutes

In this article I am going to discuss the Wharton MBA program. If you’re looking at applying to Wharton, you’ve come to the right place.


Let’s first look at the Wharton MBA program and what differentiates it. As we all know, it’s an Ivy League school. It’s part of the three schools, considered to be the elite trio – Harvard, Stanford and Wharton.


What I think truly differentiates Wharton is that though it is known as a finance school, more importantly, it has a certain quantitative rigor to it. There is a lot of focus on quantitative skills, analytical skills and a lot of rigorous thinking. If you’re a person who likes that, Wharton is the place for you. Can you apply to the financial industry? Sure! Can you apply to consulting?  That’s also possible! I don’t think you should look at Wharton as a pure finance school. I know it’s known for finance but the quantitative focus is a larger bet.


Second,  among all the top schools, Wharton has the most diverse profile. It has the highest percentage of international students among the top schools, and that provides you with rich classroom experience and outside classroom experience. It is not just the country they represent but also the functions. In that way, Wharton is truly global.


Third, you probably have to pick the flexible curriculum. There is a fixed core course but you have the flexibility right in your first year to pick a lot of electives. This is great for people who feel they don’t want to have the rigidity of a course where they are told what they have to study. Once you’re done with the basics – statistics, accounts and economics and all of the required courses, you can pick and choose what you want to do. I think that’s another big draw for people applying to Wharton.


2018-2019 Wharton Deadlines


Round 1

Application Deadline: September 18, 2018

Interview Invitation: October 30, 2018

Decision Release: December 13, 2018


Round 2

Application Deadline: January 3, 2019

Interview Invitation: February 7, 2019

Decision Release: March 21, 2019


Round 3

Application Deadline: April 2, 2019

Interview Invitation: April 18, 2019

Decision Release: May 9, 2019



2018-2019 Wharton Essay Questions


Now, let’s look at the specific questions that Wharton has. It has two essays



Essay 1 (Required)


What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)


Now, if you think about it, it’s very specific, and a classic career goals essay, which you cannot answer by just saying what you will get from a Wharton MBA. You have to first say what it is that you need from a Wharton MBA, and in order to say that, you also need to say what it is that you’ve done so far.


It kind of goes back to the same three step process. Tell them what it is that you have done so far, what it is that you see ahead of you and hope to do in your future. Now that you have said what it is that you hope to do, tell them what you need to reach that goal. Once you say what you need in order to reach there, in the last part you need to say how specifically Wharton can help bridge that gap.


S500 words gives you enough space to write a pretty detailed and descriptive essay. In the first part, tell them what you’ve done, where you are in this career juncture, and what you see ahead; this would include your short term and long term goals.


In the second part, say what you hope to do to equip yourself to achieve those short term and long term career goals?


In the third part, describe how specifically a Wharton MBA will help you achieve your goals. Use the standard 150 + 150 + 150 words for the three parts and maybe 50 words for the beginning and ending.



Essay 2 (Required)


Teamwork is at the core of the Wharton MBA experience with each student contributing unique elements to our collaborative culture. How will you contribute to the Wharton community? (400 words)


Interacting with people from Wharton has given me insight into what Wharton is like. On our panel, we have Aruna who is an MBA from Wharton. Some of my former colleagues are from Wharton, and we have had students going to Wharton. One thing that say when we talk about the Wharton MBA program is the fact that most of the student activities are student run. This means that you volunteer to go talk to an alum to get him on campus. Don’t expect the college to do this for you. From that perspective, what they really want to know is, what it is that you will contribute to the Wharton community.


400 words is a lot of space. I would perhaps pick two or three specific things that I bring to the table. For these two or three things, you need to talk about both, what you can give, and how you will benefit, or what you will gain.


Let us say that your interest is in science. Now, what does an MBA student really require from science? But you could say that you have an interest in astronomy and you would like to show your classmates how astronomy can be interesting. You can maybe say that when you look at the star filled sky in Philadelphia, you could show them certain constellations. It’s about what you can contribute to the community.


What I gave you is just a small example. It could be a sport; maybe you practice yoga. You could say that you like to practice yoga and it helps you calm your mind. In an MBA, people get overwhelmed with a lot of things that are thrown at them. You can say that at such times you could probably take a yoga class. Maybe every morning, you could conduct yoga classes.


It could be anything, but you need to say what it is that you can give to the community, but remember that teamwork is a two way street. You can also say what you would benefit from it. What would you benefit from teaching astronomy to others? Maybe it’s a personal passion that you have. Maybe teaching yoga would allow you the opportunity to practice yoga.


Whatever you write, pick two or three things. 150 to 200 words to explain each of these would give you enough space to elaborate. Otherwise, you talk about 10 things, and it will look like a checklist that you’re ticking off. It would be like you went to the Wharton website, looked at all these things and wrote“I want to be a part of the Consulting club”, or “I’ll be part of the Cricket club”. Don’t do that, just stick to two or three ways in which you can contribute.



Essay for Re-applicants


Explain how you have reflected on the previous decision about your application, and discuss any updates to your candidacy (.g., changes in your professional life, additional coursework, extracurricular/volunteer engagements). (250 words).


You also have the option to write an essay, say, if you have had gaps in your education, or your experience, or there is something else that you think could not fit anywhere else in the application essay. In this case, you utilize this space, but one piece of advice that I always give to the student is, “Do not try to retrofit something that could not find a place anywhere else, just because you have another 250 words to write.”


I hope this article was useful to you. If you’re applying to Wharton, and if you would like to know more about how we can help you with your application, just go ahead, and click the link below.


  • September, 28th, 2018
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Kellogg School Of Management Essay Analysis 2020 – 2021

Reading Time: 5 minutes


  • September, 5th, 2018
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Cambridge University – Judge Business School Essay Analysis 2018-19

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Welcome to this article in which we’ll discuss the Judge Business School at Cambridge, UK. If you’re applying to Judge this year, 2018-19, you have come to the right place.


Let’s first look at the program. The first thing that sets Cambridge and Judge apart is that though the B-School is relatively new,  have this connection to this university, it’s a tradition! Cambridge is over 800 years old. Just imagine! That’s a lot of history. This is where Sir Isaac Newton actually held Chair. This is the place where the whole university system started. These are things that very few schools can boast of!


The second aspect is, If you’re looking for a one year program then yes, Judge has a  great one year program. There are very few one-year programs. Typically, you have two-year programs but the UK usually has a one year program, and of course, Cambridge is one of the best. A one year program entails accelerated learning, so if your opportunity cost is high, this might be the place for you.


The third thing is the fact that you’re in an English speaking country if you’ve decided to go to the UK.  The economy and Brexit apart, it’s an English speaking country, and it is culturally very similar. From an Indian perspective it makes a lot of sense to go to UK rather than to a place like France and Spain where language can be a huge constraint for you. Also, back home in India, and in many the other Asian countries, Cambridge has a brand value. You’re going to be Cambridge educated for rest of your life.


The last aspect, about the program itself is their curriculum. If you look at the website, they talk about their unique curriculum where they say it’s not just going to be about learning within the classroom but also through all the other activities that you do outside the class, be it Business Plan competitions , conferences that you will attend, or exchange programs, and so on. In fact, this is true for typical European MBA programs as opposed to US MBA programs. US MBAs have a  very quantitative rigour, while in a European MBA, UK MBA, it’s a lot about the experience and the ideas to transform you in that one year.



2018-2019 Cambridge Judge MBA Deadlines


Round 1

Application Deadline: September 7, 2018

Round 2

Application Deadline: October 26, 2018

Round 3

Application Deadline: January 11, 2019

Round 4

Application Deadline: March 8, 2019

Round 5

Application Deadline: May 3, 2019




2018-2019 Cambridge/Judge Essay Questions


There are three main essays that the Cambridge MBA application requires.


Essay 1: Please provide a personal statement.

This is similar to a Statement of Purpose, which you may have heard of when you were in college.  It must not exceed 500 words, and must address the following questions:

• What are your short term and long term career objectives and what skills/characteristics do you already have that will help you achieve them?

• What actions will you take before and during the MBA to contribute to your career outcome?

• If you are unsure of your post-MBA career path, how will the MBA equip you for the future?


Essay 2: What did you learn from your most spectacular failure? (up to 200 words)


Essay 3: Describe a situation where you had to work jointly with others to achieve a common goal. What did you learn from the experience? (up to 200 words)  



Essay 1


Personal Statement


This is similar to a Statement of Purpose, which you may have heard of when you were in college. Let’s look at each of the questions.


  • What are your short term and long term career objectives and what skills/characteristics do you already have that will help you achieve them?


What is the function, what industry, what geography, and what are the potential employers and f titles you can potentially get? You must be very specific, especially for the short term goal. For the long term goal, maybe it’s okay if you’re not so specific; you can talk about personal aspirations, something that is more of a passion. You have a little leeway to talk about other things. However, whatever you say, it has to be aligned with what you have done. Which is why the second part asks “ What skills/characteristics do you already have that will help you achieve them?” This tells them that you’re the best equipped to reach those goals. So it’s very important for you to make that connect.


  • What actions will you take before and during the MBA to contribute to your career outcome?



Here, they ask for very specific things that you’re going to be doing. So again here, there are looking at whether you have the required focus. Have you already planned on what you’re going to be doing in Cambridge? Maybe you want to work in Europe, in which case you’re probably learning another language. One of our students who went to Cambridge actually learned German. In India, we have Max Mueller Bhavan; he learned German from there.  The whole idea was to say that he was already equipping himself for a career in the UK.


Another student who wanted to get into the financial world, and had a CA ICWA finance background, ended up taking a CFA. He took CFA level 1 and 2. Why? Because you’re already equipping, you’re not putting everything on an MBA degree and saying that you’re banking on this MBA degree to get a job. This is before you get an MBA.


Then, within the MBA program, what is it that you would like to do at Judge. There is a plethora of options; what is it that you’re specifically looking at doing? Articulate this well.


  • If you are unsure of your post-MBA career path, how will the MBA equip you for the future?


In this case, my suggestion would be to not tread the unsure path. You need to tell them you’re very sure about this but you could possibly talk about a Plan B. Plan A could be to get into consulting, but your Plan B could be to get into operations within a company. The reason behind providing Plan B is to make the school comfortable that this is a person who knows that sometimes the best of our plans don’t work out and we need to have a back-up in place. They wouldn’t want someone coming and saying, “I am putting all my  eggs in this one basket called Cambridge MBA.”


How would you structure these 500 words?


My suggestion would be to first talk about your background. Who are you? Where is it that you come from? What do you possess? Based on this, where do you want to go? What are your short term and long term ambitions? Then talk about what you are going to do to bridge the gap. This could beat the MBA program or outside of it. So I would probably put around 150 words for each of the three parts and then 50 words for the starting and the finishing. Make sure that you have a strong start, and a strong finish. All put together, this essay should be about 500 words. Again, this is a very classic career goals essay.



Essay 2


What did you learn from your most spectacular failure? (up to 200 words)


The term “spectacular failure’, if you search for it, you realize it’s a management term that is sometimes used to say, “it’s a huge failure but it’s a failure from which I learned something.” I have heard that in Australia they have elite fighter pilots, and one of the questions that they ask them is “Have you failed at any point of your life?” and if they have not failed, they are actually NOT considered for the program. Guess why? Because they feel that if they have not handled failure, they will not know how to handle failure in the future. It is not a shame to admit failure. A lot of us wonder how we can tell someone that we failed. Well, trust me! Everyone fails in their life at some point or the other.


What is important here?


How did you bounce back? What did you learn? How does that make you a better person? How are you able to apply this learning to all your future endeavors ? That is what they are looking at! Don’t worry! Whatever your failure, don’t try to mask a success by talking about failures. Some of the mistakes students make is that they start writing “Oh, my project was in the doldrums. We had this….and we’ve been making losses…but…” and they eventually talk about how they eventually became successful. Don’t do that. If it’s a failure, just say you cut your losses and moved on.You could pick a personal or professional incident;  it could be something you learned from a relationship, or maybe something that you learned at work. Just describe the failure, and what you learnt.



Essay 3


Describe a situation where you had to work jointly with others to achieve a common goal. What did you learn from the experience? (up to 200 words)


A lot of your MBA experiences is going to be about teamwork. Most of the events, conferences and competitions are all student run. Hence, they are looking for someone who can gel well with others. Here, I would probably first talk about the differences, the diversities in the team. It is very easy to gel well with people who have very similar experiences but if you worked in a team where people have different backgrounds, different experiences, different exposure, you need to say how you were able to build a consensus.  The idea is not to say that you wielded a stick and told them that this was how you wanted it, but say whether you were you willing to let go of something, did you negotiate on something. So they would like to know more about this.After you have done this, say how you became a better person as result of that. How do you take this forward?.


I will give you an example of what someone had written about team-work. He said “One of my biggest problems was dealing with another team member. The problem was that whenever I asked him for anything, he would always say he couldn’t do it, and he would never go out of his way to help me. He is a negative guy.” Then he wrote that was one instance when the team member actually came to him and said “Hey, you know, I feel that you’re struggling at this point. Would you like me to help you?”  and he helped him in that particular case. The writer of the essay then asked the team member why he always said he wouldn’t do something when he was clearly helping now.  The team member answered, “Whenever I help someone, I would like to do a 100%. I don’t want to extend my help and then make you feel that I am here and I am not able to work on my promise.” That is the mindset he got to know. It’s always about learning something. That’s the whole idea behind an MBA experience. That’s what this essay is about.


So this is pretty much what we have for the Cambridge MBA Program. If you’re looking at applying to Judge we would love to see if we can work together on it. Why don’t you just go ahead, and click on this link below!


  • September, 4th, 2018
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University Of Oxford Said Business School Essay Analysis 2018 – 2019

Oxford Said
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Welcome to this article in which we’re going to discuss the Said MBA program at Oxford. If you’re looking at applying to Said Business School, here are a couple of things you need to know. Firstly, at this business school, similar to Cambridge, you have this huge connection to the Oxford University system. In fact, if you go to the Said Business School website, you will see a lot about Oxford and you might ask, “why is there such a big deal about Oxford?” It’s because you’re not just looking at the business school which is relatively new but are also getting access to a university that is 700-800 years old. In fact, one of the students who had gone to Oxford said, “One of the first things you do when you join the college, is go on a parade where you walk through the streets of Oxford, wearing black robes and hats, and eventually go to the amphitheatre and the chancellor of Oxford actually addresses the students, believe it or not, in Latin. There is a lot of tradition, a lot of pride. You are Oxford educated! Nobody is going to say what you did there but it’s the university with brand equity.


Second, it’s a great one-year program. If you’re looking at accelerated learning, one-year is a relatively lower opportunity cost. I would definitely pick Oxford as one of the top 5 to 10 schools in the world that I would apply to if I am looking at a one-year program.


The third thing is that Said Business School also prides itself for having a practical approach to an MBA. It’s not just academics.  During the one-year, there are also lots of assignments; there is exposure to real world problems. That’s the other important part of the education. If you look at most European MBAs, they are more qualitative in their experience. They want to make you grow as a person. They want you to have a growth mind-set. While a lot of US schools have more quantitative rigor. If this is the kind of school you want to experience and you want to create a better version of yourself,  Oxford Said should be the top school for you.


These are some of the aspects you need to be looking at for “Why Oxford?”.


Now let’s look at the application deadlines.


2018 – 2019 Said Business School Deadlines


Stage 1

Application Deadline: September 7, 2018

Interview Decision: September 21, 2018

Final Decision: October 19, 2018


Stage 2

Application Deadline: November 2, 2018

Interview Decision: November 16, 2018

Final Decision: December 14, 2018


Stage 3

Application Deadline: January 11, 2019

Interview Decision: February 1, 2019

Final Decision: March 22, 2019


Stage 4

Application Deadline: April 5, 2019

Interview Decision: April 26, 2019

Final Decision: June 7, 2019



Said Business School MBA Essay Analysis 2018-2019


Essay 1


Consider a statistic or trend that shocks you. Why is it important to you and how could it be changed for the better?  (Maximum 500 words)


The first thing is to note, “something that shocks you”, and not “something that surprises you.” What would shock me? Something would shock me because I have my own personal guideline.  I have my own sense of ‘what is right and what is wrong”.

So very clearly it’s in conflict. Maybe it is a poverty figure, maybe it is about how people are consuming more calories. You have all this soda and fast food by which people are getting obese, even in a country like India. It could be anything, so first,  what is the statistic or trend and why is it important to you?  There has to be a personal connect.


One mistake that people make in this essay is that they talk about something like poverty and they say, “Oh! I am so moved by this statistic.” However, what have you done about it? The question states, “why is it important to you, and how could it be changed for the better?”  These are the two questions that you should actually focus on. How does it matter to you?


For example, one of our students wrote about geriatric problems. When people grow old, they tend to have mental illness like dementia. He was shocked that in a place like India, there is not a lot of respect given to people with such issues. If a person goes to a psychiatrist, people just say that he has gone mad. It’s very insensitive in India. So he said, “I was very shocked…”, and he also quoted statistics about people growing old in India without proper geriatric care, especially for mental illness. He said he had personal experience with his grandfather. He said, “I grew up in a household where I saw him, and it pained me.” There is a personal connection to it.


“How could it be changed for the better?”. He had a couple of plans and suggestions. Also, after his grandfather passed away, he had done a few things. He worked for an NGO which took care of old age homes and shelters. That’s what you have to do with 500 words. You have to cover the following points:


• Statistics, and ‘why it shocks you.’ This is very important. Don’t assume that the reader will know why it’s shocking. You need to tell them why it’s shocking, based on the personal parameter you have.


• Why is it important to you? You could have picked any other cause, that’s why you need to tell them why you picked this cause. Say something which has a personal thread to it.

• What is it that can be done to make it better? – You should have already started doing something about the issue, and it should not be like you’re going to wait for 15 years and do nothing about it, and then one day you hope to change it. You can talk about tiny baby steps you have already taken in doing so.


500 words, that’s plenty of space for you to write. Don’t worry, saying “will this will improve my candidacy for the MBA program?” They are just looking for smart and interesting people. They want to see whether this guy has something interesting to say; is he passionate about a cause? One leadership trait is being passionate about something. You pick any leader and you’ll see that he or she has this one particular thing that they feel passionate about, and they have actually done something in that area. That’s what they are really looking at.



Essay 2


Is there anything not covered in the application form which you would like the Admissions Committee to know about you? (Maximum 250 words)


For this essay, pick either:


1. Something that is a gap. For example, a gap in education, a gap in experience, or some anomaly in your GMAT score that you would like to explain.


2. Something that you plan to do but perhaps it’s too early to put the information into your essays. For example, you have a year to join the school, so you can say something like, ‘I would like to let you know that I plan to get my B Level certification in German. That’s something in the future but you think it’s important for the Admission Committee to know.


Either of these two pieces of information can fit into the 250-word essay.


That’s pretty much what we have for the Oxford Said MBA program, and if you’re applying to the program this year, please let us know if we could work together on this, by clicking the link below.


  • August, 30th, 2018
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McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University Essay Analysis 2020-2021

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Welcome to this article in which I am going to talk about Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business. If you’re looking at applying to this school in 2020-2021, you have come to the right place.


First, let’s talk about the college itself.  McDonough is part of Georgetown University, which is one of the oldest universities, and is located in Washington DC; most politicians’ children have actually gone to this university. It has a very good alum network, and that is a huge plus point. Another plus point is that being in Washington DC, the university is part of a large city. Hence, its location is great!


Now, apart from the great alum network and the location, what differentiates this program is the international focus and global experience. For example, in the second year, they have the Global Experience program as part of the MBA curriculum where students are given practical consulting projects in numerous international locations. That is one example of the kind of international focus they have. In fact, if you look at the whole curriculum, it has a lot of focus on international business. This is because Georgetown University itself has the School of Foreign Services. This is definitely one top reason for you to apply.



2020-2021 Georgetown McDonough Deadlines


Round One

Application Deadline: October 9, 2020

Notification Date: December 19, 2020

Deposit Due: February 15, 2020


Round Two

Application Deadline: January 7, 2021

Notification Date: March 26, 2021

Deposit Due: April 26, 2021


Round Three

Application Deadline: April 1, 2021

Notification Date: May 15, 2021

Deposit Due: May 28, 2021


Round Four

Application Deadline: May 1, 2021

Notification Date: May 31, 2021

Deposit Due: June 6, 2021



2020-2021 Georgetown MBA Essay Questions


Essay 1:


Describe a defining moment when you were challenged and exceeded expectations. (The moment can be a professional or personal one. If personal, then please also include how it had an impact on your professional development) (500 words or fewer)


This is a classic essay where you’re talking about that one moment in your life, or that one thing that you did which possibly defines you. 500 words is a lot of space for you to craft out a good essay. Pick something where you felt that more than the impact it caused others you learned a lot from the experience.  You want to pick something through which you had an impact on others, but remember that the question says, “Describe a defining moment when you were challenged and exceeded expectations.”  Now think about it. Expectations can be very low, you may have overcome the expectations, you might have done well above them. Here, you have to tell them more than what you did; say what it did for you!


After you pick the story, you can use the standard START framework. You talk about the SITUATION – When did this happen? What was the background? What do you think would give gravity to the whole story?  Consider all this while describing the situation. The second thing to cover is the TASK. What were you supposed to do?  What was expected of you when you walked into the situation?. Third, the ACTION. What was the action that you did? What did you eventually do? Did you go and look at the scenario and think something can be done? What action did you take? Fourth, the RESULT. What was the result? Remember that you’re talking about the “Defining moment when you were challenged and exceeded expectations.” The last factor is the personal TAKEAWAYS. This is very important. What were the takeaways?  You have to cover the situation, task, action, result, and takeaways; I would probably spend a lot more on the takeaways. What did I learn about myself? Did it help me in other areas of my life? If it did, how did it help me? The B-School is trying to understand you as a person; that’s what the really want to know. Who are you? Is this the person they would like to see in their class?. You need to bring a personal aspect to the story. More than the occasion, I would say what you learned should be the larger, overarching thing.


Video Essay:


The required video essay is an opportunity for you to bring life to your application. Please introduce yourself to your future Georgetown MBA cohort in a one minute video. The Admission Commission would like you to appear in person during part of your video and we strongly encourage you to speak outside of the experiences we can read on your resume. Use this video as an opportunity to bring life into your application.


Don’t repeat the things on your resume. However, you need to introduce yourself to your cohort, which is your team. What is it that you’re going to say in one minute, which is not already in your resume? You should pick just two or three things you want to share about yourself because 60 seconds will be done very quickly. Share certain things that are personal to you. Maybe you want to say “My name is…”, followed by an adjective, then go on to describe what that adjective means in your context. Talk about your hobbies. Say how you would like to share that hobby with your classmates. You’re bringing your personality into this. What they really want to know is, “if I look at you, are you a paper tiger? Or are you a person that I would like to talk to? Are you a person that I would like to interact with? How good is your communication? Are you able to maintain eye contact? What is your body language?


You don’t need any fancy equipment. One thing people ask me is, “Do I need to get it professionally shot?” These days, with the kind of phones we have, all you need is to keep the phone at a particular place and shoot the video.

  • Make sure that the source of light is not behind you but is on your face or even above you.
  • You need to be confident, you need to use your hands. You need to be yourself.
  • You can take as many retakes as you want. Maybe you’re going to first get comfortable talking and then take the final version.
  • You can have it directed. Maybe your friend who holds the camera, who gives an unbiased opinion about the video, could also help you.


Optional Essay 1:


If you are not currently employed full-time, use this essay to provide information about your current activities. (250 words or fewer)


If you’re utilizing this essay, remember it is not about having a full-time job as long as you can show them that you are creatively engaged in any activity, and utilizing your time well. Maybe you are taking some online courses. You have 250 words and you can tell them anything else in your application that has not been covered. Ensure that you talk about something that is relevant. Don’t try to fit in some story because it did not find a place elsewhere. Talk about what you would probably do in your future, maybe there is some course that you are planning to do next year or any other passion that you would like to pursue. Maybe you want to learn to play guitar before you join the B-School.


Don’t just write another story, like, “At work, I was given an opportunity to do this and ….”. Don’t do this.


Optional Essay 2:


Please provide any information you would like to add to your application that you have not otherwise included. (500 words or fewer)


Re-Applicant Essay:


How have you strengthened your candidacy since your last application? We are particularly interested in hearing about how you have grown professionally and personally. (500 words or fewer)


So that’s pretty much what we have. If you’re applying to Georgetown McDonough, please go ahead and click the link below. We’ve had a lot of students who went there in the past, and we can share our experience of what it takes to really get in. So.


  • August, 30th, 2018
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Duke – Fuqua School of Business Essay Analysis 2018-2019

Duke Fuqua
Reading Time: 9 minutes

Welcome to this article! In this article, I am going to show you what you need to do if you’re looking at applying to the Duke Fuqua MBA program 2018-19.


Let us first understand what we can about this school, especially if you’re an international applicant or if you’re applying from a country like India.


A lot of US B-Schools take their culture very seriously. If you go to the Duke website, they talk about Team Fuqua. Team Fuqua is essentially about how collaborative they are in spirit. This aspect is different from Harvard, or other larger college, which do not pride themselves for their team spirit. Fuqua has a huge advantage when it comes to demonstrating its pride of bonding. If you reach out to people who have been alums, you will see that most of them are happy to help you.


We’ve had many students from CrackVerbal joining Fuqua. In fact, every year, we’ve had one student who has gone to Fuqua. We have Mansha, who got into the program last year, and you can see her interview here.


The second big thing about the Fuqua program is the healthcare specialization; it is hard to miss. Duke Fuqua School of Business is connected to the Duke University, which has one of the best healthcare programs.


In terms of location, Duke is in North Carolina, where there is a research triangle. Thus, if you’re looking for healthcare, Duke is the place to be. However, if healthcare is not your cup of tea, don’t try to retrofit it inside your story or into your essays.


Thirdly, Duke is famous for the way the curriculum is structured. If you look at its curriculum, in the first year, the program has a lot more electives, and the actual courses are a lot shorter. It gives you the flexibility to choose a lot more electives.


By the time you complete the first year, you’re ready for your summer internship; you have the right stories in your resume, and in the interview you can express your interest by saying why you took these electives, and how you’re in a better position to do well in the job.  


In this respect, Duke Fuqua is different from other B-Schools where the first year is rigid, and you have to go through a bunch of core courses. Most of the students who apply to Duke from CrackVerbal India are looking at it as a top 10 B-School. Duke is usually ranked somewhere in the 7 to10 range, depending on which ranking you look at, be it US News, Business Week, or Bloomberg ranking.


By just looking at the data, the average age is probably slightly higher, but you really don’t have to read too much into this. The important thing is the GMAT score.


The average GMAT score ranges from  640 to 670. In my experience, students who apply to Duke have typically got in with a range of 710 to 740. You definitely need to get into the right zone which is the lower 700s, if you’re looking at realistic chances.


Now, coming to something very important. Duke is said to have an Early Action Round. The Early Action Round this year is by  the 12th of September.


What is an Early Action Round for Duke?


One of the important things about Duke is the Early Action Round. So what really is this Early Action Round?

A huge problem that many colleges whose ranking is in the 7th to 25th range  face is that many students are looking at applying to other similar schools as well.


The person who is applying to Duke is also applying to HAAS Berkeley and Darden. The metric that Duke would look at is the yield percentage, that is, the number of people to whom offers were made to how many really took up the offer. B-Schools really work on that number, they really want a high yield percentage.


So what Duke has done is that it has this binding offer. If you apply to the Early Action Round, you are really telling them that you’re  going to join them, and you won’t apply to any other school. If you are made this offer and you decide to take up this offer, you will not apply to any other B-School. You can see how it makes sense for Duke.


They have a pool of very competent people that they are admitting, and they know that these people are going to join the program.


From the student’s perspective, how will this help?


It is better than applying in Round 1 or Round 2;  you have an advantage and a probability of getting a seat. Not many schools have this advantage of an Early Action Round, but Duke has it. If Duke is the school you’re looking at, please go ahead and take this offer.


Now let’s get to the meat of it, the application process.


2018-2019 Duke / Fuqua Deadlines


Early Action

Application Deadline: September 12, 2018

Interview Notification: September 25, 2018

Decision Notification: October 19, 2018


Round One

Application Deadline: October 10, 2018

Interview Notification: November 8, 2018

Decision Notification: December 13, 2018


Round Two

Application Deadline: January 3, 2019

Interview Notification: January 31, 2019

Decision Notification: March 18, 2019


Round Three

Application Deadline: March 20, 2019

Interview Notification: April 10, 2019

Decision Notification: April 29, 2019



2018-2019 Duke / Fuqua MBA Essay Questions




Required Short Answer Questions


Instructions: Answer all 3 of the following questions. For each question, respond in 500 characters only (the equivalent of about 100 words).

What are your short-term goals, post-MBA?

What are your long-term goals?

Life is full of uncertainties, and plans and circumstances can change. As a result, navigating a career requires you to be adaptable. Should the short-term goals that you provided above not materialize what alternative directions have you considered?


First Required Essay: 25 Random Things About Yourself


Instructions: Present your response in list form, numbered 1 to 25. Some points may be only a few words, while others may be longer. Your complete list should not exceed 2 pages.


The question that most of the students have is, “what do I write, and what are the possible things I can write?” 25 things is a lot to write. This is not one of those essays for which you can do an all-nighter to complete. It’s very important that you plan this essay well. What you need to do is to create the following buckets:



The first bucket should include personal information about you – It could be the place where you were born, something about your siblings, something about your parents, or something about the city in which you grew up.


I will give you a couple of examples. Some students from CrackVerbal wrote about both their parents being teachers, and how they got to understand early in life that teaching is such a noble profession. Someone spoke about their name, mentioning that the name is very interesting, and what it actually means in Sanskrit. It’s just a random fact; you don’t need to have each and every fact saying why you need to get into an MBA program. Don’t try to retrofit it. People have spoken about their siblings; one student mentioned an interesting thing saying, “we are three brothers but the eldest one is 10 years older to me, so it’s almost like he is my surrogate father.” These are some of the interesting things you can write from a personal aspect.


Then the second bucket could be hobbies, or even quirks that you have. For  example: “I like riding my bike late at night, I sometimes go on a 30 to 40 miles trip. I see that it sometimes clears up my thinking. I just go out on the road without really thinking too much, and by the time I am back I just have this moment of clarity.”


You can also talk about a particular hobby that you picked up when you were in school, maybe you are a trivia quizzer, and you like quizzing. Pick something which is interesting that you did when you were in school or college. It could also be at your work. One of my students had written this, “Whenever I look at a car registration number, I look at the four digit number, and start mentally doing the math. I see whether it is divisible by 4, and whether it  is divisible by 6, or if there is any unique combination that I can get out of the numbers” She also went on to say that this was possibly one of the reasons why she played Sudoku.


The third bucket could be things that are in relation to work, slightly more professional, maybe an NGO involvement that you have had, or something else at work, maybe something that your colleagues call you. Write anything but try not to make it into a bullet point that should go into your resume. That’s definitely a NO but you can pick something interesting from your professional life. Here is an example:


One student had written how he figured out a solution in the company, and it got them recognition and he actually had his name in the annual newsletter for the company. He said, “that was my biggest achievement in life.”  It could be about small things that you did, with great outcomes you got out of them;  something that really excited you.


The last, fourth bucket could be something internal, something that is introspective, something about you as a person.


For example, you could talk about things like:


What are the qualities that really define you

What are the adjectives people would use to describe you

For example, you could say “I am a person who would like to be constantly challenged at work…” That’s probably one of the things you can write.


hese are the buckets, or broad categories in which you could divide the 25 things. If you really look at it, you just need about four or five in each of these buckets. Don’t keep it for yourself, go and ask people. Maybe you can ask your friends and family, “what are the things you think are unique about me?”, and you can then have a list of 40 to 50 things, and slowly cut it down.


Again, this is not so much about them deciding whether you’re fit for an MBA but they are really seeing, “is this person interesting?”, “Has he or she done enough things in life? Have they done enough introspection themselves?”


That’s what this essay is really looking for. “Would I want to meet this person for a face -to-face interview? Would I want the person to be part of our school for the next two years?” eep that as the focus of this essay.


Second Required Essay


Instructions: Your response should be no more than 2 pages in length.


Fuqua prides itself on cultivating a culture of engagement. Our students enjoy a wide range of student-led organizations that provide opportunities for leadership development and personal fulfillment, as well as an outlet for contributing to society. Our student-led government, clubs, centers, and events are an integral part of the student culture and are vital to providing you with a range of experiential learning and individual development experiences.

Based on your understanding of the Fuqua culture, how do you see yourself engaging in and contributing to our community, outside of the classroom?

As I have said, it’s a huge part of Team Fuqua. They want people who are not here to just take take take…. but rather give give give…. They want to know what you can contribute. The best way to approach this is to probably pick three or four things that you can contribute. The mistake which most of the students typically do in this essay is that they go to the Fuqua website and pick a laundry list of 500  things and then just write one line for each. Please don’t do that. Pick three or four things that are central. For example, you’re in technology, so you need to pick something that you’re going to do in technology.You can say you want to be in the technology club. Tell them what you can contribute and what you can take from the club, and it should be personal. Write three to four points, each one having about 250 to 300 words. You need to have an opening and an ending. It will take at least two pages. Pick only 3 to 4 things, and not 100 things.


Optional Essay


If you feel there are circumstances of which the Admissions Committee should be aware, please explain them in an optional essay (such as unexplained gaps in work, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance).


Students ask, “should I write the optional essay?” Write the optional essays when you feel that there is something really important for you to say. The common mistakes I have seen students making over this essay is that they just feel like there is one thing that they want to say, and they just try to fit in an accomplishment, which really doesn’t make any sense. Here are some of the things that you could possibly add.  


  • If you have had an academic break,

  • if you have had a break in your employment,

  • if you want to explain a poor integrated reasoning score in your GMAT.

  • If you want to talk about something, for example, “I have my own network and I would like to let you know that though I believe in career advancement and placements help me, I would also like to rely on my network. ”

Write anything which can explain and improve your candidature.



  • August, 26th, 2018
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Yale School Of Management Essay Analysis 2018 – 2019

Yale SOM
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Let’s look at Yale School of Management. What really makes Yale different from other B-schools? What makes it unique?


1. Yale is one of the original Ivy League schools. The term “Ivy League” is used for a set of schools which are 100+ years old; they have ivy creepers. Yale is one such school. The School of Management is a relatively new school but Yale has the brand equity that makes it “gold” standard for employers in the US, and across the world.


2. Another thing that Yale prides itself for is its innovative curriculum. If you go to Yale’s website, they tell us that in their curriculum, they do not go discipline by discipline but rather understand that management is the relationship among multiple disciplines that constitute any company. That’s the best thing you can talk about in your essays and interview with Yale.


3. Yale has just about 300 students when compared to Harvard, Stanford and Wharton, which have a larger number. With just 300 students, the class is a very intimate group, and you get easy access to the professors. The culture is not as competitive as it would be in larger classes simply because you know all your peers well.


4. Yale has a good connection with the financial center of the world which is in New York because Yale is in New Haven, which is close to New York. You have many Yale alumni in New York city; in the business district, so the connection with the financial market is also very strong.



2018-2019 Yale MBA Deadlines


Round 1

Application Deadline: September 12, 2018

Decision release: December 5, 2018


Round 2

Application deadline: January 7, 2019

Decision release: April 2, 2019


Round 3

Application deadline: April 16, 2019

Decision release: May 21, 2019



2018-2019 Yale MBA Essay Analysis Video




2018-2019 Yale MBA Essay Question


Describe the biggest commitment you have ever made. (500 words maximum)


So, what really is this commitment? This commitment may be a particular idea or particular cause that really is your passion in life. This commitment can also be the one thing that drives you.


One of our students from CrackVerbal faced the same essay question last year. He was a technology geek. He loved technology, and believed that every problem in the world can be solved by technology. When he had to write this essay he went back and wrote on how he started something on his own, along with his full-time job.


He also mentioned in his essay what he felt technology could do to fix problems.He spoke about how he had the patience to complete the research for which he had filed a patent application, while he was at his first job.


If you look closely here, he did not speak about his interest in technology but rather how he felt technology could solve problems in the world. This statement perfectly matched his goal to be a product manager after completing his MBA. The idea here is not to say why MBA, but to talk about you.


Most of the B-Schools are focusing on this line of thought where they want to know who you are. When it comes to writing essays, most of us make a common mistake. We search for information about the school, and write a few nice lines about why this B-School, and why it’s a perfect fit for you.


Considering these factors, schools like Yale take a first step in analyzing you thoroughly. They will want to know, “Is this person interesting?” So when writing this essay, make sure you don’t write too much about the B-schools and why an MBA.


A student from CrackVerbal, while writing this essay, mentioned his commitment to helping people who did not have the same opportunities he had.


He did his schooling at Ramakrishna Mission in India.  During his school days, he decided that he had to do something to help people around him. This zeal continued while he was in college, too. In his essay, he also talked about a major calamity which happened in India, where he volunteered, and did sizeable on-ground work for two weeks during the floods.


The most important thing that moved the essay forward was the kind of personal commitment he had.  It wasn’t just writing a cheque to some orphanage saying that he was committed to the cause. He rolled up his sleeves, and helped those in need.


Although he was applying for an MBA from a business perspective, in his everyday life, he realized that this was a privilege he had, and helping others was a commitment he had. This very strong statement pushed his essay through.


You can pick that one thing that has been a thread throughout your life, and this one idea can have multiple instances. You don’t need to worry about it having to be just one incident.


Make sure you’re running a thread which talks about all of these instances. Make sure that all these instances are under a super thread, which is basically your idea; your commitment.


This process is not easy, and it requires a lot of brainstorming.


That’s what happens when a student comes to CrackVerbal for the application process. We spend the first few sessions just talking through their stories, trying to understand the student a little better.


If you feel that we can help you, go ahead, and click the link below.


  • August, 16th, 2018
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Cornell University SC Johnson College of Business Essay Analysis 2017 – 2018

Reading Time: 12 minutes

If you’re applying to the Johnson School of Business at Cornell, you have come to the right place. In this article, I am going to take you through the details about the program as well as analyze the MBA application essays for 2017-2018 so that you know how to approach the essays.


First, let’s look at the program itself. Cornell is an Ivy League school, it’s one of those large universities with a very good brand name. In the Johnson MBA program, if you look at the class size, it’s a lot smaller than many of the large programs. In that sense, you have a large university set-up but you have a very small program size. If you’re looking at an MBA program where you get to be a part of a university infrastructure yet have the bonding, connection and bonhomie of a small class size, Cornell is the program you should be looking at. That’s one important point.


The second point is, in terms of location, it’s really beautiful. It can get cold but it’s a very beautiful location. It’s about three to four hours from Downtown New York – Manhattan. It’s probably a bus drive away.  In terms of location, it’s a lot of better than some of the schools in the Mid-west which are in the middle of nowhere. In that sense, though it is not a Columbia to be right there in Downtown, it’s still accessible.


The third thing is perhaps a unique feature of the Johnson program. They call it immersion learning. All the students at Johnson have a very career focused experiential program where the students starting the second semester of the first year get hands-on career training. You get a practical experience in whatever you’re learning. That is  a big difference in Johnson as opposed to other MBA programs. In fact, the student management opportunities are enormous. Just to give you specifics,  BR Ventures and BR Consulting, both at Johnson School of Management, provide opportunities to the second-year students to actually manage a venture capital fund and a seed stage consultancy. Those are the kind of opportunities where you can roll up your sleeves and dig into real world experiences. In fact, there is also The Cayuga Fund, an MBA fund, where you have a chance to oversee a portfolio of eight million dollars. It’s a hedge fund. Why is this important? It’s important if you’re the kind of person who feels that apart from theory, you are kind of a doer, you’re a  a kinaesthetic guy, and you learn by doing. In that case, the Cornell program could be ideal for you because there is so much of your own doing, your own experiences, along with the knowledge you gain from an MBA.


2017-2018 SC Johnson School Of Business MBA Deadlines


October Round

Application Deadline: October 5, 2017

Initial Notification: November 15, 2017

Deposit & Official Transcript Deadline: January 10, 2018


November Round

Application Deadline: November 15, 2017

Initial Notification: January 10, 2018

Deposit & Official Transcript Deadline: March 1, 2018


January Round

Application Deadline: January 10, 2018

Initial Notification: March 15, 2018

Deposit & Official Transcript Deadline: April 23, 2018


April Round

Application Deadline: April 5, 2018

Initial Notification: May 1, 2018

Deposit & Official Transcript Deadline: June 1, 2018




SC Johnson School Of Business Essay Analysis 2017 – 2018


The first essay is the goal statement. What Johnson has done here is very interesting. What they have done is, they realised a lot of people don’t know how to write a goals essay. Maybe they haven’t watched my videos or haven’t read my articles. While writing, people just meander, and they go all over the place. The point is, they are not specific. The school, as I have said in my other videos as well, requires you to be very specific with regard to your goals. What is it that you really want to do?  If you see, it explicitly states, “if invited to interview, you will have the opportunity to elaborate further and should be prepared to connect your prior experience with your future aspirations.” They are actually mentioning in a way that they don’t expect you to say “Why”. Let’s keep out the “Why” part. Let us just focus on the “What” part. In most career goal essays, the “Why” part is also required to tie your past experience to why you want to do whatever you plan to do. In this case, you don’t need to worry.


Here is what it reads:


Goals Statement


A statement of your goals will begin a conversation that will last throughout admissions process and guide your steps during the MBA program and experience.  To the best of your understanding today, please share your short and long-term goals by completing the following sentences:

Immediately post-MBA, my goal is to work as a(n) ____[Role]____ at ___[Company]___within___[Industry]___.

Targeted Job Role:

Target Job Company:


In 5 – 10 years post-MBA, my goal is to work as a(n) ____[Role]____ at ___[Company]___within___[Industry]___.

Targeted Job Role:

Target Job Company:



Example of Completed Statement:

Short Term Goal: Immediately post-MBA my goal is to work as a(n) Consultant at Accenture within Media and Technology.

Long-Term Goal: In 5-10 years post-MBA my goal is to work as a(n) Founder and President within Nonprofit.


You have the role, company and the industry. Which one? Pick any that you want. You need to pick your targeted goal, targeted job company and the industry that you want to work in. The same thing gets repeated in your long-term goal. They even specify how long a long-term should be, 5-10 years.


Now, a couple things here. First, your best friend is LinkedIn. Make sure that you go to LinkedIn, and research about people who have graduated, and people with experiences similar to yours. So don’t look at someone who probably went to an Ivy League in the US, born and brought up in the US and is working on Wall Street. You need to make sure it is your background, be it in tech, be it in finance, whatever is your background, that background. Try to see if you can get people who are not Americans but Indians or anyone else who doesn’t have a PR status in the US. Now that you found the person you need, find out what it is that they are doing. Look at people who are now at one-year or two –years after they have graduated. That will give you a good sense. It will give you a good sense of the kind of companies that are recruiting and the kind of typical roles that you would get.


Now, if you want to ask, I would say “Employability” plays a huge role. You don’t want to put something that is so weird that not many people can get that job. That cannot be held against you but they are going to look at it and say, “Is this guy going to get this job? And if not, he is probably in the wrong place.” Pick something, for example, I know that some of the largest recruiters like Amazon recruit heavily from most schools, including Cornell. You have the top consulting firms. You have the top tech firms like Microsoft and Google. So try to pick an employer who has employed people with your kind of a background and look at the title and role they have. What do they join as? Do they join as Poduct Managers? Then you talk about the companies and the roles, which go hand-in-hand, and then the sector. Is it e-commerce? Is it technology? Is it finance? Is it consulting? “I want to be an associate at Mckinsey working in the consulting sector”, or something like, “I want to be a Product Manager working at Google in the tech space.” You have to be very clear.

Now coming to the 5-10 years which is your long-term goal. In this part, there are two things you could do. The one thing you could do is that you could think of a career path that is a progression along this. For example, if you’re a consultant, you want to talk about being an engagement manager or maybe a partner. If you’re going to be a Product Manager, let’s say you want to be the Vice President of Products of a start-up. So that’s one path. Now the second path that you can take in the longer term is something that is allied to what you have done but is completely different. For example, you can talk about entrepreneurship. You could say, “I did consulting (or a tech role). I was a Product Manager in Google for five years, and in five years down the line, I want to be a founder or a co-founder, or a CEO or maybe even a CTO at a tech company. At my own company perhaps, and work in the high-tech sector, work in the healthcare sector.” Whatever sector interests you.  You could play that card as well.

Going back to what I said before, make connections on LinkedIn. It is also very important for the next essay. I am going to be talking about that but if you haven’t really created your LinkedIn profile, please do so today. My LinkedIn profile is down below (LINK). If you want to connect with me, I’ll be more than glad to connect with you.



Essay 2#




The second essay is the impact essay. Now, the essay clearly states “Whether doing the program or following graduation, our students and alumni share the desire to positively impact the organizations and communities that they serve”. Remember, I told you about the experiential learning. This kind of ties with that part. “To help you explore your potential for impact, we encourage you to engage with our students, alumni, faculty and professional staff”. Very important, when they say “We encourage you.” It goes on to say, “You can choose to connect with them via e-mail or a phone or in-a person during one of our campus or off campus events”. If you’re not from the US, perhaps it’s not applicable to you. “As you seek their input and insight, please be respectful of their time and prepare a few discussion points or questions in advance.” Why they have given this background is very important because the actual essay question is going to follow.



Impact Essay


At Cornell, we value students who create impact. Please indicate the opportunities for the impact that you’ve identified through engagement with our community and describe how what you learned has influenced your decision to apply to Johnson. (500 words)


Many people, the moment they see this essay, just blindly carpet bomb all the people on LinkedIn who are from Cornell. It really pains me because I have a lot of my alumni students who are current Cornell students who come and tell me, “ We mostly get messages like, Hey, can you please look into my profile and tell me if I got a good chance.” You just blew your chance, you just blew the opportunity to have a meaningful engagement with someone. Nobody can say if you can get into a B-School. Even I cannot say that. Remember, the probability is above 0% and below 100%. Nobody can say that 100% you’re going to get in, and nobody can say you have 0% chance of getting in. Somewhere, it is a probability, it could be 30%, 50% or 60%. What you should do is to be respectful; you should understand that they are busy and they have a hundred other things to do. Do your research and look at the profile to see if there are any common connections. That’s one thing you can do. See if there is any common connection through whom you can get introduced. See if you could approach them, talk about some similarities in your past. Be very specific in what you want to ask. You have a background in “XYZ”, now give them a summary.  What is it that you want to ask them about? It’s very important that you do so. Now that you have connected with them, it’s very important that you put that in your essay. Now that you’ve connected with them, you know what the story is.


It’s important for you to pick two or three opportunities. Remember, these are opportunities while you’re at Cornell, or maybe life beyond. Things that a Cornell/Johnson MBA can equip you with. As I mentioned earlier, we spoke about the investment fund. Do you want to be part of it? Just don’t say it because everybody is saying it. What is it in your background that you can bring to the table? Have you done investments before? Are you good at quantitative modeling? Is there anything else that you can bring to the table? Talk about how you could create an impact, and also say what you will gain from this experience. It has to be what I will give and what I will get.


Pick two or three opportunities for impact, and you need to say, “Why is that a reason for you to apply to the Johnson program?”. It’s very important that you tie it. It should read in such a way that someone says, “Wow! This guy has done his research; he has spoken with people. He is very clear, these are three opportunities that he has identified, and this is how he going to contribute, this is what he going to learn, which is why Cornell/Johnson is the number 1 choice for him. They have kind of twisted the “Why Johnson MBA essay” in a slightly different way but that’s really what it is. As I have said earlier, that’s because they value student contribution so much.



Table of Contents


This is the table of contents essay. They say “This is your opportunity to present yourself as an individual. We encourage you to think about your proudest accomplishments, moments  of adversity that have been overcome, interesting personal highlights, that will help us to get to know you as a person and potential community member”. hey really want to know about your life. They want to know the highs and lows and not the boring resume. They want to know something interesting, something that pops out, something that makes them feel, “I want to meet that person.” That’s the goal. After reading it, they should say, “Wow! I want to meet this person, I want this person in my class.” Are you able to articulate yourself that way? Let’s look at the specific prompt.


Table of Contents Essay


You are the author of your Life Story. Please create the table of contents for the book in the space provided or upload it as an attachment. We value creativity and authenticity and encourage you to approach this essay with your unique style. Alternative submission formats may include a slide presentation, links to pre-existing media (personal website, digital portfolio, YouTube, etc.), as well as visually enhanced written submissions.

Maximum file size is 5 MB. If you choose to submit a written Table of Contents, please limit your submission to 500 words or fewer. Multimedia submissions should be under 5 minutes.


First of all, what I want you to do is, sit down, chronologically write down all of the things that you have done in your life. Maybe something interesting about the place you were born. Maybe you can talk about that, maybe that’s a story. What about your education? Is there anything interesting? Don’t tell me what degree you have. That, I already know from your resume. Talk about something interesting. Did you learn anything about yourself? Maybe you met your childhood sweetheart and you got married to her. Maybe that’s the most interesting thing about your education. You can also think of a great story about your life, which can be put here. It’s very introspective. What about work? Where did you work? What was your biggest challenge? What did you accomplish? Now, remember each of them very clearly, remember that it’s table of contents and not the content.


What actually happened? They will get to know the details of it later. At this point, they want to know, “What was the life event?” Once you have listed out all of your life events, just write it down. As I have said, it’s not just professional but also personal. When you were born, when you got married, or when you had a kid. Whatever it is, just write it down. You could also write about adversity, for example, you had a major accident, you were in hospital for three weeks and that taught you something. Put it over there.


Once you have put all of that down, I would say the “How” is actually of lower importance. If you’re a creative person, you would figure out a good way to express this but if nothing else, make sure that each of these points kind of stands out. For example, let’s say that one of things you want to talk about is about when you got an opportunity to face an audience and you had stage fright all of your life and it took a lot of grit and determination to face an audience. Can you put a YouTube link? Yeah, even it’s a small hand held mobile camera that someone took,  like a shot, or maybe you have your own personal blog and you wanted to express yourself. Make sure you link it here.


Essentially, you need to keep it very concise. Don’t try to elaborate things. They are not wanting to know “Why”. Just because it is 500 words, don’t exploit it and write paragraphs. It should be one heading followed by a small blurb. The heading can be very interesting. For example, the heading could be, let’s say you want to talk about the time you got laid off and you started hunting for a job and you realized that you don’t want to go back to the job you were doing earlier and you wanted to do something new. Now that’s a lot of things. The heading could be “Second innings” and you could say, “After an unsuccessful attempt at my first innings of the….I started my second innings doing…..” Just one sentence. Just a small blurb.  


So, you would have:

<Title> <Blurb>

<Title> <Blurb>

<Title> <Blurb>

<Title> <Blurb> …..

Maybe five or six. I am imagining you’re somewhere under 30, or just about 30. I don’t think your life can have 15 to 20 chapters. That’s perhaps what I would do. Don’t worry about the “How” part. You could figure out a way to be creative, maybe express it differently, or put it in the form of a chart, but I wouldn’t bother too much about that.



Optional Essay


This essay is required for applicants seeking re-admission and should call attention to the steps taken to strengthen one’s candidacy. Candidates may also use the optional essay to call attention to items needing clarification or to address any gaps in experience.


My advice always for the optional essay is to write about a huge gap in your experience or your education or something that couldn’t be written anywhere else. Don’t try to retrofit a story just because it didn’t find a place elsewhere.


There is also this Roy H.Park Leadership Fellows Program essay. This is available only to a US citizen who is applying for a two-year MBA program. If you find it in your application form and you’re an international applicant, I am sorry, it’s not for you. I just wanted to let you know.


If you’re applying to the Cornell Johnson MBA program, I would be interested to know how your application is going. Are there any questions? Are you stuck at any point? Is there a way in which we can work together? Please let me know by clicking this link below.


  • October, 5th, 2017
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INSEAD Business School Essay Analysis 2020-2021

Reading Time: 11 minutes

Welcome to this article in which I will discuss the INSEAD Business School, which has campuses in France and Singapore. If you’re looking at applying to INSEAD this year, you have come to the right place.


First, let’s look at the program. What works for INSEAD is the one-year program. It’s actually crunched and more like 10-11 months rather than a year. It offers accelerated learning and if you’re looking for a one-year program, this is definitely one of the top three one-year programs in the world today.


Secondly, INSEAD is truly international. Although most of the US B-Schools have diversity, with 30 to 40% of their class coming in from outside of the US, theirs are predominantly an American programs. It’s the same thing if you look at Europe. However, if you look at INSEAD, the kind of diversity that you have, the kind of geographies that you have with about 40 to 50 different nationalities every year in the program, you see a program that is truly international. I think that’s a huge plus.


One more thing that probably works well for INSEAD is the fact that it has dual campuses (France and Singapore). It is possible for you to take advantage of the exchange opportunity; you can do some courses in the other campus. Thus, you can get a mix of both.


I think one thing you need to look at when applying to INSEAD is the fact that because it’s such an international program, they require you to have some amount of international background. Make sure you go to the website and read their admission criteria. The criteria are:


  • Ability to contribute

  • Academic capacity

  • Leadership Potential

  • International motivation (adaptability and flexibility in multi-cultural environments)”. Unless you have experience working very closely with people from different cultures and different geographies in your home country, this is going to be a little tough. You need to have some amount of international exposure. Just keep that in mind while you’re applying for the INSEAD program.


2020-2021 INSEAD Business School MBA Deadlines


INSEAD has two intakes


September 2020 Intake


Round 1

Application Deadline: September 19, 2020

Interview Decision Notification: October 19, 2020

Final Decision Notification: November 23, 2020


Round 2

Application Deadline: November 14, 2020

Interview Decision Notification: December 14, 2020

Final Decision Notification: January 25, 2020


Round 3

Application Deadline: January 9, 2021

Interview Decision Notification: February 8, 2021

Final Decision Notification: March 15, 2021


Round 4

Application Deadline: March 6, 2021

Interview Decision Notification: April 5, 2021

Final Decision Notification: May 10, 2021


You also have the option of the January Intake, that’s the beauty of it. The flexibility is that you can join by September or you can join in January. If you’re looking at January 2020, the deadlines are:


January 2021 Intake


Round 1

Application Deadline: February 20, 2021

Interview Decision Notification: March 22, 2021

Final Decision Notification: April 26, 2021


Round 2

Application Deadline: April 17, 2021

Interview Decision Notification: May 17, 2021

Final Decision Notification: June 21, 2021


Round 3

Application Deadline: June 5, 2021

Interview Decision Notification: July 5, 2021

Final Decision Notification: August 9, 2021


Round 4

Application Deadline: July 24, 2021

Interview Decision Notification: August 23, 2021

Final Decision Notification: September 27, 2021




Insead Business School Essay Analysis 2020 – 2021


You have four job essays and three motivational essays. We have had students getting into INSEAD almost every year for the last many years, and one thing I can tell you is that for all the other schools one week or 10 days is doable but for INSEAD, it takes a lot more.You need to factor in more time for your application. Now, let’s look at the Job essays.



Job Essay #1


Briefly summarise your current (or most recent) job, including the nature of work, major responsibilities, and where relevant, employees under your supervision, size of the budget, clients/products and results achieved. (short answer)


You need to have a short answer. Now, the deal with this is  that it is a crunch or a summary of your overall career progression. Don’t try to copy paste your CV over here. Try to be slightly more human in your approach. Try to describe it in a way that a layman can understand because many of these essays are going to be looked at by people who may not be in your industry. See, for the resume that you send to prospective employers, you assume that since they are in the same industry, same domain, they understand a lot of jargon.

For example, don’t write “Ten Thousand LOC”, instead, write “Ten Thousand lines of code”. You need to make sure that you explain in simple terms.


A key thing is that the question also talks about the “…results achieved.” You need to be able to quantify what you did, it’s not just what you did. Just don’t go to the company’s portal and look at the job description for your particular title and copy/paste and say “I developed…I designed….I managed”. You should talk about what  the result was. There is a very simple framework that you could use:  Situation, Action, and Result. You could talk about the background of the project given to you, what you did in the project, and what the result of the project was. You could easily break it up into three parts.



Job Essay #2


What would be your next step in terms of position if you were to remain in the same company? (short answer)


Obviously, they are not just looking at the title so don’t say that “I am a manager and I’ll become a senior manager.” You need to also explain what the senior management role would. entail Perhaps you need to quantify it. For example, if you’re currently handling ten accounts, as a senior manager, you would probably be responsible for 50 accounts, so you need to basically quantify the role.



Job Essay #3


Please give a full description of your career since graduating from university. Describe your career path with the rationale behind your choices. (short answer)


Don’t try to keep this in the resume format. When you graduated, what were the options you had? Why did you pick your first employer, was there a reason for you to do that? After that, why did you pick the second employer? What was the learning that you had with the first employer? What was the learning that you had with the second employer? You need to gradually take them through the journey of your life.


Again, try to be brief. Don’t try to elaborate too much. Don’t try to dramatize it. In fact, this is not an essay where you should bring quotes and emotions and all that into the play. To some extent, keep it dry. That’s what your third job essay is going to be like. One key thing is, “Describe your career path with the rationale behind your choices.” You’re not just telling them what you did but also “why you did” “what you did.”



Job Essay #4


Discuss your short and long-term career aspirations with or without an MBA from INSEAD. (short answer)


Here, the deal is that they are not looking at why you want to do an MBA. So tell them, “what is it that you want to do eventually in life?” If you’re not applying, this is still what you want to do. For example, “I want to be a Product Manager. As a Product Manager, I feel that I am going to be responsible for the life-cycle of a product. I feel I will be able to affect and influence the way users deal with the particular problems faced.” That is what they want to hear from you. You can dream about your long-term. It may not be as concrete as your short term but you could say that you eventually want be in a role where you start your company where technology is going to directly affect in a particular area that you are passionate about. You can have slight leeway in not being very specific but don’t try to pick a bizarre thing. One mistake that people make is that they are good at writing short-term goals but when it comes to the long-term goal, they say something like “I want to be an entrepreneur.’  You want to be “an entrepreneur” is too vague. You need to be slightly more specific. Tie it to your motivation, your passion.


Now, let’ discuss the optional job essays.



Optional Essay


If you are currently not working or if you plan to leave your current employer more than 2 months before the program starts, please explain your activities and occupations between leaving your job and the start of the program.


First, if you’re currently unemployed, it’s okay. You don’t need to sweat it but you need to show them how you are constructively utilizing your time. You cannot say, “I quit my job, and I am preparing for the GMAT and applying to INSEAD.” Instead, you can say, “I am taking these courses and I am making sure that I am investing in myself so that I can develop further professionally”, or you can talk about your personal reasons for which you have taken a sabbatical. Whatever the reason be, write it. Make sure that you’re not telling them you’re sitting at home and binge-watching Netflix, and goofing off.


Also if you have plans to quit to do something meaningful to you. Well, one of my students who went to INSEAD this year, went and took his pilot license because that was his dream since childhood. He wanted to be a pilot. So he said, “I am going to take this opportunity and spend 2 to 3 months getting my pilot license.” Now, that’s something that is not related to an MBA. People don’t try to see how you’re putting all these dots in this perfect linear curve which is leading towards your goal. It’s okay to do things that appeal to your passion even if it doesn’t link directly to your MBA goals but if it is, please mention it here.



Motivational Essays


Motivation Essay #1


Give a candid description of yourself (who are you as a person), stressing the personal characteristics you feel to be your strengths and weaknesses and the main factors which have influenced your personal development, giving examples when necessary (approximately 500 words).


This is a slightly complex essay. Let’s go through it one by one. You need to talk about two or three life incidents, hobbies, things that have happened to you, and things you did but out these two or three things that you’re going to talk about, you need to be able to cull out the strengths and weaknesses that you’ve discovered in yourself. The strengths and weaknesses cannot be isolated and your stories cannot be different. They have to be merged together.


Let me give you an example. One of my students spoke about how she grew up in a joint family and she said, “Growing up in a joint family, the one thing that I realised was that I always had to share my things and initially, it was very tough because as a kid I would want everything I would get. Every time my parents would get something, they would get five of it because there were five other kids growing up in the same family.” Then she spoke about how that deeply influenced who she was today and how she spun it as positive. Now, going ahead, she spoke about a particular thing that she gained from her father. Her father was someone who believed that you have to go all out and give it your best, and at some point she became slightly high strung. It was always like you had to go for the kill. You always want 100%;  it’s not that you’re expecting this from just yourself but it’s something that you’re expecting from others as well. Once she started working, she realised that sometimes you “Let perfection not be the enemy of getting things done.” She realized that there were constraints that she had to work around and not everything goes according to plan but as humans we need to know how to deliver the maximum. Not 10/10 but even if she got 8/10, she learned to be fine with it. This was a potential weakness. She said, “I still go back to the urge of perfection but now I have perhaps come to terms with this fact.”


You talk about a couple of strengths, you talk about a weakness or two, and then you kind of weave your stories into it. At the end of the essay, what does INSEAD really want to know? It wants to know who you are as a person. What are the gifts? What are the gaps? One mistake that people make in the weakness part is that they kind of mask the weakness by saying that it is a strength. For example, in the earlier example, she said, “Perfection is my weakness and it’s not something that I am proud of.” However, people say, “Oh, I am a perfectionist but you know what? Sometimes I have to deal with these people who don’t understand who I am.”  Or here is another example of incorrect weakness, “I work so hard. I am a hard worker and I don’t know when to stop. I work for 16 hours a day.”In this example, they try to showcase that as a weakness. A weakness has to be slightly more genuine.


That’s pretty much the first essay we have. As I have said, you need to tie it up together. 500 words, two strengths, and one weakness, 150 words to develop each story. That’s 450 words, then the starting and finish will be 50 words. 500 words will nicely cover it all.



Motivation Essay #2


Describe the achievement of which you are most proud and explain why. In addition, describe a situation where you failed. How did these experiences impact your relationships with others? Comment on what you learned(approximately 400 words).


Very clearly, 200 words for success, 200 words for failure. In the 200 words for success, talk about why you are proud of it. It does not have to be something that is earth-shattering but something that you personally relate to well. Maybe it’s a small thing that you did at work that completely changed your perspective towards leadership. It states “Explain why.” why are you proud? It’s not just the “What’ but also the “Why”.


The second part, “….Where you failed…” Here,what people do is, they say, “I failed but then eventually, I succeeded.” No, it has to be failed. There is really no escape, you failed and it was a spectacular failure. You learned, you fell flat on your face but you know what? You got up. You bounced back. You learned so much about life. In fact, as I have mentioned earlier, in Australia, there is an elite air force where they ask this question, “Have you failed?”, and if respondents say, “I have not failed”, they are actually not considered for the elite corps. The reason is, if you haven’t failed in your life you don’t know what failure is and B-School can be a tough place. They want people with very high EQ. That’s a huge part of the whole B-School experience, which is why the second essay is about your failure.


It’s not so much about what happened, it’s okay if you have made mistakes because everyone makes mistake but what really matters is, “What did you learn?  How did that impact your relationship with others?” You also need to talk about how this success and failure have changed you as a person. If you haven’t thought about it, it’s a good time to think about it now. As I said, EQ is a quality that INSEAD looks for in their applicants.



Motivation Essay #3


Describe all types of extra-professional activities in which you have been or are still involved for a significant amount of time (clubs, sports, music, arts, politics, etc). How are you enriched by these activities? (approximately 300 words)


One of the things that INSEAD or any other B-School looks for is leadership qualities. So now, what do you mean by leadership? Leadership Is when a person says, “My life is not just going to work, coming back home, watching TV, and going to sleep. I am passionate about certain things”, and a leader will typically have one more thing he is going to pursue on the side. You need to pick what it is and quantify it but more than the ‘What’, again I will tell you, it’s about the “Why”. Why is that cause so dear to you? Why did you not pick something else? Why did you pick that sport?Why do you jam with your band every weekend? What about music inspires you? What can other people learn from you? 300 words is plenty of space to elaborate on that part.


Optional Motivation Essay


Is there anything else that was not covered in your application that you would like to share with the Admissions Committee? (approximately 300 words)


This is the usual optional essay. If you have any gaps in your education or work experience, the optional essay is the place to address it, or if you feel that there is something that the Admission Committee needs to know, you can write about it. Make sure that this is not something that you’re trying to retrofit, like a story which does not fit anywhere else. Don’t do that. You’re better off not writing this essay than writing something for the sake of it.


I know there is a lot for the INSEAD essays. If you’re applying this year and you think there is any way in which we can work together and we can help, please let us know by clicking the link below.


  • October, 5th, 2017
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Harvard Business School Essay Analysis 2017 – 2018

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Welcome to this article in which I’m going to talk about the Harvard Business School MBA program, and its application essay. Firstly, with Harvard Business School, brand credentials are really gold plated. When you think of an MBA, Harvard is the name that comes to your mind. That’s the top selling point for Harvard Business School. In terms of global reach, whichever country you go to, it really gives you the passport of having an alumni network, and having credentials that people will take seriously. The name recognition is a huge thing.


The second thing is the case study method. Harvard really invented this thing, where they said, “We don’t want to teach you by theory, we don’t want to teach you by putting a ppt but we will actually give you a scenario so that students themselves participate”. Everyday, you don’t just walk into class and try to hack it and try to wing it by speaking something. You have to conduct your research the previous evening before you walk into the class. You need to have all your points noted down. You need to make sure that you’re able to present a very cogent argument either for or against the study that is mentioned over there. Remember, if you’re thinking that class participation is going to be easy, you’re wrong. Remember that you’re going to be surrounded by peers who are probably as rabidly competitive as you are. Everybody there wants to make sure that he/she gets their points across. It’s not very easy.


From our students who’ve been to Harvard, we have learned that there is one more thing that is special about Harvard. They have seen that public speaking and confidence level really shoot up in the two years. You are really confident of expressing your thoughts,  of dealing with objections, and of putting your points in a way that can be received better by the other person. You learn all of this at the Harvard Business School.


Next, you’re on the Harvard University campus, and you have various other departments at Harvard. Thus, in terms of infrastructure, the diversity of the student population, and in terms of taking courses/electives in other departments, I think there’s a tremendous opportunity here. You’re in Boston, you’re just across the road from MIT. It’s really a great place, and though it gets a little cold in the winter, it’s a great place to be.


Harvard Business School MBA Deadlines


Round 1 – Sept 6, 2017

Round 2 – Jan 3, 2018

Round 3 – April 2, 2018


So let’s look at the deadlines.


Most of the students come and ask, “what does it really take to get into Harvard?”. Harvard is looking for significant impact that you’ve made, either in your education, or in your experiences, or maybe even in your extra-curricular activities. You cannot be an average guy. You cannot be a mediocre guy; you cannot just have good grades and average experience. To give an example, let’s say you did your engineering with a score of 70%, and then went to work for a large IT company. You’ve worked there for four years and you did routine stuff and maybe a little more here and there but pretty much stuck to that. You have also participated in a little bit of an NGO activity or a hobby that you’ve pursued. You’re average.


Unfortunately, if you’re looking at Harvard, you need to have something that pops out of the paper. Something that makes people say, “Wow!”. People are not looking at a hundred things. One of our students, Raviraj, got into Harvard.  was from IIT Bombay, with a 750 GMAT. All of the things were in place, but what really made a difference was that he started a company while he was still in his fourth year at college. It got picked by a lot of media houses. In fact, he was featured in 27 different publications. He was also featured in Business World, Business Week and on Young Turks on CNBC. He made a huge impact. Now, here is the funny part, his company did not do well and they actually folded in. But the bigger thing is the experience that he had. There was something he did that was very significant. Something that had a huge impact. For that reason, he was able to put in a strong candidature at Harvard.


Let’s now get into the actual essays that you have.




Harvard Business School MBA Essays 2017 – 2018


Essay 1


As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA program? (No word limit)


There is no word limit and it goes on to say, “Don’t over think, over craft or overwrite. Just answer the question in clear language and that those of us who don’t know your world can understand”.


So don’t give me a lot of jargon and don’t expect me to understand a lot. I already have your resume, I already have your recommendation letters, I have your undergrad transcripts, I have your entire work experience, I have all your achievements, I have your GMAT scores with me, I have your Quant and verbal split. I have everything about you. I know all of this and now tell me something else about you. Now if you think about this at a very fundamental level, what Harvard is really looking at is that one story that inspires you. That one thing that gives me the “Why” about you. “What’ I already know but the “Why” I need know. Who’s the person behind all these achievements? What is the real inspiration behind what you do in life?


I will give you an example of a student who had applied to Harvard. He essentially had an entrepreneurial venture in the social space. Hewas into micro-financing and microcredit. He spoke about how he grew up in a family where his father and grandfather were farmers, and he saw the hardships that they went through. While growing up, he realized something as simple as taking loans. Farmers are usually affected by the vagaries of the weather. Sometimes, the monsoons are good, and sometimes they are bad. Invariably, they went to the local money-lender who used to arm-twist them and make them pay through their nose. That’s why he said that growing up and looking at these experiences, he realized that this was something he wanted to set right. He did not know how to do it, but education was the answer. He said, “I went to college not knowing what I would do to fix the scenario but I worked hard and got educated here, and went on to do my Bachelors in St. Stephen’s College in Delhi.” He then went on to get his Master’s. He also said, “When I went back and contributed, I felt in some sense that I am vindicating my parents, my grandfather, and my ancestors because this is something that they faced.”


Talk about something that is very close to you. Something that is personal to you, something that talks about impact because everything in Harvard is about impact. Are you a person who can make a strong impact in the world? It could be through anything, it could be through technology also. If you’re a technology person and you think Harvard is your calling, how will technology have an impact on the world? You need to understand that for Harvard, you can no longer talk about the small things. You need to talk about the larger vision. This essay also has the scope of what you want to do because that’s not mentioned anywhere. You need to talk about your experiences, your background and how you will change the world. I know it’s not easy but that’s how this essay has been designed. It requires you to think and brainstorm. It also requires you to talk to your friends and family, and really put in that core message. Once you have the core message you want to convey, you can blow up the other parts and figure out how to say what. ‘Why” is the core of this essay.


If you’re applying to Harvard, and would like to connect with us, go ahead and click the link below. We can help you draft your essays and can help you brainstorm.


  • October, 5th, 2017
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USC Marshall School of Business Essay Analysis 2017 – 2018

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Welcome to this article in which we will discuss the USC Marshall MBA program. They have two programs, the one-year IBEAR program, and the two year program. The former is a one-year accelerated international MBA for mid-career professionals. The average age of students doing this program is 33; it’s meant for people who want a quick accelerated one year program.


However, the main program we’re looking at is the two-year degree, which is their flagship program. A couple of things about the USC Marshall program that you need to know up-front if you’re applying this year. The first is that Marshall has a focus on global outlook. They use their location on the Pacific rim. They have the “Pacific RIm Education” program, which is their prime program, and requires international travel of all students. This is something that differentiates it from other schools.


Apart from the global perspective, because it’s in California, the location makes a huge difference. Southern California has great weather. It is as India as you can get in terms of  weather, culture, and people. It’s one of the best places to be in the US. Because of the location, you have a tech focus, and an entrepreneurial focus. You find a lot of tech companies in the LA area, in Southern California. There are a lot of opportunities to work for exciting new start-ups. I think that’s a huge draw for the USC Marshall Program.


The third important factor is the emphasis on team-work. They believe that since classes are often small, the student body as a whole allows each student to receive a great deal of individual attention. The students participate in a lot of programs that are conducted on campus. A student has to work with other students, so teamwork is a huge focus at USC Marshall.



2017-2018 USC Marshall MBA Deadlines


Round 1

Application Deadline: October 15, 2017

Decision Notification: December 31, 2017


Round 2

Application Deadline: January 5, 2018

Decision Notification: March 31, 2018


Round 3

Application Deadline: March 1, 2018

Decision Notification: May 15, 2018


Round 4

Application Deadline: April 15, 2018

Decision Notification: June 15, 2018


Round 5

Rolling Admissions*





2017-2018 USC Marshall Essay Questions


Essay 1


What is your specific, immediate short-term career goal upon completion of your MBA? Please include an intended position, function, and industry in your response. (100 words)


With 100 words, you don’t have a lot of leeway to talk about things. If you remember, in the usual career goals essays, we talk about how you go from where you are and how an MBA will help you. No such options here. We have to be very specific..What do you want to do after your MBA? Tell them the role, and give an example of the kind of companies you want to work for. “I want to work for the Retail Leadership Program at Amazon.” Maybe that’s your dream. You probably want to talk about what you would do in that role. You have 100 words so you can  probably have a little leeway to explain in a sentence, “In such a role I would be doing….”


Remember that you have 100 words; keep it tight and steer clear of things that are generic. Don’t say something like, “I want to be in a general management position” or “I want to be in strategic position.” Be very clear. “Associate Consultant at McKinsey working in their LA office” –  you have to very specific. Now that was the easy part. If you know what to do, writing it is easy. (100 words)



Essay 2


Please respond to ONLY ONE of the following essay topics. (500 words)

    1. Please describe the contributions you expect to make to your classmates outside of the classroom during your time at USC.

    2. You have been asked to design a course to be taught at the Marshall School of Business. Please provide a title and description for the course.

    3. What has been the most interesting day or moment in your life and why?

    4. You have been hired by the Marshall MBA Admissions Committee to create an essay question for next year’s application. Please state the question and answer it.


Option 1#


A B-School experience is not so much about what you learn in the classroom. It’s a lot about what you learn outside the classroom. What we are really looking at is, “what is it that you would do with your classmates?” You can talk about extracurricular activities. If you have a passion, let’s say, cycling, you need to say how you will bring that passion to Southern California, to the USC campus. Talk about how you would encourage your classmates to follow your passion and help them perhaps take their mind off studies. You can also talk about anything that differentiates you. I would suggest that you pick two or three traits. Although it is 500 words, you need to flesh out the details. You need to say what it is that you have done, and then you need to talk about how you will contribute. It’s going to take 100 to 150 words. You could probably talk about three specific things that you can contribute. Try to steer clear of professional things.


Option 2#


Not just the title and the description, but I am assuming you would want to say why you want to pick the course. Why do you think it’s important? First, please make sure that it’s not the course that is already offered by the school.


I am going to give you a very general guideline of what to write. Talk about something which is futuristic. Talk about something that would probably be required in this changing world. For example; “How to manage millennials” Now, if you don’t know what a millennial is, go ahead and Google it. Managers are getting worried about how they can manage these guys who grew up in the last 20 years with the internet on their fingertips. Maybe you would want to talk about something futuristic like that.


Options 3#


You need to say what is the most interesting day was, but more importantly, you need to say why. For example, a student once wrote, not for this essay, but for something similar, “My most important day was the day I got married, not so much for the fact that I got married.” It’s a very Indian custom that the parents of both the boy and the girl need to meet and agree. In this student’s case, something went wrong. The parents were not on talking terms, and the boy and girl decided to get married with the help of their friends. He went and negotiated with the girl’s father and with his own parents, and somehow got them all together.


He said, “More than me getting married, my family is very important to me,and that is why this day is important.” Now, the idea is not to just talk about the event. That would be shallow. You need to say why it’s so important. In this case, his family was important and he also said, “This gave me the confidence that I have this inner strength. “When the times are weak and dark, I am able to take this inner strength, and push myself to achieve what I want to do”. This should be something else that they can know about you.


Option 4#


Here is what I would do. I would pick this if none of the first three resonates with me. Let’s say there is no specific day in my life I can remember. It happens, right? If you don’t have anything to say, leave it. Let’s look at , Option 2#, the contributions. I really don’t have three contributions that I can make. You leave that one too, and let us say there is no specific course that comes to my mind. What else do you think that Marshall would like to know about me?


What you can do is, you could spin it a little bit and could talk a little about why it is important for you and Marshall. For example, you could say “One essay that I would like Marshall to talk about is, “Your biggest failure, the most spectacular failure. The reason I would like to know this is because in my life, I learned from my failures.” You can go ahead and talk about your failures and what you have learned. You can also say “More than the successes in life, it is the failures that teach people things that make them who they are.”


That could be an interesting spin of you putting your story while underscoring the fact that this is an important aspect that you wish to see in your classmates.


Optional Essay


Please provide any additional information that will enhance our understanding of your candidacy for the program. (250 words)


As always, you can talk about your educational gaps, experience gaps, or something that you think is necessary for the admission committee to know and they would not know through the application form. It could be stuff that you plan to do in the future, let’s say you plan to take a course in 2018.


What you should not do is retrofit stories that could not find their way elsewhere. Don’t do that.


I hope this article was useful. I wish you all the best for your application to the USC Marshall Program. I know it’s a little tough; I know it’s the first time you are probably writing essays. If you think there is any way in which we could work together, just click the link below, and we could get in touch.


  • October, 4th, 2017
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UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School Essay Analysis 2017 – 2018

Reading Time: 6 minutes

If you’re applying to the Kenan Flagler program at the University of Northern Carolina, you have come to the right place. In this article, I am going to take you through the program and the application essays for 2017-2018.


Kenan is a good top 15 program. If you look at the various B-School rankings it appears at the top although it’s not in the top 5 programs. It’s definitely a very good program. We have talked to several of our students who went to this school, and one thing the students talk about is the school’s focus on “Leadership development”. Kenan Flagler has something called the “Leadership Initiative” where it brings a lot of guest speakers and exposes the students to them. They also have something called the “Star Program”. You can check this program on their website. The program gives the students the opportunity to gain real world experience in leadership. These are the things that you want to look at when applying to the program.


Secondly, Kenan has a strong international focus. They have an MBA exchange program, and a vast network of partner schools. You can do a semester in another school that is part of the network program.


You also have the ‘Global Business Project Program” wherein the students work for companies in various regions of the world. Furthermore, they also have the “Working Languages Program’, where they teach you foreign languages such as Mandarin, Portuguese, Spanish, and more for students who plan to use those languages in their career. If you’re looking at a very global expand where you are not limited to the US, you can check this program.


2017-2018 UNC Kenan-Flagler Deadlines


Round 1 (Early Action)

Application Deadline: October 16, 2017

Decisions Released: December 11, 2017

Deposit Due: January 8, 2018


Round 2

Application Deadline: December 4, 2017

Decisions Released: January 29, 2018

Deposit Due: April 16, 2018


Round 3

Application Deadline: January 15, 2018

Decisions Released: March 12, 2018

Deposit Due: April 16, 2018


Round 4

Application Deadline: March 12, 2018

Decisions Released: April 23, 2018

Deposit Due: May 7, 2018





2017-2018 UNC Kenan-Flagler Essay Questions


Essay One (Required)


Please describe your short and long term goals post-MBA. Explain how your professional experience has shaped these goals, why this career option appeals to you, and how you arrived at the decision that now is the time and the MBA is the appropriate degree. Additionally, please briefly address a backup plan should your short-term goal not come to fruition for any reason. (500 words maximum)


This is a classic career goal essay with a few twists. Our strategy should be the same. First, make sure that you talk about your career progression until now. It’s very important to talk professionally, and personally to say what it is that you bring to the table with an MBA or without an MBA. What is the value you would be able to give? What has been your experience? This is not a  replacement for your CV. your CV details your employment history. It details what you did. Here, they want to know what your progression has been. Now that you have talked about all of these great things you have done, you need to say where you see yourself going from here. That becomes your second paragraph. Four years ago, when you started your career, perhaps you did not know what you wanted. Now that you have had all this exposure and you did all these great things, you realize your actual goal is to be ‘X’, ‘Y’ or  ‘Z’. You need to mention that career goal. It has to tie to what you have done. Don’t say, “I have been in the IT industry but I want to be an investment banker, because my Quant is good and I have a 51 in GMAT” or something like, “I did my engineering and I am analytical in my approach.” Don’t make it like that. Give it a very clear fit with what you have done. In this second paragraph, you say what your long term and short term goals are. As I have maintained, short term goals have to be specific whereas with long term goals, you have the leeway to be slightly more generic. As long as you’re able to connect the dots. So that is your second paragraph. Let’s look at the third.


In the third paragraph, you can explain how else you can reach there. Is there any other path to reach there? If you feel that there is an alternate career path to reach there, talk about it here. Tell them about that path. You also need to tell them why the MBA is the best degree for you to get there and when you say an MBA, you need to say t “why a Kenan-Flagler MBA is the best program to getting there.”. So this pretty much becomes your third paragraph.


500 words are enough for you to build a good story. You need to first say what you bring to the table. You need to tell them that now that you have done all of this, what is it that you want to do. Next, say what ways there are for you to get there, including an MBA from Kenan-Flagler. You can write about 150 words for each of these parts. Then you can use 50 words for a strong opening and finishing.


Two very important things:


They specifically ask you for an alternate backup career path, in case your short term goal doesn’t materialize. So I would say, keep your long term goal as it is. Keep two paths to get there with your short term goals.


Next, they very specifically ask you why “now”, so you need to specify why “now” is the correct point to do an MBA, and why now is the point of inflection in your career. Until this point, you couldn’t have done it but at this point, you’re able to figure it out.



Essay Two (Optional)


What personal qualities or life experiences distinguish you from other applicants? How do these qualities or experiences equip you to contribute to UNC Kenan-Flagler? (300 words maximum)


Not just do you need to tell me what the special qualities about you are, but you also need to make a pitch of how you will contribute using those qualities in the MBA program. My suggestion, for 300 words, don’t pick more than two qualities. You can say something like “I am different because….I have this…..particular trait”. Here is an example of what one of our students had written:


“If you were to summarize me in one word, it’s passion. As Yoda said, do or do not, there is no try. If I take up something, I am so passionate about it. I give my 100% doing that. People have asked me, why I am doing this. If I am doing something it rather be worth my while or I might not do it. That same passion, I want to bring to Kenan-Flagler. I want to participate in” and he went on to list a couple of things he’d like to participate in, based on what he had done in the past.


Passion became one point. So 150 words gone. For the next 150 words, pick another adjective that describes you. So that’s how I would play this essay out, but not more than two qualities. If you’re going to write three qualities for example, it reduces the words available for each quality to 100. One quality might be less and three qualities might be more. Choose a good fit. I have seen successful applicants writing about just one quality, and I have also seen applicants writing about three qualities being successful. So you can pick either one, two, or three. Just make sure you’re able to flesh out the details.



Essay Three (Optional)


If your standardized test scores are low, or if you have not had coursework in core business subjects (calculus, microeconomics, statistics, financial accounting), please tell us how you plan to prepare yourself for the quantitative rigor of the MBA curriculum. (300 words maximum)


According to me, if you have done engineering, chartered accountancy, or if you have done any of the professional degrees from India, youprobably meet the requirements.


This essay could be applicable only for a candidate with a Humanities background. If you’re from the Humanities background, or you have a score lower than 48 in Quant in the GMAT, you can probably take any of the online courses to build an alternate transcript. In fact, you could ask them if there are any ways in which you can improve your profile by showing quantitative rigour. If you’re an engineer and you have a good Quant score of 48 and above, don’t worry about this essay. It’s optional for you.



Essay Four (Optional)


Is there any other information you would like to share that is not presented elsewhere in the application? (300 words maximum)


This is one of the places where you can tell them something that is very important. Don’t try to retrofit a story that you just couldn’t find another place for. Don’t do that. Typically, you would talk about the things that you have probably planned to do before you join the program. The things that you cannot put in your resume but have planned. For example, “I plan to learn Spanish next year, and I hope to be in Level B by the time I join the program”. Great! This makes sense to put in here. But don’t put anything that otherwise is just a story about your past.


So that’s pretty much what we have for the UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA program. We’ve had a lot of students who went there, and we keep in touch with them. If you feel that we could help you in any way, if you’re stuck in any part of the application, we would love to help you, so go ahead and click the link below.


  • October, 4th, 2017
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MIT Sloan School Of Management Essay Analysis 2018 – 2019

MIT Sloan
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Welcome to this article in which we will look at the MIT Sloan School of Management. If you are looking at applying to MIT this year, you have come to the right place.


Let’s first look at the MIT Sloan MBA program. The first thing you think of when you look at MIT, is Technology. You think of the focus MIT has on technology and engineering. You might think that MBA is isolated, but it’s not. You need to understand that it’s a university system. You can actually take courses in the technology programs that the other departments have. Even if you’re pursuing an MBA, you can still take an elective from other departments, and being on the MIT campus, you have a different way of looking at things. MIT is obviously a big place for a technology focus.


Second, MIT Sloan is one of the few programs which has a very condensed core. You just have the first semester where you are required to take the core courses, and the rest of it can be based on electives. You can pick and choose whatever you like. Very few schools have this flexibility so it’s a big plus point.


Third, in terms of international flavour, MIT Sloan has the maximum number of international students for any top MBA program.That’s again a huge plus if you’re looking at diversity among US MBA programs.


Finally, maybe because of the technology focus, MIT also has a strong focus on entrepreneurship. In fact, it is said that if all the companies out of MIT were to form a country, it would have the fifth largest GDP in the world. That’s the kind of history of entrepreneurship that you have in one single place. This is definitely a huge place for people who come from a tech background. If MIT is something that you have been dreaming of, you should be looking at the MBA program.


MIT Sloan 2018-2019 MBA Deadlines


Round 1

Application Deadline: September 25, 2018

Decision Notification: December 19, 2018


Round 2

Application Deadline: January 22, 2019

Decision Notification: April 2, 2019


Round 3

Application Deadline: April 8, 2019

Decision Notification: May 8, 2019





MIT / Sloan Essay Topic Analysis 2018-2019


Cover Letter


MIT Sloan seeks students whose personal characteristics demonstrate that they will make the most of the incredible opportunities at MIT, both academic and non-academic. We are on a quest to find those whose presence will enhance the experience of other students. We seek thoughtful leaders with exceptional intellectual abilities and the drive and determination to put their stamp on the world. We welcome people who are independent, authentic, and fearlessly creative — true doers. We want people who can redefine solutions to conventional problems, and strive to preempt unconventional dilemmas with cutting-edge ideas. We demand integrity and respect passion.

Taking the above into consideration, please submit a cover letter seeking a place in the MIT Sloan MBA Program. Your letter should conform to a standard business correspondence, include one or more examples that illustrate why you meet the desired criteria above, and be addressed to Mr. Rod Garcia, Senior Director of Admissions (300 words or fewer, excluding address and salutation).


You can see that there are a lot of questions asked. Don’t get lost. Just read it a couple of times, make sure you get a sense of what it is. Remember that you need to write in 300 words or fewer, excluding address and salutation.


You need to be writing a cover letter seeking a place in the MIT Sloan MBA program, taking into consideration “Your letter should conform to a standard business correspondence, include one or more examples that illustrate why you meet the desired criteria above, and be addressed to Mr. Rod Garcia, Senior Director of Admissions”. Now, first of all, what do you mean by “Standard Business Correspondence”?. Well, you need to first address the letter to Mr. Rod Garcia, Senior Director of Admissions, MIT, and then you need to write the content of the letter.


What is the difference between writing a letter as opposed to writing an essay? You are writing to a person, so make sure that your 300 words exclude the addresses and salutations. The actual meat of it is you talking about something more than one can get from your resume. Think about it. They have your resume, they have your application form, your recommenders and to top it, they also have your GMAT scores and undergraduate transcripts. They have everything about your working experiences so do not repeat what they already have. Pick one or two things about you that they don’t know. Perhaps you’re an innovative thinker, maybe you are a problem solver. Maybe you believe in problem-solving under frugality (or in India, as they say, “juggaad”). What have you done?  Maybe it’s a small motor pump that you took out from the engine and used for something completely different. Showcase through examples. One thing about MBA applications is, always give examples. First, list down four to five traits that you think define you well. You can talk about innovation, risk-taking, leadership, team working, for example. Whatever you want to pick, pick and list out. You have 300 words. You can pick two things, and convey them in 300 words. Make sure you flesh out all the details and tell them why you are unique. Tell them what it is that you hope to get through the MBA program, and what you are going to learn from the program. It’s really important that you pick those two things.


Now that you have told them who you are, talk about why MIT Sloan particularly excites you because you are this person.  What at MIT excites you? Why do you think it gels so well with who you are as a person? For example, if you spoke about innovation, you can have come to the “Mecca of Innovation”, but you have to be very specific. Mention the academics and non-academics pursuits that you want to get out of the program. You may not really be able to get it all out because you have the 300 word limit. You may not be able to write about your post-MBA goals, and be specific, but you can mention “This is who I am, this is what I am going to get from the MIT program.” Then allude to your post-MBA career without getting into the depth of it.


That is how 300 words should be structured. You can be creative in the way you want to express yourself but make sure you’re going to pick one or two important aspects. One mistake that people do is that they talk about ten different things. It just loses the focus of the message. Don’t do that, two should be the maximum.



Video Prompt


Please introduce yourself to your future classmates via a brief video statement.

You will need to use an internet-connected computer, with a webcam and microphone.  As part of the application review, the Admission Committee will evaluate your response to see how you express yourself and to assess fit with the MIT Sloan culture. The simple, open-ended question is designed to help us get to know you better.



   • Please make sure you are using a working Internet connection not wireless or shared wireless connection. If your Internet is not a strong signal you will not be able to upload. Please also make sure you have the most up to date browser.

   • You will need to use an internet-connected computer with a webcam and microphone.

   • We suggest using Google Chrome* or Firefox as your browser.

   • If using Google Chrome – please click the camera icon in your browser to allow the site to access your microphone. If you are having issues with your microphone please re-start your computer for Google Chrome to access your microphone.

   • Once the video statement question is viewed you will have 60 seconds to prepare, and then 60 seconds to record your answer.

   • You will only have one attempt to record your response.



Now, you’re introducing yourself. What you wrote in the cover letter is very different. You’re not going to introduce yourself to your classmates by saying “I am an innovator, I am a problem solver.” Instead, you need to talk about something about you, perhaps something more personal. Maybe you can talk about what you expect from the MBA program. Remember that you have only 60 seconds, and 60 seconds is very less. If you have a very long South Indian name, maybe 60 seconds gets consumed over there. You have to be very prudent in what you say. Be casual.


You just need a simple camera phone and it’s all sorted. Today’s phones come with very good picture quality and video quality. Now you need to make sure that you keep the camera in front of you. Keep it very simple, and nothing fancy. Make sure that the lighting is bright. That is another mistake that people make. Don’t keep the light source behind you. You would look like Gautam Buddha. The light source should be in front of you so that your face looks clean. Also, make sure that your surrounding is clutter free. Make sure that the voice is being captured very clearly; again, your phone microphone will do its work so don’t really sweat too much on that.


When you’re speaking, take as many retakes as possible. Keep saying the same thing, do it for like 20 to 25 times in front of the mirror before you come in front of the camera.


Initially, when you start, you will become very conscious. Do you know how I know this? Well, I have done this, and I have been in your shoes. I know you get very conscious when you see the camera. Sometimes, you know capturing that moment is for posterity, and you feel a bit stressed, but here is the thing, if you keep doing this multiple times, you will get the hang of it.


What is it that I should speak?


    • Speak about yourself. Be casual.

    • Talk about your interest

    • You can even include a quirk

    • You can say what you love doing


For example, “I love gaming and I challenge all you counter-strike aficionados to come challenge me for a game.”


Something of that sort; make yourself sound interesting. I should be able to look at the video and say, “this is the guy/girl I would like to meet.” That’s really the intent of the video essay.


Optional Essay


Please provide any additional information you would like the Admissions Committee to know that may be helpful in evaluating your candidacy (i.e. choice of recommenders, areas of concern in your academic record, other extenuating circumstances, etc.). This information should be provided in a written format (200 words or less).


You can use this essay to convey your gaps in education or gaps in employment or use it to convey something that you couldn’t say anywhere else. But please don’t try to retrofit stories that you couldn’t fit anywhere else. Don’t feel pressured to write anything over here.


I know it’s not easy, especially if you haven’t done a video essay before. It can be tough. If you would like us to help you with your application to MIT, please let us know. You can click the link below.


  • September, 22nd, 2017
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University Of Michigan’s Ross School Of Business Essay Analysis 2017 – 2018

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Welcome to this article in which I will discuss the Ross MBA program at the University of Michigan. If you’re looking at applying to Ross this year, 2017-2018, you have come to the right place. In this article, i will analyze the MBA application essays, which by the way, if you haven’t noticed, has changed.


Firstly, let’s look at the program. Based on our discussions with students who went to Ross, we understand that a specialty at Ross is their MAP ( Multidisciplinary Action Project). With MAP, what happens is that you actually do consulting as part of a team. This is real field work; you’re solving real problems. You won’t be just looking at the MBA as a way to gain knowledge but also to actually apply the knowledge you’ve gained. I recommend that you to go to their website, and read more about MAP.


The University of Michigan is one of the largest public universities You have around 40,000+ students, undergraduates and postgraduates from various disciplines. You will get access to that network, to various departments, and you can take electives from some other departments. That’s a huge advantage as opposed to many MBA schools that are standalone business schools.


The third important factor is the focus on operations and manufacturing. You have the Tauber Institute of Global Operations. If you’re looking for operations, you’re definitely in the right place. Although Detroit isn’t doing well in terms of being a manufacturing hub, in terms of operations, logistics, and supply chain, Ross is the place to be. It is definitely one of the top schools when it comes to specialization in operations.



Michigan / Ross MBA Deadlines for 2017-2018


Round 1

Application Due: October 2, 2017

Decision Released: December 15, 2017


Round 2

Application Due: January 2, 2018

Decision Released: March 15, 2018


Round 3

Application Due: March 19, 2018

Decision Released: May 11, 2018




Ross School Of Business MBA Essay Analysis 2017-2018


Short Answer Questions




   •  I want people to know that I:

   •  I turned an idea into action when I:

   •  I made a difference when I:





   •  I showed my resilience when I:

   •  I was humbled when:

   •  I am out of my comfort zone when:



   •  I was aware that I am different when:

   •  I find it challenging when people:

   •  A valuable thing I have taught someone:


In each of these groups, you have to pick one prompt and write your answer in less than 100 words. Now, if you have started writing application essays, you know that fewer than 100 words can actually be very, very tough. As Mark Twain said once, “If I had more time I would have written you a shorter letter.” Writing fewer words is a lot harder than writing more.


Let’s look at each of these groups and analyze them.




   •  I want people to know that I:

   •  I turned an idea into action when I:

   •  I made a difference when I:


So now you need to complete the prompt. If you look at all of these prompts, it’s about you they want to know. Is any advantage of picking one response over the other? Absolutely not! Don’t even try to game this by saying “this response is better than the other.” This is going to completely be your personal choice.



   •  I made a difference when I:  


Well, I don’t know when I made a difference. Maybe I haven’t thought about it, so I don’t have to pick that. I am just giving an example here. If you have no idea about it, you don’t have to pick it.



   •  I turned an idea into action when I:


I have a lot of ideas, but have I really turned them into actions? Maybe yes? Or Maybe not? Ican’t think of many.



   •  I want people to know that I:


Now I would like to say something about myself, right? This is probably easy, and there is something that i really want to say. I would probably pick this prompt. Now, Icould use this same justification for the second or third prompt. I am not saying the first is better than the others but that’s really the thinking process you need to have. What is unique to you? What is personal to you? Which of the following prompts best resonates with you? That’s what you need to look at.





   •  I showed my resilience when:


Tell them something that you bounced back from. Some failure that you faced. Some dejection, some frustration. Tell them how you were able to work on it.



   •  I was humbled when:


When I got to know something that is larger than me.



   •  I am out of my comfort zone when:


Tell them something that they would want to know about you as a person. With 100 words as the limit, you can write only three or four sentences, so talk about the “What” and don’t forget to spend time explaining the “Why”. People do not understand just the “What” so you need to tell them “Why”.


For example, “I was in my comfort zone when…My manager assigned me to lead a team of people who came from diverse backgrounds with  different function expertise and I had to show them the path to what was really required in this project.” Well, great! You know what? I didn’t learn anything about you. You need to tell me why it was a challenge. That is the point I am interested to know about. So what should you do? You need to keep it simple and say “When I was asked to lead a multi disciplinary project with people from various geographies because I  had only dealt with people who think in a similar manner as I, and I had to put myself in other people’s shoes. I had to show empathy. The moment you start speaking more about you, the Admissions Committee comes to know who you really are.





   •  I was aware that I am different when:


What makes you different ? It could be anything. It could be your way of thinking or maybe it’s something else. What is it that makes you different? Tell them.


   •  I find it challenging when people:


What is it that people do that you find yourself being challenged?


   •  A valuable thing I have taught someone:


As I said, more than the story, focus on the “Why”. In 100 words, you can probably devote 20 words to the ‘What” and the remaining 70 to 80 words  can be devoted to the “Why”. You can focus on the “Why” more, so that they get to know about you. When they read it , it must make them say “This is the person I would like to meet”.



Career Goal Essay


Please share your short-term and long-term career goals. What skills/strengths do you have that will be relevant to your career goals? How will Ross prepare you for your goals? (300 words)


300 words can be challenging because there is lot to cover over here. This is how I would structure this essay.

First, talk about your career so far.Give a quick synopsis. Give them a summary and don’t tell them too much.but show them progression.

“This how I was when I graduated, this is who I am today.”


Next, tell them  what you see for yourself. What are your short term goals? Talk about your function, industry, geography, companies you would like to work  for, job functions you would have in these companies.  Whatever it is, be very specific when it comes to short term goals. The huge mistake that people make is that they keep it very general. They say, “I want to get into a general management function. I want to be in a strategic role in a company.” No. You need to be more specific in what you say.


You do have some leeway when you talk about your long term goals. You can afford to say, “This is what I plan to do. This is what I intend to do.” You have a lot of leeway here because long term goal is 5 to 10 years. There is a little room for you to be creative here. However, you still need to have something that ties back to your education, experience, MBA, short term goals and all of it in your long term goals. So don’t make a blanket statement like, “ I want to be an entrepreneur.”, or something crazy like, “I want to save the world”, or “I want to save whales.” Whatever you say, it should make sense, so be carefull in what you say.  It cannot be a flight of fancy.


Then comes the third part. How are you going to bridge the gap ? This is where you are, and this is what you need to do. What is the delta? What is the bridge? The bridge has to be the MBA. Tell them what it is that you need in order to bridge the gap. Do you need knowledge ? Do you need to be a different person? Does your perspective have to undergo a change? Do you need the network ? Do you need the brand equity of the school Tell them all of your requirements.You need to tell them specifically hat in the  Ross program will help you address this delta.


So that becomes your third part. Overall, there are three parts.


   1. Your journey so far

   2. Short term and long term goals

   3. How an Ross MBA can help you in this goal.

For the first part, you can look at 60 to 70 words, for the second part, you can utilize another 120 words. With this, you’re left with 100 words for the third part. 300 words can be a little tight. So it’s important that you work this well. Work on the language to cut down the extra words so you can get your message out in 300 words.



Optional Essay


Talk about gaps in your employment, talk about gaps in your education and you can also talk about something like,a low GMAT score. Something that you think they should know. Don’t try to retrofit a story just because you’re not able to place it elsewhere. You do yourself a big disservice. Don’t say things that they don’t need to know. That’s the thumb rule i have for all the optional essays.


So yeah, we have covered a lot for the Ross MBA Program. If  you’re applying to Ross, we can help you; we’ve had many students who applied to Ross in the previous years. We would like to see if we could work together. Please go ahead and click the link below, and drop in your comments. I will be more than happy to respond to each one them personally.


  • September, 22nd, 2017
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Tuck School of Business Essay Analysis 2017 – 2018

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Welcome to this article in which we will look at the Tuck MBA program at Dartmouth, walk through the essays, and discuss what is unique about the program.


Firstly, Dartmouth is one of the Ivy League schools in the US. So Tuck has rich reputation in that sense, but if you ask what is really unique about the program, it is the community spirit that you see in Tuck. It’s a small class, and it is not next to a large city. In that sense, it’s “tucked” away. Due to this bonding you have in two years, you form a deeper network with the alum, and your classmates. That can be seen as an advantage.


In the US, the culture of colleges plays a huge role. If you’re okay being in a big city, maybe Columbia is what you should be looking at, but if you would like the warmth, the small class size and the bonding, Tuck is the place you should be. This should reflect in your application essay where you say why this particular style resonates best with you.


Another important factor is that they don’t have a Ph.D. program so the entire focus in on the MBA program. All the professors are 100% devoted to taking classes for the MBA program.


If you look at the Tuck program, they speak about General Management. It’s known for leadership and general management. That’s a very strong theme that comes with the program and if you see “The Center for Leadership” at Tuck, you will see that they have various concentrations where the largest department by far is Strategy and Management. Therefore, if you’re looking at general management, and developing your leadership skills, Tuck should be the place for you.


Dartmouth / Tuck MBA Deadlines 2017-2018


Early Action Round

Applications Due: October 4, 2017

Applicant-initiated Interview Complete: October 31, 2017

Admissions Decision: December 15, 2017


November Round

Applications Due: November 1, 2017

Applicant-initiated Interview Complete: November 10, 2017

Admissions Decision: February 9, 2018


January Round

Applications Due: January 3, 2018

Applicant-initiated Interview Complete: January 31, 2018

Admissions Decision: March 10, 2018


April Round

Applications Due: April 4, 2018

Applicant-initiated Interview Complete: April 4, 2018

Admissions Decision: May 11, 2018


First Round Consortium

Applications Due: October 15, 2017

Applicant-initiated Interview Complete: October 31, 2017

Admissions Decision: December 15, 2017


Second Round Consortium

Applications Due: January 5, 2018

Applicant-initiated Interview Complete: January 31, 2018

Admissions Decision: May 9, 2018


Let’s look at the application deadlines. You have the early action round which is similar to Duke. If you apply for an early action round,  and you’re made an offer, it’s a binding offer, which means that you will not apply to any other schools. You need to be very clear whether Tuck is one of your top choices. If it is your top choice, please apply to the early action round.


It’s either the early action round, the November intake, or the January intake. Do not look at the April intake, especially if you’re an international applicant. Now, students say “between early action round and the first round, am I at a disadvantage with the first round becoming the second round?”. Not necessarily, but if Tuck is not your top school of choice and you end up applying in the early action round, what may happen is that you get an offer but you’re waiting for the other schools. You may not be able to take up the offer. That’s why you have to be a little careful.



Tuck School Of Business MBA Essay Analysis 2017-2018


Essay 1


What are your short and long-term goals? Why is an MBA a critical next step toward achieving those goals? Why are you interested in Tuck specifically? (500 words)


Three questions, 500 words. Here is how you break it down. First, you need to be talking about your career so far. It’s not a rehash of your resume but a quick synopsis of your career progression to date. You can tell them, “This is where I started…this has been my journey…but at this juncture in my life… this is what I see ahead.” Something you couldn’t have seen three years ago. What is the clarity you have about your life and career? That becomes your short-term goal. Once you have your short-term goal, you have to be specific about the function, industry, and geography. All of it has to be very specific. One mistake that people make when writing the short-term goal essay is that they are vague. Don’t be vague.


However, in the long term goals, you can be vague. When I say “vague”, I don’t mean that you put some generic statement like, “I want to be an entrepreneur 20 years down the line.” No! Five to ten years down the line is long enough, and you can say, “five to ten years down the line, this is what I hope to do with my life.” If you want to pursue entrepreneurship, you should be talking about the areas in which you’re going to start your own venture. There is some leeway to be generic and at the same time, you need to have something that ties your past experience, your MBA, and your short-term goal into your long-term goal. That pretty much would be your second paragraph. In the first paragraph, you write a synopsis of what you did, in the second paragraph, your goals and in the third paragraph, you say that if you’re here and this is your goal, this is your bridge. What is stopping you from getting there? That really is the reason you want to do an MBA. You want to look at the specific thing that you want to learn from the B-School. Is it knowledge? Is it different perspectives? Is it brand equity and the network? Whatever your requirements are from an MBA school, you list that in the third part.


In the final part, for each of the characteristics that you have mentioned you require from a B-School, say how Tuck is uniquely positioned to meet those requirements. My suggestion is take up the opportunity to connect with Tuck alum from the website; they call them the Tuckies. Make sure that you connect with some Tuckies, people from your background, and try to understand more about the school, try to understand the culture and the community spirit at Tuck.


That pretty much is going to be your 500 words. You have four paragraphs, roughly about 120 words for each of the paragraphs, and of course you can use your judgment, maybe 80 words in one paragraph and 150 in another. That doesn’t matter. According to me, 500 words is more than enough for you to articulate clearly. Just one point here. For the question,“Why are you interested in Tuck specifically?”, please refrain from making general statements. Don’t say something like “World-class infrastructure” or ‘Globally renowned faculty”. Every top school has it, so you need be very specific.



Essay 2


Tuck’s mission is to educate wise leaders to better the world of business. Wisdom encompasses the essential aptitudes of confident humility, about what one does and does not know; empathy, towards the diverse ideas and experiences of others; and judgment, about when and how to take risks for the better.

With Tuck’s mission in mind, and with a focus on confident humility, tell us about a time you:

received tough feedback,

experienced failure, or

disappointed yourself or others.

How did you respond, and what did you learn about yourself as a result? (500 words)


Now what this essay is really asking you is to help them understand you as a person. In Australian Elite Corps, they have this as a question, “Have you experienced failure?”, and if you respond with a “no”, you are not considered suitable. Why? Because they feel that people who have gone through failure understand life better. They know what it takes to bounce back.  What this essay is really looking at is sometime when you did something that you’re not proud of. It could be a failure. Again, there is a trap over here, a lot of students make this mistake. They don’t really reveal the failure, they don’t reveal when they disappointed others. They will say something like, “Oh, this was a failure but eventually, it was a success”. No, it has to be a failure! It has to be a point where you fell flat on your face, where there were no options left. All you have to do is pick the broken pieces and move on. What is more important is not what happened to you, instead, it is how your response was. Did it really affect your sense of judgment? Maybe you stopped trusting your judgment, and then it took some time for you to regain confidence. Perhaps you also realized that sometimes it’s not possible for us to control the outcome, we can just control the decision.


That’s probably the learning you had, or probably the learning that you had was that it is important for you to trust others. Whatever the learning be, you need to make sure that you devote a significant portion of this essay to that learning. It’s not about the failure part. It’s about what you learned from it. How were you able to grow as a person? It’s very important. Again 500 words, plenty of words for you talk about this aspect.



Optional Essay


Please provide any additional insight or information that you have not addressed elsewhere and 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.


For optional essays, talk about either a gap in your education or employment, or say something that really could not be said anywhere else. Something that you probably planned to do and that might affect your MBA candidature, but don’t try to retrofit stories that you picked to tell the Admission Committee that you were not able to tell anywhere else. That’s not what optional essays are meant for, and in fact, you do a bigger disservice to yourself by mentioning something you shouldn’t be talking about.


That’s all we have for the Tuck MBA application process. If you’re applying to Tuck this year, just go down and click the link below. We’ve had students who went to Tuck so we understand the program well, and we would love to share our knowledge with you. We could work together.


  • September, 20th, 2017
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Columbia Business School Essay Analysis 2017 – 2018

Reading Time: 7 minutes

In this article, I will discuss the Columbia MBA program. If you’re looking at applying to Columbia this year, 2017-2018,  you will find this article useful as I am going to discuss the school, and the application essays.


When people talk about Columbia, the first thing that comes to mind is Finance. Yes, it’s very strong for finance and if you look at it, it’s a virtual cycle. Often, when people at Wall street want to take a break, they end up coming to Columbia. They do their MBA and get back to Wall street, and after a few years, when they want to recruit, guess where they come? Columbia again! So it’s a nice symbiotic relationship they have with Wall Street.


You must have a heard of Benjamin Graham, the father of value investing. He taught at Columbia. So in terms of its reputation and finance, Columbia is very strong. It’s known as a very strong finance school.


The second thing is the New York City location. The fact that you’re right there in Downtown New York, Manhattan, where there is a melting pot of culture. So many diverse things, so many people. I think very few schools can boast of a location like that. That’s a huge plus that Columbia has. If you look at their website and application, you’ll see that they also exploit this aspect. They also say “Hey, it’s our location and nobody can offer you this location!” You may have all the money in the world but you can’t be in the heart of New York. In terms of not just culture but also the kind of connection that you have with companies, the Who’s who is headquartered in New York. I think that plays a huge role.

Now let’s look at the deadlines.


Columbia MBA Deadlines for 2017-2018


August Entry

Early Decision Deadline: October 4, 2017

Merit Fellowship Consideration Deadline: January 5, 2018

Regular Decision Deadline: April 11, 2018



Application Deadline: October 4, 2017




Columbia Business School MBA Essay Analysis 2017-2018


So now let’s look at the essay questions that we have. Essentially, we have three essays. Over the years it has been constant, and we’ve had students applying and getting into Columbia and what I am saying is based on the discussions we’ve had internally with them.


Essay #1


Through your resume and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals over the next 3 – 5 years and what, in your imagination, would be your long-term dream job? (500 words)


First off, they are saying “I know what you have done; don’t bore me with that. That’s the information I will find elsewhere in this application.” 500 words to talk about your goals. That’sa lot of words if you think about. They require you to be very clear about the function you want to be in, the industry you want to be in, and the geography you want to be in. Usually, if you’re trying to change your career, you want to make sure that you’re not changing all three. You’re probably changing two out of the three which means if you’re coming from India as an applicant, your geography anyways gets changed. You’re left with industry and function. You need to make sure that you’re at least sticking to the same industry. If you have come from the financial sector industry, you’d want to stick to the financial sector industry. Maybe your function changes, or maybe it remains the same, but you want to be in a different industry.


Another thing is that in a place like Columbia, it’s not necessary that only finance professionals go. Think about it! If you’re Columbia, you aspire to be a Harvard or a Stanford, and nobody even asks you what your specialization in Harvard or Stanford is. That’s a general management program. Even in Columbia, it’s is not a Masters in Finance program. You’re going for an MBA program. You can go for consulting, or you can go for product management. Even tech companies are headquartered in New York.


Whatever you want to pick, make sure that you’re able to clearly articulate what you’re going to be doing. If you’ve not already done so, here is a tip: Make sure you go to LinkedIn, and look for people who have graduated from Columbia. People who are in a similar industry. Try to connect with them, and understand more about what it takes to get that job. The school is also looking for employability. They don’t want this guy saying, “I want to change everything about me. I was a software programmer working in Bangalore and suddenly I want to become an investment banker without even having an idea of what it takes.”


The second part of the question says, “…in your imagination, what would be your long-term dream job?” Let your thoughts come out freely. Nobody is going to judge you. I would say they would judge you only through your short-term goals and they are not going to judge you through your long-term goals. They are really looking at, “What is your passion?” In my short-term goal, yes I would like to look at employability and a little bit of passion but if you were to take all of this away, ‘Who is it that I really am?” What is it that I really want to do with this canvas called Life?” How would I like to paint it?”  That’s what they really want to know, and I think you should dedicate at least a good 150 to 200 words for your long term goal; it gives a great opportunity to express who you are. Dedicate about 250 to300 words for your short-term goals. Be very specific in the short-term. For the long-term goal, you can be slightly imaginative, expressing your own personal choices of what you want to do in life, for the next 200 words or so. That’s how 500 words can be played out for the first essay.



Essay #2


The full-time MBA experience includes academics, recruiting and networking. What are your personal priorities and how do you anticipate allocating your time at Columbia Business School? (250 Words)


The whole idea about this is essay is about the business school experience. Two years of staying in a place like New York can be overwhelming for a lot of people. They just don’t know what to do, and they go berserk. They go to B-School, they want to do a little of this, and a little bit of that, plus there is a huge opportunity cost, and there the cost of an MBA. All of this playing in your mind, and you really can get lost.


What this essay is really saying is, “What is it that you want to do?”There is really nothing like a right answer or a wrong answer for this. You could say, “My priorities are really to experience the student life.” You don’t need to talk about academics. It’s okay. You can say, “I want to use this opportunity to network with people. I want to bring my Columbia credentials and go out into the city, and meet people.” If that’s what you wanted to do, make sure you say so. There is really no harm in saying that, or if you feel that you are really there for the knowledge, and your priority is to sit in class, attend lectures, and learn from the faculty, learn from the kind of resources you’re going to have in the B-School, that could be your answer.


There is nothing such as right or wrong.  Pick your priority. 250 words, a very little leeway for you, so you need to stick to the story. You need to get directly to what you have to say.


Essay #3


Please select and answer one of the following essay questions: (250 words)

a: Please tell us what you feel most passionate about in life.

b: If you were given a free day and could spend it anywhere, in any way you choose, what would you do?


Firstly, neither of the two essays has an edge over the other. I have had students coming and asking me, “ Which one should I pick to maximise my chances?” In Columbia, 50% of the incoming class is going to pick one essay and the other 50% is going to pick the other essay. There is really nothing that discriminates one essay over the other. Let’s look at these essays


A.Remember what you’re passionate about in life. If you remember, in the first essay, we spoke about what your career goals, long-term goals are, and what you really want to do. I would imagine that this has to somewhere connect with that. You cannot have a long-term career goal not involving your passion. You need to make sure that you kind of tie that. You don’t want to talk about your career in this essay, but keep the generic theme.


  1. Pretty much whatever you want to express, express it here. They are just trying to see “Is this person interesting?, would I like to meet this person? Is he the person I would like to see in my class for the next two years?” Be imaginative and creative. I have noticed that students who are expressive may sometimes write weird things. I am using the word “Weird” but they end up really popping out of the paper. They just come out of the application paper. That will compel the reader to say, “This guy is interesting and I would like to meet him.”


These are the points  I would like you to keep in mind for the third essay.


Optional Essay


Is there any further information that you wish to provide the Admissions Committee? If so, please use this space to provide an explanation of any areas of concern in your academic record or your personal history. You may submit bullet points. (Maximum 500 words)


You can talk about your academic gaps or work experience gaps if you have any to talk about. Otherwise, stay clear. Don’t try to retrofit a story that did not find a space for anywhere else.


Columbia Business School is one of the schools for which you have to write a lot. If you compare it with other schools, they don’t require much writing, but this one has a lot to write. Make  sure you get your application form done as soon as possible. Don’t prolong it, the essays can take a long time to write.


If you think there is a way in which we can help you, please feel free to click the link below, and let us know. We would be glad to connect with you and see how we can be a part of your MBA journey.


  • September, 19th, 2017
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Goizueta Business School, Emory University Essay Analysis 2017 – 2018

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Welcome to this article in which I will tell you what you need to know about the Emory MBA program, and the Emory MBA essays for the application season, 2017-2018.


Let’s discuss the features of the Emory MBA program. Over the last few years, CrackVerbal has sent many students to the program, and we can help you from our experience.


First, the school offers a one-year program as well as a two-year program. All of you who are looking at a one-year program in the US must certainly look at Emory.


Second, Emory has a university attached to it. What people don’t realize is it’s not just an MBA school that you’re going to but a school that has a university eco-system that is attached to it. For example,  the hospital at Emory. If you remember the Ebola virus, there were two American doctors who went to Liberia and when they came back to the US with Ebola, they were actually treated in Emory. They were the first cases in which Ebola was treated successfully; guess where it happened? In Emory. It’s not just the MBA school but also the university system that you should look at. One more thing about Emory is the location. It’s situated in Atlanta. Atlanta is one of the southern states, and a huge hub. In Atlanta, you have Coke, whose CEO, by the way is after whom the college has been named, the Goizueta School of Management. You also have AT&T and a bunch of other companies in Atlanta. If you are looking at an MBA program, my advice is to stick to a program which is near a large city so that your employment chances go up.


That’s pretty much everything you need to know about the program.



2017-2018 Emory Goizueta MBA Deadlines


Round 1

Application Deadline: October 6, 2017

Notification Date: December 1, 2017

Deposit Due: December 22, 2017


Round 2

Application Deadline: November 17, 2017

Notification Date: January 26, 2018

Deposit Due: February 23, 2018 (International & One-Year) / April 18, 2018 (Domestic)


Round 3

Application Deadline: January 3, 2018

Notification Date: March 9, 2018 (Domestic) / March 16, 2018 (International)

Deposit Due: March 30, 2018 (One-Year) / April 18, 2018 (Two-Year)


Round 4

Application Deadline: March 9, 2018

Notification Date: Rolling (One-Year) / May 4, 2018 (Two-Year)

Deposit Due: Upon Notification (One-Year) / May 15, 2018 (Two-Year)




Emory Goizueta MBA Essay Analysis 2017-2018


Essay 1


Define your short-term post-MBA career goals. How are your professional strengths, past experience and personal attributes aligned with these goals? (300 words)


If you look at it, it may not be necessary to start with your goals. You could also give a quick summary of what you have done until now. This does not mean regurgitating what is on your resume, this is not about what is in your application form. It is more about your own personal journey and has to talk about your professional strengths, your past experience, and your personal attributes. You write maybe 100 to 120 words on this and then you get on to the second point which is on what you want to do from where you are. Talk about where you have reached in your career, and then the natural progression to get to the next part. While writing about the short term post MBA goal, remember to write down details of the function, the industry you’re going to work in, and the geography you’re going to be at.Try to list a couple of companies, and specific programs within the company that you would like to apply for. Ensure that you do your research. One thing that could kill you is, picking a short term goal that is improbable. Something that will not fit with your background. You need to make sure that the goal is aligned to what you have already done, and if there is a slight change, you need to justify why you are equipped to handle that change.


That’s pretty much 300 words. You can use about 100 to 120 words talking about yourself, and another 150 words talking about the short term goal in detail, and then you have 30 to 40 words, which you can use for an introduction and conclusion. Make sure that the introduction and conclusion are fairly strong so that you have a packed essay.



Essay 2


The business school is named for Roberto C. Goizueta, former Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, who led the organization for 16 years, extending its global reach, quadrupling consumption, building brand responsibility, and creating unprecedented shareholder wealth. Mr. Goizueta’s core values guide us in educating Principled Leaders for Global Enterprise. Provide an example of your leadership – professional or personal – and explain what you learned about yourself through the experience. (300 words)


This is a leadership essay. You’re looking at principled leadership. What you need to pick is something where you went above the circle of concern. This could be a time when you were supposed to do something but took the initiative, the ownership of going beyond that. It could be very small. The question says “Professional or personal”. So it may not be work. One mistake a lot of students do is talk about something that is run of the mill. They say something like, “I was doing this, and my manager quit. We weren’t able to find a replacement, and I took a step-up responsibility, led the team, and executed the project.” Well, the problem with this story is that it is very common.


Write something that is unique. Something that gives me an insight into who you are, and also something that tells me more about your leadership style. Are you a consensuc building leader? Are you a leader who believes that taking affirmative action? Is that what differentiates you?


Whatever the reason be, you need to first talk about your background, the situation you were put in because that is very important for you to talk about what you did. In the second part, you can talk about the actual action that you took.


So you have the background, your action and third, you need to talk about what you learned. If you look at the essay, it clearly says “What have you learned about yourself through the experience?” What are the takeaways? You could say “Before I went into that situation, I did not know certain aspects of leadership but then, I got to know about them”. You need to tell them what you learned about yourself.


Let me give you an example. One of our students who got into Emory a few years ago had written this story. He said that when he was in his hometown, he managed the Ganesh Pandal, which is a religious thing that happens every year in India.  We install an idol, and for about a week or so there are a lot of activities around the occasion. He volunteered to be the President of the local association. On the face of it, it looked very simple because in his corporate life he had dealt with managing projects. He thought, “how hard can it be?”


In that one week, he learned everything from accounts to logistics to supply-chain to all kinds of corporate management jargon. The student said that whatever he needed to know about management, he learned through that experience. Earlier, he had a very different view on leadership. He thought leadership was where you work without variables changing too much. He realized that leadership is about making a decision when you don’t have enough information. He became a lot more comfortable making decisions even when he did not have all the information at his disposal. The student spoke in a very touching way about how he grew as a person.


As you can see, this is a very simple example but you can think of something that has happened to you, and write about it. Again, don’t restrict yourself to only professional experiences; even personal experiences will count here.



Essay 3


Complete one of the following statements. (250 words)

• I am passionate about…

• The best piece of advice I’ve received is…

• The best day of my life was…

• A personal goal I want to accomplish is…


I am passionate about…


They are not looking at the “What”. The mistake people do in answering this question is they talk about the “What”.


The best piece of advice I’ve received is…


They don’t want to know just what the advice was. They want to know other things like when did it happened. You can say, “Initially when I heard this advice, I was not very receptive. My father gave me this advice when I was going to college and I never bothered about it, but when I started working, his words came back to me, and I realized how true it was and now it is the founding principle behind what I do.”


The best day of my life was….


Maybe it is the time you got married. The idea here is not to just talk about the act but what went behind it. Maybe you got married, both the sides did not agree, and you had to go through a lot of personal hardship and that’s when you realized your emotional strength, the core that you have, and THAT was the realization.


The more important thing here is the “Why” and not the “What”.


A personal goal I want to accomplish is…


Here, don’t just talk about your personal goal but tell them why it is your personal goal, and why not any other goal. Maybe you want to start your own orphanage. Why? Maybe when you were a child you went through something, or maybe a personal experience you have observed that deeply affected you. They really want to know you as a person.


Students come and ask me, “which is the better response?” There is nothing like a better response. Whichever statement you pick, after you have written, they should be able to look at it and say, “Is this a person that I would like to meet in person? Would I want them in my school?”. That’s the kind of question you need to ask yourself after you have written your statement.



Essay 4


Share with the committee and your future classmates a fun or noteworthy fact about you. (25 words)


This is the shortest essay with 25 words. People usually say “What do I write?” Again, don’t think of this sentence as something that is going to have an impact on your MBA. Just say something that makes people say, “Hey, this guy is interesting”. I’ve had people who have talked about all kinds of things. One student talked about the way he is addicted to solving Sudoku first thing in the morning.People have spoken about how a special sweet that they make is something that is their specialty because they put cinnamon at the end. Talk about things like this; people don’t really care. Make it fun, make it frivolous. Don’t get serious in this essay.


So I hope you got all the information you were looking for, and you have some sense of what you need to be doing for the essays. Just one point over here is that you have the usual optional essay. In this essay, you can talk about any gaps in your academics or in your work experience. You also have the re-applicant essay, which essentially is about your short term goals.


Optional Essay


If you have additional information or feel there are extenuating circumstances which you would like to share with the MBA Admissions Committee (i.e. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, academic performance issues or areas of weakness in application). (250 words)


For this question, make sure that you’re talking about something different, and not repeating what you’ve already said the first time. Talk about the delta progress that you have made.


I hope this video was useful to you. If it was, and if you need us to help you with your application to Emory, please go ahead and click on the link below.


  • September, 15th, 2017
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London Business School Essay Analysis 2020-2021

London Business School
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Welcome to this article in which I am going to be talking about the London Business School MBA program. If you’re looking at applying to the program this, 2020-2021, you have come to the right place.


Let’s look at the program. What are the highlights of the London Business School program?


First, if you have been to their website you see a lot about the fact that it is in London, similar to what Columbia does because it’s in New York. London Business school – the name itself has the location of the B-School. You really are in the financial capital of the world, and location plays a huge role. The reason why geography plays a huge role is that when a recruiter comes to a particular college, he is going to come to the college to which he has easy access. Most of the top companies will have their headquarters in London. For that reason, London Business School is a top choice in terms of location.


Second, although London Business School is in the UK, it doesn’t necessarily mean that only UK folks come in. You have a lot of people coming in from Europe, a huge representation from Asia, and people coming in from the US and Canada. It has a nice international mix and there is a lot more international diversity here than you would find in US programs.


The third highlight is the flexible scheduling the London Business School offers. You have the 15-month option, 18-month option, and the 21-month option. You can even arrange your schedule so that you can pursue a second internship. This flexibility of scheduling and flexibility in the course is a huge draw for this B-School. You might want to look at their website for more details.


The next aspect is the experiential learning. This is something that a lot of schools are talking about these days. This school talks about organizational audit and global business experience, both of which are required of all students. Experiential learning gives the students a way in which they can apply classroom knowledge in real-world scenarios. Schools are now focusing on practical knowledge rather than just theoretical knowledge. If you are a person who believes that you like to apply what you learn, London Business School would be a great place for you. You would have a simulated real-life environment. You’re not actually taking the same risks, but you get to explore what you would do in real life.


Another important point is that because of its financial connection with the city of London, London Business School has a lot of people getting into the financial sector.


Having said all of this, one thing I would like to bring to your attention is that if you’re an international applicant, an Indian who is applying to London Business School, you also need to be aware of the economy right now, with the impact of Brexit. One of my students was placed in a tech company and the tech company was not able to get her a visa that year. They actually got her back to India, got her a visa for the office in Switzerland, and from Switzerland, she was moved to London. What I am trying to tell you is that if you’re smart, if you’re good, and if the company wants to hire you, they will. Large companies will figure out a way to work around the process.  



London Business School Deadlines 2020-2021


Round  1

Deadline: September 14, 2020

Interview Notification: October 11, 2020

Decision Notification: November 21, 2020


Round 2

Deadline: January 3, 2021

Interview Notification: February 5, 2021

Decision Notification: March 28, 2021


Round 3

Deadline: March 1, 2021

Interview Notification: April 4, 2021

Decision Notification: May 22, 2021


Round 4

Deadline: April 17, 2021

Interview Notification: May 14, 2021

Decision Notification: June 19, 2021





2020-2021 LBS Essays


Required Essay


What are your post-MBA goals and how will your prior experience and the London Business School program contribute towards these? (500 words)


You have your post-MBA program goals, your prior experience, and then you have the London Business School MBA Program. How will all three of these fit? You have 500 words, and here is what you would do. Break it down into three parts. In the first part, you need to talk about your prior experience, that’s how the flow would go. You need to talk about what you have done so far in your life. Bring it to a stage where you say, “this is what I have done, and this what I have come to realize. When I started my career, I didn’t know what I wanted but now after my career of 4 to 5 years, I have realized that I want to get to the next level.”This is where you need to talk about your post-MBA career goals. Be specific. Try to say what kind of industry, what kind of job role you’re looking at.


You have spoken about your background, you have spoken about what it is that you want to do after your MBA, and then you talk about what it is that you need in order to get there. You might want to talk about what roles that would entail, and what you need to equip yourself with. That becomes the second paragraph.


Then in your third paragraph, you need to say what you will gain from the London Business School that will help you meet these requirements. It’s very important that you tie London Business School back to the requirements:

  1. Who you are
  2. What you want to do, and what you need
  3. How London Business School will help you get there

Sounds simple? You have 150 words for each of the three parts. A strong start and a strong finish – maybe another 50 words. So all put together, 500 words.



Optional Essay


Is there any other information you believe the Admission Committee should know about you and your application to London Business School?


In this essay, you need to make sure you’re writing about either a gap in your academic life or your professional life, or it could be something that you plan to do but did not find any place to talk about it in the application. Don’t use this space to retrofit another story. One mistake that students make is, “ By the way, since you’ve given me this opportunity for an additional essay, let me tell you about the one time when I did this great project”. Don’t say something like that.


I hope this was useful. If you’re applying to London Business School this year, just go down, and click on the link below. We would love to help you and work with you in your application process.


  • September, 13th, 2017
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UCLA Anderson School Of Management Essay Analysis 2017- 2018

Reading Time: 5 minutes

In this article, we will discuss what you need to do if you are applying to the Anderson School of Business at UCLA for their MBA program. If you look at the UCLA Anderson Program, one thing that strongly resonates with the students is the location. As they say about the restaurant business; the same thing goes for MBA schools as well, location location location. You are talking about LA, which is pretty much California. In terms of the economy, and more than the economy, when compared to most other states in the US, California comes close to India. Not only in terms of the weather, but also with the people being inclusive. You will never feel out of place when you go to a place like LA because it is very diverse.


Apart from the location, if you look at the program, the strength is relatively small with 360 students, and the faculty to student ratio is very low. This gives you more of an intimate feel as opposed to what you would find in larger schools.


The other important factor to look into is the career orientation at UCLA. The UCLA program is deeply focused on preparing students for their desired careers. You will see that in terms of the first year course, the way it is arranged, the 20-week experiential project, all of this is aligned to be more career-focused. This is very important to help you get a job, especially when you are going on an F1 (Student) visa.


The last part is the entrepreneurial focus; Anderson has a huge network of entrepreneurs, and the mindset of the B-School is to participate in -School competitions and the start-up movement. If you’re interested in entertainment and media, LA is the place to be, and Anderson itself focuses highly on media and entertainment.



2017-2018 UCLA Anderson Deadlines


Round 1

Deadline: Oct. 6, 2017

Decision Release Date: Dec. 15, 2017


Round 2

Deadline: Jan. 5, 2018

Decision Release Date: March 29, 2018


Round 3

Deadline: April 12, 2018

Decision Release Date: May 24, 2018


Again, There are a lot of applicants from India. If you ask which three schools in the US receive the maximum applications from Indians,  UCLA is one of them. A lot of people from the tech sector apply to the US, and most of them have similar stories. So it’s very important that you use the essay to differentiate yourself. 750 words is a lot of space, and there is a lot of scope.



UCLA Anderson Essay Question 2017-2018


First-Time Applicants (Required Essay):


We believe that the best results are achieved when you share success, think fearlessly and drive change. With this in mind, what are your goals at UCLA Anderson and in your short-term and long-term career? (750 words maximum)


Remember, “best results are achieved when you“

• Success

• Think fearlessly

• Drive change

Now, why are these three things important?  you look at the Anderson website, you can find that this is the motto, the mantra that they have as a school. They are just trying to see if students applying to the B-School resonate with this mantra. You have 750 words – hence, there are very clearly, three parts to this essay. You can write 250 words for each part.


In the first part, you have to talk about your journey. What is it that you have done so far in your life? Please do not regurgitate your resume; that’s not the intent. They already have your resume and application with them. In about 250 to 300 words, try to tell your story. Write not just your story, but your successes and failures too. Write on how you these three qualities resonate with you, and how you have been able to taste them. Instead of just saying that these three qualities perfectly resonate with you, say why they resonate with you. You need to describe the “why”. It’s very important for you to spend a good 250 to 300 words talking about your journey, talking about why these three factors have been instrumental in your life.


Now for the second part:  you have done so much in your life. At this career juncture, what is it that you see when you look forward? What is that post you aspire for? That position you look forward to? What is the industry that you want to work in, and where do you see yourself? It’s very important that your short term goal is crisp. You need to communicate the function, industry, the geography, the kind of companies you are going to look for, and the possible titles. It’s a lot of R&D on your part. You need to have a very fixed short time goal.


However, you can be a little lenient in your long term goal. You can be a little flexible. Don’t be very vague, for example, don’t just say you want to be an entrepreneur, and leave it like that. It should be something more finite but you can keep your long term slightly more relaxed. Make it five to ten years. Nobody is looking at 20 years, and you can keep your short term as two to three years, which is immediately after you graduate. When you’ve finished articulating your long term and short term goals, you can start with the third part of your essay.


The third part should be about what you feel you require in these roles that you do not possess currently, and that you will get from the UCLA/Anderson experience. This now becomes the delta; the first part is about where you are, the second part is about where you want to go, and the third part is the bridge because it is how Anderson is going to help you get where you want to be. One thing I always say is that whenever a school asks you “why this school?”, do not make generic statements. Students typically say,  “It’s LA”, and “It’s California”, or they write about the school infrastructure, which the school already knows! How does it matter to you?. You need to tell them how these facts about the Anderson School will benefit you.


You need to also add how you can contribute to the UCLA Anderson experience. You talk about what you can get, and about what you can give.


With 750 words, although you have space to be a little creative, once you start writing, you could realize that 750 words can get tight,  especially when you have just one essay.


If you would like CrackVerbal to help you in any way in your MBA journey, please go ahead, and let us know in the link below.



Optional Essay:


The following essay is optional. No preference is given in the evaluation process to applicants who submit an optional essay. Please note that we only accept written essays.


Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? Please use your best judgment. (250 words maximum)



Re-Applicant Essay:


Reapplicants who applied for the MBA program starting in 2016 or 2017 are required to complete the following essay:


Please describe your career progress since you last applied and ways in which you have enhanced your candidacy. Include updates on short-term and long-term career goals, as well as your continued interest in UCLA Anderson. (750 words maximum)


Good luck!


  • September, 5th, 2017
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The University of Chicago Booth School of Business Essay Analysis 2017 – 2018

Reading Time: 6 minutes

In this article, I will look at the Chicago Booth MBA program, its application essay, and how you tackle it.


One of the advantages of the Chicago Booth program is that the university that Booth is associated with boasts of six noble laureates since 1982. The program has a very strong finance focus, and to add to it, it is in Chicago, which is a huge hub for the financial sector, in that area. Approximately 40 % of the Booth graduates go back into the financial sector.


Chicago Booth’s website talks about the flexibility they offer in the program, You have professors teaching both the weekend and evening MBA. Hence, you can take the course in the evenings or weekends, apart from your full-time MBA. There is good flexibility in the program, it is good for Finance, and Chicago being the Finance hub make for great points you can put into your essay for “why Chicago Booth?”


2017-2018 Chicago Booth Deadlines


Round 1

Application deadline: September 21, 2017

Decision released: December 7, 2017


Round 2

Application deadline: January 3, 2018

Decision released: March 15, 2018


Round 3

Application deadline: April 3, 2018

Decision released: May 17, 2018


One thing that Chicago Booth has done traditionally has been essays, This time, it’s a set of six pictures; each of these pictures captures what they call a Booth moment. The whole idea is that a B-School can mean different things to different people. The one thing I usually tell my students and applicants is that the reason the B-Schools want to understand why you want to choose a particular school is because they want to understand your goals. Think about this scenario. You’re walking down an orchard and there are food bearing trees on both sides; you can pluck as many fruits as you want provided you know what you’re going to make at the end of the journey. If you want to make a fruit salad, you need to know what fruits you need to pick.


A lot of times people don’t know what they want to do at the end of two years. The B-School experience can be overwhelming because there is so much to do. For example, if you go to the library, every single issue of Harvard Business Review since it started would be available to you. There are so many business plan competitions, There are so many great professors coming and teaching you these great courses that really get you excited; the ones that give you goosebumps and make you think, “Wow! I really want to learn this!”.   However, if you don’t have a goal, you could get lost, so Booth is really trying to see what it is that you hope to get from the Booth MBA experience.


Let’s do it! I will go through all the six visuals, and give you a background of what you could express for each of the visuals.



2016-2017 U. Chicago Booth Essay Topics:




View this collection of shared Booth moments. Choose the moment that best resonates with you and tells us why.


Presentation/Essay Guidelines:


Choose the format that works for you. Want to illustrate your response visually? Submit a slide presentation. Like to express yourself with words? Write a traditional essay. Use the format that you feel best captures your response, the Admissions Committee has no preference.


Determine your own length. There is no prescribed minimum or maximum length. We trust that you will use your best judgment in determining how long your submission should be, but we recommend that you think strategically about how to best allocate the space.


Technical Guidelines:


File Size: Maximum file size is 16 MB.


Accepted Upload Formats: Acceptable formats are PDF, Word, and PowerPoint. We strongly recommend converting your piece to a PDF file prior to submitting.


Multimedia Restrictions: We will be viewing your submission electronically and in full color, but all submissions will be converted to PDF files, so animation, video, music, etc. will not translate over.



Six visuals


Visual 1 – Person walking down an art gallery.


The first visual you see here is a person walking down an art gallery. The key is given: one of the nearly 500 conceptually challenging pieces which inspire conversation and push people to think differently.


The whole idea is not about the art but looking at the piece of art from a broader perspective. How do we interpret

Art? We interpret it in different ways. If you are a person who likes to think differently, Chicago Booth gives you an opportunity to think differently. That should be your theme. If this painting resonates with you, you need to talk about something in your background where you were inspired to think differently, and then say what you did in that situation.



Visual 2


Let’s take the second one, two Boothies (that’s what they call the graduates of the Booth School) remain grounded even when standing 1353 feet above the city streets of Chicago. This one is talking about how you essentially are a team player. If you feel that this resonates with you, you could take this topic.


For example, Many of us have gone through the motion where we have succeeded because of someone else. You can probably pick stories that say how you succeeded because of somebody else, or you have been part of someone else’s success, and how sharing the bonhomie is what really makes you tick.



Visual 3


This visual is about a fun-filled Spring Break in Central America, where you see a group of Boothies with sharks. The whole idea is whether you are  a person who does not see an MBA as purely an educational journey but rather a journey to do things that you have perhaps never done before, and perhaps will not get the opportunity to do when you go back to your corporate life after you finish your MBA program.



Visual 4


This visual talks about diversity. It is about a student snapping a photo of friends at a school-wide celebration organized by multiple student groups in recognition of the support and diversity within the Booth community. If you look at it in terms of Indian, or even an Asian perspective, there are a lot of opportunities where people have seen diversity. emember diversity could mean anything: it could be economic diversity, social diversity, or it could be just diversity of thoughts.  Again the whole idea here is you’re looking at MBA as a whole journey to actually explore diversity. When you’re confronted with different thoughts, different viewpoints, is when we are really challenged, and we grow.



Visual 5


This is a visual of a student taking notes during an afternoon class. The unique perspectives and individual insights of each student play a vital role in Booth’s classroom experience.

Let’s be honest, though there is a lot of fun and frolic, one of the reasons you want an MBA is for the in-depth knowledge that they wish to gain.  After working for a few years, you’ve now realized what you don’t know. You now want to learn more. How will the Booth experience help you realize this goal? That is the way this visual resonates with you.



Visual 6


This is an image of the central pulse of Booth, which is the Harper Center, the atrium where “it all” happens. This is the place where lasting friendships form, ideas take place, and Booth comes to life! In other words, you’re talking about the Booth network; what does the brand equity of Chicago Booth mean to you. Is that why you’re pursuing an MBA? To just have access to this enormous network of highly talented and gifted people.


Whatever the case be, there is nothing like one image is better than the other. I have had students come and ask me, “which one do you think is the one that will increase my chances?” It doesn’t work that way. You need to pick one that really resonates with you because not just in the essay but also in the interview, you need to be talking, and you need to have one consistent image of you coming across, and that will happen only when you’re true to yourself.


It doesn’t matter which one you pick. How do you express yourself? Do you want to write an essay? Sure? Do you want to create a slide show? Sure.  If you want to create just a graphic? That is also fine. We had one student, who for something similar to this, created a collage of all his life moments. He used text and arrows to show each of his life moments, and how that defined who he was.


There was another student who created a graph which goes almost like a stock exchange graph, and he had pointed to the high point in his life, and when the arrow went down, he said it represented that he flunked in his fourth year, so his stock price went down.


You need to express yourself freely. You need to be creative but at the same time don’t worry too much. People are worried whether text would work, or whether they should create a presentation. Pick the medium that you’re comfortable with.  Booth also stipulates that your file can be a maximum of  16 MB, so make sure that you convert it into pdf.


If you feel that you need to have a discussion with someone, or if you want to have a brainstorming session on what to write and how to write, we at CrackVerbal would be glad to help you.


  • September, 5th, 2017
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Stanford Graduate School of Business Essay Analysis 2017 – 2018

Reading Time: 6 minutes

If you’re looking at applying for the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) program this year, I can tell you what you need to know about the Stanford program, and how to address the very tricky essays for 2017-18.


Well, first let’s look at the Stanford program. Arguably, it competes with Harvard as one of the top B-Schools in the world. Stanford has a class with very high GMAT scores, and a very diverse peer set.


Now let’s look at Stanford’s real USPs. The first is, Stanford has just 400 students and if you want to compare it with Harvard which has about 900, Stanford takes pride in the fact that it has a small class so there is a lot of bonhomie among the students. There is more connection and personal touch, which dovetails to a personalized program.


Starting from the first year itself, you can pick the electives. Stanford allows the students to tailor their courses. This aspect, and the small class size makes the program more personal than let’s say Harvard. But there is another thing about Stanford that is very unique. Stanford is in the heart of Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley, as we know, is the birthplace of most of the significant technology players – Google, Yahoo, and Apple. If you think about it, it fosters this sense of entrepreneurship. It’s a very cultural thing in Stanford, where you’re enamored by all these entrepreneurs around you. You get inspired by them, and you want to start something on your own. So, if you’re an entrepreneur in the technology space, the bay area is where you need to go; Silicon Valley is where you should be. What other place than Stanford for this?


Stanford MBA Deadlines – 2017-2018


Round 1

Application Deadline: September 19, 2017

Notification Date: December 14, 2017


Round 2

Application Deadline: January 10, 2018

Notification Date: March 29, 2018


Round 3

Application Deadline: April 4, 2018

Notification Date: Mid-May 2018


Let’s get into the essays if you have not already done so. You may have already realized that the biggest challenge is the first essay.



2017-2018 Stanford GSB Essay Questions


Essay A: What matters most to you, and why? (750 words)


For this essay, we would like you to:

Do some deep self-examination, so you can genuinely illustrate who you are and how you came to be the person you are.

Share the insights, experiences, and lessons that shaped your perspectives, rather than focusing merely on what you’ve done or accomplished.

Write from the heart, and illustrate how a person, situation, or event has influenced you.

Focus on the “why” rather than the “what.”


This essay has been there for several years, and we’ve helped many students from CrackVerbal in writing this essay. So one thing I usually say about this essay is that you need to pick that one grain, that one single thing. I will give you some a couple of examples, which will help you understand the thinking process.


One of our students from CrackVerbal who was in IT wrote about how he had gone to Nigeria and was actually mugged by armed robbers who kept a gun to his head. He had a providential escape; he was an inch away from being dead as such people are often high on drugs. He said that it was the point when he realized what matters. This was not Stanford asking him a question but a question he asked himself. He said, “I was away from my family. What would have happened if I died?  Would people really remember me for the money that I earned, or the stuff that I have?” He realized that what mattered to him the most was the people around him. “People” could be family, friends, or the community. He then quit his job, came back to India, and started something in the area of social entrepreneurship. He wanted to give back to society because he felt that the biggest legacy he could have was what he could give back to society, not what he could take from society. That’s the kind of story that gets you thinking, right? What is that one thing! In this case, what mattered most to him was the impact he could create.


There is another story of a student who had written about how he actually he had worked in various sectors, and he then picked entrepreneurship. He said why being an entrepreneur meant so much to him. Here again, it is about impact. How he was able to give back, and in this case, it was not “not for profit”; it was a “for profit” organization, but he said that the biggest jumps that happened in the history of human civilization happened because someone somewhere decided to do things differently. There was some innovation that was happening; not invention but innovation, there is a difference. Someone said they are not going to do something in this way, but were going to do it in a different way.  That’s when progress really happened for mankind. What really mattered to him was innovation; doing things differently. He said he was not someone who was happy with status quo.


When you have 750 words, it’s a lot. You need to take multiple stories and thread them to an underlying theme. You could have a story of when you were growing up, a story of what happened in college, a story of what happened at work, but all of this must be woven into the underlying theme. It’s very important that you bring in your personal aspect. Don’t make it look like a resume. Don’t make it look like some bullet points you’re reading through. It should be personal; it should be about you. It should make them want to meet you because you sound interesting; make them wonder what else they can learn from you. That’s the kind of impact you need to have!



Essay B: Why Stanford? (400 words, or 450 words if applying to both the MBA and MSx programs)

Enlighten us on how earning your MBA at Stanford will enable you to realize your ambitions.

Explain your decision to pursue graduate education in management.

Explain the distinctive opportunities you will pursue at Stanford.

If you are applying to both the MBA and MSx programs, use Essay B to address your interest in both programs.


If you think about this essay, it cannot be answered by going through the laundry list of things Stanford is known for. In fact, that’s the biggest trap people fall into when they try to address this essay. They go to the Stanford website and say, “oh, it’s in Silicon Valley’. How does that matter to you? Then people write that Stanford has a great network, but you need to write how the network matters to you.  You need to connect “why Stanford” to your personal cause; what is it that you want to do, and how you think that Stanford will enable you in that mission, in that journey.  Unless and until you make that connection, it’s a waste of your time.


Here’s a litmus test. For every sentence that you write, ask yourself, “Is this a sentence only I could have written?” because it has to be unique to you as it ties back to the requirements you have from a B-School. If it is going to be a sentence that anyone could have written, it’s probably not going to be worth the real estate of your application essay.


We’ve discussed the two essays; there is also an optional essay. As I say for most optional essays, make sure that the optional essay covers something that addresses something that is deficient; it could be a gap in your employment, or a gap in your education. It should be something that you think is important information for them to know. The mistakes which students make in optional essays is that they try to retrofit a story. It’s like, “I have this bunch of stories that I want to tell a B-School. I have gone through five of them;  there are these two orphan stories and I don’t know what to do”. Then you see an optional essay, and you say, “Wow! Here is the time for me to plug it in.” Don’t do that. You will do more disservice to your application by writing things that are random than by not writing anything at all. Keep that in mind, and wish you all the best for your Stanford MBA application. If you think you want an another pair of eyes to look at your application, if you want someone who is been there and done that to vet your stories, someone who comes from maybe an Indian perspective or way of looking at it, someone with an Ivy league MBA. If you think that would help, let us know, using the link below.


  • August, 31st, 2017
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University of Virginia Darden School of Business Essay Analysis 2017 – 2018

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Welcome to this article, where I am going to discuss the Darden MBA program, and Darden’s application essays 2017-18.


If you were to look at what Darden is known for, what its USP is, it has to be the case based method. In fact, if you look at the website and talk to their alumni, (we have students from CrackVerbal who went to Darden), that’s the one thing that differentiates Darden from the other B-Schools – the case based method, which you realize, is a derivative of what Harvard does. Apart from the case based method, the specialty of Darden is that it a small, close-knit community and it is away from major towns, unlike New York, Columbia, Harvard, and Boston. It’s a relatively small town.


Darden has a ritual called first coffee, for example. After the first class, the entire Darden community comes together and for half an hour to forty minutes, have coffee; they interact. The reason why I am pointing out this ritual is that it gives the sense of its culture; it involves a smaller community where the students bond with each other. This translates into a stronger and deeper network, even if the network is small. That’s pretty much what I would are the unique, salient features that set Darden apart from other schools.


2017-2018 UVA Darden MBA Deadlines


Round 1

Application Deadline: October 5, 2017

Round 2

Application Deadline: January 9, 2018

Round 3

Application Deadline: April 3, 2018



2017-2018 UVA Darden Essay Topic


“When preparing for class at Darden, students formulate an opinion on each case before meeting with their learning teams and class sections. When encountering different views and perspectives from their own, opinions frequently shift. Tell us about a time when your opinion evolved through discussions with others.” (500 words maximum)


You need to understand fundamentally what Darden is looking for in this. B-schools are moving away from the very traditional questions such as “why Darden?”. This is because they know that everyone has access to the internet. Now with access to the internet, everything is out there. So I can live a very vicarious life, with the internet. I can follow whom I want on social media, and get a lot of information. Hence, they want to understand the applicant from the softer perspective. “Let me try to understand how he would be if he were to come into the class.” That’s the whole idea. What Darden is really looking for is how you would react if you’re sitting in the classroom for a case study.


It is very important that you have to give a background to this. You cannot start and directly talk about what happened, and why you changed your opinion. You’re already given a setting and I am assuming if you’re at work, you could give a background about the project, what this person was, was the person a colleague?, was he your subordinate?, what kind of a relationship you shared, and what the gravity of this project was. If it was on the personal side, was he your friend or relative?, how close were you to this person?, etc. You need to provide the background so people understand the dynamics involved. We have 500 words, and that is enough to work on the background part.


Then you come with the actual difference of opinion. What did you believe or what was the differing opinion you had? Then you talk about why you realized there was merit to the other point of view. So, you need to give your point, the other point, and why you felt that the other point had merit.


Finally, you can conclude by saying how you as a person have changed because of this new perspective that you had in life. All of us go through this one ah ha moment when we realize that there is something else to the way we did things, and how our perspective changed.


I can give you an example of one story that one of our students from CrackVerbal had written. This student said that in the way she worked, she believed in efficiency. She had a very clear checklist of how things should be and she would just work on optimizing the list when it came to work. but then she had a colleague and what she noticed about the colleague is that the colleague would always question, and say, “why can’t we do it differently this time? We have always done it this way; why can’t we do it differently this time? Let’s have a different approach to it.” Initially, this student had this inertia, some resistance, and she would say “this is how we have always done things, and we know it works”, and the other person would say, “how do you know that this isn’t the better way to do things?” That clicked! She slowly started accepting that instead of just optimizing and improving the efficiency, sometimes it makes sense to be completely disruptive. If you think about it, most innovations happen when we are disruptive.


I remember Steve Jobs once said that if he had asked customers what they wanted, they would have said, “a faster floppy disk”.


The student learned that there are multiple approaches to doing things, and one has to constantly innovate and experiment. Now, this was an example. Whatever your story be, you need to make sure that you’re able to showcase how it helped you in life. So this short essay of 500 words is easy and manageable but picking the right story is going to be the key to cracking this one.


If you need any feedback, or if you need us to have a look at your application essay and give our opinions, just click the link below.


  • August, 30th, 2017
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Texas McCombs Essay Analysis 2017 – 2018

Reading Time: 4 minutes


If you’re looking at applying to the Texas McCombs MBA program 2016-2017, stay with me, In this article, we will discuss Texas McCombs, and its MBA application essays.


The advantage about this program is the location. After California, Texas comes close in terms of great weather and opportunities. It’s a place where there are a lot of significant cities like Dallas.


Secondly, in terms of the program, there is a huge focus on the energy sector. So, if you belong to the energy sector, Texas is the best place for you. The best thing is that Texas McCombs has the center for energy, finance education, research, and a lot of other programs that help you if you’re in the energy sector.


Apart from this, I’ve learned from our students who went to the Texas McCombs program, that a lot of the campus life is driven by the students. There are a lot of competitions such as the business plan competition, investment competitions, and much more, all run by the students.


Thus, you can get an actual experience of working in cross functional and multicultural teams. All of this happens while you’re still a student!


The student experience, the diversity, and the fact that the students run so much by themselves is a huge plus. Now let’s look at the application deadlines.

2017-2018 UT Austin McCombs MBA Deadlines:


Round 1

Application Deadline: October 10, 2017,*

Decision Notification: December 19, 2017


Round 2

Application Deadline: January 9, 2018

Decision Notification: March 29, 2018


Round 3

Application Deadline: April 3, 2018

Decision Notification: May 10, 2018

*Priority deadline for scholarships and fellowships.




2017-2018 UT Austin McCombs MBA Essay Questions:


Essay 1

It is the first day of Texas MBA orientation. You are meeting your study group, comprised of five of your classmates from various backgrounds. Please introduce yourself to your new team, highlighting what drives you in your personal and professional life. Select only one communication method that you would like to use for your response.

Write an essay (250 words), OR

Share a video introduction (one minute)


Introducing yourself is more than just giving your name, especially when you have only 250 words and you say, “my name is….” and then go on to say where you did your graduation, and go on in that vein. They do not want you to read out your resume. This is the common mistake which most of us make. So, what are they looking for? They are looking for “Who you are” as a person. You need to get creative.


If you feel that you can do well in front of a camera and give a great video with your best expressions, you can do it; you don’t need any fancy equipment. You can just use a good camera phone.


A one minute video, or 250 words are similar. Your one minute video may speak out 250 words, and your 250 words may speak for a one minute video.


So what is it that you want you to say about yourself?


   • Something that is not on your resume

   • Pick an adjective.

   • Pick something that is interesting about you.

Ask yourself how you can define yourself with just one word. It has to be something more personal than the data on your resume. That data is boring.


Talk about yourself, your opinions are more interesting than data.


What they want to know:

   • Would I like to meet this guy?

   • Would I like him to be in the class of 2019?


Essay 2


Picture yourself at graduation. Describe how you spent your two years as a Texas MBA student, and how that experience helped to prepare you for the post-MBA world. (500 words)



If you look at this essay, you will find a slight shift in the tense. Rather than looking through the lens of the future, where you talk about how you think Texas MBA can help you,   you will talk about the future where you’re looking at your experiences at Texas McCombs, and reflect on it.  


With most MBA programs, you would like to focus on three things:

  1. The courses you took, and how they helped you get a job

  2. Your experiences with your peers and the quality of students you dealt with, and how they made you a better version of who you are

  3. The broad network you built, and the ability to brand yourself for the future.


You can pick these three points because you have 500 words,  which provides you with plenty of space to write about 150 words on each point. Make sure you have a good start, and a good finish. So you have these three points;


   1. Your electives and courses

   2. Your experiences

   3. How the alum network, the brand equity, and the long investment for your future has helped you.


Optional Essay


Please provide any additional information you believe is important and/or address any areas of concern that will be beneficial to the Admissions Committee in considering your application (e.g. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, academic performance, or extenuating personal circumstances). (250 words)


Typically, you write an optional essay if you’re a reapplicant, or if you want to explain a gap in your education or career.


Don’t just try to retrofit some story that you’re not able to write elsewhere.


As an international applicant from India, don’t even think of R3 because you need to keep some buffer time for the processing of your visa, and to get your MBA funds sanctioned.


The other thing which you should know about the Texas McCombs program is the GMAT score. Indian applicants should note that the average GMAT score is a lot more than the score you see on the website. Don’t get misled by the average GMAT score that you see there. A lot of Indians apply to this program just like they do to UCLA and Emory. You need to be careful with your GMAT score. Anything below 700 is not recommended.


If you liked this article, and would like us to help you with your application journey, Click Here.


  • August, 25th, 2017
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Tepper School Of Business Essay Analysis 2017 – 2018

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Applying to Tepper School of Business as an Indian applicant


If you’re looking to apply for an MBA program at Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, you’re in the right place.


In this article, I am going to discuss the program, essay questions and how you can frame your responses to those questions.


Tepper is one of the top schools where most of the Indians apply. When I say Indians, I am talking about the technology folks!


If you’re a technology geek and you’re looking at Tepper, I have good news and bad news for you.


The good news is that you have come to the right place; we can help you! Carnegie Mellon has always been on the leading edge of technology.  The CMU Tepper MBA program itself is well known for its management science education. It has very good placements for technology professionals.


The bad news is that there are so many people from Indian IT applying for this program; you need to make sure that your application is kind of different. The GMAT scores have been shooting through the roof, so you need to have an above average GMAT score when applying to Tepper.


2017-2018 CMU Tepper MBA Deadlines


The four stages of applications, referred to as rounds, are as follows:


Round 1


Application deadline: October 4, 2017

Decision notification: December 13, 2017

First Deposit and Re Vera Release: February 15, 2018

Second Deposit: May 6, 2018


Round 2


Application deadline: January 4, 2018

Decision notification: March 14, 2018

First Deposit and Re Vera Release: April 16, 2018

Second Deposit: May 6, 2018


Round 3


Application deadline: March 9, 2018

Decision notification: May 9, 2018

Deposit Deadline and Re Vera Release: May 21, 2018


Round 4 (For part-time only)


Application deadline: April 20, 2018

Decision notification: May 23, 2018

Deposit Deadline: May 30, 2018


As an international applicant from India, don’t even think of R3 because you need to keep some buffer time for the processing of your visa, and to get your MBA funds sanctioned.


Let’s dig into the actual essays you need to write for Tepper.



Required Essay 1:


Imagine that you meet up with a member of the admission committee at an airport while on a layover. You have an opportunity to make a memorable impression. Use this essay to introduce yourself. Include any information that you believe is important for the committee member to know about you both professionally and personally. (Maximum 300-350 words, 12-point font, double-spaced)


This essay is not about your academics, profession, or any data point which is already covered in your application. If you log in to the Tepper portal you will find that the application form is extensive. There is a lot of information that is collected about you.


This is what Tepper is trying to say they want to know about you. Make sure you tell them the following:


   1. Tell them why you are interesting

   2. Tell them why they need to choose you

   3. Tell them why they need to have you in their program for two years


Remember “memorable impression” is something that is unique. 300 – 350 words is a huge constraint; you realize you hardly have two paragraphs before the essay is over.


One thing you need to be aware of is, do not say something that most people would say. To understand this better, let’s take an example of a person called Amit who is applying to Tepper.


Amit has been working in technology for the last five years. He has scored 740 in his GMAT. He has solved a fairly high number of complex problems for his clients. Imagine that this is the guy you’re going to compete with.


Now, you decide what it is that you want to say about yourself.


Try to pick one theme.


For Example:


One of our students from CrackVerbal who applied to Tepper tackled this essay saying he is a problem solver. He called himself a problem solver and defined problem solving as ‘innovation with frugality’. He also said that there is a term for it in India, “Jugaad”.  He told them that right from his school to his college the problems that really excited him were the problems that came with constraints. The problems which made him say “I can do this but I cannot do that” or ” We have to solve this but we do not have the bandwidth for it”.


He told them what he can do to solve a problem under these constraints. He realized that a start up was the place for him, and not the large companies. He clearly mentioned that this is who he is, and he cannot fit in large companies because this problem solving with frugality comes only in an early stage startup.


The funny part is that he has worked in large companies. Working in large companies told him what it is that he didn’t want to do.

Another student from our CrackVerbal wrote about her passion for teaching. She said that  at school she was the person who would go around helping friends the day before an exam. She helped everyone around her who needed help in understanding concepts. This continued even until college; in her dorm room, the entire class would assemble the day before the exam, and she would teach them what they could expect in the next day’s test.


She also told them how she took this teaching to her workplace. To her, teaching was her way of giving back what she learned from her teachers. She never planned to make a career as a teacher but did it out of sheer passion, and the joy it gave her.  In a way, she saw this as an opportunity to give back to society.


So, say something more about yourself which is not on your resume. You really need to pick that one thing, that one adjective that defines you, and then blow it up. Make sure that you put it in a way that is interesting.


They need to see your interesting part. Make them want to meet the problem solver, the teacher – your interesting part.


A big mistake people do is that they write 100 things such as, I am dedicated, I am hardworking, I am sincere, etc. You say ten things about yourself,  and they will forget about you. Tell them one thing, and make it memorable. This is what an elevator pitch is about.


Optional Essay


Use this essay to convey important information that you may not have been able to convey otherwise. This may include unexplained resume gaps, context for recommender selection, etc.

If you are a re-applicant, explain how your candidacy has strengthened since your last application.


There is no set word limit for this essay. The guidelines you need to follow for this essay are:


Write something that they don’t know about you. It could be a gap in your career or education, or it could also be something that you think is important for them to know.


I hope this article was helpful. We have worked with many students who have gone to Tepper. We also understand this space well. If you feel we could help in anyway, please click the link below.


  • August, 22nd, 2017
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Mays Business School, Texas A & M University Essay Analysis 2016-17

Mays Business School essay analysis
Reading Time: 5 minutes

So the essays that we are going to be looking at in this video are from Texas A&M University, Mays Business School.

Location-wise, it’s a great place. Also, Mays Business School has a pretty good ranking. This is one of those underrated B-Schools that a lot of people ignore but I would seriously recommend that you have a look at the school.
Great infrastructure, great faculty, great reputation and it’s a school which is in Texas. As I said, location-wise it is advantageous, because of where it is.

Essay 1


What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? To the best of your ability, please describe the type of position and type of organization you plan to target. How do your experiences to date align with this goal and how will the Mays MBA program assist you in reaching this goal? (Maximum length: 2 pages, double-spaced)

The maximum length indicates that you have roughly around 600 words.
I usually use a thumb rule of around 300-350 words per page, so keep the length to 500-600 words.
I will give you a very simple structure. Split it into three parts.
The first part that you need to talk about is the fact that you are looking at a very specific post-MBA goal.
This is where people end up missing it out. They say things that are very generic. They say, “I want to get into a general management position”, “I want to get into consulting”, and “I want to get into finance”
Now that’s a very broad term. What they’re really looking at (this is where you can probably make a note) are:
What is the industry?
What is the function?
What is the geography?
For example, the industry could be technology. The function could be product management. And the geography could be West Coast.
This shows that you have a very specific goal. If you have these three, then you should also be able to tell who your dream employer is, what is the typical title of people at such roles (So you could say, “I want to be a product manager at Google). So you have a very specific title and you have a very specific company. It has to be at this level of detail.
So I would say, that more than writing the essays, you probably need to think through what is it that you want to do.
Once you’ve written this, now you need to talk about how your experiences are aligned to this goal. This means, you cannot just wake up one day and say, “hey, I want to be a product manager. Seems to be cool.” You need to tell what in your background (it could be a professional experience or it could even be some personal traits that you have) equip s you for this career path.
Are you very analytical in nature? Is it that you worked in a hardcore technological field?
What is it that helps you get to this career point?
The only people who need to be super cautious are those who are looking at a career switch.
So if you were in engineering and you want to get into finance, you need to back it up.
Otherwise you just need to plot a line from point x to point y as to how you think your background helps.
Now, you obviously don’t have everything you need to get to that point. Otherwise you would have done that without an MBA. So what do you do?
In the third part, you specifically talk about how Texas A&M University and specifically the Mays Business School is going to help you get there.
What are the tools that it would give you?
What are the skill sets that you would like to learn?
How would the network and the community help you?
All of these are very crucial. One thing I always maintain—don’t write platitudes. Avoid sentences that say world class infrastructure and renowned faculty—they know everything. Don’t tell the B-school what they already know.
Tell them how they will be able to help you. Tell them how you will contribute to the program.
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Essay 2


Please select three of the following prompts to answer. Each of your three answers should be no more than 100 words in length. Please clearly identify which prompts you are addressing.
• My greatest passion is….
• The most important lesson I have learned is….
• I am unique because….
• My biggest challenge has been….
• The best advice I have received is….
• My greatest professional contribution is….

The beauty of a fill-in the blank structure that it clearly tell you what to write. There’s no chance for you to meander. So focus on completing the blank. Think of it as a fill in the blank. Once you complete the blank, you have a sentence.
Let me give an example:
• My greatest passion is….
My greatest passion is helping others
Now this is my mission statement.
I now have about 80 words to say why helping others is my greatest passion.
Often, it’s human nature that you’re attracted to something. So you can say that as a child I’ve always been attracted to helping others. And then give proof of how you’ve helped others.
• The most important lesson I have learned is….
Second one, it is not the lesson itself but why that lesson is important. What have you learnt? How have you been able to implement it in life?
• I am unique because….
Unique means special. It doesn’t mean one in the world. If that is the case, they would have said, “I’m a freak because…”
So it’s not something that only you have, but it’s something that could be a little different. For example, there are people how have actually performed on stage in front of an audience of thousands of people.
That’s a very rare quality to have. So, if you’ve done something offbeat, you should pick this one.
• My biggest challenge has been….
It is not just knowing what the challenge is, but why you perceive that to be a challenge and how you’ve overcome that. Again, this gives an insight into who you are as a person.
• The best advice I have received is….
Let me finish this for you….that I should not be so self-critical. Now, why are you self-critical? How do you overcome that? How is that reflected in the way you approach work? Again, 100 words, keep that in mind.
• My greatest professional contribution is….
This one has to be really big. It cannot be something that is normal. It cannot be something that you did well. It has to be something g more than that.
I would pick this only if I have done something really big and significant at work and I really want to showcase it. Otherwise, you’re probably better off licking the other softer aspects.
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Optional Essay


If you would like to share additional information with the Admissions Committee, please do so here. Suitable topics include gaps in post-college work experience and concerns about academic/test performance. (Maximum length – 1 page, double-spaced)

As I have always maintained about optional essays, use it only if you have something unique to say, something that is not addressed anywhere in your candidature.
So if you have a GMAT score of 630-640, you need to mention it over here.
If you have a gap in your work experience of 6 months, while pursuing a startup idea, you should mention it over here. Apart from that just let it be.
Thanks a lot for being with us. In case you think we can help you with your applications, please feel free to let us know, we’d be more than glad to have a look and see if we can help you in your MBA journey.
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  • January, 9th, 2017
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Foster School of Business, Washington—Essay Analysis for 2016-17

Reading Time: 4 minutes

So the school that we’re going to be looking at in this video is University of Washington’s Foster School of Business.

One thing about Foster obviously is the location. Being in Seattle, you have Amazon, you have Microsoft, you have Starbucks, but more importantly Amazon and Microsoft are the two giants of IT.
Being right there in Seattle helps—it’s not just recruitment for these two companies but also a lot of ancillary companies, a lot of consulting companies that work for these two larger organizations.
So that’s what we’re going to be looking at. A lot of Indians end up applying to Foster as well, especially for those who are from a tech background.

Optional Essay


Please include this essay if you have additional information that you believe would be helpful to the admissions committee in considering your application. (500 words maximum)

Three essays, third one optional, you know the rules for the optional essay—write only when you think there is something important. If you think it’s not important, perhaps it’s not.
Usually I would encourage writing only gaps in academics, gaps in work experience or something that is very pressing for you mention there. Apart from this let’s take the first essay.

Essay 1

Post-MBA Plans– Tell us your ideas about what lies ahead for you in your career. What are the gaps or deficiencies currently preventing you from pursuing these potential career paths? How do you plan to use your time in the Foster MBA program to fill these gaps and advance your career? (750 words maximum)
Though 750 words are plenty of words, we need to structure it very well.
You cannot tell the first part until and unless you walk them through your career progression till date.
Remember this is not a repetition of your CV; this is not a repeat of what you’ve written in your resume. This is stuff that tells others how you have grown. That upward trajectory should come through.
You’ve grown, no doubt, but at some point you’ve hit a glass ceiling. You’ve arrived at this point in your career where you say, “I’ve done so much but now I’ve realized that I have to go to the next point”.
What is that next point?
You have to be very clear as to what lies ahead of you in your career.
So complete the first paragraph telling what lies ahead.
In the second paragraph you start off with what are the gaps or deficiencies you’ve identified.
What are the things that you need to equip yourself with?
It could be like a Swiss army knife. You might need multiple tools to equip yourself for that career path.
So you need to ask yourself, what it is that you need to achieve that career goal.
In the third paragraph, be very specific.

Why Foster?

Don’t keep it generic. Don’t just say great faculty and excellent infrastructure. It has to be very specific to Foster. So that forms the last 250 words.
So 250-250-250, in 750 words, your entire structure is done.
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Essay 2

Inspiring Experience Essay – Please tell us about an experience that inspired or confirmed your decision to pursue the MBA. (500 words maximum)
Here is the deal. You have to talk about something that made you think about why you should pursue an MBA.
Now if we go back to the first essay, it has shown your career progression and what you want to do next. But, you haven’t said why you want to do it.
This is the essay where you want to talk about why you’ve felt that career path is important for you.
Let me give you an example.
There was someone we knew, who got into Foster last year. He wrote about his experience of being a developer and about most problems that he would face that were technical in nature.
But after a few years he realized that more and more of technology wasn’t getting him anywhere. But he had this opportunity to work with a product manager. And he said, that really opened his eyes.
He said, “I saw that the product manager sees the same world, but I tend to have a limited perspective of looking at things only from a technical standpoint while he had a wider approach to looking at things. Working with him on that project for 6 months made me realize that I wanted to be a product manager.”
Obviously the other product manager had an MBA so that also motivated him to do an MBA. He realized that though he could take up other courses, this was the shortest and cleanest path to get there.
So try to make sure that you also touch upon a personal angle—as a person what attracts you towards the career path.
The first two essays, if crafted well, should get you an interview call and what you say afterward can help you get into the B-school.
In case you think there’s a conversation we can have and if you need any help, do let us know. We’ll be glad to be a part of your MBA application journey.
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  • December, 7th, 2016
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Jones Graduate School of Business Essay Analysis 2016-17

Jones essay analysis
Reading Time: 5 minutes

The school that we’re going to be looking at is the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University.
Being in Texas, we see a lot of Indians applying to this school. We’ve also got students who’ve got scholarships in the past. So if you’re applying to Rice, let’s go ahead and take a look at the essays they have.

They have essentially two essays. The first essay is a standard goals essay.

Essay 1:

Describe your short-term and long-term goals, and how the MBA will help you to achieve those goals. Include in your discussion: Why is now the appropriate time to pursue an MBA and why are you interested in obtaining a Rice MBA? (750 words)
This has 750 words, that’s a lot of real estate for you. Make sure you don’t mess it up by writing a lot of things. It’s very important that we structure it properly so that the question gets answered.
Here is how I would put the structure:
In 250 words describe what you’ve done so far.
See, it’s very important that you talk about your life accomplishments, but don’t make it into a replica of your resume. It should be a short career progression—this is what I learnt and this is where I’m at this juncture in life.
You need to stop the first 250 words at a point where it says that it says at this point this guy has done so much, what else do you think he can do?
The next 250 words is where you need to invest in talking about at this juncture in your life, why is it personally and professionally the most apt time for you to pursue an MBA? What is it that you want to do?
Sometimes it could also be a moment of epiphany. Like, “I started my career, things were working fine but at this point I realized I have this aha effect. I just said, ‘Wow! This is what I want to pursue next.’”
And the moment you looked at what you wanted to pursue next, you also realized that there were certain challenges that you had to overcome. What are those challenges? What are the things that you need to equip yourself with, to do well in this career path?
A lot to write, but do it within 250 words.
The third paragraph is, now that you know what you need to equip yourself with, how specifically would Jones Graduate School of Business, help you achieve that?
I’ve said this multiple times, steer clear of platitudes. Don’t give reasons such as world class university and excellent infrastructure. Be very specific. That’s the key.

Essay 2:


Choose between the three options:
A. “Describe a defining moment or event that changed your life.” (300 words)
B. Tweet: “If you had to tweet something to the world for the first time about yourself, what would you tweet?” (140 characters)
C. Video: “Introduce yourself to your classmates in a 90 second video.”

You’re probably thinking which among the three you should select. Here’s the deal: the B-school is not going to base your admission on the choice. So it’s not like Tweet is less effort so it’s considered any less than say a video which perhaps takes more effort.
What I would suggest is that look at the kind of person you are. What would best showcase who you are?
For example, if you’re a person who feels that you’ve got the personality, probably put yourself on a video.
If you feel you’re witty or you’re like an ad copywriter who can write this very smart tweet about himself, then you probably want to pick that.
Or if you feel you’re more prosaic in your methods and you think there is a great event that could showcase to the AdCom who you really are, then you probably want to pick the first one.
First try to figure out who you are and then try to pick the medium.
Now very briefly on each one of these.

“Describe a defining moment or event that changed your life.” (300 words)

It has to be a defining moment, but here is the mistake that most people do. They will spend the entire 300 words talking about the defining moment.
Instead talk about the defining moment and also tell why it defined you. Don’t leave it to the reader’s imagination.
It is very important that you actually go ahead and explain the impact of that event on your life and how it’s changed you. How you are now a different person than who you were before the event.

Tweet: “If you had to tweet something to the world for the first time about yourself, what would you tweet?” (140 characters)

If you have to introduce yourself through a tweet, it has to be witty, it has to be remarkable. It’s not a simple sentence. If you’re going to think in terms of a sentence—I’m an engineer who’s worked for four years at so and so company—you’ve lost the plot.
It has to be extremely witty. Be cautious if you’re not a copywriter, if you’re not the kind of person who tweets a lot, this might be a challenge for you.

Video: “Introduce yourself to your classmates in a 90 second video.”

Keep the video simple, for example this one we’re shooting on a camera phone.
You just need to make sure that the lighting is fine, ensure that the voice is clear.
If you want to get in front of the camera, if you want to introduce yourself, what would you say? Again, don’t speak about what is already there on the resume. Say something new, something interesting.
Make those 90 seconds memorable.

Optional Essay


You may use this essay to discuss anything else that you would like the Admissions Committee to know about you, or to provide information or clarification on any aspect of your application. (Maximum 750 words)

As always, you have an optional essay. For 750 words, you might be tempted to write a lot more, but here is my advice, don’t write anything that doesn’t make sense because the optional essay is meant for something that is glaring, that they could not figure out from the rest of your essays.
It could be something like a break from work, poor undergrad scores or something that’s really consequential.
Think of it this way: you’ve completed the interview, you’ve left the room. Then suddenly you remember something, you come back to the interview room, you knock the door and you say, “Excuse me, I just wanted to say one thing about myself that will help me understand my candidature”.
Now think about it. Would you come back and say, “Hey, by the way, I also won this competition at work”?
It doesn’t really make sense. It has to be something that’s impactful. Say, “There’s one thing I wanted to let you know, there’s a gap of 6 months in my employment. That is the time I took a sabbatical because I wanted to explore a startup idea”
So that’s all about the essays.
Please go ahead and apply to Jones Graduate School of Business.
If you need any help from CrackVerbal and you feel we can help you craft a winning application, we’ll be more than glad to help.
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  • December, 2nd, 2016
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Scheller College of Business, Georgia Tech-Essay Analysis 2016-17

Reading Time: 5 minutes

In this video, we’re going to be reviewing the essays for Georgia Tech Scheller. First up, about this B-School, I think Georgia Tech is a great place for operations and technology. It’s in Atlanta, which is a great hub, one of the southern states.
So I think, all in all, great school if you’re in operations and technology. In fact, the school makes no bones about the fact that, “don’t come here if you’re a closet investment banker or if you have one of those other goals. But for these career paths, it’s a great school to be.
There are two required essays, one optional essay. The tricky part here is, they say there’s a 4000 character limit. So when you look at 4000 characters, it is roughly around 700 odd words. So 700 words is enough for you to write a proper, well-structured essay. There’s a lot of space over there.
So let’s take the first one.

1. Respond to one of the topics below (Required):
A) Describe a risk that you have taken and discuss its impact on your life.
B) If you could trade places with someone for one day, who would it be and why?

There is no right answer. We want you to be yourself, creative, and thoughtful in your response.
Do not overthink which of the two essays is going to be better. Or that Scheller has this ulterior motive to see which essay you’re going to pick. Trust me, people are going to join the batch, half of them are going to pick one essay, the other half would have picked the other essay.
So rather than focusing on that, focus on yourself.
1. A) Describe a risk that you have taken and discuss its impact on your life.
Have you taken a risk? If you haven’t taken a risk, the first essay is pretty much useless. So what is that risk? A lot of times people make this mistake of not really describing the risk. They describe the situation and they assume that reader would know the risk involved.
So first you have to talk about the risk itself, the decision that you made, what was the risk, what were the pros, what were the cons? In most situations, you’ll have something that would have worked but the lack of time, lack of information, lack of some other resources made you make that decision without knowing what would come.
It also tells me something about you. It gives me your profile as a risk taker.
What kind of risk taker are you?
Did you quit your job to start your own company? What was going on in your mind?
I want to know more about that. I don’t want to know the risk itself. It is important that you mention it, but give me an insight into who you are.
Why did you take that risk? Now talk about the impact of that action. Maybe it was positive, maybe it had some negative tones, maybe there were certain things that did not go as per your plan.
Are you regretful?
Do you have this tinge of bitterness as to why you did that?
If so, don’t mention it. But let them know a little more about the aftermath of that decision. Where are you today, because of that decision? 700 words are enough for you to write a great story. Very important that you craft it well. And as I said, just make sure you pick these points.
1. B) If you could trade places with someone for one day, who would it be and why?
Now again, though it might sound like a flight of fantasy that you say, “oh I want to trade my place with say, Modi, and I want to be the prime minister of the country”, remember this is not a school essay. It’s a B-school essay.
A business school wants to know your thinking. They want to know more about who you are. So don’t make it into a flight of fantasy where you say “I wish I were superman” or “I wish I were a movie actor”. They are really looking at what your passions are, what it is that you really want.
If I could give an example, I could say I would like to be Salman khan, not Salman khan the movie actor, but Salman Khan from Khan Academy, because I really admire what he does, I really admire the way in which he is able to influence education, the way in which he has been able to figure it out and he was able to introduce all these video courses.
Now that could be my personal inspiration. But, here’s the deal: it also tells something about me. As an educator, as a mentor, as a coach, it’s aligned to what I want to do. But if I were to say I want to be Salman khan, act in movies, it doesn’t make sense. So that’s where you have to be very clear.
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Next one: very standard, post-mba goal essay.

2. Why an MBA and why Georgia Tech? (Required)
Describe how your experiences, both professional and personal, have led you to the decision to pursue an MBA at Georgia Tech. Discuss your short- and long-term career goals and how Georgia Tech is best suited to help you achieve your goals.

Here is what I would suggest as structure—create three parts.
The first is, talk about your background. Talk about what you have done. Talk about your career progression. Don’t make it a repeat of your resume. It has to be something that says, “look, very quickly, let me summarize, this is how my career trajectory has been. Now that I’m at this point, what is it that I want to do.
That is your second paragraph. What is it that I want to do? Be very specific, talk about the industry, talk about the function, talk about the kind of companies that you’d like to work for and tell me what are the things that you need to do well in that role.
In the third paragraph, talk about very specifically, why Georgia Tech, why Scheller.
It has to be very specific. You cannot put platitudes like statements such as, “Georgia Tech is a great school.” They already know that. You don’t need to tell them that.
Why is it such a great school for you?
So again you have to go back and fit in what you’ve written in the second paragraph.
As I said, 700 words are enough for you to write a nice career essay. One more thing here is, that it talks about your long-term career goals. Yes, short term is important, but also give a sense of where you want to go.
So long term should not be 50 years but it could be maybe 5-10 years down the line. Just give them an idea of what direction you’re going in. for example, you could say entrepreneurship or social entrepreneurship. That should be enough.
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The third essay is an optional essay
Optional Essay:

The Admissions Committee believes that the required essays address issues that help us learn about you and understand your candidacy for the MBA program; however, you may provide us with any additional information pertinent to your admission that has not been previously covered in the rest of the application. Feel free to discuss any unique aspects of your candidacy or any perceived weaknesses.

I would use this essay just if I feel there is something really important that I feel I could not say in the first or the second essay. There is a space where I could write about stuff that really expresses this particular point.
For example, low GMAT scores. That’s a classic case where you say, “I got a 660 but hey, look at my college grades or look at the kind of work that I’ve done. So GMAT is not a true reflection of my true potential.” If you want to say that, this is the essay to say that.
Note: There is a 4,000 character maximum (including spaces) for each essay, so please be sure to keep that in mind should you choose to work on the essays in advance.
So all the best for your Georgia Tech Scheller application.
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  • November, 26th, 2016
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Ross Essay Analysis 2016-17

Ross Business school essay analysis
Reading Time: 7 minutes

This year, Ross has retained the same set of essay questions as last year, with a couple of tweaks. Traditionally, the Ross Adcom has placed a high value on authenticity and ‘down-to-earthness’ very highly – keep this in mind as you answer the Ross essays. Also be aware that Ross lays a very strong emphasis laid on communication skills (which also explains why it has a team exercise as part of the application process). This means that the presentation of your essay is going to matter as much as the content of your essays. Make sure that your essays have a compelling narrative, a carefully laid-out structure and no grammatical errors.


Essay 1 :


What are you most proud of outside of your professional life? How does it shape who you are today? (up to 400 words)

Ross has been using variations of this essay prompt over the past couple of years. However, a marked difference this year, as compared to last year, is that Ross asks you what you are proud of outside your work.
This means no corporate jargon, no ‘I increased sales by ‘x’ percent’, no ‘ cracking this deal got me an early promotion’.
This question speaks to you as a person. It deserves an authentic personal answer drawn from the deeps of your being.
Here’s the good part – The open-ended nature of the question means that there are many ways in which you can choose to answer. A few ideas:
1. A narration of a concrete accomplishment – for example, how you started a neighbourhood community to keep your locale garbage-free.
2. A story of personal transformation – for example, how you struggled with an unhealthy habit and later kicked it.
3. A story of interpersonal courage – for example, how you mentored a group of children from distressed backgrounds, how you repaired a relationship gone south etc.
4. A theme that underpins your life – For example, how resilience has been your biggest strength and how it has saved you from the doldrums time and again.
This is just to give you some samples; not to limit your thinking. Please feel free to think outside this list 🙂
As you pick a story, keep these pointers in mind –
1. Let honesty be your starting point – We’ve seen in earlier years that authenticity and down-to-earthness appeal to the Ross Adcom.
2. Think big and think ‘impact’ – The story/stories you narrate should have had a larger impact on your life, to answer the second part of the prompt, i.e. how does it shape who you are today? Therefore, do not pick an isolated incident with short-term benefits. Choose something that has truly transformed your life for the better.
If you are having trouble with zeroing in on a story right away, here are a few things you can do to coax your brain to develop a killer story.
Make a list of three to five incidents and traits about yourself that you are really proud of. Once you have a long-list, examine each of these for impact, on yourself, on another person and on the community.
Remember that the impact may not be direct, and that’s ok too. For example, your resilience is purely personal, but the effect of that resilience can be widely felt -say in a circumstance where you had to motivate a bunch of disheartened people working with you.
Since this is a question that hinges on perspective and introspection, get a rounded opinion. Consult your friends and well-wishers for opinions on which of your stories conveys maximum value.
Now that you’ve zeroed in on a story, how do you present it? We suggest the tried-and-tested START framework.
What was the background to the problem? What was the enormity of the issue? Why did you come in? What did it mean to you? Make sure you give the reader enough background. This is like the first few scenes in a movie in which every character is described. This is to ensure you drive home the point about WHY it was so important for you.
Explain clearly the task you had at hand. This could either be an explicit job role or something you assumed without being told. In either case you need to ensure you explain what is it that you were trying to achieve.It is important that you give a clear picture of WHY you chose to do that set of actions. What was the thought process behind it? Give them a glimpse of who you are.
What did you do? Did you face any resistance? Did you have to change your plans midcourse? What was the biggest challenge that you DID NOT anticipate? A lot of writers spend almost 90% of the essay talking about what they did. Here is where you have to be careful. You need to be crisp and clear. Don’t get into too many details.
What was achieved because of this? Did people save money? Did it help a particular client? Did you get a promotion or a reward or excellent ratings?
Here is where you address the second question in the prompt, that is, what are the long-term implications of this incident on your life? Think this through in detail. Do not be short-sighted as you think of takeaways – think about lessons that have served you/will serve you over the long haul! Most importantly, write from the heart. Be poetic and not prosaic.
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Essay 2:


What is your desired career path and why? (up to 250 words)

At 250 words, you have to be economical, even stingy, with your words.
The fact that Ross has reduced the length of this essay from 400 words last year, to 250 this year, indicates that they only want the crux of your career story. Essentially, you have to touch all the salient points without getting into the details.
The Start (100 words):
Clearly state your post MBA short-term and long-term plans. Don’t use obscure statements such as “get into general management” or “want a leadership position”. That is code for “I have no clue what I want to do but want to surely boss around a lot of people”.
However, note that its ok to be relatively vague about your long-term goal. With jobs getting created and destroyed every year, it is not very feasible to guess accurately what you will be doing 10 years down the line.
The Middle (100 words):
After that you need to talk about why are you the best person to get there. Start with a brief summing up of your career so far. Talk about what you have learned at work (without laying out all the minute details) and what makes you ready to take the leap to your future goals.
Next, you need to talk about why you seek an opportunity to grow. Someone from a technical background might want to understand the business side of things to get a fuller context. Someone from an operational perspective might want to grow into a role that involves more people management.
For every job there is some growth, or some career “next steps” that are possible. If you are in a role that has no such career progression then either you are not thinking hard or you don’t need an MBA.
Note here: Avoid references to how you hate your job or how your manager is a tyrant. Anything negative would go against you. Focus on the positives. Talk about how you are eager to take up opportunities that will help you grow in life. Show them the ambition, not the frustration.
Now talk about the 2 or 3 absolute “must haves” for you to get into that role. It could be the brand credentials of a top MBA for consulting. It could be the general management aspect of looking at things for someone in a finance career stream. It could be the wider perspective your teammates offer,that might make you a well-rounded Product Manager. It could be all of these.
The End (50 words):
Though Ross is not asking ‘Why Ross’ explicitly, you would do well to answer it briefly. By this point, if your writing is clear and crisp, it should be a no-brainer on WHY you should be doing an MBA. It should focus on WHY Ross.
Steer clear of generic stuff. You don’t want an MBA because it has “world class infrastructure” and “renowned faculty”.
Do your research. Talk to current students/alumni. Attend info sessions. Read up as much as you can about the school. If possible, even make a trip to the Ross campus! In short – pull out all the stops to ensure you understand why Ross is a good fit. Don’t do this to impress the Admission Committee. Do this because your decision is going to cost you the next 2 years and a lot of money. You better be sure!
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Essay 3 – Optional Statement:

This section should only be used to convey information not addressed elsewhere in your application, for example, completion of supplemental coursework, employment gaps, academic issues, etc. Feel free to use bullet points where appropriate.
Did you note two things?
1. There is no word-limit mentioned. Wow, all those other things about yourself that you haven’t got the space to write about..can you write about them here? Like that hobby you picked up two years ago, or that event you conducted at work? No, definitely no. Because, as the question says..
2. “This section should only be used to convey information not addressed elsewhere in your application”
So Ross is not handing out an additional sheet of paper so you can write about your accomplishments or your leadership qualities or your fitment. Rather, this is just a placeholder for all important information that is not covered elsewhere in the application.
Let the examples given guide you – completion of coursework, gaps in employment, poor academic scores. Use this section to offer critical information that could mitigate weaknesses and/or enhance your profile.
Before we wind up, we recommend that you read this excellent short post from the Ross Admissions Director, Soojin Kwon. Though this was written last year, the advice is equally relevant this year!
New Essay questions to Michigan Ross MBA application
You may also find this webinar from the Ross AdCom useful as you apply to Ross –

There you go! We hope that our take on the Ross essays helps you frame a winning application to Ross this season.
If you have any feedback for us, please let us know by leaving a comment in the comment section below.
If you’d like to discuss your Ross essays with us, or have our experts review them, we’d be happy to help! Let us know by clicking the button below!
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  • August, 26th, 2016
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Harvard Essay Analysis 2016-17

Harvard Essay Analysis
Reading Time: 5 minutes

This year, HBS has brought back its question from the 2014-2015 application season. And what a whopper of a question it is!
The world’s most elite B-school presents an essay prompt that is very simple and direct to all appearances. But as you have probably found out, open-ended and vague essay prompts give many MBA aspirants the jitters.
Have you worried yourself to death reading the essay question many times over?
Have you wondered what on earth makes a good answer to this prompt?
Read on..You’ll soon find yourself on solid ground again! 🙂
As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA program?
There is no word limit for this question. We think you know what guidance we’re going to give here. Don’t overthink, overcraft and overwrite. Just answer the question in clear language that those of us who don’t know your world can understand.
As usual, HBS leaves the word limit to your discretion, leaving you with two questions –
1. How much to write?
2. What to write?
How much to write:
Let us start with the easier question of the two. Though HBS does not offer a word-limit, it has long preferred conciseness and clarity over meandering, prolonged narratives – indeed, which B-school wouldn’t prefer it?
Our suggestion is that you write in the range of 650 – 1000 words. There have been winning stories told at well over 1000 words, but most of the effective HBS essays we’ve seen are shorter. If you think your essay is the exception, the rare story that deserves over 1000 words, make sure that you get your essay reviewed by smart friends and/or consultants who can tell you if your essay needs cutting down.
What to write:
The very first thing to remember is that your essay should reveal your personality and your values, not your accomplishments. In short, do not make it a meandering version of your resume. Also, do not pick many accomplishments and try to weave a common theme. It will probably look forced and you could be caught out.
Rather, what you should do is read between the lines of your own profile.
Yes, you led that crazy, messed-up project in your first year at work and knocked the socks off your manager by turning it around..but what gave you the courage to take on such a difficult task in your very first year?
Yes, you were a national-level swimmer all through school and college, and you’d participated in many international events too. But how did being a sportsman positively influence your work and your relationships?
If you’re really struggling with picking a story, we suggest that you begin by compiling a ‘kitchen sink’ document, where you list down your accomplishments, big and small.
Next, in the same document, list your life and career goals.
Next, jot down any positive quality you think you possess – leadership or otherwise.
Add to the mix any significant inflection points in your life – any period of significant personal/professional change. Think about the drivers and influencers of your life at that point in time and note that down too.
Over a few days, keep adding to this list, without judgement and without reserve – until you have a laundry list of your achievements, attributes and aspirations, and the salient points of your personal development.
Now, begin the process of picking a story from all the threads you have put down. You are trying to weave a coherent story, one where your abilities meet your aspirations, and are ably supported by your past accomplishments and choices. Keep this mind as you pick a topic for your essay.
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Here are a few ideas for your story –
• Talk about the impact you hope to make, at HBS and in your life ahead. Support this by looking back and ruminating on the impact you have already made.
• Flesh out a bullet-point in your resume; however, give it context, meaning and soul.
• Write about the challenges you have faced and how they have altered your life-story.
• Talk about what activities/causes are most important to you and what you have done to contribute to these things that you care about ( If you are doing this, make sure that your essay does not sound a rehash of the answer to Stanford GSB’s ‘What matters most to you’ essay prompt.)
As your story begins to take shape, remember that your best bet is in authenticity. However, you also need to be aware of the traits that HBS values highly. The HBS identity has always been tightly coupled with leadership – this is the big one. Quoting from HBS website, they are also looking for high ‘analytical aptitude and appetite’ and ‘engaged community citizenship’
We’re not suggesting that you build your entire story on these qualities and leave out everything else. However, it is essential that you find points of intersection between who you are and what HBS wants – the greater the overlap, the better your chances are.
If you are applying to Harvard this year, there are two things we want you to internalise, before you get off the ground –
1. You should really, really personalize these essays.
HBS hasn’t given you any signposts to tell you if you’re going in the right direction.
This essay prompt does not lend itself to a template, or even to very specific advice about what to write. So, you need to use your intelligence, heart and discretion all the way (possibly throw some timely help from friends/professional consultants into the mix)!
However, we don’t mean to put you into a funk by telling you how tough this is going to be.
In fact, we at CrackVerbal believe that there’s something very beautiful about the HBS essay, something few schools offer ( usually only the elite ones) – You get to tell your story your way!
Leopold, Admissions Director at HBS, has this to say- “We have no pre-conceived ideas of what ‘good’ looks like. We look forward to lots of variance.”
Many of you probably have a gem of a story in your life, something you’re sure makes you a better person and professional – but something that does not fit naturally into the confines of a standard essay question. Well, this essay invites you to lay it out in all its glory.
Dizzying possibilities, to sum it up!
2. You should pull out all the stops!
This essay isn’t for the faint-hearted. Remember, you are trying to make arguably the best B-school in the world want you!
The truth is, the relative importance of your essays in your application, depends on the other pieces of your profile.
If your other stats and your resume are spectacular and they’ve already done most of the talking for you, your essays have a lighter job on their shoulders – they just need to present supporting evidence. You just need to ensure that your essays don’t let you down – that is, that you do not damage your candidacy by coming across as brash, ignorant, or simply annoying.
However, if your stats nearly make the cut, and your admit is in the twilight area between accept and waitlist, or waitlist and reject, that’s where your essays could really bring home the trophy.
If your other data points are simply not up to the mark, even a prize-winning piece of storytelling may not save you.
Of course, since you can never be sure where along the spectrum you lie, the only thing you can do is pull out all the stops to produce the best HBS essay you possibly can!
This kind of involvement means that you’ll probably have to devote a lot of time to drafting and fine-tuning your essays; much more time than you’d need to write a more structured ‘goals’ essay or ‘achievement’ essay. With deadlines looming in September, we recommend that you start thinking about your essays now!
We hope that this take on the HBS essays helps you frame a winning application!
If you have any feedback for us, let us know in the comments section below.
If you’d like to discuss your HBS essays with us, or have our experts review them, we’d be happy to help! Let us know by clicking the button below.
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  • June, 15th, 2016
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